10/6/07

I'm Going!





This is so crazy! I can't believe I am going to the Ironman World Championships tomorrow morning! My flight leaves around 7am. I am all packed and I am about to pack up the bike. Well..Karel is about to pack up my bike :) Lucky me! I will keep my blog updated as much as possible. Lots of pics for sure! Thanks everyone for your kind words and support. This has been an awful month because of my injury and I never imagined going into the world championships on the injured list. I am truely honored to compete and I hope to finish the race with a grateful smile on my face. I am happy that I received so many nice emails and phone calls from people who encouraged me to go to the race and give it my best. I have a great tri-family support group out there! But I find it funny that soooo many people encourage me to compete so that they can watch the race on the computer, enjoying some pancakes or pizza (Depending on what time you are watching the race on Ironmanlive.com) with feet up on a couch, after a morning of running for an hour or doing an easy 3 hour bike ride with friends (or perhaps a ultra run or century ride for some) that they did after they slept in a couple hours. Yeah..so I am doing a freakin' Ironman that EVERYONE convinced me to do, let alone I was in pain for 5 weeks, doing lots of swimming and cycling and NO running, with hip bursitis and a bunch of other inflammation problems, ONLY for you to watch me on the computer as I participate in the hardest Ironman!!! NOT FAIR!!! hehe-only kidding. I Feel so lucky to have so many followers who support me no matter what time I finish. I know I would do the same thing (and have in the past) when i know someone who is racing an Ironman. I Can't tell you how many refresh icons i have pushed during a sat/sun Ironman or Half Ironman in order to follow my friends for races :) Thanks everyone!!!!

10/4/07

Racing through an Injury????


As I sat on my couch contemplating what to do with my Kona dream I thought it would be easier to express myself through writing (something I love more than talking!). As you can tell, this last month has been just devestating. All that training and in one weekend I saw my dream disappear. More frustrated about the money I spent for the trip (not fun spending money for nothing), but just bummed that I have been forced to make a decision if I would go to Kona. I thought I made that decision on November 5th, 2006 when I won my age group at IMFL. Was I ever happy when I saw my name above that red line...I couldn't tell you how excited I was to give my $470 check to Heather Fuhr in that black Kona-qualifier tent after the race. And now, almost a year later I can't even read a forum about Kona without being bummed. With the hope that my injury would go away after a couple weeks, it has now been 1 month since I was able to run without pain. Although I can ride and swim without pain, I am still walking around on egg shells with the right leg. Always careful not to put too much pressure on the leg since I have been in-and-out of pain for the past week. I tried not to take my pain killers (Ultram/Tramadol) since I was experiencing awful side effects and it is no fun just masking the pain. After a clean MRI and x-ray (I am proud that I have nice and healthy vertabrae and bones!), my wonderful Doctor (Dr.Gruber at Florida Spine Institute) has diagnosed me with bursitis. He palpated towards my groin area and once he localized the spot, I couldn't believe how much pain I felt in that one area. After many PT, massage, Doc visits and meds, I am now forced to decide (by tomorrow!) if I am going to go to kona. After everything I've been through I am just tired of everything. I am not giving up on my Kona dream or ambitions to race professionally, but my drive for training has dwindled and all I want to do is get better. I have no idea how people race through injuries or pain and although we all seem to "pull through" a race now and then, I couldn't imagine standing on the starting line injured. I can admit that I have finished a running or tri race w/ ITband pain or plantar fascitis but everything I experience after a race occurs during the race. Thank goodness for endorphins. I am blessed that I have finished most of my races with hardly any pain (well-being tired is usually what I feel) and I can usually bounce right back after a hard training session or hard race. For those who strap, brance and wrap an injured part before a race and "hope for the best" I just don't know how you do it. And for those who train consistently through pain and keep their goals high with a pride of finishing their A-race, I just don't see the fun of training through pain. I'm not bashing those who train through pain but I've always felt that I want to train..not just get through the training session. I truely find joy in training and feel accomplished after I put in a good X-hour bike ride or X-hour long run. Through months of training, I love seeing myself grow as an athlete and develop into a stronger person. And now as I question if I could really go to Kona and just swim and bike, I wonder if I have the mental strength to do that. I can honestly say that I don't. I have no desire to just swim and bike. I want to experience it all. The nerves, anticipation, excitment of Kona. The 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run seem so daughting to most people and to do it in Kona is an accomplishment of the best. For others, it is a dream to aspire for, just to get to the starting line in kona. And to stand on the Kona floor wondering if I could stand in T2 after a strong swim and run would just make me so angry that I couldn't experience it all. I'd rather sit at my computer all day and watch everyone race in Kona. Of course I would be sad and I know the next week will be tough (and weeks after when I hear of race reports from Kona), but I rather be in Kona on the prepared list, not on the injured list. Although I do have Clearwater 70.3 in a month, I question if I should stop my season now and just rest my body to the extreme. Of course I wouldn't be able to "rest" very long, but without the mindset of training, swimming and biking are very enjoyable activities. Plus, with Karel's season coming to an end, I look forward to staying active with karel by strength training, swimming and road biking. I am not 100% that I am not going but my parents have decided that they will go and enjoy Kona as a vacation. Perhaps I will come back next year as a stronger, wiser and healthier athlete but this experience has showed me that no sport is fun when you are injured. I guess even when you aren't racing as a Pro and still find it devestating to be on the injured list you really do have a passion for what it is you train for. I have today to decide if I will go to Kona but from what I have been dealing with for the past week, I feel I am ready for a break from all this stress. Funny-I was so stress-free when I was training for the Ironman!!!

I do want to add that I am trying to get through this with a smile on my face. Although it is hard and I've been keeping quite with those in the tri-community, I do appreciate everyone for their support, help, encouragement, wisdom and individual training stories. I love hearing about others training, even if it is a proud 1 hour run for the first time, a continuous 1 mile swim for the first time or a first ever 4-hour ride in the saddle with an incredibly sore bum. I am really thankful to have such wonderful friends who care so much about my success in the sport. I love sharing my passion for triathlons and I know I will get through this injury with a better understanding of why I love to call myself a triathlete.

10/1/07

The decision is made


Warning: Some material may not be suitable for those who are obsessed with triathlons, Ironmans or Kona.

I can honestly say that I have never felt more stress, emotions and sadness in my life than I have in the last 4 weeks. Perhaps there were some times in Graduate school where I felt more stress, but as of September 7th I have experienced ever emotion possible. I haven't been too open about my time off from running since Sept 7th nor have I discussed the extent of my injury. From being diagnosed from piriformis syndrome to iliopsoas syndrome I have been in extreme pain for the past 4 weeks. Ok, so 4 weeks isn't that long for an injury to play its course but with my flight to Kona leaving on Saturday October 6th (5 days!!!) I have been extremely pressed for time. After MANY doctor appoitments, shots, MRI's and X-rays, medications, massages, PT appoitments, Stretching sessions and great advice from friends I can finally be proud of my decision to go to Kona. So, I'm a little worried that I haven't been able to run in the last 4 weeks and I am still in a bit of pain but I am getting better everyday. Aqua jogging has been great for keeping up my fitness for running and I am swimming and cycling extremely strong! Maybe I needed the rest to my body and although I didn't appreciate the 5 1/2 week running taper, I think I did my body a good thing by resting as much as possible and taking things slow with swimming and cycling. I did not plan for the extra expenses for all the medical stuff, but I feel very fortunante that I am able to participate in kona. So I may not have my ideal race but I am still able to live out my dream of racing in kona. If I would have written on my blog last week, I was 99% certain I would be passing up Kona and hoping for a slot at a 70.3 kona qualifier race in 2008. Although I wasn't always positive with my decision to pass up Kona, I was trying to get myself better as quick as possible without being stubborn to push through the pain to keep up my training fitness. I want to have a pain-free race in Kona (well-it is the Ironman so semi-pain free) but I know the run is going to be a challenge. Not too worried about my endurance but it will take a lot for me to get through this run with pain. My ultimate goal is to finish the race and although I wouldn't want to walk 26.2 miles, I understand that there is always a chance that I could hurt during the bike and not be able to run at all. I will be in no rush to finish the race and I really want to enjoy my experience. I have had great support from friends and family and I know I haven't been the best friend to a lot of people lately. I've had so much on my mind and this was a very tough decision. Although everything happens for a reason, this injury happened to unexpectedly that I didn't know how to accept the fact that I might not be able to race in Kona. Some people suggested that I pass on Kona and just heal for the 70.3 World Championships (Which I qualified for in May at 70.3 IMFL). But all this summer I considered myself an Ironman athlete. I was simply going to participate in Clearwater in hopes of being able to complete two World Championships in one year, with my A-race being Kona and to race the event in hawaii. After weeks of crying and being sad and trying to come to terms with not being able to experience Kona, I decided that although it felt like the end of the world for me, I was just so upset that I wasn't able to experience the Ironman World Championship. I forgot about all my racining time goals, all the time and money I put into this one event and I forgot about all the pressure I had put on myself to drop a tremendous amount of time. Now that I am waking up each morning a little less sore and finishing the day with minimal pain in my right upper leg, I feel incredibly lucky that I am able to participate in Kona. For finishing this race will be the ultimate dream for me and perhaps one day I will be able to compete in Kona. This time, however, I am blessed to be among the best and enjoy this experience to the fullest.