Injury Wins! I Surrender…

This weekend in 140 characters or less: Skipped Century and Pulled out of Ironman Los Cabos – Despair Anger Depressed Realization Acceptance Depressed Again #FeelingLikeAFailure


The Slightly Longer Version….

Yep, I have decided to back out of Cabo. It was a very difficult decision but one I think I have subconsciously been thinking about for several weeks. I have come so far in my training (lots of money spent as well) but reality is I have been fighting an injury for 7 weeks (see my post, “Listening to Your Body” for the full cautionary tale). The hip and lower back pain have been bad enough that they keep me up at night….every night! Pushing through the pain to do the training was making the injury progressively worse. With only 9 more weeks to go, it was time to pull the plug.

With the decision comes a lot of mixed emotions. I wanted more than just to cross the finish line. I am hoping by writing this post about my decision, about how I am feeling and about the thoughts that passed through my mind leading up to the decision I could impose some order on my jumbled thoughts. Here is the best I could do.

Despair – When I reached out to my support crew on Friday; my triathlon coach, chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, strength coach, physical therapist, triathlon colleagues, sports medicine doctor, and primary doctor there was no one that could save the day and help relieve the pain. Why won’t my body just get it together? There was nothing I could do and no one that could help me (my support crew has done everything in their power to keep me functioning). Realization that I was helpless.

Anger – This weekend’s century ride was an important milestone. I knew last weekend I wasn’t going to be able to push through the total distance but I never expected that I wasn’t going to be able to ride at all. The realization was crushing. (insert explicit screams here).

Depressed – I have put so much time and effort into this training. I had inconvenienced my family and friends for this training. I feel like a complete failure. Commitment leads to results. That is what I have been taught. That is what I believe. I made the commitment and put in the work and was dedicated.  My coach would tell you I am one of the most dedicated athletes she has had.  You give me the plan.  I am going to do the plan to the fullest…and I am going to love every moment of it. Training has been #1  and I worked everything around my training schedule.  Even with the commitment and dedication there was something missing, a weak link, and it feels like that weak link was me.

Realization – I have been fighting this injury for 7 weeks and every day I push through the training the worse the injury gets. I only have 9 more weeks to go and have only completed 40% of my plan due to the injury. Do I really want to start the race dragging my right leg behind me? What would that look like at the end of the race? Would I damage something beyond repair? My primary goal (which I wrote down from the very beginning) was to get to the start line strong, healthy and ready to race. My current state is nowhere near that goal.

Acceptance – There are other races. I would rather start a race healthy, healed and strong rather than drag my injured self across the finish line…after all my dream is to podium. That’s not going to happen with this injury and if I continue to damage what hasn’t been allowed to heal, I might make sure that it never happens. I was not willing to possibly sacrifice my dream for the sake of this one race.

Depressed Again – Hey, I’m only human. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between acceptance and depression the past several days. Give it some time.

The Big Scary Ferocious Truth

With my last race report I included a quote that “Sometimes the words we leave unspoken are the most important ones that should have been said”. This was probably less prophetic and more psychoanalysis. There was certainly something I wasn’t saying and something about the quote certainly touched a nerve. I was trying to dig past the rational me (thanks Sigmund) and get to something that was even more terrifying than 100 miles of the fiery flames of hell licking up my thigh (describing what would have been my century ride).

The scary truth is, this could be it. No more triathlons…ever. My family and friends know how much I love triathlon.  It is a sport I plan to do for a very long time… like forever ever. (After all it is the only tattoo on my body) The thought of having an irreversible injury that would pull me out of triathlon for good is unimaginable.

So there it is. The deep darkness of my worst fear. Now that it is out in the open for all to see I can tell you that I don’t go down without a fight. In fact I think it’s safe to say that I usually come back swinging even harder.

Hopefully; hopefully I’ve learned something. I am taking a deep breath and fighting against every instinct I have to do it differently next time and take my recovery one step at a time.

If you are dealing with injury, what is the hardest part? Being a grouch all day? Feeling guilty about eating so much and not training? Feeling like a sloth? Leave a comment below and share your biggest fear.

6 thoughts on “Injury Wins! I Surrender…

  1. 😦 I feel for you.

    I’m not dealing with injury right now, but my husband is and I’m gutted for him.

    He went for a nice easy bike ride the weekend before Ironman Dublin 70.3, which was to be his A race this year. unfortunately, he had to swerve to avoid a pothole and ended up crashing and tearing his calf muscle. This meant he had to withdraw from Dublin and is not allowed to run for 6 weeks. He also can’t swim for several more weeks. We’ve been anticipating a 17.5km swim event since Christmas and now he’s not sure he’ll be able to do that and a 5 day 500 mile bike ride is also in doubt. I’m amazed at how well he is taking it, but he has a very philosophical approach to life and keeps telling me there will be other opportunities. I wish I could be as laid back about it as him.

    Good luck and wishing you a speedy recovery.

    • Thanks! I know what I need to do to recover and then get back at it. Through this journey I have found that I have many imbalances and certain muscles just aren’t firing the way they should be. I am using this as an opportunity and I know I will come out stronger because of it.

  2. Aw, friend. I’m so sorry. I really hope that this isn’t the end of the tri road for you. I’ll keep you in my happy thoughts, for sure.

    I mysteriously get motivated when I’m injured. I train hard in different ways, determined to keep up my fitness.

    • No way is it the end of triathlons for me. The primary driver for pulling out was to preserve future training and races. My training will now be rehab and fix imbalances. I am allowing myself to cry and scream but I’m still mentally determined to come out of this stronger than I ever was.

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