Wednesday, August 29, 2012
There's a light at the end of the tunnel
So its been awhile since I last blogged, sorry for that, but I've had a lot on my mind since I raced last on July 28th. I was ramping up for IMMT on Aug 19th and my last race before ironman was good, really good for me, I did an Olympic distance race in Lowell, it was a little shorter than a normal race but I did well placed second in my Age Group and my time of 2:12 wasn't shabby, and a PR. After that race it was 1 more week of build and then on to taperville.
Things were going well until about August 10th when I started to notice a small pain in the center of my left glute, I've had this discomfort before and it was related to my performis tightening up and pressing up against my sciatic nerve, it was uncomfortable but bearable, I knew all I had to do is go to my amazing massage person Darcy and get some deep tissue done to work it out. On Monday before ironman I had my appointment and was set to go. Come tuesday and wednesday things were going south, the pain in my performis was getting worse and my SI joint was killing me. I couldn't sit on my bike without getting some significant pain down my hamstring and trying to go aero hurt my left lower back ( i.e., SI joint). When I ran the same thing happened, not as bad as on the bike but enough for me to start panicking and worrying about how I was going to ride for 6hrs and then run a marathon.
Ok, so I've had a really good year and making some good progress in my 3 sports I was hoping to head into IMMT and PR my race. Whether or not that would be good enough for Kona probably not but all I really wanted to do is have a successful race from start to finish and to run the run. The past two iron mans I've done Ive done at IMLP, the first year I had a really bad bike crash at mile 60 and the road rash was so bad I felt my skin was burning the rest of the race, but I finished in 13:40 or something like that, I walked most of the marathon it was just awful. The following year I went back for some redemption and I think I overtrained a bit, I was mentally exhausted and I placed very high expectations of myself ( and very unrealistic expectations) that when I didn't meet them I was crushed when I crossed the finish line and I wasn't having any fun, it sucked, I felt I sucked it was just awful. I said goodbye to ironman for awhile and decided I needed to take a new direction in my training and find the love again.
The fun and love for my sport came back when I joined QT2 just before the fall of 2011. My coach Pat Wheeler put me in the right place, was tremendously supportive and having a team to be there and support you made a huge difference for me both physically and especially mentally. Every race I did starting in 2012 I began to see drastic changes in my times and success in my age group. I wasn't burnt out, I wasn't overtrained and most importantly I really started loving the sport again. Also, I wasn't injured.
So onto this year, life was good, training was going well and I knew if I could keep mentally strong, still enjoyed the process it was going to be a good race for me in Mont Tremblant. My swim is always consistent, my riding good and my running was coming along, my last few key workouts went exactly as planned so I was ready. Like I said, I don't think Kona qualification was going to happen I'm at least realistic but I'm working on the long haul, if not this year maybe next, its always a possibility but you have to get to the starting line for it to be at least in the cards.
So come Thursday I went to my primary care physician she took x-rays of my lumbar/sacral spine and SI joints, there was some inflammation and arthritis in my L4-L5, she gave me pain meds and muscle relaxants. She really didn't want me to race but said we crazy endurance athletes can endure more pain then most so she said she would leave the decision up to me. Well after discussing with Pat and sitting down with my husband we decided that I've trudged through two iron mans before and that certainly wasn't the goal this year. I can finish an ironman, i've done a few I wanted to really race an ironman this year and I was ready, unfortunately the body finally said you need a few weeks to heel. Well, the decision got made and we decided we wouldn't race.
I was sooooooo sad on Thursday when the decision was finally getting made but at the same time my life quickly got put into perspective when I found out my dear friend and my co-captain of our high school swim team Michael committed suicide that day. When my friend David told me the news I was devastated, crushed, confused, I didn't understand how he could do this. I was so sad for his 4 kids, so sad for his mom and dad and brothers and sisters, just so sad all around. We will never really know why Michael felt he needed to do this and why he would do it on his birthday but all in all it put my life quickly into perspective. I could always do another race, I was alive, my family was intact, I guess me missing this race really wasn't that bad after all.
So after making this decision we headed up to Vermont for a little vacation and some mental and physical healing, I was able to swim and do some small exercises. I did run a little and since not riding my bike the pain was going away. When we returned to Manchester Pat suggested I see Mike Roberts at Central Mass PT in West Boylston Mass. When I visited Mike he was quite surprised that I hadn't fallen apart sooner. I wish I could completely articulate all the things Mike said but in quick summary I:
1. My left hip doesn't externally rotate very well
2. My pelvis I believe is anteverted
3. I have a very squishy Left SI joint
4. I don't fire my left glute much at all especially when I'm trying to engage it in both running and biking
5. I fire both my hamstring and my SI joint before my glute which has made both of them extremely made at me and thus the situation I'm in now.
What to do:
1. Trigger point exercises/self massage to work on hip external rotators
2. foam roller to work on groin and inner thigh
3. pelvic stability, setbacks with roller and setbacks with external rotation
4. pelvic stability and core exercises with both clam shell exercises and working on extensions with my pelvic bones on pillows .
5. A.R.T. twice a week for a few weeks.- have them work on hips/hip flexors, psoas release, hamstrings
6. f/u with Mike in 2 weeks for level 2 exercises
So our initial plan to maybe try to do Arizona or possibly Florida in November was kaboshed since Pat and I wanted to really make sure we heal up and get stronger in the areas that need to be stronger. So we decided our plan of attack will most likely be if everything works well and my healing and physical therapy go as planned:
Continue to swim, build up my run volume again, work on Mike's exercises and strengthen my core and left side and plan to run the Plymouth, Mass marathon on Novembre 18th, 2012. We will then recover and then plan for 2013 with most likely going to QT2 camp in Arizona in April and racing Ironman Texas in May. I don't know if I can squeeze in a 1/2 ironman ( for ex: texas 70.3) again given to the two travel times if I do both so we'll have to really tweak this when my annual plan is made. I'll probably front load my 2013 season and then do some olympics in the summer and then rebuild to do Pumpkinman half in September and who know's maybe Kona in October.
Thanks to all my friends who supported me and family over the last few weeks and thanks to my coach Pat Wheeler and QT2 for making me better and encouraging me every step of the way. I'm looking forward to a great race in november and hoping to continue my progress and dreams of one day making it to the big Island in 2013.