Monday, August 13, 2012

PATIENCE

Where on earth have I been? Short answer: (a) trying to figure out the nagging foot injury that's been plaguing me for over a year; and (b) embracing an exciting change in my life.

While watching the Olympic marathon (where 2 of our US hopefuls had to pull the plug on their London dreams) I was reminded that as a professional athlete one of THE hardest things to deal with is injury. Our heart and mind holds a deep desire to push the limits, while our body sometimes cries "please stop!"
Yes, life has been crazy busy (see below) but I am perfectly able to admit that my absence from triathlon's social media scene has largely been my inability to accept that I had to take a break. Inevitably every race last year led to an intense burning pain in my forefoot. I remember running down the course in CoeurD'Alene complaining that my feet were cramping, throbbing, burning, etc. I still pulled out the 2nd fastest run split and a solid finish- so off I was in search of my next race/challenge. This experience repeated itself over and over...and over! After each race I faced the internal battle of "how fast could I go if I wasn't running through this kind of pain?"
Early this year the pain started to creep it's way into my training. Ultimately, my frustration reached an all time high and I knew I couldn't keep pushing things as I was. I've consulted with several professionals whom I trust 900%, and finally (after over a year of pain) decided to try cortisone shots. This has always been a last resort and an option left as a drastic ditch effort. The thought was: decrease the inflammation and then begin physical therapy and intense a.r.t. treatment to get mobility into the area. 2 weeks after the shots I was off for Mont Tremblant.
The race ended with my first ever IM70.3 DNF. The cortisone shots had a reverse effect. My pain threshold has been tested many times over my athletic career, and although I've learned never to "compare" injuries or pain this was completely intolerable! After 30miles of biking my feet were on fire. I kept trying to move my feet around in my shoes but nothing relieved the discomfort. Once I hit the run the discomfort turned to pain, and by mile 7 I could no longer stand. Not finish a 70.3?!?! It had to be B.A.D! I literally had to sit there until someone came to take me back to medical- not ok!
- I must digress for a second, and give proper attention where it's due - Mont Tremblant was THE BEST 70.3 course I've done!  90% closed bike course, rolling beautiful country side, huge crowds lining the entire course, newly paved smooth 'n fast roads, and a killer run on a packed dirt trail. Swim, bike AND run were all one loop (a rarity now!). The city and community are fully on board and excited to make their city a triathlon destination. Thinking about racing there? Two words: DO IT! This finish line awaits you:
I returned home completely baffled and frustrated. I couldn't bike more than 30mins or run more than 10 minutes without debilitating pain. Not exactly the result you want from cortisone. Patience? I was trying with all my might, but by this point I had none! Thing is, I didn't have a choice now...I could no longer push through the pain.
With no choice but to back off it was time to keep digging for the cause AND (another) solution.  I sought further opinions and increased my efforts to pray the pain away. After reaching out to several trusted medical guru's I found my solution. I am happy to report that together they solved the problem and I'm back up and running. I wasn't after a short term "get me through" solution. This problem has been impeding my abilities for too long and I needed to address it. I have a lot of re-building to do but my runners high and smile have returned. It took drastic measures to get me to pull in the reigns but I wonder if I would have ever reached my true potential had things not gotten that bad. Thank you is not enough for those that have helped me step back, find patience, and address this problem!!! The smile I hope to show at my next race is dedicated to each and every one of you. 
I spent the last week in July jump starting my return to racing with a killer training block at altitude in beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Still with me?
Now, onto my next "excuse" for not keeping you in tune with my current happenings - this one's a BIGGIE.  I recently accepted a new job in the San Francisco bay area! This meant leaving the place I've called home for almost 10years, saying goodbye to some very close friends, and taking on the challenge of starting over.  San Diego is not an easy place to walk away from, but the right opportunity came along and made the decision much easier. Embracing change isn't easy for me, but I felt deep in my heart this was the right move. I've been interested in living in the bay area since I first moved to California, and Sunny San Diego remains a short flight away:
Those who know me personally know that it's never been my desire to race full time. I believe 100% that pursuing my career goals while racing is ideal for me. Athletics has always been a PART of my life, not my entire life. I believe wholeheartedly that this career balance is what I need in order to reach my potential in the sport and beyond.
My brother lives in San Francisco and the move means being closer to him. Sibling rivalry is alive and well! Chris and his AIMP athletes have embraced me into their community and made the move quite a bit easier. Tour guides galore!!!
                                         My brother and I enjoying the views of Mt. Tam
Every training day is a new adventure. After a week training camp in Lake Tahoe I'm settling into my new home in Walnut Creek and enjoying my new playground:

The mountain roads and running trails outside my door will undoubtedly be my go to source for  entertainment and sanity. The 2012 season is far from over, and I will be back racing again in September.
I've moved away from the law firm life (who doesn't love billable hours?!?!?) and am now working for a software company. My years as a litigation attorney taught me so much, but for now there isn't even a small part of me that misses those court room walls, arguing over discovery, or preparing for trial.  I'm ready to take that desire to WIN elsewhere...
I never could have scripted this year as it's unfolded, but now that it's all coming into view I foresee some amazing things on the horizon. My fitness won't return over night, but I'm excited to have a few races to look forward to while keep my goals and focus centered around a strong AND healthy 2013!

3 comments:

idropboys said...

it's been way to long....glad to read the update- I wondered what happened, where you had gone. I was sorry to miss your going away party but Dad was turning 80 and we had a party of our own- give me a shout sometime in San Diego. Cheers and hope you recover and kick ass soon

jameson said...

Good Luck! It looks like you picked a killer place to call "home".

Craig said...

What did you wind up doing for your foot? The burning feeling just started this year for me and no one can seem to give me a good answer or remedy for fixing, releiving the problem.
Can't wait to follow your next race!