Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Writing this is a big victory.  It means I have (temporarily) put down whatever crap I am stuffing my face with in attempts to drown out emotions.  Here's the deal- I haven't worked out since Saturday.  I've been too busy hosting my own pity party while simultaneously telling myself it isn't so bad.  Yes, I multitask.  The roller coaster of last week has continued and I'm disappointed in myself but have to admit I'm letting it run me over.  Where we left off is that I had a good ride on Saturday.  The problem came Sunday when my hip wasn't totally convinced that it was in fact a good ride on Saturday.  So apparently biking isn't totally pain free either.  Sunday through Tuesday found me in pain with just walking.  Bad sign.  But then today, walking seems fine, and I can run about 10 feet before I feel it.  Yes, 10 feet is a long cry from a marathon, but drastically better than pain with walking. 

Part of me was relieved to have significant pain.  It takes the guess work out of "can I run through it?"  Rather than feeling lazy and unmotivated to work out, resting is the undoubtedly smart thing to do.  It also makes DNS's easier to swallow.  Last weekend was the Galena Sprint, another race I am a DNS for.  There have been races in the past that I've skipped and always questioned my decision, but skipping this one was a no brainer.  Unfortunately, while my body is definitely screaming "DO NOT RUN!", I am just hearing magical voices telling me not to swim or bike (or at least try and see how they feel). 

Part of the problem is that motivation has been a struggle for me for the past year or more.  I read stories of people who are injured and use it as an opportunity to swim six times a week.  And then there is me who was getting ready to go to swim class Monday night and just couldn't muster up the motivation.  All or nothing personality strikes back- if I can't do everything, why do something?  Training is a habit, and unfortunately, not training is just as addictive. 

What is killing me is the uncertainty.  What is wrong with me?  How long will I be out?  What should I be doing right now?  Every single event on my summer calendar except for my best friend's wedding is triathlon related.  In other words, this is what I've planned my life around and have no idea when I can get back to it.  I think I would rather know that I have a lengthy six month recovery period and that none of my races will happen then the "I can't run right now, maybe next week, maybe next month, it's all in the air."

I know I am definitely jumping to the worst case scenario when thinking of the possibility of ankylosing spondylitis, but it has been scary to see how folks react when I tell them my doctor is evaluating me for it.  There was my mom crying on the phone, and treating me like a fragile patient since then.  People I mentioned it to at work tread lightly around me.  I got up the courage to tell my boss I won't be able to run Ragnar and you would think I told her I have cancer and 6 weeks to live based on how she treated me today.  I really am thankful I have this support, but really, nothing has changed.  I am just back to the same pain I was having, now with added frustration and a possible diagnosis.  That sentiment is of course the logical me talking.  The emotional me is absorbing the pity and terrified it is for a good reason. 

My big fear is that this MRI is going to show something that will significantly change my lifestyle, i.e. strip my calendar of all those events for this year and possibly longer.  I'm in a weird place with life in general right now- friends are graduating, getting jobs, getting married, popping out babies.  And I'm not.  And 95% of the time, I'm ok with that.  I have triathlon to fill my time.  I have those events on my calendar and that gives me focus.  I'm scared of what my life will be without them. 

In total contrast, part of me sees the possibility of a "medically necessary" break as a relief.  Maybe a break is what I need based on that lacking motivation I've had.  I find myself questioning if I really enjoy this sometimes.  I keep coming back to yes, and that I am just in a funk right now.  I still love watching youtube videos of races, choosing new races to add to my schedule, reading forums, etc.  I really do enjoy (possibly not the right word...) the majority of my workouts once I get myself out the door.  I still dream big of what I could accomplish some day.  I still am so proud of what I have done through this sport and what I know I can do.  This past year and a half has been one of the most challenging, and I am still learning how to be myself.  In other words, I'm trying to recognize the struggles I've had with motivation as a byproduct of other crap, and realize that I need to set better boundaries and gain control in my life to return to the joy I have had in the past with this awesome sport. I also know that regardless of other circumstances in life, motivation isn't a guaranteed constant. 

“I often lose motivation, but it’s something I accept as normal.” -Bill Rodgers

So I need a plan to get back on track (again).  I have a beautiful bike less than two weeks old, and a drawer full of gu's I ordered in bulk.  I don't want to waste either one.  I also have probably another 3 lbs I have packed on thanks to that emotional eating beast.  Seems like this is all saying it is time to get back to work.  I have had my little break and my pity party.  I need to remind myself that I need to use my body however I can for as long as I can.  IBD has challenged that before, and now this setback is making me appreciate my body again.  One of my favorite quotes-   "There will come a day you won't be able to do this; today is not that day."

Thanks to the awesome folks at Rev3, I still have a goal.  Rev3 Wisconsin Dells has a aquathon division, a half-ironman sans the run.  Perfect for the injured!  I emailed them to ask if I can switch into it, expecting it to be a hassle.  Well, Rev3 is standing out above WTC in terms of customer service!  I got a nice email back saying no problem, and they'll even let me switch back to the full tri if my hip heals up, up to the day before!  I have exactly one month to get my swim and bike in gear to dominate this aquathon!  And what better way than with a holiday weekend?  Let's look on the bright side- 4 days off equals a very well rested Rachel.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Unfortunately, it is one hell of a busy day, but I vow to at least swim.  Baby steps.  And then I'm giving myself a challenge.  We'll call it Rachel's Memorial Day Get Your Butt in Gear Challenge.  Friday-Monday, 200 miles on the bike.  I'm not sure I've ever hit that sort of cycling mileage in four days, but why not (well if the hip hurts, that is a good reason not to, but I'm being positive for the moment).  I'm also setting a swim goal of 10,000 yds for those 4 days.  Am I getting too crazy if I say yoga and core in there?  And good eating.  And good sleeping.  Or maybe, I'll just try to do my best, and let that be enough. 

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