Ups and Downs, and Changes in Plans

I’ve been putting this post off for a while, but I guess it’s time to get it all out.

After my DNF/DNS at the Philadelphia Triathlon, I kept training focus.  I did have a small nagging pain in my left hip/pelvis that tended to flare up in the first 10 minutes of running.  I decided that this was nothing to worry about, and that I could push through it.

The discomfort would normally lessen as I ran.  Whether it was my ability to compartmentalize the discomfort and force it into the back of my mind (a desirable for any endurance athlete), or perhaps a modification to my gait and stride I do not know.  What I do know is that eventually the discomfort followed me into the pool, and began showing up at off places (rolling out of bed, stepping out of my car, climbing steps, etc).

After taking a morning run out in San Francisco (business trip) with this discomfort, I thought that this was crazy.  I decided to shut down running and focus strictly on recovery, and thought that this thing would vanish given the proper amount of rest.  Coincidentally I sustained another injury on the flight back from San Fran, as I apparently pinched my ulnar nerve (most likely in my elbow) due to the way I fell asleep in the grossly undersized coach seat on the red-eye.

I gave it a few weeks of zero running and biking, and decided just to swim it out.  It wasn’t until very recently that I noticed a trend in my Garmin data – I was slowing down big time in the pool, and feeling like I was getting a lot less speed for a lot more effort.  I’m taking this to be my compromised core (turns out it was a strain in my left iliopsoas group and adductor group – lots of little, overstretched muscles) was diminishing my kick, rotation, and leg position in the water.  Mind you I do not have proof of this, but I know my 100yd averages increased the wrong way by 20 seconds.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been shut down – zero activity.  As a result I missed the NJ State Triathlon and therefore was not able to qualify for USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee.  I’m bummed but it’s not the end of the world.  What’s a little more upsetting is that this setback has pretty much eliminated my 70.3 in September.  I just don’t think losing 6-8 weeks of bike and run and 4 weeks of pool time is going to let that happen.

But, on a positive note – therapy is going well, and I’ve been pain-free for the last several days on all functional movements.  On Monday we begin the stretching and strengthening part of the program.  I’m still a few weeks away from anything resembling training (at least in my way of thinking), but small steps in the right direction will lower the risk of a setback.

Now for the exciting part – my new massive goal is actually a 2014 task.  My wife and I are flying to Tempe Arizona this November to volunteer for Ironman Arizona, so that I can register for the 2014 race!  I know it’s completely bat-shit crazy ambitious to register for an Ironman without having successfully completed a Half Iron distance (70.3), let alone an Olympic or International distance race.  Truthfully I was amply prepared for the Olympic distance for the two races I missed this summer, and I’m confident that I would have arrived on the starting line in September ready to not just survive a 70.3 but to tackle the challenge.  I know with good rehab, a solid functional movement screening and strength and conditioning program, and actual organized coaching for 2014, I’ll be ready.  

More on that shortly.  Otherwise, I’m off to fetch my compression shorts and ice to rest and recover!