January 19, 2008
Snow in Atlanta?
Recently my dear friend, Liz (I've affectionately nicknamed 'Lizard'), blew through Atlanta from DC to defend her dissertation. I was able to spend a couple days with her staying at my house; it was wonderful to have her around. I think she will now have to answer to the moniker, 'Dr Lizard'. :)
This week was crazy in Atlanta... "winter storm" for us. Flurries that accumulated maybe an inch but people went nutzo with snowball fights, sledding down any incline they could find, and stocking up on canned goods as if we were headed for a bomb shelter. Southerners! :)
Seeing Dr Mautner this week was great. I have a couple degenerative discs, one of which he said was bulging. He didn't seem convinced this was the entire root of the problem, but does think this is a portion. He put me on Celebrex for a week to reduce the massive inflammation and referred me to his colleague, Brian Yee, a PT who specializes in core and spinal physical therapy. This seems to be phase one of intervention. In a week we assess what is next based on initial reactions.
This week I also discovered something I am embarrassed to acknowledge happened. I should have known better. ? My measurements were taken and we determined, without any error, that I have been riding a bike not right for the size of my body (inseam, leg length, torso, etc.). Thanks to Tony for confirming the measurements, and confirming I have been riding something very wrong for me. JZ told me to check measurements; she was concerned I had been fit to the bike, not vice versa. Once again, she was right.
Add my weak glutes, tight hamstrings and intense muscle imbalances to the picture and
pieces are finally coming together. It doesn't change anything, but it helps direct my course towards fixing it.
JZ sternly advised, "You do NOT get on that bike again. Not even for a second." Her tough, no-nonsense advice I really respond to. No gray area. I like precision and clarity.
I have not been given the green light to ride. That is still out for perhaps another month. But I am allowed to run and am up to 4x week of 45:00. I also swam almost 10k this week. Things are not pain free, but they are better. So that is great.
But I can't say I am chomping at the bit to get back to training. I can't explain the lack of enthusiasm to return that I am feeling. Physically I want to be well, certainly, but triathlon? I think I'm scared to go through such efforts to get whole again, bust my ass, return to the isolated lifestyle, only to get hurt, not necessarily physically, in the end. Usually our fears are bred from some related experience. We become afraid to put our hand on a stove because we have felt the burning pain associated with it. Since I know what I will be walking back into, I am (perhaps?) apprehensive to get back to it. This suggestion was questioned by my sports psychologist and I've spent serious time contemplating his theory. I don't think reluctance to return makes me crazy - frankly, I think it indicates I am sane.
The other day at swimming I shared a lane with Alex Lonnergan. She's an incredibly nice person, and VERY talented. She won the overall amateur title at St Croix 70.3, beating most of the pros in the process. I asked what her plans were for the season and she answered quite casually, "Oh, I retired." I was stunned. I asked if she was ok and she said, "Yeah, triathlon just took over my life too much. I'm having fun now." I told her how sad I was to hear that because she was so talented, but how smart I thought she was. I meant it, too, and thought about her for most of the day.
But, the dichotomy - I do love triathlon, or I love what it has done for me. It has allowed me glimpses into the kind of person I was capable of becoming and has taught me a work ethic and a toughness I rely upon almost exclusively. Triathlon has forced me to deal head-on with my inadequacies and terrors with no room for tolerance or evasion. Though it has been a long process, I have learned to honor myself for what little I have accomplished in a sport where I am overmatched and out of my league. I never have once approached greatness, but as I steer towards the end of my career, I am still in the race. That's pretty cool.
I will continue to put deep thought into this decision, as I do all others. In the interim, simply getting healthy is my main objective.