Plan E

Life is full of twists and turns, it rarely goes as planned.  Being able to adjust accordingly can make all the difference and I’m struggling with that a little right now as it certainly hasn’t gone according to plan lately:

Plan A (as of October ’13): Use the off season to work on running, again.  The major goals for the ’14 tri season are A)  to place in top 16 at Nationals so I can qualify for the World Triathlon Championships, which will be held in Chicago the summer of ’15   B) To place in the top 10 at the World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton on Sept 1st.

Plan B (as of January 1st): So I throw out my back shoveling just a couple inches of snow on New Years Eve. The prior goals remain the same, but I take a month off cycling as sitting on the saddle is painful.  Of course it doesn’t hurt to swim or run so I continue on with those. Onward and upward.

Plan C (as of mid March):  I’ve been cycling since Feb 1st as of Plan B and my running and swimming are going splendidly! I’m laser focused, am nearly at race weight already, and am feeling better than ever!  So I take off on a run mid-March and within the first few steps, I feel some major pain in my right knee.  I figure it’s a weird twinge and try to walk it off.  That lasts a whole 2 minutes as that’s painful too.  I still feel it the next day so I take a trip to the doc and he diagnoses me with tendinitis on a few spots around my knee.  Ok, no Shamrock Shuffle.  😦  Time to take a few weeks off of running, get weekly massage, ice often, and take some Prednisone.  I keep riding and swimming as usual, I’ll be just fine.

Plan D (as mid April): Knee pain continues.  A few short runs and all feels good,  but the pain afterwards isn’t fun.  Ok, time for an x-ray to just ensure nothing was missed.  My quads, psosas, hips, and hammies are so tight that they cause my patellas to track incorrectly, which contributes to my knee pain.  (At this point, I feel it in my left knee sporadically too).  Unfortunately, massage hasn’t been loosening my muscles much up to this point, at least not for more than a day at a time, even when I take a few days off of cycling and swimming.  Now I’m not biking much at all, usually 1-2x week and at low intensities.  No kicking and no flips turns in the pool for a while to ensure that isn’t irritating anything either. I’m still hopeful I have a shot at my big season goals, but in the back of my mind I begin to worry about my making it through the Ragnar Madison to Chicago relay run and the Chicago ITU race.  So I get an MRI and it’s not pretty.  It’s nothing major, just inflammation, signs of damage from a former ACL sprain, (I have no idea when I did that), and other minor wear and tear.  Whew!  Mid season races are a no-go at this time, but Nats and Worlds look feasible.

Plan E (as of May 30th):  A few more weeks go by with no improvement so I have a comprehensive check up from a new doctor.  He  checks everything; knees, hamstrings quads, psosas, hips, glutes, back, neck, and balance. (I failed the back and balance tests)!  After 60 minutes of talking about my history and another 60 doing tests, he confirms my worst fears; I can’t race at all this summer. Nope, not even Nationals and Worlds.  There are just too many things going on in my body which can’t get rectified and get me training soon enough.  (And no, it’s not due to age so please don’t even insinuate that).  With this news,  I had a MASSIVE pity party this weekend.  I was an emotional wreck as this not only affects this season, but next (that is if I had qualified for Worlds for ’15 as Nationals is the only qualifying race for that event).  I would have loved nothing more than to represent my country while racing in my backyard, but I guess it’s just not meant to be. I know, I know, it’s just one season, but to me, it’s way more than that.  I’ve been an athlete my entire life and have been racing most of it.  It’s not just a hobby to me, it’s a huge passion and a way of life. I love training and racing. And, even with my highly tumultuous relationship with running, I miss it and the feelings I had after finishing each run.

So what does this all mean for now?  Well, shopping was on the docket yesterday as I’m at my highest weight in a few years. I know I’m not fat, but even Sarah and Court have noticed the extra pounds as Court patted my tummy last week and asked if I was pregnant.  Lovely!  😉  Much more importantly, I’m going to try to take the girls on a trip to Naples to visit my parents, spend more time with friends and family, and I have a feeling my rehab will take up a decent amount of time too. With that, I plan on being razor sharp and ready for next season!


7 Replies to “Plan E”

  1. Hang in there!!!! We need to catch up. I was glad I didn’t see any comment on a old college injury given to you by your date!!! Tell Scott I said Hi. I finally took care of my knees a year ago. Double knee surgery same time. Not fun, but back in the water and loving it. It’s been to long.


  2. Oh, my sweet Mary-Berry, this must be very hard for you… :-/. As the non-athlete in the family, of course, there’s a limit to how closely I am able to identify, but my empathic powers are still sensitive enough to allow me to tell you I feel the pain:-/.

    If you are able to stay vigilant re your recovery, I promise to be there, at least in spirit, to cheer you again at the starting gate!

    Here are lots of hugs coming your way,
    Sudido :-/

  3. That sucks! Trust me I know…I had tendinitis in my knee before my back issue. It is painful. I have a couple people I found that have helped me tremendously…I would be glad to give you their contacts. Let me know if you want them.

  4. Wow Mary, not sure what to say about that except to give you a hug next time I see you. It’s heart wrenching to see the reachable goals you have put on hold for body issues, considering the huge passion and talent you have. No doubt your inner strength, family & friends will get you back to the race course. I think your smart for taking some time for you with the girls.

    Here if you need anything…

  5. Mary —

    I almost started crying when I read your story — it’s all the same emotions I have after being an athlete for 55 years and struggling with my health. I keep wondering if my competitiveness contributed to my problems. My last checkup showed I was still in AFIB again so my doctor and I decided to try meds to control it instead of another surgery. So I’ve going through some therapy and monitoring. I’m sort of taking it easy until August when I get rechecked. It is so, so frustrating. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck — if I ever get to the point I can train again, you’ll be the first person I call. Also, know you don’t have to have a pity party by yourself — we can have a group one!

  6. Tough news Mary! Ugh…I was not happy to read about this second dr’s visit outcome. You are an amazing athlete and nothing can take you away from your accomplishments. You are an inspiration to so many (including me!). I know you’ll come back stronger- physically & mentally- ready to kick some arse next year. I’m hear for you – when ever you need to talk. Positive thoughts surging your way 🙂

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