So, today I left my local Starbucks and headed North toward my Medic shift at JSUMC. I was sipping my green tea and had a warm feeling on my right cheek. It was the rising sun, My promise of a new day. Even after 20 years on the Medic truck, the anticipation for what is awaiting for me between the punches still gets in my head. I am still kind of groggy, this is the third 12 hour shift in a row. I haven’t really slept in a few days as much as I should have and today, I feel it. I’m distracted with my own thoughts (so many of them) specifically, the bike course of IM 70.3. I’m still gun shy from my fall. I have been working on my hill climbs and getting comfortable being out of the saddle and pushing my non cooperative legs.
Suddenly, my attention is immediately drawn to what is coming over the radio from my iTunes. “Titanium” I am a firm believer that when we need it the most, signs are thrown at us from the universe but most are too distracted by life to pay attention. This time, however I was locked the hell on with all of my senses and I hear this specific phrase:
“I'm bulletproof nothing to lose Fire away, fire away. Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away. You shoot me down but I won't fall, I am titanium. You shoot me down but I won't fall I am…”
Titanium. Yes, I have it. It’s a constant reminder of an injury that has prevented me from being the athlete I always wanted to be. That’s always been how I processed that song, reminding me of my own personal titanium. Then I realized, wait. That’s not the song’s message. This song is not so much about titanium, but about taking whatever life has to throw at you and not letting it take you down. It’s about always getting back up. It’s about perception versus reality. That’s it. Universe, I got your message loud and clear and thank you for the reminder.
Last week, I started the “taper” process portion of my training. It’s that part you look forward to as you know the super long hours of training start to wean down, theoretically giving you some more time with family and friends. The downfall of the “taper” process is loving referred to as the “taper blues” and apparently, I have a raging case of it. It’s hard to describe honestly. The easiest way is maybe to say it’s like the week before summer is over. You know the days are getting shorter and you have to go back to school and you grumble in anticipation. I have come to rely on my pre medic shift exercise induced endorphin rush and I miss it terribly. I’m legit a crab and ball of stress.
Last week, I went through all of my pre race “to do” list. Bike check up, pharmacy refills, supplement refills, things that are lost and or missing. WHERE THE HELL DO ALL MY WATER BOTTLES GO?!?!?! Ugh, Jaker and Ladybug that's where.
Most importantly, I went to the Podiatrist to make sure my feet are in good health. I make it a point to take exceptionally good care of my feet since I broke my leg. I go every three months for evaluations and injections. At some point over the last few years, I developed “Tarsal Tunnel” syndrome. If you haven’t heard of it, I’m not surprised, I had never heard of it either but let me tell you. That shit hurts. Years of not running in the right shoes, hyper-pronating, not using orthotics and a totally different method of running post fracture lead to this. When you add to that annoying thing called AutoImmune Disease where everything is swollen and hurts and it makes for a miserable way to be.
This week, I went to see Dr. Greg Clark from Jersey Shore Podiatrist Associates in Sea Girt. He assesses my feet, states I’m doing a great job keeping my toes in line (I started to develop a bunion on my left foot in January. GO GENETICS) and it looks like I caught them in time. He reviews what therapy I am doing on my feet and suggest some new ones. He pushes my instep and on the medial part of my ankle and I quickly retract in pain. “Ok, it’s time for more injections. When is your race?” “The 9th. Oh My God, I just said that out loud. It’s coming!” Ladybug giggles. Dr. Clark says its perfect timing and sets me up. Then the manipulation and injecting a tuberculin syringe into the sheath of the nerves that are trapped and causing me to lose feeling in my feet. This is miserable. I shudder. He says, “after everything your feet have been through, this is nothing” He is 1000 percent correct. He puts on my lovely little latex free bandaids, wishes me luck and sends me on my way. “Good LUCK! We are all rooting for you, we will see you when you get back!” Yes. YES YOU WILL.
I am TITANIUM. Literally and figuratively.
So after a minor pity party this morning during shift change, I got my shit together. I got a pep talk from Anna and Michelle my Medic Sherpa’s and started my day. I have a 12 hour Medic shift and two wake ups before I leave and holy shit it's coming fast!!
I AM READY. I WILL TRUST MY TRAINING. I am, after all: TITANIUM.
For those interested in following the incredible triathletes I will be sharing time with on Sunday, September 9th you can track each one of us through the Ironman Tracker app or on www.ironman.com