September 28, 2018 was a new start for me. Well. Not really a new “start” per say but more a “do-over”. After my DNF at IM 70.3 LP on Sunday, September 9th due to a Spleen and Kidney injury I was allowed to start training again.
I have to say, there is not much I am afraid of. Legitimately. But this day, I was afraid. I have determined to this point that the bike has been and will continue to be My primary nemesis and now the pain it has caused me has made me afraid of it. AGAIN. Well, I’m afraid of the pain, not the bike. I love my bike. The pain, I don’t love that.
After much discussion and back and forth with Michael for both the positive and the negative sides of triathlon, the decision was made to start training again. Once I made the commitment, the fear set in.
I consider myself to have a super high pain threshold, especially after the break to the bones in my right leg in 2010. The pain I experienced with this most recent injury is the most intense, relentless pain I have ever experienced. Relentless. Every minute of every day, asleep or awake, I was reminded that my Spleen was angry. I had swelling on my side that was pronounced enough that you could see it under my white uniform shirt. I lovingly referred to it as my “Spleen Baby”. I was tired, sore, swollen, short of breath and generally crabby.
To my fellow EMS providers that had to put up with me for those two weeks, I’m sorry.
September 28th, I suited up, stretched and headed out with instructions from Michael. Start slow. 30 seconds on 30 seconds off, see if you can tolerate it and only do 20 minutes. So I did. One foot in front of the other. Right foot, Left foot. Right foot, Left foot. Right foot, Left foot.
Zero pain. Like a child on their first day of school, off I went. Within a minute all of my fear and anxiety began to dissipate and I smiled and continued on. I finished, came into the house mildly short of breath and Michael asked how I did. ZERO Pain!!
Then it sank in. Eventually, I would have to get back on the bike and ride outside. Well, SHIT.
On October 2nd, that is just what I did. I don’t know who was more leary, Michael or I. Well, I think Michael may have showed it more than I did. I hydrated, suited up, pumped up my tires and went through my gear to make sure I would have everything I needed. Then just like that, I clicked in and off I went. At about the first half mile, the fear started to take a back seat to being hyper vigilant to my surroundings (at work we call it Situational Awareness). My train of thought began to focus solely on the traffic, bumps in the road, animals and the smells of fall in the air.
At mile 5 I looked down saw how far I had gone and I smiled. It was glorious. The wind in my face and the quiet solitude of just me and my bike, My little green monster.
I’m not really sure at what mile exactly it happened, but it did. The fear completely went away. When I returned home after 15 miles, it was clear to see that it had left Michael also. It was like a breath of fresh air had entered our home.
So in the process of me attempting to finish my first half Ironman this past September, I learned a lot of new things and made a lot of new friends. There is one in particular who I am especially thankful for coming into my life. You know that one friend who comes into your life when you most need it, like a giant hug from the Universe saying: “Here, I made this just for you!”. Her name is Denise, she is Friends with Michael, they were training buddies for IMLP in July 2011, she had been following my progress all along and had a vested interest in my success.
Denise is an Ironman. She has completed 5 full Ironmen over the course of 8 years. Her resume also includes 15 marathons, two 50K’s, one 50 miler and a 212 mile bike in one day.
Denise is a legit BADASS. (if you ask her she uses the hashtag #usedtobeabadass.) Denise has become my go to girl and my biggest support system next to Michael. She is a Nurse, She is my Sherpa and I love her. Denise and I signed up to do a 70.3 together and train for it. Our choice? The newly acquired IM 70.3 VA on May 5th. The rooms are booked, the entry has been paid for and away we go! On a daily basis now we compare notes, training, equipment, diet but mostly, Denise shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences with me.
So, Denise and I have decided that we will set aside two days a week with our rotating schedules for our long runs/rides with one of the two being a rain date/alternate training date. We may or may not have Michael convinced to do one with us!
WE will keep you posted!!
Denise, Jaker, Ladybug and Myself will be participating in this years “2018 Stomp the Monster Almost 4 Miler” in Manasquan, NJ on Saturday, October 20th if you want to join! No timing chips, just a great group of people running for a great cause and post race hanging out at our local go to place, Leggetts!
Until next time, Stay Safe out there and BE GOOD TO EACH OTHER!! - T