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Growing Pains

Note: This post has frustrated me considerably over the past 3 weeks, primarily because I cannot quite convey what I want to with the words that keep appearing on this sheet. I wonder if I was ever meant to post it. Yet if nothing else, it will serve as a reminder for me months or years down the road about how I felt leading up to a race with such uncertainty gnawing at my brain. 


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A lot has transpired since February: I've replaced my snow skis for my bicycle. I've "raced" the St. Paddy's Day 5-miler in March and Negative Split 10k earlier this month. Finally, the extra time I have devoted to training has actually encouraged me to do more research on how I should spend my time while not training. I have focused on revamping my diet and determining when and what to eat between workouts, how to also fit in recovery and rest, bolstering and growing my mental strength, and establishing a physical strength routine that will hopefully stave off injury in the future despite using it currently to rehab myself from it. In short, I'm learning some significant lessons about me and the body I occupy.

Avoiding my blog up until now has served as a way to admit the inevitable, the truth that, despite my injuries, days still turn into months, and one month yields to another. I've wanted to stop time. Yet sitting 2 weeks out (now just 6 days because of my tardiness in finishing this dang post) from Ironman St. George 70.3, I have no choice but to charge right into the race.

In hindsight, while I enjoyed the rigors and fitness benefits of skate skiing each weekend, my less than perfect form combined with my insatiable desire for more time on the snow might have contributed to, or exacerbated, a prior injury. Each time I think I have solved my riddle, I wonder about a different scenario. Regardless of how my symptoms present now, I have certainly developed a new appreciation for strength training. In my quest to resolve each issue, I find subtle satisfaction in the exercises I have used and designed to overcome what I once thought would prevent me from training for and racing St. George at all.

I reread the last paragraph and shake my head. Bryan has done the same for the past 3 months. What I'm trying to convey, however, is despite how much I've struggled with the process, I am learning better to embrace it. I'm confident I'm more educated about my weaknesses despite feeling behind the game of competition. In January, I convinced myself my pain evolved from weak glutes, much like piriformis symptoms have developed in the past. Moving into January and February, I wondered about low back and core strength. Finally, April has presented a new, but all too related, issue involving the "forgotten muscle group:" the adductors. Many days I wonder if I should feel so lucky to call myself a physical therapist given the significant tribulations personal injuries cause me. I've decided that even though taking three months to come to a relatively vague conclusion is far too long, perhaps my experience will better allow me to mentor others in the future.

One of the greatest outlets I've employed to balance training and rehabbing with rest (and sanity) is baking (and eating) sourdough bread. I no longer worry about gluten free carbohydrate, nor all the ridiculous ingredients that come with bread from the store. My quest to return to consuming the basics has helped me feel better while eating more nutritious, calorie dense food. You have no idea how liberating it feels returning to eating full fat dairy, sourdough bread, and introducing fermented foods to improve the microbiome in my gut. Perhaps another blog post will better convey this celebration of good food. For now, I'll never deprive myself of real, organic butter ever again!

A few good books I've read to improve my mental strength (in addition to seeking the support of family, friends, my coach, and my patient husband) are listed below. Consider some of these good reads that will inspire a different perspective for training, racing, and leading a balanced, fulfilling life in general:
  1. The Champion's Mind, by Jim Afremow
  2. The Champion's Comeback, also by Jim Afremow
  3. Elite Minds: How winners think differently, by Dr. Stan Beecham
  4. The Mindful Athlete, by Phil Jackson
  5. The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
So, instead of feeling disappointed with where I stand now because of prior, unmet expectations I had last year for St. George 70.3, I will enact the recommendations of several key mentors I've relied on in the past for motivation and perspective. I will race with gratitude for the opportunity to employ the lessons learned from this past winter. Because of sheer optimism alone, the chance to race excites me.

Final thought: Bread and butter, anyone?



Comments

  1. I always find you have a lot of self doubt but when it comes time to perform you do. Injuries are a part of the game its a fine balance between giving it your all but not so much that you get injured. I feel youll do fine in your race. Focus on what you can. Be positive and everything will fall into place as it did at Tri Cities. Find the Zen and go with the flow.
    By the way I read A Mindful Athlete and its a very good book. You might also want to read "How Badly do You Want It" by Matt Fitzgerald. Great book I highly recommend especially becore race day!

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