And a lot has happened. The short version: I endured and successfully completed a pre-training camp build through the month of therapy. This build had me thinking and feeling like I was in - or getting in - great shape. I was running splits I had not run in over 5 years. Although, by the end, I was really struggling mentally with training alone and almost always inside for a few hours a day, I was proud of the work I had put in and looking forward to training with PEOPLE and in a state I've never been to, with all sorts of terrain to challenge me/us.
And it did! Tucson training camp was ... challenging. I swam in an outdoor pool in 40 degree air temps (and rain).
I biked up a mountain that ascended about 6000 ft in elevation, then rode 30 miles home, I ran 1k repeats with the Elite National Champion and ITU pro racer, Jasmine Oenick -hung in for 5 at a crazy fast pace that she made look like a breeze. And swam more, and biked more, and ran more. And more, and more, and everyday - and always in HILLS. Apparently, there is no such thing as "flat terrain" in Arizona. Mountains are everywhere. If you're not going up, you are coming down.
Physically the camp was a challenge, but I was happy with my efforts. I knew I had put everything I had into each work out. I also found out that "what I had" was good - but not on the same level as the pros. At first this realization depressed me somewhat --- but then I realized how lucky I actually was - to be here (there), in Tucson Arizona, training with people with years of experience and tons of advice, guidance and support to offer.
Oh, did I forget to mention that one of the two coaches running our camp was the (only) US Olympic medalist in the sport of triathlon, Susan Williams. Not to discredit MY coach - the other coach leading the camp, Bob Seebohar - MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, USA Triathlon Elite Triathlon Coach, 2008 Olympic Sport Dietitian, 2008 Olympic Triathlon Team Sport Dietitian, Strength and Conditioning Coach. And, as I learned quickly during our trip - nationally coveted speaker.
Yet I survived, and took everything I could from the energy, enthusiasm, instruction, correction, guidance, advice, support...etc. I could.
But then I took it too far.
My achilles tendon on my left leg started bothering me about the 3rd day into camp. I iced and ignored it as much as I could, trying to avoid missing any workouts. I continued. Endured pain. And was proud at the time.
LESSON LEARNED, amateur.
It was truly an amateur mistake. I spoke to many of my fellow campers and pros, since. I should have stopped. I should have been pro-active, especially in the pre-season.
I didn't, so now I suffer. Physically, yes. But mentally, much more.
I apparently have a severe case of achilles tendonitis at the insertion (where the tendon meets the heal). I know it is not torn, because I can walk, but I cannot put a shoe on a run. Anyone who knows me, knows that if you take away my ability to run, my confidence and - thus (which shouldn't coincide) - my enthusiasm toward my 2010 goals are .... a struggle. I am TRYING to see the positives - I am able to work/focus on the two weakest parts of my race -swim and bike.
But, every competitive athlete knows, you need those uppers/accomplishments to make the "hard" parts worth fighting for.
So now I am working on the "hard parts" (swim and bike) and trying to block out the thoughts that I might be losing any of my running fitness.
Luckily I have an AMAZING and supportive team of experts to help keep me from going totally crazy-or into a state of depression (given my anti-running situation). I have a P.T . who nursed me through an adductor strain this winter. I don't know what I'd do without her. She treats me with all of the latest and greatest therapies and technologies. I trust her with every fiber (literally) of my body.
My boyfriend, is also HUGE support that I rely on physically and mentally. He knows physiology, anatomy, and treatment (especially when it comes to athletics and rehab) better than most medical professionals I know. I swear I'm not biased. He truly is a wealth of knowledge and will be an amazing chiropractic, sports medicine, rehab doctor soon. For now, I am lucky enough to have him utilize his certification in ART on me and help with my daily aches and pains. He has also adapted my strength program to take any stress off of my left foot.
Check it out.
With Dawn and Mike's help I can feel my foot healing itself each day. Progress is slow but I know I need to be patient.
My friends, family and training partners have also been so inspirational, in there positivity and words of encouragement.
Thank you everyone.
And lastly, thank you, Mother Nature, for another beautiful day to go out and ride my bike.
The sunny and warm weather has been helpful in turning my spirits around, knowing that at least I can enjoy long bike rides outside. And thinking back to last year, I am genuinely thankful for this. Last year at this time I was in pain, and in a sling, immobile. Good Friday 2009, I broke my collar bone and wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING for 3-4 weeks. I raced and placed in June. So, this year, I'm not running (on land)- but still biking and swimming, hoping to race (and place) by the end of May.
This journey is a rollercoaster. Today, I'm on my way up. Swam with my masters group this morning (yey, for friends in the pool!) and looking forward to an awesome afternoon ride in the sunshine.