Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 22 Summary...The BIG Question

As far as the achilles tendon injury this week there still hasn't been a change in the pain. It feels great in the though nothing is wrong. It doesn't hurt to bike but hurts afterwards for about 30 minutes. Running hurts from the beginning. Swimming doesn't hurt at all. It doesn't matter how much I seem to do, the next morning always brings me relief of any pain and a feeling it is healed. I had a busy week and went over 2 days without biking or running...not that I've done any running lately. Walking around and doing exercises would make most anyone think the injury was gone but sure enough...20 minutes into an hour ride I could tell it was not gone. Part of my busy week was 4 doctor's appointments and 1 MRI. I got the results of the MRI back and learned some new things. There is such a thing as a Kager's it and you'll find where it is located. That is the place where my swelling is at. The foot and ankle specialist tells me the swelling is chronic...5 weeks of no running and still swelling makes me think the same. The Kager's triangle is between the achilles tendon and the tibia. After some tough thinking and asking lots of questions to Dr. Mendel, the foot and ankle specialist I went ahead and scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on the tendon on April 27th. If by the grace of God it heals sooner then I will cancel the surgery. Scope surgery is fairly non-invasive but more aggressive than anything I've done with it yet. It involves making two small holes near the tendon and going in with a small camera and a knife to get the swelling out. The part that sounded painful to me is that he said he makes a couple really small incisions on the tendon to promote healing...injure the area to get it to heal I guess. Despite the busy week I swam twice, lifted 3 times, and rode 220 miles. I got my longest ride of the year so far in on Sunday when I went 100 miles. It was beautiful out...1st long ride that didn't feel like the tornado from the Wizard of Oz. The flags lay still in all the small Iowa towns I rolled through. The ride was at an easy effort except for 10x 3 minutes at 40k time trial effort in the middle. Overall I finished it in 4 hours 38 minutes for an average speed of 21.5 miles per hour. I used to have to ride hard to hit that speed on my training bike and training wheels even for short rides. I felt good about the effort. I guess the sun was a little brighter than I anticipated. I didn't even know I was burning until a couple hours later when my wife noticed 3 white patches on my neck. I may feel this one tomorrow. On to the big question...
I've had some people ask me about the injury and then they ask me "What have you learned from this?" This is their nice way of coming out and telling me, "You overtrained and now you're hurt because of it!" I've had plenty of people in the past tell me that I should train less...that I may get hurt with my volumes. So what did I learn from this? I learned that I am a risk taker. I learned that I gamble to be great. I learned that I have big dreams...that I don't care how much work it takes to reach them...I have no problem getting work done. This is where we get into a bit of a philosophical debate. Some like to play it safe and make sure they are healthy to race. If my goal for the year was to place in my age group at the Quad City Triathlon I probably would have trained about 10 hours a week and most likely wouldn't be hurt right now. But...that's not my goal. My goal is to stand on the podium of a professional 70.3 race. If you can't make it to the starting can't win. Show me an example of a pro who wins that doesn't take risks training their absolute butt off...there isn't one! The difference between them and I is that they have 40 more hours a week to work on recovery...stretching, massage, icing, some weird compression socks, and other gadgets. I understand how high my goals are. I simply don't think I can reach them playing safe. If I am aggressive in training...pushing the limits like I was...there is a chance I'll end up I currently am. The flip side is that if I push the limits like I was and stay healthy I may be good enough to stand on the podium at a 70.3 race. On the other hand if I was conservative in training I would certainly make it to the starting line healthy but I also would certainly not make the chance! I've never been some guy with crazy talent in this sport. There's a reason I was 202 lbs. two years ago and a reason I never was an all-conference runner in college. I'm simply not that talented. What I do have is a relentless work ethic and a belief that if you take some chances and put in enough work you may be able to beat some people you have no business beating. You may also end up watching from the sideline. I'll take that risk. I'll always take that risk. It's the very reason I write this blog. I see myself as someone with decent ability...not great, but decent. I'm trying to prove that when you go all in for a goal...any goal, it can happen. I write to inspire others to do the same...not necessarily for triathlons but for anything in life they thought was impossible at one time. The same risks that have me injured now allowed me to get the pro status in 1 year of devotion to this sport. I hope when people think I'm hurt because I overtrained they'll also realize I won 7 races last year when I overtrained. I think about 2 runners I coached as I write this. Devin Allbaugh and Charlie Paul were two guys who chose to train far beyond the norms for high school runners. They both took extreme risks...and they paid off. They were both all state, 1st and 3rd respectively in the state 3200 meters, and they both currently run for division 1 Iowa State University. Neither of them were that talented early on in high school...they just both chose to take big risks to achieve greatness. They also both went through multiple injuries in high school. Was it worth it...I'm pretty sure I could speak for them both with a yes. That's all I have to say about what I've learned...I'll be racing in Sullivan next Sunday as a last hurrah before surgery. I think I can make it 5k on the will just hurt a lot. DREAM BIG!


Luke said...

Not many people GET to do what you do. Celebrate that now matter what the race results. If people ask me why?...the answer is, "Because I can!"

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I hope that QC age group dig wasn't aimed at me?!?! I am in awe of what you do to prepare! I think it's the rare athlete who commits as you have. And I totally get what you are saying. There are a whole lot of people who can shuffle through IM's and Half IM's, but not a whole lot who can stand up on that podium. You know better than anyone what you need to do to get there! Best of luck and hope the achilles issue gets cleared up as soon as possible. I will track you down and say hello if you are out at Quad Cities. Best, Chris

Oh and PS - Nice sunburn. Here in AZ, where we basically live on the sun's surface in the warmer months, you sometimes use your indoor trainer in the summer instead of winter! Benefits? No sunburns. And no need to carry 4 full water bottles and a water-filled camel-pack at the beginning of a training ride!