We are thrilled to have Meredith of Swim Bike Mom with us! Love it, favorite and share!
I logged something like a million miles across sea, bicycle and foot last year. Okay, so that might be a stretch. But we are dealing with thousands of miles. Handfuls of races, including a big-un, half-Ironman. I had a few bumps and bruises, along with some IT band and foam roller wars, but really, I can say I left 2011 triathlon unscathed.
Two weeks ago, the Expert and I went for a bike ride, then a little four mile run. A brick. The brick was bloody glorious, the sun was shining, and I felt like a semi-real triathlete. I had a nice afternoon, a hefty dinner, and I was ready to begin the week. Monday morning rolled in with a bang, and the zoo that is our house with two young children was insane. I ran out of the house a little too quickly towards the car.
I ended up on the ground. I am not sure precisely what happened. Possibly some sliding off my wedge loafer action, or perhaps a war with a roly pinecone, but all I do know is that I hit the ground, heard a snap, and glanced up to see the neighbor across the street staring at me. My work bag, my purse, my keys were splayed across the yard. I was so stinking humiliated that I popped up like a gimp Jack-in-the-box and limped to the house. Bollocks! My keys were in the yard. My foot was throbbing. I rang the doorbells sixteen times before the Expert screamed, “What do you want?”
“Let me in,” I wailed, “I fell!” Dude, I was sobbing. Messy tears, sweaty and grass spread across the side of my sweater and face. “New Orleans,” I muttered. “Oh, my Lord.”
The Expert stared at me. I fell. I walked in the house crying like a maniac. The only thing I said was, “New Orleans.”
My race. My next big race was Ironman New Orleans 70.3. Eight week countdown had begun, and I fell in my flipping yard. I fell in my yard. My yard! My yard.
Later that day, I learned that I broke my 5th metatarsal bone in my right foot. Oh, I broke it good too. In two places. Same bone that David Beckham broke. I suppose that’s where the similarities between Becks and me ends. The doctor x-rayed me, walked in with her computer and said, “It’s broken.” I thought she was talking about her laptop. Turns out, nope, my foot was the thing broken.
Next, enter the man carrying a grey boot, smarting off something like, “Say hello to your little friend.”I thought, Say hello to my middle finger.
But I behaved, and I wore the boot outside the office, brandishing my crutches like a true champ. I was upset, but I was dealing. I called my coach, who proceeded to talk in a string of appropriately-timed expletives.
Two weeks have passed. I am still wearing my boot. I am not okay. Yes, I am. No, I’m not. Perhaps I should rewind. During this time, I have experience three very distinct phases. These three phases are so clear, that I am able to declare that a triathlon injury has three stages. Perhaps there are more stages to come. But for now, I’ve got three.
Much like a death, I have been forced to mourn the death of my New Orleans dream. I sobbed at the thought of my running legs melting down to fat stumpy things, much like they were two years ago. I was forced to look at my rear end, and invite more of its fat cell friends to leap upon it. Seriously, I had to say goodbye to the training and the life that I had ingrained in my skin. That life was gone.
Now, of course, the life is not gone… forever. But loss, no matter how small, is still a loss. And I had to look my loss in the face, cry and grieve it.
After I cried for three days, I went mad. The crazy land was entered, and all I heard were the crazy voices: how are you ever going to run again? You are going to become mentally unstable? What about your bicycle? Won’t your bicycle be lonely? Will the GU in the cabinet actually go bad?
The voices started, and I began to dream of nothing but running. I would run in my sleep, and wake up screaming from the pain (because I was also running on my broken foot, under the sheets). I would think about running at work. I would pack my cycling shoes for work, just in case I had time, forgetting that spin class was not on the list of acceptable behaviors.
The pure madness (insanity) then quickly turned to real madness (anger). I was mad, mad, and more mad.
After the grief and the madness, I have begun to cope. This stage is less insane, but just like the title of the phase, it’s manageable. Coping. Yes, I am coping with the fact that I cannot run. I am dealing with my sadness for missing race day. I am whining about missing my favorite spin class. I am learning ways to get in some swimming (take off boot, limp to pool, hope no one kicks me and breaks my foot in a third place).
So that’s where I am. What comes next? Is there a fourth phase of the triathlon injury? I sure as hell hope so.
Actually, I hope there are three more phases: Recovery, Running, and Racing like a Bat Out of Hell. Stay tuned.