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Ironman Training: Forward Progress

I’m starting to make some slow forward progress, but not exactly a “ball of fire”.  Last Tuesday, I saw an Orthopedic Surgeon for my right knee.  When I relayed the incident of the crash, he ended up doing a thorough evaluation of both shoulders, both hips, & both knees. I also had an x-ray of my right knee, which was negative.  He felt fairly confident that all the trouble with my knee was from the soft tissue swelling around it and that I might be able to bounce back with some aggressive physical therapy. This was good news, but I was still limping, so not quite overwhelmed with joy.

However, with this positive information,  I decided to get back in the pool on Wednesday.  It was rough, the first 100 yards were uncomfortable. I do have a right shoulder strain, which had not bothered me for the past few days, but I could feel it swimming. I tried doing breast stroke, which made it worse.  I planned on taking it slow until I hit 1000 yards. I had to stop at the end of each lap and turn around carefully, as I did not want to push off the wall and aggravate my knee.  As I swam further and further, my shoulder loosened up a bit and my knee felt good. I was thinking about the accident and it occurred to me that this was the day I had my longest workout of Ironman training planned.  I was supposed to do a 2500 yard swim, 100 mile ride, & 8 mile run.  I had been excited to do it and had it all planned out several weeks ago.  Now, I was struggling to just swim, which was very depressing, so I continued to swim.  I ended up hitting 2100 yards (1.2 miles) by the time I was done, which helped turn my melancholy mood around as I had done 1/2 of the Ironman swim distance!

The next day my right shoulder was sore, but I still had good range of motion.  I had my physical therapy appointment that day. The therapist was great, very thorough and optimistic, that we could turn this around and get me back on my feet quickly.  He gave me several exercises to help with my knee mobility and also had me get on the spin bike there. I was surprised that it felt pretty good on the bike!  He thought I had just pushed a bit too much with the swim the day before irritating my shoulder…”You had not swam in 2 1/2 weeks, then just got in and swam over a mile.”  So, I left the appointment feeling optimistic with instructions on the exercises & that I could ride on my trainer 3 x’s a day for 15 minute periods. I could also swim 1000 yards at a time, but NO Running!

The “no running” was hard to hear.  If I wasn’t in this state of limbo about the Ironman, I would say “fine, no running!”.  However, knowing how quickly running fitness declines, and with a marathon hanging over my head AFTER a 2.4 mile swim & 112 mile bike ride, I was nervous.  I called my coach to give her the update and just see if I should forget the Ironman for the year.  I would rather not show up, then show up 1/2 injured, not sure if I could complete the event. DNF (Did Not Finish) would be a million times worse then DNS (Did Not Show) for my psyche in this case. She was very positive, yet realistic.  She felt with the depth of training that I had done (I have done some crazy long workouts, before this), that if I am healthy enough in the next 2 weeks to comfortably do one or two 60 mile rides & a 13-14 mile run or so, that I would be ok.   I trust her advice 100%, so I am going with it, which still has me in a state of Limbo about the event!

I did have some great positive strides over the weekend: On Friday, I rode my trainer twice, once for 30 minutes & once for 20 minutes. I also had a good swim of 1500 yards! My knee felt very good on Saturday, so I disobeyed my PT orders and did a 1 hour 15 minute trainer ride.  I felt good after this, iced my knee, and had no further problems.  So, today, I ended up doing a 2 hour trainer ride (don’t tell my P.T. 🙂 ), and it felt great!  I rode a fairly flat course, but I was glad that I could ride that long without any trouble and I could have definitely gone further. So, the question mark lies in the running.  I’m eager to get back to it, but I want to be sure to be ready so I don’t take any steps back at this point!  I am feeling cautiously optimistic and eager to see what the next week has in store for me!

How is your training? Have you ever had a significant set back?


Monday 13th of July 2015

Amazing read. It just goes to show that vehicles on the road aren't just capable of threatening someone's safety but can also ruin their dream goals. Keep believing that you can do this. V inspiring.