I feel like I’ve reached a crossroads in my life of triathlon, and at this precise moment I have no idea if I’ll turn left or right. My heart wants me to continue, my body feels like it can’t and my head is struggling to cope with the battle between the two.
I recovered fully from my chest infection and started training again, things were going well, I felt strong, my running pace was constant and not bad at between 8-8.30 mins a mile, my riding felt good, and even my coach commented on how much my swimming had improved. BUT there was one constant that was there, like the elephant in the room that I was choosing to ignore in the hope that it would go away. That elephant was pain, that old familiar friend that has been with me now for over 30 years, my left knee was reminding me of my limitations.
Now I can usually ignore the pain, I can deal with it, over the years I’ve developed a strategy, even raising my pain threshold I guess to run through it. I know it’s there and I can cope with it, compensate for it and deal with it. Unfortunately though in the last month it’s got worse, a lot worse.
I can run, I can keep a good pace but I can no longer deal with the pain that comes with it. I can longer deal with the pain that follows. For instance I ran two miles last night to get home at 8.20 a mile. Whilst running I felt great. I spent the rest of the night in agony, struggling to get off the sofa, wincing with each step going to bed, losing half a nights sleep and it’s not got better today. And it’s not just my left knee, my right has started to aggravate me now as well, probably as a result of overcompensation for my left knee? Remember this was after only 2 miles, how the hell would I deal with a marathon? I can even feel the pain when I’m swimming if I’ve ran the day before which can’t be right?
What is so frustrating is that it’s not an acute injury that can be solved but life time damage that I just have to grimace and cope with ( according to several orthopedic surgeons I’ve seen ). The problem is I can no longer cope with the pain. It’s reached the stage where I am actually scared to go for a run because I know I am going to suffer. I’m 40 years old FFS, not 80, this shouldn’t be happening to me.
So I’ve made the decision to seek further medical advice, and not run at all for at least a month. I’ll continue to cycle and swim, and hit the gym, maybe substituting running with a crosstrainer/air walker session or a rowing session ( although the knee bending would probably hurt ). I’ll continue to use a foam roller, stretch and work on strengthening my glutes which should help. I’ve always said that if a doctor told me to stop running that I’d ignore them, I reached a stage where I no longer think I could. It’s become a matter of life quality I guess. BUT I’ve got to stay positive, this has happened before, and rest has helped, I’ll keep my fitness in other ways.
At this stage I still hope to be at the Outlaw in July, I may have to review what I can achieve but for now I’ll keep working towards that sub 12, I just need a different approach. I’m scheduled to do a half ironman in May, I’ll make a hard decision after that.
The game isn’t over yet, but the pain is 2 sets to 1 up and has just broken my serve in the 4th game. I’m still in it, I’m still fighting, it’s not over until it’s over.