This picture was from November 2009. It was after my only DNF in any race. Double achilles tendonitis. I shouldn't have been running and I knew it. 6 weeks of no running. This was only 11 weeks before my first and only Goofy Challenge. Yes, I still did the Goofy Challenge, but it was nothing like I had imagined when I signed up.
Awesome picture, but I can see the pain in my eyes. This was during my first long training run on the Boston course this year. Shin splints. Again, I knew during the week that something was wrong with my calves/shins. I was so determined to get that training run done on the course that I did it anyways. I made it 8 miles before the pain was out of control. Being the stubborn person that I was, I continued running because I knew I would have to rest after that day. I had to take 11 days off because of that run.
So Saturday's bike/run went OK. The bike was not the greatest. I felt like I was working harder than my speed was showing and mentally I was out of it. During the ride I started feeling an ache in the back of my knee and I kind of ignored it and the feeling never went away.
I got home and went for an amazing brick run. My plan said run hard and I did and loved it. My average pace was in the 7's and I felt strong the whole time. During the run, I didn't notice any knee pain, but I was so happy to be not on that bike so my mind wasn't focused on anything but running fast.
The next day I woke up and my knee hurt. Every time I lifted my left leg, I felt pain in the back of my knee. Mentally, I felt like someone had just beaten me up. I was two weeks from my race and I had just finished 12 weeks of amazing Half Ironman training. I had never worked so hard in training before and now I was in pain. I have never done triathlon training so the lack of knowledge of what pain versus normal aches was making me even more confused.
Immediately, I decided to take the day off. I only had a 25 minute run scheduled and knew that I wasn't going to risk my race for a 25 minute run. I don't skip workouts, but I am not taking chances. The whole day I focused on the pain in my knee and saw my dreams of a huge Half Ironman debut flying out the window.
The next morning, I woke up for my swim workout. 4000 yards. I didn't think swimming would irritate my knee so I went to the pool and for the most part my knee was OK during the swim. While pushing off the walls, I felt twinges but for the most part it was a successful swim. And the rest from the day before helped as my energy was much higher than my previous swim on Friday.
Tuesday, I woke up and had a brick workout on the schedule. I wasn't in pain anymore but I felt tight behind my knee. I promised my coach and myself that if I felt anything I would skip my workout. Skipping Tuesday's workout was much harder than Sunday's. It was an important workout and I still feel guilty missing it. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking back to my previous injuries. Both times, I felt OK going into those final workouts. That OK feeling was not GOOD and both resulted in way too many days off. I told myself that one day of missed training wasn't going to kill my goals for my race and I sat on my butt and did nothing that day besides foam rolling and stretching.
And then, Wednesday, I ran. And I ran fast. No knee pain and an amazing workout. Now, I still worry that my days off will mess up my taper, but messing up my taper is much better than messing up my race. Yes, I am crazy for thinking my training is messed up, but that is the competitive athlete in me. I want to go into Pumpkinman with everything on my side. Missing a big workout didn't benefit me, but I know if I would have ridden that day I might not have been able to do any workouts until my race.
So, I listened to my body. This is a huge milestone for me because I am not one to hold back on training. I tend to push until my body breaks and for once I chose to listen and stop before things got worse. I can only hope that in the future when I feel an injury coming on that I can remember to look back and realize that a small rest before things get too bad is much better than a long break because I was too stubborn to stop.