We have an awesome couch. It's bright orange and modern looking. It's been in our living room for almost two years and up until the end of August this year, I have sat on it maybe only a handful of times.
At the end of May, I wanted to achieved three things:
1. Heal my broken leg
2. I wanted to qualify for Kona and race it in the best way possible
3. Find out why it broke in the first place & make sure it never happens again
I carried about my business after some doom and gloom in late May/early June. I followed doctors orders: cruthes, rest, return to non-weigth bearing activity. I read a zillion things on the internet (*sidenote: reading the internet while plagued with health problems should be outlawed). It seemed to me I was doing everything right. My personality of can't stop/won't stop didn't change: I was up at 4:40 to do the group swims. I couldn't run - so I just got in the pool early and stayed in late. I'd head straight to the gym, lift weights, home for a quick bite to eat then it was onto the bike. My afternoons were filled with nailing my rehab exercises or water running my mind out. I was fit and chomping at the bit to be able to run/race the moment I got the "all-clear".
The problem is, the "all-clear" wasn't coming. The more my body was saying no, the more my motivation to "heal" and "rehab" sky-rocketed.
Being injured was at the forefront of my mind 24-7 for June, July and most of August. The same pressures applied to training, racing & being my absolute best when healthy, I was applying to healing as well. It just wasn't working. The harder I pushed my body to heal, the more it was revolting.
All through the mid-summer I pushed for answers, leaving no stone unturned along the way. I sought out health specialists in Boston, Salt Lake, New York, Portland. I flew to Houston to see doctors. I've had four MRI's, an ultrasound and a DEXA scan for good measure. I had over 75+ blood tests, I have had diet logs analyzed, training logs looked over, the list goes on and on.
I attempted a safe, return-to-run program in late August. I felt optimistic and more fired up than I have ever been. My body felt like a caged animal ready to pounce. Let's do this! The result was a total whomp-whom-whomp. Insert sad face and (many) more tears. I had pretty much made ZERO progress. I was fit as a fiddle, it was late August, and I still had a broken femur. To say I was devastated is an understatement.
Remember that orange couch from earlier? 5+ weeks ago I committed to it. It took some pressure (thanks, Chris). I started sitting on the couch. Sitting. Sitting. Thinking. Sitting. Sitting. Anyone that knows me well, likely won't believe this. I sat on that orange couch for what feels like eternity. I just "let-go" of all expectations & pressures: healing, personal, life, race, training. I started to go to bed when I felt like it, I'd wake up when I felt like it, and pretty much - I sat on the couch. Not one sneaky workout was had. Not a single dog walk around the block. We don't even have a t.v. Hah. Nothing. Me and that orange couch really bonded.
What did I find? The answer didn't lie in a doctors office or in an expensive medicine or surgery (all of which were options) - the answer was in the seams of that orange couch. What I found was this: sometimes the best expectations are no expectations. What's ironic, is I said this same thing after finishing 3rd in the World at the 70.3 Championships. My best performances have come when I just "let go". As much as we want to control everything - there's certain things we have no control over. The human body & how it wants to heal is one of these things.
I had an MRI last week and guess what? I was told I am well on my way to healthy and can start running again (slowly!).
The whole point of this, besides wanting to give an update, is that I think we can all be wired the same. We likely all have homes full of lonely couches. We are type-A, driven, can't stop/won't stop, perfectionism at it's finest. This has brought me a huge amount of success, but it also can be my worst enemy. I've learned some big lessons this year - personally & physically. The best thing we can do is slow down, listen to our bodies, and let them do what they are meant to do.
This is the longest I have taken off from anything since I was maybe 5 years old. What is exciting is that I have a completely blank slate. It's scary. But I am healthy. And one month, two months, three months, four months, and even five months ago - I'd give anything to be healthy.
On that note, I am looking forward to heading to Kona on Tuesday to spectate and volunteer at the Ironman World Championships. While I won't be celebrating my current state of fitness - I look forward to living vicariously through the other competitors as they put all of their hard work to good use. Nothing like some good motivation to kick start my planning for 2016.
Thanks for reading & more importantly supporting me. It means the world to me. I hope to see many of you in Kona. Let's celebrate: my health & your fitness!
PS - I have put together a short video series on "Tips for Kona" - it's been a fun project and way to share my knowledge of competing in Kona. Feel free to check them out here.