It's 5am Saturday morning and I can't sleep. I'm too excited! Tomorrow morning at 8:00am the gun goes off here in Mont Tremblant to start the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. WORLD CHAMPS baby! And I actually get to toe the line and give it a go. I actually get to race!!!!!
This has been the hardest 3 months of my athletic career. I have never suffered a serious injury before. In my 20 years of ice hockey I think I got a few sets of stitches here and there and a few mild concussions but I never missed a single practice or game. In my four years playing at Princeton, I played every game. Over the last five years of racing triathlon, I've dealt with a mild case of "turf toe" in my left big toe randomly for a run or two each season...that's really been it. I guess in that sense, I've been lucky- I raced five injury-free years in a very tough and wearing sport.
I'm preaching to the choir to probably most people- everyone that has ever dealt with an injury- but to everyone that has been fortunate enough not to have ever dealt with anything: it is absolutely devastating. I have never been told I can't do something. Any time someone has said, "You can't do that." I probably went ahead and did it- either to prove them wrong or just to break a rule, haha. This was different. "No, you CAN'T...you need to let this heal." Just like that, "You CAN'T."
I was told 4-6 weeks off...it turned into 8 weeks. For 3 weeks I was allowed only to swim and that included two pull buoys and my legs strapped together for no kicking. I can't thank Matt Lieto enough for his support all summer but so much for those first 3 weeks, which were the hardest. Beyond just his "D and W" chat with me, he included me on the swim team list :) and for 3 weeks I was at the pool every morning chasing Matt, Jesse, Brett and Rick around- thanks guys!!!! Or I would meet Corbs and chase her around. Thanks Corbs!!! I swam and swam and swam. When it's all you're allowed to do, it takes on a whole new meaning. I've always hated swimming, I would just get through it so I could get to the biking and running part of triathlon. Now, I was so grateful for it.
After 3 weeks, I was allowed to ease into riding again and then finally, at the 8 week mark, I was allowed to do my first run. I think it was 5 times 1minute run, 1 minute walk. 10 whole minutes on the trail. Those were the best 10 minutes of the entire summer! I was back:)
This is an extreme fast-forwarding (is that a word?) of how this summer went but it's been a progression back since that first run. Getting to that point was all done with the help of Jay Dicharry of Rebound Physical Therapy in Bend, OR. I can't thank Jay enough for his help and support in building me back. I'll get to another post at some point on the specifics but THANK YOU JAY.
And a thank you to everyone at Rebound- Mike and Mike, Joe, Jen, Mandon, and everyone else...thank you for your encouragement and kind support everyday this summer. And to fellow Rebound graduates:) Jesse (Thomas) and Corbs (Linsey Corbin) - thank you for sharing your past experiences with me having gone through an injury before...really, really appreciate it. And thank you to the other Doctors, hospitals, etc. that helped or gave advice this summer- Peter Leavitt, thank you! I still owe you beers (or a keg)...Desert Orthopedics... Jeff Shilt, thank you for your advice! Doc Richburg in SD... Tamas- thank you for your help with massage...I know I am definitely leaving people out and I will kick myself when I think of someone, but THANK YOU!
August and my return to running came, as did fellow Cliff English athlete Ashleigh Gentle and a few weeks later, Josh Amberger and then Cliff himself! August brought me a return to a "normal" schedule training for all 3 sports and it was so awesome having these guys in Bend. Thanks Ash and Josh for letting me chase you around :)
And thank you Cliff for all of your support and guidance and help all summer while dealing with this and for coming out to Bend for the final touches of training.
I can't begin to count the number of times I broke into tears this summer. I would see someone run by our house and start crying. "Why meeee?" It was bad and Wattie had to deal with me. Wattie was my steadfast rock this entire summer. He was my shoulder to cry on and talked me off the ledge almost every day. He got me through and I can't thank him enough. Cards, flowers, picnics in Shevlin, distractions, a positive outlook...day in and day out, which is not easy with a crying, depressed, injured athlete:) I love you Wattie. You are my everything. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you to all of my friends (Bagg and VT, MBK for checking in...everyone on the Wattie Ink. team- you guys are awesome...and so many more) and family (my sister Biffster flew up to spend a week with me and get my mind off the fact that I was injured- thank you so much Biffy:) and my parents were out in July- thanks Haha and Chichi!)...to my fans and supporters who have offered support all summer: thank you so, so much! And obviously a massive thank you to all of my sponsors who have stood by me through this- thank you! I couldn't do this without you.
Moving past the injured summer.... It's in the rearview. I am here in Mont Tremblant and the big dance is tomorrow morning! I don't know how the race will unfold but I know that I will leave everything out there. I love Championship races and racing the best in the world. Tomorrow is for the 70.3 World Title and I actually get a chance to race for it! Woooohooooo!
Good luck to everyone tomorrow!!!! Leave it all out there! A quote my hockey coach used to always use: "No one cares about something you didn't do."