So, 2020 was supposed to be amazing: Ironman #10 and #11. First one in Austria with 15 other girlfriends from around the world, and the second one in Cambridge, Maryland. You know how that ended. Thanks COVID.
I deferred Ironman Austria until either 2023 or 2024 (Ironman Europe is cool like that; Ironman North America–not so much). I decided to race Maryland because it will be just over 1 year from my major hip surgery (another blog post about that shortly). I know that sounds crazy, but I thought it was a reasonable goal. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run like I want to one day (I’ve never been a strong runner, which is why I hired a run coach in October 2019), but I was/am OK with that. I knew the swim would be no problemo, and I’m equally strong on the bike, so why not???
As I write this, the race is 2 weeks away. Gulp. I can’t believe I just said that outloud. For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been battling hip flexor tendonitis. Apparently, such an affliction is very common after the surgery I had. It sucks because I haven’t been able to run on it; I’ve been either water running or on that special Precor elliptical. Prior to last Sunday, if I tried to run, I got a sharp pain right where my quad tendon attaches to my pelvic bone, and my sartorius muscle would lock up on me (see pic above). I’ve been doing a crap ton of PT exercises, and they are working! Great news–I was actually able to run on it on Sunday!!! Woooo hooooo!!!
Because of this recovery process, this IM is going to be unlike any other I’ve ever raced. I’ve never gone into this insane distance without being 110% prepared for all 3 disciplines. It’s sorta refreshing and unnerving at the same time. Because of that, I decided to see a sports psychologist. We’ve talked through the myriad of my emotions, and decided I needed to shift my focus. Instead of the end-all being the finish line, I will celebrate small successes and the beauty of the area along the way. Most of the bike course goes through a wildlife refuge, so I will be focused less on my effort and more on my surroundings–all of the beautiful birds and other creatures. As an aside, I normally moo at cows during a ride, but sadly, there are no cows in a swamp.
If I get off the bike and my hip flexors are not screaming at me, then I will launch into the run. If they are, well… I will have to assess the situation. A lot of internal questions will be asked: should I go on? Can I go on? Will I do more damage to myself? How important is that medal in the grand scheme of things?? My last 4 long-ish run/walk sessions have been really good. So, right now, I have confidence that I can make it to mile 13 doing my 1-min run/walk protocol. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. I may have to walk for 30 min, do some stretching… We shall see. But I promise you all–I won’t give up easy.
We leave for Maryland on Sept. 15. I will make sure to keep you guys updated with my IG posts and stories, and I will also do a pre and post-race blog from there.
If you are interested in tracking me, then download the Ironman app on your phone. Look for the listing for Ironman Maryland, and click on it. Type my last name in the search bar at the top of the page, and you’ll be able to track my progress throughout the day. One large warning: DO NOT allow the push notifications–they will drain your battery in a matter of a few hours.
Talk soon! Paige xo