The last time I finished an athletic season without an injury was in 1997. Since then, literally every year I have competed in an athletic sport has ended with an injury. Triathlon has been no different. 2014 - herniated disc, hip pain. 2015 - severe hip and butt pain, rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo as it's colloquially known), and a friggin' heart attack. I had the same goals for 2016 that I had for 2016: don't get injured, break an hour in a Sprint, and win the 2016 Clydesdale National Sprint Championship. Well folks, it's looks like the streak is still alive.
When I was in the hospital following my last race, the doctors told me that I would be fine to compete in another Olympic distance event that was only 4 weeks away. “No thanks,” was my reply. I took the next two months off completely, and although I had a clean bill of health and no permanent damage to my heart, I just didn’t feel quite right. For several days I felt as though I had been punched repeatedly in the chest, and I had a little bit of difficulty taking deep breaths for another week or two. While I was resting up, I developed a plan for the next year. I bought several triathlon books, and settled in on a proper training plan. I went with the 52 week Olympic triathlon plan from this book and set out to change the way I planned and trained. It only took a little bit of running before my hip and butt started hurting again, so it was off to the doctor for another cortisone shot, and then, like last year, a focused effort on the bike and in the pool. I was swimming around 9,000 yards per week, and riding about 100 miles, all at an easy zone 1-2 pace and feeling great. But my freaking hip and butt pain just would not go away, no matter what I did. I had had enough and went back to the doctor. Doctor sent me to a podiatrist to see if my foot surgery was causing my hips to be out of whack (it was), the podiatrist sent me to the physical therapist, and the physical therapist said “you’re pretty messed up.” Herniated disc, gluteal imbalance, piriformis syndrome, high hamstring tendinopathy, trochanteric hip bursitis, and a hip flexor strain. My 2016 season goals were erased. I started physical therapy the first week of January, it’s now the middle of April, and I still can’t run, bike, or swim. I was making progress at one point and had made it to week three of my return to running protocol, but it just took one run at a higher speed (still only at a 5 on the treadmill) to flare everything up again, and I haven’t run in a month now with no relief. Back to the doc I go for an MRI today, but it's looking like I have a torn labrum at least. I guess I can add that to the two torn labrums in my shoulders that ended my wrestling career…the good news is that I’ve hit my deductible, so I’ve got that going for me.
I also gained and lost 30 pounds over the last four months too. It’s been extremely frustrating as I had really taken a measured, smart approach to this year and spirits were quite high! The goal now is to simply get healthy. Hopefully I can get to the point where I can swim, as I had made the most progress there and it’s really disheartening to lose all of my gains in addition to my general base endurance that I've built for 2 years.
In the meantime, I will be volunteering at the Toughman Half in a month, which takes place on my home course. I’ll be driving race officials on my boat for the swim portion. I'll be posting some of my favorite workouts going forward, so check out the page from time-to-time. I've also got some reading to catch up on....here are some recommendations: