Tough Decisions: Ironman Lake Placid

I’ve been meaning to write my Ironman Raleigh 70.3 race report for some time now, the race was June 1, but with being away for a  couple of days post-race in North Carolina and returning home to a lot going on and recovering, I just haven’t found a suitable time to do so.

This post is not going to be about Raleigh though but about my season thus far in general. I started my training plan for Lake Placid in mid-March of this year. I was recovering from achilles/plantar issues in my left leg and had not been running for several months. I was doing some shorter bike rides and some casual swims. When I went to Vegas, I got my butt kicked in Red Rock and found I had zero fitness going on. Just a couple of days prior was my longest run for quite awhile, 2 miles!

As March turned to April, things were rolling along pretty smoothly though conservatively. I raced St. Anthony’s sprint in late April and felt pretty good and was just happy to get to the start line.

By May, I was having saddle issues during longer rides and so began my ever long quest of finding a saddle that did not produce tears and audible grunts every ride. Needless to say, I am still on this quest.

Rev3 Knoxville Olympic race occurred in mid May where I had lots of climbing for the first time. Post- race I felt ok except for my saddle area. Without going into too much detail on any of this, lets just say things were not happy for quite some time.

The week after Knoxville I did not bike except for my longest ride to date on the Ironman FL 70.3 course in Haines City where my friend Amber and I rode 62 miles. I was in some serious pain that day but got by with some Chamois Butt’r reapplication but man did I start to worry about Raleigh 70.3 the following week.

By this time heading into Raleigh, my longest ride was 62 miles and my longest run was 14. I was taking time off to let things recover and heal but its been quite the process. Throw in weather and general Ironman training fatigue and things were getting rougher.

Post Haines City, I did not ride again prior to Raleigh 70.3 on June 1. When I hopped on my bike before pre-race racking, I was uncomfortable and uneasy and that was just a 2-3 mile spin to check the bike over. I knew the following day was not going to be a fun one but I tried not to think about it and was excited to ride on a beautiful course.

Race day came and during the bike portion of the race, any time I moved a centimeter on my saddle, I got sharp, burning pains that left my legs tired from trying to alleviate any additional pain during the ride. I could feel things on fire and tears welling up towards the end of the ride. If I had to ride one more mile as we climbed the last hill into transition, I would have probably quit at that point. I walked into transition with my bike, racked and walked to a volunteer to get my gels in my kit. I have NEVER walked a transition before. The subsequent half marathon was brutal as it felt like sandpaper and ripping for the next 13.1 miles.

Long story short, my post-race vacation in Pine Needles, the golf mecca of NC, was not filled with golf but rather a bed, tubes of neosporin and advil. I even lost a toenail and let me tell you, I rather lose all 10 toenails than deal with what I’ve been dealing with. It doesn’t even compare.

As I returned to FL, the swelling was slowly going down but there was certainly no biking or running going on, when I walked, it was as if I had been on a horse for a week straight.

I started back in the pool towards the end of the week and started to face the reality that we were 8 weeks out from Placid and I had just lost another week of training.

As that week rolled into this week and I woke up this past Sunday morning not feeling great and knowing things weren’t improving, I headed to a walk-in clinic. I received two antibiotics and was told no running or biking until everything was healed.

I was demoralized. I cried in the parking lot because I knew that no matter how much my mind and spirit wanted to will these issues away, my body was going to take its time to heal.

Following that appointment and calming down and reflecting some more (something I’ve done a lot these past couple of weeks), I made my mind up to not continue my pursuit of Lake Placid. I consulted my parents and friends and coach and everyone agreed that with now 7 weeks out and an insufficient training bank to fall on, I would risk injury before/during/after the race and a giant uphill battle to even get to the starting line.

The path to this decision has not been taken lightly nor has it been an easy one. When your training and racing is public knowledge, it is difficult to say you will not be lining up with the other competitors on July 27, 2014 in Mirror Lake. I am a competitive person by nature and do not like not being able to compete. I’ve been competing in sports my entire life and rarely did I miss a game or event due to injury. I have spent over a year thinking about this race but I know that these races are not going away any time soon and that I will have another chance at crossing an Ironman finish line; it just won’t happen on the date I thought it would. I have read too many times about athletes who only think in short-term considerations and end up doing more damage in the long run. I’m only 28 and want to be able to continue this active lifestyle for a long time to come.

So….I’m hitting the restart button and letting things heal before getting back to training. I have been swimming frequently and in fact did my longest swim ever last night in the ocean with our group. It was about 1.6 miles I believe and I was happy to reach a new milestone.

I’m still uncomfortable with things physically but now I’m not putting the pressure on my body to recover quickly. Once things are healed, I am getting another bike fit done and hopefully will solve the saddle issues.

Should everything start to fall into place, my goal and hope is to register for Ironman Cozumel which is held annually over Thanksgiving weekend. When I first thought about my first Ironman, this one was the original one I targeted but chose Lake Placid in the end. I know the universe has a strange way of working things out so maybe I was destined to race there all along!

ironman_cozumel

With regards to my fundraising with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, I am still going and still need your help! I am currently at $3600 and should I reach $7000, I will shave my head. A promise is a promise! The MMRF team is also holding a spot for me for next year at Lake Placid, but we’ll see.

Bald-full logo

I have 6 weeks left to raise $1400, my minimum is $5,000, so will you please consider a donation to this very worthwhile organization in memory and honor of my late grandfather? You can donate here. 

Thanks for reading this post and for hopefully supporting a very difficult decision. I know its the right one for me and me only. With that said, let’s get training again!

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8 Comments

  1. I am SO sorry to hear, because I know exactly how terrible this is. I had major saddle issues earlier this season and frequented the doctor for antibiotics before my last half IM also. I ended up trying 4 or more saddles and the best one was the ism attack (NOT Adamo road) and I also put spacers to raise my aerobars (at a retul fit) ro provide relief. I still get some saddle sores occasionally but not the soft tissue pain I had before that completely prevented me from riding. Also hoo ha ride glide works well for me. Just passing this on in hopes it can get you back to a happy place in the saddle. Sorry again!

  2. You did what you had to do. You faced the music and it told you to heal. It is remarkable that you finished the race even if you walked the last few steps.your body was badly wounded in battle. The race in Cozumel sounds a bit more friendlier than Lake Placid. I am betting your rump felt like mind did after riding on a one hump camel for four hours up and down Mt Sinai.

    Nevertheless Joe and I are proud of your determination and true grit. You are a champion in our eyes.

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