I don't know if I mentioned this before, but years ago when I was running A LOT I was sidelined with tendonitis in my hip. It started a downward spiral that lasted 40 lbs and seven years.
The culprit: overtraining.
So it became my goal this year, as I trained for my first triathlon, to be mindful of this tendency and listen to my body. I took an extra rest day here and there, got plenty of sleep, and watched my diet carefully. After you put in so many months of training to get to race day, there is a slight shiver of fear (or is it paranoia?) as you go through the final days preceding the race. I was always reminding myself to "be careful, watch your step, etc." Nothing like a twisted knee or ankle, or a shoulder pull to derail your race day plans. I think if I could have wrapped myself in bubble wrap, I would have!
Thankfully, I made it through my race injury free, and as I made my summer race plans I applied the same rules. Since another triathlon was over a year away, I concentrated mostly on running, with two swim sessions and some light weightlifting each week. Because I was in good running condition, I jumped at the chance to run the Hana Relay in September with a group of friends who had a team member drop out.
The Hana Relay is GREAT FUN -with costumes and a mardi gras-like atmosphere. It is a 6-member team relay from Kahului Airport to Hana Town, along the 52-mile, twisting, turning, climbing, descending, scenic Road to Hana. Each person runs roughly three, 3-mile legs.
About half-way into my last leg of the race, I felt a pinch in my left foot. It hurt for a bit, but went away and I didn't think much of it, thinking I had probably stepped on a small rock or some other debris. Two days after the race, I noticed some bruising in the area, but still did not have much pain. I decided to take the "wait-and-see" approach, and when the pain did not dissipate after two weeks, I went to the doctor for x-rays. Turns out, my first metatarsal is fractured. The reason is was not more apparent is because the fracture is near a pin in my foot from an old bunion surgery, and the pin is holding the fracture together.
Treatment? I'm hobbling around in an air cast with instructions not to swim, bike or run for a minimum of four, and maybe up to eight, weeks.
There was initial panic. I've worked hard on my fitness and nutrition over the past three years. I have lost 30 lbs. I fell in love with the sport of triathlon. I have BIG PLANS for 2011! This can't be happening!!!
Now, with calm determination, I am going to modify my plans a bit. I am going to continue to work out any way I can without jeopardizing my recovery and maintain my fitness. I am going to watch my diet. I will get through this.
Strap on your seatbelts, my friends...it's going to be a wild ride!