Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dealing With Injury

Almost four weeks ago I strained my left calf at the end of a 5 mile transition run. While it appeared to come from nowhere, inevitably there was something not right that caused the muscle strain injury. Over the years of training for first marathons then Ironman events, I have remained relatively injury-free. Like everyone who trains for long distance endurance events, I have beat my body up and had small issues from time-to-time. But for the most part, I am dealing with something I am not used to dealing with - an interruption of my training and my routine.

A former colleague of mine became famous around the office for using the phrase "I love my routine" on a fairly routine basis. I always found the humor in how it would get under some people's skin, but also appreciated the thought. Because truth be told, I do love my routine. I know that when I wake early in the day I have a workout on the agenda before heading into the office. Sometimes a bike ... sometimes a run ... on a rare occasion a swim ... but always something. For the past month there has not necessarily been the case.

See, I haven't been able to run since that transition run. I tried last weekend and failed.This posed a much larger problem as I am scheduled to do the Rev3 Quassy 70.3 this weekend in Middlebury, CT. Being that I can't run, I had a change of plans. Still racing, but a change of plans. Here's how I'm dealing with this injury:

1. Aggressive Rehab - I am very fortunate in having a great massage therapist in Joe as well as an incredibly knowledgeable chiropractor in Greg Huron who understands and works with athletes on a regular basis. As soon as I had the issue I  scheduled to meet with both Joe and Greg asap to get a game plan together for fixing me.

2. Change in Training Focus - The great thing about doing triathlons is if you an injury keeps you from one form of exercise you can change focus and work on other areas. I had the same exact injury two years ago and put in a big block of swim training. And a funny thing happened - my swim noticeably improved. 

3. Remain Positive - This can be a challenge, especially when race season comes around. But bigger picture, I get that I'm healthy and fit, which is really what matters, not a few weeks away from the run.

4. Change in Race Plans - One must be realistic about what can and cannot be done. As this injury occurred right in the middle of by buildup for Quassy, I immediately understood that my best-case would be to go into the race able to make the distance, but not with the run fitness to make my original time goal. Once I decided that I couldn't run at all, I changed my registration to the AquaVelo division so I could still compete. I am scheduled to do the Philly Olympic Triathlon on June 23. Unlikely that my goal of winning the 40-44 Age Group title is going to happen. 

And such is life. 

So come Sunday I will be able to toe the line in an event that I have never raced before. Because of the bum calf I will compete in a totally different way than I had originally planned and it's kinda exciting. If you are familiar with the Quassy course - or Middlebury, CT in general - you know that it is challenging. To say there are a lot of hills is a vast understatement. That, of course, makes me happy. As we like to say : "we train for hills, we love hills!!!" 

Train hard. Stay focused.