“Is all of this really worth the sacrifice?”

In light of my current struggle with injury, I feel the need to address a question I’ve been asked more than once recently. I’m sure most, if not all, triathletes have come across this same burning question.

“Is all of this really worth the sacrifice?”

In short, yes.

What is the sacrifice? Time? Money? Yes, both of those are being “sacrificed”. Family? Is my family really being sacrificed? I may be gone for an hour or two longer on some days due to training, yes, but is that SACRIFICE?

At what expense do I decide that triathlon is worth the SACRIFICE?

Well, I’ll tell you…

It’s worth it because of me. Call me selfish. Call me entitled. But, I deserve triathlon. And, guess what else? My family deserves it, too.

No, my family is not made of fellow triathletes. So, how do they deserve triathlon? Because they deserve my happiness. They deserve my sanity. They deserve my health.

Health.

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Health. It’s kind of a loose term, right? In a country where a “balanced” meal served to school children includes nothing resembling real food, but rather processed versions, I think we have some work to do to define “health”. We live in a world chock full of willful ignorance. The big food companies rely on this to sell their products. The vast majority DO NOT CARE what is in their food. And, they TRUST that companies would not put harmful things into their food. People don’t want to KNOW where their food comes from. Is THAT worth the sacrifice?

What is health? Of course this definition will vary greatly from one person to the next. One person’s view of health could be simply waking up that day while another would attribute it to being able to run 10 miles. Everyone has a different level of health. Our job? Live up to our own level. What does that mean? Well, it means that ONE DAY, you will not be able to physically do the things you can do today.

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One day you won’t be able to take the health you have for granted. One day your lifestyle choices will DEFINE you.

What will YOUR definition be?

I looked in the mirror last October and saw a definition that I did not like. My lifestyle choices had begun to define me. I was 50 pounds overweight. I was tired. I was unhappy with what I had let myself become. This is where ACCOUNTABILITY comes in. Who was going to change me? Me. Only I could do that. And, only you can change you.

So, when someone asks me “Is all of this really worth the sacrifice?”, my answer will always be yes. I’ve sacrificed the unhealthy version of me. I’ve put her to rest. The only thing I’ve sacrificed, the only thing I’ve said goodbye to, is the old me. I’m okay with that.

So when you see a triathlete and you think “oh my gosh, I can’t believe they do all of that” and you want to ask them if it’s worth the sacrifice, don’t. They know it is.

Magnets and boots

The worst thing you can tell a runner is “you cannot run”. After being diagnosed with the stress fracture via the X-ray last Monday, I opted for the MRI to assess the extent of the damage and hope it was all wrong.

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I anticipated hearing that there was a fracture (or even more fractures) and that I would need to be non-weight bearing and in the CAM boot for several weeks. It was the last thing I wanted to hear, but it’s what I expected. It’s what I prepared myself to hear.

But that’s not what I heard.

The thing about X-rays is that they’re apparently not that good as a diagnostic tool for stress fractures. They can either be completely missed OR they can be misdiagnosed easily.

I was lucky and fell into the latter. The changes seen on my X-ray ended up being some cortical changes related to inflammation.

NO FRACTURES!!!!!

HOWEVER, my peroneus longus tendon (the one the goes along the outer part of your ankle and wraps under your foot) is very inflamed and may have a small tear. The long word is tenosynovitis. Ouch. That’s apparently the cause of my pain and swelling. I still have the bruising on my heel, too. No idea on that.

So what’s the plan, Stan?

Well, I still have to wear the stinking walking boot. And not walk. So no weight-bearing for a few more days (compliance issue #1) and anti-inflammatory medications for a while as well (compliance issue #2). I’m not a very good patient, but I will do my best. I will see the doc again on Friday and go from there.

Of course, my first question was if this means I can do the triathlon in December 🙂

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One day at a time.

Sidelined.

Benchwarmer. That is me.

I knew that the pain I was having wasn’t good. I really knew it wasn’t good when it started to be accompanied by swelling and bruising. I had the Indianapolis Half Marathon two Saturdays ago. It went SO well. I felt great before and during the race. I PR’d by over 7 minutes.

Then, a couple of hours after the race I noticed the pain. It was along the lateral side of my left foot. It wasn’t severe, but definitely there. I iced, took naproxen, and rested (for a day).

I went into the 5 mi race this past Saturday not sure if it was a good idea.

Turns out it wasn’t.

I woke up this morning and as soon as I stood in the shower, I had to take the weight off my foot. I looked down and noticed bruising to the bottom of it.

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I knew this was a bad sign.

I called around to several sports medicine offices to see who could get me in the soonest. I got lucky and found that the office close to my work had a lunch-time appointment available and promised they could get me in and out quickly.

I went in and the sports med fellow doc poked and prodded around my foot a bit and seemed slightly perplexed. He conferred with his superior and sent me for an X-ray. Great.

What seemed like an eternity, but was actually less than an hour, passed and the sports med fellow doc, athletic trainer, and attending doc all entered the room. They pulled the X-ray up on the screen and…

BOOM

There it was. Glaring at me.

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A fracture.

The first word out of my mouth certainly wasn’t pleasant.

It’s all across the cuboid bone. Fun.

So, I left in a walking boot and with crutches and with the stern orders to be NON-WEIGHT BEARING. Do they not realize how hard it is for a busy girl like me to be non-weight bearing?

There’s the pool and the bike. Well, the stationary bike. They will be my friends as this heals.

As for the Monumental Marathon I’ve looked forward to all year? I’m out. I’ll be warming the bench and cheering from the sidelines. To say I’m broken-hearted is putting it lightly. I was looking forward to the first in the series of medals over the next 4 years. I was looking forward to my first marathon. I was looking forward to trying to break 4 hours. Bubble busted.  

I’m hoping that I will be able to compete in 6 weeks at the HITS Tri in Palm Springs. I’m begging the docs. I’m begging my body. We will see what happens.

Rain, rain, go away…

My training plan for this week has been totally derailed. Of course, I *could* suck it up and run in the downpours, but to be honest…I just didn’t feel like it. So, my planned 13 mile run on Sunday did not happen. Several factors went into that decision. It was getting late at night, it was raining, the kids were needing to go to bed and stop crying. Blah, blah, blah. Lots of excuses.

Monday was supposed to be a rest day. Well, since I did absolutely nothing training related on Sunday, that just could not happen. ANNNND…it was RAINING again. Luckily, my handy dandy gym was available. I can always rely on Body Pump and Body Attack to perk me up and get me nice and sore.

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I ended up being late for Body Attack since I ran over at work. Then, had to leave Body Pump early. I really only ended up getting a solid hour workout in. According to my Garmin, I still burnt about 500 calories, so not too shabby. And, according to my muscles today, I got a good workout.

Today is even more of a mess because I have to leave work, pick up both kiddos, head to my hair appointment (it desperately needs trimmed) and try to squeeze in a workout after all of that with both kids in tow. Whew. I’m already exhausted.

With all of that, I have to remember that my fitness is MY responsibility.

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Making excuses and allowances for not making workouts happen is MY fault. I might be a busy working mom. I might have a million other things to do (like clean my house). I also have to take care of myself to make ANY of that happen.

I will never have enough time.

I will never have enough money.

I can, however, do my best to ensure my health. I can take care of myself. I can put good things into my body and I can work hard to get good results out of my body. If I do that, I will be better for my husband, my kids, my job, myself. That’s what I often forget and that’s why it’s so easy to put myself on the back-burner.

No more back-burner. Time to get serious. Time to stop the excuses.

364 days to go!

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I was very humbled by watching the coverage of the 2014 Ironman World Championship event throughout the day yesterday and into the morning today. Man, Kona is BEAUTIFUL! I was glued to it. I am so inspired by the incredibly gifted, fast athletes. I’m even more motivated by the ones that have incredible stories and get out there and give it all they’ve got to complete within minutes of the time allowance. Just watching their reactions as they cross the finish line is such an experience. I cannot imagine how amazing that would’ve been to see in person, instead of remotely at home. One day!

The thing about Ironman is that it brings such a sense of cohesiveness with athletes. One athlete may finish in 8 hours and another may finish in 17, but they all went through the same 140.6 miles of swimming, biking, and running. They all went through the issues with current, choppy water, swells. They all went through the hills, descents, wind. They all went through the brick-like feet, the screaming muscles, the mental game. And, they all crossed the finish line to hear “You are an Ironman”.untitled

Those words. Those 4 little words.

I have 364 days to prepare to hear those words. I want nothing more than to hear “Rebecca Dobbins, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”.

October 11th, 2015. Louisville, Kentucky. I’m there.

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So, here we are, now less than a year away. What am I doing to prepare? Well, I’m swimming, biking, and running, of course! And doubting myself. Constantly.

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This month is a little strange. I registered for the Monumental Marathon in March of this year. My initial thought was that it would be my “A” race. It would be the end-all-be-all. All of my training would lead up to that main event. Somehow, someway, I since decided to become a triathlete. Now all of a sudden, the Monumental Marathon is a stepping stone, rather than my “A” race.

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I’ve been so focused on triathlon training that I haven’t been getting in my marathon mileage. But, I do feel like I’m fairly prepared. While I don’t need swimming or cycling for the marathon, those things make me strong. I’ll be pushing up to 18-20 miles for my long runs over the next couple of weeks and then I’ll do what I can to get through the Monumental.

My initial goal was to be around 3:45 for my finish time. Then I figured I’d settle for under 4 hours. Now, I just want to finish it. I will still do my best. But, I’m not going to push it and risk an injury when I’ve got such a lofty goal ahead of me.

I also have the HITS Triathlon Series 2014 Championship Olympic Distance race coming up soon on December 7th in Palm Springs, CA.

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This will be my third Olympic distance race and I’m planning on it being my best. It’s a beautiful swim in Lake Cahuilla, a FLAT (yes!) bike course along the snow-capped mountains, and a nice FLAT run course as well. I cannot wait.

With starting my new “normal person” schedule last week, I’ve been struggling to adjust my training schedule. I only got in about 6 hours of training last week as opposed to my normal 10-15 hours. This week, I need to amp that up.

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Here’s my tentative training schedule for the week:

Sunday: 13 mi run

Monday: REST

Tuesday: 3K swim

Wednesday: 5 mi run

Thursday: 30 mi bike

Friday: Speedwork, 2-3 miles of interval sprints

Saturday: 5K race

Sunday: 15-18 mi run

Busy week. Busy year. Doing it.

Turning in my zombie card

I’ve worked night shift jobs for 11 years. That’s a really long time for me, seeing as how I’m (only) 29 (for another week).

I started my new day shift hours yesterday and it’s quite the adjustment. I’m not used to being completely alive and functioning during the day. Typically, my schedule was that I’d work 6pm until 230am (or later), sleep from 430am-730am, get Aidan ready for school and on the bus, get Cora up and ready, go workout from 9am-12pm, have lunch, nap with Cora from 1-3ish, get ready for work and do it all over. That is exhausting just to read, isn’t it?!

Days off were nice because I only worked 3 days per week, but I often worked weekends and my days off involved being fairly exhausted due to lack of sleep. I was slowly killing myself.

It’s only my second day of being on “normal people” hours but I’m struggling. I know it will take a while to adjust. I haven’t been able to make myself get up and workout before going in. I know I need to. I have a freaking MARATHON coming up! Oh, and another Olympic triathlon.
I went after work yesterday to a Les Mill’s Body Attack class. It wasn’t quite “recovery” from this last weekend’s tri, but I’m always good for some intensity.

The real point to this is getting myself some accountability. So, here it is:
I’m setting my alarm for 530am.
I’m not pressing snooze.
I’m going for a run.

I’m turning in my zombie card.

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Pre-Race Jitters…

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(Thank you to Danielle from the SBM Army for overnighting me the tri top!)

Every night before a race is mental hell. I get a case of the “I can’t”s and I struggle with convincing myself that *I CAN*. I rush around frantically making sure my gadgets are charged and ready, that I have my transition bag fully packed with everything I could possibly need to swim, bike, and run, that my bike is ready and gearing properly with no tire issues. I lay out my tri kit and make sure I don’t forget to put the necessities by it, too (Button Hole, Tri Slide, Body Glide, etc).

Tonight I realized it’s going to be a BRISK 46⁰ during the race. Uhhhhh…. I’m not sure on the water temp. I think last I checked it was about 68⁰ but that is likely to drop. I’ve only swam in my wetsuit once. It was a great swim, but still, makes me nervous.

So, here I am at 11pm the night before freaking out. My bag is packed. My bike is ready. My husband and kids are prepped and sleeping. Here I sit.

I know that no matter what, tomorrow will be great. Deep down, I know this. I just need to get the monster in my head to understand that.