Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ironman Louisville Race Report: Fighting Through an Injury

Ironman Louisville Training

After returning from France, I was able to get back to training pretty quickly, focused on Ironman Louisville which was a reasonable 8 weeks after Ironman France...and it seemed like just the right amount after going only 6 weeks (not quite enough time) between Ironman Texas and Ironman France.  My build-up for Ironman Louisville went very well, as I got in all the long rides and runs that I needed, and was feeling better/stronger on the bike than I have....well, ever.  And running was going well too - knowing it would be hot in Louisville, I got several long runs in during the afternoon in 95+ degree weather, and was handling the heat pretty well. 

Thus, I came into my last tough weekend before the taper feeling pretty good about Louisville...but 3 miles before finishing up my last long run, disaster struck!  Moreover, my butt started to hurt.  So I walked/ran those last 3 miles, thinking it was maybe just a tweak and would get better quickly after I got home and off my feet.  But it didn't get better later that day....or the next...or the next...it actually got worse.  I continued to swim throughout that week, but the pain was so great (it even hurt when I walked) that I couldn't run or bike.  The following weekend (1 week out from IMLOU) I threw caution to the wind, and went on a 60 mile bike ride.  I got through the ride without too much trouble, but I went pretty easy, and I when I did push the pace, it would hurt worse.  Still, it wasn't too bad, and I was slightly hopeful about my chances of competing in IMLOU.  So, having planned our trip and made all the arrangements, Kimberly and I set off for Louisville, Kentucky!

The good folks at Occupational Kinetics did everything humanly possible to heal my butt!

Arriving in Louisville

The first thing we did upon arriving in Louisville was head straight to Occupational Kinetics.  They were going to attempt to heal my butt!  Thus, for the three days leading up to the race, they did ART treatment and ultrasound treatment utilizing Primal Sport Mud instead of gel.  There is quite the synergistic relationship between ultrasound and Primal Sport Mud, as I came to them with considerable muscle spasms, and they were able to completely eliminate them!  As I would later find out, the underlying cause of my butt pain was a skeletal and not muscular issue, so no amount of treatment would truly cure me... While in Louisville, we were able to spend much time with our wonderful sponsors, did a meet and greet, pro-triathlete forum, radio interview, and were able to swim at the most incredible quarry-turned-Olympic-sized-swimming-pool (courtesy of Lakeside Swim Team) you have ever seen!

Radio Interview put on by Primal Sport Mud

The Swim

The swim went quite swimmingly, I would have to say!  We swam in the Ohio River, going into the current the first 1/4 of the swim and with the current the last 3/4.  So I knew how important it would be for me to catch a good draft on the upstream part, and I did just that.  In fact, I caught a good draft the whole swim, and emerged from the water with a fast pack of 5 other male swimmers in a time of 48 minutes (PR by 5 minutes)!  Thanks in no small part to my TYR Torque Pro swimskin - with this mild summer, every race so far had been wetstuit legal, so I hadn't had a chance to wear this awesome suit yet.

Pre-swim: Cobb Mobb athlete/ Cobb Cycling employee Jeremy Brown is surrounded by Mavericks!  Jeremy and two other fellow Tylerites (Cori and Ryan Moore) made IMLOU their first Ironman!

The Bike

Running through T1 was slightly discouraging...my butt hurt!  And I was even more discouraged when it continued to hurt on the bike.  Even though I had felt pretty good in some spin workouts leading up to the race, there's an added level of intensity and strain that comes with racing that I cautiously wouldn't let myself get to in training.  So I backed off a little (then Pat Evoe passed me like I was standing still) and decided I would keep riding and if it got really bad Kimbo and Chris (Maverick Multisport Team Director/all around awesome guy) were out on the course and could give me a ride in.  While the Engine may not have been working right, the frame and wheels certainly were, as my Argon 18 bike and ENVE Composites wheels still got me through that bike course in less than 5 hours!  And a beautiful bike course it was, winding through the Kentucky horse country, with just enough rolling hills to keep you honest. 

 Cruising through Kentucky
Kimbo, I'm need a little more cowbell...

The Run

Instead of running 26.2 miles, I ended up running about 26.2 feet.  That was more than enough for me to know that I shouldn't be running...or walking...or putting any weight on my left leg whatsoever.

The DNF

So I walked into T2 and told the wonderful volunteers that I was throwing in the towel.  Then I went and found Kimbo - rather, Kimbo found me - and I took a dip in a fountain to clean off.  There was no time for a shower, as I had to get on the run course to cheer on my teammates, Mike Hermanson and Molly Roohi!  Both ended up getting 4th (overall male/female)!  I often hear people talk about how mentally tough Ironman is, and how mentally strong you have to be to complete an Ironman...well, I would argue that it's even harder to not finish an Ironman.  Watching the run and knowing that I should be out there was tough.  To make matters even worse, it was a humid day (I'm weird and like the humidity), and the fastest run time was a 3:10.  But I shan't get caught up in thinking of what could have been...I just need to focus on getting healthy and back to racing!

Bathing in a fountain before watching my fellow Mavericks and Tylerites on the run!

The Aftermath

A few days after getting back to Tyler, I had an appointment with ultra-marathoner/sports medicine doctor/Runner's World medical expert, Dr. Cathy Fieseler.  Pushing through the bike had set me back a little in the road to recovery, and I was once again having trouble walking.  Turns out, what I thought was piriformis syndrome was more likely a sacral stress fracture.  So I was instructed to ease back into biking, but lay off of running for the next several weeks.  It didn't take long for me to be completely pain free on the bike, and I've been able to participate in several bike races with my local cycling team, Fresh Racing!  Not my preferred method of racing, but I will take it. 

I've probably gone off the front in 5 of the 6 road races I've done...and it finally worked! #triathleteproblems

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

"If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing."



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