I’ve been quiet lately. Let me try to catch you up on what’s been going on.
The other day a friend was out running and told his buddy, “She can only ride in ‘pretty’ places!”
I love sunshine. When I was 7, I named my pet duck Sunshine. “You are my Sunshine” is one of the best songs ever (if you don’t believe me, watch this). I’m 99% solar powered (the rest is coffee). It just so happens that the sun shines in the prettiest of places-usually near a beach, with dolphins and mountains and open spaces with long roads I can get lost on for hours. What triathlete doesn’t love that?
But I haven’t always been this way. My first winter training for triathlon, I spent a majority of my time in my friend’s basement on his computrainer and treadmill. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to leave Santa Barbara for winter break and spend 4 weeks back in the arctic tundra of Chicago (note: I never made this mistake again). When Mike was there, he would help me get the computer set up, along with a movie (Kung Fu Panda like 8 times), and leave me to my business. When he wasn’t home, though, I could never find the light switch, and couldn’t figure out how to get the movie or music to play. So I’d sit in the dark for 3 or 4 hours, pedaling away.
And I got faster.
And you know what?
I loved it.
I loved being in that dark hole by myself, sweat pouring down, where no one knew to find me.
Fast forward to now. I sit on my bike and grind my teeth. The pain is so excruciating sometimes I cry, or just give up. It’s been three years. I have seen more doctors, PTs, ATs, chiropractors, orthopedists, and masseuses than I can count, and am no closer to resolve.
I can sit and spin for hours without much problem, but as soon as I put in effort, I’m in a dark hole of pain, so different from what I experienced before. I can go on to tell you how this has affected my training and racing, but I think it is obvious that I haven’t seen improvement, on my bike or run. What isn’t as obvious is how it’s affected my mental state.
It’s worn on me. I look back 3 years to the day on my training peaks account and see the same comments of pain. For some reason my love always outweighed my frustrations, and I’d keep training. I’d focus on what I could do-pedal for a long time and not go hard. The only way I have found compensates for that happy exhaustion I used to feel, is pretty places. When my leg starts acting up, I can look around and say, “You know, I’m okay. This is beautiful and I’m okay.”
I’ve waited three years for stars to align. On Friday, I was offered the opportunity to fly out to Idaho and work with a clinic at the University. Yes, I’ve been told I could be fixed before, but this time I was told they wouldn’t let me come out for nothing.
On Monday morning I’m flying out with a bike box, suitcase, crutches, and boot. I’m staying at a random hotel and will be working with clinicians for 5 days. I’m putting a lot of faith into these strangers’ hands, and can only hope for the best.
My love for this sport has never waivered. It’s morphed into frustration, yes, but the fire is still there. More than anything I want to be able to do what I love, whether it’s in the prettiest of places, or a dark basement.
I’m going to try and keep this updated over the next few days and weeks with what I’ve learned and where I’m going from here, so check back!