Well, it happened. Just like I said I would, I returned home from Camp Sufferfest with a renewed spirit. It was fun! In a twisted kind of way. All sorts of super top-secret ninja Ironman execution information was bestowed upon us by our trusty coach from Endurance Nation. Lot’s of new friendships were established. Most notably with this rock star.
Sweet Jodi from Valdosta. Seven years my senior and she challenged my fitness all weekend. She made the training fun, the heat tolerable and both shared in the misery of what 160+ miles will do to certain body parts.
Uncommon joy was not expected this weekend but it came anyway through the blessings of this friendship and the feeling of accomplishment in completing a daunting training schedule. I’m letting myself be proud of executing, in a very good way, a 116 and a 47 mile bike and a long run all in a 72 hr time period. It’s the exact boost I needed to bust through the remaining part of my training. 32 more days folks! The last piece of the puzzle left to dial in is my long run. Tomorrow I have a 2.5hr run on tap and I’m tailoring my route to mirror the race course. Another benefit of attending a camp at the race venue.
So this is not where you want to be 4 weeks out from a race.
But, this where I found myself on Monday. Dr. Wang Chung again. My nerve issue has come back. The second round of cortisone did the trick for a couple of months but my nerve flared up again mid-July. It may have been from all the traveling for baseball and sleeping in all the crappy beds. Anyway, we decided to try another injection in hopes that by race day it will have calmed down. Right now it’s tolerable but I’d rather not test it over a 14 hour day. But if it doesn’t work, well, it is what it is. Meanwhile, I’m done worrying and I’m done feeling yucky about what I can or can’t do. I have climbed out of the pit and am enjoying the view of my blessings.
So it’s been almost a month since my last post. In all honesty I’ve been finding it difficult to find any joy to write about. I have found myself bouncing between doctors offices and physical therapy and it has interrupted my training schedule and completely displaced my MoJo. What I thought was a jacked up trapezius muscle has now been determined through an MRI to be a bone spur between my C6 & C7 vertebrae. This spur is pinching my nerve and causing arm/shoulder pain and tingling fingers. Good times.
Dr. Magic Hands went on a ski trip and recommended I see my primary care doc to get some steroids while he was away. That started the ball rolling down the road of traditional medical care. So I found myself at a physical therapist and it was love at first ultrasound. Sweet Julia is an angel from heaven. Sorry Dr. Magic Hands, I have cheated on you and I liked it! I will be back and we will make up, but for now Julia is my Jam (and insurance covers her 😉 ).
Cute, isn’t she?
Sadly, despite how hard she tried to woo me with the ultrasound machine, the traction machine and her Graston scraper,
I was unable to obtain long lasting relief and off to an MRI I went. Only to receive the craptastic news of the spur. I was really hoping for a soft tissue issue. But it is what it is, and now I’m off to meet a new batch of medical providers who want to sedate me and give me a Cortisone shot into my vertebrae. Sounds safe, right?
So, through out this whole pain-in-the-neck process (sorry couldn’t resist the pun), my training has been sporadic. I go through days of not wanting to irritate my symptoms more and then days where I think “you might as well just do it since it’s going to hurt anyway”. The half ironman that I was going to do in May is off the table and anything beyond that, I will decide after I see how the Cortisone works.
As I type this, I’m realizing that there has, in fact, been joy to report. Joy in the fact that I met a kind, warm caregiver and new friend in Sweet Julia who took the time to let me cry on her shoulder and counsel me. Forgive me Dr. Magic Hands, I promise that I’ll make it up to you.
Once in a while in life you have those moments where you are sure you made the right decision. This weekend was one of those moments for me. Several month’s ago my girlfriend’s and I decided to run the Seaside Half Marathon. This would be our second time traveling together to enjoy a girls weekend/run at the beach. We had two new participants this year who do not run and have never done a half marathon before. This run is so much fun. The course is fairly flat, it has amazing views and is flush with happy participants. Most of the runners are there to have fun, oh and of course collect the Vera Bradley bag that are handed out at the finish! Two years ago when we went down to do the race I went with a purpose to see just how fast I could do a half marathon that did not follow a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike. I trained hard and I was on a mission. I also left my girlfriend’s behind after 3 miles, selfishly pursuing a PR. I was extremely happy with my finish time but I was also left feeling a little empty and extremely guilty after I found out that my sweet friend Ya Ya (not her real name) struggled through the final miles with a stress fracture. So this time I decided that my race experience was going to be different. This race was going to be about encouraging and supporting someone else, regardless of how long it took to finish. So Ya Ya and I decided to insist that our friends “who don’t run” let us run with them, no matter what the day brought. The end result was that I experienced uncommon joy and much more satisfaction from getting my friend across the finish line than I ever would have had achieving a PR. Experiencing my friend’s joy and amazement from realizing an achievement six months ago she never thought she was capable of (with a respectable time to boot!) was priceless.
God blessed me with this group of women, who encourage and pursue grace. He also blessed me with a lesson about life. Achieving a Personal Best is far more rewarding than achieving a Personal Record.