I'll preface this entry with stating this is not a whine-fest. This is more of a cathartic entry. I do fully realize there are others out there who experience far worse set-backs than what I will proceed to explain.
It's also not the logic that I have issue with, it's the emotion. I've essentially been working towards a goal for a while now, and when seemingly things start to come together and just when I get to experience some small victories, I take a blow like this and it just got me emotional. I guarantee it will only be momentarily, but I have to move through and deal with it, in order to move beyond it.
So I took a fall about 6 weeks ago. It was nasty, right on my knee. It had me down for a few days, but I was recovering with the help of favorite chiros Dr. T and Dr. C. I knew I wasn't fully recovered because I didn't have my full range of motion back yet -- bottom of a squat caused pain in the back of the knee. It just wasn't right yet, however I knew I just had to be patient and just work through it.
I get the new bike, have a great first race on it. Awesome! Even managed to have a good, pain-free run :)
Fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend. What triathlete wastes a day off of work to just hang around, right? Well, certainly not me or any of the peeps I train with! Sunday of that weekend I rode about 40 miles on the new bike and then on Monday I rode another 44 with a swim in the middle of the ride. All good. No pain; everything was fine post-ride.
Tuesday morning... I'm still feeling good all day. Headed to my track workout and got 3/4 of the way through and something just wasn't right in the knee. Since it was the knee I fell on and I knew I was still kind of recovering, I stopped. I just assumed it was related. The next day it was ridiculously painful. It was inflamed, could hardly walk; had no range of motion whatsoever. Saw Dr. T. the next day for treatment, and the next day it felt exponentially better... like 75% better! Yay for improvement, right?!?
I decided to continue with the Tejas Tri knowing I wouldn't be running much, but would swim and bike as was agreeable with my knee, still taking care. I had a great swim (10:49 - 2nd) and bike (20.8 mph avg - 4th)! The run was intentionally slow; my knee didn't feel at all comfortable. I kept with run/walk intervals, but even the running portion of the interval was s-l-o-w and easy. In fact, I moved to the street to run, where the incline was more agreeable to my knee, than the path of the course.
I get to the end of the run, just 25 yds from the Finish and my knee pops, clicks and gives out. I would have gone down to the ground had there not been a lamp-post to grab a hold of. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced -- I quite literally limped across the line. I knew it was bad.
Got in to see Dr. T. the next morning and this time I failed the Meniscus test. I was having so much pain, we were really leaning towards a tear. We ordered the MRI and got the results back. Of course Dr. T. wants me to go see a Orthopedist for full review and discussion about how to proceed.
I had to work from home for 2 days because the pain was so bad, I couldn't sit comfortably in the car -- in fact the day of the race I was lucky a friend of mine decided to come with me -- because she wound up driving me home, and she has broken ribs from getting t-boned in her car a couple weeks ago!
In the end the results state Osteoarthritis. When I was told I was in complete denial. It had to be post-traumatic; I fell on that knee, right? Well, evidently I have so many little things wrong, that are more degenerative than a result of trauma. Crap! The back of my knee cap is "shredded", there is space between my joints and there is lots of debris. That's just what I remember Dr. T telling me before the "wave" hit me.
- I did this to myself; I should have taken control of my health much sooner.
- It's degenerative -- what about my ultimate goal (my Ironman dream!)?
- It's degenerative -- that means it's going to get worse as I age; there are no solutions.
- I won't be able to see the doc I want to see, because it's labeled as "Arthritis" and not a sports injury.
I had my pity party. Cried on the phone with my Coach (recently dubbed CC "Cranky Coach") for nearly 30 minutes while I listened to him rationalize everything and tell me we'll get through it; we just have to get information and come up with the right plan. Nothing is over until I give up and this is just a bump in the road. He's been in my shoes with a back injury that's been limiting him and it kills him emotionally as well as physically. I felt badly about breaking down on the phone, but at the end of the call he said he was glad that I was comfortable with being so emotional.
Then he says, "...this is just another piece of your Kona essay." LOL When you put it all together, it will be quite a story. LOL
No matter the injury, it would have been emotional. I have had so many good things fall into place the last month. Really good things that I am wholly grateful for -- and this doesn't change any of those things.
I've been on this road too long to give up now.
When I first started being coached by CC, he wanted to know what my ultimate goal was. I said I wanted to do an Ironman one day. He said, "The day you decide you want to do an Ironman, is the very day your training begins."
He wasn't kidding.