What are my fears going into my Ironman journey?
In my first blog post I wrote about my experience running my first marathon. I described how my entire life I had thought marathons were for super human athletes, and how I was able to prove to myself that with incremental training and enough time, running a marathon is a feat within the reach of many, including me.
I am approaching this Ironman with the same mentality. Exercising continuously for 140.6 miles is inconceivable at this point, but I know that I don’t have to be able to do this from one day to the next. I’ll have eight months to train starting January, a structured training program with the DC tri club, and incrementally longer training workouts. My fear is not lacking the fitness to go the distance.
My biggest fear is one that could put an end to my Ironman dream long before race day: the fear of injury. I have been injured before during my 2013 racing season, and this can be physically and mentally crippling. When training for my marathon, I developed pain in my right foot on a day I went out for an 18 mile run. During the following two weeks I was supposed to reach the peak of my training (a 20 and a 22 mile run), but I could barely walk. I had to skip training for two weeks. I was devastated. I felt so invested into marathon training that the thought of not being able to race made me feel terrible. These were two very frustrating weeks: I wanted to work out, but I couldn’t. In the end, luckily, I was able to resume training about two weeks prior to the event date and complete my first marathon without re-injury.
A second injury came during the running portion of an Olympic triathlon in June. I experienced IT band pain so severely that it brought me to a halt and then made it very difficult to put one foot in front of another for the rest of the run portion. I ended up in the medical tent after the race. This IT band pain has been very tough to deal with. For weeks after the race it kept me from being able to run at all. It carried into late August – less than a month before my next and last Olympic triathlon of the season – and kept me from running more than a few miles a week at an easy pace. I became very invested into getting rid of this pain, through physical therapy, strength training, roller stretching, and even dry needling. It has been very difficult to get rid of. As of this writing, I can still feel the presence of the pain when I run, albeit mildly.
Thus, my biggest fear next year is getting injured. I know I will have to be smart, disciplined, and listen to my body to prevent this from happening.
My second fear is… [stay tuned for my next post].