Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Body Says

I'm out.

There it is, in black-and-white. I said it, it's out there, it's real. Just like the Ironman became "real" when I bought my plane tickets, my withdrawl is now real with that statement.

After several days of great progress, my back locked up on Friday, making is near-impossible to stand upright for most of the afternoon, and blowing any hope of a workout for the day. More importantly, I just returned from the bike portion of my "deciding" brick, and after only two hours, I can barely walk.

Now three weeks without a serious workout, and three more weeks until the race, I now accept that there is just not enough time to fully recover. I hoped against hope, and perhaps a small miracle will prevail, but I can't approach the next few weeks with that even as an option.

In the HUGE support I have gotten from everybody, it was suggested that maybe I just go and see what happens, but when I can't stand up, and a soft cough or sneeze sends my back into a spasm, that's just not a good idea. I have trouble sitting through a three-hour computer training, so a six-seven hour bike is so beyond my comprehension right now. Moreover, I discovered today that, not matter how many five-hour rides you do, a three-week layoff is a LOT of lost fitness. Even with three-times weekly treatments and moderate workouts, the recovery will take a lot longer than the three more weeks I would give it.

So it's over.

Wow, that sucks.

I totally thought I would feel some relief by making that decision, but it is quite the opposite. I don't feel good, don't feel settled or focused - I just feel bad. And bitterly disappointed. And sad in a way that actually leaves me sort of dumbfounded. And I decided that it's more than just the lost training - it was the plans, the hope, the images of the day- you need all this stuff to get through the workouts, and after a while, it becomes real, tangible, right-in-front-of-you-to-grab-it. You begin to see yourself cross that line, hug your family and friends, maybe cry (as I usually do) or maybe not, but then go home and eat pancakes and come back to Chicago with the medal to show just how far you can go. Okay, fine, it's kind of cheesy, but I got through a lot of trainer rides with those thoughts.

So it is. I am now going to turn my attention to recovery, spend a ton of time in the pool and then focus on the iron-distance race in September. It won't have the bells and whistles of an "official" Ironman, but I really just want to do the distance. 140.6 miles is just as far in the cornfields of Central Illinois as it is on the streets of Tempe. It may not have my "City of Blinding Lights" by U2 blaring as a I cross, but I'll have my screaming family and friends.

So at the fork in the road, I am choosing to continue the journey down a longer path, and hoping that this time around, I take all the lessons from the previous trip and am more watchful for the potholes. And of course, I will have to document this trip as well, so don't expect to see me sign off on this "Project" just yet. There's a whole lotta tri-ing to be done.

Later skaters.


Anonymous said...

my eyes welled up a bit reading the end of this post. don't dare sign off this 'project'. the cornfields work just as well. you're an ironwoman in my book. larry

ellen said...

I couldnt be prouder of you. You're an inspiration and I am in awe of your will and determination. I will be at whatever finish line your at with a heart full of pride. You are already an ironman girl. Love you, ellen

Cindy Jo said...

It's cheesy but true: Ironman is about the journey, NOT the destination. If it was about the destination none of us would do it over and over again!!!

I've been through what you are going through, and it sucks, but it is part of your journey and accepting that is important.

AZ Ironman 2007 said...

It's what happens and what you do when nobody's watching. You did the right thing Meg. I'm proud of you beyond description.
Solid Decision

momo said...

(posting here too)
oh, megan, i’m so sorry!! i so wish things were different and your back wasn’t being such a pain in the ass, but believe me, things happen for a reason. i want you to know, too, that crossing that finish line may give you the title of ironman, but you have earned the description ironman in all the weeks and months and miles leading up to the race. the training, what you’ve learned about yourself, what you’ve endured and overcome to just get this far will forever change you. ironman is a journey and you have taken 99.9% of the steps to get there. i have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that had your back not decided to seize up, you would have taken that last step and rocked it. now, you’ll just get to do it somewhere else, and i will be cheering you along on the entire way – you can count on it.

Donald said...

Bummer about holding yourself out of the next race - even though it sounds like the right decision.

For the record, I've NEVER bought into that whole "It has to be an m-dot race" mentality. 140.6 is 140.6, regardless of who the sponsor is. I've got my own post on this topic up my sleeve for a rainy day.