Dear Izzy, Max and Kate,
I felt a little pain my calf muscle about 10 days ago. I pretended I didn’t. But 10 years into this triathlon thing I couldn’t just overlook it. I nursed it for the last few runs – cutting 5 milers down to 3 miles and an 8 miler down to a 3 miles. That was the right thing to do. I nursed it along, afraid of the consequences of pushing through. I’m too old for that. At this stage of my life I have to do what’s right. Both for myself on the race course and for our family in general.
So this morning I went out for another 3 miler, trying to convince myself that there is a place for 3 mile runs in training for long course racing. There was no sign of pain in my calf – for the firt mile. I noticed it tweaking after that. I crested a hill and started down the back side and was immediately brought to a stop – hopping on one foot, grabbing at my now injured calf, muttering curse words. The tweak became an injury. I put my foot down and limped. It wasn’t the “look at me I hurt my leg a little” kind of limp. It was more of an “oh crap. I may have to call mommy to come get me” kind of limp.
The pain was significant enough that I couldn’t even keep a quick pace while walking. It was a slow, painful mile and a half walk. 30 minutes to think. Along the road I ran through everything that my injured calf means and might mean. I thought about the races I’ve committed to and the goals I’ve established. I felt a little sorry for myself. In the next instant I was thinking of how to keep my training on the rails through the injury. I can still ride – so I’ll ride harder and more. I can still swim – so I’ll swim more. And I can water run. I’ve done that in the past to get through injuries. And a moment later I was feeling sorry for myself again. And a second after that I was planning again. It was a long 30 minute walk. When I got home I put on my Swiftwick 12 compression socks and stuffed ice packs down the back to reduce the inflammation in my calf. I wasted no time in starting the process of coming back.
I sat down to write this letter to you thinking about how many times we end up walking home with a limp over the years. Peaks and valleys.
I sent a few texts when I got home from my walk to my training buddy. They were whiny and bitter. Sometimes triathletes just need to get that out. Even as I sent those texts I knew I was going to be back on my feet soon. I just needed to vent my frustration about the plan not working out the way I had hoped. That’s life, kids. I don’t remember who said it, but I like it: “We’re surfing an undulating sea, not walking a set path.”
Embrace the long walk home. Let your mind run through the consequences of your disappointment. Vent if you need to get it out. But make sure you’re focused on the new plan almost immediately. Life’s short. There’s no time to waste.
I’m home with you kids today, because mommy had a bunch of dental work done. She’s spending the day resting, so we’re having a big day playing in the backyard and in your little pool. What a great way to spend the first official day of summer (for everyone except mommy of course).
Izzy, you made the sign in the picture above. You decided to start a triathlon club to help raise money for mommy’s dental visit. Sweet girl. We’ll be just fine – and I love the fact that your first thought for a fundraiser was a triathlon club.
Sat: Rode 2:30 hours
Sun: Rode 1:50 then ran 3 miles BRICK
Tues: Swam 1800
Wed: failed 3 mile run – injury