I pulled the plug on IMTX. I have to get this body healthy, flexible, strong, healthy and ready to handle the volume I want to put it through, before taking on another ironman.
Here’s the scoop:
After taking tons of down time post IMWI…. about a month fully off with a few unstructured light swims in the mix and zero running, it was discovered as I gradually tried to ease back to training that I was getting some behind the knee pain. Turns out I had to take more time off running and stay out of aero to heal a strained hamstring caused by a combination of tight hip flexors and the gait change from the metarsal (foot) pain I had during the IMWI run. Turns out total inactivity post IMWI was the worst thing for it. So, I went to my doctor and active release and then saw a physical therapist and am finally getting my bike and run legs back. Just as that was starting however, my shoulder started giving me trouble.
I wound up straining several muscles in my shoulder the week before Christmas. Its been frustrating. I felt like I did everything right. I was getting so strong and swimming faster than ever. I was safely following the training plan progression. I’d had my swim form critiqued. My swim speed with the improved form was blowing my mind!
Then, bam… I wound up dropping in on a masters work out…. one that I hadn’t been regularly attending. It happened to be their big season finale and they had a workout that consisted of something like:
30 push ups, swim 50, 20 press ups on the deck, swim 50.
Repeat. 8. times.
Now, we were given the opportunity to switch lanes. I wanted to swim my 50’s fast like usual so I didn’t go to the lower numbered lanes where I could have done something like 10 and 15 push ups.
I only made it through 3 sets and my arms just could not take it. I had to swim by myself the remainder of the class. I felt so very defeated, being unable to complete the set… but I had no idea that was just the start of a long downslide. I took some rest and a few days later as the soreness subisded… I was swimming sluggish, unable to hit my targets. Then, I started feeling a click/pop sensation during the swim. It didn’t hurt, but I immediately stopped swimming. I didn’t swim for weeks upon weeks upon weeks after.
I went to ART (active release therapy) the next day. Likely strained my supraspinatus, rhomboid, and trapezius. The clicking and grinding was obvious. Certain movements hurt it. Then, it became sore… constantly. And I wasn’t even swimming.
I was in the orthopedic doctors office the first day of the new year and he suggested PT. Told me not to worry about Ironman Texas. It was so far away. He said I just damaged my shoulder capsule and needed some PT.
I started PT with my amazingly talented, patient and fun physical therapist. He was optimistic. Yet, it wasn’t healing fast. The shoulder was weak. The popping occuring at every “row” with the therapy bands. My rib started bothering me too. Theres a ton of “grinding” in my shoulder when it moves. Its often sore.
I added acupuncture to the mix, to try to accelerate the healing process.
6 weeks later, I get a cortisone shot since PT wasn’t correcting it at the pace the expected.
I changed my diet to ensure I was getting all the healthy nutrients and protein my body needed to heal.
But the time came where I had to… pull the towel on Ironman Texas. By this point, all of my swim fitness was lost. And I wasn’t swimming at all… with no base and no healing timeline in sight, I could not risk tearing my body apart trying to “finish” an ironman. I know I can “finish” an ironman. I had wanted to finish it fast. That was a very hard decision but it was the right one.
Post cortizone shot I continued PT. It was progressing but very slowly and all the grinding and clicking and popping is still there….especially during rows.
The PT and the accupuncturist both advice me go in the pool. They say despite the clicking, I still have “full range of motion” so maybe it just needed to work things out with movement. Freestyle does not hurt it. Backstroke does. Yet, freestyle never hurt it… it was that click/pop/awkward feeling and its still there.
My shoulder is still not fully recovered. I’m back in the pool. Swimming doesn’t make it worse, but this is not a healthy shoulder 24/7 so its hard to know what to do. I can’t do planks on it, its often sore, I’m only on the “blue” bands in PT. The wimpy ones are red. The grey ones are above the blue.
I haven’t ridden in my aerobars all winter long, although I’ve been cleared to try it.
Last week, I went back to the doctor. He tells me the next step is an MRI to rule out a labrum tear. I had the basic MRI at the tail end of the week. I’m frustrated because I don’t expect the MRI to show a tear. Therefore, I’m kind of at a loss. I’m building back into swimming very gradually, but then… what happens when I get a negative MRI and still my shoulder’s not better? Yet, inactivity could also be harmful and my doctor, PT, accupuncturist all think its ok to swim, even with the occasional clicking and even though I don’t have full strength and experience soreness and pain with different motions.
I don’t understand WHAT is wrong with my shoulder that is causing it to heal at such a slow pace and THAT is what makes it so very frustrating.
On top of it all… just as I’m getting back in the pool I discover today that the ear pain I’ve been having is “swimmers ear” and so now I’m forced out until Thursday with antibiotic ear drops.
I deserve a break. I truly have been following the “rules” and doing all the “right” things: listening to my body, listening to my team of experts, following my plan, respecting recovery, hiring an expert coach I trust. following my doctor’s instructions, doing something every DAY for my body’s health, heating, icing, eating healthy, following my PT with unwavering commitment, and yet my luck is just not there.
I just want to be healthy so I can do what I love most.
Fingers crossed that tomorrow’s appointment goes well and I am able to communicate well enough to get a better understanding of this shoulder problem. I just don’t get it.
I want to get healthy!!!