40 In ironman world championship/ triathlon

training lately’s been…

The first week of April, my good luck elephant bracelet broke during masters. Call me superstitious, but since then… oof. Training’s been meh, I’ve been feeling meh (the flu and an ear infection)… so much meh. And, it all culminated on Monday, with an MRI… 

MRI-1

Let’s back up. The last week of March, I stupidly swam a long set with stiff fins. (I’m not saying this is the culprit, but it could be a contributing factor.) A week later, around mile five of an easy, run-of-the-mill six-miler, an ache in my right ankle appeared outta nowhere. As soon as I got home, coach and I talked, and I stopped running for eight days. It felt better, so I ran super easy again, but the slight ache came back during the second three-miler. Again, I stopped running, this time for a week – and, saw an ortho doc who ruled out a stress fracture (by using a tuning fork… who knew!). Again, it felt better, so I ran easy a few times last week, but the ache returned during the third run. Frustrated, I had an MRI on Monday because I had to know what was up. Not knowing is way worse than the MRI price tag… right?!

sock

Right where it hurts. And, I should note that my run build has been super conservative. #slowisthenewfast

The verdict: an anterior medial tibia stress reaction (the least serious + a precursor to a stress fracture) – and, no running for 3-4 weeks. Not what I wanted to hear, but I’m grateful it’s not something worse or later this year closer to Kona!

The silver lining of a month without running: I *get* to focus on what I can do… swimming, biking, and staying off my feet and getting the proper nutrition + taking supplements to help speed up the healing time. 

swim

Pretty excited to spend more time here!

Aside from this minor running setback, training is actually going well. The pool’s been a blast, and my lane mates continually push me out of my comfort zone. I’m seeing times I never thought possible (for me) – hello, 1:17 100! – and can finally flip turn(!). Another bonus: Swimming at 6:30a means I miss the traffic sh!t show (seriously, this may be the biggest perk of swimming before rush hour, as it cuts my commute in half). 

As for biking… well, I’m still biking without power since I sold my Argon the end of March. It’s not ideal at all, but my Quarq is SRAM-based and my Madone has Ultegra components. I’ve been working hard by feel – Nick says he’s never seen me push so hard on the trainer – but it’s still impossible to know exactly what watts I’m putting out. That said, my new tri bike should – fingers crossed – finally be here next week, and with it, power again! 

Anyway, am I worried about this minor blip? Hmm… I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t, so yes, a smidge. There may have been tears in the Target parking lot on Monday. Because no running (just when it’s finally nice in Minnesota, too), and it’s a really big year! But, that said, I’ve been here before and bounced back quickly. And, thankfully, my base is solid, and this injury minor. I’ll be running again before I know it!

And, you can bet my superstitious self already ordered another elephant bracelet…!

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40 Comments

  • Reply
    norvilicious
    05/05/2016 at 10:02 am

    Dang, girl! sorry to hear this, but glad you listened to your body and caught it before it did become something worse! And what a great attitude to focus on what you can be doing.

    Side note: I’ve also been “hacking” traffic with the gym. I feel so strategic. ;)

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks, dear! Meeeee, too :)

      Yes! Love it! Such a time hack, too, right?! Anything to escape Highway 62… ha!

  • Reply
    Beth
    05/05/2016 at 10:33 am

    Oh no, injuries are always so hard when you are dealing with them. It’s good you can still work on2 out of the three sports. I hope you heal up quick and are back out there soon!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:06 pm

      They ARE! Thanks so much, Beth! Hope you’re doing well!

  • Reply
    Amy
    05/05/2016 at 10:45 am

    Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear about your running setback. I will say that you did the right thing by stopping and getting it seen to right away even though it was expensive. If I had been so smart, I know I would have saved myself a lifetime of knee problems. I completely understand how tough it is to watch everyone running with the nice weather right now. Hang in there…once your new bike comes it will give you some fun new things to focus on :)

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:08 pm

      Worth every penny :) I hope your knees are feeling ok… onward and focus on what you *can* do, Amy! Cycling’s ok right now, right?!

      • Reply
        Amy
        05/08/2016 at 10:35 am

        Yes, cycling seem to be ok! I have to pay attention to my pedal stroke on my left side-if I start pointing my toe up, I get some pain under my left knee. I’m really hoping to get a metric century under my belt this summer!

      • Reply
        Amy
        05/08/2016 at 12:17 pm

        Wait…it’s when I point my toe down that my knee hurts-I have to remember to keep my foot level or pointed up. Sheesh.

        • Reply
          erin
          05/08/2016 at 5:38 pm

          That’s great news! So glad to hear :) Focus on that toe! I believe in you and know you will rock your metric century, Amy!

  • Reply
    Kecia
    05/05/2016 at 11:52 am

    Sending healing your way! The price of an MRI is definitely worth it! I’m glad you are still able to swim and bike…hopefully this will help keep you sane and the time will fly by as a result! New bike day is super fun…I can’t wait to see it!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks, Kecia! Loving all the swim + bike, but definitely missing running on 90F days like today!

  • Reply
    Kristen
    05/05/2016 at 12:05 pm

    I am so sorry to hear this Erin. Now, I totally want to see a picture of this elephant bracelet!

    Why do you think the stiff fins may have been a contributing factor? At least now you get to spend a lot more time in the pool, which seems to be your happy place lately (although, I know you LOVE being on the bike). Maybe this time off from running will ultimately make you stronger. That happened to me this past year when I took a break from everything after pregnancy.

    What kind of bike are you getting? I bet you are SO excited to be training with power again – soon. Isn’t it amazing how different a road bike is from a tt bike? I notice the difference almost instantly.

    Hang in there. I know you will play it smart. You are that type of athlete.

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks so much, Kristen! Totally guessing about the fins, though swimming too much / too long with them can result in sore ankles from the increased flexion and extension, and fins add extra strain. Could just be coincidence, too :)
      Upgrading to a new Argon… so excited for it to get here! Yes, so different! While I do like the more upright comfort of my road bike, man… do I miss going fast (and comfortable!) in aero!
      I hope you’re right in that I come back stronger post injury… will be channeling you :) Hope your training’s going well!

  • Reply
    hyedi
    05/05/2016 at 12:07 pm

    I’m glad you ended up getting the MRI for the peace of mind. Not the best news, but not the worst, either! I hope your bike gets here ASAP! So good to catch up the other day — must get a longer one on the calendar :)

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks much, friend! Yes, longer coffee date, please! Happy weekend!

  • Reply
    therightfits
    05/05/2016 at 12:49 pm

    So sorry to hear this, but if my experience with a similar issue is any help, a bruise or level 1 injury heals quite quickly with just a bit of time off. I am sure its hard not to be able to run when its nice out here…that’s what happened to me too back in March when we had those awesome temps and I was stuck inside :( But mental toughness, right?!

    I have never heard of this tuning fork process- how does it work? Do you think he was wrong then?

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks so much for the reassurance, Jessie! I stalked your blog as soon as I found out :) Mental toughness for sure… good stuff to draw on come race day!

      I’d never heard of it, either, but it was pretty neat! He dinging the tuning fork so it vibrated and then held the end of it to the top of my tibia. Theory is if you have stress fracture, it will hurt because of the vibration. Who knew, right?!

  • Reply
    carrisamarie
    05/05/2016 at 4:32 pm

    You caught it early! You’ll be back out there running before you know it! And nice work on that swimming :)

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:55 pm

      Yes, SO glad to have caught it early. Thanks so much, friend! Hope your training is going well in sunny Florida!

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    05/05/2016 at 9:23 pm

    Oh no! Stress fx are the worst!
    Take care and get tons of D and calcium!
    You will gain tons with cross training and probably won’t miss a beat!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 6:59 pm

      I promptly went to Target and stared at the calcium supplements for 20 minutes… ha! Thank you for your kind words, lady!

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    05/06/2016 at 6:34 am

    I’m sorry to hear about the stress reaction BUT I am glad you caught it before it turned into an actual stress fracture, which would be SO much worse. Sounds like you have a good attitude about it all though!

    Also, 1:17/100s? Dang, girl!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 7:01 pm

      Oh, gosh, seriously… me, too! I didn’t run for three months when I had a stress fracture back in 2012. Oof.

      Thanks so much, Caitlin!

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Happy Triathlete
    05/06/2016 at 10:15 am

    Oh man!! I’m sorry to hear, but super glad that it’s only a reaction. Have FUN with the swim and bike though while you have one less sport to focus on! There is a ton of time until Kona, and I have no doubt that your run will come back quickly after these few weeks pass. As Linsey Corbin said recently, it’s about “patience, process, and progress” (I just wrote that on my kitchen chalkboard as a reminder). You can do it!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 7:02 pm

      That’s the plan… to have FUN (well, it’s always the plan!)! Yes, love Linsey’s perspective… so wise and exactly what I’m channeling :) I’ll be writing that in my planner for sure! Thanks so much, Kelsey!

  • Reply
    Erin
    05/06/2016 at 1:20 pm

    the tuning fork thing didn’t work for me with my heel stress fx (I should have been on the ceiling in pain…. I felt nothing). This meant diagnostic MRIs every 6 weeks for 4 months. Cha-ching.

    Sending healing thoughts your way!!!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/06/2016 at 7:06 pm

      I wonder why it didn’t! Maybe because it’s such a contained and smaller bone? Cha-cha-cha-ching is right! Wowza. I had a calcaneal stress fx, too, but skipped the MRI(s) and wore a boot for two solid months. So fun during the middle of a Minnesota winter ;)

      Thanks so much, Erin! Hope you’re well!

      • Reply
        Erin
        05/10/2016 at 9:55 am

        I have never met anyone else who had that nasty stress fx! I was in a boot for 4 months, mostly b/c the boot was horrifically uncomfortable and I didn’t wear it as much as I should have for the first 2 months (it was basically a calf corset – you cranked that thing down TIGHT on your calf, which prevented your heel from touching the ground as you walked. Freaking $1600 of carbon fiber and leather medieval torture.). And since I don’t feel pain very well, the best way to check on things was by MRI. This was in the summer and I had to scrap every.single.race. I was a very sad (and cranky) panda. But it did teach me a bunch about patience, and I then went in for a run gait analysis and learned how to really run. So that’s the upside.

        • Reply
          erin
          05/11/2016 at 11:01 am

          Yep, it was in late 2013 after IM Canada… wore a boot from December through February. Probably longer than I needed to, but we were being cautious given how much running was to come that season for IMWI prep :) I actually didn’t mind the boot… it was super warm! Sounds like you had the Cadillac version of the boot… mine wasn’t nearly that fancy (maybe $600?! Ridiculously priced, still). Hope you never have to deal with that stress fx again! And, kudos for looking on the bright side… both positives of having a boot, that’s for sure :)

  • Reply
    Kristina
    05/07/2016 at 10:23 am

    Ooof, sorry to hear about the injury – it sounds as though you did everything right, especially being conservative and dealing with it pretty much immediately. I do wish a speedy recovery for you and that maybe you’ll be able to get outside on the bike to enjoy the weather? Also, tears are definitely a part of the process!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/08/2016 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Kristina! Yes, caught it early… so glad! Just got home from a beautiful 75-mile ride :) Hope you’re well!

  • Reply
    Leslie @ TriathleteTreats
    05/07/2016 at 11:03 pm

    OH NO!!!! It is still early…you still have a long time until Kona!! I’m sure it will get better and you always become more stronger after an injury or “pre-injury.” Just give it the time it needs. I know that is so much easier said than done!!! :( Sending lots of healing vibes your way!!

    • Reply
      erin
      05/08/2016 at 5:22 pm

      Time, patience, and lots of time in the pool + on the bike :) Thanks much, Leslie!

  • Reply
    The Running Princess
    05/08/2016 at 3:11 am

    That’s not the news you wanted, but thankfully you caught it early and can focus on your other trading for a bit. Fingers crossed for quick healing.

    • Reply
      erin
      05/08/2016 at 5:26 pm

      Yes, exactly! So glad to have caught it early! Thanks so much, lady!

  • Reply
    Beth Shaw
    05/09/2016 at 8:25 am

    Well poop. If this was facebook I’d give it a big sad face. However, you are for sure going to bounce back and be stronger than ever. The plus side is that you caught it way early, so kudos on getting it looked at early. Keep on being positive friend.

    • Reply
      erin
      05/10/2016 at 9:32 pm

      Aw, you’re the best, Beth! Thank you! So glad to have caught it early… and, even better it doesn’t hurt any more when I put pressure on the area! :)

  • Reply
    Danielle @ Eat Primal, Run Hard
    05/15/2016 at 2:57 am

    A setback, but like you said, you’ve been here before (and before was actually worse) and you’ll bounce back. You’re a strong person, both in body and mind :)

    • Reply
      erin
      05/23/2016 at 7:59 am

      Thanks so much, friend! More than ready to bounce… one more week until go! :) Hope you’re well! xo.

  • Reply
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