Monday, April 24, 2017

On the slow road to recovery...

I most definitely fell off the face of the blogosphere world. Yes, I am more than aware. And it hasn't entirely been because things have been absolutely horrible for the last two years, but mostly because I went back to school in September of 2015 and started my PhD, and continue to work 15 hours/week at Toronto Rehab Institute (Cardiac Rehab).

Today, I am sitting under the sunny skies in the backyard of my lovely and most gracious homestay's home in Barbados. I felt the need to put some words on a page prior to heading to the airport and homebound for Toronto.

Just to quickly recap and summarize what last season was all about in a nutshell, I will do it in bullet points:
-started PhD in September of 2015
-tore my Posterior Tibialis Ligament during a race in the Dominican Republic December 2015
-had the goal of finishing all of my course work in Year 1 of the PhD program and prove myself to my supervisors so that I could get back to racing ITU in 2017 and hopefully hit it hard
-raced in the inaugural Major League Triathlon (MLT) Series predominantly in 2016 (supersprint mixed gender relays), which was a BLAST!, and used last year as a "build" year as best as possible
-got fit for Nationals only to crash the week before and pull out from the race
-laid low from racing except for the MLT series and an impromptu, last minute entry into the European Championships in Nyon, Switzerland in August

In 2016, I finally found a swim club that I could swim with starting November 1st-the North York Aquatic Club (NYAC) National Group with Murray Drudge as the head coach and Eddie Toro as the assistant coach. The opportunity was and still is phenomenal and they make me feel so welcome there-I help coach whenever I can. I also started a brand new strength training program at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport at U of T last fall, and have some phenomenal coaching support there now as well. The plan was to REALLY focus on the swim, so that I could come back to ITU racing with a stronger swim in my arsenal. It was a great plan, but since I am the slowest swimmer in the NYAC group, it means that every training session is really hard for me, even if it's relatively easy for the rest of the group.  I made the classic mistake of jumping into WAY too much mileage and intensity too soon, and with the strength program, maintaining bike and run, I just wore myself down by the middle to end of February. With school and work deadlines and pressure, and my dad being diagnosed and treated for Lymphoma starting in December, the load was just too much for me to handle. I just could not recover in the way that I needed to perform well, and for a while, I kept my head down, trying to push through, but last month I just needed to stop and take a break. My torn posterior tib ligament has now become a chronic injury, and it flared up really badly last month as well. This sparked some queries and concerns with what was going on with my body and overall health. The bottom line was that I was diagnosed with Overtraining Syndrome (OTS), which exacerbated the pain and flare up of my foot injury. All in all, not a fun end of February, March, and April, to say the least.

Though I thought that I could come back and race in April, even if not in top form to get used to ITU racing again, I wasn't quite ready two weeks ago in Bermuda, and even though I felt better physically and mentally heading into this race in Barbados yesterday, I got unlucky in the swim and got my goggles knocked off and lost both my contact lenses in the process. If I had one, I could have continued, but with both gone, and a prescription of -9.25 diopters, I am just blind as a bat! I can't tell you how frustrating that was, because I was actually in "the scrum" that is known as the swim, which was already a big improvement compared to two weeks ago, when I just didn't have the energy to hang with the pack right off the bat. Nevertheless, I realized yesterday that I shouldn't feel rushed to fully recover and that I should actually feel good before I return to racing. My mind wants to get out there, but my body isn't entirely ready yet, and the disappointments don't exactly help my mental state and desire to race at the moment either.

So, instead of testing my fitness to see when it comes back and when it is that I start feeling good again, I am just going to head home, ease back into "smart" training, and let my body sort itself out over the next few weeks. At this point, I think that I can be healed up and ready to go for Nationals in June, so I am going to loosely set my sights on that race, and take things one day at a time, while trying to find that fun and joy in triathlon again.

That is where I am currently at, and it has been helpful to express this all in writing. The pics below show you how and where I did all of this post-race contemplation yesterday (east coast of Barbados). I couldn't be more grateful to Lisl Lewis and Peter Arender for showing me around the island,  and for being the best homestay hosts and support crew that a girl could ever ask for this weekend!

Thanks for tuning in and reading:)


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