Sunday I was scheduled to race IRONMAN Arizona. Unfortunately my doctor told me that my ankle rehab is not far enough along to allow me to do it without risking serious injury.
If you’ve not been following along with the blog, I’ve had a cascade of ankle issues – first I tore a ligament on the front of the ankle. The ligament is completely healed, but now my achilles decided that it would enjoy creating lots of pain. Sigh. I can walk slowly with minimal pain, but pushing to a fast walk causes an intensely sharp pain on every step that disrupts my stride and pretty quickly devolves into a limp, and running is simply unbearable, so the IM is just not in the cards this year.
I’m sad, and frustrated, and angry, and depressed about it. This is the second year that I have signed up to compete but haven’t been able to. It’s extra upsetting this year because my training was going so well right up to the ligament injury, so I was feeling really confident that this was my year to do it. Instead, I did Life Time Tri San Diego, an absolutely lovely short course tri in which I had to protect the ankle since I was still hoping for a miracle recovery that would let me do the IM, so I didn’t even get to show off the improvement that I’ve made, which is maybe the most frustrating thing of all.
We had a Vegas celebration trip planned, well, postponed is more like it – we had also planned a Vegas celebration trip last year, partially because we enjoy Las Vegas, and partially because one of Julianne’s clients – she’s a Virtual Executive Assistant – has a timeshare here and gave her a two-week stay as a thank you gift! Since we can both work from anywhere we have the flexibility to do an extended working vacation.
The plan this year was to spend Thanksgiving week here with my family, and then have a week for our celebration. The resort graciously let us move up our dates so that we could make the first week our “I don’t want to be depressed at home on my IRONMAN day” vacation, and the second week the Thanksgiving with my family week. Little did I know that bright lights, dollar Blackjack, and my mom’s delicious cooking weren’t all that awaited me in Vegas.
It turns out that my delayed IM completion has been delaying something else as well. Two years ago Julianne decided that she was going to propose during our IM celebration trip. She got the ring and she started making plans. Then I had to cancel the IM and we cancelled our big Vegas celebration trip. I registered for the 2017 IRONMAN and she put the proposal on hold.
Until now! Her proposal was PERFECT and included many of my favorite things including Julianne (my most favorite!) two dear friends, street musicians, a street magician, a fierce drag queen, a beautiful ring (an ethical lab emerald – exactly what I would have picked), and – because she knows me so well – A MEDAL! (that says “I said yes!” with the date and occasion engraved on the back!)
So I didn’t get my IRONMAN medal this year, but I do get to marry my beloved which means (obviously!) even more! And we decided to have a long engagement so that I can focus on IM training and not wedding planning in 2018, so by this time next year I hope to have an IM finisher’s medal to accompany my engagement medal.
The other good news is that in addition to all the other rehab/physical therapy things I’m doing, I’m trying to change some things about my stride and form, including getting used to some new orthotics, which requires me to walk relatively short distances slowly, focusing on form. A long trip to Vegas has proven to be work really well for that so far – since we’re not trying to do everything in three days we can just do a couple of things a day which gives me a chance to walk as much as I’m supposed to, but not overdo it. (Also, we went to the Ice Bar tonight and it was way more fun than just icing my ankle.)
So, as I begin the fourth year of my two year plan to complete an IRONMAN, I want to say thank you to the those of you who have followed this journey and supported and encouraged me, including those who bought books, DVDs and/or dance classes from my IM sale – I hope you are enjoying the books and dance classes as much as (actually, I hope you are enjoying them more than!) I’m enjoying the spandex clothes and bike parts!
It’s taking longer than I wanted or expected it to, and it’s been a really difficult journey. I’m sure I’ll be blogging more soon about why in the world I’m still doing this, but this post has drug on long enough and I’m tired so for now I’ll just say that I believe that I can finish IMAZ and I think big goals are worth the time and effort. I’m lucky to have such an incredible support system both in-person (including my fiancée, did I mention I’m engaged? Because I’m engaged!) and online. So congratulations to this year’s IMAZ participants and finishers, and here’s to another year of getting out of my comfort zone and swimming, biking, and running toward that finish line at IRONMAN Arizona!