Swim, Bike, Huh?

I’m 3 days out from the Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 and I should be excited.  This was to be my “A” race.  I was hoping to go under 6 hours.  I started my training in January & I was very focused.  But the bottom line is that I was in better Swim-Bike-Run shape in May than I am now.  I had a full season of marathons from January thru April, 6 marathons in that period, 4 were doubles (Back to Backs, SAT/SUN races).  I was strong.  Tired but strong. But in May, I “downcycled” to rest & recover.   I rested.  Then I was training more than racing, all easy paced.  I was planning to refresh my legs and add some speed to my TRIs.   I had registered for four 70.3s, one a month from June thru September.  I knew the June race would be a bust.  I would still be tired from the marathons.  But I thought it was important to get out there and do my thing.  Most would probably do a shorter race  as a “rust buster” but I’m an endurance athlete.  I gravitate toward longer races.  It helps my mommy guilt to know that when I pack my bags its for a race that’s important to me.  So the 70.3 or the “half ironman” has become my signature triathlon distance since Michael was born in 2009.  Baby boy just turned 7 yesterday!!!  Happy Birthday, Michael!!!  Aby turned 15, in late August.  My babies are getting BIG!! 

IMG_0801   IMG_0610  IMG_0727

If you have been following my sporadic posts this summer, you know that I’ve had a less than stellar season.  My body hasn’t been right and the answer as to what exactly was wrong has been elusive.  My quads have been constantly fatigued like I just ran up a horrendous hill, 2000x.  My power on the bike has been poor.  I lost almost 3mph from my 56 mile bike split.  I have an ongoing glute/hamstring pull that has been lingering since November when I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and bloodied myself.   Then as the summer progressed the issues dominoed:  hip, knee, back.    What you probably do not know, is that after my poor showing at the Cutting Edge Half 70.3 in June, I took some downtime to rest & recover & refinish the basement from the flood last summer.  It needed to be done.  I thought it would be good to do something other than swim-bike-run.  Well, apparently I was wrong.  What could have just been fatigue turned into a real issue from all the bending, stretching, lifting as we turned our basement into useable living space again.  The basement as of June 2015.  Yeah, our furniture & cats were floating.  IMG_7313  IMG_7351

June 2016

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After all the painting, cutting & installing the floor (that Aby & I did all by ourselves), then moving in the furniture …… I basically couldn’t move.  My back was in a bad place.  It’s been bad before, thanks to an old college injury, but it just wouldn’t get better this time, not even with the Chiropractor & Active Release.  My training slowed, my bike pace further plummeted.  More rest.  More recovery.  Fewer and fewer workouts.  Less and less sleep as the back just kept getting worse and I was miserable laying down.

So, where am I now?  One has been issue resolved.  My bike has been repaired & is actually working.  Yes!  Thanks, Felt for sending new shifters!!  The bike is ready to go! 


My body is still damaged.  I still don’t have any power in my quads and feel like I’m riding thru sand.  The theory is that the neurons in my back are not firing the message to my quads to do the work.  My back continues to get worse.  I can hardly bed over now.  I can’t lift pots & pans out of the cabinet or bed over to pick something up.   It hurts to swim, run, sit, lay down & drive.  Ironically, it does not hurt on the bike but I’m still slow.  I’ve been thru 5 sessions with a new PT.  Not going great.  X-rays have been taken.  MRI was scheduled for today but canceled because insurance won’t pay until I’ve had 6 weeks of PT.  Ironically, I’m worse now that I’m doing PT than before (which is what usually happens with me & PT).  My GP is trying to get me into a pain specialist.  His theory being that this isn’t going to go away.  I ruptured discs in college while I was high jumping.  I opted out of surgery in 1993 for a series of magical drug cocktail injections of steroids, nerve blocker & anesthetic.  But alas, the magic has faded over time. Its theorized that the time is near for another series of injections.  Until then, I’ll keep hobbling along.  I haven’t been training much.  I opted out of my run last night, the short swim-run brick this morning because I really just feel horrible.  If there is any chance of getting to the start line on Sunday, I need to lie low this week.  Fortunately, I’m done with PT this week & have a few days to heal.  AND my therapeutic massage lady messaged me yesterday and said she had a cancellation for Friday.  So I’ll go get a massage tomorrow and see if she can take some of the pressure off my back & put some power into my quads.  Overall, my body should be fresh because I just haven’t been logging any miles. 

So that’s what’s up.  I’m still planning to do Rev3 but my expectations are very low.  And honestly, if I can’t do it, I just won’t.  I’m already stressing over the thought of carrying my loaded transition pack.  And water.  I always carry a jug of water to fill my aero canister.  I remember how badly it hurt my back carrying the water to transition for Steelhead and I’m much worse now than I was at Steelhead.  I hate the thought of blowing off the money of the registration fee, so I won’t be a DNS but I’m just going to be realistic and see how the day plays out.  The kids are ALL IN for Cedar Point so at least there is that.  I won’t be riding any rides but I can walk around and let them enjoy the park.  Maybe, just maybe, the walking will take some pressure off my back.  We’ll see.  My power word for Sunday is DETERMINATION.  At this point, that’s what I need to focus upon.  I’m determined to finish this TRI season with a smile on my face. 


** Happy TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

8 thoughts on “Swim, Bike, Huh?

  1. Amanda – I didn’t know you were hurting that bad! I know you have had your troubles but I’m so sorry to read this! I hope you get some relief soon.

    • Its really escalated in the last 3 weeks ….. once I started seeing the new PT. Their initial thought of what was wrong with my back & the subsequent treatment was very wrong. So I regressed & am trying to claw my way back to a semi-normal state.

      • Oh wow! I didn’t know that their initial assessment was wrong! That’s awful. I’m sorry!

  2. Wow Amanda…you going through some real challenges. Hang in there! Have to suspect based on your description of lower vertebrae injury with ruptured discs back in college, I have to suspect you incur a similar cause that I do contending with lower back pain that when it is aggravated….can further regress into sciatic nerve-based throbbing pain that progresses from glutes, then into upper hamstrings. And it can lead to loss of power in leg muscles. I have to suspect the cause is compression of “root-nerves” at those vertebrae that had ruptured discs and now with less space…the root nerves at those vertebrae get squeezed and aggravated. The therapy did help me over time…namely the one routine called “press-ups” which was designed to stretch-out that lower back and help create more disc space between the vertebrae (last 2 lumbar). Over the years….a lot of effort working on core strengthening helped make those muscles of lower back stronger and less likely for the vertebrae to collapse and compress agains those root nerves. You could have a similar phenom going on. I hope you can get at least the back pain stabilized and subdued, then hopefully they pin down the precise cause and give you an Rx for treating it. Email me if you want to discuss further.

    • Yes, they now have me doing press ups & a reversal of that on my back where I bring my knees to my chest. So hard to get down on the ground though! I’ve always had back issues, particularly staying in hotels & sleeping in a different bed. The knees to chest exercise is what I always used to activate it. I’ve gone to run races (like Indy last year when I saw you) and literally rolled out of bed cuz I couldn’t get up. Then it takes me hours to get loosened up. When I started Indy last year, I had no idea if my back would “settle” and I could finish. The ladies with me kept asking if I were going to run. Once I get going, it loosened up & I was okay. That’s normally the case but its much worse right now & particularly stubborn. Probably too much inflammation but we won’t know cuz insurance denied the MRI (for now). Super frustrating.

  3. I hope your Rev3 70.3 is successful. I’ll echo one of the previous posters in suggesting maybe going the aquabike route. I can understand the desire to bull through, though.

    While I’m not at the level you are, I completely identify with the neverending cycle of injury and dealing with the docs. With me, it’s an Achilles issue that won’t clear up.

    You’ll get through it, though – Keep at it!

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