This is quite a hard blog to write but I’ve been here repeatedly and maybe sharing this time will make it a bit easier.
Unfortunately due to my body letting me down AGAIN, I can no longer take part in Triathlon which breaks my heart. Before I disappear into a wallowing pit of self despair, I am hoping this is just a temporary year out.
Over the last 12 months I have developed Costocondritis (which is total bitch) and some kind of lower leg shin problem which currently is being called shin splints but I’m on my 4th physiotherapist now after endless hours of physio appointments and exercises, so god only knows if I do actually have shin splints. All I know is that I cannot run…at all!! The Costo was triggered by swim drills around this time last year. It is inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the sternum. At its worst the pain can make you feel like you are having heart attack, it feels like there is huge pressure on the chest and the pain radiates all around the chest.
I just feel despair, the crushing kind that makes your heart hurt, makes you want to curl up into a ball and just stop so you don’t have to feel physical or mental pain anymore. I’ve not felt like this since post surgery for endometriosis. The surgery was successful but there was no end in sight with the pain. Thankfully 2 years on things have vastly improved in that area.
‘This too shall Pass’
I know there are dark days ahead as much as grit, determination and a fighting spirit can get you through, I know those dark days are coming. Just got to hunker down and weather the storm.
I have been here so many times before, the Crohn’s Disease, Endometriosis, and now Costocondritis, the aches, the endless injuries, time and time again, my body lets me down over and over again. I am starting to think that I have something wrong with me, that my body has some kind of over reaction to inflammation. This is something that I need to investigate I think.
Chronic illness and pain costs a lot of time, money and energy. The hours I have spent doing endless physiotherapy and self care, the treatments that I have searched for to help me feel better, all cost a lot of money and sometimes I am completely exhausted and overloaded with pain. Its not much fun.
My thoughts at the moment are ‘why me?’ and ‘its not fair’ haven’t I already faced enough? But then you stop yourself and remind yourself that actually there a lot of people facing much bigger problems than me. I really need to start doing some gratitude meditations.
To an outside person this must read as very melodramatic and I feel embarrassed every time I have to explain yet again to others why I can’t come swimming or why I can’t go on a club run. I feel like a hypochondriac that brings it all on myself. But I love Triathlon, I really really love it. I’ve immersed myself in the community, I have made connections, I met mentors and friends. It takes time for friendships to grow and develop so take away a shared interest, will these friendships continue?? I certainly hope so.
Maybe I bring it all on myself in my vain attempt at glory, why I can’t I just be satisfied with a Zumba class and going out on a Saturday night. Nothing wrong with that. What is it that drives me to take on these sports that are obviously no good for my body. I thought really hard about this and I think training and races especially in Triathlon make me feel free. Free from my other roles in life, free to be just who I am without all the trappings of the materialistic and consumerist lives we lead. When I’m out on my bike, swimming in the sea or running along the coast, I’m not only getting those pain numbing endorphins, I’m out in nature and I feel free. I love being coached, again the freedom not to think and just do is worth all the money. When I raced Cardiff Tri the feeling of accomplishment is incredible. Worth all the nerves and pain to get there. I am not ready to give up on that just yet. Maybe I am just a daft middle aged woman.
Not if but when…
I did have a frank and honest discussion with a physio and a friend yesterday and to be listened to and have my worries discussed without being told ‘it’ll be ok, don’t worry’, made such a difference. I have been thinking that I can’t compete this year despite my race entries and the chat I had just confirmed what I already knew. I need to stop running and swimming now but hopefully by taking the time now it will be ‘when’ and not ‘if’ I come back to Triathlon.
Layers & Reinvention
I posted this on Instagram the other day:
One thing I have learnt along the way is that you need to lead a multi-layered life, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I have a passion for triathlon but I am only ever a whisker away from not being able to take part. Its important to value everything in life and foster other interests because when the shit hits the fan (which it often does for me) I can’t cope with the misery of it. Not one interest, passion or person will define me. Perhaps 2019 will be the year of reinvention…..once I get my head around it!!!
As ever I have an amazingly supportive family, Kelvin is my rock, don’t know where I would be without him sometimes. How he doesn’t tear his hair out with me is beyond my understanding.
I do love to plan so these are the things that I need to do or investigate:
- Wait until my leg pain has gone so I can rehab
- Rehab properly under guidance
- Costo – see osteopath, sports massage, exercises – all to free up my thoracic spine where the problem comes from (more money & time).
- Investigate anti-inflammatory diet and allergy testing
- Try to continue to be part of the tri-community by volunteering
- Sell my race entries
- Strength train – look into personal training but its unlikely due to cost. I have to be careful and considered with strength training to my groin/pelvic pain.
- Keep cycling – enter some sportives to keep the despair at bay. I am worried though that the cycling will exacerbate the leg pain and costo but I can’t give it up, I just can’t
- Come back stronger in 2020
- Keep meditating and understanding the brain processes that lead to pain.
Wish me luck!