The Connection Runners + [training]

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe

Training update.

After some inconclusive x-rays and nearly a month in an aircast boot, I had an MRI to assess the extent of my injury and determine if I do indeed need surgery. I've never had an MRI before - I saw Freddie Roach have one done the other night on an episode of the HBO documentary that chronicles his life as a boxing trainer living with trauma-induced Parkinson's - but this was all new to me.

They fastened my foot to a splint-like contraption, and slid me in up to my waist. They gave me some earphones to drown out the drone, put on some adult contemporary tunes, and told me I'd be done in 25 minutes as if I was a tray of brownies.

First off, I realize that my injury is miniscule and meaningless in contrast to some of the previous people who were on the same table I was, but for more serious reasons - that immediately put things into perspective. I had some time to think, and somewhere in between the Radiology instruction that piped through the headphones and the hits of the 80's, 90's and today, I came to the conclusion that my 12 marathon challenge may not have been such a great idea.

"Here I am," I thought, "supine on an MRI table, looking at a big fat bill for this procedure, shelling out 35 bucks a pop per co-pay, stomping around in a boot unable to ski or even snowshoe with my kids this winter - couldn't have I been content with a few marathons here and there and continue with Taekwondo?"

Then what song comes on next? 'I Won't Back Down' by Tom Petty. What's the Korean word for irony?

Now I used the Eddie Vedder cover for my Windows Moviemaker mashup that is now on Youtube, but after chuckling a bit I basically went through the entire three minute song and recounted each race.

It was a pretty amazing experience. Maybe I don't regret it so much after all.

Am I still frustrated that I can't run and train like I want to? Absolutely. I'm not even close to where I thought I would be by now, as it's already March. My foot is holding me back, but I also feel that I've been holding myself back a bit as well - I just don't want to experience a setback. I want the damn thing to heal properly and not have to even think about it anymore.

A few days after the MRI, I met with my Podiatrist and he was encouraged that surgery may not be required. The images revealed that while the area around the sesamoid bones are still inflamed, there looks to be adequate blood supply and flow that may allow it to heal on its own.

Surgery would be necessary if the blood supply was compromised and the bone was calcifying and dying - but that may not be the case. I'm pleased with that, because I was not eager for having to endure a costly operation (estimate: $1,000 minimum out-of-pocket after insurance) but this non-invasive diagnosis also comes with a price - it will take time.

How much time? I am back in the boot for another three more weeks, and at the end of March he will take another look at it to verify that it is still healing properly and to conclude that surgery is indeed not needed. That being said, even when the boot is removed, I still will not be able to run or do TKD for a bit longer, as any jarring/sudden impact can incite the trauma I've been trying so diligently to avoid.

So what was once a twelve month Ironman Arizona training period has basically been cut down to a seven month time frame - if things continue to go well. Far from ideal, I know.

I've always held the belief that there are so many things in this world that we don't have control over - but what I can do is try to gain mastery over what I do have control over. If I can't run, I should be in the pool every single day. Still can't run? Then how about 10,000 meters on the rower? That's the approach I need to have.

My swim this morning wasn't great, as I still struggle with consistent rotary breathing. I am used to breathing through my nose from running and Taekwondo - I can pretty much predict what my pace per mile is just based upon my breathing, and in Taekwondo breathing from the mouth is showing your opponent you're fatigued - almost a sign of weakness - because your cardio is shot. In freestyle, I've been taught to inhale with my mouth, and expel that air in the water in the form of bubbles, and repeat.

When I swim, I tend to raise my head when I tire, and suddenly my form falls to pieces. I have a hard time avoiding this. Panic sets in, and I chop and gasp for air until I settle myself down and find my technique and rhythm again. But I'll be back in the pool tomorrow morning.

And the next day.

And the day after that.

I've read that courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’

And speaking of breathing - I saw this clip and it truly resonates with me. If you watch it, you will understand what I mean.