I have been putting off writing this for a while. I was holding on to a glimmer of hope that I would be able to participate in Lavaman this year. But today, the door closed on that possibility.
It all started about three weeks ago (well technically it started about 13 months ago). My coach and I decided that I was over-trained so it would be a good idea to take a few days, maybe a week off from training (and if your coach, who loves pain, tells you to sit down for a week, you do it). So there I was, relaxing on the couch, wiggling my ankle around a little, when suddenly I felt a pop (and then there was much pain).
I still had a few days before I needed to get back to training so I figured I'd give it a little rest and lots of ice and it would be good as new. A week later I was still in pain. I called my physical therapist and she recommended a week, maybe two of treatment ("probably just a little tendinitis, we'll get it worked out"). When I was still in pain three weeks later we decided it was time for a specialist.
Through all of this, I was convinced that I would be able to participate. Sure, training would suffer a bit, but I would be able to make it though. I continued my swim training and started doing all of my running in the deep end of the pool (I was in the pool so much I was starting to feel chlorinated). The one thing I couldn't do was bike. Every Friday I would try out my bike on my trainer, hoping that I would be able to ride with the team on Saturday, but I was always disappointed. I could only make it about ten minutes before I was in too much pain to continue.
This is when my pity party started. I was so mad at the situation. I mean really, how do you hurt your ankle while you are just sitting on the couch, c'mon! Still, I continued to hold out hope. Even if I couldn't train, I would still be able to participate. Sure, I would be in pain during the event, but it would be fine. As long as I wasn't going to cause myself permanent damage, I could deal with pain.
Today I saw a foot and ankle specialist. He had already talked to my physical therapist so he knew what I wanted, some kind of quick fix to get me through the event. Well, he shut that down right away. He wiggled around the good foot, then wiggled around the bad foot, then made a face. "Don't ship your bike to Hawaii, it will just be a waste of money. You can not do a triathlon on this ankle. I'm not sure yet what is wrong, but you can't do a triathlon on this ankle."
He sent me off for a set of stress x-rays. In case you have never heard of stress x-rays (because I hadn't) it's where the doctor turns the ankle to the side as far as it will go while they shoot the x-ray. They do this on both ankles for comparison. Well, we'll just say the comparison wasn't good. The amount of movement my ankle allows shows that there is definitely something not good going on in there. I had an MRI as well so that the doctor can get a better look at what is going on with the soft tissues but I won't know the results of that until my follow-up next Thursday. So, a definite diagnosis is still to come, but the word surgery was bandied about quite a bit.
Long story short, I have to sit out the Lavaman Triathlon this year. The very tiny bit of good news is that almost all of my fund raising can be rolled into another TNT event later this year. I'm leaning towards Lavaman 2011!
I am so grateful to everyone who has been so supportive of my endeavor for the last few months. I have been in awe of the generosity of time, talent and (especially) money that I have experienced. I have had more people than I can count tell me that they are proud of me or that I am an inspiration to them. I can't help but feel that I am letting all of you down.
I'll still be traveling with the team to Hawaii. It's going to be really hard to see the rest of my team crossing the finish line, but I want to be there to cheer them on. Plus, I can get a good look at what I'll be in for come next year.