Babies, a Bum Foot and an Ironman!

So it seems like an appropriate time to blog. A lot has been going on lately, most notably the fact that three of my very best friends have all given birth in the last 8 weeks!! The timing of ALL of my friends being pregnant simultaneously is pretty exciting / ironic / awesome / crazy / depressing, but there is truly nothing cooler than the birth of a brand new baby and seeing your friends so happy!! There is one more peanut on the way by the end of the year and two more early 2014! I’m starting to worry if I will get pregnant via osmosis. 😉

Welcome to the world Elena (6/26), Kamden (8/23) and Tucker (8/27)! Your Aunt Kim loves you…how could you not!!

Baby Elena Lynn

Baby Elena Lynn

Baby Kamden Vaughn

Baby Kamden Vaughn

Baby Tucker Barzee

Baby Tucker Barzee

So aside from the daily birth / pregnancy announcements, I have been very busy at work, jam-packed with coaching, attempting workouts of some nature every day, traveling, and doing my best to enjoy the downtime. The last report was that my foot was feeling good after the cortisone, but I was still taking it easy to see how long it might last. Well, despite taking it easy, I am in pain again. I am pretty much back to where I was pre-cortisone when I was more-or-less desperate for something to take the pain away. At this point, I’m at a loss. The orthopedic put cortisone in there as a “last-ditch” effort and I prayed it would be the final solution. He mentioned one other shock wave procedure available, but again, it’s not 100% guaranteed, it’s not covered by insurance, and after what I’ve spent on treatment, surgery, massage, more treatment, ARP, acupuncture, and even more treatment, I’m not jumping on the option to spend another ~$3,000, right now. So, I’m at a loss.

I have been doing as much activity as possible with what I am able to do, though there’s just something about being a runner that I’m starting to miss so very dearly. Right now, I’m a jogger, who sometimes needs walk breaks up hills, who runs like 20-30 min at a time. It’s humbling. I also haven’t had as much time to ride my bike these last few weeks because work is extremely busy and it’s hard to get out during the week and I’ve been traveling a bit on the weekends.

Speaking of travel, I had the opportunity to go to Louisville this past weekend to watch the Ironman! I knew ~10 people racing, but most importantly were my two wonderful friends Jim and Leigh-Ann. I’ve trained with Jim for several years now and Leigh-Ann was my coach and my #1 training buddy leading up to Cabo. The Ironman environment is always an incredible experience, whether you’re racing or just spectating, but being at this particular race was very bittersweet for me. I started this race in 2010 and DNF’d at mile ~24 of the run. It was heart-wrenching at the time and it’s probably safe to say it still haunts me to this day. I had literally trained my butt off for the race (in hindsight, probably overtrained), but I ended up vomiting for 80+ miles of the bike ride and attempted to run the marathon in 95 degrees with, essentially, zero calories left in my system. Determined to get to the finish, I managed a walk / run while cramping in every part of my body, but by mile 24, I was starting to black out, dizzy, and afraid I’d fall and crack my head on the concrete. So, I hopped in an ambulance and cruised straight to the med tent . I had friends fly in and surprise me for the race, my family there, my boyfriend at the time there, they had shirts made, the whole 9-yards…and I didn’t finish. I could practically SEE the finish line! I do comfort myself knowing that I did what was best for my safety at the time; I literally couldn’t go another step, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow to put your heart and mind into something for ~6-7 months and not do what you came to do.

That said, being there this weekend at a very interesting, challenging time in my life physically, and watching both friends and those I didn’t know complete such a grueling event was extremely inspirational. I’m so far removed from that level of fitness right now that I will admit, I also felt a little discouraged. For the last 5 years, for all intents and purposes, I could have completed an Ironman at almost any point by because my base fitness has been so huge for so long. 100 mile rides have been no big deal, 3k, 4k, 4.5k swim sets were typical, and 10, 11, 14 mile runs have been standard. Given the ongoing status of my foot, some days it feels like I may never be able to race again. Running ~4 miles right now, sadly, feels challenging, so many things hurt during, and my whole body hurts more after. Things hurt that have never hurt before, in addition to my foot. One thing I have learned is don’t ever stop moving if you don’t have to, your body truly thanks you!

Despite feeling discouraged about my own fitness, it was truly awesome to be there watching friends and familiar faces race. I had a great time tracking all the Charlotte people, maneuvering the course, cheering, and supporting. Watching Leigh-Ann cross the finish line after the year she’s had, was nothing short of amazing. She’s been through so much that the emotions were overwhelming. Seeing Jim earn his spot to the World Championships in Kona was truly awesome. He’s been so supportive and such a great friend to me for a while now and there’s no one who deserves it more. Watching Carrie win her (very competitive) age-group and qualifying for a 2nd year in a row, while making it look fun and easy was very, very cool!

There were tons of other Charlotte athletes who had great, good, and some less than stellar races, but regardless of each persons finishing time, there is nothing more amazing that completing an Ironman. This weekend reminded me that even if I may never race again, no one can ever take the three I’ve completed away from me or the countless other races I have completed. All I can wish for is that if racing can’t be a part of my future, that there is something equally as rewarding and fulfilling as triathlon has been for me to replace it. 🙂

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! Hope you enjoy some time off!

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