Well, it’s official. No Ironman for me this year. Thursday was the last day to officially withdraw from the race and get a bit of the registration fee back. While it was hard to send my withdrawal email, I knew it was the smart thing to do. I wrecked my bike 9 weeks out from the race. Ribs and collarbones supposedly take 6 weeks to heal, but there’s no guarantee. Plus those 6 weeks were supposed to be my most intense training, and I’d miss them or spend a LOT of time on the stationary bike and elliptical, bored and miserable. I’m taking the “life-long athlete” perspective here and betting that this year wasn’t my one and only time to try to do an Ironman, and I’d rather take plenty of time to recover than push myself to train and race with fragile bones.
Honestly, officially withdrawing from the race was a relief. No more limbo of “am I training for this thing or not?” Instead I’m taking the time to enjoy the things I didn’t do during Ironman training: lots of Netflix, relaxing (though sometimes boring) weekends, and going to the farmers market on Saturday mornings. Just today I requested several books from the library that I hope to read over the next several weeks or months. Unfortunately, not training for an Ironman means I can no longer eat like I’m training for an Ironman. Still working on that balance…
As much as I’m glad I don’t have to train for the race with broken bones, I miss working out hard. The recumbent stationary bike is good for one reason – I can prop my iPad up and watch a few episodes of 30 Rock while I ride – but that’s about it. I considered trying a Zumba class, but a quick Youtube search revealed that it would likely be too much movement for my shoulder. I’m thinking of trying a water aerobics workout at the gym tomorrow. Yes, I have turned into an old lady. My orthopedist suggested I could do some yoga (but none that involves body weight on my arms like chaturanga push-ups or planks) to increase my shoulder flexibility and strength, so I might start taking a few minutes each day to do some warrior poses.
So what does it feel like to have a broken rib and collarbone? (You were wondering, I’m sure.) I’m 3 weeks into healing, and I feel better almost every day (thank goodness). The beginning of the day and the end of the day are the worst. I broke my rib on kind of the outside back, so when I sleep, I’m putting direct pressure on it, and I wake up with my entire rib cage very sore. Getting out of bed is painful. I’ve started to try sleeping on my stomach some, but that messes with my collarbone. Anyway, after the first 20 minutes or so of being out of bed and moving around, the pain subsides. I’ve gotten a good bit of mobility back to my right shoulder, so I can use that arm to wash my hair, and getting dressed is less awkward (getting a shirt off, on the other hand, I haven’t mastered gracefully yet). I sit at a desk most of the day at work, so I don’t have much pain during the day, just general discomfort, with increased pain if I move the wrong way. I don’t lift anything more than a coffee mug with my right hand – doctor’s orders are nothing more than 5 pounds. By the end of the day though, my right shoulder and upper back are tired and sore. These days I am not in constant serious pain, so my number one goal is to not do anything that might hurt. Additionally, my road rash is mostly healed, though now I have some pretty sweet scars.
Of course I’ve already started thinking about next year’s racing plans, so stay tuned for an update on more exciting things to come!