Since my bike accident last month I have been fighting off numbness and pain in my face and a nagging hamstring injury. The facial pain has made deep breathing and breathing while swimming difficult and my hamstring injury all but side lined my running for a while. It has been mentally trying the last month. My coach has thankfully been the voice of reason for me when I have needed it the most; which is pretty much everyday that I train. I enjoy speed work while running and I love a good pool work out or open water swim; so not having them available to me was driving me crazy.
Two days after my accident I raced in the Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego. This race was going to be THE "A" race for my season since I had decided that IMAZ was not a financially sound thing to do. When the accident happened I knew that my hopes of being on the podium had been shattered and that I might not be able to race at all. Thankfully I was able to make it to the race start with a slightly beat up, and in desperate need of a tune up, bike. I still had fresh road rash on my legs, a sore shoulder, painful orbital bone, and some serious numbness through out the left side of my face. To say in the least I was not in top form that day. I saw my competition in transition and I knew that I wouldn't be able to hang with them today. Today was going to be all about finishing. I went into the water and warmed up before my wave start, which just so happen to be the very last start of the day. This meant that I would be dodging people while swimming, biking and running. I will skip the messy details and move to the end where I place a modest 7th as a Clydesdale a full 6 minutes slower than I had originally planned. But 7th as a Clydesdale and 240ish overall out of 1500+ people isn't too bad after an accident.
After the race everything seemed to fall apart. I lost my stroke in the pool some where and I was really hoping that some one would find it and give it back. No matter how hard I tried or how much I pulled I had nothing to give. My times were slow; my stamina was gone, what happened to me? And then the weirdest thing happened. I started looking at my hands as they entered the water instead of looking down at the bottom of the pool. They seemed to slip seamlessly into the water; barely a bubble would race to the surface. Suddenly my pull felt strong and effortless and my 100m times dropped back to where they should have been. Can it be that something as simple as head position can make that big of a difference? It seems as though it can.
The other thing that I have been working on since my accident and now that I have been given the ok to run easy again is my running form. As with most runners when they first start out I was a heel striker. While I have never had any real injuries I have never felt as though I flowed over the ground. I always felt as though I was muscling through every single run. With the help of my coach that has begun to change and I feel now as though most of my propulsion is in the forward direction. This is a good thing, right? It’s another huge break through for me. I am really hoping once I can add speed work back into my running that I will see some real changes!
I am getting my groove back!