Friday, September 30, 2011

What a long strange year its been

Hi didn't forget about this blog...and no, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. What I have been doing for the last few months has been an eye opener and hopefully will be life changing.

This was to be my Ironman year but shortly after my Gulf Coast Triathlon Half Ironman distance finish in May 2011, I started suffering from some hardcore fatigue. My muscles ached....all I wanted to do was sleep and my workouts were only getting part done.

On Memorial Day, I fell off a jetski with my friend at Lake Gaston NC. It wasn't a major fall, we just tipped the watercraft over but the next day, my right leg was dark black from a serious bruise. I knew then and there I needed to get my iron checked.

My iron levels were so low, I got an iron infusion just a few days later. This is when you get iron injections in your rump and they run an IV with iron direct into the veins. This brought my levels up...but they were still pretty low. I was healthy enough to start diving again....but training for an Ironman was once again on hold.

My doctors up at Duke made it simple: I had to stop my training at the Ironman distance. My knees were a mess, I was anemic and once again, they were battling the same issues with my thyroid. I have heard all this in the past with the same suggest: "Melissa, you have to lose weight".

My addictive side doesn't want to hear that you are going to take away all that food that brings me comfort. My competitive side just wants to push through it...and push forward...and attempt to complete my dream.

My doctor finally got through this time...and I mean he really did. He told me I was trying to "Race a Limo"...instead of a normal size vehicle. If I really wanted this dream, I HAD TO STOP...stop racing...and focus on weight loss. I cried for a few days. My coach was sympathetic without babying me...the perfect combination. I was allowed to train for Ironman 70.3 Augusta but it had to be using an elliptical and not running on the road and my other workouts were reduced. Suddenly...the drop in workout hours helped my body return to a normal iron level and let my joints rest. I finally felt like me again.

I competed in and completed Ironman Augusta 70.3 (that race report will be under a different blog entry) even though I was removed from the course in sight of the finish line due to a tornado watch and a lightning strike that started a building fire just 2 blocks from the finish line. I proud to inform you that I was not last...but I was definitely at the very back of the pack. If I had been allowed to finish, I would have beat the cut off by 25 minutes and I would have set a personal record.

This, however, is where my journey to Ironman must detour. I PROMISED my more Ironman until I lose 40lbs. He is ok with the shorter distance races but my body, with a gastric bypass, can not properly fuel itself when attempting the long distance course. This is why my iron drops, my joints ache (more than the typical athlete) and I put my health at risk. I took the plunge in doing the gastric bypass to MAKE myself healthy and, although the Ironman is my dream, I have to put the safety of my body first.

So...2 half ironmans, 3 half marathons, 3 olympic distance triathlon and one sprint distance triathlon year has been a full one....and a satisfying one. I have met incredible people on the Tri With Sway team that have really been a great support and I have learned a lot about my limits and abilities. I am proud of my work this year...and I refuse to step away from a life goal even if it means 2011 is not my Ironman year.

So..for can watch my blog as I return to Structure House in Durham NC to get a jumpstart on my weight loss, undergo knee surgery (we will see what the MRI says Monday), survive dental surgery and get 40 pounds I I can hear them say "Melissa are an Ironman".

1 comment:

LauraLynne said...

Melissa -
dropping you a line to let you know there's still people out there rooting for you and whatever you set out to do! Would love to hear an update!