Saturday, August 20, 2011

One Week to Ironman Debut

Time just keeps ticking away.  Now I'm 7 days away from the big race.  I've really tried to stay out of my own head and focus on getting everything done before I leave.  Focusing on work and prepping everything for the trip has allowed me to stay relatively calm.  I say relatively because this week has had it's fair share of nervousness, anxiety, and doubts.  As I've stated before, the roller coaster continues.  I'm not sure there's any real way to avoid it so I've embraced it.  Whenever I have doubts, it makes me focus on mentally going through the race.  I take the doubts and try to turn them into something positive.  So far it's helping, but I know each day that passes will bring even stronger feelings of anxiety and doubts.  Race week jitters are going to be in full force.

On Thursday I had my pre-race doctor visit with my sports med physician.  He's a multiple Ironman finisher so the real focus was checking to make sure my Achilles was going to be able to withstand 140.6 miles and give me some meds/advice along the way.  As expected, he said my Achilles had gotten worse.  I was pretty aware that was the case judging by the way it has felt the last couple of weeks.  It has always hurt after my long bikes, but every week I was able to get it back to comfortable by Thursday/Friday in time for another long bike.  I would then proceed to tear it up on the bike and repeat the process each week.  Each week the recovery was a little slower though.  He acknowledged the fact that I had more signs of wear and that we really needed to discuss options post-Ironman  He gave me a steroid pack to take next weekend to help relieve inflammation and told me to make sure I wore heel lifts and compression socks on the run.  He told me it'd help get me through the run and then we'd revisit when I return to Oklahoma.  I've scheduled a follow-up appointment on Sept 8th where will begin discussing if therapy will work or if I'll need to look into platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections into my tendon.  I've done a little research on the PRP injections and results have been positive, but it's a fairly new procedure.  Since it's so new, it's considered more experimental and most likely won't be covered by my insurance.  He did say he's used it on a few patients and the results were positive.  The nutrient rich plasma helps speed the recovery process by targeting the region where healing needs to occur.  The injection directly into the tendon gets the healing agents to an area where blood flow is limited.   It's an option I'll consider when I get back home.  I definitely don't want this to be a chronic issue and if this procedure looks promising, it's worth a look.  I'll have to decide if the out of pocket expense is something I'm willing to stomach.

So for now, my focus is on knocking out my last few training sessions and get my Achilles to cooperate.  I've been icing off and on all day and doing some light stretching.  Currently I have my compression socks on and feet elevated.  I also have the 2010 Ironman World Championships on in the background.  It's great motivation to get up and ride in the AM.  Tomorrow will hold a 3 to 3.5 hour ride with the Redman training group followed by a lot of reading, research, and maybe some packing.  I've decided to go ahead and rent some race wheels from my local bike shop and I'll have those put on my bike on Tuesday evening.  I didn't plan on it, but my coach thinks it will be a nice added boost on race day.  If he hadn't recommended it, I probably wouldn't have even considered it.   Now it's time for me to get ready for bed.  That 4:30 AM alarm clock comes really early!

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