As with many things in life, I expected ebbs and flows with my 70.3 for IBD half Ironman training. It wasn’t likely that I’d have a smooth 8+ months without any health problems. It would have been nice, of course, but it didn’t happens, which is why I’m trying to navigate a little bump in the road, physically and mentally, right now.
This is particularly tough because of how GREAT May was. Over the long journey with my Crohn’s disease, I’ve had to build myself back up to a normal weight and strength but this time was different than the past. My goal was to reach 160 pounds around the end of April, which I succeeded in doing. That was the first time in a long time that I reached that weight. Below are my training numbers from my training in May.
I set a second goal of 165 lbs. for the middle of May, while simultaneously building my cardio strength as well. I hit this goal right on time. By the end of May, I felt stronger than I ever had. I was cycling through my hometown with ease and running 5 miles without feeling exhausted when I finished. It looked like I was going to enter my June training as scheduled, with plans to lose a few pounds to be at my recommended racing weight, making it easier to bike and run during the half Ironman.
While away in Washington D.C. for Digestive Disease Week in May, I felt like a true triathlete – and for one that suffers from IBD, a pretty strong one. Each day I was there I trained around the nation’s capital. It was not only beautiful but motivating for me. I was doing it! I was waking up early every morning and riding around a major city with ease. I had been weaving around the monuments and tourists and seeing all the sites without reaching a point of exhaustion. The video below is a time-lapse from my second ride around the city.
Then June came around and the bumps in the road became frequent. First my mild arthritis started to act up. There were days when I would get out of bed with achy joints and muscles that just didn’t want to do anything. Then my doctor wanted to have me begin to wean off Predisone from 10mg to 7.5mg. This has been the dose that I’ve started to see problems, having more pain and my rectal area becoming a problem. Of course, that’s what happened again, and I had enough pain that it kept me from having the motivation to get out and train. Below is a picture of the bleeding at times that I’m dealing with while I attempt to train.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew something like this was bound to happen. The question I have is how long with it last? As many IBD patients know these diseases aren’t a science. Dealing with them, physically and mentally, is an art and if you don’t play your treatment, rest, and other cards right, things can quickly spiral out of control. Right now, the mental battle with this question is much harder than the physical. After such a great start to the training, I’m having a tough time at a key part of preparing for the 70.3 miles. I should be ramping up my training and getting ready for my preparation races, but instead I’m slowing down.
So what do I do? Part of me says that I should take it slow, forget about the 70.3 mile distance this year and maybe take it easy. This could give my body more time to heal which would allow me to not have to deal with the bleeding and rectal pain at times. Then again, my doctors have told me that with the type of superficial problem I’m having, my level of activity won’t have much an effect on healing.
After hearing that, the other side of me reminded me how far I’ve come. Part of doing activities like a half Ironman is dealing with injuries and health problems. These are bumps in the road that many triathletes who are trying to overcome a chronic disease have to deal with. So I’ve been asking myself, “Is this a normal level of trials and tribulations, or am I pushing myself too much?” I look at a picture like the one below at the Washington Monument and feel so happy that I can even attempt to try to complete the 70.3 miles.
Only time will tell how this will play out, but what I do know is that this training has lead me to feeling better than I have in a long. It has taken my mind off of my Crohn’s disease so much and given me goals to hit. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this motivated. Maybe it’s because something like this half Ironman is within reach and I know my health is on the right track but I’m afraid to look back now. Whether I will or won’t on this road to 70.3 miles is yet to be written, but whatever happens, I know it’ll be the right decision.
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