Friday, May 25, 2012

Sometimes You Kick, Sometimes You Get Kicked

As my favorite INXS song goes, "Sometimes You Kick, Sometimes You Get Kicked". I've had a great 2012 so far. A new coach, a new team, great training, and the first time in five years that I've been living at home for the winter/spring. But a couple of months ago, I had a sudden twist in my plans for the season...

I was in Phoenix in March getting some physical therapy on some tendonitis I'd been having in my hip on/off for the last year. While there I had an MRI and was told that I had a small tear in the tendon and a stress reaction in my pelvis from the tendon pulling on the bone. 4 weeks off and I'd be back running. BUT, there was something else going on in my hip and the PT gave me the choice of knowing about it or waiting until it got worse to take action. I immediately said "No, don't wanna know". However, over the course of the next few days, as one new piece of advice or one new exercise in therapy lead to the question "Why?", I soon became aware that I had a labral tear in my hip. The tear was caused by a genetic impingement, due to extra bone on the head of my femur (the ball part of the ball and socket hip joint). It had likely developed over time, and although I'd been having some groin symptoms from time to time, it wasn't anything that bothered me enough to think it was something serious. The bigger issue, however, was that left untreated, a torn labrum can accelerate degenerative changes in a joint which can cause worse problems down the road. I also became aware that the labral tear had created an instability in my hip which in turn had switched off my glutes and was likely the cause of past hip tendonitis and IT band injuries.

So my big decision over the last month has been deciding whether or not to have surgery. I had sent my MRI and x-ray to the Steadman Clinic in Vail to get a second opinion and to set up a potential surgery date if in fact I decided to choose the surgery route. I was first given a date of February, 2013 and then moved to an "athlete wait list" that might get me in by the end of the summer. Then on Monday, I was offered a June 5th appointment date due to a last minute cancellation. All of a sudden, I had to decide between the next few months of training and racing or prolonging my race season until the fall. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but in the end it came down to one question....What was the most direct route to getting back to racing at my best. I think everybody has a goal time or a goal finishing place that they'd like to achieve. For some people, it's simply crossing the finish line. For others, it's going under a certain hour time for an Ironman. Or maybe beating a rival who they're competitive with. For me, it's all of the above. When I train, I always think about my goal finishing place that I'm working towards. I think about the people who I'm racing against and it makes me work harder. With the current hip issues that I'd been having, I could either keep training at 80% and hope to get through the rest of the season, or I could fix the problem and get on with things. Thinking of it that way, there wasn't much of a decision to make.

So on June 5th, I'll be having hip surgery to repair my labral tear by Dr Philippon in Vail, CO. He's the same doctor who's done surgery on A-Rod, figure skater Michelle Kwan, golfer Greg Norman, and numerous other NHL and MLB athletes. The following is a Sports Illustrated link that talks about the surgery and other pro athletes that Dr Philippon has worked on. I also have to say a BIG THANK YOU to my family and friends who have been supportive of me in making this decision, my coach Pete Coulson for his advice, and to fellow pro triathletes Liz Blatchford and Margie Shapiro who have had the same surgery and have given me so much confidence and advice. THANK YOU.

Here are some other training pics from the last month. Looking forward to getting back on the road after surgery and finishing the season with a KICK.

* Winner of the Encinitas 1 mile swim race last Sunday. Thanks to my TYR Freak of Nature - fastest wetsuit I've ever worn!

* My Tuesday trainer sessions. Fun times!;)

* Morning run. My favorite workout.:)