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The Final Phases of a Triathlon Injury

Oh boy.

99 days until Ironman Augusta 70.3!

In January, I absolutely freaked out 100 days before New Orleans 70.3 because I felt unbelievably unprepared and crazy.  Turns out, I didn’t need to freak, because God taught me a lesson in fretting and in patience by breaking my foot.

“But God didn’t break your foot,” you might say.

“Oh yes, He did,” I might respond.  

“But you tripped on nothing in your driveway and broke your foot,” you might retort.

“WRONG!” I scream and flail my arms.

Well, maybe not like that. But I think God did intend to have me slow down, consider my blessings and get a grip. And I am glad, deep down, that I broke my foot.  What?!

Yes, it’s true. I needed a break [no pun] to gain some perspective.  While I do believe that there are three stage of a triathlon injury…

1) Grief
2) Madness
3) Coping

I also believe there is a Fourth and Final (Fifth) Phase of Triathlon Injury. (Say that three times fast.)

4) Chicken Little
Right before the last phase is what can be called the phase of Chicken Little.  This one is simple. The doctor says, “You are healed. Take it easy! But go forth and prosper.”

You take off the cast, boot, splint, etc., and suddenly you see something awful and depressing.  The fact that your former self is gone and you are a baby, learning to figure all this out again. And it’s not just the specific body part that is a mess… it’s the whole body, down to the teeny muscles that used to work (and now don’t).

Hence, “The sky is falling, I’ll never run again. I can’t bike!  I need to eat pizza. Now! My life is o-v-e-r!!”

After Chicken Little is run out of town and perspective has some time to creep in, things happen. 

The small things. You realize that while you aren’t running so hot or moving very smoothly, that each workout snaps you back into place, ever so slightly. 

The gains… gain momentum and you can almost  feel the spark of your former pre-injury self.  Of course, the pain creeps in sometimes and Chicken Little may squawk a little.  

But you find yourself squeaking out little “yeahs” and “sweet” and smiles during your workouts. 

Until… the great workout post-injury happens, and the fifth and final phase is reached….

5) Jubilation!

Wooo hoooooo!  I am absolutely thrilled that I have 99  days left until Augusta.  Where I was terrified before  the New Orleans race (“only 100 days???? oh mah gawd!”)

… I am eager now.  99 days is a long time!  Let’s do this!  I am so happy to be able to heal, to recover and hang on for the ride of “what’s next.” 

The final phase of this injury: Jubilation. Along with Gratefulness. Perspective.  Glad to be done with the moping. Happiness. Joy.  Joy in the Pain. Awareness.

We are blessed in triathlon, friends. 

We are!  We are! Keep moving.  No matter the breaks you have sustained now… they too will heal and fuse over time… they will.  And you will be whole again.  Just breathe and breathe and move and move.  You will make it.  You will be strong.  Both in spirit and in body.  Keep the faith and positivity flowing.

Have a great weekend!

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