When you’re training for the endurance challenge of a lifetime, you can’t be over-prepared. Or can you? When we checked in with Maridee, 9 days before her appearance at the Whistler, BC, IRONMAN, she was recovering from a “Glut-Med” injury that left her unable to run. When I asked her how she was dealing with it, she explained that she is swimming, biking, stretching and working on core strength, while saving her legs for the last push on race day.
A Glut-Med injury is a pain in the ass. Literally. Maridee described it as being “like pulling a ham-string in your butt.” Not a lot of fun when you’re only days away from running 40km – following approximately 10 hours of swimming (4km) and biking (180km).
Wincing in pain just imagining what a fraction of that effort would cost my body – even injury-free – the question bleated from my lips like a wounded soldier calling for a medic: Can triathletes, paradoxically, put themselves out of a big race as a result of trying to avoid injury (by training intensively)? “Probably, but not me”, replied Maridee.
It’s a dicey balance and a risky proposition at the same time. Triathletes spend an average of 6 months of focused, rigorous training prior to an IRONMAN event. “When you put in over 2,000 km on a bike, hundreds of km running and hours and hours swimming, things can happen”, said MD as she shifted uncomfortably in her chair.
The worst of it may be over as she enters the calm before the storm. During these final days, Maridee’s physical regime will wind down but her mental preparation will remain taut. She’ll listen to her trainer – and her gut – while she keeps her fingers crossed (but not her legs, because that’s too painful).
But it won’t be luck that will put MD over the finish line. It will be the determination, courage and self-discipline she has exhibited over many months of relentless training. And as we cheer her on from the sidelines, or in our minds from a distance, she will carry a bit of us with her. On August 25th, when the dice finally land, the only number we’re betting on is one that equals a safe journey from beginning to end for Maridee – and her fellow participants.
(Dice by Grizdave)