I have come to the realization that deferring both Ironman 70.3 Texas and Ironman Texas 140.6 is the best choice for my long-term recovery. From the day I began walking with my catheter bag until the end of last week, I’ve had my eye on preparing for both of those Ironman races in April. I felt certain that I could recover well enough to make it through the full distance race. I didn’t have any illusions about setting any personal records, I simply wanted the experience and lessons of doing the events.
During the intervening time, I’ve consistently worked to balance activities that pushed my physical limits while avoiding those that would negatively impact my surgical recovery. A botched recovery is the last thing that I want to experience. I want a healthy and strong body…for many years to come.
I’ve also been struggling with the impacts of partial urinary incontinence. I have regained quite a bit of control. So much so that I don’t need to wear an adult diaper or underwear liners during the day. I urinate frequently but rarely leak or lose control and pee on myself. Doing long runs at a local park that has plenty of Port-o-John’s has been wonderful. I’m able to have a trail instead of concrete and I eliminate the stress of wondering how long I’ll have to try and hold my bladder. When I swim, I just get out of the pool and go into the locker room when I have to pee. No issues there either.
The primary issue occurs after I go to bed. I am unable to sleep through the night. In fact, I get up every two hours or so to use the bathroom. The frequent disruptions in my sleep have a cumulative effect on my body’s ability to recover. As such, I’m reluctant to attempt long, high volume sessions due to the increased risk of injury. Without higher volume, I’m unable to adequately prepare for either half or full distance Ironman races.
Change of plans
The results of my recent swim assessment solidified the decision not to attempt the races. I didn’t perform poorly or incur any discomfort during the session. It was the discussion of the results and a realization that I simply need more healing time before I attempt to prepare to properly run a full distance Ironman. I understood more clearly that healing not only involves my body and the organs that were affected by the surgery, but also the mental adaptations I’m making to live with those changes.
- Improve my body composition by reducing the fat percentage and dropping weight.
- Work to be more consistent and precise with my dietary needs and caloric intake for the workouts and post-workout recovery.
- Base building for cycling – significantly improving my FTP. Doing this will allow me to finish the bike leg faster without sacrificing my ability to run afterward.
Finally, we discussed my current standing relative to others in my age group.
- Swimming, I’m capable of swimming in the front of the pack…even with the slower pros.
- On the bike, I have the power, but my base aerobic endurance is lacking which requires that I go slower. By improving my base, I will unlock the ability to push higher power without destroying my legs for the run.
- The saying is .. “Bike for Show, Run for Dough”
- Finally, the run is my “Achilles heel”. Currently, I’m too big and have not prepared my body for fast sustained running. He thinks that after dropping my weight, later in the year or next year, we’ll begin incorporating speed work to change what I can do to complete the marathon.