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First, yes, new to posting here - but I've been reading (lurking) for a while! I am interested to see how you all respond to the question: How do you recover from a bad race or...even worse, a bad racing year??
The short of it for me is: I started both IMAZ in April and IMKY just a few weeks ago, and dnf'd both *sigh*. With both races I was pulled off of the course because of an ocular migraine. I finished the swim both times (I finished the swim in KY 10 min. faster than AZ), got started on the bike and about hour 3 of both races, started losing vision in my right eye. Arizona was worse for me because I was terrified - didn't understand what was happening medically. Kentucky just made me angry because this vision issue NEVER happened with training for either race. After AZ I had every possible medical test, exam (MRI, MRA, Heart tests, stress tests, etc.) and everything came back perfect. My DR Rocks and we had plan a) if I was having issues pre-race and a plan b) in case something came up during the race...Anyway - it happened again in KY and now...Here I am again. Back where I started. Another dnf (you have to be kidding me is all I could think) and I'm just freakin' exhausted (mentally, emotionally, physically). I have been back to the DR and we have some more things to work on, seems like races are just a perfect storm for me, so to speak.
So, I ask..because I think just knowing what other folks do to recover from bad races would be helpful. I'd like to say I will get off my butt in the morning and feel like starting it all over, but I think a break is in order. Not a complete break, but a break from IM Training for right now. (Even though when Saturday morning rolls around, I will be completely lost not knowing what to do without a 4-5+ hour bike ride...)
I dnf'd IMC this year. My only race and I dnf'd. Also for medical reasons that have yet to be sorted out, which also make training VERY difficult. I took a few days to mourn, and now a couple weeks to kind of train sporadically and eat whatever the hell I want. I feel rejuvenated now and ready to get back on the wagon. Unfortunately training is still really tough cuz I can't breathe, but at least I want to do it!
Take some time to do whatever you want. Take a spin class, just go for a run, do nothing, go rollerblading... whatever! Take as long as you need because it will come back to you. Especially if you spend enough time around here - stop lurking and post! :) Oh, and once you're ready sign up for a race. I'm doing IMC again... I'm pissed and it's gonna pay! haha
I know I'm promiscuous, but in a classy way
Do you do any shorter races, or just ironman? In shorter races, do you ever have these problems? ever in training?
Ironman is not the be all end all of triathlon, although lurking on slowtwitch, you might get the impression that it is.
So many other races out there. Shorter ones, off road, running, cycling, mtb, trail running, ow swims, masters swims. Maybe you just need to pick something new for a little diversion for a year or so, give your mind and body a break from what you have been doing. We just do this for fun, so no sense doing things that make you feel so miserable. Then maybe you'll feel ready to give ironman a try again. Maybe not.
Whatever you do, you have to find the fun in it.
It took me a while to realize this. I still forget it sometimes, but I generally really have fun with what I've chosen to do.
cstine - to answer your questions - I have done other race distances and never had this issue. Not even w/ just cycling, or just running events...and, Never in Training. So frustrating, but - I am trying to work with my Sports Med Doc to figure it out.
You are right - I do need to make sure it's fun. I'm going to find some different things to focus on this winter so that *if* I do decide to go for 140.6 again in the next year or so I know I'm going back for fun, not just revenge! :)
I'm sorry to hear about your races.
I had a terrible season in 05 - we moved to a new state and I went back to school. I wasn't motivated and didn't get my training on track, then had two really terrible races that I went into under trained and massively dnf-ed. After that, I basically just stopped training until I felt like starting again. It took about two-three months where I had any desire to train and by then I was basically starting from scratch, but I was at least enjoying the training again. And honestly, there are worse things in the world than having to rebuild fitness.
It definitely sounds like you need a break and I would say take a complete break. Honestly, sometimes the very best thing you can do is completely remove yourself from the training and regroup. Try something other than S/B/R for a while and give yourself a chance to figure out what your body is telling you.
My $.02... Good luck and keep posting!
The beatings will continue until morale improves
Wow, I can't think of what would cause sudden lack of vision in a race if you didn't experience it in training. The only things I can think of are (a) your swim goggles are pressuring something on your face that affects vision, or (b) race nerves.
I once DNS'd a very important (to me) race that was end-of-season. It was totally heartbreaking. I feel for ya. Although you got it twice!
I wonder if you would consider, rather than taking a break, actually leveraging your current fitness to do some other "revenge" race this fall. Maybe not a tri; maybe a marathon or something. I remember that when I DNS'd that race back then, I was extra-motivated to train in the weeks that followed, because I had the feeling of unfinished business. (I transferred that energy into winter running races.) Also, those of us who did just finish our end of season IM's, by hook or by crook, are totally spent right now and have no choice but to rest for a long time (and get fat). Perhaps IMKY didn't tax you the same way it would have had you finished; so you may actually find the energy to pursue "the next thing" in a few days or weeks.
Let us know what you do...
Hi, Jenne. I feel your pain. Everything was going well for my ramp-up to IMAZ this November until I tore the cartilage in my hip socket. Now I'm just anxious and depressed and kind of freaking out at the thought of losing my ability to run long. :( To the rest of the world it looks like I'm being bitchy and nasty. To me it's just sad sad sad. I know in the real world it could be way worse, but in the world of my personal life it's pretty sucky to think of limping around uselessly for the rest of my life. Docs and I are still figuring stuff out, along with PTs and chiros etc etc. I share your sense of loss.
Jenne, I feel your pain. I did one 1/2-IM (it hit 98 degrees that day- I finished in record slow time due to got huge blisters on the balls of both feet) & IMLP (DNF'd due to hypothermia). After LP I spent about 12 days feeling really sorry for myself then realized that wasn't going to change anything so I decided to have fun. I ran my first trail race (had a blast), toodled around on my mountain bike, hiked. etc. - I exercised for fun - no watch, no HR monitor - just enjoying myself. I'm also doing a short tri in November (MiamiMan) just for fun with a friend (haven't done anything shorter than a 1/2IM in 5 years).
I think the key is to forget about performance and just have fun (and in your case, get to the source of your vision problems).
P.S. Read Bree Wee's blogspot about how she is dealing with not qualifying for Kona.
Hey I have been trying get to Kona for ten years and although its not amedical problem its still very depressing. My dad taught me if you fall off the horse check your saddle get back on and ride or it will always be a fear or a what if. GOOD LUCK and get back on and ride.
I've had trouble with optical migraines before too in marathons and other stressful situations. Staying on top of nutrition seems to help fend it off. Or once they start a big dose of something sugar-y will help stop it for me at least.
I never like to answer the question, "which are you best at?" because as a triathlete I should be best at all three. --Bob Scott, Muncie July 2008
I have lots of experience with this ;-(
Usually I give thanks that I can still race, do something else for a while, then start planning the next year. Long backpacking or canoeing trips work for me, plus they're both good crosstraining. If you're not sick of the bike, do some bike touring. Or, just veg out for a month or two, jog or splash around in the pool if it looks like fun, otherwise not.
Ocular migraines aren't very well understood. It's quite possible you won't have another episode.. here's hoping.
questions: Do you race with the same helmet you train with? and, more in general, race gear vs training gear? race positioning vs training positioning?
And, 2006 was the year of the concussion and shoulder surgury so I had to rebuild very slowly for 2007. Then I intensified the the training for '08 and had a series of personal bests up till April. Had a bit of a meltdown during the Deschutes River Valley TT stage race and figured I was being way to serious so I backed off for awhile. Was able to ramp back up and enjoy riding. And was able to knock 3 minutes off my 40k TT in August.
I've been reading more about periodization and am beginning to think this supports mental health as much as race training. And that's my two cents worth :)