Getting to the Start Line
by Nicolas Theopold
Ironman preparation is long, and it gives you plenty of time to screw things up. Alas, I seem to manage to get myself injured with great consistency before my ironman races. Before my last race of the season -- Ironman Florida -- I kept true to myself and managed to crash three weeks before race day. I was not happy.
What happened? Coming home from a great peak workout I overlooked a raised dividing line between the road and bike path. Result: A nice hard crash at about 20mph that scraped some skin of my knee, bumped my right hip, hurt the right wrist and fingers, and worst of all, rattled my ribs. Within seconds I went from “What the…” to “Ouch…” to “I hope nothing is broken…” to “You STUPID %&@!” -- cursing myself for my carelessness. Back home it looked like things were not too bad and that apparently nothing was broken.
The next day I was able to jog without too much discomfort, which I interpreted as being okay to get back into it. That was a mistake. While bone bruising and a hematoma on my hip didn’t wreak too much havoc, my chest cartilage was more sensitive. Going back into the pool too quickly made it worse, which meant that in the end I could hardly swim at all before the race and running was also impacted. For most of the time before the race I had a clamping feeling around my chest, which was disconcerting when running and made swimming impossible.
In the end I was lucky to get to the start line and I ended up having my best race to date and fulfilling a big athletic dream of mine -- Kona qualification. But getting there was difficult and angst-ridden, with lots of emotional ups and downs along the way. I learned a few important lessons in those weeks:
Keep the rubber on the road and safe training and racing to all!
Editor’s note: In addition to earning his first Kona qualification at the 2012 Ironman Florida, Nicolas finished 20th overall and 3rd amateur.
At 2 meters, Nicolas is one of the "big units" at Endurance Corner. A dabbler in all sorts of sports he is now working with Alan Couzens to become faster and see where the athletic journey leads. You can learn more about Nicolas at SemberBarbatus.com.