It has been a long time since I wrote a blog post. Five months, two weeks, and five days to be exact. I didn’t write that often (hello Ironman training) but I dropped off the face of the social media/real life/blog earth. So what happened to me?
After Ironman Lake Placid I rode the high for a few weeks. My body didn’t feel tired but it was. I remember trying to ride my bike the Saturday after Ironman and I just didn’t have the spark or energy to go very far. I do remember Matt (my coach) asking me why I tried to ride my bike when my training plan specifically told me not to. I guess I didn’t know what to do with Saturday because prior to Ironman every single Saturday was a long ride and run for 9 straight months!
I ran once the following week. My body still wasn’t ready for any serious training. I’m pretty sure I ran 30 minutes and those 30 minutes felt like the marathon at Ironman Lake Placid.
Mark and I headed up to Old Forge with my parents and I tried to ride my bike which resulted in me throwing a mini-tantrum. The hills felt like I was on mile 100 of the Ironman course. I got off my bike and told Mark to go get the car. He calmed me down and I rode back to the house we were staying at but it wasn’t pretty. I was so angry that my body was still fatigued! I tried to swim the next day but barely made it 500 yards. How could I go from swimming 2.4 miles in 1:09 to not being able to swim 500 yards? I was flat out pissed off and upset. I told myself to let it go. It had barely been two weeks since I raced 140.6 miles.
Soon after that Mark and I went to pick up the newest member of our family. We picked Trek up on August 12th, 2015. What an amazing addition to our family. I have always wanted to have my own golden retriever. Growing up our family had three Golden Retrievers: Brandon, Casey, and Shadow. I have harassed Mark about getting a dog since we started dating. It was finally a good time for us to take the puppy plunge! We were lucky because at that time we were living with my parents. It worked out very well because of my parent’s flexible work schedule. Trek had around the clock love.
Quick flashback to May 2015. I had accepted a new position and left my job of 4.5 years. There was nothing wrong with my prior position I was just at a point where I was ready for something different. I wanted to determine if this new opportunity was something I felt passionate about. Mark and I determined that it was a good time to pursue something different. So I did.
I started my new job in June. The first 6 weeks were a blur. I was in the final weeks of training for Ironman Lake Placid. We were away for a training weekend in Lake Placid and the Toughman Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3. I really didn’t have time to know if I was happy in my new position. Once Ironman was over and “real life” resumed, I was able to assess the situation. First off, let me start by saying I loved people I worked with in my new position. That’s part of the reason I took the job. I knew how much I had in common with the staff. Unfortunately, day after day, I realized that my new position might not be the best fit for me.
Here’s where I admit my faults. I have a really difficult time dealing with change and not being able to control a situation. If one thing is going wrong in my life I focus on the wrong. I can’t focus on all the good. It’s something I need to work on. In this situation I couldn’t leave. I had to be an adult and figure out how I was going to be happy. That is where I fell apart. I didn’t want to be an adult. I wanted things to change in the blink of an eye. I wanted to run back to where I felt comfortable. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. I quickly unraveled. I stopped working out, I was in a bad mood a majority of the time. I didn’t want to work. I drove Mark insane. I know I put unnecessary stress on him. I called him and texted him all day long telling him how upset I was. I did the same with my parents and friends.
Instead of accepting the fact that it was going to take time to change my situation, I let it consume me. I like to think I am a strong woman but in that situation I crumbled like a child. My mom kept telling me, “You did an Ironman. You can get through this.” I kept trying to tell myself that but it didn’t really work. I did start applying for other jobs but I was convinced that I was never going to be able to go back to the career that I enjoyed. I was very negative. I cried way more times than I like to admit.
The people who knew how upset I was told me I needed to focus on other things. I needed to resume training, I needed to sign up for a race, I needed to socialize more. I did none of those things. I pushed people away. I didn’t want to talk. I was a mess!
Not only was I mentally and emotionally self-destructing, but I was taking the physical side down as well. I kept my Ironman body for a while. I stayed pretty fit. I could still see muscle in all the right places but I knew it wasn’t going to last much longer. I slowly felt my body change. I lost muscle and put on some weight. I just didn’t care. I let one thing consume my whole life. It’s pretty sad when I think back to what I did to myself.
Looking back I think I did go on a few runs. I mountain biked once. I did not swim. I did walk a lot with Trek. Thank goodness for that fluffy dog. We went to our local state park at least 2-3 times per week in the fall. Trek was like the mayor of the park. People loved seeing Trek prancing around. He loves people and other dogs. Trek loves to be loved! Our outings definitely lifted my spirits.
So this brings me to the beginning of October. Mark and I are pretty private about things in our life (yes, I know this is comical considering I post about my life in detail left and right on Instagram). We were in the process of having our new home built. Mark and I are very calculated in how and when we spend money and we were finally ready to make the jump to purchase our first home. It was exciting. We would constantly go to the site to see the progress that was being made. We were there at least 2-3 times a week.
One Saturday in October we went to puppy class with Trek. After that we headed to a few pet stores and bought him a new harness and some treats. We weren’t planning to swing by the new house but we did. It was a beautiful sunny day outside.
Once we got to the house I stayed in the car with Trek. Mark was checking out the progress. Well, he started talking to one of the workers and I got antsy. I got out of the car and let Trek out so he could stretch his legs (on his leash).
I don’t like to relive what happened next but Trek got attacked by a dog in the neighborhood. It was a freak accident. I’ll never forget the sounds that the other dog was making as he had Trek’s neck in his mouth. He wouldn’t let go. The attack seemed like hours but in reality it probably lasted around a minute or two. The dog finally released Trek after he was tackled by one of his owners. I remember Trek making horrible screaming noises and his eyes were wide open. In that moment I thought the worst. I also saw blood. There was blood on all of us and I didn’t know who it was from. During the attack Mark and I threw ourselves on the ground to try to protect Trek. Somehow, during the fight, my knee got twisted trying to stop the fight. Mark and I also got bit. Needless to say it was a horrible experience that I don’t want any person to ever have to go through.
After the attack we went to the emergency vet where Trek had to be sedated and have 3 staples in his neck. Looking back I wish I had brought Trek to our vet. I was so panicked we just went to the emergency vet. I did end up bringing him to our vet the following Monday because his wound was oozing and was starting to look strange. Our vet took the staples out and cleaned the wound and promised me he was going to be okay. I was a wreck! Back to Saturday…
After the emergency vet we brought Trek home so my parents could watch him. Mark and I headed to an urgent care clinic to have our bite wounds checked out. During all of craziness after the attack I realized my knee was starting to really hurt. As a triathlete, I am used to aches and pains. I just brushed it off. We got checked out and had our wounds cleaned. I had a few puncture wounds on my hand and Mark had a big bite wound on his arm. We didn’t need stitches, which was nice but we were put on antibiotics. Once we were done there we went to the pharmacy and picked up our prescription.
Once we got home we called the police. A police officer came over and took our report of what had happened. Mark and I wanted the incident documented for obvious reasons. The officer was very nice. He told us we could pick up a report in a few days at the station for our records.
When I finally got to sit down I realized my knee was in excruciating pain. I had a bad feeling that something was wrong with it. It was starting to swell and I was having a really hard time bending my leg. I was hoping it was just agitated from the scuffle and that it would be okay. I kept it elevated and iced it. I honestly didn’t care too much about myself because I was so concerned about Trek. He was acting off (I would too after being attacked) and was really loopy from all the medication he was taking. I couldn’t stop crying. I was so upset. I felt like I let him down by not assessing the situation better. Hindsight is 20/20…
I didn’t sleep at all Saturday night due to my knee pain and making sure Trek was okay. I woke Mark up a few times crying because I was in so much pain. On Sunday morning I texted my amazing orthopedic surgeon. I told him what happened and he told me to come in on Monday. I’m lucky to have a doctor who is so accommodating. Sunday wasn’t any better. Trek was still acting off and my knee kept getting worse. I just wanted to scream because I was so upset.
Fast-forward to Monday. My good friend, Elyssa, brought me to my appointment. At this point I could barely bend my leg. I was still in a lot of pain. I had my appointment and had an x-ray. Nothing showed up on the x-ray which was expected because it was most likely not a bone issue. My doctor wanted me to get an MRI to see if he could see any tears on that. He sent me on my way and told me to try to use my leg and not be afraid to bend it.
I took a few days off from work and tended to Trek and my knee. He started to act more like himself which made us all happy. His wound needed to be cleaned every day which my mom and Mark did. Thank goodness for my mom and Mark. Looking at the wound made me feel sick. I just couldn’t do it!
About 2 weeks later I had my MRI. My doctor contacted me with the results right after. He didn’t see any damage but there was a lot of fluid buildup around the knee. He told me I needed to start using my knee again instead of babying it. I tried. I remember biking once but my leg was so weak I couldn’t even push off. It was really frustrating. Somehow I made it through 9 months of intense Ironman training with NO injuries and then I get taken out by a dog.
As Trek healed I slowly started to heal. Did I use my knee like he told me? No. I walked a lot with Trek which helped but I didn’t swim, bike, or run.
So there I was, nursing an injured knee, being miserable about my job, and angry at myself for letting Trek get attacked.
We closed on our house in November. I couldn’t believe it was time to start moving in. My parents took care of Trek during the move. I was still a little wary and angry about the dog incident. I just wanted to get situated before we moved him in, too.
On the Friday that we were moving in I got an e-mail about an interview for a job. I was so excited! It gave me some hope that things would work out.
This post is long enough so I’ll sum up the ending.
I had two interviews for one of the jobs I applied for. I was offered the job in December and I accepted it. I was ecstatic! I knew that the job would be a great position for me. It was difficult giving my notice for my current position at the time because I loved the staff, I just didn’t like the position. I was lucky that staff was understanding of my feelings.
I ran the Saint Nick Shuffle 5K on my birthday which was more painful than Ironman Lake Placid (no, I am not joking). It was horrible. I hadn’t run in MONTHS. I told myself that my time didn’t matter one bit. I just ran as smart/fast as I could which wasn’t very fast. I accepted the fact that it wasn’t going to be remotely close to a stellar performance. My average pace was 8:33. It stung a little because at one of the sprint triathlons I did this past summer my average pace was 7:28 and I had biked and swam before that. I got over it pretty quickly and was just happy that I was able to run, even if I was out of shape.
Soon after that I talked to Matt and told him I was ready to start my structured training again. My knee was feeling better. I needed my routine back. I was finally in the right mental, emotional, and physical place to start training again. Starting from scratch was rough. I was out of shape. I felt like a blob. I just kept telling myself that I would get back to where I was in terms of my fitness. It took a few weeks until I felt like myself again. My knee is getting better. It’s not 100% but I am able to do my workouts.
I wrote this post to be honest. I struggle. I am weak at times. Not every day is easy. I know that I have things I need to work on. I also know that I am blessed to have such an amazing support system consisting of my husband, family, Trek (yes, my dog is important) and friends. I had many people who stuck by me when I know it would have been easy for them to leave me alone. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for all you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving me when I was very unlovable.
In regards to Trek, the attack didn’t change his personality. He loves every single person he meets and wants to play with every dog he sees. We were worried he would be afraid of other dogs after the attack. That is not the case! Even though Trek isn’t afraid, Mark and I are very cautious about letting certain dogs near him. You would act that way if you experienced what we did. When he hears dogs barking in an aggressive manner he comes right by our side. Other than that, he’s a happy Golden Retriever who is loved dearly.
Thanks for reading. I know this was a long one.