I feel as though almost each day is different. One day I have sturdy direction, the next it is something new. I should be blogging every 6 hours to keep up with it all.
I cannot retell all details of the last week; I saw too many specialists with changes in courses of action such that it feels like a game of Pong. My neck is getting tired from all of this head spinning. :)
The hamster wheel is not my favorite pastime. That feels like what I have been on.
At the end of this month I had planned on going to Tucson. Paolina (Allan) was renting a house with her friend, superstar cyclist, Leigh Bianco, and they invited me to join. Then, it got better. A handful of my good Boulder buddies: Billy Edwards, Laura Tingle, Erin Kummer, Mark Van Akkeren, Justin Daerr would also be in Tucson during that time frame. I also got an email from Chris Hauth; he was doing a camp there with Wendy Ingraham, and I could jump in on stuff with them. This was getting to be a FUN reunion opportunity! It was my hope that by this time I would be riding - and what better way to do some serious fitness rebuilding than a training camp with my good, good friends? I was looking forward to this.
After several days of appointments with conflicting protocol, I called JZ to vent my frustration(s), and get her advice. I think I need to start paying her a counselor fee. :) We went over all the contradictory opinions, my lack of progress despite a ton of work, and my current physical abilities versus pain. When I began to whine that all of this struggle and headache was not worth it just to return to a bike, she reminded me that triathlon training and racing was secondary. Right now my objective was to address these issues so my life would not be hindered. "You're too young to be plagued with back issues, Carole", she counseled. "And they aren't going to go away on their own. What if you decide to have children? You're not going to be able to pick up the baby because your back gives out? Or you can't ever go on a fun bike ride with your friends just to enjoy the day? Is that what you want? You have to fix this, Carole."
She is right. I know...
Her first bit of advice, no Tucson. (*sigh*) Joanna was concerned it would do more harm than good to my psyche being in an environment where everyone was putting in massive training hours, while I would be bored waiting for them to return after a 1 hour rehab ride. This was assuming I could train at all. I think she knows me well. That situation would be difficult.
This decision seriously saddened me. I had been killing myself doing tons of swim lessons or anything extra I could do to get my plane ticket and chip in for house rental, and I was really excited about getting to spend time with my friends, Paolina especially. I was broken hearted to tell her; she understood, but we were both bummed to miss out on quality time together, and miss training together like we always talk about.
Joanna's second bit of advice... "I have had it with all this bullshit!", she said in her usual scrappy, feisty tone. "Enough is enough!!",
It was time for me see her "biomechanical genius", as she called him, the man who brought her back from the brink of retirement with her painful back misery. She was tired for me with all the PONG going on and put in a call to Chuck Wolf on my behalf. Most elite athletes know who Chuck is, or have at least heard of him.
Chuck has a legendary reputation for his brilliance in human motion and performance enhancement, and for correcting severe biomechanical dysfunctions in many world class athletes. JZ worked with him for 6-weeks to help with her back problems post-Olympics. She gives almost exclusive credit to him for rebuilding her body not just to return to racing, that was impressive enough, but to race stronger than ever.
Later that night I did a phone consultation with Chuck to determine some baseline information to see if I needed to do an in-person physical assessment. We quickly discovered that my lack of muscular/skeletal vocabulary, or knowledge therein, would not help our cause... so we did a 3-way phone call with my kinesthetic guru, my massage therapist, Collette Ragan. It felt almost like an intervention of sorts as they discussed me in 3rd person as though I wasn't part of the conversation. Frankly, I barely was.
For almost an hour I listened intently as Chuck asked Collette detailed questions about my mobility, muscular responses, problem areas, etc. It was a fascinating but perplexing conversation - every word out of their mouths sounded as though they were talking about dinosaur species. :) I had no clue WHAT they were saying, but occasionally Chuck would respond, "Mmm. That's not good". I was so grateful to Collette for taking the time to fill Chuck in; her fluency with the subject was equal to Chuck's and she gave him the precise information I was unable to.
Chuck told me he highly recommended we do an assessment together at his clinic in Florida. There were things he needed to see in person. I called JZ to fill her in and asked what she thought. "Get your ass down there!", was her obvious response. :)
Once I get a secure date in Chuck's busy schedule, I will be on my way.
I trust JZ without a glimmer of hesitation. If she thinks this will help, I will go. Plus, in my gut I think this is a good decision. I am eager to see what Chuck thinks. In the meantime, I'll keep dealing with the discomfort hoping some answers are on the horizon.