I Can and I Will!

“There will be a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.” – Laura Kloepper

I decided to give Ironman one more shot after consulting with family and friends who would be impacted by that decision. Everyone was on board as I suspected they would be. I have an incredible support system, extending to every corner of my life. I made this decision for a number of reasons but they all boiled down to one central theme; Because I Can.

Yep. Because I can, I would once again purposefully subject myself to another year of before-the-crack-of-dawn workouts, regimented food (within reason; I still have my vices), inevitable setbacks, pain, a structured if not limited social life (although I balance pretty well), potential injuries, foam rollers and ice baths. Awesome!

This time around would be different.  I knew how to train. I was more comfortable training with others and looked forward to the camaraderie during longer workouts. I was now familiar with Ironman check-in and gear bag hell. I had walked through race morning procedures, herding onto the beach, the firing of the cannon and plunging into the water. Not to mention I totally spoke Triathlonese now, so I didn’t feel like such a rookie.

That was a killer brick!

I’m integrating TRX into core workouts.

Fartlek workout tomorrow…….uuuugggghhhh!!

Do you think this is more aero?  Or THIS?

I’ll start my base phase in a couple of weeks.

I’m in recovery week so I can have dinner on Thursday…but I’ll have to be home and in bed by 8pm for my Friday morning swim TT.

THIS?  Or this?

I peaked too early.

I bonked.

I exploded.

I killed it!

I was so excited!

For the most part, I had an uneventful winter of training.  I was feeling great through February and was hopeful that we would have a normal spring with pollens gradually emerging over several weeks rather than all at once.  I felt so much more relaxed this year.  Focused. Determined. Not that I wasn’t before, it just felt different this time. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and wanted to savor the journey. I registered with the Ironman Foundation to raise money for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America through my race and donations were coming in. Everything was falling into place!

In early March, I developed a cold.  To most people, a common cold is an inconvenience, albeit a miserable one.  For an asthmatic, it can develop into a full-blown episode, even a potential visit to the emergency room. In fact, most of my hospital visits have started with a common cold or sinus infection. Since my illness has improved over the past few years, I’ve managed to make it through a few colds without asthma symptoms. That would not be the case this time. I became very ill, very quickly. Typically, I start improving by about day 10 of a bad episode. That day turned out to be the worst yet and there was no end in sight.  I had been taking high doses of prednisone as well as breathing treatments every four hours but it wasn’t improving.  I was baffled.  I was concerned about missing so much training but was thankful it was happening now instead of in June. It was completely out of my hands so I tried not to worry about it. Right now I just had to focus on getting well.

Part of my job at Whitworth University is to assist our educator candidates with getting a job.  On day 11 of this episode, I took my annual one-day trip to Tacoma for the Washington Educator Career Fair to assist them with this process. I was still hopeful that I’d be turning the corner and feeling better.  By the end of the day, as I awaited my flight back to Spokane from SEATAC, I was making a decision between going to urgent care or the emergency room when I landed.  It was that bad.  I texted friends and had a back-up plan if I wasn’t able to drive by the time I got there. It had escalated to another level so quickly.

On the flight, someone put on scented lotion. Another was doused in too much cologne. Again, normal for most people (or perhaps annoying to some), but exposure to such things is detrimental for an asthmatic, especially in small spaces where you have no option for escape. It was a small plane so moving to another seat wouldn’t make a difference. I went into shutdown mode. Everything tunnels and 100% of your focus is on breathing through what now seems like a straw. It’s a short 45 minute flight but I was keenly aware of every second.

I made it safely and decided on urgent care.  Tests showed that I had developed a sinus infection, which in turn was increasing the severity of the asthma. Ugh!  Again, out of my control, so I tried to focus solely on getting well rather than give in to my feelings of frustration, even panic at the loss of training.  At least now I had an answer. I’d start antibiotic treatment and know that I’d be on the road to recovery in a couple of days.

I lost a total of 26 days of training.  Blech!!

As is the case when I’ve been sick, I come out of it with renewed motivation. Asthma has taught me to be thankful for and capitalize on healthy days. The contrast between what I am able to do while healthy versus days/weeks when my symptoms dictate my every move still astounds me. I had definitely lost ground but I was back to full health and more than ready to go.  I adjusted my training schedule and pressed on.

A repeat occurrence of last year was not an option.  Period! 


2 thoughts on “I Can and I Will!

  1. Rod Smith

    Hey Cath,
    It’s Rod and I finally read my first Blog….backward!!! What a novice! I was reading from top to bottom and found a few of the time lines a little jumbled but kept reading. Only to finally pay attention to the dates you posted when i got to the last one on the bottom. No matter- your story continues to touch my heart in seeing God work so strongly in someone’s physical nature as well as their spiritual one. I’m enjoying your writing very much but can’t wait to hear more of the story about that big day. I’m also gonna make sure Michelle gets to read this… in spite of the risk i run of having you motivate my wife away from me!!
    Love ya girl- peace, health and blessings unending

    1. bringiton23 Post author

      Ha! I’m glad you figured it out. One more short post and I’ll be at race day. I promise! Thanks for plunging into the world of blogs and for making mine your first read. C


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