Storm Watch – Setting the Stage for Ironman Maryland

The lead up to Ironman Maryland was rough. Three months out from the race I was in a bike accident and suffered a concussion. I can dedicate a full post to that experience and recovery, but I’ll leave that for another time. Needless to say, the concussion and other injuries derailed my training, and I wasn’t myself for close to six weeks. My amazing coach, Jen Harrison, and the incredible team at the Fairfax Family Practice Comprehensive Concussion Center helped me work through the setbacks to salvage my fitness so that I could attempt to put together a solid 140.6 miles.

My ice helmet to help with post concussion headaches.
Ice helmet to help with post concussion headaches.

Once on the road to recovery post-concussion, we learned that we going to be moving Germany! We were thrilled for this new adventure, but now had even more to pack into the next couple of months. I worked to compartmentalize various parts of my life – work, Ironman, the move, time with friends and family – in an attempt to not feel overwhelmed.

With the impending move, the closest target became a trip to California to see my family since we’d no longer be making it out there for Thanksgiving. We lined everything up perfectly: 1. Ironman 2. California 3. Move.

The best laid plans….

A few days before Ironman Maryland, a powerful nor’easter set its sights on the east coast hand-in-hand with a hurricane that couldn’t decide it wanted to make landfall. This combination of weather events forced Ironman to cancel the race with the possibility of a postponed race. As images of the swim and bike course showed up over the weekend, it was clear that Ironman made the right call, but we had five days to wait to find out if we’d be lucky enough to race in two weeks.

Ironman cancellation therapy. IMMD-ers worldwide consummed copious amounts of booze the day our race was canceled.
Ironman cancellation therapy. IMMD-ers worldwide consumed copious amounts of booze the day our race was canceled.

Meanwhile, we had to bring our bodies out of taper to log some long miles during the storm weekend. These were some miserable miles, but we rewarded ourselves with killer BBQ and got ready to head to California – a post-race trip turned into a pre-race trip. The lead up to an as-scheduled Ironman is full of bumps and bruises so this had some extra complications, but the postponement was happening so we tried to keep our heads in the game and be grateful that we were getting to race at all!

Physically, I don’t think the two-week delay was a problem for me. I did the best I could to keep my body in fighting shape and the extra two weeks ended up giving my big toe additional time to recover from a minor surgery. Mentally though, I had trouble holding it together. It was hard to remain focused and sharp during those additional two weeks especially with everything else that was swirling around inside my brain. We tried to keep one another positive as we pushed forward.

We returned from California around midnight on Tuesday; the race was on Saturday. We dumped our suitcases on the floor, returned to work for a day and a half, and packed up a new set of suitcases to get on the road to Cambridge. Ironman Maryland 2.0, here we come!

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