By: Jeremy Sipos
“My mind is telling me YES, but my body, my body … is telling me NO!!!” Not only does that sound like an R. Kelly song but that somewhat describes my 2011 and 2012 triathlon racing seasons. If you race and train long enough, chances are unfortunately good that you will eventually end up with small or large injuries. After suffering a bike crash with a dog years ago, I’ve had issues with my calves. Both were strained pretty badly in that incident and I’ve continued to have nagging issues. My 2011 and 2012 races seasons started pretty much the same. I was in great shape to start the year, raced a decent 70.3 to start both seasons in April, and then BAM ended up at the next race unable to run let alone walk to the finish with a major calf strain. There is no worse feeling for an athlete than being a couple miles from the finish after hours of hard racing and then unable to complete the race. It’s hard to accept but sometimes the best option is NOT finishing. As an athlete, I think it’s important to understand the difference between being tough and gutting it out and being tough and seriously hurting yourself by trying to continue. There are times when your body will say “no, I’m tired” or “no, this pace is too fast” which are times when you should just ignore what your body is saying. But when your body says “NO!!!, you should listen. Unless of course you are about to win Hawaii Ironman or win the gold medal at the Olympics, this advice doesn’t apply to you.
The best advice I can give to anyone dealing with an injury is to get healed as quickly as you can. Sometimes this means doing nothing or very little until you are healed. For most athletes this is the hard part, but it’s much better to take six weeks off now than to take four weeks off and then re-injure yourself and have to take another 6 weeks off. The past two summers I have had to take 6 weeks or so off from running completely due to my calf strains, but both seasons I was able to return to racing by the end of the year. So, here’s to an injury free 2013 and another great year for Team Podium.