May 5, 2009


I had lot of travel in the past week, making the drive from Tucson back to Des Moines and then flying from Des Moines to St. Croix (via Dallas and San Juan, Puerto Rico). All the while I have been nursing some illiopsoas tendonitis (the psoas is a muscle that runs from the transverse processes of the lumbar spine and wraps around to the front of your groin and attaches at the head of the femur). Sitting is actually one of the worst things I can do for the tendonitis because the psoas is a bicep muscle (much like your upper arm) and when you are seated the muscle is flexed. I have been battling this tendonitis for a while and treating it with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and non-steroidal anti-inflamitories (NSAIDs). A great method for treating all sorts of aches and pains, but it also requires I treat the cause of the tendonitis not just the symptoms. I have been undergoing a rigorous stretching and strengthening routine along with regular chiropractic care to ease my over worked and apparently angry psoas muscle.

I am almost over the pain but Sunday in St. Croix, I didn’t do myself any favors. I came out of the swim in the second pack, which is already a bad day for me. I jumped on the bike and rode fine until I got to the BEAST which is a hill that is .7 mile long with 600 feet of climbing and a grade that ranges from 14% to 27%, not a small hill. Climbing the hill really put a strain on my low back (the origin of the psoas) making my tendonitis flare. I was mostly fine riding, but climbing was a problem and this was not the course to be having problems climbing. I had to back off my pace quite a bit and my wattage was pretty pathetic for race standards. I got off the bike well out of contention for the race and was already massively disappointed. I decided to start the run but took the extra time to put on some socks and get some nutrition in me. I knew I was running for a workout and not a race and just thought I would see how my psoas felt and work on my heat and humidity nutrition plan. I was fine running on the flats and even on the uphill but the downhill put a little too much strain on the tendon and caused a pretty intense amount of pain, so I walked. I walked a lot. I walked so much I decided I was going to pull the plug on the race and call it a day. I was actually walking back to transition to drop out after the first lap of the run when Bree Wee passed me. Bree is a friend from Kona, Hawaii, who I swam with while training in Kona last year. Bree convinced me to run the last lap of the run with her and she was not having a great day either but she was still in 4th place in the women’s race and trying to hold off some hard charging runners. Bree and I ran the last lap together (or mostly together) with minimal walking (until the very last downhill into town where I had enough) and lots of encouragement. I didn’t figure I was doing any more damage to my already inflamed tendon at the time and kept the pain management in check by walking when necessary. I was grossly disappointed with my race in St. Croix and Bree was disappointed with her 7th place finish as well but finishing felt good. Finishing always feels good. I can remember Peter Reid telling me a story about dropping out of races and some advice he received from a German superstar; if you finish the race your legs will hurt for a week, if you drop out of the race your head will hurt for a month. Crossing a finish line always feels good.


If I was a video game character from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, the beloved Little Mac, my energy level for most of the race would have been at 60%. For those that remember Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, you can relate 60% to being mostly “alive” in the game, but far from feeling perfect. At the end of the race, I was down to 20% or so and I had a few moments where I was flashing between full color and pink (which means you are about to get knocked down), and I even had a few moments walking where I was definitely hitting the B button as fast as possible so I could pick myself up off the mat before I was KO’d. While I was definitely knocked down by the Beast in St. Croix, I was down, but not out. I pushed on and finished the fight and I will live again to fight another day. It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life, and I’m feeling good.  The beast was like the boxing round with Soda Popinski, a tough and worthy adversary but still just one step in the process of boxing Mike Tyson himself. Well Kona is my Mike Tyson and my next stop in the game is qualifying for Kona and everyone knows if you want to fight Mike Tyson, you have to beat Super Macho Man. Ironman Coeur d’Alene is in 7 weeks and that is my fight against Super Macho Man where I will prove I am a competitor worthy enough to fight the great Mike Tyson and race in Kona at the World Champs. Super Macho Man beware: I am bringing all the fight, gusto, and strategy of a Mohammed Ali bout. I’ll call it the “Big Show in Idaho.” Maybe Don King can do some promotions. Before the bell rings, it’s time to get back to training (enter background music of ROCKY soundtrack…Gonna Fly Now by Maynard Ferguson).


Work Hard,