February 3, 2010

Physical Limits

I've been thinking a lot about physical limits lately. While having drinks with a group of Ironman triathletes on Sunday, I realized the most prevalent topic of conversation was injury. At just one end of the table we had a torn plantar fascia, some sort of severe tendonitis of the foot, spinal disc issues and hip surgery. This was not a renegade group of athletes who regularly overtrain and shun logical advice. Many of them are professionally coached and most have completed multiple Ironman races including Kona.

I talked a bit about it with my coach and while he whole-heartedly feels it's possible to be a long course triathlete and be injury free, he also acknowledges the fine line we walk as we push ourselves to train and compete with our best ability. We are asking our bodies to do so much more than the average person.

But physical limits are pushed by more than just physical activity. As I'm discovering through my hectic pre-Olympics schedule, mental strain and stress take a physical toll as well. I have been sick and run down for a week and am just emerging to semi-normalcy. After battling the worst cold I've ever had, I broke out in some sort of mysterious rash and realized today it has to be stress related. I'm literally just days from my Canada departure and the weight of it all is very heavy. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

This was not meant to be a "whoa is me" post by any means. I just wanted to capture my thoughts and put them out here as I imagine I'm not alone. Most of us don't have the luxury of being full-time triathletes. We have jobs, significant others, families and friends that demand our time and attention. We do this for fun and sometimes we get obsessed because the reward is so tremendous. I wouldn't change a thing. Instead I'll continue to find a balance and will most certainly look forward to March.

Swim - 23:54, 1,200y (Tuesday)


  1. Hi Kirsten,

    I completely relate to this. Today is my first day training again, after the second cold in one month. Looking back, I think I started off way to hard after the first cold and just asked too much of my body and therefore came down again with a cold. I didn't use common sense, but we all live and learn with the experiences we make. We can all just hope, that we learn it before we get seriously injured/ sick.

    Have a safe trip to Canada!

  2. This subject has been with me all week as well. I've been lucky to not have to deal with an injury and I want to continue that streak while striving to make big improvements. The newest Runner's World touched on the subject as well.
    Nothing wrong with being conscientious and responsible about how we train!
    Enjoy the Olympics! Take care.



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