Beyond Iron
Life … when the training is finished

Tibialis Anterior, With Pain During Dorsiflexion

Me and Mom - Mile 18 - New York Marathon - November 2006

After a lot of research, I think I understand what is ailing me. I’ve got some kind of damage to the tibialis anterior muscle, with pain flaring up during dorsiflexion.

In layman’s terms: the muscle just to the outer side of my my left leg shin bone has suffered some kind of damage and when I point my foot up or down – basically the exact motion you make when you run – it triggers, or affects, the muscle damage.

Many of you have called or commented today and demanded, in no uncertain terms, that I get to a sports medicine specialist immediately. So I will. Thank you specifically to Cori and Eric for making recommendations and putting out calls. I’m not taking this lightly. I’ll fight to get an appointment as soon as possible.

I remain confident that I will race come Sunday – it’s now 7 days until Ironman. I told Heidi tonight that if I swim and bike at my expected pace – 1 hr, 5 min swim; 6 hour, 20 min bike, 15 mins for transition 1 and transition 2 – I would still have 9 hours and 15 minutes to walk the marathon. That’s more than enough time. Even if the thing is damaged beyond repair, I’ll still finish the damn Ironman. After all this training, I’m going to get the medal.

For some reason, though, I still have faith I’m going to be okay. That somehow I’ll heal. Or that maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a doctor who can give me a cortisone injection and let me power through the race.

I’m willing to extend my recovery time – to injure to leg a little more in the long term – if it allows me to get through the race. It’s like the football players who beat their body up, knowing the off season is when you heal. In the grind, you do what you gotta do to get through the challenge.

For the first time in my life, I feel like a real athlete – somebody who puts the day of competition ahead of the logical decision. And I’m cool with that.

I’ve spent 1 of my roughly 80 years on Earth preparing for next Sunday. I don’t want to let some muscle injury hold me back now.

Today, otherwise, was a ridiculously incredible day. Have you ever been in Phoenix in mid-November? The leaves are changing. The mornings are in the mid-40s, the daytime highs in the mid 70s. The air is crisp and dry. People are happy.

We went to a charity event at my favorite restaurant. Unlimited wine and beer tasting; food entrees to die for – smoked salmon and fruit and veggies and ribs and cheeses. Good people, too. Then, before the kids came home from my sister’s, we snuck away to my favorite liquor store’s tasting room – had Stone’s Chocolate Stout, and a double IPA from Firestone.

I came home and decided to cook: made a habanero/chili/garlic reduction which I poured over shrimp and cumin rice; paired with bacon-fried asparagus. It was decadent.

Now I’m here typing. I’m not as scared as yesterday; mostly because I’ve accepted that if I have to walk the run part of the race, then I have to walk it. That will blow balls for observers. In fact, I wouldn’t expect most of you who are coming to watch to hang around for my late night finish if my injury doesn’t heal … but that’s how it goes.

So long as I finish … it’s all good.

Funny how your mind shifts.

All of this has made me remember just how insane finishing an Ironman really is. 7 days until the 140.6 mile challenge is upon me.

I think my glass needs a refill.

– Ed

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