Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Pain in the Heel

     In the last eight months, I've had some good stints of training. But for the most part, I've struggled to find consistency in running. I've taken time off - up to six weeks at a time. Two months ago, out of desperation - I got a cortisone injection in my heel. The cortisone worked really well for about six weeks, but as it wore off, I started having problems again. I've attempted three or four different comebacks, but each time, the same plantar fasciitis has come back. 

     When I started the year, I thought - Once I get over this foot pain, I'll have enough time to train for duathlon nationals. Then nationals came and went, and I didn't even make it to the starting line. I never thought the problem would persist so long that I start to question whether the World Championship (in September) could be in jeopardy.

     And I never imagined something so small would have me questioning why I race in the first place. When you make sacrifices, you do so expecting to get returns on your sacrifice "investment." In reality, sport doesn't follow that logic. 

     I'm certainly not the world's most gifted athlete. I'm a mediocre runner and a decent cyclist on a good day. But dammit - I have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into being the best duathlete I can be. So to set some lofty goals, make the sacrifices, etc... then when it fails to pan out, it leaves me feeling pretty empty.

     This week, I decided to cut my losses and focus on finally letting my foot heal before trying to train for another event. It was a tough decision - I won't be going back to the World Championship this year, but at the same time - finally making a decision takes a lot of pressure off. And I hope removing that pressure to get back to training will allow me to get the rest I need - I won't be tempted to rush it this time.

     In the meantime, I've been enjoying doing more mountain biking, gravel riding, and social rides. I also hope to sponsor one (possibly two) elite athlete(s) by providing a travel stipend for him or her to race in the elite field at Powerman Zofingen. I've said it before - I think the US has some of the best multisport talent in the world. But there is so very little support or incentive for US athletes to travel to Switzerland for the long distance duathlon world championship.

     I estimate I spent $2500-$3000 on travel last year. I won ~$1550 after taxes. So I was out of pocket over a thousand dollars. After that experience, I decided I wanted to support at least one elite athlete from the US - because these races shouldn't be contested between the financially elite, they should be for the best athletes. I can't completely level the playing field - there are several barriers to entry into the privileged world of multisport, but I can at least try to help someone. So, it would bring me a lot of satisfaction to support an athlete who otherwise wouldn't be able to make the trip. I'd also like to show the Europeans that Americans are pretty damn good at duathlon.

Bert


1 comment:

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