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Two years post-post-concussion-syndrome.

Posted Apr 27 2012 10:11pm

On May 1, 2010, I suffered what I thought was a minor concussion after a bike crash.  I didn’t go to the doctor at first because I didn’t think anything about it.  And I actually didn’t even stop training.  I actually didn’t even go to the doctor until a Judge made me.  But, itty bitty concussion…didn’t even actually hit my head.  No biggie.  Unfortunately, the effects were far longer lasting than I ever would have expected.  For the year following the accident, I was incapable of training hard.  I was tired all the time and I was as slow as molasses.  During 2010, I assumed it was just the normal Ironman training exhaustion.  But then the race happened and I bombed.

The year following, I still did not recover or improve like I should have.  I was sure I was just old and chubs and never going to be fast again.  My 1:39 half marathons became a struggle at 1:50+.  Training 6 hrs per week felt like the 18+hr wks I had during Ironman training. After a year of tests and trial and error treatment, my doctor finally figured out that there were endocrine issues (poor regulation of both cortisol and thyroid hormones) that were effecting my energy levels and it most likely tracked back to pituitary damage from my crash and concussion.  I had been struggling against Post Consussion Syndrome with pituitary damage for over a year. Now on thyroid meds for the last 10 mos, I’m FINALLY feeling like myself again.

I’m now finally able to race again.  I have a *surprise* PR under my belt when I ran the hilly hilly Augusta half marathon in 1:39:16, which shockingly came after almost non-existent training this winter.  And an age-group win at my first tri of the season (which was also my first brick of the year).  So now I’m feeling good and getting a smidge of confidence back, a resource that was a rarity over the last two years.

So, back in health, are there any lingering reminders of my post concussion syndrome?  Yes,  I struggle with getting back to racing weight…I’m hovering about 12-15 lbs above my pre-ironman weight.  And there is a constant fear in the back of my head that tells me that this won’t last.  That it’s just a fluke and I will soon be struggling to improve again.  Actually, any time I start to drag a little, I have a minor panic attack.  True story.  But, both of those things can be worked on.

That means only one (ok, two) quesitons remain:  What’s next?  And…well…what’s next?

What’s next on the racing front and what are my goals for the year?

  • Three 70.3 distance events: Eagleman (June), Augusta (Sept), B2B (Oct)
  • Competing in as many sprint tris as possible…holy heck, in my race to the ironman distance, I lost sight of where all the fun is: going fast and hard.  In fact, I will be racing sprints four weekends in a row, starting Saturday.
  • Winning my AG in the Set Up Events SC Tri Series (currently in second…being beaten only by a girl who has competed in more events than my one.)
  • Requalifying for Boston at Philly in November, hopefully with a sub 3:30/3:25 time.

What’s up next to keep my health in check?

  • Reducing, if not eliminating, soy in my diet.
  • More yoga, less alcohol.
  • Get back to racing weight
  • Have fun.  Love my puppies. Be happy.

This weekend we take to the pond/streets with a home court advantage (a rare thing in Disgusta, because there are only 4 area tris).  Goals: Top 3 women, if not top.  And averaging sub 7min/mi on the run.

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