How to Go from an Ironman to a Couch Blob in 12 Weeks

Hey, remember when I did an Ironman? (Yes, I will continue to mention it because it’s a frickin’ Ironman, people. Braggin’ rights 4 life, yo.) It was 12 weeks ago. I was in top shape — trim, fast, splotchily suntanned, energetic. Now, just three months after that, I’m working on creating a permanent Becca-shaped groove on the couch, am afraid to step on the scale, and have eaten more crap in 12 weeks than I have in 8 months. Injuries + shitty weather = PIL: Post-Ironman-Lethargy.

After Ironman Canada, I signed up to do the absurdly overpriced Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in December so I’d stay in shape and be able to continue training and working towards something. Unfortunately, my body was like, “What the hell, I thought you were supposed to let me rest,” and my left foot revolted by developing tendinitis. It’s probably my fault (though that foot is being a real asshole right now) because I held off on buying new shoes for so long that my old Kayanos deteriorated into something that probably came from the Derelicte fashion line.

Not wanting to shell out the usual $125 for the Asics Kayanos I usually wear because I’m tired of being perpetually broke, I opted to switch to a cheaper but comparable pair of shoes, the K-Swiss Konejo IIs. Unfortunately, by the time I got my new kicks, I was already experiencing tightness along my left shin and the outer edge of my left foot. Then my right Achilles started to get stiff during runs. Combine all that with the freak toenail (more on that later) and I was starting to feel like my body was falling apart. At least I stayed healthy during my Ironman training, but still, what a fall from grace. Three months ago I was crossing the finish line with my arms in the air and a sense of accomplishment bursting from my every pore. Now I’m chowing down on See’s chocolates and am pondering whether I can fit in a second nap before my three hour stretch of TV starts tonight (The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, and Dexter make Sunday evenings super awesomesauce).

Fairly accurate, minus the Superman shirt and cartoon baldness.

Coach T put the kibosh on running and made me go see Dr Perry. He assessed my injuries and determined that I have weak butt muscles. Apparently all that crap is connected somehow — my sad, sorry ass (which my mom refers to as my “pooch butt”) is causing tightness in some tendon that wraps down my shin and along/under my foot. He gave me my first ever acupuncture treatment and told me to foam roll, heat/ice my foot, and also gave me some super sad 80′s Jane Fonda jazzercise exercises to do, which amuse Jason to no end.

Jas is also entertained by my heating and icing process. Dr. Perry told me to fill a large bowl with hot water and a second bowl with ice water, and plunge my foot in the hot water for three minutes followed by 30 seconds in the ice water, then repeat two more times. My sympathetic boyfriend has thus taken to calling me “Bucketfeet,” despite the fact that I constantly remind him that I’m using bowls and it’s only for one foot.

Example dialogue:

Me, wearing a baggy pear of sweatpants and one of Jason’s long-sleeved t-shirts while stuffing my face with some sort of highly caloric abomination: “I’m not very womanly…”

Jas: “Awww, don’t be so hard on yourself, Bucketfeet.”

Me: “It’s bowl plus foot! Bowlfoot!”

So anyway, I’m doing all this crap for my non-Daniel Day-Lewis left foot. After my visit with Dr. Perry, I had to shell out an outrageous sum of money to see a specialist to get my toenail removed. Since I felt like getting my money’s worth, I asked him about my foot problem. The doctor’s prognosis? I have “abnormal” feet. Apparently the bottom outer edge of my feet sticks out more than most people’s.

Not my feet, obviously.

I also have a “very high arch.” He recommended getting Superfeet inserts for my shoes, which I already use. Great. So I guess the only thing to do is to continue foam rolling and not running. Teresa gave me the go ahead to run for 1:10 today to see how I’d feel, but the full marathon is definitely out of the question. I’m tossing around the idea of doing the half marathon, but since I haven’t been running much lately, I’m not sure I’ll PR, and it’s hard to get motivated to do a race knowing I could very well do much worse than expected. Blargh.

During my workout hiatus, I’ve fallen into the awesome habit of eating total crap, watching TV, and building my hand strength back up to pre-Ironman Rock Band dexterity (seriously, I used to rock the shit out of songs on Expert, and now my fingers are cramping after three songs). While I do enjoy the break from working out 16 hours a week, I can feel the restlessness and hunger start to creep back up. I’m already trying to figure out which “replacement” marathon I can do in February or March, not to mention which 2-3 half Ironman races I want to tackle in 2011 so I can finally kick some sub-6 hour ass.

I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things again. It’s weird because the grind of constant workouts definitely takes its toll, but once you take a break from it, you realize how much you’ve gotten used to pushing your body and you sort of start to miss it. Soon I’ll be back in action and on my way to working towards conquering my 2011 goals. All I have to do is heal these damn feet.

7 Responses to “ “How to Go from an Ironman to a Couch Blob in 12 Weeks”

  1. Teresa says:

    Rest and recovery is key! You will be back in no time! Rockin those k-Swiss!

  2. Dr. Pete says:

    I won’t claim to be half as motivated as you, and I don’t aspire to the big races, but I do 5Ks as an excuse to train. One thing that I’ve learned (this is where I bludgeon you with what I think is wisdom just because I’m old now) is that you can’t expect to constantly improve. Like anything in life, there will be setbacks, even if you’re training. Our bodies don’t cooperate, the weather doesn’t cooperate, whatever. The race I went into feeling the best, sure I would get a PR, there must have been a 30 MPH wind off the lake. You just never know.

    If you’re up to it, get out there and do the half marathon. At some point, if it’s all about the PR, you may forget the fun part of the experience and start hating racing and training.

    • Rebecca says:

      I think training with my teammates is fun, and so is hitting new times and setting PRs. For me personally, the point in signing up for these races is to do my best and see how far my training has gotten me. If I just wanted to run 13.1 miles, I can do that any day. If I’m paying for a race and traveling to do it, I want to run as fast as I can and try to beat my previous record.

  3. Sara Keogh says:

    I love your My Left Foot reference! I, too, am having foot issues, with most of the problem being my left foot. And Dr. P thinks I have a weak butt, too – oh, wait, he corrected himself and said that actually I don’t have a weak butt, but that I’m not “engaging” my butt muscles. Oddly enough, T is always telling me to engage them, too. It’s become apparent those two have an unholy obsession with butt muscles.

  4. Sean says:

    Since Ironman I’ve forced myself to “keep active” in the hopes of preventing the entropic slide into couch potato-ness.

    It isn’t working. I find myself trying to catch up with my PVR (it isn’t working) and cramming even more crap into my body than I might be if I was just being a total lard ass because I can say I’m still running 3 times a week (sometimes as much as 15km in a week!) and racing periodically.

    The scale and I were not friends after I stepped on this morning and I almost felt guilty after my chocolate bar breakfast and burger with fries lunch.

    On a side note, I have managed some great races since IMC. Funny how everything shorter seems like SO much less work.

  5. Cathleen K says:

    After an indulgent holiday weekend (first time in 7 years I’ve missed the Seattle marathon), I have read and re-read this post. I love the “Hey, remember when I did an Ironman?” I have no shame in looking back at my IM pics to remember when I had some semblance of a tan and muscles.

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