5 Jan 2014

Back in the saddle again!

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ME:  My ride ended with a rainbow at the top of the Lake Hills Connector right before the rain then sleet… all while riding through a bonk… perfect ride J

              (attached rainbow picture to text)

JESS:  The rainbow is very fitting after your successful ultrasound!  Perfect day indeed!

Before this ride  I had started my day in the vascular surgeon’s office for a two hour session that included an ultrasound and an an ankle brachial index (ABI) test on my iliac and femoral arteries.  It was two years ago this month that I discovered and was then officially diagnosed with Iliac Artery Endofibrosis.  For years I had been suffering with leg pain that had been misdiagnosed as sciatica.  In 2012 I underwent surgery for my left iliac artery that failed, and then six months later, another surgery on the same side that also failed. With each surgery the condition got worse, to the point where I could not walk for any extended period of time, I was in the hospital twice with blood clots and I was having to take warfarin daily. During my last visit to the hospital for blood clots, my vascular surgeon told me that I would need to lead a sedentary life and remain on blood thinners indefinitely.  I could not and would not accept that.

After getting out of the hospital I sent an e-mail and my records to Dr. Cherry. He called me the day he received my records and told me he thought he might be able to help if I was willing to come see him in Virginia.  One month later I had my meeting in Virginia with him.  When I met with him I told him that I suspected that I had the condition in both legs.  He doubted this as it was unusual but promised they would do he angiogram on both legs and check; they found that the right leg had it as well.   The following day, June 13, 2013, I had a 7 hour surgery where they were able to repair both sides.

It’s a very, very slow process coming back from illness or injury.  To do it right is going to require a lot of patience and determination to stay the course that I have planned for myself.   I have thought long and hard about the physical stress my body has been through the last 2 years; the stress of the added weight and daily stress I live with in my daily life.   I've also decided “dieting” would not be good for me right now.  Instead I am consciously making better choices and being more thoughtful about what I’m putting in my body. I know as my fitness slowly comes back the weight will slowly come off as well.  The plan is to slowly increase my training load keeping my heart rate within the parameters I have set for myself.   For coaching purposes with my athletes I use power, heart rate and/or RPE; it really depends on the athlete. For myself I have decided I'm going to use heart rate for this first year.  

How I train an athlete depends on the individual.   It's going to take time for me to get to know the athlete; learn about their home environment, psyche, past athletic experience, how they think and what their attitude about life is in general.  All these factors affect how I will coach or advise an individual and how I will communicate with them.  It is a very important part of my job is helping an athlete balance the stress in their life with the stress of their training. 

The complexity of your life is going to affect your workouts, affect how your body recovers from those workouts and ultimately how you are able to handle the mental and physical stress of racing.    You can’t consider one without considering the other.    For the past couple months I've been trying to figure out what the right training balance is for me. I figured that out and  now that I have passed my ABI test with flying colors I feel I’m ready mentally to start following a  little more structured schedule.  More on what that means later :)


Jill Fry

Jill Fry

Mother of four, grandmother, triathlete, coach. 

Working hard to be the best I can be. 

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