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Training For Ironman: Month 3

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They are supposed to help you discover who you are.

Well this month has been a little bit of a bumpy road for me. As part of my training I was accepted into the NYC Half Marathon on March 16.  What a thrill to be running for the very first time in NYC; Central Park, 7th Avenue, West Side Highway. This event seemed like the perfect training run to continue on my pathway to the Ironman.

As I was training two weeks prior to the race, something went wrong in my right knee. It just did not feel right as I was running my path from Cedar Creek Park to Jones Beach and back. It didn’t stop me in my tracks, but I knew something wasn’t right. I consulted with my coach, Anthony Beck from South Shore Tri Coach. His advice was to continue on with our training but pay close attention the next time I run to see if in fact something did occur.

The next time I ran was that Thursday. I ran six strong miles and felt like a champ. Then boom, it was over. I thought my running was coming to an end. I had to lightly jog/walk the two final miles back to my house. Humbling, heartbreaking, I wondered what to do. Do I pull myself from this race/training session? I took it easy over the next couple of days, stretching, icing and hoping for the best. Anthony was watching over me closely.

It is now a week before the race. I went for a run to see if I can do the race or not. With my coach’s plan in mind, I went out for an easy 6.2 mile run. It felt great, my confidence was back and I was going to proceed ahead and run this half marathon. The rest of the week was kept light with some swimming and biking.  

Race morning. Absolutely cold.  Wind chill made it feel like it was two degrees. But I was up at 4 a.m. to get to the city and take it by storm. I was ready….so I thought. The first six miles were in Central Park with a few rolling hills. Not my favorite, but I wanted to get it done because the rest of the race was flat. I started off nice and relaxed and felt great. Mile 1. Mile 2.  Mile 3. Then all of a sudden I felt something in my right leg. It wasn’t strong, but something wasn’t right. I made it out of the park and thought to myself I was home free. 7th avenue here I come! The wind was picking up and so was the pain in my right leg. I was not giving up. By mile 12, I could not take the pain as it had intensified to about a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. I started a little run walk combination but it turned into a complete walk. I could not run anymore. My heart was breaking right there in the middle of Wall Street. Is this over for me? Would my dream to be an Ironman stop here?

With much emotional support from my coach and many friends, I broke down and visited with an orthopedist. She was very thorough with her exam and came to the conclusion that I have Illiotibial Band Tendinitis which is manageable with some stretching, potentially new running sneakers, regular meditation sessions to relax my body and mind and by taking it slow in running for the next couple of weeks. Continue to train on the bike and swim as the cross training will benefit this area.  

Our inner guidance comes through our feelings and body wisdom first, not through intellectual understanding.  Because thoughts come from our head, and said thoughts tend to be loud (very loud), we are inclined to live there, in our heads. What happens when we live in our heads?

We disconnect from our bodies. That’s what happens! We disconnect from our bodies. We lose touch with our bodies and the fact is — yes it is a fact — that our bodies know us better than our minds do. I learned I need to listen to my body and always respect it.  And the journey continues.