Joanna Zeiger On Life After Tri

From Slowtwitch

I admit it. I lurk on the Slowtwitch forum. Phew. I am glad I got that off my chest. Of course, there are threads on training, race predictions, crashes, doping, and my favorite is anything dealing with who’s hot. Ok, maybe not so much the last one.

A common theme I’ve seen over the years is about athletes struggling with injuries and how these injuries affect their ability to keep training and racing in the sport of triathlon. Most often running is the sport that suffers, but there are people like me who have left the sport due to an inability to bike and swim (more on that later). Universally, athletes who cannot race triathlons any longer are naturally despondent and look for any way possible to make their return, even if it means engaging in strange voodoo or tribal rituals.

I suppose the reason these threads capture my attention is because I left the sport of triathlon due to injuries that render me unable to bike or swim; somehow, I can still run. I won’t bore you with all of the details of the bike accident that caused my retirement from triathlon, but the short version is that I severely battered my right rib cage with injuries ranging from broken ribs that never healed, a fractured and displaced xiphoid process (the bone at the tip of the sternum), torn intercostal muscles, and intercostal nerves that were stretched beyond their limits and are therefore permanently damaged. It has been 7 years since my last triathlon. I still miss it sometimes, the yearning to compete manifested in Ironman dreams….

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