A Blessing In Disguise! by Cristy Doll

Every obstacle, setback, and challenge in your life is always a blessing in disguise!  These blessings in disguise are what make you who you are today.  Acknowledge your blessings, and keep moving forward :)

Today was an emotional day for me.  Last year, I was 2.5 weeks out from Ironman Louisville.  I was ready to go, and I knew in my heart and was VERY confident in my training that Louisville had my KONA slot.  I purposely took a job that pays barely enough to live on but gave me summers off so I could train, train, TRAIN.  It was my time to go after my dream of qulaifying for Kona.  I was ready!  I had a great season leading up to the big day.  I felt strong, confident, and ready to go.  However, God's plan for me was different.  Two and a half weeks to go and I found myself sitting in my car at the doctors office in tears when I was told I had a stress fracture and should not race IRONMAN Louisville.  My first words to Dr.Roof were "I'M DOING THAT RACE"....Being a triathlete himself he said, "I know I'm sitting here telling a type A person not to race..."  So we came up with the idea for no running at all and I'll wear a boot untill race day hoping it will heal enough to race.  He then suggested I do the swim, the bike, and then pull out of the race. The look on my face again said NO!  My head is harder then a rock, and you can't stop me or tell me what to do...MS. STUBBORN:)  He smiled and said, "Ok fine, but I dont want to see you back in here after the race needing surgery.   You'll probably have to decide to pull out at some point of the marathon."  I COULDN'T EVEN PROCESS ALL THIS!  I left and sat in my car, cried, and thought this isn't FAIR!!!!  I have worked my ass off for MONTHS AND HOURS EVERYDAY!  This was MY YEAR!  One injury and I feel like my dreams went down the tubes.  I was VERY upset for about a day.  

Me being me, I called Dr.Roof up the next day and asked what I can do to keep up my cardio for running because, "I'm finishing this race."  He suggested I do pool running (which I did once and found entertaining because I did it with my friend, Heather, but it was also BORING).  He also suggested I call up Eric Oliver at Beyond Exercise, a local physical therapy clinic, and get on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.  I got off the phone with him and called up Eric right away.  The next day I went to see him, and he put me on the AlterG.  When I left there I was PUMPED! I ran five miles at a 7:45 pace at 40% of my body weight...about equivlant to the weight bearing stress of walking.  NO pain..THIS MACHINE was my new best friend, and it still is to this day.  For the next two weeks I did two runs a week at the same settings with no pain.

Going into the race I had NOOOO idea what to expect.  I tried to concentrate on each sport one at a time and worry about the run when I got to that point.  I was a little nervouse about T1 as it's kind of a long run up a hill with no shoes and a stress fracture.  However, my adrenaline was pumping, and I didnt even notice it.  When I got to the marathon, I jumped off my bike started running and thought, "Alright, I got this."  The marathon of course is my favorite part of the race.  I was running way too fast--like alway--for the first three miles.  The pain in my foot was sharp and intense.  My plan of walk, walk, run, and walk some more had taken over--NOT FUN!  I finished the race with a PR and a time of 11:02.  I knew that wouldn't be good enough for Kona but I suppose I was happy I finished. 

After the race my foot was swollen, and it looked like I had Bigfoot's left foot.  Right back to Eric I went for therapy.  I ended up taking a whole month off to let my foot heal.  I had already signed up for Texas IM the week after Louisville :).  When I started running again,  I took things slow to make sure I started training for Texas HEALTHY!

It took me a LONG time to get over the fact I didn't qualify and to understand why I got hurt right before a race I worked soooooo hard for.  I was depressed and even mad at God for punishing me...or at least it felt like that.  Looking back I thank God every day for His blessing in disguise.  If I hadn't gotten injured I never would have connected with Eric Oliver and Beyond Exercise (BE).  I was honored to take a sponsorship from Eric for my 2014 season and represent BE!  This was huge, has been fun, and has benefited me in more ways then one.  I can not thank Eric enough for his time, help, and expertise through my journey to Texas IM.

So here I am, two and a half weeks out from Ironman Texas, in tears again while I'm running on the AlterG.  This time, because I am overwhelmed with happiness.  I am 100% healthy and ready to go.  As Eric knows, I always run on the AlterG with NO music and NO television!  He laughs because I tell him, "I just like to think", when I run.  He doesn't know, though, that when i'm in there I also watch my form on the blank tv screen where I can see my reflection.  There have even been a few times when I've thrown my hands in the air, as if I am crossing the finish line winning the race :) hahah!  On one occasion I came in to run on the AlterG, and Eric had taped a picture of Rinney on her bike on the tv screen along with a post-it note that read, "NOW YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK AT!"  This turned out to be my best run!  The picture made me focus and realize someday I can be at the top if I work for it!  So in these two and a half weeks, I am more than thankful for the opportunities God has blessed me with in my relationship with Beyond Exercise!!  I feel like I'm ready to have my best race yet!  My new new kit will also make me Kona fast...its HOT pink!  How could it not?  :)  I'm looking foward to racing with the 35 NEW FRIENDS I have made training for Ironman Texas.  I'm especially looking forward to racing alongside (more like well behind) my BEST FRIEND and AMAZING boyfriend Keith!  LETS DO THIS!!!!

Cristy Doll is a triathlete and distance runner.  She trains and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.