No Ironman North Carolina this Year

Hilary Topper on her TT bike

A few weeks ago, I went for a ride with my training partner. We went out at 4:45 am. It was pitch black. Thankfully, I had purchased a set of lights from one of the local bike stores and was ready. We rode together for about two hours and thirty minutes and then my friend had to leave. I still had another half hour or so to go on the bike.

48-Mile Bike

After about a 48-mile bike ride, I put the bike back in the car at Jones Beach. (I like to park there as opposed to Cedar Creek or Tobay.) I still had another 30-minute run, which I figured I would do on the Jones Beach Boardwalk.

Runoff the Bike

I headed out at a slow pace of a 15-second run/30-second walk. As I was doing this, I saw another triathlete who was looking strong. She yelled out, “Looking good Hilary.” I waved. I wasn’t feeling good.

At around a quarter of a mile, I felt my knee buckle. It was a strange feeling and I knew at that moment I did something. Between ice, heat, elevation, compression, and a tens machine, I tried everything. Nothing worked.

Calling the Knee Doc

Finally, after a lot of mental anguish, I decided to call my knee doctor. She works at Hospital for Special Surgery and specializes in women’s knees.  The last time I went to see her was more than 10 years ago when she gave me a “rooster” shot in my knee. It lasted a long time and I was for the most part feeling fine.

She told me to get an MRI. “I just hope it wasn’t a stress fracture,” she said. When the MRI came back, she brought me into her office and said, “You must have a high tolerance of pain.”

I smiled. As endurance athletes, we are always in pain. Pain is part of our lifestyle.

She told me I tore my meniscus again. (The first time I had surgery was more than 15 years ago and it took me months to recover. The second time, I tore it riding my bike in Central Park and at that time, she told me to take the “rooster” shots. It got better.)

But this time, she was saying that I needed to pull out of Ironman North Carolina 70.3 and defer. At that point, I was up to 60 miles on the bike and more than 2 miles on the swim.

Depression set it. This is the fourth time I signed up for a Half Ironman. Is the world telling me something?

Anyway, I canceled the half and will figure out my schedule when I recover. In the meantime, she wanted me to do the surgery right away but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. So, her next availability was set for October 18.

Hopefully, I come back even stronger than before!