Julie Dibens got off the bike at the 2011 Ironman World Championship with a massive lead, needing to run a 3:13 marathon, nearly 20 minutes slower than the women’s marathon record, to break the course record. A foot injury forced her to drop out during the run, and she is missing the 2012 Abu Dhabi Triathlon because the injury hasn’t yet healed. This interview was conducted on a playground swing set.
Triathlete.com: How’s the foot?
Julie Dibens: It’s healing. I just had an X-ray done recently and it showed it’s healing, it’s just not healed all the way yet.
Triathlete.com: What is the exact injury?
Dibens: The third metatarsal head has been worn away. It’s called a Friedberg Infarction. The nature of my foot and the surgery I had on my feet back in 2005, it just meant that my third toe is taking up all the slack and it’s just getting a pounding. So it’s just a case of resting it a little bit more and allowing it to heal. I was in a lot of pain last year and I just want to get it taken care of. I still have a lot of aspirations and goals in triathlon and Ironman, and I know that I can’t do that if I’m not 100% healthy.
Triathlete.com: What are those aspirations?
Dibens: I’m looking at a two-year plan with the ultimate goal of Kona in 2013, so I’m trying to look at a two-year plan of how I’m going to get there with the new qualification rules. I don’t want to do two Ironmans in one year if I can help it. For now, it’s pretty much all about how I’m going to get there. If that means doing a late season Ironman this year, then that’s one of the big goals. Obviously I was hoping the foot would heal a bit quicker than it has and that I would be here racing, but I have to look at the big goal and I have to be patient. I have to get rid of any pain that I’ve had. I have to get it back as close to 100% as I can.
Triathlete.com: Did you walk away from last year’s race feeling optimistic because you were in such a great place getting off the bike or was it frustrating because you weren’t able to race to your abilities?
Dibens: It was both, but I kind of knew going in to it, I had that [foot] problem in Las Vegas [Ironman World Championship 70.3]. I knew going in to it there was a pretty good chance I wasn’t going to be able to finish that race, but I still believed I could. I just didn’t know at what point on the run the foot would start hurting me. Definitely disappointed the way it finished, but also super psyched. If I can get a similar lead to that off the bike again, then I don’t need to run that fast to be right in contention. And I think if anything, I left that race a little more excited about it than I was going in to it.
Triathlete.com: Have you picked your first race this year?
Dibens: No, to be honest, I really try not to think about when that first race will be and just focus on getting healthy. I was really hoping I could be ready for Abu Dhabi. In December I started running again because I had that carrot hanging here and that time pressure, it maybe made me push a little too hard. Right now, I’d love to be back for Rev3 Quassy and I think that’s achievable, if things continue in the right direction. I had a few setbacks in December. The foot was still giving me pain, and I picked up a little bit of a knee niggle, all related to the foot because I was trying to protect it. It’s all about patience now, which all triathletes know doesn’t come naturally.