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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Uh...now what?

Well, those nagging issues in my lower legs? One of those turned out to be something. I kept trying to run last week and was fairly successful at masking the pain but finally it was too much and I went into my PT, Mike Devitt. He confirmed what I was dreading, stress fracture in my right fibula. Remedy: Crutches for one week to speed up the healing and 6 weeks of NO running. There is no denying that I cried bitterly on and off for about 24 hours. I went from devastation to determination and have firmly accepted my current state of affairs.

Diagnosis was on Wednesday. I had run that morning through gritted teeth-I did not know it would be my final run in many weeks. You always forget how much you love and rely on running until it is taken away. I am missing it now. Thanksgiving morning I woke early and hit the recumbent bike and weights. Then I went to Ontario for the Turkey Trot and watched Pat and friends race in the freezing cold. Friday was on the recumbent again and this afternoon I joined the YMCA for a month and did an hour of aqua jogging. It is so odd to sweat while you are in the pool. Feels odd. While I was lifting weights, my muscles were shaking-it cracked me up. Leg is a bit sore now.

I suppose if I have to miss training, there is no better time than now. With my focus on the track I should be ready to roll in plenty of time if I can just be patient with my comeback. It is certainly not worth sacrificing my ultimate goals due to impatience. I believe this to be my biggest weakness. Apparently it is time to work on it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sidelined.

My foot strike is my constant enemy when it comes to training and racing. While efficient, it is rough on my lower legs. At the moment my cramped calves from the half-marathon have caused some nasty compensation issues. Working through them and trying to move forward. I just want to do a workout. I miss running fast. My body misses running fast.

Thursday I am planning on racing a 5k turkey trot in Ontario, Oregon. It is a tradition for Pat and I and every year more and more friends join us. It is supposed to be 1-4 degrees. I don't know about you, but by my standards that is COLD!! It may feel like the infamous XC Club Nationals in Spokane, WA a couple of years ago. Now THAT is a story.

Until then, I will work on rehab: foam rolling, icing, all that stuff that I put off until something reminds me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Race report and beyond (Part I)

I am in a bit of a foul mood this afternoon. The reason?? My calves are killing me! I know, I know, stop complaining but I am bummed that I will not be able to race tomorrow as I had planned. I would have been defending champ 4 years in a row. Now I have to watch while someone else claims the title. That is tough for me to swallow.

On to the San Antonio half-marathon recap from Sunday. 4:40 am came all too early but come it did...as it always does. I got up and ate a banana, a mini bagel with peanut butter, and drank 20 oz. of water. A quick shower woke me up and at 5:30 am I was in the lobby to meet up with our group. We headed out with plenty of time, even accounting for traffic. We made it to the start line but then, when looking for the finish line parking (about a mile away), we accidentally got back on the freeway going in the opposite way. Thanks to the wonder that is the iphone (not mine, but there were three in the car) we found our way-through the ghetto-to our destination by 6:13 am.

After a short warm-up run to the start and weaving through total clustered chaos I arrived at my start. But I did not see any other elites or the normal warm up spot for us. When I asked a volunteer where I should be and where I needed to check my bag she told me I needed to go all the way back to corral 10 and drop off my stuff at the appropriate UPS truck which would then take it to the finish. Did I mention there were 30,000 people at this race??? I knew it was wrong but I headed back through the crowd because I did not know what to do and I was running out of time. On the way, I ran into a fellow who looked like he knew what he was doing and asked again. He hurriedly rushed me back up to the front and into a nice warm building and lo-and-behold the rest of the elite group. I should have planned ahead but you know...I had 15 minutes. I checked my stuff to go to the finish line and did a few drills and stretches.

And we were off! 6:00; 5:55; 5:57; 5:56; 6:07 (kind of fell asleep here); 5:48; 5:54; 5:53; Oh no..SHIT stop; 5:57; Oh lord...another one!; 6:02; 5:56; 6:02; 6:39 (last 1.11 miles)..FINISH! Official finish time was 1:18:54-including stops. I was happy yet, really frustrated with having to stop. I have been having stomach issues for a month or more now. I will be totally fine and then NOT. Without the stops I had my time around 1:17:58-one thing I am is a quick crapper. At least I've got that going for me. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ready or not.

The morning will bring race day and with it something new. Arrived in Texas last night, we rented a Prius and drove to Gruene Hall (oldest dance hall in Texas) and watched a great show in a fantastic venue. The Bo Phillips band opened for Stoney Larue and rocked the house. We grabbed a bite to eat at a diner across the street and I has the best smoked turkey and avocado sandwich I have ever had. It was unbelievably flavorful and delicious. Fuel for the night. After the show we made our way to San Antonio and after taking a dissatisfying ice bath, I crashed into my bed about 1:30 am.

I have found that ear plugs are a must when traveling. Period. I slept soundly and woke up at 9:45 am. Got up, went for a refreshing and light pre-race run along the famous San Antonio riverwalk and felt like a million bucks.

Had a satisfying brunch at Bill Miller's bar-b-que (shredded chicken, hand-cut fries, peach cobbler, and iced tea) then made our way to the Alamo dome to grab our packets. After a stop at the H.E.B for groceries, it has been a day relaxing at the hotel watching college football and staying hydrated. The weather is perfect. Low humidity and about 50 degrees this evening. For a 7:15 am race start, I would say...magnificent.

Just took an ice bath followed by a warm shower 30 minutes later. I am now hunkered down, ready for sleep. It is 9:30 pm. Planning on being up at 5 am. Sometimes I wonder why...then I remember...I LOVE racing. I am privileged to be able to compete in such a great sport. No matter the result tomorrow morning, I will enjoy the process of the moments that make up the result. Because I run for those moments, the result is just whip cream. G'night.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Amarillo by morning....

Okay, I am not going to Amarillo but I am going to San Antonio for the weekend and then Austin for the week. And I do plan on not only eating a bunch of Mexican food but also listening to some great alt-country tunes.

Sunday is the Rock n' Roll half-marathon in San Antonio and yours truly is going to give the distance a shot. Getting pretty excited about it, a little nervous as well. Was able to get my piriformis issue under some sort of control and training has been fabulous this week. 20 x 200 yesterday morning with :50 rest was actually FUN! No pain. Just a bit cold...or as Clark Griswold would say...nipply. I do love that sound of crunchy, frosty grass under your feet occasionally interrupted by the rustle of fallen leaves. I LOVE the fall!!

Expect lots of pictures and updates in the days to come. I am documenting the hell out of this trip. The half-marathon is on Sunday and barring a physical catastrophe I will be running a 5k in Austin on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November sunshine...say what?!?

Wow, Idaho is spoiling me with this divine weather we are having. Absolutely love it!

During Saturday's workout I felt a twinge of piriformis pain rearing its ugly head in the form of a slightly numb right leg, knee pain, and major nerve pain in my right butt/back area. By bedtime on Saturday, no position- standing, sitting or lying down was comfortable. Sunday morning I ran for 50 minutes easy and was very uncomfortable the entire run. It felt like I was forcing my right leg to work correctly and my left leg was doing 75% of the running. I made a frantic call to the office of Mike Devitt (a.k.a. the miracle worker) at Forcus Physical Therapy http://www.focus-pt.com/ and snagged the first appointment available (Tuesday @ 9:30).

I literally had a bruise on my lower back on the right side where most of the specific nerve pain was. Maybe I shouldn't have finished the workout and aggravated it more but...it wasn't THAT bad at the time. Thankfully I am fairly skilled at putting my back, pelvis and sacrum back in their rightful positions using what Devitt has taught me but this time nothing was budging. I would get something to move, have some relief and then right back to where it was before. Monday morning I did my long run (100 minutes) and for 60 of those minutes the pain nagged at me, sometimes worse than others.

On Tuesday morning, I waited to run until I had seen Devitt. Sure enough my sacrum was totally rotated forward and just a mess. He worked on it and it easily shifted, the problem is that it shifts far too easily. So I relearned how to self-correct the issue. He also had some interesting breathing techniques to share and have me work on due to residual diaphragm issues from my hernia surgeries. I left the office feeling better and went for one of the most gorgeous runs I have been on all year in the foothills. No one was out, the leaves are all sorts of reds, yellows and deep burnt oranges, it was calm and cheerfully sunny...what could be better? By the time the run was finished I was having the pain again but I was quickly able to calm it down.

Yesterdays workout was phenomenal. I felt stellar. 8 am, bright sunshine, light breeze-just me and the track. Varying energy systems workout: moderate 2400 meter tempo (8:49); 3 x 300 meters @ :55; another moderate 2400 meter tempo (8:44). It was fun.

On another note, I have been eating like a superstar. With the whitetail deer Pat got a couple of weeks ago-lean meat is in abundance. Delicious. Plus, I have perfected the ultimate post-workout smoothie. Still working on upping my fluids though-for some reason having a tough time getting enough. I am being lazy about it though. Time to shape up.