Friday, March 23, 2012

My Morning Adventure on Two-Wheels..

I named my bike cupid awhile back - it was in hopes that she would make me fall in love with cycling. To say it's a work in progress would be an understatement.

Since being injured, I have logged a lot of saddle time; however it was all in the comfort of my own living room. No cars to deal with, bumpy roads to navigate, or worries about cranking my head off a curb. And I could simply reach onto the shelf next to me to grab my water bottle.

Today I decided to take cupid outside for the first time since I did my 70.3 in September. Alone. Scary stuff my friends, scary stuff.

Below is a glimpse into my head during this morning's 2 hour adventure:

- why does bike attire have to be so damn tight; I look ridiculous. And no, the ridiculousness has nothing to do with my hot pink compression socks. 

- what number is my bike pump supposed to read when I put air in the tires? I 60? 90? Gah, I don't have to worry about this when I run! 
- hmmmm.. I hope I remembered to change the Garmin to cycling instead of running. Otherwise my watch will think I turned Kenyan overnight. 
- I should have come up with a more solid plan for a route.. I guess I'll  just stay on this road until it ends, and make a decision at that point..
- shhhhhhhhhhhhiiiitttt I hate cracks in the road.. although the way I white-knuckle my handlebars is borderline impressive..
- I want to throw my bike cleat at that happy runner girl across the street. She looks significantly less frightened than I feel right now. And she's singing. If I try singing, I'll tip over because I'll lose focus. 
- Another hill? What is that searing pain in my.. Oh right, those would be my quads. For big muscles, they sure do bitch a lot. 
- no - not a school bus.. nononononono! I cannot remember to unclip and stop and NOT fall over every 50 yards the bus decides to pick up more kids. 
- how on earth do real cyclists have the confidence to reach down and drink from a water bottle? I've just spent the last 10 minutes working up the confidence to remove my white knuckles from the handlebars and reach down to retrieve said bottle. Nevermind putting it back. Without ending up in some guys front lawn. 
- are those ClifBloks in my bike box? Have those been there since September? I'm so disgusting. 
- okay, a long flat stretch of road. just get comfortable, take a breath, and OH SHIT! A squirrel!!!! Those little rats should look both ways before crossing. 
- that would be the third flying bug I've consumed today. I wonder if vegetarians spit out the bugs..
- was that my Garmin just alerting me that I've gone 20 miles? What town am I even IN? I should probably start heading back home soon. 
- legs, if you get me home, I will feed you lots of oatmeal. And neck, if you don't seize up in the next hour, I promise to not torture you again for the rest of the day. 
- yay - I know this road!!! I'm getting close to home.. I MIGHT actually survive!!! 

I made it back home in one piece. My first ride out this year was a hilly, 35 mile route. Cupid was good to me - she didn't kick me off at any point mid-ride, responded well to my commands, and kept my nether regions in one piece.

Cycling and I are still very much a work in progress; I have serious confidence issues out on the roads, I have a lot of work to do on my bike handling skills, and we won't even begin to talk about my fear of riding in big groups. I'm well aware that if I ever want to tackle an Ironman, this is the discipline that needs the most time devoted to it. The upside is that given my "stats" of todays ride, I know the bike fitness is there. It's about logging the saddle time, and figuring out how to make riding fun.

During Pumpkinman - not the look of fear/focus on my face. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to map out a route for my next ride.

Happy Training!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Baby Steps..

Whoa, lots of awesome events happening/happened this weekend: The NYRR Half (Hi Kara!), National Marathon/Half, Costa Rica 70.3, New Bedford Half..

The New Bedford Half Marathon- that would be the start line I would've been toeing at almost this exact moment. My body had other plans, and I've come to peace with this new plan at the moment.

Since I've last updated (I know, it's been way too long), my MRI has taken place (Thursday). I also have had some email correspondence with the surgeon's admin, and it appears surgery is a go (barring any major epiphany Dr Theodore has over this weekend).

I think the sheer devastation of losing the majority of 2012 athletically has passed, thank God. I moved into the acceptance phase of this process about a week and a half ago. I have embraced the pool, my bike, strength work, and even the elliptical machine at times (as an aside, that device is NOT built for 80 minutes of work - I tried.). I have logged in plenty of workout hours, despite not one minute of those being a run.

The surgeon will call me Monday to discuss the results of the MRI as well as some big picture stuff. At that point I'll have a better idea of if I'll be able to make some traction with the pavement prior to surgery. If I can, I will be elated. Absolutely, positively giddy. However, if I still cannot run for a little bit, that has to be okay too. While I miss running more than I can put into words, I have come up with a system that is working to keep me sane, and in shape (I think). I'm very proud of myself for getting to this place.

I am cautiously optimistic about next steps.. steps forward, instead of backwards. I am excited to take my bike off the trainer, and get in some riding outside (whoa, who have I become - I'm supposed to HATE my bike?!?). I'm excited to take my first open water swim of the year, and excited to continue to get stronger.

Surgery is scheduled for May 3rd, which gives me about a month and a half to maximize my fitness before going under the knife. I have some hair-brained ideas about a 70.3 later this year, but that's for a whole different post. For now, I'll just continue to take successful baby steps forward.

Happy Training!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I had waited FOUR whole weeks for yesterday's appointment - it conveniently coincided with the only "real' snow storm Massachusetts has seen this winter. I was willing to borrow a snow plow to drive to this appointment, there was no way in hell I was missing it.

There was also no way in hell I wasn't going to run before my appointment "just in case". I ran for well over an hour yesterday morning, and ironically had a fantastic run. Moving on.

I got into Boston pretty early, just as the flakes were starting to fly.

It wasn't until I got past these doors that I started getting nervous. This guy held the keys to my short-term running future. And potentially the scalpel that will give me those speedy running legs I've been working so hard to attain. Yikes.

I'll spare you the nitty gritty details, but this is how things shook down:

  • I do not have a "classic case" of exertional compartment syndrome. My pressures are abnormally elevated at rest, but do not soar super sky high above that abnormal post-exercise. Those numbers go up, but not exponentially. 
  • Even with this being the case, at the time we were speaking in his office, he was confident in the surgery, and offered me a 80% success rate. It's not 100%, but it's also not Mohegan Sun odds. I was willing to roll the dice with 80%. Bring it. 
  • He asked me to do a routine x-ray before I left, to make sure their weren't any tumors, etc in my lower leg before I head for surgery. Once the x-ray was done, he told me to schedule my surgery and go on my merry way. 
You didn't think it was going to be THAT simple, did you? I was navigating my way out of Boston, in the snow, when the office calls my phone. I answer, it's Dr. Theodore himself. Shit. He says "I just reviewed your x-ray, and there is a 'significant' stress fracture in your tibia. This is fascinating!". Listen Doc, I don't want "fascinating", I want "fixed". 

The Man himself thinks that the stress fracture (by the way, how much of a rockstar I am that I have been running DOUBLE DIGIT runs through a stress fracture - roar.) may be elevating the pressure in the compartment, and perhaps if the stress fracture heals, and I have no pain running, I could avoid surgery because the symptoms of compartment syndrome will be substantially reduced. Of course, it's all "theory" at this point. 

Next step at this point is an MRI on the 15th - he said that we'll speak 2 days after the MRI to discuss the results. We're currently keeping the 5/3/12 surgery date on the calendar, until further evaluation. 

  • I'm frustrated - I went into this appointment thinking I would FINALLY have a plan to end this. It didn't happen. 
  • I'm stressed out - what if I get sent into another 6 month cycle that looks like this:
    • MRI - let stress fracture heal - try to run again - no pain - 6 months goes by - compartment syndrome flares up again - re-do pressure test (#&(*$^) - looking at surgery again, but now it's 2013. 
  • I feel pretty strongly that these compartment syndrome symptoms (say THAT 5 times fast) existed long before the stress fracture took place (which I'm pinpointing to have been  January, when I literally couldn't run more than 5 minutes without debilitating pain). However, I understand his point of "not skipping steps". 
It's a lot to digest, and right now, I'm trying not to look past the March 15th date. Once I have the results of the MRI, I'll have more information, and can outline a plan. I still have a firm surgery date on the calendar, and it's not going anywhere unless I say so. 

That's where everything stands as of today. Thanks for all the kind words and support, I appreciate it!

Happy Training!