Saturday, November 12, 2011

Going out with a fizzle?

Last weekend I had a glorious 12-mile run. I felt on top of the world. I thought, “I’ve made it! I’m actually going to be able to do this thing.” My confidence was further bolstered by the absence of any post-run complications in the days that followed. I reported the good news to my acupuncturist and we shared smiles of triumph, happy to have bested the beasts that lie in wait in my feet and knees.

The next day I headed out for a 6-mile run and cut it short by 5 minutes when my left foot started acting up. Minor glitch, I thought.

Then there was the hellacious ride in the freezing wind. Amongst my many aches, pains and complaints was a mild zapping behind my left knee. Again, a brief acknowledgement that something was up but I was too numb and dispirited to pay it much attention.

Today, both pieces came together in a highly unpleasant combo of foot and knee protest and I was forced to pay attention.

But first, the ride. Today was a brick—the last training ride my husband and I will do together before the race—followed by a 50 minute run.

What a difference a day can make! Today, the wind was down 50% and the temperature was up 15 degrees. The clouds had retreated, leaving a bright autumn sun in the clear blue sky. Altogether, a huge improvement over yesterday’s conditions, though the winds were still quite formidable when tackled head-on.

We ticked off the 27-mile ride with little ado and moved on to the run, and that’s when the problems started. (For me, anyway. My husband had a great run, averaging 7 minute miles over 7 miles.) I only made it about two miles before my knee started hurting, so I took a short walk break. Within ten minutes, foot pain joined the party and I tried a second walk break. Thirty-five minutes in and I threw in the towel, walking the last 15 minutes home. At a rate like that it will take me at least 5 hours to complete the marathon portion of the IM, if not longer.

So now, instead of running 45 minutes tomorrow as planned, I will either walk it or skip it altogether and hope with a few days of rest, massage, acupuncture, stretching, icing, Advil and hammering, I can get back on track. Last week I was on such a high; I thought I’d be able to finish my training with a bang. Instead, it looks like I’ll be wrapping things up with a fizzle. What a difference a week can make.

A friend and Iron Man veteran recently told me that it is rare for anyone to show up at the starting line of an Iron Man 100% healthy. This actually makes me feel a bit better. Is that wrong?

Oh, and speaking of wrong, I have to add a sidebar here: I’ve decided that cars moving in reverse pose one of the greatest dangers to cyclists. Please, drivers, look in all your mirrors and then look again before proceeding slowly backward. And don’t just rely on your mirrors; actually turn around and look over your shoulder. You’d be surprised how many blind spots there are if you are only using mirrors.

Also, what is up with the vehicles that come upon a cyclist and then push the pedal to the metal, roaring their engines and sometimes even peeling wheels and honking horns? What is the point of that? What must a driver be thinking in that moment? “I’m so cool?” “I’m faster and more powerful than a bicycle?” “I’m late for a hot date?” “I’ve only got five minutes left to hit the early bird menu or happy hour specials?” And there is no stereotype here—it is equal opportunity asininity. I’ve experienced this display with all manner of cars and drivers, from women and men to teens and grandmas, driving anything from huge trucks and rusty clunkers to sleek sports cars and stodgy sedans. I mean really, who does that?!?!

Ok, that’s my rant for the day.

Iron Man Cozumel—15 days and counting . . .

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