Monday, August 23, 2010

Another update

Another day and my arm just keeps getting better. My accident was two weeks ago tomorrow. In the days and weeks that followed, I really had no use of my arm. It hurt, it was swollen and bruised....from shoulder to wrist. I had no strength in my hand. I couldn't open jars or bottles, I couldn't squeeze the toothpaste, or open a door. I couldn't even put my hair in ponytail. It hurt when I twisted the elastic band. I wasn't able to spread peanut butter on toast, I couldn't hold the toast with my hurt hand, the spreading of the peanut butter was too much force.

It was actually pretty pathetic. My sweet husband put my hair in a ponytail for me every day, opened jars, cut my food.

Saturday was the first day I could do the ponytail all by myself and I can now open jars, spread peanut butter and even get my hand up to wash my face. It still hurts, not nearly as much. It is still swollen, but only at the elbow, I can wear my wedding rings and they are loose. The bruising is limited to my hand, in an odd way.

I took some pictures to compare my injured arm to my good arm and you can see the difference. Here's the bruising:

side view of the healthier arm:
side view of the arm that is improving:
front view of the healthier arm:
front view of the other arm:
The elbow is such an odd joint - much like the ankle, there is a lot going on in there...many moving parts. I go back to see the dr tomorrow and again on Thursday. He will ultrasound it, massage it and get things to release. It always feels better after I see him. I have full range of motion in my shoulder, my elbow is limited. Its strange and honestly is just getting annoying.

I ran 12 miles yesterday and the arm did okay. I did spin class this morning and it felt better than spin class last week. Progress. By Sunday, I expect it will be just about back to normal. I am resting it as much as I can. Tomorrow I'll give it a little test swim to see if there needs to be an adjustment to my stroke. I think it will feel good to get in the water, its been over two weeks.

I have been looking for the reason, the lesson in this. "why did this happen?" That has not been productive to me. I am focusing on getting better, on healing and having a positive attitude.
Because I become obsessed with things, I was googling injuries and Ironman. There are lots of pros and cons to racing after an injury. My favorite was one that said "just go do it, you never know what is out there waiting for you and you never know what is around the corner. If you can, you should". So I will.

During that google search I also found this quote that I just LOVE:
"Not everything is a lesson, Ryan. Sometimes you just fail" - Dwight Schrute
I don't feel like I failed. I just fell. That's it. When you fall, you get up and you keep moving. I only have to keep moving for a few more days....Sunday....sweet sweet Sunday.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Injury report

Here is the update:

My elbow is getting better every day. If I had to put a number on it, I would say I am about 70%. I don't have the range of motion I would like and I still have some pain. I ran twice this week and it held up well. I took a spin class and it bothered me a bit more than I wanted. I will swim on Monday and see what that brings. Tuesday, I will get back on my awesome road bike and see what that brings. Tuesday afternoon, I see Dr. Jake for one final appointment. I have continued with my supplements, even adding some to the mix. This f-ing elbow is going to heal faster than any other elbow in history. Period.

Here are some pictures of the progress. The swelling is just about gone, just some left right at the elbow. The tape makes it hard to see. The tape is there to keep the lymphatic system open so the toxins and swelling can be processed. I have a little bit of bruising at the elbow and oddly on my wrist.

I have been working so hard to get this thing better. I didn't really want to tell anyone because I didn't want any negative energy. I didn't want anyone telling me that I shouldn't do the Ironman, because I am doing it. I didn't want to have to explain my decision or justify it. As time has passed, people have found out and a few have told me that I shouldn't do it, that I should just heal. I hate that and am trying to get that out of my mind. My typical response is "after what I have gone through the last 9 months to get ready for Ironman, this injury is nothing" and it is true. Is a blip, a bump.

I have gotten some really great support from people too. My spin instructor said to me this week "you are one tough chick, if anyone can do it, you can". I needed to hear that because I don't often think of myself as tough. Our friend and training partner Doug told me how strong he believes I am and I loved this quote "you just learned to swim not too long and are now throwing yourself into this pile of shit" meaning the Ironman swim. It makes me feel good to have people believe in me. It makes me feel good to have people who know I can do it.

My doctor and I were talking about why I do this. I was telling him how afraid I am of things being hard. He said "you obviously aren't afraid of the pain, because you beat the shit out of your body". I hadn't thought about it like that!

I guess my point in all this is that I am tougher than I think and stronger than I know. This is just another chance to keep moving forward. That's all I can do.

I am working now on moving my arm around, using it a bit more. The rest of my body has compensated and I need to focus on getting things all stretched out and loose. Same thing with my mind...stretched out and loose.

17 down, 1 to go.

Holy shit. One week left. I said it last week...I have spent a lot of time thinking about how it would feel to be at this point in our training. I certainly didn't expect to be sitting here with an injury. Not the one I have anyway. I guess I could have imagined an overuse injury but not an injury caused be an accident. It just never occurred to me.

We are one week out from Ironman. Its been 11 days since my accident. I am considerably better than I was, but still have a ways to go. I'll talk about that in a different post. The good news is that I ran twice this week and took a spin class. My heart rate was pretty high, meaning my body is still dealing with the injury. But I got moving and that felt good.

Here's the recap, quite a change from previous weeks of 15 hours of training! Hey, its the taper, right?
Sunday: rest
Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 40 min run
Thursday: 60 min spin
Friday: 40 min run
Saturday: rest

Swim: 0 hours
Bike: 1 hours
Run: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Total: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Next week at this time will be the day before Ironman. We'll be checking in our bikes and making the final preparation. Can't wait.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

4 years

Today is our 4 year wedding anniversary. I cannot believe it. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I looked back at my blog posts from our 2 year anniversary and our 3 year anniversary . It is fun to look back and see how I was feeling. Seems like every year I say the same thing..."so much has happened, can't wait to see what happens next".

This year is the same. I feel like we have crammed a whole lot of living into this last year. Our family has changed a lot since last year. We lost our dear Wookie and added Maggie and Buster. Gus is really sick and Opal is not doing so hot either. This is a sign of how much time we have all been together. Gus, Opal and Wookie were so young when we first met. I feel like we are all still that same age that we were 10 years ago, but obviously that isn't true.

There are a hundred reasons why I love Trevor. Seriously. Every day I am reminded of those reasons. Here are just a few:

  • No one could love my animals the way Trevor does. He understands how I feel about them. He would do anything for them. We are totally on the same page when it comes to that. I love when he calls them by the silly nicknames I have come up with and I love when I overhear him talking to them. I just love the way he loves them.
  • He makes me laugh. Every day, no matter how bad things seem, he makes me laugh. When something is really funny, Trevor has the best laugh. I like when I can make him laugh like that.
  • He has goals. He is always reaching for something, always thinking of the next thing. He is never satisfied with good enough.
  • We do everything together. Some couples would hate that. I wouldn't want it any other way. When I am somewhere, I want him to be there. Sometimes I do things without him, but I always wish I hadn't gone alone and I can't wait to tell him about it.
  • He believes I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • He likes cake and ice cream too.

Mostly, I love him because he loves me. God only knows why. Honestly, I am a pain in the ass most of the time. The thing I love most is that I feel completely and utterly at home with him. I never feel embarassed or ashamed of anything. He allows me to be myself and doesn't ask me to change. Sure, he shakes his head sometimes in disbelief that I can be so ridiculous, but he still loves me. I never second guess his committment.

We've had some rough times, its not all flowers and candy around here. We don't have a romantic life. We have a real life. A life that can be sustained long term. A life that I would not trade for anything. I love this man. I don't know what he did to deserve me, but it must have been something really bad...Happy Anniversary Jones....we made it another year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The bumpy road to Ironman

We have been training for months, without injury or incident. Trevor and I were pretty proud of ourselves for getting this far, pushing our bodies this far and feeling stronger than ever before.

We have put in the long rides, the long runs, the long swims. It has been emotionally, mentally and physically draining. We made it to our last long workout before our taper and we were SO happy.

We got up Tuesday morning and got our gear together. Our friend Doug was planning to ride with us, but got called to work and couldn't go. Our friend Jo was going to meet us after our ride for a run. I texted another friend to get Jo's cellphone number. That way I would have it ready.

We got started about 90 minutes later than planned, but we didn't care. We headed out and were just so glad this was it. The last long day out on the road. I had planned out a great two loop route that would take us down by the river. We headed down that way. We were zipping right along, Trevor was behind me and I didn't want to slow him down. I told him he could pass and he did. I was feeling good, singing a song in my head ("Shoop" by Salt and Peppa, if you must know). Trevor was a ways ahead of me. All of a sudden, I hit something and completely lost control of my bike. I screamed. My bike hit the curb and then turned sideways. I knew I was going to crash and I knew there was no stopping it.

Down I went. BAM. My left arm took most of the weight of the fall. The stuff in my bento box spilled into the road. I heard Trevor slamming on his breaks and running back to me. He kept saying "stay down". I got up and wanted him to know I was okay. He checked me out to see where I hurt. I had a torn up left side, my lip was a little busted, my gloves were totally torn off and my left elbow was throbbing.

We moved everything to the sidewalk and then I realized that I was not okay. As the shock wore off, the pain started. Trevor was going to ride home and get the car, but I didn't want to be left alone. I told him to call Jo. He did and she came to get us. Several cars pulled over to see if we were okay. Many of them said they had crashed their bikes before and were sorry that I had too.

During the time we were waiting, alot of thoughts went through my mind. I was hurting more and more. I was realizing that something was really not right and a trip to the ER was in my future. I kept apologizing to Trevor, which I know he hates. I felt so stupid. He found the rock I hit and it was HUGE. How did I not see it?

All my Ironman dreams went out the window. I thought of all the time I had trained. Honestly, there was a second where I felt this was my way out. That thought was quickly squashed because I didn't want a way out. Not this time.

Jo dropped us at home and we headed to the hospital.

The hospital is where I really started to fall apart. I was in an increasing amount of pain. I knew they were going to want to touch my arm and move my arm. Just thinking about that made me cry. Then I thought about Trevor doing Ironman without me and I started crying more. Nurses would come in and ask if I was okay. I'd say yes and then keep crying.

Trevor kept saying he thought it would be okay. I kept thinking "but you don't know how badly it hurts".

They took me for xrays and every time they told me how they wanted me to move it, I cried. Looking back now...I was pretty pathetic. But it hurt.

It didn't look so bad at first...

The dr came in and said nothing was broken, just a sprain. I said "good. We have an Ironman triathlon in three weeks". I don't know if he really understood what all is involved in that and he said "just listen to your body". Right.

The nurse came back in to clean my scrapes. One of our running group friends is a nurse there and saw my name on the list when she got to work. She came in and visited with us. That was a nice surprise.

We got home and Trevor put me on a regimine of supplements. Let the healing begin.

Here is the progression in pictures:
Tuesday afternoon:

Wednesday: you can see my hip and chest have a little road rash

Thursday: yowee
Friday: I saw Dr Jake and he went to town on it. He taped it all up to help with the swelling

My hand looked like a sausage, the swelling moved down.

Monday: amazing how much better it is. Still hurts.

When I saw Dr Jake on Thursday, I asked him what the healing time would be. He said normal people - 6 weeks, for me 3 to 4 weeks. I said "We have Ironman in 2 and a half weeks". He was ultrasounding my arm and at that point he started to hum. I told him that we didn't have time for him to screw around, he needed to bring his A game. Jake has fixed us before, brought us back from injury to run marathons and do triathlons, so he can't fail me now.

I have been doing all the things he told me to do - icing it multiple times per day, taking advil, not using it (its in a sling). I am also taking a store full of supplements: liquid collagen protein for soft tissue repair, beta-alanine & MSM for inflammation, Omega 3/6/9 for joint lubrication and inflammation reduction, glutamine for recovery, calcium & vitamin D for bone health (just in case), in addition to all my usual repair and recovery things. If it is possible to heal this injury faster, we will do it.

I am going to finish Ironman Canada in two weeks. I have ordered a compression sleeve for some extra support. I will take it easy until the event. I will be careful that day, but I will finish. It may change my race strategy, but I will still finish.

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to
do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell
apart, that's true strength."

The ride just got more interesting...

16 down, 2 to go...

This post is a little late. There was an "incident" that has delayed things. This post will be short and will be followed soon by a post with details....

Sunday: 18.75 mile run - felt good.
Monday: 30 min swim. exhausted, but felt good.
Tuesday: planned 120 mile bike ride that ended abruptly around mile 4....
Wednesday: "rest"
Thursday: "rest"
Friday: "rest"
Saturday: "rest"

Total for the week:
Swim: 30 minutes
Bike: 20 minutes
Run: 3 hours and 30 min
Weights: 0 min
Total: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Two weeks left. They will go fast. Training is really done, nothing left to do but the event. Its been a long time coming. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how it would feel to be at this point, right now - it certainly isn't what I expected...stay tuned...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Last long run...18.75 miles

We had been referring to it as the "18 miler", when it was, in fact, 30k - which is more than 18 miles. This was our last long run before Ironman. This was also the benchmark run for Vancouver Fit, our marathon training group. It was nice to have a group of people to run with. It was even better to have volunteers out on the course and water/bathroom stations!

I love the group of coaches and members at Vancouver Fit. Trevor, Doug and I ran this one, others had run the day before and volunteered to work the course. What a blessing those people are. Really, a blessing.

It was an early start. 6 am, which meant we needed to leave home well before that. I hit snooze a few too many times and at one point Trevor said "we have to leave no later than 5:45". We left the house at 5:56. We were a little late, but honestly I was proud that we even made it. In case I hadn't made it clear yet...we are exhausted.

My group left, I hit the restroom, got myself together and off I went. It is funny how desensitized I have become to these long distances. I wasn't nervous about this run at all, it was just another day. I didn't think about what a long day it would be, I just started running.

We did a little out and back and so I got to see Trevor and Doug and all my other running and walking friends at some point. I love that. 6 miles down. yay. I stopped to use the restroom and refill my water. When I started back up, my low back felt a little tight. I was very concerned that my back was going to start giving me a problem that would turn into spasms and a bigger issue. I thought good thoughts and believed it wouldn't.

Because I am so exhausted, I was really having a tough time engaging with other runners. Some wanted to talk and I really just didn't have it in me. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts. Awful, I know. I tried to give encouragement where I could, but really it was all I could do to stand myself for 3 and a half hours of running!!

The thing that kept me going was all my friends on the route. I kept wondering who I would see next. Who would be at the next corner directing us? Who would be at the next water station. I have my favorites and I couldn't wait to see them. Familiar faces make things like this easier.

I was having a hard time around mile 12 and up ahead I see my friend Greg. This made me smile and feel happy because I knew what was coming. He was cheering everyone on, but as soon as he saw me he yelled "SWEATY!!!!" That is what he calls me....because....I sweat alot. He does too, so its okay. But its funny to me that he always yells that in a group of people and I love it. I gave him a big sweaty hug, he gave me some words of encouragement and I kept on going.

I saw Carrie, out there for the longest run of her life. She was with Jo - I wish I had been on time today so I could have run with them. I love to run with Jo. She is a powerhouse. Carrie always makes the time pass quickly! I saw my Angel - I ran with her for a bit, then saw her later on. She always says how I inspire her. I love that. She is awesome.

I saw the rest of the crew too, everyone that I love and that really made the time go faster. Countless others who cheered for me when they saw me, gave me water, took my picture, made me laugh and helped me keep moving.

As we were approaching mile 16, I saw Pete. I was at the low point of my run and I got happy when I saw him. Then he said to me "what? Are you training for an Ironman or something?" That was all I needed to hear to get me through the next 3 miles. Thanks Pete. I needed that.

I finally made it across the finish line and was so happy to be done. I did a quick check of my body to make sure all my parts felt okay. My back was a little tight, but I didn't think it would be an issue. My legs were tired, but overall, I felt good.

I said to Doug and Trevor "the next time we run this far, we'll be at Ironman". Doug quickly replied "and we will have swam far, biked really far and still have 7 more miles to go". Shut up Doug!

I wish that all my friends could be at Ironman with me. I wish they could be stationed in boats along the swim, yelling encouragement to me. I wish they could be out there on the bike, handing me water and I really wish they could be there on the run telling me how proud they are, how much they love me and how I am going to do it. I know that I will envison them with that day. They are such a part of my life, they have been such a part of our training. I don't think they realize what they have meant to me, how fortunate I feel to have them on my side. I know I will carry them with me every stroke, pedal and step of the way. They sure did today.

Long swim - done, long run - done. Long bike ride comes tomorrow....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

15 down, 3 to go...

I will admit it...I am exhausted, completely, utterly exhausted. I am tired, I am cranky and I have had a headache for three days. My house is a disaster, my yard is even worse. My laundry room has become my closet because I don't have the energy to carry my clothes upstairs. I get up in the morning and go down to the couch, where I go back to sleep until it is time to go swim, bike or run. Its all I can do to make it through the day without falling asleep. My eyes are tired and my mind is a fog.

Welcome to Ironman training. We have three more days until the taper begins. THREE MORE DAYS. Then it is all downhill. We have been climbing this monsterous hill for 6 months now and on Tuesday we will hit the peak, then we will coast downhill to Penticton, arriving on August 29th, where it will be a relief to know that we only have 140.6 miles to go. We will have covered the thousands of miles to get us there.

I know this is how we are supposed to feel right now, but it doesn't make it any easier. I was prepared for the physical exhaustion, but not so much for the mental and emotional exhaustion. I am proud of myself though - I haven't had a crying fit from exhaustion yet. I must not be training hard enough. And even though all I want to do is sleep, once we get out on the swim, bike or run, my workouts feel good. I enjoy the time spent training. But like Trevor said to me, "I"m either training or I am exhausted". It makes me happy to know that he feels like I do.
When I think of what we are going to do on August 29th, I get very emotional. Its a big thing. It really is. It is hard to explain. Its kind of a lonely feeling...knowing what is ahead of us and knowing that no matter how many people are cheering for us, we ultimately will have to cover that distance alone. So, I'll spend the next three weeks coming to terms with that. In the meantime, here's the recap...

Sunday: 84 mile run to Mt. St. Helens - 7 hours and 30 minutes.
Monday: rest day.
Tuesday: 40 minute run with the dogs.
Wednesday: 45 minute open water swim
Thursday: 8 mile run.
Friday: 1 hour and 40 minute swim. Swam the Ironman distance and maybe a bit more - 2.5 miles. Felt good.
Saturday: 60 min ride our training group, included a fall off my bike on a hill. awesome.

Total for the week:
Swim: 2 hours and 25 minutes
Bike: 8 hours and 30 minutes
Run: 2 hours
Weights: 0 min
Total: 12 hours and 55 minutes

18 mile run on Sunday and then Tuesday will be our biggest day - long bike and a run. Then things ease up. We are taking one day at a time....

Monday, August 2, 2010

Another long day....

A few weeks ago, we took an extremely hard 100 mile bike ride up to the North side of Mt. St. Helens. It was the toughest bike ride I had ever been on....until yesterday. Our friend Ron said, "if you liked that last ride, you'll really like this one too". Right. Thanks Ron.

We met up with Doug and Ron at 7 am. We headed up to our starting point, about 90 minutes north of where we live. The roads were windy and tree covered. We finally got to our starting point, got our gear all unpacked and loaded up on our bikes. This ride was going to be JUST 84 miles, nothing like the 100 miles we rode before. I was actually a little disappointed that we weren't going 100 and figured we would be done in about 6 hours or so.

This has been a tough week for us and I was a bit concerned how we would hold up on such a long, steep ride. But it had to be done. After this, we only have one more LONG bike ride before Ironman. It helped to know that.

We got going and after about 3 miles, we started an uphill. The roads were winding and steep. This first uphill was about 5 miles long and it was REALLY uphill. I kept thinking how great it would be to come back down this hill right at the end. My legs were tired from the week, but I figured there was nothing else to do but pedal. So that is what I did.

Doug got some good pictures of our team coming up that first hill...

We kept on going and the route was uphill for a few miles, then downhill. The uphills were REALLY uphill, the downhills were gentle. We were about 20 miles into the ride and we hit a long downhill, I kept track and it was about 5 miles. I felt a little sick to my stomach because I realized we would hit this stretch as an uphill around mile 60.

We made a turn off onto the road to St Helens. This too was a roller coaster. Up and down. The last ride we did was mostly uphill on the way there and then mostly downhill on the way back. This ride seemed to be both up and down hill on the way there - which meant that is how it would be on the way back.

I tried not to think about what was ahead for us. Instead I focused on the scenery, on how lucky we were to be able to do this, on how far we have come. It was a beautiful, sunny day.

When I was 14, my family took a vacation out west. We started in San Francisco and headed up to Vancouver, Canada. We stopped at Mt. St. Helens. That was 1986. Last time we rode to St Helens, I kept thinking "wow, this sure has changed since I was here last". I realized during this ride that we must have taken the south side back then, because it looked EXACTLY like I remembered. It was all lush and green, until we rounded a corner and then it was all burned earth and dead trees. Amazing how it didn't seem to have changed in 24 years.

I spent most of this part of the route thinking about my parents, remembering that trip. I thought about what my dad would have said if there had been bikers on the road that day. "Stupid". There was really no shoulder and it was quite a drop off. We were courteous to the drivers and I felt safe the whole time.

We got to the top and stopped to enjoy the view. Amazing. The view point is called Windy Ridge. There is a reason for was windy and it was all Ridge. We started back down and saw about 5 other cyclists on their way up. This was my favorite part of the ride. I realized we were not the only crazy people doing this. I was SO happy to see them!

Well, now the fun was over and I knew that we had quite a bit of work left. At mile 60, we made a turn back onto the main road and up we went. This 5 mile stretch was seriously the hardest thing I can remember doing. I actually thought to myself, for the first time in a while, "what the hell are we doing". Then I thought about Ironman. And how this was going to make that so much easier to bear. So I just kept pedaling.

We finally got to the top and I was so happy. Except that I knew we still had at least one more climb. This is Doug coming up the hill. See behind him, how steep it is? It was like that for 5 miles....

Now it was just a matter of time and we would be done. I was tired and I was feeling ready to be done! I kept pedaling, kept sticking to my nutrition plan. I kept thinking about what I wanted for dinner!

We finally got to the point where the last downhill started. Wow, what a ride! We flew down those last few miles and finally reached the stopping point. I was so glad to be done and I felt SO good that I did it.

These three guys, Trevor, Doug and Ron, are the best riding partners ever. I think we all know we are crazy, but we all just keep going anyway. No one stops to rest on the way up, we just keep pedaling and pedaling. Being there together makes it just a bit easier. I especially like when they let me know that it is hard for them too!!

This was a great day. One more step on the road to Ironman. We have 10 more days of hard training and then the taper begins. The work is just about done. Hard to believe.