20 August 2013

4 Stitches

[WARNING: bloody pictures included in this post. proceed at your own risk!]

I crashed last week, in every sense of the word. With the Dirt Crits over, that means that my Thursday nights were now free to jump into the Alpine Shop Trail Running Series at Castlewood State Park. Last week, I wanted to get one last long run in before Thunder Rolls, but a little farther out than the weekend. So I persuaded Jeff to come do an easy 12 miles before the race, then the 4-ish mile race, then an easy cool-down for a nice long run total. We did the race loop 3 times keeping really even splits, just chatting along and cruising. Then we changed shoes and lined up for the real race, each intending to hammer our own effort. And hammer we did.
Start of the Alpine Shop Thursday Night Trail Run #2!
Through 3-something miles I was having a great race, in solid position as 2nd place female and ahead of my orienteering buddy Jeff (not Sona). We came to the final downhill of the race, 5 minutes from the finish line, and I tried to use my self-proclaimed "good" downhill skills to my advantage in the close race for bragging rights. A root, or a rock, or maybe even a patch of weird dirt had other ideas. I tripped and slammed knee-first into the singletrack. Heart rate racing. Blood on my legs. Instant calf cramps and breathing problems as I tried to wrap my head around why I was suddenly stationary. Jeff (not Sona) immediately stopped his race to help me as I was writhing on the side of the trail. It was not pretty. It took an eternity for my HR and breathing to get out of the panic zone and into the "let's take stock of what just happened" zone. By that time, my good friend, and competitor Laura, had also stopped, and the two of them worked to get me calmed down and comfortable. Several other runners asked if they could help but I waved them on. It took a couple of tries to get me upright since I have a weird problem with seeing my own blood and passing out. But by the time Jeff, David, and Sunny came running back up the trail to check on me, Jeff and Laura had me up and gimping down the trail, along with Tom and John on mountain bikes. It was quite the entourage. Karen met us at the finish line.
Jeff, Laura, and Karen helping me off the trail.
I have commented on this before, but I'll say it here too - it is amazing having medical professionals as part of the St. Louis mtb/running community. Jeff and Karen used their ER/ortho skillz to examine my knee, clean it out, and recommend that I go get stitches. Again, I couldn't handle watching and had to lay down to avoid fainting. So strange. But they dug in there and got the bloody mess clean enough for me to drive to the closest ER (St. John's). Eric was helping out too by bringing me food...don't forget I had just run almost 16 miles on a few gels and a bar, and he stocked me up on calories for the long night ahead.
The knee, at Castlewood, after being rinsed out.
David and Jeff both offered to come to the ER with me, but I was positive I could handle it by myself. I also needed some alone time to process what just happened. And to cry. I bawled almost the whole way there. Frustrated that I had just wrapped up a great 3-week training block in preparation for a tough field at Thunder Rolls, and now I was injured. Angry that I had been so clumsy on a trail I had pre-ran THREE FREAKING TIMES that same night. Sad that, despite the amazing support from my teammates and friends, I really didn't have anyone else to call to get me through this. Sigh. Such is the life of a single girl. [NOTE: please don't read into this that no one offered to come with me. Several people did, and several more people would have come with if I had asked. But I didn't ask, and honestly I prefer to have my cry-fests by myself, and once I was in the exam room it was boring. No need for an entourage there.] I was still weepy when I checked myself into the ER. The nurse was the most gracious and comforting person at that time. I could barely choke out my name and birthdate and she was just so patient and accommodating. Actually the whole staff at St. John's was like that. Another plug for getting injured in St. Louis - excellent medical care is available.
The ER team got me through x-rays and sutures and sent me on my way after only a few hours. The next morning, I got up for work like usual, and could barely walk to my bathroom which is only about 10 feet away from my bed. I was in trouble. I called in to explain my situation and spent the rest of the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in bed. OK, well I did get out a little bit to do some errands and cheer my friends on at Conquer Castlewood, but there was a whole lot more time spent horizontal than I'm used to. Thankfully, my brother shared his Netflix password with me so I passed the time by watching Grey's Anatomy - a show I have never seen before. Blasphemous, I know.
The wound, Friday night, first bandage change.
So anyway, that's the story of my stitches. Things are still not progressing as quickly as I'd like. I managed to pedal a whopping 5 revolutions on my trainer last night. That was a big mental challenge. But my knee is still too swollen for an MRI to check for more serious damage, which I am slightly terrified about. I'm hitting the RICE hard and checking in frequently with my teammates for the medical advice, the emotional support, and to figure out what exactly we are going to do about Thunder Rolls in 3 days.
What I've been up to lately.
Here is one interesting things about being injured: my food intake is way way down. I'm not saying my appetite is gone, I am just noticing that I need way less food when I am not training. Captain Obvious, I know, but I get through the day on my normal breakfast, a big salad for lunch, and an afternoon snack. No dinner. It's so weird not to be hungry. But I think this is a good thing, to get back in touch with a nutritional baseline that doesn't include 15+ hrs/wk of training.
I'm working on keeping perspective and staying positive. As far as we know, this is just a flesh wound with lots of swelling in the joint. Things could be much, much worse. I haven't even hit one week of rest yet, and I have friends who have been doing rehab for all of 2013, or who are facing many months more in the future. So I have no right to complain or get too down on myself. And, Carrie sent me this timely video on how a happy brain improves productivity in all areas of life. So I am working really hard on looking for positive things in each day. Every little baby step gets celebrated. Every little set-back gets endured. I will get through this.

Pin It

08 August 2013

Big NUEs

Hey there! Contrary to what my blog posting frequency might have indicated, I have not fallen off the face of the planet. I've just been putting in a lot of hours training, traveling, traveling to train, etc in the past month or so and this here website has gotten the back-burner treatment. But in the last few weeks some super awesome things have happened so I want to share!
cloudy sunrise at the Arch towards the end of the Vampire. My only regret was that John's Donuts was closed.
First of all, I found a new favorite workout, and it's mostly thanks to the jerks at Team Seagal. It's the Saturday night session, made popular by the Vampire Century and MFXC. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I love the rhythm of a Saturday morning workout, then chilling all afternoon, then training/non-racing on Saturday night, a sleep-in Sunday morning, and then a final Sunday afternoon workout. It's like taking your standard ho-hum weekend and turning it into a 3-day party. Try it sometime. You will not be disappointed. Your weekend, now with 150% moar awesome. GTMV.
Dirt Crits on the FS.

Me and my BFF!!
Second of all, there have been some Dirt Crits. Starting in June and running every Thursday night for the past 8 weeks, St. Louis' finest [mountain bikers] have been crushing a 1.25-ish mile singletrack loop in Valley Park at top speed. I've been racing in the B race and it started out great with me on a borrowed (thanks Carrie!) full-suspension bike and 2 wins in a row. But then the fast girls started showing up, and the trail got super dry/slide-y, and my lap times went in the toilet. I had a couple crashes where both me and the bike turned up fine, but my confidence was shaken so I switched back to the hard-tail SegSlayer and spent a couple weeks just riding smooth and clean. That did not mean fast, but I didn't care, I was more interested in re-upping my mojo. That, along with rocking the kid's race with my BFF every week, put me back into a superior state of mind and I'm ready to close out this final week (tonight!) with a great race. Just because of my regular attendance, I'm in 1st place for the Women's series. This doesn't mean I'm the fastest chick out there, far from it, but I've just made the drive out to VP every week for the past 8 weeks, and I guess that counts for something!
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Third of all, we at Alpine Shop adventure racing have set our rosters for the National Championship races happening in October. Adventure racing happens to have TWO Nationals, put on by TWO different organizations, and we are racing both of them. The hows and whys of double championship races is a whole other post/rant, but basically we're expected to churn out two top performances on back-to-back weekends. David, Jeff, and I will be taking on USARA Nationals 30hr on October 4-5 in Nashville, IN, and then Doug will join the 3 of us for Checkpoint Tracker Nationals 30hr on October 11-12 in Knoxville, TN. The competition is going to be fierce in both races and I'm super excited to see where we land.
First race in a Pfoodman kit - 2011 ICCP 3hr.
And, finally (kudos if you're still reading!!), I'm switching mountain bike teams after tonight's Dirt Crit. The people of Pfoodman Racing have been incredibly good to me over the last 3 (!) years, basically taking my triathlete bike-handling skills (i.e. NONE) and molding me into something actually resembling a mountain biker. I've followed their lines, drank their beer, and clogged their inboxes with pointless emails, and they still continued to cheer me on. Our bike shop sponsor, Ballwin Cycles, set me up with the most unbelievable machine in the SegSlayer. Matt and James were my instant pit crew at the 2012 Burnin where I switched at the last minute to 12hr solo. Last year Mike borrowed me his super-bling Niner Air9 to train and race on for BT Epic. I've learned the ropes of the mountain biking scene by hanging out with the Pfoodpeople, and I am so so grateful for their guidance, support, and heckling over the years.

So where does that put me? I got an invitation to join Team Noah Foundation, and I accepted. My interests in mountain biking have been gravitating towards the endurance side of things for a while now, and I don't just mean the 3hr marathon class offered at most local races. I mean the 12hr solo class at Burnin, the 56-mile BT Epic, and the 100-mile NUE series. The Team Noah riders are specialists in these distances, and I know I am going to learn so much from them. But besides the biking, Team Noah Foundation represents a very important cause: the support of infants and children with congenital heart defects, and their families. Noah and his family battled this condition for 10 weeks in 2011 and did not survive. I'll be racing my first NUE series race (hence the title of this post!) at Fool's Gold 100 with the Team Noah peeps and I'm super stoked!

Pin It