Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things are finally falling into place

Last week was great. I'm finally feeling better after a few months of overtraining and then getting hit by a car. I started the week with a nice 5 mile run on Monday. Tuesday I ran the Good Times Series 5K and knocked 2 minutes off my time from the previous week, more proof that things are looking up. Wednesday I did a playground run and circuit with Kim and Nutter. The run for me ended up being about 6.5 miles total and we did an awesome total body workout at the play ground that includes box jumps on picnic tables, burpees, inclined push ups, wall sits and a bunch of other fun stuff followed by a little ab workout. Nutter didn't think it was as fun as Kim and I did, but I guess our idea of "fun" isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Thursday afternoon I ran 7 miles slowly. It was my least favorite weather; hazy, hot, and humid. I was dripping sweat and a little dehydrated but I finished it. Friday I decided to take a rest day. I was going to go to the gym after work but I just wasn't feelin it and went home instead.

Saturday morning I met up with the Lowell Ladies at Kim's house and we did a great long run meandering through all of Lowell, a little downtown, a little nice neighborhoods, a little ghetto. It was like a running tour of the mill city. I edned up with a total of 13 miles adding on the run to and from my house while everyone else did 10 miles. Afterwards, the day was so nice I couldn't waste it so I decided to get back on my bike. I went for a nice easy 21 mile ride and returned to the scene of my accident. I'm not going to lie, I was very anxious riding up that hill and my heart skipped a beat every time a car wizzed past me, but I made it to the top safely and finished the ride without incident.

Sunday, I was going to go for another bike ride, but I just couldn't get motivated. I felt like being lazy. I was suppose to have a 10K race that day, but it got canceled and then I was lounging around my house and cleaning all morning and by afternoon I just wanted to take a nap so that's exactly what I did. I fell asleep on my couch and slept for 3 hours. Must have needed a little rest.

Monday was interesting......I went to work and waited for the layoff announcements. I had heard through the grapevine that Monday was the day and I had already cleaned off my desk, made lunch plans with a friend, and had an interview scheduled for later in the afternoon. I had set up a distribution list a month ago to send my final goodbye email and I knew it was coming. I wasn't sad or upset or even anxious anymore. The only fear I had was the fear of NOT getting laid off. I didn't want to stay there anymore. So, I had my morning cup of tea and tried to do some busy work, wondering when they would get it over with. I get to work at 6:00am so waiting for the 'notification' was torture. Lucky for me I didn't have to wait too long. At 7:30 I was told and I had to try to contain my joy and excitement. I told the director not to worry or feel bad about letting me go because I was looking at it as an incredible growth opportunity. I had been in my department for 10 years and trying to get out of it for the last 2 years so getting let go was like a breathe of fresh air after suffocating for 2 years. I filled out the necessary paperwork and sent my goodbye email that I had drafted and ready to go within 5 minutes of arriving and I said goodbye to a few select people, did a happy dance and walked out with a HUGE smile on my face.

Lunch was celebratory, I never thought I would be so happy to lose my job, but it felt like such a relief. No more stress of waiting and not knowing, it was finally over. I enjoyed the rest of the day and aced the interview I had then went for a fun run with Kim to top off the perfect day. I went to bed feeling bad for the other 220 people that were let go and not expecting it or not ready for it like I was, but I know everyone will be better off and things will work out fine in the end, they always do.

Tuesday I slept in and took my time getting up and enjoyed some tea and breakfast before I went for a nice long bike ride. I got 28 miles done and it felt amazing. I got lost a few times and didn't care, it was a beautiful day and I had no pressure or plans to be anywhere so I just pedaled my way around the Merrimack Valley. I got home, had some lunch, and relaxed for the rest of the day reading and watching a movie. Later in the evening I walked downtown for the Good Times 5K and shaved another 40 seconds off my time from the previous week. One step closer to my pre-Boston speed.

So, things are looking bright for me, physically and mentally. I've got a ton of really fun races coming up and lots of new opportunities to explore. I'm really looking forward to the changes life has in store for me. Who knows, maybe I'll go in a completely different direction than people expect and I'll surprise everyone. Stay tuned and find out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On the Mend

Last week my hip and elbow were pretty painful. My hip developed some really lovely shades of purple and hurt so much I had difficulty sleeping. The road rash on my elbow was healing nicely, but the underlying injuries didn't seem to be doing as well. I had pain radiating from my elbow into my wrist. So, mid-week I made an appointment with my acupuncturist to see if we could re-balance things and get my body back to normal. It's amazing what a few carefully placed needles can do. Within 2hrs of treatment my hip was much better and the pain in my elbow vanished.

I took a few more rest days to allow my body time to heal itself and by the weekend I was ready to see how it felt. Saturday morning the Lowell Ladies had planned a group run in Dunstable. My training plan called for 10 miles, but considering the recent injuries I scaled it back and did the 8 miles that everyone else was doing. It was kind of a grey and dreary day. We started the run around 9:00am and the sun was no where to be found. It was misty and even a little foggy maybe in the 60s - perfect for a run. Dunstable is very hilly and the run went up and down and all around the area. It's pretty, but damn some of those hills were never ending. Normally I love hills and I think last year when we did the same run I said "I eat hills for breakfast", but this year was different, my body still not 100% recovered from being hit by a car, the hills hurt a little more than last year. We finished the 8 mile run in about an hour and twenty minutes averaging just under 10:00 minute miles. Not great, but not bad either. The important thing was we finished and we all felt great.

Just as we finished our run the morning mist turned into heavy downpours and pretty much ruined our plan to go for a short bike ride. We ate breakfast and hung out for a bit and then headed home. I spent the remainder of the day lounging on my couch and watching a Criminal Minds Marathon.

Sunday was the true test of how well I had healed. My friend Kim's husband was doing his first triathlon and I was going to help him, but couldn't resist the urge to race it myself so I signed up with him. It was the Greater Nashua Y Tri. A 1/3m swim, 16 mile bike, and 5K run. We had picked up our race packets the day before. So at 6:45am I drove to their house and helped Bill load his bike into my car and we went to the race. Kim was going to meet us there later. We got there a little early but it worked out great because we were able to rack our bikes and set up our transition areas before the massive chaos and confusion of tons of people crowding in occurred. The only downside was after we were all set up we still had about 90 minutes to wait before the race started and it was only about 50 degrees out. The water temperature was about 70 degrees and there was steam coming off the lake, but the air was definitely cooler. I was shivering and had goosebumps all over my arms.

Kim showed up around 8:30am with baby Ryann, Bill's mom Janet, and our friend Moe came to cheer too. Kim was nice enough to lend me her jacket while we stood around waiting for the race to start. Before we knew it they were calling all swim waves to the water. I was wave 4 and Bill was wave 6, so I got a 6 minute head start on him and challenged him to catch me. The course was kind of cool. It was a treading start off of a small dock and then a triangle swim back to the beach. Once you got to the beach there was a long run through a path in the woods back to the transition area. I felt really great in the water and for the first time ever I was actually passing people.

Once I got to my bike I felt comfortable and I took off. The bike course was two loops over rolling hills, but mostly flat. I finished it in 55 minutes and threw on my running shoes for the last leg of the race. I saw Bill at about 3/4 of a mile out on my run as he was approaching the finish of the bike so I knew he could catch me and I'd be a little disappointed if he didn't. He's a much faster runner than me. Sure enough, just as I passed the 3 mile mark and I had almost given up on him, he yelled from behind me and passed me with only a few yards left in the race.

We both did really well. Bill finished in 1:34 and I finished in 1:40. My hip was a little sore in the last mile of the run, but overall I felt really good. I didn't do well enough to place, I was 16th out of 46, but the age group was 30-39 and not 30-34 like some races so who knows, maybe I would have placed if the age group was smaller. Plus, my age group is the most competitive so I'm happy to just be in the top half. Plus, I started with 25 girls in my swim wave so that means I passed at least 9 of them along the way (it's possible that some of the girls in wave 5 passed me too). Either way it was a fun race and I finished it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Black and Blue and several shades of greenish yellow

The road rash is starting to heal, but my bruises look pretty nasty now. My hip has turned all kinds of different colors and it hurts the most by far. My arm does definitely hurt still. I can't even wear my watch anymore because the pain from my elbow radiates into my wrist and makes it very uncomfortable. This makes it pretty much impossible for me to get my resting heart rate in the morning, but the few times I have taken it, it's still high so I'm guessing I'm still not healed and still slightly overtrained.

I haven't gotten back on my bike yet, which totally sucks because this week has been PERFECT for biking to work. It's been sunny and warm all week. It's driving me bonkers. I want to ride so bad and I NEED to ride to get some miles in to train for the Half Ironman I'm signed up for, but after two crashes involving motor vehicles I'm a little nervous to tempt fate and dodge death a third time. On top of that, gas prices are at an all time high and it would be nice to save some money. I'm sure my fear will subside and I will get back at it, but for now my bike is parked in my foyer.

I have tried running a few times. Sunday was a nice, easy, slow, longish run. I did 8 miles with Kim and Cherie. It was OK, but definitely slower than normal and I was really sore afterwards. I rested Monday and did NOTHING. I went to the police station and got the accident report and then went home. I was passed out on my couch by 6:00pm.

Tuesday, I did the Good Times 5K in downtown Lowell. At the beginning of the spring series I was 14th overall for the women, this time I finished 58th! I was 20th in my age group (compared to 5th or 6th I was getting). I did take it easy and I didn't really race all out, but still it's very disappointing to finish so much slower than I know I'm capable of. I hope I can get back to sub-25:00 minute 5Ks and maybe even break 24:00 later this summer.

Yesterday, I ran with the Lowell Ladies. The plan was to run to Kim's, do 3-4 miles, then run home. Well, the "run" to Kim's was more painful than I expected. It normally takes me 15 minutes and this time it took close to 20 minutes. My hip was really hurting and I had to stop and walk a few times. I hoped that it would loosen up and feel better after a little warm up but it didn't. I lagged behind the group and struggled to keep up and barely made it through the 3 miles that we did (Kim and Moe actually went on to do 4 miles). I hitched a ride with Moe and skipped the run home. Took some Tylenol and iced my hip before going to bed disappointed and in pain AGAIN.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's ok to slow down....

A friend sent this to me last week and I should have taken his advice. But of course I didn't. I felt really good and on Thursday it was the first really nice day we've had in a while so I decided to ride my bike into work. It felt GREAT! It was cool and in the mid-50s in the morning on my ride in and when I got to work, the showers were actually hot. The day went by pretty fast and I was excited to ride home and get ready for the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. It was in the high 60s maybe low 70s on the way home and I made it about 10 miles into my 14 mile ride home and all of the sudden I heard the loudest scariest crunching noise I've ever heard in my life. I was hit by a car AGAIN!!!!!! This time instead of just hitting the pavement, the car actually side swiped me and ripped the side mirror off and knocked me off my bike and into the road in the process. I am extremely lucky that the car behind the one that hit me didn't run me over. Although he did leave the scene instead of stopping to help me. The truck two back from the car that hit me stopped and called 911.

This is the kicker, the guy that hit me, pulled over and when he finally got out of his car, he had a cast on his right foot, yeah the one you kind of need to push the gas pedal down! And to make matters worse, he walked over like that drunken old guy in Mortal Combat or is it Virtua Fighter, who knows I never was a big video game person, anyway, he was definitely not totally with it and not steady on his feet and should NOT have been driving!

Andover Police responded, then Andover Fire, then more Andover Police, then Methuen Fire because Andover didn't have an ambulance available. I took a nice ride to the hospital in an ambulance on a back board with a collar on and arm all bandaged up and still had my bike shoes on and my reflective vest and ankle reflectors, my helmet was resting in my lap as the ambulance weaved it's way through traffic. Oh by the way people, it's the law to PULL OVER TO THE RIGHT AND STOP. Thank God I wasn't really severely injured or dying. It's ridiculous how rude people are even to emergency vehicles. Really??? Is where ever you're going more important than someone's life? Doubt it.

Anyway, I'm extremely lucky and must have learned from playing hockey how to take a hit because I didn't break anything and didn't get another head injury (this would have made #7, I think). Lots of bruises and road rash that feels friggin AWESOME when they scrub the asphalt out of it with iodine. Hip is swollen, but not bruised. Must be where the side mirror clipped me before I ripped it clean off the car. On the bright side, my bike is just scratched a little and my bell is broken, but I'll take that over broken bones any day.

They took great care of me in the ER and my friend Kim had her husband Bill come pick me up and help me get my bike back from Andover PD. Then they made me dinner too! I have the best friends ever!

Friday I got up and went to work just to let my boss know that I was going home to rest. I probably could have just called in, but considering I was hit last year biking to work I thought calling in and saying I was hit again was going to be unbelievable. So, I went in, waited 20 minutes for him to show up and then went home. I slept almost all day, only interrupted by people calling or texting to make sure I was alive.

So, I think the world might be trying to tell me something. Like pedal faster, or maybe take a break.......