Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer is almost over!

Tehehe  YAY!  That means fall is almost here.  Last week we saw evidence of things to come.  The mornings are finally getting cooler and the temperatures are a little more comfortable.  Last weekend I did an 18 mile run followed by another Fire Fighter bootcamp beating.  As promised, I took a few photos. 

But first, a little summary of my run.  It was cooler, but still humid.  I started a little after 5:00am.  First 3 miles were a little slow and sluggish, I think I was still asleep.  Then I settled into my comfy pace and the miles flew by.  I remembered my sodium this time and felt a lot better than the week before.  I finished just in time to do a speedy clothing change because I was drenched and grabbed some coconut water and a few bottles of water for the bootcamp and headed out the door.

I arrived at Fire Fighter bootcamp a little late and they were starting to split into platoons.  I jogged over and joined a team and the warm ups began.  Laps around the building with a 18lb. body bar (pike pole simulation) on the third lap the wind sprints began.  Our team was solid.  We had a good rhythm going and kept a moderate pace.  Not too fast and not too slow.  After the warm up the drills began.  some of the same stuff as the week before and some new stuff.  Ladder and hose drills.  Ok here are the pictures:

The first one is the neatly rolled hoses before we started and the agility ladders in the background and Brian's legs in the way background coming towards me.  I didn't want to get yelled at for stopping to take pictures or else there would be more.  The next one is the ladders, hose packs, tires, and sledge hammers in the back ground.  Last picture is the hoses after we stretched them out and pulled them back in.  We wrapped up the training session with a little relay race.  out and back with hosepacks and SCBA tanks, then drag 3" hose line out and reel it in and repeat back to the starting position then the next person repeated that until the whole team went, to finish we had to flip a giant tire down the driveway to the end.  It's fun and different, and definitely kicks your butt.  I love it.  I will try to get there early this week so that I can get some pictures BEFORE the workout.
So, after the long run and bootcamp I was pretty useless and just relaxed for the rest of the weekend.  Monday I ran along the Charles, 6 miles.  Felt pretty good after resting but I have been trying to ignore this nagging pain in my foot hoping it would go away and it has recently gotten worse.  I couldn't really ignore it much longer, it really hurt.  I was going to go for a bike ride Tuesday, but decided to rest instead knowing I had a really busy weekend ahead.  Wednesday I went to Ayer and ran 5 miles with Kim, the foot was better, but not great.  My miles were catching up to me and all this time injury free was coming to an end.

Thursday, I rested because I took Friday off from work to run 20 miles with Kim, Cherie, and Shannon.  I also had to bake a cheesecake for the triathlon/BBQ Saturday.  While my oven and entire house was hotter than hell I decided to make banana nut bread too. 

Friday, I got up and got dressed sipped some tea and packed my fuel belt for the journey.  Met everyone at Cherie's house at 5:30.  It was really nice out.  Cool and a little cloudy.  In the 60s.  Almost perfect running weather.  Another 5 degrees cooler and it would have been a dream come true.  I'm praying Chicago has better (cooler) weather this year.  Anyway, for the first 5 miles it was just me, Cherie, and Kim.  Shannon was meeting us later because her marathon is a week before ours and she did 20 last week.  We met her after the first 5 and continued the run.  I felt pretty good and my foot was ok until somewhere around 16  miles in.  It started to bother me as we were running over a lot of uneven sidewalks and up and down curbs.

By mile 18 it REALLY hurt.  I had to stop and walk because every foot strike felt like a bolt of lightning shooting up my leg from my heel behind my calf and knee up into my hip.  I knew I COULD push through it and finish the run, but it would be wiser to back off and finish the run with an intact tendon on the bottom of my foot.  I hobbled for the last two miles and quickly applied ice as soon as we got back to Cherie's house.  The ice numbed the pain and reduced the inflammation almost immediately.  Unfortunately, I knew deep down the damage was done long before this 20 miler and if I hadn't ignored it for so long I wouldn't be in so much pain.  I'm SO GOOD at over training though.  I guess that's why the injuries that do occasionally plague me are OVER USE injuries.

One my way home I stopped for my 80lbs. of ice and prepared the ritual ice bath as soon as I got home.  It may sound crazy, but it felt amazing to climb into the tub filled with ice water.  If I had someone to put more ice in I might have stayed in longer than my usual 20 minutes.  But I was hungry and needed to shower and get dressed so I drained the tub and washed the salt and stink off myself before inhaling some lunch and packing for the weekend.

By the time afternoon rolled around I had to load up my car and head to NH for the first of two triathlons scheduled for the weekend.  I had the finished double chocolate cheesecake in the front seat and the drive was about 2 hours.  I really need to find a safer way to travel with cheesecakes because no matter how far I'm going it's the most stressful thing ever trying to drive carefully watching the cheesecake slip and slide in the seat knowing there is not a whole lot I can do if I need to stop quick and it goes flying forward on the seat.  Also, car seats are not level and it is impossible to get a serving plate to sit level in the seat no matter how I wedge things under it to try and make it level.

Here is the cheesecake before the ride and during for a little visual of what I'm talking about:

See the sliding!  NOT COOL.  Still tasted amazing, but I wish it looked a little prettier.

I arrived in Wolfeboro, NH just in time.  I got into my friend Ann's house with the cheesecake seconds before the skies opened up and rain started coming down in sheets.  I kind of hoped that the rain would continue the next day so I could bail on the triathlon guilt free.  My foot was still really sore.  I had purchased a special brace to sleep with Thursday after the shorter runs in the week started to hurt.  I was icing and resting and hoping for the best, but I know rest is what I really needed.

Saturday when I woke up it was still pouring out so I was thinking that maybe I could spend the day hanging out and eating cheesecake.  I had breakfast and Ann and I headed to the start area of the race.  Her family owns the house across the street from the start so we parked there.  Just as we pulled in, the rain stopped and the sun came out.  Thanks Mother Nature.  My foot felt ok, so I figured what the heck.  It would be fine for the swim and bike and if I had to I could just bail on the run.  I got a little nervous before the race.  Butterflies in my stomach and that little voice in my head saying  "Are you sure this is a good idea?" but as soon as the swim started that all went away.

It was a 3/4 mile swim, 15 mile bike, and 4.2 mile run.  The course is really challenging.  Lots of hills and the swim is LONG!  The run course starts right out of transition up this super steep climb that I can usually get halfway up before I have to stop and walk.  This year I decided to just walk the hill and run from the top.  Good strategy because I can walk it just about as fast as I can run it because it's so steep and I wasn't totally spent at the top.  I actually felt really good on the run.  Finished strong and looked at the clock with a little disappointment because I was about 15 minutes slower than the previous year, but knowing that I'm nursing an injury, I ran 20 miles the day before and I didn't really train I was happy to just finish.  And I got 5th place in my age group so I'd say that's pretty awesome.  Still no chunk of granite for me, but I did get to hold a piece and pretend.
In the photo with me is Ann's friend Jim (the actual winner of the Granite chunk), he got 3rd place with his team in the 50+ coed division, just barely beating Ann's team only because Ann's swimmer stopped to rescue a struggling swimmer.  Next year, watch out team Pratt will be back with a vengance.

After the race, I got a free massage for my foot and relaxed by the lake with Ann's family and friends.  We demolished the cheesecake and I learned that Ann's friend's grandmother Ruth grew up in Portland only a few blocks away from my house and she went to the rival high school in Portland.  Then after she got married she moved a few blocks away from where I work now!  SMALL WORLD!  I told her it's like we're sisters born 60 years apart from each other.  hahaha  It was great chatting with her.  I really had a wonderful day.  I left around 5:30 and headed back to Lowell.

Got home around 7:30 and ate a quick dinner and went to bed.  Triathlon number two for the weekend was in the morning.  SheROX Devens.  I woke up a little late and hustled to get dressed and get my things together.  I scrambled out the door and headed to the race.  I got there and there were no signs and the directions on the race packet were no where near the race.  I was lost and panicking.  I like to get to triathlons early to get the best rack position in transistion and scope out the competition and the layout of the race.  Well, that wasn't going ot happen.  I found the parking and it was over a mile away from the start.  I biked up to the registration table and grabbed my numbers and ran into transistion to set up.  Got body marked and found Kim.  Cool as a cucumber, totally ready for her first tri.

I, on the otherhand, was a complete basketcase.  There was no space on the bike rack and because the race was huge for newbies, the girl set up next to my bike had spread out and entire beach towel next to her bike taking up the space of 3 bikes.  I'm sorry whoever you are, but I moved your shit because that IS NOT COOL.  I finally relaxed and got my game face on with about 15 minutes to go til the start.  Kim and I walked from transition to the swim start.  It was down a LONG paved path, about a quarter of a mile!  That was going to suck coming out of the water.  Oh well.

The race started and the water was ridiculously warm.  Like every single woman there skipped the lines at the port-o-potties and went in the lake.  I was fast in the water and looking around there were only a handful of red swim caps in front of me coming out of the water.  Half of them could have been younger, so I was confident I was doing really great.  I got on my bike and immediately started picking girls off one at a time blowing past them.  The bike course was two laps on rolling hills with one really long downhill.  It was FAST!  I averaged 20mph in the first lap, then slowed a little in the second lap as fatigue set in.

Before I knew it I was done and running.  The first mile of the run was trail and it kinda hurt my foot, but after that the tendons loosened up and I was ok.  Found a few more girls with 30-34 ages on their calves and pushed past them.  I finished strong and didn't think I would place because I was friggin exhausted from the last 3 days of killing myself.  Didn't really care because I was just doing it for fun.  I walked up the finish area to cheer for Kim as she came in.  She was only about 5 minutes after me (I had a 3 minute headstart in a different swim wave than her).  She did AWESOME!  And had a gigantic smile on her face coming across the finish line!  SO PROUD OF HER and wicked excited to have someone to do triathlons with next summer because she is totally hooked.  hahaha

I was going to do some laundry and grocery shopping and clean my house a little when I got home, but opted for a nice nap on the couch instead.  I earned it.  Afterall, I'm resting today and can do all that stuff after work.  For the benefit of my foot I think I will be resting all week and icing.  I have a tennis ball under my desk to massage my foot with and I scheduled an appointment with my acupuncturist or a little tweaking.  I have about 6 weeks until Chicago so I'm going to proceed with caution and get to that start line as healthy as possible.  Only one more triathlon left this summer and it's a half ironman, but other than that, my focus is Chicago.  I am not going to PR, but I would like to finish in a respectable time feeling good enough to enjoy the experience.  48 days to go!

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