Boston, Blah, Blah

April 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

I leave for Boston on Saturday morning. I haven’t checked the weather. I haven’t looked at the race info. I haven’t written my obligatory facebook and blog posts about what it all means to me. I just am having a hard time getting excited. Partially, sure, it’s because I can’t (or, rather, shouldn’t) run the race. And, I was looking forward to actually getting to run the whole course this year and enjoy the atmosphere/excitement and hang out with every person on the planet who is doing it. I wanted to finish. Since I can’t do any of those things, I’ll basically just be a hanger-on, a fan, which is fun too — but not the same as actually being inside the locker room. Partially, though, I’m having a hard time whipping up a frenzy of emotion because everyone else is doing such a good job getting all whipped up on their own.

There are people who have very real connections to this race. There are people for whom it means a great deal or who genuinely struggled to deal with what happened last year. And, I’m not begrudging them their feelings. But, does it automatically mean a great deal to everyone or, if we’re honest, aren’t some people jumping on an emotional bandwagon that isn’t theirs to hijack?

I was reading some article about Jeff Bauman — probably in Runner’s World, though really there have been so many about him — and in it his fiance talked about how, with all the press tours and visits and interviews, he wasn’t keeping up with his physical therapy that he actually needed to get better from his injuries. She said that she definitely would not be running the marathon this year, maybe again some day, because they had gotten overextended and needed to focus on their own lives again. And, then, I read the story in our local paper about local runners going back to run Boston this year – of which I am sure there are lots of similar stories in lots of similar papers – and the article kept calling all of us who were there last year “survivors.” And, we’re not. I’m not. It wasn’t ours to survive. And, it’s not our right now to trot out the truly injured and make them our symbols of survival.

I have a hard time whenever a spectacle is made of what is, at a base level, very individual pain for the individual people who suffered. I hope those individuals are getting whatever they need — whether it is emotional support or money for medical bills or simply being left to rebuild. And, I know that if it was me whose life and loved ones had actually been affected by the bombs at the finish line, I wouldn’t want my suffering to stand for anything or mean anything larger to everyone. I would be a little pissed if people kept telling me we all run together, because we don’t. We run near each other and next to each other. We run shoulder-to-shoulder, but we run alone. We can only ever run on our own.

USATF really listened to all the criticism about it being too beholden to Nike and announced that it signed a deal making Nike the primary sponsor and sole gear provider through 2040. The announcement is going over SUPER well.

People keep asking if I’ve gotten back to training yet and being shocked that I’m riding my bike already. And, I keep being all: Do you know how unlikely it is that you’d knock your teeth out falling off a bike? I’m not that worried about it happening again.

I am worried about everything else though. But, I sort of just figured if I already feel shitty and in pain, I might as well be training.

This philosophy sort of worked last week. Some days I just needed to curl up in a ball on the couch. Some days I could ride hard and long. On the whole I actually got in a decent amount of training (the most since Arizona) and started running again — both big perks — but I also had to skip the first race of the year, had crazy night sweats while I worried about accidental acetaminophen overdose, and waddled around on my torn foot muscle that still doesn’t really feel so great.

So, week 16 is what it is. Not really good, but better than week 15.

Monday

Ran 2.75 miles ridiculously slowly. Yay running!

Biked 1:20 easy on the time trial bike just to shake it out, get used to the bike, etc.

Did about 15′ of light PT and core work.

Tuesday

Swam 4,000 yards in the morning with the main set as 4 x 50 descend, 400 steady, 3 x 50 descend, 300 steady, etc. (I made that workout up all by myself.) I didn’t swim amazing, but I didn’t swim terrible either. The 50s at the end were barely under 40″ and the steady pace was mostly in the low-mid 1:20s, which is ok, fine. Then, I did some band and pulling work. I can’t tell if I just feel exhausted and terrible swimming or if I’m getting better. I also had to assume that what felt like training fatigue was NOT training fatigue (since I hadn’t been training much since the accident) and was really just general fatigue.

Crossfit in the evening. During which the instructor asked ‘yo, what was up with my face.’ And, when I told him he was super shocked, because I looked almost normal. Almost. But not really.

Wednesday

Ran 5.5 miles. This was really supposed to be a 30-35′ run, but it turns out that 1. I’m running really fucking slow right now and 2. the loop was longer than I remembered. Like many things this week, it didn’t quite hurt, but it didn’t quite feel good either.

Biked 1:40 with 10′ at 170W tempo, then 2 x hill repeats up Lucas Valley. Interesting fact: the fastest I’d ever done this before was around 6:50, which I knew wasn’t all out, but thought was still quite fast. Then, I finally got on the Strava and realized all these women were doing it in like 5:10. So, I decided why not. Why not at least go significantly harder. Still not quite race hard, falling over, because STRAVA IS NOT A RACE and I don’t believe in fucking yourself up that hard unless there are road closures, etc. But, still, I did it in 5:50-something. So. Strava: good or bad? Then, did 5′ tempo and 5′ at IM pace, which, seriously, could someone tell me what IM pace is.

15-20′ of yoga routine and PT.

Thursday

Swam 2,000 yards easy. The dentist in the morning sort of wiped me out. Basically, I had about 4-5 good hours/day last week and they got used up on Thursday.

Friday

Rode the 14 miles easy to and from a job/office.

15-20′ of core, PT, yoga poses, etc.

Saturday

The big day to see if I was back up to things again.

TRX in the morning, during which I may have 1. been a bitch and 2. done too many squats because the instructor pissed me off. But, for realz, I am going for a 5 hour ride after this, I do not need to jump up and down for fake “cardio” work in between strength exercises.

Rode 60 miles as over to Mill Valley, straight up Mt. Tam, down to Stinson Beach, back up the mountain, down/up/down into Fairfax and through town to home. It was supposed to be 5 hours, but was only 4:40 and the last 20′ were really shit. I’m finally riding hard enough right now that going through town kills me. It does provide bakery stops, though. Mostly, I just tried to have a hard ride overall, pushing the climbs somewhat and getting over being terrified of the descents.

Swam 800 yards in our pool in our complex, which was supposed to be more but I was cold and tired and it was already after 4 p.m.

Sunday

Ran another 2.75 miles easy, but slightly faster this time. Boston Strong. My quads were killing me and I suspected that TRX instructor may have really gotten the last laugh here.

Swam 3,200 yards with Ilyce. And, I guarantee I would have done none of it if she hadn’t been there. Did the same set from Tuesday at about the same pace, but it felt slightly more like I was on top of things? Maybe. Maybe it was just in my head.

TOTAL: 16:10

This is actually the most volume I’ve done in awhile. And, Steve commented that I must be riding a lot because there are so many bike shorts in the laundry. (Hah, the joke’s on him. I actually just put them in the laundry to make myself feel accomplished.) So, I am getting fit. There’s no question about that. It’s just going to be a question of if I can come back from all these injuries, get running again, and actually translate that fitness to race speed.

One of the days I was at the pool, maybe Thursday, I was thinking about the other girls in my age group at IM Canada. Because when it comes down to it I don’t care about all the other people racing or training or posting faster times than me on the internet. All I really care about is maybe 4-5 girls in the 25-29 age group racing in Whistler. And, if you wanted, if you had the information, if you put together a a scouting report, you could name those girls. It’s not a secret, most likely. So, who are they? What were they doing right at that second I wanted to get out of the pool and call the workout? Were they trying to recover from smashed-in teeth? Were they bailing on a swim workout? Probably not. What were they thinking? Doing? Planning? And, I started wondering about them. In a very real and practical way, I wanted to know who they are and what they do and if they’ve been having injury problems too. For some reason, thinking about those girls as actual individual people made me finish the swim workout. I imagined those 4-5 girls in Canada, gutting it out and knowing that they had done more than I had, that they were better prepared. And, I was like SCREW YOU IMAGINARY REAL PEOPLE, I CAN DEAL WITH PAIN. So, there’s that.

Lately, I’ve been doing my hard long rides with Steve. It’s been good because it’s HARD and because Steve and I talk about stuff — mostly about Tupac the Cat. And when I’m not talking I’m mostly thinking: ‘This is way too hard. I’m not going to make it.’ Over and over. Doing my hard long ride by myself today left me a lot of time for thinking. This is pretty much what I thought:

1. I am so good at riding my bike.
2. Oh no. Does my knee hurt? My knee hurts.
3. Stupid fast guys passing me. I hate people.
4. Oh, hey, I know them. Hey! I don’t hate you.
5. I am so good at riding my bike.
6. What if I crash?! I’m totally going to crash. That car pulling out doesn’t see me. And I’m going to flip over my bike and break my temporary teeth. Maybe I can get my hand up in time.
7. Did I just actually put my hand up to practice? I did.
8. Why is that guy staring at me?
9. Oh, I know him. Hey! I don’t hate you.
10. Yeah, he definitely hates me now.
11. Shit, this did not seem that steep the last time I went down it. Maybe it’s steeper when you’re going up. Maybe I went the wrong way? Could I have gotten lost on a route I’ve done dozens of times? Probably.
12. Shit, I was supposed to email that guy who hates me now and tell him if I was going to do the race this weekend. Hmm. I guess he figured out I wasn’t racing. And, he definitely hates me.
13. This is really far up.
14. So far up.
15. Shit, when was the last time I biked up this far? 2011?
16. No cars. Noooo cars. Nocar. NOkaaaar. Nokarnokarnokar.
17. That’s a lot of bikes coming this way though. A lot of bikes. What if they’re fleeing something? Like a giant mountain lion or a murderer? Oh, shit, shit. Didn’t that girl disappear somewhere around here. There’s probably a mountain lion on the loose. Or the Mt. Tam killer. Fuck fuck fuck.
18. Oh, it’s probably just a group ride.
19. Hey, I made it to the top!
20. It’s kind of cold descending. So cold. I’m freezing. Why didn’t I bring a jacket? I hope I can hold onto my brakes all the way down. My fingers shouldn’t hurt in April. Stupid mountain. Stupid microclimates. Stupid tourists.
21. Man, I hate tourists.
22. I wonder if there’d be a way to ban anyone not from Marin from coming to Marin on weekends. But, then, it’d totally disproportionately affect people who couldn’t afford to take off days during the week. It does offer a nice cheapish way to go somewhere for people in the Bay Area. Maybe we could just ban rich San Franciscans on second dates.
23. I am soooo good at riding my bike.
24. I’m totally feeling those sea lions sunning. If I did that right now, though, it might be weird. And also I wouldn’t get faster.
25. I need to get faster. Ahhhhhh. Freak out!
26. Climbing. Climbing. I am climbing. Climb climb climb.
27. No one is ever on this narrow road. They never expect bikes. What if I get hit by a car that’s too far over the line as they come around a turn. I’m totally going to get hit by a car. Fuck. That would not be good.
28. I think that pickup driver looked at me funny.
29. What if he came back and tries to kill me. Because he hates bikes or women or, really, himself.
30. I could totally get away though by going downhill. I’d just descend so fast and weave so he probably would miss when he tries to shoot me.
31. But, what if he turns his truck sideways to block the road, so I can’t go down. It is a really narrow road. And then he’d probably be able to grab me when I tried to get around the truck. Shit.
32. Oh fuck, fuck. Is that the truck coming back to kill me?? It totally is. I’m going to die. I hope someone comes along and I’ll yell.
33. Nope, just a tourist. Stupid tourists.
34. Go go go. Just push the last mile to the top. So fast! I am the fastest.
35. Shit, that pickup truck really did almost hit me.
36. Ride ride ride. I am so good at riding my bike.
37. Only 1:15 to go. I’m basically done.
38. Ooooh, I think the secret bakery that’s only open Fridays and Saturdays when it doesn’t rain might be open now. Let’s just coast over there and get some end-of-ride nutrition….

Swim

Swim

This is basically why I won’t be doing the HITS triathlon tomorrow. I can’t risk getting hit in the face with my temporary fake teeth still healing. And, also, I feel pretty shit and I can’t really run more then 5-6 miles.

Yay. #HappyDay100 or whatever.

What are your transportation plans?

What are your transportation plans?

It’s time for #Boston2014 (#BostonStrong #WeAllRunBoston #RunTogether) and I’m repeating a tune that sounds very familiar. It’s unlikely I’ll run it or, if I did, I’d finish. But, I have a ticket and I’m planning on going, so who knows. A small part of me thinks I could just wing it, but the 5 miles I ran slowly yesterday would suggest otherwise. And the soreness in my foot today would suggest that even if I could, it’d be a bad idea. I’d likely re-tear whatever is finally healing along the arch.

The race organizers don’t know my personal issues, though, so they keep sending me emails asking me to tell them if I’m taking the shuttle, tell them if I’m attending the pre-race dinner, tell them my emergency contact, tell them what “my story” is. Man, Boston Marathon people, I really wish I had answers for you. I do.

It’s hard to stay focused on the long-term goal: Ironman Canada. I really wanted to run Boston this year and actually finish. I also want to sleep indefinitely right now. (I don’t feel good today.) Those are hard to reconcile.

Right now the plan is: I’m flying to Boston because I’m going from there to Chicago. I’ll hang out, see how I feel. I sort of want to jump in and run part of the course, just for the fun of it — if I’m able to run parts of things. Or, alternatively, I’ll drink a bunch and heckle runners.

I should probably just buy all the merch and make up stories about my finish time.

THE PASSPORT TO BOSTON

THE PASSPORT TO BOSTON

What would you do?

You’re lucky. It could have been so much worse.

Something I really wish people would stop saying — both to me and in general. Of course it could be worse. Things could almost always be worse. Lots of things for lots of people are incredibly worse. That doesn’t mean it does anyone any good to minimize someone’s pain or create an unrealistic standard of false gratitude.

Ugh. UGH. UGH!!

This last week was not good. I mean it was — it was a re-start of training again (yay!) — right up until I face-planted into the ground. And, as I sat at the ER, I thought, “Well, at least I already got decent workouts in today.” Because, honestly, I’m about to give up on this whole training seriously thing. Throw in the towel. Lay down on the floor. Etc. It’s hard to stay motivated when things just aren’t really exactly going your way.

This weekend I’m supposed to race my first triathlon of the year. It seems pretty clear that’s not going to happen. I’m still sporadically on narcotics and racing triathlon on narcotics sounds like something I would have tried in college. I’m actually not even sure you’re legally allowed to. Pain killers could probably have some performance-enhancing benefits. Also, they make you go to sleep and throw up. So, that’s less performance-enhancing. Pros and cons.

These are the debates I’m having with myself this week.

Monday

Rode 16 miles (56′) on the trainer with 2 x [1' at 220W, 2' at 200W, 3' at 180W, 4' at 160W] I meant to do three sets, but then the last set I just sort of stopped. I wasn’t even really battling with myself about it sucking or anything. I just did the 1′ at 220W and stopped. And, then, decided I’d do some 1′ sprints and then try to hold Ironman pace for a bit, whatever that is. I think it might be 145W for me. But, I don’t know. Could someone who knows tell me?

Crossfit in the evening. I did 5 pull-ups. Basically I should retire now.

Tuesday

Swam 3,500 yards in the morning. Oh shit, my arms hurt. I intended to do  3 x 6 x 100 (descending) and then a pull, buoy set, but I was struggling to do the 100s in the low 1:20s. I had two weeks where I was swimming crazy fast easily, so fast. I was going to write a post about how I got fast at swimming. But, that went away. Now, I’m back to struggling for every yard.

About 10′ of PT and light strength stuff.

Wednesday 

Biked 20 miles to the ferry and to the office and back. Moderate and easy and hard and, generally, the way commuting goes.

Thursday

Biked the Point Reyes loop (42ish miles from my house) on my time trial bike. I need to work on getting used to my time trial bike. Did 2 x 10′ as half-Ironman tempo at 170W and did some drills, but mostly just tried to ride in the bars and get comfortable. Before the ride, I would have told you I hate the time trial bike and it sucks. But, then, I did the loop in 2:40. I have never done that loop in under 2:55 or so. It simply IS a three hour ride. Evidently, the bike may be fast. And, if it’s fast then I can deal with it being not my most favorite.

Swam 1,750 yards with lots of band swimming.

Yoga class.

Then: crashed my bike on the 15′ ride back from the gym.

Friday

Ow.

Saturday

I felt great, so I went to a TRX class.

Then, swam 2,000 yards easy and water ran for 20′. It felt good. I got all optimistic that everything was going to be great and I would just miss a day of training and get back on schedule. Yeah, no. Recovering from slamming your face into the ground takes more time than that.

Sunday

Some days you feel better. Some days you feel worse. Sunday, I felt worse.

TOTAL: 11:10

I guess that’s not awful for breaking your teeth and going to the emergency room. Still. I’m having a hard time getting re-focused and motivated. And, it’s been a long, long time since I actually made a schedule and stuck to it through a whole week. This week was not that week.

Not quickly is the answer.

I got new temporary teeth, which took over five hours at the dentist on Friday. And after my whole face swelled and then calmed down, I actually ate some food. That was shockingly refreshing. In fact, I felt so good yesterday that I went to a TRX class and did some swimming and water running. People at the gym weren’t quite sure what to make of me. It was no longer obvious that I’d had an accident, but my lip was still swollen and cut. Mostly I looked like I might have had a lip job that went wrong.

image

By today I looked mostly normal. But worn out.

I may have felt too good, though, and overdone it. We had an outing planned, which turned into too much for me for the night.

This morning, I was supposed to go to an event, but when I got up for some work it became clear that I did not feel as much better as I thought I was getting. Why? Because it always takes longer to recover and deal with this kind of trauma than you think it will. Because stress is stress. Because, even if I mostly look better, it still feels like I got my face smashed in.

It’s always hard to know how hard these kinds of things are going to be to come back from. But, really, by now I should know that it’s definitely not easy. I was just hoping it’d be different this time.

Last night I smashed my face into the ground. It was insanely stupid and has little, if nothing, to actually do with training other than that I really feel about to throw in the towel on everything.

(There’s a picture at the bottom, but it’s pretty gross, so don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see it.)

After some swimming and yoga, I was biking the 15′ back from the gym yesterday and had stopped to get some fries from McDonald’s for a snack. And, I wanted to eat my fries while they were still warm — cold fries are basically not even worth eating — so I was cutting through the neighborhood to get home quicker and I cut across the mall parking lot. I never cut across the mall parking lot. It’s not really even worth it; it’s maybe 45″ time savings. Riding along, I was about to take the closest exit out of the lot, but I was pretty sure there was a better exit under the parking structure, so I headed that way. Only the exit wasn’t where I thought it was. So, I was looking up ahead and ‘oh, the exit is over there’ and thinking how I needed to go up on the curb behind the pillar to get out that way. And, then I was slamming my face into the ground.

Evidently, I hit one of those cement bumpers at the end of parking spaces. But, I never saw it. I didn’t see it before I hit it; I didn’t see it as I hit it; it only registered that I must have run straight into it as I was hitting the ground and couldn’t correct the bike.

Usually, I wouldn’t fall on my face. I know how to fall. I’ve done it a lot. If I had rolled at all or gotten a hand out, I would have just been cut up. It wasn’t even that hard a fall. But, because I had no idea what was happening, none of my instincts kicked in. Not a single one. I took the whole fall right to my face and broke off my four front teeth. And, I don’t have any other scratches on me.

I started yell/crying pretty much as soon as I hit the ground. I think I may have said “Fuck” about 600 times in two hours. It hurt, but mostly I was just so pissed. 1. It was insanely stupid. 2. It was all my fault. How could I be so stupid. 3. Fuck. 4. It is totally going to screw up my training — when training’s already been so screwed up. I bet they tell me to run, since I won’t be allowed to swim or probably bike for a couple days. Too bad I can’t run either. 5. It totally is going to screw up my day and my weekend. And, everything was finally going so well. 6. Teeth are really fucking hard to fix once they’re knocked out. I know.

I did one of those 30″ checks, where you try to figure out how bad this is. For a second, I thought I might be able to bike home or bike the mile to urgent care. But, as I was spitting up blood and fragments of teeth, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Steve was on his way home from Sac, so I didn’t have a car, and it was entirely possible that I would — at any second — have one of my passing out episodes. So, I frantically started dumping stuff out of my bag to find my phone and call 9-1-1 before I could pass out. When I did get a hold of them and said, ‘I crashed my bike and knocked out my teeth and I need an ambulance,’ the dispatcher kept saying, “I’m going to need you to calm down.” And, behind the crying and the swearing and the constant spitting up of blood — so much blood — I was like you know I’m pretty damn calm considering.

I’m about to go to the dentist now and they’re going to figure out what kind of fake teeth I’m getting now. At one point, someone asked if they were going to be able to put them back and I had to point out there really wasn’t anything to put back. The teeth shattered and broke.

The super terrible thing — in terms of commentary on people, not in terms of whether or not this string of events is going to crack my top three worst weeks in the lore of Kelly’s awful times — was that as I was crashing I heard someone on the edge of the parking lot laugh. Very distinctly at me. “HAH, HAH, LOOK.” And, it must have looked pretty stupid. But, then, once I was sitting there with the blood pouring out and crying, whoever it was that saw me crash didn’t come over to check if I was ok. No one stopped to see if I was ok. It’s not that I love people crowding you when you’re having a personal crisis, but what if I had passed out, what if I hadn’t had a phone, what if I choked on the blood. That’s some fucked up shit.

This is what it looked like:
wpid-img_20140403_210002_164.jpg