Week 4: Throwing up in Bermuda

This week, I went to Bermuda for basically a long weekend. Four days really. A work reporting trip that was supposed to include a lot of triathlon-ing.

And then I got really sick. Maybe five hours after I landed, around 4 a.m. Really, really sick.

Sometime around the start of the 12 hours of throwing up, I passed out and hit my head on the shower stall. At least, that’s what I assume happened because I came to in the act of vomiting on myself, laying in blood on the floor of the shower. (When I told the PR staff for the trip that I was too sick to do anything and probably wouldn’t be leaving the hotel room, I downplayed this part. People sort of freak out when you say things like “passed out and hit my head.” But #realtalk guys, it was bad.)

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When Your Body Fails Right After You Finally Make It Through Everything

The last few weeks I’ve been sure I was going to get sick. Thesis project, South Carolina nationals trip, more final projects, bachelorette and Wildflower, final final project, and then moving a bunch of my stuff back up to the Bay Area. And, also, it’s possible that I might have gotten very drunk after that final final project. Theoretically.

Basically, I’ve been waiting for my body to give out and it made it all the way through all those things and now, here is a list of ways my body has betrayed me since Friday:

  • I dislocated my thumb. Randomly, while loading the car. It popped right back in, after hurting like a mother, so I figured no problem. But, since then it’s been really painful. I couldn’t even open my beers at Beer Mile with that hand. And then the thumb popped out again today. Now, I can barely use it. I’m sort of hoping this gets better on its own. Or possibly I splint my hand.
  • My Achilles has been hurting after run workouts. At first, a few weeks ago, I thought it was just sore. But, it’s gotten worse and worse. After the hard run on Sunday, I couldn’t even bend my ankles. Then, I hit a wall funny on a flip turn yesterday, and it just kept hurting. This is concerning.
  • I’ve gotten sick. Finally, it caught up with me. Last night, I thought I might be getting sick, but I’ve thought that a bunch the last few weeks and usually I wake up feeling better. Today, I woke up feeling sick instead.

Also, add a whole bunch of bruises and blisters and whatever. This is not just my imagination. There’s, like, for real studies about how people get sick after big events. Sure, it’s probably because you have a weakened immune system and then you get sick after the gestation period. But I think there’s also something to the fact that your body can hold on for so long but then no longer.

Race Report: Surf City Half-Marathon

Short version: Really, this is a race report of the weekend. Summary: it sucked. And that suckiness culminated in throwing up all along the Pacific Coast Highway as I eventually finished the second slowest 13 miles I have ever completed, ever, in my life.

Long version: I’m tired. Sometimes, it seems like I say this a lot. I am often tired. There is often a lot going on. But, I’ve been worn out lately from life and school and things happening. And, I haven’t felt well. I got really sick about a month ago and again about a week ago. And, since then, I just haven’t felt good with any real consistency. (This is foreshadowing, fyi.)

Mostly, though, I felt fine this weekend. I got up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday to ride with The Kids. The two-hour ride took almost three, which is fine, but I had promised Steve and Justin I’d meet them so Steve could use my bike for a ride. That meant that I sort of had to rush because I was already late, and my ride was sort of harder and longer than I wanted for racing a half-marathon the next day. By the time I got back, I was sort of tired and hungry. But, it was fine.

Then, I hung out while they rode, which is when I had a nasty run-in with two middle-aged white guys in Malibu. You can read the whole string of the interaction on my twitters, because I had nowhere else to put it and nothing else to do about it. In summary, though, I just wanted to get some work done in Starbucks and then I was going to chill out, read a book. But, these two guys next to me were espousing on the Middle East, women, religion, Ireland, their own brilliance. For a long, long time. And, it was gross stuff. Eventually, it got really gross. There was some stuff about women dressing the way they do because they want the attention, and Bill Cosby just using a little pill to have sex with women because he was just insecure (it’s not his fault), and women want to be sexualized. It pretty much can be summed up with this quote:

Yes, typos. Sorry.
Yes, typos. Sorry.

And, they started blatantly looking the women in line up and down. And, there I was sitting in tights and a t-shirt, about which they clearly had opinions, and I felt gross. I felt like I was being made to feel gross and like I didn’t belong and like the public space wasn’t mine too. And, I didn’t intend to say anything to them. I sat there for an hour without saying anything, but it ebbed and flowed and it was harder and harder to do work. So, all of a sudden I was telling them to take their bullshit opinions outside, because they were making it impossible for other people, who also had a right to the space, to sit in peace.

Shockingly, that didn’t go well.

The older man started yelling at me about why did I think Viagra sales were so high. And, when I said, “Oh my god, can you just not inflict this on people here,” he got really hung up on what God was I referring to. He was pretty proud of this, because I didn’t really know how to respond to that crazy, so he was pretty sure this meant he was brilliant and right about everything. The slightly-younger man just kept yelling (yes, actually yelling), “FREE SPEECH! FREE SPEECH!” over and over, as if his actual rights were in actual danger of ever being infringed upon.

And, it was all so white rich male privilege, so convinced that they had the right to do whatever they wanted, so sure that they were speaking truth to power, when, from there on out, they were mostly just harassing me—and I, clearly, had so much power in this situation.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.24.20 PM

It was what it was. There’s a reason I, generally, don’t fight with stupid people, don’t pick arguments online, etc. You can’t win and even winning is losing. And, I don’t care that much about idiots. But, I just wanted them to feel as gross and bad as I felt, even for just a second. I wanted them to know they were assholes.

It didn’t work. They didn’t know anything at the end that they weren’t sure of at the start. I never got to say any of the things I wanted to say, to explain why they were wrong. They just felt vindicated and I still felt awful, worn out, and vaguely angry.

So, naturally, then, I had to drive two hours down to pick up my race packet for the half-marathon on Sunday. It was supposed to take an hour, but (#LA) it took two. That meant we got there 15 minutes after packet pick-up ended. This is not usually a big problem at races; the bibs were still sitting on the table and volunteers were starting to pack up. But, they just kept insisting I was too late. I got directed to an official, and then another official, and another tent. They said I’d just have to pick up my stuff in the morning, before the race.

“Wait, that was an option?? If that was an option, I wouldn’t have driven two hours down here today.”

“Well, it’s usually just for VIPs, or you have to pay $25.”

“I’d have paid $25 to not drive down here.”

“Sorry,” sad-face-not-sorry. “You’ll just have to do it tomorrow.”

And, I lost it. I mean that genuinely. I lost my damn mind. I flipped out. I think I started slamming my head against the table.

The only good thing about this was when you completely lose it, things get taken care of. The race director came running from across the expo tent—she did not want people to see a crazy girl going crazy at her race—and found my bib, which was just sitting on a table 10 feet away. And, everything was fine.

Everything was fine Sunday morning. I barely kept down my oatmeal and was swallowing back throwing up in the car, but that happens sometimes before races. I was weirdly stressed about how this was going to go, but that’s ok too. I had some Gatorade, warmed up, found a spot in the corral (even if it was pretty far back from the start), and everything was going to be fine.

And, it was for a little while.

I ran a 6:20 and some 6:30s. I dropped to a 6:50 going up a small hill, but pushed it to get back down to 6:40s. It was ok, but it was never good. By the time Steve joined me right before the 6-mile mark, I was fighting to hold on to the pace. Shortly after that, I ran another couple 6:50s, a 7:00. I don’t know why.

Here are some observations in retrospect:

– I was thirsty from the beginning, sucking down water at the first aid station.
– I forgot to stick a gel in my pocket. Somehow, I forgot this. And, with not managing to keep much down before the race, I was sort of hungry, but it’s only 1 and 1/2 hours. I wasn’t too worried. I’d improvise at the aid stations.
– With that, I was also getting slightly light-headed.
– Running up into the back of the marathoners is awful. It was all weaving and running into people, and it messes with your head.
– My hamstrings were not happy.

To me, in the race though, not in retrospect, it felt like I just couldn’t hold the pace. I was trying to. I was trying to go with people and I just couldn’t. What the hell is wrong with me? I’ve been feeling pretty fit lately, nailing workouts, and I had been so sure I was going to PR. I even thought I might be able to run a 1:26. I thought, for sure, I’d run sub-1:30. No problem. Maybe I forgot that running the fastest you’ve ever run isn’t a guarantee, no matter what. But, I was sure I’d dig deep and find something. And, then, here I was fighting to even hold on to sub-1:30 effort. And, I knew it. I knew it wasn’t there.

Then, around mile 9, I veered to the side of the road and threw up. I didn’t feel nauseous before that. I just felt like my body was rejecting the whole experience. I pretty much only threw up the water and sports drink I’d just swallowed at the previous aid station. It wasn’t anything crazy and Steve was with me, so we started running again after I swore a little bit. Obviously, I wasn’t excited about running again. But, sometimes, there’s value in still finishing and maybe I’d rally. We ran another mile about 7:30 pace and then I threw up again. So, then, we started walking.

Do I look like I'm about to throw up? Because this is pretty much right before that fun started.
Do I look like I’m about to throw up? Because this is pretty much right before that fun started.

I threw up once more during the walking, but there really wasn’t much to throw up. Eventually, Steve went to get the car and I decided to finish only because my stuff was at gear check at the finish line. I jogged/shuffled the last two miles, with a nasty high heart rate for 9:50 pace. And, I eventually finished the 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 58 minutes, I believe.

I was trying to think if I’d ever even run 13 miles that slowly, even in training or long runs or in a marathon. I think the second half of my Ironman marathon was slower. But that’s it. Even when I’ve blown up before and sucked, it was like a 1:30-something sucked.

And, no, I don’t know exactly what was wrong. I have some ideas, but I don’t know. Mostly, though, I just haven’t felt good. (I still don’t feel great.) I’m hoping that goes away before the marathon and that I don’t get in my head about having a really bad race. I’m hoping I’m not just a mental mess and that everything gets better. Because, man, it wears on you, everything.

Training Week 8: Dec. 22-28

Yes, I am doing almost all my hard workouts running and almost all my volume biking right now. This is deliberate — almost as if I actually make concrete training plans and sort of know what I’m doing, in a fashion. Largely it’s because I don’t want to get hurt with too much run volume, but also my bike volume is a known weakness. As long as I get enough work on the bike in, then it all translates reasonably well. And, swimming, ugh, who cares about swimming.

Monday

Oh man, I didn’t even get out of bed until noon after throwing up all night.

Tuesday

Swam 2,000 yards easy and did some light strength/core work just to get moving again. After being sick, you got to have an easy day before any real days.

Wednesday

Ran 10 miles with [6 x 5 minutes at 6:35-40ish pace]. It was surprisingly hard. Usually I do seven of these repeats, instead of six, but maybe I usually take more rest in between. Or, maybe I just don’t remember how much it usually hurts. Usual is so hard to pinpoint. Of course, the one hour it rained was encompassed within my run. And, of course, as I was doing my hard efforts it was getting windier and rainier and branches were falling and I was squinting. Maybe that’s why it was hard. Who knows.

Light yoga and rolling after.

Thursday

Rode about 20 miles easy with Steve.

Friday

Swam 3,550 yards at Masters in the morning. Oh, man, how I hate/love Masters. And it was just so Masters Classic on Friday: everyone cheated the warm-ups and drills until I was super far behind, then they couldn’t actually maintain the pace for the main set so they kept “resting” 50s, and then I was stuck making up the gap as I has to pass them. And, everyone was confused and wanted to talk about the workout more and what number were we on and what pace should be go and then they all just swam as hard as they could anyway, cutting the interval to make it. Solid thinking, guys.

Ran five-and-a-half easy in the afternoon at China Camp. It was cold.

Saturday

Rode long with one of my old high school kids. We went 83 miles out to Tomales and back down Highway 1. It’s one of my favorite rides, but there were so many cars and tourists out this weekend. Stupid holiday weekends. It wasn’t the hardest I’ve done this ride, but it wasn’t super easy either. Just a solid long ride. And, halfway through it occurred to me: five hours doesn’t even feel that long anymore. What.

Sunday

Rode about 18 miles moderately easy — mostly because I was tired; it wasn’t supposed to be easy. The whole goal was to substitute the ride for a long run and go into my hard tempo fatigued. Mission accomplished.

Ran seven miles, descending down to Goal Marathon Pace with four miles at GMP. I had given myself up to a half-hour to get down to Goal Marathon Pace (GMP), which is 7:05 to 7:15, depending on my mood. But, it’s actually harder to run easy first and then go fast. It’s almost easier just to run hard from the start, because then you never have the chance to realize that you could go slower. So, I did two miles in the mid-7:00s and then when my third mile was at 7:04, I figured we’d just call that the start of the tempo portion of the event. Then, after the 7:04, I ran a 6:52, 6:49, 6:53. That’s basically OGMP (very Optimistic Goal Marathon Pace). It was hard, but it was hard in a way that wasn’t hard. If that makes sense. It just felt like my body was going without me. And, it did not feel like that at the start. I was pretty sure, at the start, that I wasn’t going to be able to do any of the GMP miles. That’s the difference your mind makes.

TOTAL: 13:25

This week was nearly as perfect as could be, with being sick last weekend. The only problem now is the next 10 days are a little bit nuts to get in a ton of training before I head back to L.A. Hmm.

Ironman Training Week 2: Dec. 30-Jan. 5

Last week was supposed to the the second and final of the ‘easing back into training’ weeks. It was also the second and (hopefully) final of the being super sick weeks. After the first week of doing very little and resting, I mostly felt better last week — except for one small, minor problem. I couldn’t stop coughing.

So, there wasn’t much to do except do what I could do. It was a very slow, very not up to par week. Hard to remember that I was in pretty good shape a month ago? Hard to imagine I’ll be in decent shape again?

Monday

Ran another painfully easy, trying to just move, 5 miles — this time in the hills above my house.

Swam 1500y easy. All focused on trying to see if I was still sick, if getting off the couch helped at all. Verdict remained out.

Tuesday

Swam 3000y. 3000 YARDS! That’s the most I’ve swum in one workout since October maybe, who knows, who counts that high. I also included one of my standard test sets (which I think originally came from Jen Harrison) — for time 1000y continuous as 100 hard/100 easy. It took me 15:11. That is, for better or worse, not the slowest I’ve ever done it. But, it’s close. It is the slowest I’ve ever done it while feeling like I was killing myself the entire time. Was surprised that I managed to stay afloat.

Wednesday

I fully intended to bike 2:30. Really. Swear. But, see, when snot is coming out of your face so fast and thick that you can’t even stop it all, it sort of makes biking more challenging than it needs to be. I made it 20′ before I had to stop at a gas station and run for some tissue. While in the gas station bathroom I made an executive decision. Biked 18 miles instead with only two more nose-blowing stops.

15′ of light core/PT/etc.

Thursday

Ran 6.5 miles easy at China Camp. It was not awful, which was unexpected and exciting. Did drills and strides in between coughing fits.

35′ or so of strength work at the gym. I fully intended to swim after. Really. Swear. But, see, I didn’t feel like it. Reasoned that I really am trying not to push it as I was getting better and still coughing everywhere. Lots and lots of coughing. So much coughing. Coughing that makes people nervous and anxious and worried you’re going to choke to death.

Friday

Slept in, which was good, and almost didn’t have to take multiple doses of Nyquil. Almost. Biked easily the 15′ over to the gym and swam an easy 1000y. Really just an effort to leave the house once during the day and change out of my pajamas — even if it was just into sweats.

Saturday

Ran 8 miles with PacWest up and over the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field. This was not my most best smartest decision ever, but I wanted to run with the group. But, I had been coughing so badly — especially in the mornings and especially before and after workouts — that I hella freaked people out. Like really freaked everyone out. Like, in the visitors center at the bridge, some tourists got to see the wonderful additional view of me choking and trying not to cough so hard I threw up, which has happened more than a few times in the last two weeks. Did drills and strides at Crissy Field after to the bewilderment of many more tourists.

Napped all afternoon.

Sunday

Rode 17 miles easy. Felt ok. So there. Napped all afternoon.

TOTAL: 8:45

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.

Can You Overdose on Nyquil?

Yes, obviously. You can overdose on anything.

But, the question for me is what kind of effect it has after taking a normal amount many days in a row. Turns out: I have no idea.

There’s all kinds of dire consequences online, like nausea, vomiting, seizures, renal failure, death and this gem:

If doxylamine is consistently abused, it can cause the user to form lesions on their brain which affects memory, cognitive ability and emotions.

So, that sounds, you know, NOT GOOD. However, it seems that most of the abuse people are worried about — particularly if the questions internet users choose to post on the superhighway are any indication — is more along the lines of how it would affect you if you swallowed a whole bottle of Nyquil in one night or multiple bottles with alcohol over multiple nights. There’s really not a lot of information about what happens if you’re not actually trying to Nyquil all your problems away and instead just take slightly more than the prescribed amount in order to fall asleep without coughing for way too many nights in a row. The only indication that this is not totally advised is the note on the bottle that pretty much says if you still have to take this shit for more than two weeks, then you should see a doctor.

So. There’s that.

I’m mostly better. Maybe. Probably. Who knows. But, I’m still coughing myself awake at night. If I didn’t need to sleep, I’d be fine. And, if I didn’t have to go to jury duty today I would have gone to the doctor. Then, I think jury duty made me sicker — sick about the system, man.

I also got through a 1:20 easy bike ride yesterday without wanting to run my bike over with someone else’s car, by laying down in front of it. And, I didn’t even take Dayquil to do it (largely because I don’t believe in Dayquil — you should not be going about during the day passing around symptoms that are so bad you need to cover them up that much — and also one time I took some to get through a race and, well, lesson learned).

An Inauspicious Beginning

Yesterday was the official start of Ironman training. Already, it is not going well.

Instead of riding my road bike, I decided it’d be more fun to mountain bike, because road biking is boring (which is not an encouraging attitude for the start of IM training). Mountain biking was more fun, right until I fell down some rocks.

The fall was actually really pathetic. It was somewhere between these two crashes:

I was on a fairly easy section of single-track and shifted gear as I started uphill, but the gears didn’t catch. Instead, my chain started jumping and I abruptly was spinning out. That meant I lost momentum all of a sudden and began to tip over. This really wouldn’t have been a problem, since mountain biking basically is a synonym for falling and I should have just gotten a little dirty. But, when this happened, I somehow managed to be biking right over a pile of rocks off the side of the hill. So, when I tipped over, I fell directly on top and then down these boulders. My bike went over my head, simply from the steepness of the drop-off. It landed at the bottom of the rocks and I landed upside down on top of them.

When I sat up and tried to gather myself, I also managed to sit directly on a thorn bush. That meant I also had little thorns stuck in my ass, which had to be picked out. Good times.

I was surprisingly fine. Just cut up on my back and my head hurt a little. But, for the first time in possibly ever, I crashed my bike hard and DID NOT pass out. That’s got to be some kind of improvement.

When I was sitting in this thorn bush and trying to gather myself to make sure I didn’t pass out — since I usually pass out after shit goes down — I decided I needed to tell someone I had crashed, since I was out in the middle of nowhere and there was no one around. So, I texted Steve, “I fell down some rocks.” Which was some of the key information, but it really wasn’t all of the key information.

Eventually, I made it home. And, I went to a weird Feldenkrais class and then to dinner at The Counter. The only problem with dinner was we sat at the bar next to this middle-aged guy who really was not picking up on the fact that I didn’t want to talk to him about his opinions on football, traffic, politics, current events, what I had ordered, what he does for a living, what I do for a living, the waiters, the food, the TV. It was basically my nightmare.

Then, I got sick. I had a sore throat by the time I went to bed last night and could barely swallow overnight, waking up every 30. And, now, my start to Ironman training is me sitting on the couch in sweats.

Apparently, today is also the year anniversary of Sunny Running. I started the blog on Dec. 24, 2012 with this story about trying to run in the Headlands in a goddamn hurricane. At least this year, I didn’t start Christmas Eve clinging to the side of a rock face. Take the victories where you can get them.