Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Race Report – Lavaman 2009 – Part One, the drama of preparation

So – I’m going to start this report with a little summary of the 5 months leading into the race, just so you get some idea of where I’m coming from.
Our second week of training we had a ‘marker set’.  It seemed simple enough, see how fast you can run 2 miles (8 laps) around the track.  Sure, no problem!  Only I’m a beginning runner and 2 miles was a LONG run for me, and this was early in the season.  I finished the 2 miles in just over 30 minutes, but a muscle on the inside of my calf was burning!  My legs were never really the same again.  I struggled the rest of the season with tightness and pain in my calves.  Sometimes it was so bad I couldn’t even run for the prescribed 2-3 minutes.  I kept going though, doing stretches, icing after runs, just about anything and everything I could think of.  I would try resting, not running for a week or so and the pain would get better, but would come back almost as soon as I started to run again.
On top of this I was fighting with an old shoulder injury.  Pain and numbness especially after swimming and sometimes after biking, that steadily got worse as the season progressed.  The shoulder pain had caused my neck to seize up and I couldn’t turn my head to look over my left shoulder. 
Then came a Saturday when after a swim and run, when I was in particular pain, the team had a chiropractor come to speak.  Luckily for me, he wasn’t only a chiropractor, but also certified in ART (Active Release Therapy).  After his talk he offered to do some quick exams for people – I was second in line.
That day the Dr worked on my neck so that I could at least look out my car window, but he found a more than just a stiff neck! It seems that my ‘shoulder injury’ that I had fought with for so many years was also a popped rib!  He made me an appointment for an office visit on the spot (at a discount).
My visits with Dr Burg changed everything about my training.  He popped my rib, and worked on all the tight muscles in my shoulder.  Not only did that give me back my range of motion in my arm and neck, but wonder of wonders – eliminated the need for the inhaler that I had been on for over a year!  He found a light muscle in my back, that after he worked on, I found I could run better, easier and actually get down over the handlebars on my back correctly.  And – he worked on the tight muscle in my calves and made it so I could run again! 
And so, out I went, back to the trails running!  I was so excited – then the long runs started – 45, 50 and finally 60 minutes!  That’s when ‘it’ happened.  The day after my 60 minute run, I got up to walk across the room and found my right foot wouldn’t flatten against the floor!  I rubbed it, walked it stretched it and got it to ‘flatten’ but then the pain set in.  My dreams of Lavaman were starting to crumble again.  I could barely walk across the room how was I going to go 6 miles!  I visited my miracle worker Dr Burg.  He made sure I didn’t have a stress fracture, but couldn’t cure my pain.  Tendinitis!  One month until Lavaman and I was back to a routine of rest, ice, heat and limp.  I knew there was no way to eliminate the pain before the race, but I was hoping to at least manage it. 
Then came the day of our last bike ride before we shipped our bikes over to Hawaii, I pulled my bike out the night before to check it over, only to discover that the back tire was flat… again.  (This was the third time).  I went through the motions of changing it, but while checking the tire for particles was horrified to find metal fibers embedded in it!  I assumed the rubber was giving out and part of the ‘steal wall’ was poking through.  That meant no early bike ride for me, I needed to do some shopping.
The next morning we loaded my bike on to the back of the FJ and headed down the road.  About half way to our destination I heard a small ‘bump’ and looked out my back window to see my back wheel rolling down the road!  There was no recovering it.  While I had started out the morning needing a tire now I needed a whole rear wheel assembly!  And my bike was shipping to HI the next day.  The remainder of that morning was spent in high stress, finding a shop that had the wheel parts I need, getting them assembled and put on my bike.  When the guy at the bike shop looked over the tire that had caused this whole ‘emergency,’ he declared it fit for use.  The metal slivers were something I had picked up off the road and weren’t from the tire itself.  He removed a few and finally my bike was whole again!  Too bad I wasn’t.

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