Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Born with an Iron Chin...

Iron Chin
The ability to absorb punches when you get hit with a big shot and stay standing.
To remain on your feet despite seeing black flashing lights, blurred, double or triple vision and feeling a buzz that goes all the way to your toes.
Some say you are either born with a good chin or not. Other says it's a mental toughness that when your brain tells you to go down to the canvas you will yourself to stay on your feet.

The last twelve days I feel like I have taken a beating. From my crash on August 20th...that knocked me out cold! Leaving me with a broken clavicle and blurry vision.
With that came the harsh reality of my sudden end to my season and not been able to race IM Canada and therefore missing Kona . So much disappointment came with it but I accepted it and am moving forward.

As I came out of the blur of morphine and percocet I realized I could not walk. Once again an uppercut to the belly! From independent to bound to my bed...each step acute pain. With huge amounts of swelling, bursitis of the knee and a swollen ankle I assumed that was the culprit. But after 9 days of no walking Dr Goldberger from Advanced Orthopedics suggested I get a MRI of the hip.

On day 9 we made a painful trip with a mandatory evacuatiion my house to higher grounds to escape the potential flooding from Hurricane Irene!
Things were looking up as our house survived unscathed....Very thankful about that!!! Because I had visions of trying to clean up a flooded house...

Today I got to have my follow up appointment with Dr Goldberger to see how my clavicle was healing and he dropped the bomb that I had indeed fractured my pelvis.
Thankfully its a non weight bearing fracture but there will be no pounding for a few months!

As if that wasn't enough I have a nice tear to the I have my work cut out for me!!

Now that I think I have no more surprises coming....I am ready to get my healing going full force!
Dr G pulled out his knife today to cut away my sutures. After he saw me whimpering he opted for the much gentler looking scissors. He did a beautiful job of my surgery...

The plate looks like its holding strong although a small fragment escaped but he assures me it will find it's way back to the mother bone!

Next up I hit PT where dear friend Jimmy Smith welcomed me with a lesson in anatomy and added some exercises to my routine of swinging my arm in small circles. a movement that is so small but very painful.

Lastly I stopped at Active Release Therapy where Dr Liz Perez gave me a much needed hug and worked on my aches and pains.

So here begins the recovery process but I have no doubt that I will be back stronger as you all keep telling me!!! I will get back into the ring as soon as I can...Can't wait for 2012!

Monday, August 29, 2011

One pot sweaty hand and so ended my season...

It's hard to believe that my season is over....I have put so much energy, commitment and hard work into this year and deciding to try qualify for Hawaii.

After Steelhead I had picked friend Pedro Gomes up and we returned back to NJ where I would spend the next few days deciding what my next step in racing would be.
With being so close to qualifying for Kona all season...although I was iin the Top seemed like all the girls were going to make the push and race another IM to secure or try get the last remaining spots.
I knew if I did not race I would either be the last girl to qualify or I would just miss it.
So Coach Jesse Kropelnicki and I agreed that I would race IM Canada.
So I went back into a 30 hour training week. This was going to be one quick build and taper.
It was great having Pedro here and I got through the week and was on my last big ride. I had done a 6 hour ride the day before and decided to head up the coast for a 4 hour steady ride.
I was definitely running on empty when we hit the Atlantic Highlands Hills. We had done the hills and were almost about to head home. I turned a corner headed down a steep hill and hit a hand slipped off the bar as it was so humid and I had not worn gloves. I was going fast and fishtailing. I tried so hard to stay up but I hit hard and blacked out! From this point I don't remember anything until I was in the ambulance.
Apparently I fell and kept rolling down the hill and landed in a nice ditch of water. My beautiful Kestrel cracked in a few places showed just how hard my body hit the ground.

I knew my shoulder/collarbone was broken ...I was in severe pain which the guys at the trauma ward never really care about because they have seen so much worse. In seconds my clothes were cut off and the morphine was flowing and my reality was setting in. I don't remember them doing a cat scan or x rays but soon they reported that I had broken my clavicle. By that point Hank and the kids were there and the position I was in was feeling way to familiar....I had been in a similar crash two years ago.

I immediately called friend and orthopedic surgeon extraordinaire Dr Goldberger from Advanced Orthopedics in Freehold who kindly came over to see me... I am so thankful to him for immediately putting me at ease. He looked at my x-rays and gave me the options. Surgery for me was going to be the best option.

We planned on surgery Mon which meant a two day wait. This gave me time to realize how the rest of my body was doing. I was very thankful to have no other breaks....
I had X-Rays done on my knee/hip and hand....not sure if they did my ankle but the whole left side of my body was a big swollen mess of abrasions.

I got to go home for a night before heading to Centra State hospital for surgery. Surgery was a blur of anasthesia and then the next week has been a blur of discomfort and pain!
It is very hard to go from athlete with 20-30 hour training weeks to being totally immobile dealing with the reality that my season is officially over. There is a deep sadness that comes when you cannot do what you love to do, but you have to remain positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I am so thankful to all those who reached out to help....To Dr Goldberger who went above and beyond in his surgery, nurse and friend Liz Donahue who answered my endless questions, all the beautiful flowers, the dinner friends brought over. My husband and kids who have been at my beck and call and who have seen me through some very frustrating painful moments.

So happy to be off the Percocet and on the upswing!!

Also thanks to my Trakkers teammates for all yout good wishes and cards, and to all of you the reached out to me. Us athletes all know how devastating crashes can be....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Steelhead 70.3/Duathlon

St Joseph is a quaint little shore town on the banks of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan never ceases to amaze me. At 307 miles in length and 118 miles wide it looks and acts like an ocean.
My first few days there I enjoyed calm waters but that was all about to change race day!

The day before the race I made my way down to the pro meeting where we were informed that despite the deceiving blue skies a storm was headed our way and the once quiet waters of Lake Michigan were about to become narly 3-5 foot swells, a mosh pit of angry whitecaps and that our 70.3 was probably going to become a duathlon. We then went on to vote in what order we would like to start out TT race on the bike. The vote was unanimous that the highest numbers would go first. I knew immediately that this was not going to work in my favor as those registered last would start at the front and the fastest girls would all start last. I was going to be starting in the front and I would have no idea where anybody was in the race until the end. It was going to be a cat and mouse game and I was the mouse…

Race morning ...

We all sat around the start for what seemed like a long time…over 2 hours to be exact. There was a lot of friendly bantering going on and a fairly cheerful atmosphere. The wind was howling and the skies threatening to rain and I was happy they made the decision to cancel the swim. All of us pro's can swim in rough water if we have to...but the added anxiety of not being able to site and swallowing tons of water every tome you try raise your head to breathe is never fun!

So we just sat and waited....We were not allowed to take our bikes out so we would be starting the race cold with no warmup.

At 7.15 the guys lined up and started there 30 second take offs….I would be the second women to start. 3,2,1 and I was off…legs felt a lot better than I thought they would..actually better than after a swim. I was surprisingly warm despite being freezing for 2 hours waiting in the wind. My legs were cooperating and the watts Coach Jesse and I had spoken about were coming fairly easy….Always a good sign.
I was quickly passed by the third place girl and decided to pick up my watts and stay with her. I was now working a little harder than I would normally and was enjoying having someone to ride with. With the lead cyclists in front of us it was easy to believe that we were really in the lead group…sadly this was deceiving as the Heather Jacksons and Melissa Rollinson were working there way up through the 22 pro girls that were ahead of them.
By the half way mark I was feeling the harder effort especially two weeks post Ironman Lake Placid so I made the decision to ride on my own at the pace I knew I could handle on that day. Nobody was in sight either in front or behind me and that is the way the bike would stay for the next 90 minutes. When you are on your own you have to stay present and focused 100% otherwise the time slips by and you can easily lose valuable minutes. I think i did a good job at this yesterday and kept the focus and was happy that by the time I headed into T2 my power would be a little above where I needed to be. Therefore I was on track and with a 2.24 bike one of my fastest 70.3 splits and my highest power numbers I had pushed.

T2 was a long run and then I was happy to head out onto the run course feeling pretty good. The first mile is a long slight uphill and I reminded myself not to panic as my mile time was slow. Sadly I could n't seem to push my heart rate up where it needed to be either….I was worried I might have put out too much on the bike.
By mile 2 Heather and then Mellisa came flying by me. I could not believe that they had caught me so soon. I started doing the maths and panicking a little. I had lost ten minutes to them. I assumed all the rest of the girls were right behind them too. I tried to stay positive but the added stress just worked on my stomach and I then spent the next 2 miles battling the need to hit a portojohn with none in sight. That too puts further stress on me and my focus is no longer on running and pushing the pace but on a search for an emergency stop. I finally could not hold it in anymore and darted for some bushes. My timing was impeccable as all the guys started to run by me at that time which made me laugh and the go find a deeper section into the woods. Now I was losing some serious time….

Here is where I fall short in races….I definitely spend way to much time thinking instead of just focusing on the task at hand which is run faster. Jessica Jacobs had now made her way past me and I was feeling quite distraught. My only saving grace was then seeing a few girls that were still a couple miles behind me which pumped me up and with a stomach that was now feeling a little better I started to work on refocusing and pushing the last 6 miles. My miles were looking significantly better and by the last three miles I was really able to push hard and finish strong. I was happy to negative split the marathon and bike.
I definitely think the lack of speedwork since IMLP played a big part in me not being able to make the adjustment to push hard in the beginning. Racing is such a mindset and I will continue to work on staying present!!!

Coming in to the finish I was told I was 4th and had to wait for a drug test. I was pleasantly surprised to be 4th and happy to see them drug testing girls. Later I found out that two girls that started near the back were indeed 50 seconds ahead of me which moved me to 6th place. Ahhh my immediate thought was that was a $1000 dollar bathroom stop…Ouch that hurt!!!!

I really need to figure out my stomach issues one day….

So all in all I was really happy with the effort 3 weeks after IMLP. I had been feeling really fatigued a couple days before so it was nice to be able to race and have my times be right there with my best half Ironman paces so soon after Ironman.

Next up IM Canada!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wow! What a hectic 2 weeks!

Well I can't believe it is only 2 weeks since Ironman Lake Placid.
I was lucky enough not to feel too bad after the race, as I knew I was going to get right back into a training as I need another race or two under my belt this August. I got a day or two of rest, a few lighter days and then I went back to a full training schedule. Last week I had 26 hours of training, with a long ride and a couple 10-13 mile runs and some good strength work.

It's been an interesting week, as after some heavier training and little rest I started to feel a bit beat up. I was such a big baby a few days ago and was whining and a bit cranky!!! Sometimes I really just need to think less and just do the work!!

Life with kids does not stop if you are tired or training a lot.
The kids have their own busy schedules with drama, singing,piano,football, summer baseball,field hockey, soccer camps and of course fun beach days...Last week we had friends stay over, friends came to visit us from out of town, and we had a fun night in the city ...
I too had to my daughters 9th birthday party and a fun day at a water it's been a hectic two weeks.

So now this week I shall continue to train and then I head out to Michigan on Thursday for Steelhead 70.3.
Looks like there will be a large group of pro women racing so it should be a fun race!!!