Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I can taste the excitement!

Hi there,

Start of the 2011 Louisville Ironman
It's been awhile and I wanted to provide a quick update on how training is coming. On the fire recovery front I'll share I did give a call to the Pikes Peak 2-1-1 and there aren't any specific one-time volunteer events going on right now. So if you're still thinking about it don't pass up the opportunity to donate.

It's been a busy 3 weeks since my last post.  I've had some beautiful bike rides in the time... and one where I virtually bonked!  For those of you who aren't familiar with the term 'bonk' it's where your brain basically shuts off from a lack of energy.  Endurance athletes experience this when their blood sugar levels get too low.  The 'bonk' came on a 5 hour ride (normally a 4 1/2 hour ride) I did from my house downtown down to southeast Denver (along the Cherry Creek trail to Arapahoe Road for those familiar with the area), then around the Cherry Creak reservoir and over to Morrison along (along the Bear Creek Trail), and back home by Mile High Stadium and Confluence Park.  Now, on a 70-75 mile ride like this I would normally take around 1000 Calories with me (I like Nugo bars and good ole' lemon-lime Gatorade).  I haven't measured exactly but I usually take in around 250 Calories an hour.  On this day I decided I wanted to benchmark where I was at in my training and figure out if I would notice the effects of riding without energy. 

The first 45 miles were glorious!  I was clear, blue sky day and the haze and the smoke from the summer fires was nowhere in sight!  For me it started as a fast ride and I was grinning all the way to Morrison, back up and over the good hills in Bear Creek state park, and back toward downtown.  Toward my last 20 miles I began to feel fatigue in my lower back.  It's not uncommon to feel a bit of discomfort there on lengthy rides.  But unlike my usual rides, the stiffness and fatigue got worse.  "Uh-oh" I thought.  What would Lance Armstrong do in these situations?

Brown hotel Louisville.  I got a great rate!
Go faster I thought!  I really need to push through this.  It's a mental thing!  Well, before I knew it I was off the bike doing a 20-minute stretch that did nothing more than entertain the 5-year olds that rode past my happily dinging their bells to let me know I was blocking the trail.  I couldn't get loose and my water was gone!   With 20 miles to go I was in bad shape.  From that point on every pedal stroke felt like I was pushing along 1 too many tourists in a crowded bike rickshaw.  I'm not sure how it happened but the nice 87 degree weather quickly climbed to 96 degrees and I could have swore it was more like 105.  Everyone flew past me, men, woman, children, unleashed dogs, squirrels,  crickets, clowns on motorcycles (was the circus in town?).  The 10 miles that would normally take me 35 or 40 minutes took me over an hour to manage.   When I got home I gave myself a lump I because when I tried to lift my bike in the garage I dropped it on my noggin!  Bonk!  I usually join the family for lunch and our afternoon weekend activities after my long rides... but on this day I was good for a 2 1/2 hour nap and crawling from couch to couch.  It was pathetic and told me exactly what I needed to know.  On this day... the only way I could be described as an Ironman was for being a lead weight on my furniture.

I digress.  Training over the past few weeks has actually been fun with the Ironman in sight.  While the routine of getting in my training hours with the swim and bike has been nice, my weekly PT visits have started paying off.  I've been able to add in 4.5 miles of running back into my routine before hitting the trigger point with my knee.  Combined with a speed walk I end up clearing 7 miles in an hour and twenty minutes.  Obviously that's not going to get me through the 26.2 of the marathon portion of the Ironman but it's nice to know I should be able to do a bit of running on race day.  The MRI results from my orthopedic specialist also showed that my meniscus is in very good shape and there is only a 2mm - 4mm hole in my patellar cartilage.   Good news!

You may be saying, "But Sol... isn't a hole in the cartilage behind your knee cap a problem?"  For those of you who may not know I had a micro-fracture surgery on the same knee (left) in 2004.   The cartilage problem was much worse then and I haven't had an MRI since that procedure.  So to be perfectly honest, it may be that the hole just never got taken care of at that time.  It's impossible for me to say for sure.  In a nutshell though, I should be able to run as much on race day as I am able to gut out the pain.  For me that means I'll proceed cautiously.  In reality, I'm hoping to gut out about 8 miles of actual running. So my race day strategy here is to walk 2 miles... then run a mile.  I'll probably take an Ibuprofen on race day to act as an anti-inflammatory and help block the pain but it's something I'll only do in the rarest of circumstances.  I had a problem with Ibuprofen in high school that triggered kidney failure and left me hospitalized for a week.

The race is now 1 1/2 weeks away!  I've booked my travel and am making travel arrangements.  I'm staying at the Brown Hotel in Louisville and it looks to be a very nice hotel.  I'm flying Frontier Airlines with Patrick and his family next Thursday.  I'll make sure to get travel photos and will look to keep make a daily through race-day starting next Wednesday!!!

And now, it's time for me to draw on some inspiration.... I'll ride with this symbol to make my happy! Argh!!!!

And BTW... please wish me luck in the next week by eating McDonald's French Fries or your favorite candy. I'm not a spokesperson and I'm not advocating.  It just makes me happy... and hopefully you as well!!!

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