Thursday, November 19, 2009

a quick update

This is just to say that I found the Massage Therapist to end all massage therapist searching.

I have been having so many problems with my left hip, which I know deep down are related to the lower back problems I have had most of my life. Funny thing is, I really never could put my finger on what the source of my life long discomfort really was, I just knew that my left hip was always out of place.

So, I had been waiting to see the MT after I saw my retired doc. He never called me back, and I totally understand his not wanting to adjust my back when he is retired from medical practice... I broke down and called the new MT I had spoken to one day when she came in to the store to buy a mattress. She was able to see me two days before the Rocky Raccoon 50k trail race.

She practices CranialSacral therapy... which I read about in advance of my appointment. At first the plan was to see the doc, then see her for 30 minutes of massage. Since I could not see the doc, I decided to spring for the whole hour of MT... That was money well spent, because she got right to the root of the problem. Really worked on stretching the tightness out of me, rather than just giving me a rub down, which I could have gotten anywhere. As she worked down my spine toward my tail bone, I felt better and better. She started working on my hips and tail bone, and she stopped to ask me how I had injured my tail bone so severely. I thought about it for a minute... then the light bulb lit up. I was always the fat kid, as a matter of fact, my nickname as a child was BFBB (Big Fat Butter Ball). I remember wanting desperately to be able to go across the monkey bars without falling like most of the other kids. So, I set out to try my best. I fell so hard on my ass... that I saw stars and bit something on the inside of my mouth so that I was bleeding. The funny thing is that I had blocked that fall from my mind as if it never happened. Anyway, as the MT worked on my hips and tailbone, I could feel the left hip clicking as it worked itself back into place, all without ever touching the leg itself.

So, this woman is miracle worker and when I turned over and she started working on my head... my sinuses drained. I have suffered with seasonal allergies for years... now I know how to keep my sinuses clear without pills!

Needless to say, I have not had a problem with this left hip since I saw the MT. To think, at one point I was considering quitting the ultra walking because the hip was becoming so problematic that I could not even stand long enough to wash the dishes.

Who knew.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rocky Raccoon 50k, 11/7/2009

I sent in my entry fee for this race right before I decided to do the Q50 50k. I signed the bottom of the entry form, and then I added a note to the race director, Paul Stone. You see, he is the guy who held the finish line of the Hog’s Hunt 50k open for me to get an official finish time in, even though I finished after the 8 hour cutoff. The note read: “I promise to finish this 50k within the cutoff time.”

Now, let’s get back to the beginning of the weekend. The plan was for me to pack my car Thursday night so that I could leave for Huntsville from work in Rosenberg at around 1pm on Friday. I have not figured out the specific reason I cannot get away from work when I say I am leaving. It turned out that I had to drive back to Sealy and go to the bank before I could start my trip. That was not so bad. The bad thing is that when I was about 10 miles from home, I realized I had forgotten my Garmin (GPS and Heart rate monitor) that I use for all my racing and training. I also forgot the last of the wonderful fig cookies that Mom makes for me. I really wanted to share a cookie with PC, who I was meeting for the race. I also wanted to try a shorter route from home, but all I had with me in the car was an atlas. The atlas shows secondary roads, but they are so small on the map, that they are not labeled really well. Also, country roads in Texas are not very well marked. I missed a turn and ended up in Conroe, just where I did not want to be on a Friday afternoon. My ETA for Huntsville State Park had been changed from 2:30pm to 4pm, and I finally arrived at about 5pm. I checked in and found PC. J-M was already there, too.

I walked over to the park lodge to pick up my race packet and introduced myself to Paul Stone, reinforcing my promise to finish the race the next day within the 8 hour time limit. I planned to stay at the park all weekend, so I brought home made pasta salad with hard salami and turkey pepperoni for our pre-race carb load. The pasta salad was delicious! PC brought veggies and some really good bread to go with our meal. I set up my tent, and then we had dinner. Afterwards we built a campfire and sat outside and talked for a while.

I think it was about 11pm when I went to get dressed in my race clothes and go to bed. (Remember, I always sleep in my race clothes, at least the bottom layer). It was kind of chilly, so I put on my thermal tights over my shorts. I was still cold when I got up at 5 in the morning, so I chose to wear my new CW-X compression tights to race in. They are also supposed to support calf muscles, hips and IT band while working out. My top layer was a Star Trek shirt a friend bought for me. I chose to carry my hand held Nathan water bottle and leave the fuel belt behind because I knew the aid stations would be well stocked and they were. I filled my Hammer Gel flask with a mixture of espresso and vanilla gel and stuffed it down my sports bra so it would be easier to dispense.

I was still worried at the start of the race about not having my heart rate monitor, but there was nothing I could do about it at this point, just go out there and get it done… I ran into a friend, Donna, (met her at my first 50k Sunmart 2008) who I have been seeing at a lot of races, and she will be at a lot more of them I will be doing in the near future, including the Davy Crockett Bear Chase in Groveton Texas which she WON last year!!! And, she qualified for Boston. What a thrill!!! Anyway, we stayed together and talked through the first 4 or so miles, and then I suggested that she go on and run her race from there. I didn’t want to hold her back, and I was afraid I may have started out too fast right at the beginning of the race. There was also an older man who races a lot that I traded race position with several times during the race. Now, everyone needs to remember that I am not in competition with anyone except for ME. My only goal in this race was to finish it in less than 8 hours.

The 25k runners started passing me and I commented to the third place woman as she passed me… I told her I thought she was running third and she said I am and waved her hands in the air! Exciting! Anyway, I always stay to the right when the faster folks are coming… A lot of them made positive comments to me as they passed. You know, that is the best thing about trail racing. The runners never begrudge sharing the trail with slower people like myself. There was a smooth stretch where I could get a real good walking pace going and a couple of guys told me I had a nice walking pace on the trail. When I told them they were a lot faster than me, they told me we’re all going the same place, the finish line. That always makes me feel good about what I am doing.

I came out of the woods toward the start / finish line where there is an aid station, and when I saw the photographer, I held up my hand and made the live long and prosper hand signal for the photo! Lots of the folks who had finished their race (25k or one loop) were milling around the aid station, and I really needed to get in there and refill my water bottle and grab a handful of cookies or something salty to eat, so I asked… “Please excuse me, you all are finished, but I still have to go out for another loop.” A young girl looked at me, said: “You mean you just walked 15.5 miles in 3 hours and 43 minutes? Now I remember passing you on the trail. You REALLY walk fast!” I mean to tell you, if that ever happened to me in a road race, I would faint. Trail runners are just DIFFERENT! They parted and let me get what I needed and I thanked everyone and headed back out.

I felt good that I was able to get the first loop done in about the time I thought I would get it done. I knew the second loop would be a little more difficult, and it was. I had a few really bad patches where I was wondering if I would finish at all, let alone under the 8 hour cutoff. It seemed like I was barely moving, so I did take some time to regroup by slowing down a lot to give my body a break. It seemed to work and I was able to pick up the pace again. One thing that was helping me keep moving was the knowledge that I was not in last place as I approached the second to last aid station. The 7 Hills running club from Huntsville always mans the same aid station, and they are awesome. I joked around with them a little and one of the guys teased me about catching the guy who was right in front of me. I told them I just didn’t care what that guy was doing, I just wanted to finish. So, I took off and seemed to be feeling better.

The last aid station before the finish is 2.8 miles out. I was starting to get a cramp in my left inner thigh so I asked for some coca cola and maybe some electrolyte capsules because I really did not want to eat anything else. They gave me a salt stick cap and about 6 oz. of coca cola, and I downed the rest of that Hammer espresso gel I was carrying in the flask inside my bra. As I was finishing up stretching that cramp out, they told me I had 38 minutes to make the cutoff. I hauled my butt out of there thinking, there is something wrong with me if I can’t walk 2.8 miles in 38 minutes, even on the trails. I trudged up the sandy hill out of the aid station and as soon as I hit more solid ground, I really stepped on the gas. I came up on the man that I was trading places with for most of the race, and I said, I need to pass you now. When I did, he tried to keep up with me side by side on the trail, and I asked him to please not try to walk side by side with me, because I was going to trip. Just as the words left my lips, I tripped hard, but did not fall down. I just kept going and never looked back.

I made it to the turn towards the finish, the last mile and the volunteer there told me I had 13 minutes to make the cutoff and I said, there’s just no way I can do that last mile in 13 minutes after the day I was having. Remember, I just did another 50k 3 weeks ago??? Then I thought about the fact that I had done some running in the first loop, so when I saw the long down hill section coming up, I started running. I don’t know where it came from, but I was running faster than I have ever run on a trail in my life. When I reached the bottom of the hill, I kept running a little farther just for good measure, and then I finished the race walking. I so wish someone else had seen me running as fast as I could after struggling for 30 miles. I am sure I was a sight. I still cannot believe that I did that last mile in 9 ½ minutes. Yes, I had 13 minutes to go, and my finish time was 7:56:32. Wow, I have never been happier at the end of a race. Yes, I was trashed and the first thought that came to mind was; “Oh, My God, I have to do a full marathon next Sunday.”

Great race, great company! PC and I explored some trails this morning for a nice hour and 45 minute recovery walk before we ate lunch and packed up to leave.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

trying to stay positive

So, here I am... after attending a weekend racewalking clinic and completing another 50k trail race. My left leg is still aching, and I have yet to see anyone who can help me put it back in place. I took 9 days off from training after the 50k in Louisiana. During that rest period, I started taking ibuprophen in large enough doses to actually help reduce the inflamation that is associated with my hip problem. I also did lots of self massage. Nothing seemed to really help, as my leg continued to ache, especially while standing still.

The 10th day (Oct 28) rolled around and I was getting bitchier and bitchier... Finally Raymond suggested I go out for a walk. He usually does not encourage me to work out, so I thought, what the heck. I got dressed and headed over to the little league park, taking the route with the most grassy areas. Yes, the softer dirt and grass surfaces seemed to do the trick. The outing totalled 6.26 miles and I ran about 1 mile of the total. Running seems to work a different set of muscles and gives the rest kind of a break. And, yes, running in the mud and wet grass is fun.

We had terribly rainy weather the next couple of days. As a matter of fact, I had trouble getting home from work Thursday afternoon. The low hanging wall of dark clouds that evening were really ominous. The wind started gusting and the driving rain that tracks from southwest to northeast along cold fronts was really intense! All I could do was concentrate on the white line on the side of the road to see that I was still on the road. No workout Thursday. Friday evening I was just too late getting home from work to do anything.

Saturday October 31, I was out the door for a walk at about 7:51am. It was rather cool out, and my intention was to take the same route as I had on Wednesday afternoon. I was surprised to see the peewee football game going on in the wet grass as I walked toward the little league park. There was a lot more water laying in the low spots, so my shoes quickly filled with water. No problem, my feet just stayed cool. I had another good walk, about 6.5 miles with about 1.3 miles of running mixed in. I returned home, stretched, showered and went to work.

Now, it's Sunday. I plan to go out for a semi-long distance walk... somewhere between 12 and 15 miles after I get a little housework done. I have an armoire to empty in my bedroom so that I can finally put a larger tv in it. To date, it has held all of my workout STUFF. I think I finally have a system worked out so that I can store all that STUFF in a centralized location. My leg is still aching when I stand for any length of time. It also hurts when I stroll, such as a person does when shopping. As long as I am moving at a reasonably fast pace, I don't have any problems... Hopefully, I can get in to see my old doc this week. I know he is retired, but he is the only person who can get that leg back in place so that it will stay there for a while. If only I could find a chiropractor who would do the same, instead, they want you to come in 3 times a week for the rest of your life. Fine, if you are independantly wealthy. I am not blessed with unlimited funds.

Now, all the camping gear is airing out on the back porch in preperation for the weekend at Huntsville State Park. (Huntsville Texas) I am meeting up with some friends for the Rocky Raccoon 25k/50k trail race. I am walking (maybe doing some running on the down hills) the 50k, then spending an extra night to have more time on the trails on Sunday before I pack up and return home.