Friday, August 16, 2013

When a rest day really isn’t

We had a race last weekend - the GA Veterans’ Triathlon in Cordele, GA.  It’s a great little sprint, except for the overabundance of gnats (cheap, easy protein if you want to put a positive spin on it), and about an hour from the house.  The course is flat and relatively easy to navigate.  All in all, it’s a great race for beginners. 

I have been training for this race (when don’t I?) although not nearly as hard as Joe has been.  But then, I don’t have an Ironman in four weeks.  My hamstring is finally healing so I’ve been slowly adding some speed work back into my runs.  I actually swam 3000 yards on Monday just to see if I could.  Joe was swimming in the lane with me at the base pool and that’s what he was swimming so I figured, why not.  That’s the longest swim I’ve ever done, even more than what I’ve done for my half-Ironman races.  Yay me!  I’ve been continuing my bike trainer rides, but feel like I’ve been losing ground.  I can’t hold the power/numbers that I’ve been able to before.  On outside rides, I can keep up with most of the folks I normally do, but I feel weak.  Hmmm.  Perhaps a bit of overtraining you say?  I’ll ponder that on my next ride.

Since the race was Saturday, I decided to take Friday as a pseudo rest day.  Like most days, I took Beau for a walk after I got the second shift, aka, Josie on the bus for school.  Yes, our kids are already back in school.  They actually started back on the first of August, significantly shortening our summer break.  Anyhoo, since I’ve been trying to cut down on my transition times, I figured I’d walk the dog in my running shoes, but without socks.  I’d broken out a new pair since my last race and wanted to be sure they were broken in enough.  I slathered my feet with Body Glide (a sports lubricant for all you non-tri peeps) and away we went. 

My feet felt fine for the first two miles and then, my heel started to hurt.  Sure enough, when I pulled my foot out of my shoe, I had a nice blister on my heel.  I had rubbed it so raw before it started to really hurt that the skin was just barely hanging on; the blister had long since burst.  I was still a half of a mile from home.  Uh-oh.  Not a great way to get ready for a tri that was going to be in a lake with all kinds of who knows, well, I didn’t want to think about it!  Walking hurt too much, but running wasn’t too bad.  My running shoes are designed for running on the balls of your feet (YAY, Newtons), something I already do when I run, but not when I walk.   Who knew it would make such a difference?

Back to my pink Newtons - the blue ones were no bueno!
I cleaned out the raw spot when I got home, slathered it with triple-antibiotic ointment and hoped for the best.  In the morning, I put a strip of moleskin on it, not knowing that moleskin is not waterproof.  D’oh!  I then put on socks and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be adding a couple of extra seconds to my transition to put them on before heading out on the bike.  Bummer.

Many of our triathlon group, the Crazy Joes, raced with us.  I love when a bunch of us race together!  I truly enjoy the camaraderie, the smiles and hugs, the sharing of nerves and advice and smiles, and yes, even the good-natured ribbing.  In typical team mom/team cheerleader fashion, I even offered to drag a friend across the finish line, despite my lifting restrictions.  That’s what teammates do for one another.  At the end of the race, we joyfully welcomed a few new triathletes into the fold, something always worth celebrating!

Love when we get to race together!!!
Two thirds of the way through the swim, as the moleskin gently peeled off of my heel and floated away, I knew this wasn’t going to be my best race.  Ah well.  I did better than I expected.  I ended up third in my age group and in the middle of the pack for the entire race.  Joe wanted me to “push as hard as you can on the bike!”  I pushed, but not “as hard as I could” because I didn’t want to bonk on the run (non-tri people translation: fall apart, barf, cramp, all of the above).   I ran comfortably on the run, so again, I guess I didn’t push as hard as I should have.  Oh well.  My life is a series of seconds and thirds, so why mess with a good thing, right?  I’m okay with that, and besides, who wants the pressure of always having to defend one’s title?

Joe, on the other hand, rocked it!  He was 4th overall and won the masters’ category (non-tri people translation: the old folks).  He then proceeded to put us all to shame by cycling the sixty plus miles home.  I repeat: he has an Ironman in four weeks and the rest of us don’t.  Oh yeah, and this was a “C” race for him.  Seriously – a “C” and he comes in fourth overall. 
My view as I left the tri to go have lunch with friends. :-)

While I didn’t plan any big races this year (it’s Joe’s year), I have several friends that did.  Always the team mom/team cheerleader, I have offered to go on training rides with several.  And that was why I got up early on Sunday.  I wasn’t about to do my usual Sunday twelve-mile run before church since the blister was still oozing, but biking didn’t hurt my heel.  Cori and Roo were riding forty miles.  My bike time was what really hurt me the most during the race, so I decided to add an extra ten miles riding up to the bike store and back.   Cori got necessary training in, Roo got to go on a nice easy ride (for him) with his lovely girlfriend, and I got to do some hill work.  A win-win for everyone!

This is Slow-mode for Beau!

Since I was ready to go a little early, I decided to take the dog outside to play a few rounds of fetch.  Beau loves the exercise and attention and I love watching him run.  Actually, he doesn’t just run, he gallops!  He even sounds like a horse when he charges across the yard at full tilt.  He’s so incredibly fast and fluid and beautiful when he runs.  It’s just so effortless for him.  But… he’s a sprinter!  After about six to ten ball tosses and gallops around the yard or a 2 mile run, he’s pooped… until the next round.  He is not an IronDog – not yet anyway.

It oozed for two days - ugh.
Anyway, I let Beau out and proceeded to follow him out.  And that’s when the patio door attacked!  We’ve got it on a spring closure, but I can’t quite get it to close just right.  Sunday morning, it closed just right – right on my ankle, slicing it open.  Fabulous!  While it wasn’t a large or deep gash, it was right by the already open blister.  Can you say, “ow”?!  Well, the ride must go on so I cleaned it out (I’m getting very good at cleaning out my injuries.), swathed it in gauze and headed out.  Thankfully, like the day before, it didn’t hurt too much to cycle so I was able to get in my fifty miles, even surprising myself by getting almost all the way up “the big hill” in my big chain ring (non-tri people translation: harder gears). 

By Sunday night, I was pooped!  I told myself I’d take a rest day on Monday.  When I was doing the EN Outseason, I really needed those rest days with all of the insane workouts I was doing.  Monday’s rest day was really just going to be so that I could let my ankle/heel, well, heal. 

I dutifully got the youngest on the bus and then took the dog for a short walk and as I walked, I thought.  I thought about why I dislike rest days so much.  I think the reason I dislike rest days so much is it means I have no excuse for not cleaning the house.  Somehow, workouts seem like a good excuse to not clean the house.  Not that I don’t clean my house; you know I do.  I just don’t like to!  I think it’s because I have a touch of ADHD.  I get too distracted when I clean and then wonder why the toilet still has toilet bowl cleaner in it four hours later and why the shower door is covered with a fine dusting of Barkeeper’s Friend.  But hey, I did find that pattern I was looking for.

After I got home from walking Beau, I cleaned the floors.  I folded laundry.  I put away laundry.  I cleaned up the kitchen.  I cleaned the toilets, sinks, and shower.  I was sweaty and I was antsy!  And so, I looked longingly at my bike and made a decision.  I’d just get on and ride for thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes became a full hour workout with intervals.  I rationalized that I needed to do this because I was going to take my bike in to get a small repair done and I might not get it back for the next day’s scheduled workout.  Uh-huh.  That’s what I told myself. 

So much for my rest day…

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where in the world is Dr. C?

A few weeks back, I found out that my favorite surgeon is no longer with his practice.  It’s all been very mysterious and the practice has been very secretive as to why he “left” and where he has gone.  I, along with several of my BC sisters, am irritated, to put it politely.  I know that several gals have been offered appointments with other surgeons in the practice and have flat out REFUSED.  I really need to make my quarterly follow-up with Dr. C, but I’m not even going to bother since I too would refuse to see anyone else. 

I am sure that the other surgeons in the practice are perfectly competent and may in fact be very nice people.  They, however, are NOT Dr. C.  They do not have the rapport that he has with me.  They do not know how my body reacts to surgery or how it heals.  They know from the office staff that I am a nut-job runner/triathlete, but they don’t understand my obsession the way Dr. C does.  

There are several theories floating around as to why he has “left” the practice.  No one has disputed the fact that he is an excellent surgeon.  Maybe he didn’t do his billing or paperwork properly and they were sick and tired of correcting him.  Maybe he saw his patients too much for the practice’s liking and caused it to lose too much money.  Many think that the other surgeons in the practice resented his rapport with all his groupies/patients.  While I doubt we’ll never know the real reason he is gone, I wish the practice would be a bit more forthcoming with information regarding his whereabouts.   I for one want to know! 

It makes me want to cry that he’s gone and no one will spill the beans where he is or why he left.  Dr. C is one of those rare surgeons that is extremely skilled, but also compassionate.  He always has a hug, a joke, a smile.  He is thorough and takes the time if you need it or want it.  He is passionate about what he does.  I asked him once why he specialized in breast surgery.  He responded simply, “Because I have a wife and three daughters.”  ‘Nuf said.   

I credit two men with “saving my life”.  One, of course, is Joe because he found the tumor.  Dr. C is the other one because he removed the tumor, the lymph nodes that it had invaded and all of the breast tissue that it could have wreaked further havoc on.  He treated me gently when I needed it, held my hand when I was scared, teased me when I was feeling well, or chewed me out when necessary.  Even when he chewed me out, I knew that he did it because he genuinely cared about me and my wellbeing. 

I’m sorry, but I really don’t want to see someone else for my care.  I wouldn’t trust them to not “screw things up” or to listen to me and take me seriously like Dr. C does.  While the other docs in the practice maybe just as skilled in general surgery, I highly doubt that they have Dr. C’s skill with boobs and the fragile women whose bodies they are attached to.  Thankfully, all of my surgeries are done for the next eighteen or so years until I need a trade-in for my Frankenboobs.  Still, I’m supposed to see Dr. C quarterly for lymphedema checks, general cancer checkups (aches/pains/weird symptoms), and my annual armpit/chest ultrasounds in lieu of a mammogram.  Because Dr. C has cut and stitched and removed significant portions of my body, he knows what’s normal or not.  And, while I know he can’t always be my surgeon, I’m not ready to cut the ties just yet.   He’s a bit like a security blanket to me and lots of other women.  If he says you’re okay, chances are very good that you really are okay.

I’m not the only one that feels that strongly about Dr. C.  My friend Tracy drives six hours from Florida to see Dr. C whenever she needs a check up.  She’s not ready to let go either.  If Dr. C starts his own practice and it’s not in the area, I will do the same thing.
Dr. C was never too sure about my
athletic endeavors, but tolerated me doing them.
 So, where in the world is Dr. C?  If anyone knows, please tell me.  I’m supposed to see him next month.