Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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IRONMAN!

I did it! 

On Sunday I became an ironman and swam, biked and ran a total of 140.6 miles in about 14 hours (I still don't know my official time because of an issue on the swim that affected half the field - a lightning storm that required the race officials to pull everyone from the water). I will share every detail soon but suffice it to say it was one of the best days of my life and without question the day with the most sustained joy. 

More to come soon in what will surely be the longest, most epic blog post ever.

See you swoon,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

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(I've Had) The Time of My Life

That's right.  Cue Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - the duet who sang the terrific song (from Dirty Dancing) in the title of this post, which also happens to be on my running playlist (of course).  But my final shot is this one:


instead of this one:


Amy took that picture of me staring into the sunset on our final training weekend, and I think it perfectly encapsulates this point in time: it's the sunset on training.  Time to put away the training log and the workout list and the calendar.  It's time to race.

I hope you'll indulge me what might be a little bit of an emotional post today.  I am a total sap - even in normal life, I cry easily and often.  I cry when I'm happy and sad and when I watch sad movies. I cry when my kids say things that are too sweet to handle.  I cry at weddings and funerals.  I cry a lot.  The past couple of weeks, I've cried a really lot.  I'm not scared or anything - they are just the "joyful weepies" (a phrase coined by my bloggie friend Maria and which I think is completely fitting here).  I get overwhelmed with emotion that this long journey is almost over.  It's been a lot of hard work.  And I have literally poured blood, sweat and tears into this race.  When I think back to the dark morning runs, the runs in the ice and snow, the many hours on the trainer, the countless laps in the pool ... it makes me very emotional.  

A friend of mine who raced IMLP last year sent Amy and me this email on Sunday, when we had one week to go.  It, of course, made me cry.  But it also resonated with me:  

The thought of one week to go invokes a cocktail of emotions, no doubt, but rest assured you ARE ready. The impressive work you put in, and dedication you applied, will carry you to the finish. And apart from the race itself, just take a moment to think of this past year's journey because in the end that was the true adventure.

Beautiful, isn't it?

The journey.  The journey has been an adventure for sure.  Aside from the workouts (and there were many) and the hours and hours of work (and there were a ton), I learned a lot about myself.  I am also so lucky that my two very close friends, Amy and Bill, shared the journey with me.  We were, and are, a true team.  This experience has made us closer, and I can't imagine sharing it with anyone but them.  I may be the one who gets myself to the finish line, but they helped get me to the start.  Here we are a year ago when we first went to Lake Placid to test out the course.  This was after our brick: one loop of the bike course and 4 mile run.  We had no earthly clue what we were in for when we took this picture.  But that's part of the journey: the realization that anything is possible.  And while we may have complained or looked at what we had on tap for workouts and thought there is no way i can do that, we discovered that, actually, yes we can.  And we did.



So, despite some jitters (which I think are natural), I will go into the race in a couple of days celebrating the long-awaited destination of my training journey.  That journey has, indeed, been good, and I truly have had the time of my life.   I'm ready. 

See you swoon,


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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IMLP Training Recap: Week 35 & Tracking on Race Day

This is it! Race week and probably my final (or almost final) IMLP training recap.  It is really hard for me to get my head around the fact that the race is just days (as in 5 ... as in I can count them on one hand!) away.  My very first "official" IMLP workout was a 20 minute walk the day after the Philadelphia Marathon in mid-November.  The workouts gradually increased in intensity and duration until the peak a few weeks ago. I thought week 35 would be a bit of a taper, but I was wrong.  We still logged over 13 hours of training, a double-digit long run and a 60 mile bike ride.  But we sucked it up and forged ahead.  At this point, what else could we do, right?  This gorgeous sunset on Saturday evening up at Lake Wallenpaupack (where we trained last weekend and a bunch of other weekends) is kind of a metaphor for the end of training.  It is also very pretty.


Week 35: 13:16:45 hours

Swam: 2:20 hours (6,321 yards)
Biked:  6:35 hours (60.7 miles outside; rest on trainer)
Ran:  4:22 hours (16.2 miles plus 80 minutes deep water running)

Workouts:

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: 80 minute bike & 3 mile run
Wednesday: long run - 12 miles
Thursday: 50 minute bike w/speed work & easy swim
Friday: 80 minute deep water run
Saturday: long bike - 60 miles & 1 hour open water swim
Sunday: 30 minute open water swim

I was glad to rest my foot completely on Monday.  My sister told me about a castor oil heat pack for my foot, and I gave it a try.  It helped.  You soak a gauze pad in castor oil, then press the gauze on the sore part, then wrap in plastic wrap and stretchy gauze and then apply heat for an hour.  Snug as a bug in a rug:


Tuesday was a nerve-wracking day for me.  I had a bike in the morning (just 80 minutes at endurance pace - easy peasy) and then I had my first run since my fall a couple weeks prior.  I talked to both my PT and my coach and we agreed it was time to try it.  My PT insisted that the run be on a flat, somewhat cushioned surface.  My coach had me walk 10 minutes then run 2 minutes/walk 1 minute x10, and I did the workout on a track.  It was good.  I still felt a little ache in my foot, but it wasn't painful and it really felt good to be running again.

Wednesday I had my long run.  Again: coach loaded me up with walking: 10 minute walk and then 12 miles of 2 minute run/1 minute walk.  Here I am about 5 minutes into the beginning walk:


And ... after 12.5 miles


The run was good.  My foot felt better (still not 100%), but I had a hard time just relaxing and running normally.  Given what happened on my last long run, I was very nervous and overly cautious. I was also cognizant of every single foot fall, and the run didn't feel normal to me.  I knew it was inevitable and I would have to settle back into my running stride.  So I went easy on myself.  The 2/1s were tough!  I would just about settle into a decent rhythm only to have to stop and walk.  A few times, I pushed to 3 (or even 4) minutes of running just because I wanted to remember what effortless running felt like.  I was pleased with this run.  And it ended with me seeing this little nugget of cuteness:


I totally geeked out when I saw him but did not freak too loudly because I did not want to scare him away.  Mission accomplished.  I really wanted to cuddle that little bunny.

Thursday was a tough, but ultimately kind of fun, bike.  It was intervals of endurance and V02 max (i.e., very hard effort) pace.  It was 50 minutes and over in a flash.  I also had a 2,000 yard swim, which I had to do in the 25 yard pool inside.  Blerg.  But I got it done.

Friday I had an 80 minute deep water run (ok ok ok -- aqua jog).  Amy, Bill and I went up to the lake for our final weekend of training, so I did my run while they went off and swam.  The initial plan was that I would hang near the dock with the kids and let them swim while I deep water ran.  That lasted for about 20 minutes until they got bored and deserted me.  So to kill those 80 minutes I would run from dock to dock and around boats.  Running in the open water was much better than running in the pool.  Still ... it's kind of mortifying to wear that aqua jogger belt.  Especially when later in the weekend when Amy and Bill's younger son was swimming in his life jacket and said, "Look! I'm like Miss Shanna!"  Great.  Just great.

Saturday we had an hour open water swim followed by a 60 mile bike. The swim was amazing - we got out there early and the water on Lake Wallenpaupack was as calm as I have ever seen it. Just like glass.  The swim was really great.  After the swim, we changed into bike clothes and hit the road.  It was a very hilly 60 miles, which at the time was tough, but I'm really glad now.  We will not experience that difficult a course at Placid and our prior two long rides were flat.  I'm glad we did as much climbing as we did.

Sunday was an easy 30 minutes open water swim ... "nice and easy".  That was kind of a joke because the water was super choppy!  It was a battle in that lake.  But at 30 minutes, we motored through.  We spent the morning on the boat with the kids having a blast and vowing to NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID like water ski.


My foot is doing much better.  Every day it gets better and better, and I am following the direction of my PT and coach to the letter.   This week is an easy one.  We are finally in taper! I had an easy run on it yesterday and it was a really good one.  I was finally able to just relax and run normally.  The rest of the week is very light.

We head up to Lake Placid on Thursday!  I cannot believe it.  The plan for the rest of the week, aside from getting in those final workouts, is to eat well and hydrate and keep calm (unlike the tri-jerk in this video from Challenge Roth last weekend who went a little carnival freak crazy over having to wait approximately 5 seconds for his pre-race meal -- thanks to Bill for this gem of a find).  My other goal for the week is to relax and try to enjoy these last few moments of anticipation before the big day.  Stay tuned.

If you'd like to track me on race day, here is how:

Date & Time: 

Sunday July 27 

Gun for age groupers goes off at 6:30 (Eastern) but it is a seeded, rolling start, so I won't be in the water until closer to 6:45. 

How to Track:

Web (Free): www.ironman.com - click on the "Live Race Coverage!" and enter my bib number (967). If you want to track Amy and Bill (race nos. 1057 [amy] and 2017 [bill]) you can do that too. 

App: (Free or $1): Iron Trac app. You use the same info as above and enter our bib numbers and track us. Your phone will do the work.

Note: the website and app are not without flaws. They're often delayed and/or just plain wrong, but if you refresh and come back to them, they eventually get it right. 

The finish:

You can watch the finish line live on the Ironman website! I've been able to watch several of my friends cross the finish line this way. You have to kind of know where we are on the course to do this so you can time watching. But it's live and the camera is right there. 

You can bet I'll be back as soon as I can with a recap of every last detail.  

See you swoon,

Monday, July 14, 2014

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IMLP Training Recap: Week 34

Thirty-four weeks of training in the books.  Yikes.  Week 34 was OK, I guess.  You know, if you consider sitting on the couch and staring at your foot and going OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG on repeat for days to be "OK".  It was more emotional than anything.  The ups and downs were extreme and were hard to take.  I am very thankful that I had three full weeks (now two weeks) to recover my poor injured foot, which looks like this these days, thanks to some super cool athletic tape that my PT uses - it's all spidey like:


Obviously, the Lake Placid pedicure is still going strong.  Tx.  As to the foot, I'll describe more below, but it is in great shape!  It is healing beautifully, and I am so thankful.  Once it seemed that I was in the clear and that I could actually race, I promised myself that I would not complain about any workouts.  Even the long bikes.  I'm just so happy (and lucky) that I can do this.

Week 34: 9:03:18 hours :/

Swam:  59 minutes (open water - 2,731 yards)
Biked:  6:04:23 hours (96.8 miles)
Ran*:  2:00 hours (don't know mileage b/c this was done in a pool) *run = deep water run {aka aqua jog}

Workouts:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday:  Easy Bike & Recovery Swim Rest Day [IR List]
Wednesday:  Open Water Swim Rest Day [IR List]
Thursday:  Long Run Rest Day [IR List]
Friday: Open Water Swim
Saturday:  Long Bike - 100 miles
Sunday:  Deep Water Running - 2 hours

As you can see from the list above, I had a lot of rest this week.  Monday was a scheduled (and necessary) rest day after a hard few days of workouts.  And, not to mention, it was the day after I fell on my long run and it was impossible and painful to walk on my left foot, let alone do a workout.  My physical therapist wanted me to fully rest the foot for a few days.  I asked if I could at least do the open water swim on Wednesday, and he advised against it.  As difficult as it was for me to rest and not do anything, I listened.  He advised (and I knew in my head he was right) that at this point, I'm fully trained ... and any exertion on my already tender foot might set my recovery back quite a bit.  So, I did what he said and rested.  This was supposed to be a peak week of training.  Not so much.  Still ... 9 hours of training in three days? Not too shabby.

On Monday, my injury (which I described, along with the upsetting aftermath, in the Week 33 Recap) was pretty bad.  I couldn't walk on the foot without pain, I couldn't move the foot at all, it was swollen, and it was painful to the touch.  On Tuesday, after my first PT appointment and after he used this really cool infrared laser on the foot, it was a lot better.  On Wednesday, it was even better.  My PT could not believe it was the same foot. My PT agreed that if I was smart, didn't push too hard too fast and was dedicated to frequent PT trips, I could very likely race IMLP.  Sold!

By Friday, the foot was even better - I could feel it was getting stronger and less tender.  At PT we did some strength and balance exercises, which felt fine.  He allowed me to get off the IR List (you know, the football term for the injured reserve list) and get back out there and bike and/or swim, but said absolutely no impact, no running, and left me with the very emphatic, "DO NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID." OK.  I can be very stubborn, but in this case, I am listening (and will listen) to every single thing my PT says and will do it without objection or question.  And, in fact, my motto for the next (gulp) 13 days is "DO NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID" said in all caps.  The one downside: he wants me to wear sneakers every single day.  So, I'm working this look:


not even pretending to be excited about the sneakers

And I feel like this:


My friend Julia was like "please for the love of God, just don't wear the sneakers with skirts."  Word.

Meanwhile, Amy, Bill and I had planned to do a weekend of training in the part of South Jersey where I'm from.  We all had swims on Friday and 100+ mile bike rides on Saturday scheduled.  None of us could handle the thought of another ride around where we live or, worse, on the trails.  South Jersey is super flat and pretty close.  They wondered if I knew a place to get in an open water swim.  I actually do!  My cousin lives near, and has lake rights to, a gorgeous private lake, in the town next to my hometown.  At our annual family reunion a few weeks ago, she mentioned she saw my Facebook post about swimming and said I was welcome to use her lake at any time.  So I got in touch with her and she was happy to let the three of us use her lake.  Done.

Friday, we left work a little early and went to the lake in Millville, NJ.  My cousin's husband met us and took us to Laurel Lake -- a total hidden gem of a lake in Cumberland County.  The water was clean and warm but not too warm.  It was cedar water, so it was dark, but it wasn't murky like the lake in Cedarville at the Devilman race.  There was no one else in the lake at all and the water was like glass.  We all started off for our hour swim.  Having not exercised at all in 4 days, I flew out like a bat out of hell. It felt amazing to be moving again.  I was careful to pay attention to my foot, which felt fine.  About 6 minutes into the swim, I noticed the sky looked pretty dark.  We kept an eye on it, but I was a little nervous about the threat of a storm.  We swam 30 minutes out and at the turn around it was lightly raining.  On the way back, the skies opened up and wow.  No lightning and thunder thank goodness.  I have to say, it was super cool to swim in a rainstorm.  We finished the swim in just under an hour and when we did, a giant rainbow was over the lake -- the full arc, too! I wish I had my phone, but it was safe and dry in the car.  You'll have to imagine it, but I promise it looked like this (ok, it looked nothing like this.  but close enough.  there was a rainbow and there was a lake)


Saturday was a 105 mile bike ride.  Bill mapped out a route in my hometown and I generally knew where we were going.  It would go past soooooo many places of my youth: a ton of my jobs (real estate agencies (plural!), and my uncle's deli, and my baby-sitting gigs), all of my schools from kindergarten through high school, several ex-boyfriends' houses, downtown Bridgeton where the remnants of my favorite stores were still visible (RIP Weber's Candy ... RIP), Terry's Custard, friends' houses, the site of the annual Alloway Halloween parade, and even the Devilman bike course, which I raced in 2014 and 2013.  Our ride was a little short, but at 97 miles, we were within 10 miles of the target 105.  It was a fine ride, and Amy and Bill appreciated the very flat terrain.  Unfortunately, Amy's last name turned into Murphy on this ride as lots went wrong: she got stung by a bee in her helmet and got a flat tire courtesy of a nice nail in her tire, just shy of half way through the ride.  She changed that tire in record time - less than 10 minutes.  I was super impressed and would have helped but I was too busy taking these pictures.



After the ride, I so so so wanted to test my foot, but, having adopted the maxim DO NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID, I did not run.  As soon as I got off the bike, I said a bad word to it (as per usual), threw it against Bill's truck and then did as vigorous a walk as I could manage without it being a real "run", just to see how it felt.  It felt fine.  Yay.  And, because clearly,our bodies are our temples, we finished the ride by chugging Sprites and orange soda and headed home.

Sunday my coach wanted me to do two hours of "deep water running" (i.e., aqua jogging).  OK.  First, get used to seeing "deep water running" on the blog.  That's how I am going to refer to that activity, because I cannot say I am aqua jogging.  That conjures up images that I am not willing to adopt for myself.  My coach has already told me that after IMLP, I am going to be doing some deep water running to prepare for the Fall marathons I have scheduled (yeah - you thought training was over? No! Marathons! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!).  Anyway, digression aside, I needed a deep water running belt - something that would keep me nice and buoyant in the pool while I pretended I was actually running.  I am so lucky that I live near a great swim store, and they had three such belts in stock.  I went with the "fit" model.


Le sigh.  I watched some You Tube videos on how to deep water run.  This one and this one were particularly helpful.  Still ... the morning that I had to run, for two hours no less, I felt a little like Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents" when he had to change into the Speedo ...


I decided to own it.  Own the effing aqua jogging/deep water running and just do it.  I normally only wear my two piece suit when I swim outside but I was all in - wearing that suit with the jogger belt.  I even debated wearing my South Beach bikini for this exercise, you know, so I could prove to everyone that I may be wearing an aqua jogger belt, but I am still young and amazing and fit.  So, here I am:



I know what you're thinking - how is it possible that she can make an aqua jogger look that good? And I say, I KNOW.  I ... know.   With two hours of running in the pool, I knew I would need to break things up.  When I got to the pool when it opened, the regular lap pool was packed with swimmers.  I decided to go in the ... mmm ... other pool.  The pool where older people swim and walk.  I got in and started my watch (the heck if I wasn't using my Garmin for this workout!!) and started running.  My PT wanted this to be no impact, so I had to make sure not to touch the bottom.  It took 10 minutes to get used to it, but I eventually did.  Then I started intervals.  I did 4 minutes of running as hard as I could with 1 minute of easier running and repeat for about 30 minutes.  Then I bumped it to 9 minutes hard effort with 1 minute recovery.

I will tell you: deep water running is not easy.  At first I wasn't doing it correctly. I was using my arms too much and realized I was just swimming upright. Then I focused on making it an actual run and not using my arms.  I really ran as hard as I could and it was tough! My heartrate increased and at times I was actually sweating. Two very sweet older ladies joined me in the pool. They were aqua "walkers" and not "runners" (there is a difference, I was told) but I struck up a conversation with Shirley who really admired my belt.  I stayed in the deep end of the pool, which was 5 feet.  After an hour, they closed the pool I was in because there wasn't enough chlorine in it (um ... great) and I moved to the lap pool, where the crowds had thinned out.  I had my own lane for awhile and ran up and down my lane for an hour.  One good thing about being 5'1" is that with my belt on, I could not touch the bottom of the 4 foot deep pool. So I could run the entire length of the lap pool and have it be no impact.  YES.

I did the entire 2 hours of deep water running and was beat at the end.

This week officially begins taper!  IT IS ABOUT EFFING TIME.  Sorry for the all caps assault but my God.  It's here.  The key to the last few weeks is to stay healthy, stay happy, stay focused and above all else, DO NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID.

See you swoon,



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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IMLP Training Recap: Week 33

Happy Wednesday.  Happy 33 weeks of training.  What a week this was - it was the 4th of July, and we had a bunch of hard workouts and a bunch of not so hard workouts.  But Sunday's long run ended with this:


That's an ice bag on my foot.  More on that on Sunday's recap, but I am OK.  And thankful.  And wow - take a look at those tan lines on my leg.  At this point, I'm waving the white flag and just accepting that my tan this summer will be based around my tri kit.

Week 33: 15:35:55 hours

Swam: 1:51:27 hours (4,698 yards)
Biked:  8:17:06 hours (95.4 miles outside; rest on trainer)
Ran:  5:20:32 hours (32.2 miles)

Workouts:

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: easy bike & recovery swim
Wednesday: easy brick
Thursday: long brick - 85 mile bike & 10 mile run
Friday: open water swim - 1 hour
Saturday: easy brick
Sunday: long run - 17 miles

Obviously, week 33 was a peak week of training, with over 5 hours of running and over 8 hours in the saddle.

Monday's rest day did not disappoint.

Tuesday I had an easy 70 minute bike at endurance pace, which I did in the morning before work.  After work, I did the recovery swim at the 50 meter pool at the YMCA.  It was 2,000 meters (5 sets of 400) and felt really good.  I love swimming in that long pool in the early evenings.

Wednesday was an easy brick: 70 minute bike followed by a 4 mile run.  It was fine - nothing crazy.  But it was h-o-t hot (or so I thought until Thursday's workout).  Here I am along with a close-up of my super sweaty arm post-workout.



Thursday.  Oh my Holy Moly Cow.  I cannot even begin to describe how hard and hot and miserable Thursday's workout was (but you know I will try).  We were scheduled to do a long brick: 85 mile bike and 10 mile run.  Thursday was a hot day, and Amy and I decided to do the workout together - we kept coolers in the car filled with ice, drinks, and towels.  We figured OK, we will deal with the heat.  And it was hot.  See the "real feel" temp?  95 degrees.



We did the brick on the Schuylkill River Trail, which is nice and flat but not terribly long.  So, we ended up riding the trail from end to end twice plus a little more.  The first loop wasn't too bad (it was still early, the sun wasn't out, it wasn't that hot), but it had stormed the night before so the trail was covered in mud in parts.  You can see how filthy my legs got from this mud:



The second loop was much harder in every way - seeing those same exact landmarks and knowing I had to do the entire thing again was rough.  Plus, my power meter wasn't working: the battery was dead. So I was riding blind.  I think I pushed a little too hard on the bike.  And I didn't eat enough.  And it was really hot.  And really humid.  And really sunny.  We got off the bike and went to our cars to change for the run.  We ended up dousing ourselves with ice and then hit the run.  Again: hot, humid, hard to breathe.  Coach wanted us to do the run with 4/1s: 4 minutes run/1 minute walk, repeat. Once we were about 3 miles into the run, we agreed that, given the heat and humidity, we would only do 8 miles instead of 10.  Amy used Bill's often used quote for this whole experience: "this is a training program, not a suicide pact."  So, we got to mile 4, which happened to have a water fountain, and basically bathed in that fountain.  It was incredible and really helped.  We turned around and headed back to the cars.  Still, by mile 7, I was done with the run. I was hot and miserable.  And I may have lost my temper and (irrationally) yelled at the cars on the adjacent road that I hated all of the people inside of them with their air conditioning.  Way to be cool.  Amy knows me well enough at this point to know that I was having a little melt-down, so she just kept on running.  Here I am post-run.  I am trying to muster a smile.  Did I mention it was hot? Or that I was miserable?  I have an iced towel around my neck and down my shirt.  Honestly, this was the hardest workout I have ever done in my life.


With the big workout for the week out of the way, Amy, Bill and I headed up to Lake Wallenpaupack (please don't tell my kids!) for 4th of July fun and training.

Friday was terrific and amazing and very surprising.  An open water swim for an hour and that's it!  Amy and I swam together and swam about 1.5 miles, which was nice.  After the swim, we enjoyed the rest of the day and took a hike with Amy and Bill's kids.  We saw a lot of sights.  Like this guy (what is it with me and snakes this year?):


We also saw a beaver dam.  See the dam and then the beaver's teeth marks? Pretty cool.



It was chilly on the 4th. I swear to you: I have more sweatshirts than my white Gap one.


Not sure what I'm thinking about in this picture, but it's a good chance it was either Ironman or food or beer.  Or maybe all three.


Friday was also noteworthy because I confessed to Amy and Bill how Air Supply gets me up hills.  So ... yes.  When I am climbing on the bike and am in my easiest gear (the granny gear), and I can't possibly shift anymore, I always start singing, "I'm all out of gears, I'm so lost without you, I know you were right, believing for so long".  Sometimes I sing it in my head and sometimes, I let go and sing it out loud.  But yes, that's what I do. When I told them, Bill said something to the effect of "that's the worst thing I have ever heard in my entire life" and Amy just laughed hysterically.  But ... now they sing it too.  When you're all out of gears, you will too.  In fact, I would venture a guess that anyone who reads this who is a biker or triathlete will now think of this song when he/she is climbing and all out of gears (I'm looking at you Bri-Tri).  You're welcome.


Saturday was another easy workout: just a 50 minute bike and a 3 mile run.  We did this in the morning, and it was fine.  It was a beautiful day.  After lunch we went out on Amy and Bill's boat, where I proved I actually do know how to relax ... beer in hand.


This picture would be a lot better if I hadn't forgotten to apply sunscreen to my tummy, which then caused a pretty bad sunburn.  Doh.

Sunday.  OK.  Sunday.  I had a 17 mile run, which I would do solo back at home (while Amy and Bill stayed up at the lake one more day).  My coach wanted me to run the entire thing 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking, repeat for 17 miles.  The 4/1s are infinitely sustainable.  You run for a bit and then next thing you know, you're walking again.  It was a beautiful day: not too hot and perfectly sunny.  I ran a route I often do and went all the way around Valley Forge.  I had many "I can't believe I am doing this" moment, many joyfully tearful moments, and many, many moments where I just daydreamed about really good stuff.  Unfortunately, around mile 14.5, I wasn't paying attention to the road (I think I was watching two bikers up ahead of me on the road), I landed my left foot in a ditch in the shoulder, my ankle rolled inward and I fell - palms first on the road. Ouch.  Another runner happened to be right there, and he ran over and helped me up and stayed with me until he could see that I could walk.  The foot was a little sore, so I walked slowly and then it felt fine. I eased into running - very gently, very slowly, but after a minute, it felt great and I had no pain.  I was at a part of the run where I could have cut through some woods to get home quickly, and I promised myself that if I had any pain, I would stop the workout.  But I didn't - the foot felt totally normal.  So I went back to my 4/1 cycle.  I finished the run and felt great and thought that the cut on my right ankle was the only lasting effect from the fall:


Hours later, my foot was in pain.  It hurt a lot - the arch and the part of my foot where the foot meets the leg (right where my finger is in this picture from the ER).  


I took myself to the ER because I wanted to rule out a break, which, thankfully, the X-Rays did.  The ER sent me home with a diagnosis of an ankle sprain, along with crutches and an air cast.  The next day I made an appointment with a physical therapist for Monday and an orthopaedic doctor for Tuesday.  I was in a lot of pain on Monday: it hurt to walk, my foot was really swollen, I could barely move the foot in any direction or in any way without pain or discomfort and it was just not fun.  When I got to the physical therapist things were pretty grim.  And they got more grim when the PT said he thought what I had was actually a ligament tear (boom), a break would have been better (boom) and ... he did not think I would be able to race in the Ironman (ba...BOOM).  I quite literally melted into a puddle there on the table, right in front of my kids and this PT who I had just met, and just cried and cried.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I could not stop the tears.  The PT wasn't without hope though: he admitted he was just going based on his initial assessment and thought an MRI would give more information.  So he did some work with an infrared laser (which reduce the swelling), taped the foot and gave me a compression sock and told me to come back on Wednesday.

I managed to get to the car holding it all together, until I couldn't any longer.  I burst into tears in the car, again in front of the kids.  I apologized for scaring them, but explained that I was just upset and scared and sad.  My kids know I am a crier for all things happy and sad, so they got it, but I think it still took them aback a bit.  No one wants to see Mommy lose her sh*t.  My sweet boy leaned forward in his seat and said, "Mommy, I'm sorry you might not be able to do your Ironman.  But we can do our own Ironman! We can do it at Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop's! they have a pool and lots of land."  Melt.  I told him that was a wonderful idea.

Of course, my first text was to Team Awesome.  I was at a point where I couldn't talk about it without losing it, so I texted them.  Amy and Bill immediately responded and told me to come to their place with the kids to hang out that night.  Honestly, my inclination at first was to go home and cry and be alone, but I knew that wasn't good. So, I took them up on their offer and the kids and I went over to their place for dinner and beer for me.  I was also texting with a few other friends (Heather, Toya, Julia, Melissa, Missy) who were awesome and supportive and positive.  I have really good friends, and I'm crying a little as I write this.  I am really glad I took Amy and Bill up on their offer of company ... we had a lot of fun, and they managed to take my mind off of what was a pretty completely crushing day.

Well, I woke up on Tuesday feeling a lot better.  I was able to bear weight without any pain and the foot just seemed better.  I was cautiously optimistic.  I went to the ortho who looked at the foot and thought it was in good shape and not worthy of an MRI.  He manipulated it, felt it, compared feet, had me walk and said he thought it was a foot sprain, and with proper PT and rest I would be fine to race.  I could have kissed him right then and there and made little baby Dr. Rosenfelds with him.  I asked if I could still get the MRI, just to know what we were dealing with, and he refused.  He said it was not an MRI-able injury, the MRI would be a waste of time and money and would only serve to cause worry when there was no reason.

So ... that's the long story.  I'm heading to PT today and again on Friday and then three times a week for the remainder of training.  I'm playing training by ear (and am not eager to run just yet), but right now I am just so thrilled that I should will be able to make it to the start.  I knew I wanted this race, but I didn't know how much until I came face to face with the prospect that I might not get to do it.

There are two and a half more weeks of training left (OMG).  I am so glad I have all of those days because I need every single one!  I'll continue to post recaps and updates here on the blog.  As I'm sure you've gathered by the dearth of posts on anything other than training, that's what life is focused on these days.  But it's all good.  The big goal I've been working toward and into which I've poured a ton of blood, sweat and tears is almost here.  Rather than be anxious (and to be honest, I am a little anxious), I am more excited.  I really do want to soak in every moment of race day and look at it as a celebration and culmination of months of hard work and years of dreaming.  It's gonna be a great day.

See you swoon,

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