Torture Report: Summer Colds, Ankles & Heat!

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(G): It’s been a summer full of adventure both during races and in training. The heat and humidity have been major players in my suffering and this weekend they got plenty of attention. But this last summer race wrapped up with a flourish and a pop… of an ankle that is.

Yes, the Moebius-Green Monster 50K did not disappoint. I headed into the weekend with the start of a summer cold and a not-so-great attitude about it. I woke up at 2 am Saturday morning in a full-on sweat and thought maybe I had “sweat-out” my cold. But when I got up a few hours later I was feeling a bit rough around the edges. My throat was a little sore, I was tired, and not feeling my best. Does this sound familiar? I know, almost like a race morning two weeks ago but for different reasons.
Sheesh… this was getting old already.

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We got ready and headed out to the course. It was 63 degrees and high humidity at the start but this was a welcome change. We also were in the woods a good part of the time so that helped us through the day immensely as well. For the first 10-15 miles I struggled. My food intake was off, my legs felt tired, and I was just dragging through. Maybe it was psychological but once we started the fourth of five 10K loops I started to feel better. We made pretty good time for being more than 20 miles into the race and when we got back to camp ready to start our last loop our spirits were lifted. We were both ready to get out there and get it done. Everything feels good on the last loop. It’s all “this is the last time I have to climb this hill,” and “this is the last time I see that stupid tree root…” you get the idea.

About 2 miles in lady luck decided to go be friends with someone else. Swaggy J hit a root, rock or whatever, it’s hard to tell on the trail, and sprained his ankle. I have to be honest, at first when I heard the crack of a stick behind me and what audibly seemed a lot like tripping I wasn’t alarmed. Swaggy trips and catches a foot on a root about 10-30 times a race depending on the length of the event. I usually after hearing a sound like this give it about 20-30 seconds and then inquire about his “OK-ness”.

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This time when I couldn’t hear footsteps behind me I stopped.

When I turned around I could tell we were about to encounter another trail “opportunity.”

Swaggy didn’t look too good and he was telling me that crispy crack i just heard wasn’t a stick but his ankle.

Umm, what?

I looked down at his foot expecting/fearing I would see bone.

I did not. Thank you, God!

But we weren’t out of the woods, literally or figuratively.

We still had 4 solid miles to go and it was not looking like they would be speed records. Let’s pause here to say that my husband who is so casual, relaxed and overall not an attention-seeker is a badass. The rest of the race was an exercise in suffering and he never complained once. He didn’t even yell at me for what I am sure were a million irritating antics.

OK, let’s continue…

We started walking and really taking it easy to be sure our effort to get out of the woods didn’t end with any more damage to Swaggy than necessary. About half a mile later we came to a fire pit with benches we’d passed four times before. I offered that we sit down for a few minutes and was a bit shocked when he took me up on the invitation. So we sat and I thought, I cannot carry him out of the woods so we’re just going to have to quit at the next aid station, cut the course to get back sooner and DNF, OR we have a long way back to salvation.

While sitting on the bench my husband, also known for his penchant for moviemaking post-race, pulled out a camera and started filming his own race-course confessional about his injury.

Then I started to relax. He might be in bad shape but if he’s thinking about his movie, we’ll be alright.

When we got to our next anticipated saving grace we were denied. While the aid station parts were technically still there, it had been deserted by people so no way out for Swaggy that didn’t include his own power. They did, however, leave the snacks and water behind so blessings for that.

The next 2 miles were LONG, root-infested and I thought we’d never get through it. I’ve walked through the woods with a sprained ankle because that’s the only choice and I gotta say that walking with someone else in pain is miserable in its own right. There’s nothing you can do but be quiet (OK I struggled with this one), be helpful if you can, and keep moving.

Eventually, we came to the service road that led us out of the woods and also to more water. I dumped about a gallon on Swaggy as all the trauma to his ankle and the rising mercury was really taking its toll. He felt better and we climbed uphill out of the trees.

It took another 1.5 miles of grassy, uneven terrain and a pretty steep downhill to get to the finish where our efforts were met with – silence.
Yep, that’s right, pretty much everyone else had finished and headed home. I dropped Swaggy off in the grass under a tree with a bag full of ice and went to tell the race director we’d returned from our nearly 9-hour tour.

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Even after all that, still smiling at the end.

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Eventually, not without some groaning and soreness, we changed our clothes, packed up our gear, and made our trip home.

Now that I’ve had a couple days to recover and reflect I have boiled it all down to this:

– I am so unbelievably relieved that we will not run another race in Summer 2016. That’s not to say our next event may not be warm but it’s unlikely it will be in the 90s. (If it is, I may boycott)
– I am hopeful that in 30 days Swaggy will be healed enough to at least walk in our 12-hour event.
– Swaggy J is tough, determined and not a quitter even when everyone would’ve understood if he’d hitched a ride back to the finish.
– I am taking the whole week off!!!

See you next week when I get off the sofa and continue on my crazy train of fitness fun. But for now the lazing around continues.

(L):  First of all, way to go G and Swaggy J on another ultra in the books, but Ouch!  Swaggy J, I hope you are on the mend soon.

I am going to keep this short and sweet because I have done nothing in comparison to the weekend shenanigans of G!  Basically, I am putting my miles in slow, but sure, and I am doing strength and conditioning every day with a little help from my furry friends.

My back and shoulder pain have become constant companions that every morning I try to shake.  Usually by day’s end my back feels great only to start over the next morning.  My shoulder continues to be unhappy with all of my training so I have reluctantly made an appointment with the orthopedic doctor this week.  My hope is that he says I am mortal and with a little more training I will be good to go.  I will keep you posted.

And thank you G for informing us that you are taking the week off.  I am feeling like this might be my big opportunity to accomplish my goal of surpassing G in the mileage department for the week!

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G

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