Monday, August 20, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

I've always prized myself on having a good memory (not nearly as good as Heidi's but it's been pretty sufficient). Almost to the point where it's embarrassingly good (I'm not bragging, it's the truth) where I've had to pretend multiple times not to know someone because I met them once two years ago as they were passing by and knew my friend, why they could forget me I'm not sure. But now it's gone, although I'm told it will return but I'm not sure when. Not to fret, as it's not completely gone but my short term memory seems to be well short-circuiting at the moment. It's a really weird state to be in actually. Last Sunday after my parents left I ended up just lounging around and watching 3 movies, by Monday I could only remember 2 and by Tuesday only 1. The only movie I remembered the whole week watching was The Vow, which is actually ironic because in it (spoiler alert!) she loses her memory of the past 5 years (I'm not sure what would have been worse, waking up not remembering the past 5 years or waking up only being able to speak Russian, both would have been entertaining though, at least to Frank and MC, not my parents). Friday night I was driving and started to put on chapstick and it was a deja vu moment where I suddenly remembered watching Mirror, Mirror because in it Julia Roberts gets stung on the lips by bees and then immediately the entire movie came back to me. It's the most bizarre thing to have no recollection of any of the movie for almost a week and then you are bombarded with so many scenes from the movie you wonder how you were ever able to forget.

This was on our table the night before Leadville
I do remember Leadville though. I woke up at 4:30 so that we would be able to leave at 5 (I talked my dad and Frank into coming the night before). I got dressed, all bandaged up and then realized it was just my dad and I, as Frank decided not to wake up. We got to the first aid station, which is at about mile 10 and then mile 90 on the way back. We started making PB&J's and putting oranges, bananas, and m&ms out, along with water and GU Brew (guess I know what my training food is now!). One of the guys said we wouldn't need any food as no one stops. He was right. Only a handful of people stopped and it was mainly ones that had to use the bathroom or they had mechanical issues. One guy came through yelling if anyone had a helmet and was willing to pay $200. The one time I don't have one in my car, it figures. Luckily one of the volunteers did and he took it. He said it fell off about a mile earlier and I'm not sure why the option of riding without one (which warrants being disqualified) overruled the option of stopping and picking it up. I guess in the heat of the moment his critical thinking skills didn't exactly think that one through. Two guys snapped their rear derailleurs off and were out of the race, so I need to make a note to pack an extra one of those (this is only funny if you realize the ridiculousness of trying to put on a new derailleur in the midst of a race). 

Definitely not what I thought I'd be wearing
I felt a little weird being there though, because a lot of the people that were volunteering were doing so to try and get into the race next year. Some of them had even raced previous years and didn't get in this year. I didn't want to tell anyone that I was actually suppose to be racing but instead got a medical deferral. At that point I looked pretty normal (minus the bandages on my hand) and acted pretty normal that I was afraid they were going to judge me for not racing. I know it was silly but I think part of me was judging myself for not racing, even though it would have been a shit show if I had. Some of them asked me if I was going to try and get into the race for next year, my response was usually more of an open to interpretation, "Uh, well see, one of my friends is all about is and so I thought I'd come and check it out." You know when you have a problem and you try to tell your parents but really it's like, "Well, uh you see my friend has this problem..." that was what I felt like. I was definitely able to get a better feel for the race (one guy eats baby food) and it's not as serious as I thought it would be, it's definitely a race but one lady had ribbons on her helmet, and I realized it was probably a lot of wasted energy to try and figure out what to wear. 

It was a long day when I got home from the race, my parents had taken me to get a bed frame and without thinking I thought my bed was a full (I've only had it for a year...) and so we got a full bed frame only to have my dad and Frank put it together and realize that my bed was a queen. And then I just started crying, not even that stifling, just a tear running down, I have something in my eye, this is a sad movie crying. But full on, not breathing, sobbing, my dog just died crying. My dad said, "Don't worry, I'll go change it out, we'll get the right bed frame." I just replied, "It's not about the bed" it never is. My mom took me aside, mainly so Frank would stop telling me it was okay, people buy the wrong beds alllllll the time. She told me that it was okay to grieve for the life I thought I was going to have, even though it's just a small bump (and not a huge detour) having her say that made me realize that for the past 6 months I never once considered not finishing an option. I always saw myself going down that red carpet into the finish. I didn't even fathom not starting, it didn't even cross my mind that it could be a possibility. I had been so careful to try and not get sick in the weeks leading up to it, not riding any technical single track, so that I would be 100% on race day. The biggest thing I have to get over is not being able to remember the crash, for something that I'll never be able to's hard to forget. 

I was cleared to exercise this week, which was interesting. I went to the gym because I thought it would be good to be in a controlled environment so I got on the elliptical, which I've never really understood the purpose of that machine. Who are these people that actually use it? It's a pretty humbling experience though, not as bad as when I had to learn to walk again, on the treadmill and going about 2.7mph. I let what I thought people thought of me dictate what I thought of me (did you follow that). The fact that I was only going 20 minutes on the elliptical, in my mind people were saying she's not an athlete, but that's what I was thinking about myself. It's a good lesson to learn though, seeing my insecurities in what I think others are thinking of me (which I let happen at the race). I'm working on it. It took a couple of minutes to get over it at the gym, and the ridiculousness of that machine, have you ever tried that thing? It's really quiet awkward, I had no idea what to do with my arms the whole time- do I use the "trekking poles" do I put them on the place that it takes heart rate, do I just put them at my side? If someone could fill me in that would be great. And it helped that The Real Housewives of New Jersey was on, their problems are soooo much worse than everyone's. I'm not sure when I'll start biking, soon I hope, I just need to find a new helmet and I'm actually, surprisingly, really picky about that. I really liked my helmet, like a lot. It was a good weight, amazing color, great fit, it looked good on me, all the things you want in a good helmet. I've found a couple of contenders but I have to order one and then figure out the whole biking thing. I want to go back to Leadville and ride the route I did when I crashed, and crush it. But that probably won't be my first ride out. I'll keep you posted, if nothing else at this point I have a reason to keep writing. 

I had the house to myself this past week. My parents left on Sunday and my roommate left for the week last Monday. I didn't tell my parents that he left because then I'm pretty sure they would have stayed. As much as I appreciated my mom taking care of me (and I really did because I think I would have rushed back sooner than I did and it would have taken a lot longer to feeling as good as I am now) it was nice having a little down time. The only problem I ran into was when I got home from dropping my roomie off at the airport I went to paint my nails and realized that since my left hand still wasn't able to grip I couldn't get any of my nail polish open. I tried everything, putting the bottle behind my knee, between my knees, holding it with my toes. Luckily I found a small little sample bottle that I could open with my finger tips because it wasn't shut tight- so the week wasn't as long as it could have been. Only once did I have to go ask my neighbor how to turn on the stove.....those critical thinking skills are slowly coming back.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012


2810. This is my race number for Leadville. Don't worry you can relax (or put the rosary down) I accepted the medical deferral. I didn't even bring my bike up because I knew I would contemplate riding when I got to Leadville. And I did, but didn't have my bike. I love it when past me takes into account the actions of future me and acts accordingly. The doctor didn't clear me when I saw her on Tuesday, actually it went more like this:
Me: "Leadville granted me a medical deferral so I can race in 2013"
Her: "Oh, I'm so glad to hear that, because I didn't want to have to tell you not to ride."
Me: "I'm glad too, because then I didn't have to disobey you and then see you next week wondering why I'm not feeling better."
So we all win. 
When I texted my dad, I said, They granted me a medical deferral, I get to race in 2012!!. He wrote back, uh, don't you mean 2013. I said, Yah, I keep forgetting it's not 2011. Don't worry I'm getting better everyday!!

I would have been Linus.
I'm really not sure what I would have done had I not gotten the medical deferral. As crazy and as compromising as it would have been to race, people don't get chances like this everyday. But I'm glad I got it as I walked up 27 stairs the other day and was out of breath and my legs hurt. I got to the top and thought "Powerline definitely would have handed my ass to me on a silver platter" which it might have done without crashing but at least I would have had a chance.

Maybe I'll start baking again
Because I wasn't able to work I've tried to take time to reflect on my training leading up to the race, and to start thinking about next year. It's weird I feel like in a twisted way I've been given a second chance. I did feel ready for this year but now it's like I know what not to do. I'm not sure I want to live my life another year saying "after Leadville" especially because my mom said something about going to Harry Potter World and without thinking I said, "It'll have to be after Leadville next year." I realized that I probably got a little obsessed and maybe too focused on one race. I put more focus on the end result of getting to Leadville and finishing than just enjoying the process. Especially because the end result isn't what I thought it would be at this point. I think I'm going to take some time off from training, not only because my doctor recommended it, but I need it. I want to start playing more tennis and by that I mean start playing tennis (they have such cute clothes), start doing more swim workouts, regularly running and doing more road and mountain bike rides just for fun. I'm thinking I'll go to California, sit on a beach, hopefully do some surfing, and then come back just in time to get settled into a grad school class. I want to get back into the flow of school and work and then start thinking about training in October. I also think I'm going to invest in a coach because I was always worried I wasn't doing enough to prepare (when really at some points I was probably doing too much). That way they can also help me balance it with my life a little more. I'm also thinking I'll do a few more races next year probably in the Leadville Race Series but just to get my feet wet so I'm not jumping in head first (because concussions are not fun).     

I haven't been able to shave my legs since the crash, so it's probably a good thing that I've sworn off boys for another year. It's not like I would be able to date anyways because my roommate is a bigger rooster stopper than CB was in college. My brother did ask if I did anything to my head besides a bad concussion (which I thought was a weird question) but just said, "I scratched my face but it has healed up pretty nicely so there is still hope in finding a husband." He replied, "Hope springs eternal." I've missed him.

Don't judge her, she's "comfy"
I'm up at Copper Mountain right now, the house was already paid for so my parents figured we'd just make it into more of a vacation. My sister and I took the bunk beds, which I proclaimed if I was still racing I would lay stake on the king bed. I did pick up my packet (mainly for the most expensive t-shirt I've ever bought) and activated my chip before realizing that probably a bad idea. I then was worried about getting a DNF behind my name when I hadn't even started. I talked to the lady who granted me the medical deferral and she took care of it. I got nervous even being in the racing atmosphere and I still have another year to prepare. Luckily that also means my mom and grandmother have another year to put some rosaries in the bank, as I'm sure I cashed in all the ones they had prayed for me on my crash.

Target let's me coordinate my bandage with my manicure
My doctor wants to see me back if my wrist doesn't heal in the next week or so. She thinks that most of the fall was stopped with my hand as I can't lift too much more than an iphone or move it in certain positions. I have managed putting my hair in a pony tail with one hand (#skillsIwishIcouldputonmyresume). It would be nice to get full function back as I'm limited to what bikes I talk about at work because I can't get any down from the second tier. I'm hoping that if I do go back and see her I can try and set her up with my roommate because it would be beneficial for me to have a doctor in the house.

I did volunteer for the race just so I can get a better sense of how everything works. I have to be there earlier than if I was racing but I'll be at the first check point. I'm trying to talk Frank into coming with me but he's not super keen on getting up at 4:30 to hand out water, especially if Lance isn't here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blue. Tree. Frog.

These are the three words the ER nurse asked me to remember. When she asked me to recall them a while later I stammered out "Blue...uh...yep, that's all I got!" Which I thought was pretty good considering I woke up thinking it was July 15 and had to look at my Road ID to figure out who I was, thanks again Molly! I actually thought that my last training ride was going to be so uneventful I had started working on ideas about what to write before the race (and this is when God starts laughing, I hope he's ROFL about this one). Yes, I crashed on my last training ride and while I don't remember much I'll relay what I do.

I had met my mom and and my sister, Mary Clair in Silverthorne last Tuesday morning. My sister drove me to Leadville, so I could rest, while my mom followed in her car. We stopped by the race shop so I could get another map and then parked at Twin Lakes Dam. I was about to change when I told my mom and MC to turn around because I wasn't wearing any underwear. My mom asked why, and I replied "I don't need to with bike shorts and I'm not wearing a clean pair for only the drive up." MC and my mom then headed off to Crested Butte to take MC shopping before going to the cabin. I decided to do Columbine but figured I would warm up first by going 5 miles out in the opposite direction and then back by my car in case I needed anything before heading up Columbine. The 10 mile warm up was uneventful, except I saw a snake which was pretty odd considering I have never seen one up there but took it as a good omen because it was my last big training ride. I stopped by my car because I've been contemplating buying a lighter wheel set and decided I would at least call and see if they had them in stock to ship out right away. They didn't have the ones I wanted but they did have a set, I told them I would call back the next day to order them. I wanted to check with some guys at work and see what they thought of them before I paid for overnight shipping. I started the trip up Columbine, this time I actually saw quiet a few bikers, one who was much older yelled at me to "Enjoy it" as I climbed up and he whizzed by going down. I thought to myself I will do just that. I saw an antelope on the way up and it acted a little strange just in the sense that it crossed the road right in front of me and then stopped and stared me down as I road by. But I was going slow enough that it was probably just appalled by my lack of speed.

Take Cover!
It started raining which I didn't mind because being from South Dakota, it's a pleasure to ride in the rain. I did mind when it started hailing. Luckily I was near a campsite and someone had pitched a tarp off their trailer that I ducked in there. I didn't think they would mind me taking refugee till it let up, especially because I left them some money to ward off any bad karma that might follow me. The rest of the climb was slow going but I felt good and made it to the top no problem. At the top I saw a car heading down so I took one of the side roads off to avoid any tight spaces with the car. I road until I reached 20 miles on my garmin and then figured another 10 back to my car and debated doing more but decided to see how I felt when I got back. I don't know if this is relevant but I did take my inhaler at the top because I started feeling some tightness in my chest and wanted to ward off any attack that might be brewing. 

I started the descent down and passed the car pretty quickly. I was making mental notes of how far from the top things were, the creepy house with the army convoy .75 miles from the top, which means 4.25 miles up in the climb. I remember thinking I need to remember that because I always think that house is closer to the bottom. I also made a mental list of things I wanted to do when I got home that night; go to Whole Foods, put together my shower stand, maybe watch Silence of the Lambs, do abs, and start making a list of things for Leadville. That's my last real memory of the ride before waking up in the rear seat of the car I had passed with some biker handing me my broken Oakley's telling me I was going to be okay. 
Didn't see my night going like this...

When I was passed out I was in this weird dream state where I remember walking around the forest up in Leadville. I was angry and at the same time content that this is how I was spending me last training ride, just walking around the forest. I remember some of my college friends were there as well as my roommate. When I woke up I didn't realize that the dream hadn't happened and thought that my roommate was in Leadville so I called his work about 5 times not remembering that I had called and he wasn't there. I also thought it was July 15th and wasn't sure what year it was or where I lived. The people whose car I was in were from Missouri and one of them was a nurse so they put ice on my head and flew to the hospital. On the way I called my mom and one of the ladies talked to her. I tried calling Molly but her ringer was off so she texted back, "Sorry, ringer turned off. Still @ work everything okay?"
I replied back, "No, I crashed I don't remember much in car on my way to hospital."
"Are you serious? Which hospital? You're not driving, are you?"
"Leadville I don't know some people picked me up." And that was all the details I felt were necessary to give her. I do remember talking on the phone to her later but I'm not sure what was said.

At the ER they changed me out of my clothes and into a gown and tried to start an IV. I suggested using a butterfly needle (not sure where I pulled that one out of) so the nurse did and sill couldn't get it so she sent an EMT in to do it who told me you can't use butterfly needles to start IVs but you can to draw blood. Why the nurse listened to me when I coun't even remember my middle name, I'm not sure. The doc checked me over and said no riding for 14 days, but Leadville is in 12?!?? He just said sorry. He then sent a cute EMT (figures the one day I don't wear makeup to ride) to bandage my wounds. He said he would be stationed at Powerline on race day I told him I might stop off for an IV. He also tole me that if it was him, he'd still race. Easy for him to say he's on the other side of the hospital bed.

My mom came in while MC went with the people from MO to get my bike out of their car and pick up my car. I told my mom they had to take my bike clothes off to check me over. She said, "I bet you wish you would have worn underwear." and I said, "It's nothing they haven't seen before." Luckily because my mom and sister were there I could borrow their clothes and not have to wear hospital scrubs out (I already have my Halloween costume for this year so I wasn't really in need). My mom took me back to Abe and Molly's that night where I began to feel worse with waves of nausea hitting so she took me back to the ER where they did a CT of my head (they thought it was weird that Leadville didn't do one considering I lost 90 minutes of memory) and an X-Ray of my hand. Both came back clean. I saw a concussion management doctor on Thursday who said Leadville is out, but I scheduled another appointment for next Tuesday just in case I make a turn for the better. She also said no rides longer than an hour for 4 weeks. So now I'm working on a deferral for the race to try and get in next year. I haven't heard back yet but fingers crossed they approve it.

Not getting that bracelet off anytime soon!
In the mean time because I can't do much else, I've been working on theories to how/why I crashed. I find it very strange that I crashed on that road because I know my skills and the road I was riding is not technical at all; it's essentially like Battle Mountain, just a fire road that's pretty wide. I'm open to anyone's ideas. The right side of my helmet is cracked, but my left eye and chin are scrapped up. My left arm is cut and my left hand is swollen with road rash on the back of my hand and left hip. My right leg is all bruised and scrapped up. I don't have any defense wounds on my palms almost like I didn't have time to react.
This is what I've got:
1.) I was riding and hit my head on a tree branch, got knocked out and then fell off my bike.
2.) A stick/snake got stuck in my spoke causing me to crash.
3.) I swerved to miss a deer or a snake or a chipmunk.
4.) I pass out on my bike before I even crashed, causing my body to go limp which is why I'm not hurt worse.
5.) A mountain man clubbed me over the head to try and make me his wife and as he was dragging me off heard the other bikers coming and left me and ran. (That's the top theory right now)
6.) That antelope came back with a vengeance like this one in South Africa.

Definitely needed more than a sample
We were at the mall the other day because I had felt bad that I crashed (literally) MC's vacation so I rallied for about an hour so she could go get her makeup done at Clinique. My mom fed me cookies the whole time to keep me from fading (I don't remember the last time I ate 1 let alone 4 cookies, but the doctor told her my brain needs glucose). As the lady was wrapping up she looked at me and asked if I wanted any samples, I said, "Sure, you can surprise me though, I can't really think right now." So she gave me some eye cream and the I asked, "Do you think I could get a sample of concealer?" My mom replied, "I think you're going to need more than a sample." 

I spent the past week at Molly's with my mom ad MC. I called my roommate the other day to tell him I was probably going to be coming home this past Saturday. He asked if my first aid kit was stocked. I said that since my mom isn't really medical she gets anything she might need, so my first aid kit had expanded immensely from duct tape and Disney Princess band-aids. I should be good for at least another 4 crashes....
What I thought I'd be writing about....
 Things I was going to blog about:
-What I was going to wear for the race, the little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or the little Gucci dress -(Spice Girls anyone?) Actually I was going to wear my Landry's jersey and my short Pearl shorts. I figure I could get away with the short shorts because I'm a girl so no one will take me seriously anyways, and they're not even my shortest.
-What color toenail polish I was going to wear "Teal the Cows Come Home" has been the favorite so far. I would have had to touch it up as it came off the toe with no toenail when I was doing a swim workout last week.
-How the only time I've lost weight during training was right before Molly's wedding when I went in for my last fitting (5 days before the wedding) and was told I'd gained 2 inches in my chest (as a result of all those push-up/pulls I was doing). Probably the only time I'll be upset that my bra size went up. Luckily my mom reminded me that no one was going to be looking at me.

That's where I'm at. It still hasn't really hit me that I'm more than likely not racing. Even if my some slim chance I do get cleared my body has been compromised so much that isn't not really fair to ask it to try when I can't give 100 percent. I was telling my mom how I thought Leadville was going to be the capstone of everything, starting in the ER when I got hit by the car and then finishing at Leadville. She pointed out that it had come full circle. ER to ER. I'll keep you posted with what the doc says on Tuesday but don't hold your breath. 

P.S. I've recently moved and my new address is 2502 S. Lafayette St. Denver, CO 80210 if you feel so inclined to send a get-well card! 
In about 4 weeks you can bet this will be me!