Friday, January 25, 2013

Round 2: Leadville-1 Kate-0

"What better way to bring in your prime reproductive years than to run a marathon?"
"No, I'm not spending my birthday running a marathon, especially not Leadville. And I've already run a marathon, I'm over it" 
"Yah..but you could train for this one, with me, it'll be fun!" 
"6000+ feet of climbing is not fun."
This is how the conversation went when one of the guys was trying to talk me into signing up for the Leadville Marathon. I still have till end of June to sign up for it and I'm pretty bad at saying no to peer pressure (except when it comes to drugs) so we'll see. I did sign up for the Leadville MTB 100. I had to put in for the lottery again and email the lady I talked to this summer to remind her about the medical deferral. I thought about emailing her to see if other people signed up with me if they would get in but decided not to push my luck. I had to pay the $15 to enter the lottery and then I'll pay the entry fee again. After I registered I put my credit card in my change jar on my desk because last year after I registered Wayne and I were driving home and I gave him my card to buy gas while I went inside and he lost it. It was quite the production tracking down the right people to switch out the card numbers so better safe than sorry. I kept putting off signing up because last year I remember it being a tedious process (if I even really remember it) where they ask you a bunch of questions about your bike and your history and if you're a member of this and that. I finally blocked out 30 minutes to do it and it was nothing like last year. They get your name and address, if you're a member of Lifetime Fitness, if you'd like to donate to IMBA and another place and then they ask you "Do you have an exceptional story about your journey to the LT 100?" Oh you betcha!

I haven't started training yet. I am riding my bike (not by myself though). I put my road bike up on the trainer, which has been hard because it's been pretty nice out and I want to go mountain biking but figure I should give my parents a few weeks to let their stress levels stabilize before I venture out on my own again. My mom sent me Downton Abbey to watch while I ride, apparently she bought it and watched it while she babysat me after the crash. I don't remember this happening though so it's all new to me. It's actually not bad. It came out my senior year of college and I didn't really give it a chance because the kids who were all about it were the same kids who spent multiple hours in the dining hall figuring out the Kennedy family tree to see which ones they could marry.....

I rode Hall Ranch with Wayne last weekend. I really like how challenging it is, it helps that I always forget how rocky it is until I'm riding it. The only problem I have with it is I get done and think about how much I want a full suspension long travel bike to bomb down it with. I'm doing my best to resist those urges to buy one right now. I still have problems with committing though. Three times I almost went over the bars because I bailed halfway through a decent. Once getting stuck on the edge of a rock while my bike swung around and I put one leg up to stop it from falling over while still holding onto the handlebars and then essentially getting stuck in the Captain Morgan pose. I wasn't exactly sure how to get out of it without injuring myself or my bike so stood on that one leg for a good 30 seconds. 
Definitely not as suave

Wayne just stopped and watched this unfold and after I said, "I'm stuck!" He said, "that's not how you're suppose to ride your bike." Clearly. 
When I was telling one of the guys about the ride he said I just need to go downhilling because "you either commit or you die! You'll get over your commitment issues reallllll fast!"
"You'll die, really?" I was skeptical.
"Yes...YOU will die." 

I still have a few more weeks of not drinking. It's not bad going out and it's great because then I can just drive home. When I go out with Wayne he lets everyone know that I won't be drinking because I have a TBI. I thought this was something that only he did, but it's not. I went to the mountains with some friends and at the first bar when we went up to order drinks one of the guys tells the bartender, "and she's not drinking because she has a TBI, not because she's morally opposed to it." I guess it's better than telling people "I'm not drinking because I donated a kidney to my brother after his accident."

My PT is happy with the progress I've been making. He's one of the few people that calls me "Kat" which the first time I thought I just misunderstood him and then it got to the point where it was awkward to correct him and now I've just accepted it. I notice more pain with riding and especially on my road bike. It's almost like there is calcified tissue just sitting where the fracture was because there is definitely a bump still there and it's pretty gross to touch. I actually have a strong aversion to bones, I used to shadow an orthopedic surgeon and I can remember watching a shoulder surgery where he cut off part of the bone and that's when I almost threw up and crossed orthopedic anything off my list.  Whenever I feel it a pit starts forming in my stomach. 
This view never gets old

I signed up for a 5K this weekend, the Yeti Chase. I'm just hoping that they have cool t-shirts. It's weird because I've never done a running event by myself before. Do I just show up, run and then go home? Besides the Turkey Trot the last one I remember doing was before my junior year of college as part of our summer training for volleyball. When I got done they actually thought it was Mary Clair who had ran it so I'm not even sure if that's really documented. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One Lucky SOB

If attacked, fight back works for a lot of things in life
If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me that I'm one lucky SOB I'd at least have 4 and that's just from one day. I decided to go for a ride last Thursday because it was suppose to be the last warm day for a while (rumor was a month but I think it's only a few days) and really wanted to ride. I haven't ridden since I did Hall a few weeks ago and started to get cabin fever so decided I would ride in the morning before work. I decided to do Chimney Gulch, the one I had done with Wayne at the beginning of December but skip the section with the waterbars (because I was going to be riding alone didn't want to crash over one and get knocked out). There is a place you can park that skips that section so I did that. I texted my roommate to tell him where I was riding and told him I should be off the trail by 11 (I always add in an hour extra than what I plan on riding just for shenanigans). I wasn't planning on being out that long so stuffed everything into my jersey pockets. Which means I left my knife in the car (If I learned one thing from 127 Hours it's to always have a sharp knife on you) but figured I'd be okay because it runs parallel with a paved road that has bikers on it all the time. I started the ride and the trail was in good condition some snowy patches in shaded coverage but that was about it. You climb for a little bit at the beginning and then the trail flattens out before it dips down into tree coverage and then you climb out and then you're pretty much at the top. I was turning the bend where it starts to flatten out when I saw something out of the corner of my eye bounding up the hill out of the grass about 20 feet in front of me. "Huh, that's a really big coyote....oh shit, that's a mountain lion." I stopped and it stopped on the trail and had its back turned to me. I froze for a second almost out of curiosity, I've never seen one and was captivated by it and then I remembered it kills people. I didn't want to turn around when it had its back to me because like my high school track coach said you should always see what's going to kill you (he used this when it came to running against traffic). I grabbed my phone (because I still had 2 hours until anyone was expecting to hear from me) and my tool was in the same pocket. Not that my tool would really do anything to it. And then it turned and looked at me. Not going to lie I might of peed a little. It seemed like a few minutes but I'm sure it was mere seconds that we held the death stare when I threw my tool down on a nearby rock to hopefully startle him. It did and he turned and scampered down the hill. I picked my tool up and stuffed it back into my jersey with my phone and then kept riding. This is how I know my frontal lobe is still damaged. Those critical thinking skills just aren't there yet. It was about 1/2 mile before I heard my Godfather's voice go "How's this report going to look?" 
I should probably just stick to writing....
Which he always asks if I'm debating doing something stupid. I started to get into the tree coverage area when I realized just how stupid I was being. I was lucky that I saw him the first time but I probably wouldn't see him the second time. I turned around and booked it back to my car. I texted my roommate a mere 30 minutes after my initial text "....yah, I'm off the trail there was a mountain lion so I'm going to go run in the park where people are." I didn't call home for a few days after that because I knew I didn't want to tell my parents and freak them out so sorry mom and dad you had to find out this way. I did tell my Godfather just because of his voice popping into my head I figured he would be pleased to hear that. He asked me if I got a picture. I told him that I wasn't exactly thinking about my blog at that point. He said too bad I should just draw one.  The picture isn't that accurate, I cut my hair so my braids aren't that long and I was wearing knickers not short shorts. But the mountain lion was definitely bigger than me. Just kidding. 
You'd be scared to not do your exercises with this guy

When I was driving home one of the thoughts I had was, well at least I'll have something to tell my physical therapist. Last time he asked me to tell him stories of my adventures the most exciting thing I had was I finished my book. The therapist is really cool though, if The Dude from The Big Levowski was a hand therapist this would be him, he even looks like Jeff Bridges. The first time I was in he was evaluating my strength and flexibility on both hands and after my right hand grip test he asked me what else I do besides biking. I tried to think of all the activities I do related to hand use and rattled off a few, "running, reading, knitting, writing, and swimming, not so much with the swimming and knitting these days because those bother my hand a little much." 
"Hmm well your grip strength is off the charts." I thought he was being sarcastic so I laughed and told him some of the guys at the shop call me farm strong. He wasn't kidding though. For a girl my age the normal range is 37-59 pounds. I'm at 87 for my right hand my left hand (which was broken for 5 months) is in the normal range at 39. He's also pretty funny which is good because I'm stuck with him for 45 minutes two times a week. He was asking me what I want to do with my life and I responded with my generic "oh you know maybe this maybe that." He suggested I go to school to be a hand therapist so I can give hand jobs the rest of my life. I told him I might just so I can make jokes like that! The exercises are definitely helping though, I get to play with silly putty two times a day as part of it it. I still notice some limitations with flexibility and strength but I'm sure it'll get there. I did play volleyball one night and bruised my left hand on the outside. I was trying to get a ball out the net and when I fell and I must have stuck out my hand but didn't want to catch myself with it so smacked it right where the ulna and triquertrum meet. It left a bruise which my therapist wasn't too happy about. I told him it's kind of funny though because I've been played volleyball pretty consistently for a good 7 years and never injured my hands in any capacity, not even jammed figures from blocking. He didn't think it was that funny and just said he was putting it in my file to cover his ass. 
I'm pretty good at that!

I've noticed more improvements with my head, at least when it comes to long term memory. One of my friends was talking about her favorite movie, The Sound of Music and how the younger ones have a ski resort in Vermont and I said, "Greta?" which I have no idea how I remembered that but was really excited when I did. I also go my hair cut recently and had seen her before Halloween when she was telling me about her costume and I remembered that she was going as a Toddlers in Tiaras with her friends. There are still definitely lapses. The new running shoes I ordered I wasn't super stoked on, well I was because they're awesome trail running shoes but I thought I ordered them in blue but was super excited and surprised when I received purple and green. I doubled checked to make sure they didn't mess up my order and I ordered them in purple and green. I also went to Zero Dark Thirty the other night (which is a great movie) and was really amazed at how fast the production happened given we had just killed Bin Laden in May, and then I realized I was missing another year. Whomp whomp. 
"This photo validates how cool I am" said everyone on instagram.

Running has been going well, I'm thinking about signing up for a 5K just to see where I'm at. Because my therapy appointments are in Boulder I usually run after those but before going to work (thank goodness we have a shower at work!). The only problem is that it tends to be a little windier there than in Denver, which is great when it's a tail wind it just sucks when you turn around and it's like running into a brick wall. It reminds me of the sled pulls we used to have to do in college for volleyball the only big difference is that I don't throw up after. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

When All Else Fails, Start Running

At the top of Hall
I finally got my stitches taken out. It definitely helped that the whole way (60 miles) to the doctor's office my mom kept asking me, "What are you going to ask the doctor." So when the nurse called my name in the waiting room I immediately said, "Can you take my stitches out?!??" Which they were clueless as to why I even had stitches since it was a different doctor but at least they're out. I also got my cast off which has led to me getting more compliments on my hair because now I can spend time blow-drying my hair and not my cast. I start physical therapy tomorrow (which at this point I should have just stayed living in Boulder) and I'm not sure what they'll make me do, my strength is still lacking and my flexibility is still the same that it was before the cast so hopefully they can fix that. I did Hall Ranch a few days after I got my cast off, I wasn't really planning on doing it so there was no one to go with me but I did tell someone where I was going. I really like riding by myself because I can work on skills that I want to and ride sections multiple times but it's not great when you crash and random people find you (you can't have your cake and eat it too, I suppose). It was really fun and a really good thing that when I rode it with Wayne and his friend they didn't think the rock garden would be good to go down with my cast, and they were right there is no way I would have made it out of there without going over the handlebars. I definitely needed to be able to hold onto the handlebars and use the brake. It also got me on a kick about getting a full suspension bike with it geared more towards downhilling. That definitely might be medicated, or post concussion me talking. Ever since the crash I've had a really intense need to go downhilling, I keep telling people I want the snow to melt so Winterpark can open back up for bikes (I'm finding people in Colorado really like snow and being able to go skiing so I have to be careful who I tell this to). The guys at the shop almost had me talked into a bike too, but I googled "impulse decisions and concussions" and realized it might still be just a symptom and I should probably hold off on that decision at least for a few weeks. Stay tuned.

I need a new habit....
I did crash and got the worse bruise I've had all season. Not on the Hall Ranch ride though, oh no, that would have made too much sense. A few days later Wayne and I were riding from his house to his friends for a Christmas party. I was on his commuter and I made him carry the bin full of cookies "just incase". It had snowed that day and the sidewalks were still pretty icy. I was being super cautious because someone told me my clumsiness is a habit that is formed out of my carelessness when I'm not paying attention. I was being really meticulous about my movements and really paying attention to what the bike was doing. I was doing a great job navigating the streets too and was really proud of myself when I saw that I had made it to the driveway of the house. (Clearly I should not count my chickens before they hatch.) I put one foot down so I wouldn't ramp up the curb and completely lost my footing and the bike went out one way and I went the other leaving me completely sprawled out in the driveway. Fortunately Wayne was far enough ahead he didn't even notice and no one inside looked out the window to see me spread eagle in the driveway. It wasn't until later that I noticed the blood soaking through my jeans that I realized I smacked the ground pretty good. The bruise followed the next day and is still there. Good thing I'm a pro at getting blood out of clothes.

I know you're jealous.
Christmas was good, I spent about 6 days at home which was really nice but also a bit of a mad rush to see everyone. I was a little nervous for Christmas morning because after the car hit me I ended up with 5 safety vests (apparently no one talked to each other that year...). I got a new jersey from the shop I worked at in college because the one I had from them I was planning on wearing for Leadville but I also wore it the day that I crashed and now it has a gaping hole in it. Now I don't have to spend months trying to figure out what to wear! My Godfather did give me a water-bottle too. He really put a lot of thought into it too because he found it on the side of the road during the US Pro Cycling Challenge from someone on the Astana team. I'm definitely his favorite because he got that for me in August. He also got me a book about marathon training and a subscription to Runner's World. He spends a lot of time trying to convert me to the dark side, but it's slowly getting to me.
They'll definitely find me!!
 My grandmother, bless her heart, did give me a sparkly red hat to wear when I ride so that "when you crash they'll be able to find you easier."

Who wants to join?
 I've really gotten on a kick with running lately though, which I'm not sure if it's post concussion, medicated, normal me or my Godfather finally getting through. I don't think it's normal because I've never really enjoyed running I just do it to supplement the activities I actually enjoy. Last year, in the same time span I ran a total of 30 miles, 26.2 of those were the marathon and the other 3.8 was the training run before hand. I went to Apsen with some friends over New Year's and packed my thermal running tights just incase I felt compelled to run in 5 degrees. I did, every day we were there. It was gorgeous and so much fun, there was a trail that went right out of our condo and then into the forest and crossed some ski runs and then back into the forest with amazing views and a really peaceful aura. Last year I wore those same tights once  and that was at our outside sale in March, I thought it would be cold so I wore them under my jeans. I got so excited about running that when I got home I ordered some trail running shoes. However, one of the problems I'm finding  I have with running (besides not being able to go super fast) is how quickly I lose toenails. When I took my toe nail polish off today I realized I have 2 black toenails and there is no way that they are not going to fall off. Which would take me down to 7 toenails.... The only good thing is that I get a discount on pedicures if I have 7 toenails.

I'm planning on setting my bike up on my trainer on Sunday or Monday and start building my base back up (which might stabilize my runner's high). I'm trying to figure out what TV series I want to get into for it. A couple people have  suggested Breaking Bad, Dexter, or Girls. I went to Best Buy to look at what they had but was not impressed; the only series that they had the first season for was American Horror Story which is just what I want to watch before I go to sleep. If you have any suggestions I'll at least probably take whatever into consideration (I don't have cable and have no idea what is on TV). You don't need to suggest Desperate Housewives, I watched all the seasons when I was recovering from surgery a few years ago.

Story of my life....
The lottery for Leadville is open, I asked Wayne if he wanted me to sign him up again but he said no and I haven't talked any of the guys in the shop to put in for it. I haven't signed up for it or emailed that lady about it either. I'll probably put it on my list of things to do in the next few days and maybe see if I can talk a few kids into signing up too. I'm also super pumped that there is no leap day this year because my parents made me the same offer they did last year. If I don't meet the insurance deductible they'll pay it to me. Leap Day definitely through it all off though, I have a really good feeling about this year.