Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Injury or Adaptation....you decide!

Friday Darin, Trisha and I headed to the Wilson River Trail for a REAL mountain bike ride. All I can say is switchbacks are great for running but not so great for mountain biking. Wow, that was hard and we picked the easiest part of the trail. I can run the 12 miles faster than we rode it. All you could hear was a lot of WHOAAAA's in the woods. Despite it's difficulty it was super fun. The good thing is none of us take ourselves very seriously which means lots of laughing. The other good news is none of us took a real fall. There were a few slide outs and some quick dismounting but nothing serious. I learned a bunch more about riding just by experiencing. On the steep climbs I kept popping wheelie's because I needed to shift my weight forward on my bike. Anticipating the terrain changes was tough and knowing when to shift down to climb even the small hills was necessary. Oh, the other big "ah ha" was single track riding is sooooo much harder than I would have ever imagined. We will be back for more! :)

After Friday's ride I had to lace up for hill repeats. 2X45 min. was on the schedule. I wondered if the ride would impact the run but was fine with whatever came. I used our usual spot on the PCT near Herman Creek and my destination would be the first clearing. I was also giving my new orthodics a spin. I had to get new ones because my old ones were trashed. I had a new metatarsal pad added for more support and it felt a bit weird so I packed some insoles with me just in case I needed to change. I felt good on the warm up and headed off for #1. I loved the feel of my new orthodics and was excited to have support again. I have been running without them since Bighorn and SOB was hard on my hips and legs. The hill repeat was going strong and I was surprised to feel so fresh. With a lot of miles on my legs and the added biking I thought I would be tired but I wasn't. This was a great feeling and I went with it making it to my destination almost 2 minutes faster than before! That was awesome. I started to head down and within about 5 minutes my feet felt like they were getting hot spots on the edge of my metatarsal pad. Hmmmm, they just got worse and worse very fast. I knew I had blisters and still had about 15 minutes of descending before I could swap out for the insoles. For that 15 minutes I was playing hot potato with my feet.....ouch, ouch, ouch. Funny how I can run 100M and get zero blisters but be stupid enough to wear my new orthodics on the serious training run...not very bright I would say. The only smart thing I did was bring some insoles. I got down, tore off my shoes and there they were....quarter sized blisters on both feet. Oh well, I figured this would be good punishment....put in the insoles and run another one. On the second one I could feel the blisters but not bad on the way up. However, on the way down they were growing and one popped. My time for number 2 was even faster and I think it was because I was running from my blisters. :) I was really happy with day and run. This was my first hill repeat session since Bighorn and this weekend was my first back to back.

Sunday was 6 hours of running and I wanted to do the Bonneville Dam Trail Head to 3 Corner Rock run via the PCT trail. This would be a 30 mile run. I did this run a couple of times 2 years ago while training for SD100M. It's a consistent uphill for 15 miles then a consistent downhill for 15 miles back. The run gets about 5,500 feet of climbing and offers awesome views in the open areas. A few of us were out there on Sunday. Susan started early at another trail head. Beast started later at another trail head and Micheal and I started together. The trail was in great shape and there was absolutely no snow on the backside of Table Mountain. The wildflowers were abundant along with the bugs. :) We made good time to 3 Corner and we ran into Beast who just arrived. We climbed the old lookout rock and looked at all the mountains....they were beautiful still covered in snow. We ate, filled our water tanks at the spring and headed home. We were going to push it back. By this time my blisters were growing and they hurt but I figured this was good practice. It's been along time since I've had the opportunity to deal with feet issues. I was equipped with a foot kit and new I would be doing some management soon. My body felt really strong and I was happy to feel back the groove of training. We were making good time when I hit a rock and twisted my ankle but good. I had to do the hop, hop, ew, ouch thing for a moment and then I decided it was time for blister management. My gate was becoming funky as I tried to stop the pain. We pulled off and I pulled my sock away. YUK! A weeping mess on my left foot but not as bad on my right. I pull out the alcohol swab, wipe it down, scream and grunt, then drained it. Then it was Tincture...which stung as well then a blister pad, more Tincture then Elasticon Tape the entire length of my foot from toes to heal. It felt much better but still hurt. We were back in action. Cruising along the lovely trail enjoying the speed of the slight downhill grade I clip my toe and down I go. No big deal, I pop up brush off all the dirt and Micheal says, "I can't remember the last time I saw you fall". I replied, "Maybe I trying to get it out of my system here and not on my bike". I wasn't hurt and not even shaken it happen so fast. But.....blister, ankle twist then the fall....come on!!!! We proceed in a swift fashion and with only about 1 mile to go my left knee unleashes a sharp pain and then another and now it's kind of constant. I pull over for the general quad stretch to give my knee a little more room to move but it doesn't seem to help. I kind of run/limp in and ponder the odd pain. We drive home and it hurts. I get home and I can hardly put full weight on it. I hobble around then ice it to death. I give it the once over, stretch my tight quads and watch it grow. Hmmmmm, my knee cap is under water, what on earth. I ice again and go to bed. I am woken up in the middle of the night because when I go to turn over my knee is not coming with my leg. It feels dislocated (if a knee can be dislocated). Finally at 4:30 a.m. I just get up. I ice it some more, poke and prod it but I can't find any particular area of pain. The whole thing hurts and feels weird. For a moment I am beginning to freak out, it is a knee and we all need those. But, I couldn't remember anything in particular that I did to the knee. I decided it's pissed because of the blister, ankle twist and the fall which were all on it's side. Scott has taught me to look at aches and pains differently over the years. He is cautious but not dramatic about them. He uses the word "adapting" to deal with aches and pains. Of course an injury is serious but I wasn't convinced I was injured so I decided it was adapting to the biking AND the running. I hobbled around yesterday, stretched and iced but any wrong move and it was not a pretty picture. Knowing I had WR50 mile this Saturday made me a little nervous. Since WR50 is just a training race for me I could back out if I my knee was still under water.
That night I was planning on riding the bike race again but that was even looking a little iffy. I called Kris and let her know I would be at her house and I would ride over to the race, test out my knee and if it wouldn't respond appropriately I would just watch and cheer her and Trisha on. I got to her house and she takes a look at my knee and gives a sort of, "what are you thinking" look, hands me some ointment and I smudge it all over my knee. She listened to my story and my theory about adapting and then gave me another look. This look was more like..."What are you thinking, your theory is bunk".....but she goes with it. We ride over to the race and it's a funky feeling. My knee is not really thrilled but I can do it. We get out on the course and I am subconsciously cautious. I don't want to put my left foot down, it won't take the weight, any lateral movement is NOT fun. I am still unsure if I will ride the race but figure I don't have to race and it might speed up the adaptation. We see Trisha and she takes one look at my knee and watches my limp (that I am trying hard to disguise) and all she says is, "oh no....". I think, "Yes it's fat and not working as it should but it's adapting to new stresses". I decided to do the race. The course is longer than others and some of the drop off's are really really steep. Not so many bumps but we have some narrow turns and a ton drops with sharp turns at the bottom. At the start we are off for a long loop to spread out. The first hill is a gravel trap. The idea is to gain a ton of speed and make it over the top before you bike sinks in to gravel so deep you can't pedal out. I see the traffic jam at the top and choose to ride up as far as I can, get off my bike and carry it over the hill and down the other side. This is so much faster than trying to re-mount and ride down. The backside of the hill is total pea gravel so your chances of staying on your bike are slim anyway. This strategy got me at least 5 spots up! On this race I could feel my weekend of long running whereas other rides not so much. I didn't have the pump in my legs. My knee seemed to be coming along for the ride and I barely noticed it. Maybe my mind shifted to other things, racing..... This course was fun and I did really well on it. I am not sure what place I finished but it was up there this time. My heart rate averaged only 170 this time....I sort of felt ripped off! When we were done my knee looked huge to me. I had zero definition from my quad to my knee, lots of water. It hurt but actually felt better. Kris gave me more of her ointment and slathered it all over. I was fully prepared to bag WR50 this weekend. This morning I woke up with zero swelling! I can put full weight on it too. My quads are tight and stiff but that's to be expected. But....my knee seems to be fine....could it be true.....did it adapt.....did the bike race help? I have no idea but I am going with it!!!! I will try to run today and see how it goes. Yesterday I was ready to bag it for the week and the thought of running was out of the question. Maybe I convinced myself it was adapting and it did....can that happen??? Oh well, whatever happened I am taking it!


  1. Oh, girlie, I don't know about adapting, although placebo is always a good thing...just watch it at WR50! Best to you ( and your knee).

  2. I'll take adaptation and active recovery every time :-)

    I think I should sit out all the races and just play photographer for you, Trisha and Kris!

  3. Whether it was injured and adapted or just adapting and adapted...ya gotta love that "No Pain" oinment!! Best invention since duct tape...which also works really well.

    Really strong showing. Your lower HR must indicate you are adapting the the MTB races. ;]

  4. I'll be volunteering at WR50 - my cranky psoas told me to hold off not run at the moment. If you run it and your knee says Yoo hoo! then you can come hang out! Should be a fun time - racing or volunteering!

  5. I can't help but wonder whether you adjusted your gait after the first blister episode and then subsequent blister episode which jacked up your running form just enough to cause collateral "damage." Also, whenever I fall on my ankle I keep falling on it over and over for a day or two. Ugh. Anyhow, because you're so fit and strong there's no doubt that you're able to avoid serious injury, even in the face of gait changes etc.

    Good luck at WR50!!!

  6. That's what is so weird about injuries - the ones I worry about, the ones that look and feel the worst heal up quickly; the ones that seem like nothing end up sidelining me. Who knows? I don't think I would make a very good doctor :) Glad it turned out to be nothing.

  7. I've enjoyed reading about your bike racing. You are amazing. I totally suck on the bike. Good for you! I hope your knee is feeling better. Thanks for continually inspiring me.