Thursday, October 25, 2007

Game/Flame On!

"A true champion knows how to overcome doubts and manage those doubts and turn them into motivation."
Misty Hyman - Olympic gold medalist in 200-meter butterfly at 2000 Sydney Games

This weekend is the Soma Half-Ironman, which I have been pouring my heart and soul into for the last 6 months of arduous training. My training plan went flawlessly; I felt great going into my taper....

Then the fires started. It's funny how priorities change. A week ago if you asked what was foremost on my mind, I would have replied, "Soma." Hands-down. This week? Fire. Soma became a distant after-thought as I planned to evacuate and stayed close to Jason, the bunnies, and the tv set.

My obstacles:

1. The Fire: The fire, hands-down, has had the largest negative impact. First, we were afraid for our lives and our home. Now, I am recovering from the overwhelming stress of living through a disaster. Needless to say, I haven't slept well all week. The air quality is poor, and being trapped indoors has been making me a little stir-crazy. To be honest, with the way things were earlier in the week, I seriously doubted I would be able to race this weekend. It was the furthest thing from my mind.

Overcoming the Fire:
First and foremost, I'm so thankful that we are safe and able to remain in our home. We've been spared much of the grief that many San Diegans are going through right now. The fact that I can still even fathom going to Tempe this weekend is amazing. A gift. That's most important. Almost as if I'm meant to go...

In addition, the forced rest may pay off on race day. I've been trying to keep lose with a little extra Yoga. In addition, since my IBS flared up, I have been focusing on my nutrition--eating healthy and drinking lots of tea and water. Maybe the IBS isn't such a bad thing since it forces me to eat healthy?

2. My Ankle/Foot: 10 days ago, during my last trail run in Rose Canyon (10/14), I must have stepped wrong on a rock or something. I don't remember anything happening (or hurting) but I woke up with significant lateral foot pain. I didn't think it was significant until it persisted throughout the week and worsened after a short, 3-mile treadmill run on Thursday. At this point, I realized I had tweaked my foot. I know I have weak ankles and high arches but I don't remember doing anything or even feeling anything. I was incredibly frustrated last weekend...

After a little on-line research, my symptoms are most consistent with peroneal tendonitis, which is a tendon that runs down the outside of the lower leg, wraps around the ankle, and attaches to the outside of the 5th metatarsal (pinkie toe). This is the same tendon you injure when you sprain your ankle. It hurts when I stand, walk or run. However, my ankle is also tender to the touch.

Where the peroneus brevis tendon attaches to the bony "knob" on the outside of the foot (5th metatarsal) is exactly where my pain resonates when I walk or run.

Overcoming my Ankle: I immediately began the R.I.C.E. process (rest, ice, compression, elevation) along with taking ibuprofen (which I had to stop because it was upsetting my stomach). In addition, I resolved not to run again until race day. Swimming and biking do not seem to affect it. The good news is that after a week of icing and rest, it feels much better. There is still some pain but instead of being a 6-7 when I walk, it is now a 1-2 (on a scale of 1-10).

I have decided to go ahead and do the race despite the injured ankle. I know I can get through the swim and bike and at least 3 miles of the run. Hopefully, it will hold up. I will probably now just rest and ice it until race morning. I've already made an appt. with a podiatrist to fix the damage after the race. I will probably need 6 weeks of no running after the race to allow it to heal after Sunday but I'm hoping I can still do weights, bike and swim. Thankfully, this is my last race of the season!

Some useful articles on peroneal tendonitis:

3. Race Conditions: Finally, it looks like this weekend will be brutal. The high is supposed to be 95 degrees in Tempe on Sunday. My wave starts last, and I anticipate I will be starting my run around noon. Ugh. In addition, a westerdly wind from the Pacific is expected to blow the smoke from San Diego back to Arizona, making the air conditions in Tempe poor. So much for escaping the nasty air!

Overcoming Weather: I will drink lots of water and be armed with salt tablets. I will gauge my intensity and back off if needed. However, I can't control the weather. If that's what I'm up against, so be it. You know what they say--when the going get tough...and I plan on being tough.

My Secret Weapon--My inner drive
I have to admit, my attitude has been a bit down. I woke up this morning lacking my usual heart, enthusiasm, and inner fire about this weekend's race. Today, after receiving all the e-mails from friends (who knew I was okay first and foremost) wishing me luck this weekend, I found new-found strength. Maybe this race (and the path to the start line) wasn't supposed to be easy. Maybe these are the challenges I have to overcome to gain strength and wisdom from this experience. I have a new perspective on what this race means to me now, and it's much more than before all this.

In addition, it's my 30th birthday on Saturday! This is my birthday race. It's the only one I get, and I'm not going to let anyone or anything, even the worst fire in California history, get in the way of a wonderful, milestone birthday. Afterall, my birthday will happen on Saturday, no matter what.

Now, the tables have turned. I'm going to Tempe this weekend to race a half-ironman. I can't wait. It's still an "A" race--I've trained too hard to let that go completely. But instead of being anxious, nervous, and all worked up, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to getting out of San Diego for a mini-vacation and taking my mind off the disaster area that I now live in. It's put an entirely different perspective on the race. Now, my performance is less of an issue in my mind. I just want to have a fun and enjoyable experience, form start to finish. Game on! Flame on!

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
--Thomas Paine


bunnygirl said...

Good luck to you! I hope the bunnies are doing okay with all that smoke!

Beth said...

rachel! not many people celebrate thier 30th with a half ironman...major props...keep us posted on how it goes!

jameson said...

good luck... and your bike is named Torch right?? kind of ironic. Just go and have fun... and a Happy b-day.

JMoTriBella said...


Glad you and your house is ok. Happy Birthday! I'm sooo happy you're turning less person to worry about in my age group! :) Good luck this weekend....kick some butt out there. You are ready to dominate this race!

Rainmaker said...

Good luck! I'm sure you're gonna rock the course, which is about the best birthday present you could ask for.

And keep safe!

RunBubbaRun said...

Glad to hear you, your family, and bunnies are safe..

Just have fun at the Half IM, it will help get rid some of that stress and pent up energy..

Enjoy the day and your b-day..

Happy 30th.

deano said...

Good luck Rachael!

~Dean O.

chris said...

I would run / walk the run. Do like run 6 and walk 1 and I think you will have a lot less pain with your foot and less chance of hurting it further.

Good luck.


Benson said...

Nice to know you're safe and well.
Happy Birthday and have a great race.

Coach Tammy said...

Happy B-day!!! I'm sure your ankle will be fine for your race. The race will be a nice mental break from the stress at home. Just pour all your emotion into it, and you'll do great!

95F? Sorry to say it, but I'm kinda glad I bailed. Us Pacific-NWers start melting when temps exceed 80F.

Have fun! :))))))

Paul said...

Happy B-Day and good luck this weekend! :) I've got that same thing going on the the ankle. I almost fell over this morning when I got out of bed. It may not be tendonitis. If your peronial muscles are tight or strained it will refer pain to the same area. Try massaging the muscles on the out side of your lower leg and if they are tender you've found the culprit! Either way take care :)

Marcy said...

GOOD LUCK CHICA!!! What a way to spend your B-day ;D ;D

Wes said...

Hey Rach! I don't come by very often, but I'm glad I did. I'm glad you're OK. Happy B'day! Have a great race!!!

Sara said...

Good Luck Rachel!!!! Go out there and just have the best birthday race ever!!! Can't wait to read all about it!

Jodi said...

Good luck Rachel! Use all the adversity you have faced as motivation during the race. You'll do great!


Erin Nicole said...

i'll be thinking of you all week/weekend!
good luck!