Friday, August 10, 2012

What do Mr. Miyagi and Pony Finals Have In Common?

Both are facilitating the Duck's recovery.

The last week and a half have been really frustrating.  I was humming along really well and then BAM!!!...  I ended up snowed in by this crippling fatigue and several injuries.  The injuries were mostly (I believe) the result of hitting the asphalt at a high rate of speed on the bike.  While none of them were hospital worthy, there were several areas of pain that did not want to heal.  I also got myself completely out of whack and with no chiropractor and no ART practitioner immediately available, I relied on ice and time which turned out to be a mistake.  Niggling pains developed into full blown overuse/inflammation injuries.

I, also, started feeling the pull of fatigue in Michigan but wanted it so bad, I kept pushing.  The running in particular had taken a wonderful turn and the way things were going, I was in danger of needing to rename this blog!  I lost a total of 6 lbs the final week in Michigan, probably too many at once, and felt like I was getting ready to really turn a corner.  SO, being the greedy duck that I am, I ignored the whispers and waited for my body to start screaming instead.  (Bad plan, should any of you be considering it as a course of action.)

I came to KY, pulled an all-nighter of driving and braiding, then launched into the week with a crushing workload and a full social and training calendar.  Having lived 18 years of my life here, I have many friends here and it becomes a very real contender for my time and energy.  Everywhere else I go, I have a very limited social existence so it becomes a matter of fitting in the occasional outing.  Not here.  Here it can dominate my free time if I let it.  I am always a little torn since I love the people I left behind a few years ago, and am always a little starved for human contact (horses lack conversation skills).  Plus, like cherries, which are meant to be overeaten during their very short peak season, I seem to glut when I am here then get very litte socialization during the rest of the year.  Time in Texas will surely balance this but for now, it is the way it is.  However, the simple point is that it also cuts inton valuable rest time.
Ky has lots of memories.  This lot is where I learned to ride Trigger!

I also had some additional stresses chiming in.  A death in the family along with some ensuing family drama provided a healthy distraction.  Some issues with my camper hookups meant that even basic tasks like getting a shower required extra measures.  I was having to get up when I should have been sleeping to deal with these things... make phone calls, go to appointments, get to businesses, etc during regular business hours.  Regular business hours for someone that works at night can be very, very challenging.  Imagine if every errand had to happen between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am, but the rest of  your life went on as usual.  When would you sleep?

I crashed.  I crashed really badly.  By the end of the week, I couldn't effectively train, I had cancelled all of my non-essential plans (by the way, that includes laundry) and reduced down to nursing a crippled shoulder, inflamed IT band/knee, and battling fatigue that was threatening to keep me from doing anything at all.  Yesterdays long run was cut in half and the pace was 2:30 off my normal long run pace and almost 4:00 off what I would have done for the distance actually traveled.  Everything hurt and I felt like I was swimming through molasses (except that I can't swim right now- BAD shoulder BAD!).  I nearly cried.  I texted DW and pulled the 5K on Saturday and the race on Aug 19th off the calendar.  It was a little bit of a hissy fit but then, I also could not conceive of doing anything else.

The only redemption was in a short session on the bike that afternoon where I didn't TOTALLY suck.  It actually helped me to feel better physically and mentally

The clouds have hopefully started to clear, though.  I started seeing a local chiropractor/ART guy.  He made quick work of the hip issues and got me adjusted nicely.  He has been working on the shoulder and IT band, as well as the chronic issues in my left hand (a gift from the braiding gods).  The shoulder had been showing glimmers of response but nothing definitive.
"Yeah, I'm that good."
Yesterday when I went in, he did some different techniques and ROM tests.  He pinpointed exactly where to stick his thumb that would make me whimper in pain.  Then he did this freaky thing where he pressed the humeral head in towards the joint, did something that really hurt, and when it was done.... the freaking thing moved freely with minimal pain!  Dr. M, did you learn that trick in Okinawa?  Seriously, I went from 75% ROM to 100% ROM in like 60 seconds.  Totally FREAKY!!  I'm sold.

Also, this week is Pony Finals.  (ACK!  Run screaming!  Pony Moms make the Zombie Apocalypse look like a group of friends arriving for tea!)

Meet Jake.  3rd in the nation in points.  GO JAKE!!

I managed to avoid picking up much work, instead just covering the few ponies that my regular clients qualified.  It has offered me the opportunity to rest.  I think that is exactly what I got yesterday.  REST.  I was so tired, I went to bed early.  EARLY, like 5:30 pm.  I woke up for a bite to eat, a glass of water, and to let out dogs around midnight and was back asleep within an hour.  I slept uninterrupted (poor puppies!!) until 11 am.  (That's what 16.5 hours of sleep?) I cannot believe that I was really that tired!

I am hopeful that if I listen to my body, rest if rest is required, choose naps instead of coffee, and just be gentle with myself, maybe I can turn this around without too much further damage.  I am skeptical about the races, though DW suggested that I wait until a day or two before or even the day of to make the final call.  I suppose there is no harm in taking that advice and who knows, maybe I'll get to them and find I feel up to it.  I am so rusty that even just having a chance to run through my transitions would be helpful before heading into the big sanctioned races in September and October.  There is a lot more room for error at a small venue.

Who knows?  Today is the first day that I don't feel like I have one foot in the grave, but then I haven't really made it out of bed either.  The only requirements I have made of myself today are... laundry and workout.  THAT'S IT.  If I want to sleep the rest of the day.... so be it.  It is the only true remedy for fatigue and my fatigue had reached some pretty epic proportions recently.   Time to take the recovery seriously.


  1. You are such a gifted writer! You could probably write a great "behind-the-scenes" at the horse show book!! I can imagine Pony Finals is a cross between "Real Housewives" and "Toddlers and Tiaras"!! But there are probably some amazing kids there too. Beautiful braids.

    It's not easy for you to get into a training and life rhythm but you seem to do a better job than anyone else could with all you do.

    Do you have any races on the schedule? How/when would you even fit them in...maybe once the show season winds down?

  2. I do have races scheduled. Making them work in the schedule is a little bit tricky. For the most part, I pick 'em and try to avoid missing 'em. I aim for weekends that I anticipate being a little slower and then get the work I have covered by another braider.

    I have a 5K tonight, a sprint next week, and olympics on Sept 3, 23, and Oct 7. The last three are all big races and I am already in panic mode. The part of me that is more chicken than duck would love for the horse show to get so busy that I cannot take the days off!! In reality, the races in the greatest danger of being scratched are the first two. If I don't feel pretty feisty, I will scratch tonight and so far, I have been able to swim once on this shoulder since the end of June. That is not making for a high confidence level going into these.

    As to getting into a rhythm, reading that article on your teammate Sip really helped me. I realized that I was letting too many things provide distractions. Adaptability here is key. Sometimes you can't help that your only time to train is midnight or that the road you are riding down is totally unsuited for a bike. It happens; it sucks. Viewing it as an opportunity to make myself a more diverse athlete and person is really what makes it possible.