Friday, June 17, 2016

Fun With Taper Week - Pantyhose Experiments and Wasp Stings

I have Xterra Lory tomorrow and the weather forecast is for HOT.  High of 90, probably will be around 80 when I finish my race, mid to upper 70's when I start the run.  Doesn't sound terrible but the course has no shade and there are no water stations on the run for the 3 1/4 mile stretch that includes the steep, long hot climb and steep technical descent.  If the forecast is for hot I carry a water bottle to splash water on me and this is a huge help but also a pain to carry.  Last year I stuffed ice in my hat and sports bra in addition to the water bottle and that helped a lot, didn't feel like I needed the water bottle.  But this took some time in transition and the ice in my hat barely stayed in, was lumpy and awkward.  When I explain my concerns to my coach she has the brilliant answer of ice cubes in panty hose stuffed down your jersey.  This is what the cool kid pro cyclists do. 

Now if you have engineer brains there are a million ways to overthink this and I'll spare you all my initial misconceptions of his this is supposed to work.  In the end I did a trial run with rectangular shaped bags stuffed as tight as I could and jammed in the front and back of my tri-suit plus a smaller bag with smaller ice cubes stuffed in my hat.  I ran for 20 minutes in the heat of the day but also had about 15 minutes warm-up/cool down and the ice had barely melted.  In fact it took several hours with the ice sitting in the sun for the bags to melt completely.  And I felt cool enough plus I can take the bag out of my hat to wipe water on my face and neck whenever I want.  Though when I tried this on my test run I dropped the bag onto the dirt trail and ended up picking dirt out of my head for the rest of the night.  And it would have made a terrible mess if I tried to wipe it on my face.  So I know to be careful of that during the race.  Also I used way too much ice and the bags were lumpy and awkward.  I'll cut down on the amount for race day.

Next question was will the ice bags stay cool in my soft sided cooler until the run?  Or do I need the hard sided cooler which will be a pain to lug to transition and take up a bunch of room in a tight transition area (race is sold out)?  This called for more experiments.  I left bags in both coolers sitting in the hot midday sun and after 3 hours the bags didn't melt at all in the hard sided cooler and had melted a bit in the soft sided cooler but there was still plenty of ice left.  So the plan is to put a bit of extra ice in each bag and used the soft sided cooler.

I bought an ice cube tray that makes small cubes so the bags won't be so lumpy. 

Overstuffed a bit to allow for melt-age.

I'll do two more, one for my back during the bike and another for the run.  The stupid dumbass things we obsess over during taper week.

It seems there's always some weird, black swan type thing that happens during taper week.  You know something's coming but you have no idea what it will be.  For me it was stepping on a wasp in my house at 1:00 in the morning.  I got up for a glass of water and Lola insisted on going out which means Strummer insists on going out and while I was opening the screen door for the dogs to go out, I felt a sharp sting on my foot.  It was too painful for a simple goat head or other sticker thingy and when I looked down I could see the wasp still in my foot and I saw my race flash before my eyes.  How am I going to run with a swollen, sore foot?  I swatted it off and this whole display sent Strummer running to his crate.  Nope, didn't see that one coming.  Got the stinger out, washed the puncture site and put some ice on it because it was already starting to throb.  I've had a severe reaction to a wasp sting in the past but also mild reactions more recently so I wasn't sure what would happen.  I went back to sleep with the cold pack on my foot and hoped for the best.  Thankfully today there's no pain and only a very small, barely noticeable bit of swelling.  Normally I'm not a fan of icing injuries but in this case it seems to have worked.  Or maybe I never got that much venom.  I suspect the wasp was sleepy or maybe near dying if he was lying on the floor.  Jonny supposes the wasp was up near the top of the door and when I opened it for the dogs it fell to the ground.  Who knows.  Just glad it looks like tomorrow is a go.  Excited for the first real race of the season!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sweet Mother of Rest Day

It's been a busy last couple of weeks filled with dog drama and lots of training.

First off the Thursday night before USDAA Regionals a couple weeks ago, Strummer looked off.  Went for a calm leash walk at 3:30 and he was fine then got up from lying down at 5:00 and looked like something was wrong with his rear right leg.  Definitely wasn't putting full weight on it.  I checked his foot but couldn't find anything save a small line in his pad, like maybe a small cut that was healing.  My best guess was that on Wednesday he'd had a panic attack from a fly or thunder when I wasn't home at lunch time.  He had jumped up on the bathroom sink and smashed a mug.  There was a smear of blood on the toilet seat next to the sink but I couldn't find a cut on him or any more blood anywhere either in the house or on him.  Maybe he'd slit his pad a little?

Friday morning Jonny thought he looked o.k. but I wasn't fully convinced.  Nonetheless I drove down to the trial site and walked him a bit on the grounds.  About 5-10 minutes into the walk he let out a yelp but still no change to his gait and nothing obvious in his feet.  I thought his gait looked off but I'd been looking at it for so long I couldn't tell anymore so I asked someone I trusted to have a look at him trotting and she could tell right away which leg was off even though I didn't tell her what I suspected was wrong.  So that was it, I pulled him from Regionals.  SO disappointed but there was no way I was going to risk running him.  And very glad I did because by the end of the day he was on 3 legs.  It's impossible to get him to rest without crating him and I couldn't imagine crating him.  Crazy dog charging around the house on 3 legs.  It's a small house but still.

My vet friend came on Monday to give Ruby her vaccinations, heart worm, etc. and while she was here I had her look at Strummer.  She had the very good news of he had not torn his ACL (most gigantic sigh of relief over that, I had been worried about that all weekend).  There was something going on with his knee but not a tear.  Also the muscles on his bad leg were way way more developed than on his good leg.  Weird.  But then she had the very bad news of Ruby's knees were bad.  Luxating patellas, the bane of the little dog world.  And they were about as bad as it gets, the kneecap not even sitting in any kind of groove.  Her joints felt o.k. but she would eventually have pain in her old age.  And watching poor Lola gimp around every day, well, I don't want to go through that again.  She's 4, if I'm going to fix her knees, now's the time to do it.  Ugh, unanticipated dog surgery.  Still, if I have to choose between ACL surgery on Strummer or a kneecap fix on Ruby I got off lucky.

So Tuesday of this week Ruby had surgery.  This was also my hardest week of triathlon training before Xterra Lory in a few weeks.  And a busy week at work.  Somehow it all got done.  Yesterday was a 1.2 mile swim race at Boyd Lake in Loveland which was more of an over 1.5 mile swim race because the course was long.  Then a 1.5 hour trail run that turned into 1 hour 53 minutes because I was unfamiliar with the trails up at Horsetooth Mountain Park and misjudged how long a route would take me.  Then a stop in Longmont on the way home to pick up some DVD's from somebody at a dog show.  Where the person I got Ruby from happened to be competing so I was able to give her an update.

Ruby came through the surgery no problem and is recovering well.  She's on a buncha drugs and I have to do some mobilization exercises with her joints 3 times a day, ice her knees twice a day and carry her out to the yard to do her business.  Which was proving the only difficulty because she was not pooping.  I gave her asstons of coconut oil, pumpkin, broth and eventually two stool softeners and finally this morning there was poop!  I don't think I've ever been so happy to see dog poop.  How can a dog go 5 1/2 days without pooping?  Poor little smunchkin.  But hopefully she's on the mend in that department.  She's bearing weight on her legs as well, walking around the yard a little bit. 

I decided to retire Strummer from agility so for the first time in 15 years or so I'm not going to be able to compete in agility.  Very very weird and sad but I have to do what's right for Strummer.  He seems to be fully recovered from whatever he did to himself but my vet friend agreed that it would be best to retire him.  I was planning for Regionals to be his last USDAA trial and maybe do some UKI over the summer then retire him anyway so we're not too far off what I was planning.  Still all of a sudden there's a UKI trial less than an hour from my house in a couple of weeks.  I'm happy to see UKI making headway in the area but wish it could have been sooner.  And the thing I'll miss most of all is training with my training partners.  That was the best part of agility for me.  Strummer will miss it too but oh well.  He turned 11 in March and it's time.  We'll find other stuff to do. 

My swim race went well, 1:50/100 yd pace, pretty standard for me but good for only my third time in open water this summer.  Never been to Boyd Lake before and it was nice.  Water temp. was reasonable, maybe 65-66 degrees, and a warm sunny morning.  Horsetooth Mountain Park was spectacular.  I'd been there once over 20 years ago so I didn't remember much of the trails and I'm sure it's changed a lot.  So steep.  I actually passed a group of 3 bikers and I was running so slowly.  It was crowded at the trail head, I was lucky to even get in because the gate to the parking lot was shut but as I was about to turn around, the ranger motioned me in and said a spot had just freed up.  The trails themselves were only busy for the first mile or so then I practically had the joint to myself.  So green and lush and the wildflowers!  The wild iris are spectacular right now on many of the Front Range Trails.  No photos of any of it.  Didn't bother at the swim race and didn't bring my camera or phone with me on my run.  Oh well, sometimes it's good to enjoy stuff and not worry about documenting every last thing.  I love photography and taking time for photos but not all the time.

Next week should be less hectic.  Ruby should be getting a bit more mobility and I'm not worrying as much anymore now that we have poop and she's walking a bit.  Less training load this week as well, 9 1/2 hours compared to 12 1/2 for this week.  Was only supposed to be 12 but I had a bike ride run long as well as that run yesterday.  Phew, maybe I'll finally have time to plant my tomato plants.