Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week Ten: Dawn of the Red

The Beginning of the End
The sky fell in on me this week, or so it felt. It started off so well, with completed workouts, a strong and fun swim on Tuesday, and the breaking in of my new bike trainer. And it ended with two IVs and a bucket of antibiotics to tear up my stomach for the next two weeks.

I have been SO careful this season, and SO afraid of getting hurt during my training. The fear of spraining an ankle when I ran kept me to the asphalt and off of the trails for the most part. The mountain bike was put away for fear of a fall. Adventure races were forbidden due to their risky nature.

So what do I do? Well, I trip UP the stairs. I'm not sure how I did it exactly, but I think I was trying to subconsciously compete with Grace for attention. Barefoot and with hands full, somehow my foot slipped off of the step and my big toe went down while the weight of my body went up. I groaned on the steps for five minutes trying not to throw up while my children, undeterred, continued to play the Wii just feet away from me. Eventually I could bend it, but was convinced I had either fractured a bone, or sprained it enough to keep me from running. That was Tuesday afternoon. But that was just part of my downfall...

Earlier that day I was forced to do a long run inside the YMCA on the treadmill due to bad weather. I had my old running shoes on, which have given me problems with blisters in the past. Towards the end of the run I felt like I was developing a bad blister below my big toe. I sucked it up and hobbled through the end of the run. When I got home, I cleaned it and tried to pop it but it appeared to have already been emptied. Sore but clean, I padded it with a sock and went about my business.

Wednesday I had acquired a limp and it felt like their was a hot dagger deep in my blister. Having a coach that has completed an Ironman with gaping surgical wounds, I couldn't let a little thing like a blister stop my training, so I pushed through a run in 32 degree weather with Grace that night after work. It was painful and my run was awful, but it was after all just a blister. I had teammates who had pushed through much worse....broken clavicles, concussions, torn rotator cuffs. It was good mental training I kept telling myself.

I continued to tell myself that all night long as my foot throbbed like it had just been slammed in a car door. The sheets hurt so I had to hang my foot off of the bed as I tried to rest. I took two of my husband's Loritabs and it didn't touch the pain. When I awoke, not only was it swollen but now I had red streaks running up my foot. I couldn't bear any weight on it.

As much as it made me sick to accept it, I knew I had to go to the doctor. That meant there would be no Masters swimming and probably no run that day since I couldn't even walk. I knew right then that this was going to be my downfall into red on my Training Peaks program. I was totally bumming.

When I got to the doctor I learned that my self diagnosis was right and I had acquired a nasty cellulitis.  This immediately ended my week of exercise and training. I was given two days worth of IV antibiotics and orders to stay off my foot for a few days. Oh, and they also had to debride it by cauterizing the tissue down to the blister that was under the blister that was filled with.... well let's just say it wasn't pretty.

I swear it went really deep...

The sad thing is that as bad as it hurt, the pictures just make me look like a wuss. I embraced the wuss in myself and called Grace to come to my rescue, feed me a burger, and drive me home since I couldn't use my foot on the gas pedal safely. I then proceeded to go into grieving mode over the destroyed green on my program. I "HTFU" and overcame the grief quickly and decided I'd just start fresh for the next ten weeks.

Challenges of the Week:
  • Learning to walk up steps without hurting myself. This is a skill that must be practiced. I am taking my time with it.
  • Accepting that red does not = failure. Keeping green was a mental game for me, a way to stay accountable. Although I didn't complete my workouts as written this week, it was not for lack of wanting or willingness. So be it. Moving on. Next week... green!
  • Following doctor's orders and resting my foot. Those three days were worse than any taper week I have ever had. I was cranky, irritable, and depressed over not being able to get out and exercise like I should be doing. I wanted to enjoy the break but it was hard watching everyone gear up for a race I wanted to compete in.
  • Not being able to race in the Mardi Gras Mambo 10K with all of my Fitbird friends. I was really looking forward to this race as I hoped to have a good run and use it in preparation for the half-marathon next weekend. Glad all my peeps did well, but was hoping to test my high octane at this race.
Lessons Learned:
  • Be very careful when performing blister care on my feet. Cellulitis can be a nasty painful infection.
  • Patience. I'm still working on this one...
  • Acceptance. Being green is cool, but it doesn't define me or my overall training. It doesn't describe my effort, or my determination, or my will.
Plan: 13:00
Actual: 7:30 no longer green....


  1. Rough week Coug, but it ended with a solid ride. Way to get after it, nice determination!!

  2. Shake it off Janie!! You are doing great, and a few days that are not green just mean you are going to be stronger and more determined!!!

  3. A few red squares just make it look pretty. This will have no bearing on your final training or IMNO performance. You are just even stronger for enduring this mental Jedi mind trick!

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