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Thursday, July 17, 2014

How'd You Break Your Leg... And Other Comments

I'm wrapping up week 3 of booting it up. I thought I was looking at one more week; but after my last doc visits I think this might be it! I can definitely tell this left ankle is getting weaker so I'm excited to give it a little more action. After all, "motion is lotion"!

What I am MOST excited about is that I'll go back to being a regular invisible person in public. Apparently, wearing this boot is an open invitation for people to come tell me about their boot stories, or their friend's boot stories, or just to ask me all about my boot. I've been approached at Walgreens, at the grocery story, in an elevator, and many other places. I've chatted with young people, old people, guys, and gals. "What did you do?" is the most common question. I just answer, "I ran too much." Here are some other enthralling comments I've had the pleasure of listening too...

"Nice boot! I'm supposed to be in a boot too! But I didn't feel like wearing it."-- guy in line at at King Soopers

"Oh I feel sorry for you. I had to wear a boot for months. I broke my foot dancing too much at a wedding"-- lady in the dairy isle at Whole Foods.

"Too bad you have to wear that thing in the middle of the summer. I dropped a shampoo bottle on my foot and had to wear a boot for almost 6 months. The x-ray did show it was broken. I don't know what I did!" -- another lady at Whole Foods... a few minutes after chatting with the previous lady.

"How did you break your leg?" -- lady in the elevator at doc's office. Seriously?! I think I LOLed. I'm wearing a boot on my foot. broken leg!? It took everything in me to not say, "I was climbing Mt. Everest and had to battle zombies." I'm fairly positive that a broken leg would require a little more than a Velcro boot. I guess she was just trying to be friendly. 

The majority of people just say, "what did you do?" and I just say, "I ran too much." Then they say, "I hope you feel better." and I just say, "Thanks." Easy enough.

I started thinking about how my pregnant pals complain about strangers approaching them to touch their baby bellies and quiz them about "when are you due?", "is it a boy or a girl", or "you're about to pop." At least with a boot, no one feels the need to rub my foot and baby-talk to it. 
I think I'm looking at less than a week left with this thing. I'm gonna attempt a little elliptical action sometime next week. But I really do feel a lot better! 

go run some!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sh!t Happens

"There is scarcely any passion without struggle" - Albert Camus

This hasn't exactly been my best few weeks ever. I'm trying to "look at the big picture"... "see the forest through the trees"... "stop and smell the roses"... "keep my chin up"... blah blah blah. Seriously though, sometimes things don't go your way. And that's life. And life keeps moving with or without you.

It had been over 2 years since my last bone density-related injury. After a bone scan this past winter, I knew I had made some improvements, but it was still quite low. I had a pretty sweet showing at the Greenland 25k in May. I guess I got a little greedy, a little over-confident, and kept pushing the mileage and speedwork. I was invincible! I decided to do a more run-focused Ironman training this time around. I thought I'd play to my strengths. It's no secret I get my butt kicked on the bike and then pass 'em back on the run. I figured I'd take that and "run with it" (get it?). 

"Hindsight is 20/20", my dad would always say. And it's still true. What was I thinking? I knew better than to run that much. It's hard when you feel good though. And it summer... Didn't need to run that extra mile "just because"... just because I felt like it... just because I had time. I got into a "more is more" frame of mind. Oops. Nothing I can do now. I'm in the boot for a little while longer. Swimming and cycling are going ok. I even tried pool-running which is exactly as exciting as it sounds. I may give it another try? But I'm going to be the best damn cheerleader at IM Boulder you can imagine... I have a sweet new Bluetooth speaker and cowbells ready to go. I might wear my yellow bikini and get all Le Tour crazy!

I got a speeding ticket! No denying that's me!

ALSO... My car needed a quick fix earlier this week. I rode my bike to pick up my car from the autoshop. I hooked my bike up to my roof rack on top of my car. I proceeded to drive my newly fixed car home... into the garage... with my bike on top. CRASH! right into the garage. I. was. hysterical. What else can I break?! I hear stuff crunching and shattering above me. I back out of the garage and look up (while continuing to scream and cry as if I was being attacked by a coyote or murderer or something). My bike kinda looked ok. The roof rack was hanging on by 1 outta 4 mounts. I unhook my bike and immediately notice the shifter/breaks are definitely perpendicular to how they should be. I go over the frame and don't notice anything different. I call Tyler in tears (because it was originally his bike rack) and explain how I destroyed his very nice bike rack. He seemed more concerned about my bike which was great because I was also more concerned about my bike. I took it into my trusty LBS (Tribella... wonderful people. I highly recommend them). They fixed up my shifters and gave my frame a once over and I think it came out ok? Fingers crossed. NO MORE ROOF RACKS FOR ME, EVER. 

Once I get this ankle healed up, I wanna do some things I haven't done in a while; I wanna climb a mountain with my dog, ride my bike up a mountain pass and take pictures, maybe even go camping, sleep late. My brother and his fiance are coming to visit in August and I'm excited to spend some time with them. I've got an appointment for LASIK next week which is really scary and exciting. And then... school starts up again :(.

As for racing... I have no official plans yet. I'm still itching to do something big again. I feel like I have some unfinished business. I have a few ideas. And a few ideas on how to be a little nicer to my bones too. I hope I can get in something by the end of this season; maybe aquabike or a sprint tri. Who knows. I just wanna ride my bike.

But for now... I'm feeling a little existential. Stuff happens, it's not really "good" or "bad"... and more stuff will happen. And that's that.

go run some

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Another Summer... Another Bone Injury

Summertime bone injuries
August 2011: right pubic ramus stress fracture
June 2012: left pubic ramus stress fracture
June 2013: fractured left scapula and 6th rib
June 2014: left medial malleolus stress reaction

I had an amazing Boulder 70.3. I felt great and I finished a lot faster than I hoped and everything was perfect in the world. The next morning I woke up with a really sore and swollen left ankle. I thought, "well I pushed it pretty hard yesterday, looks like some inflammation, no biggie." I spent the next three days at the Denver Public Schools Summer Institute for Physical Education (which was SO MUCH FUN!) babying my left ankle. We did a lot of running and jumping and dancing and I could tell something wasn't right with this ankle. I started icing and wrapping it up. Of course I kept running on it! But honestly, it just really didn't hurt that bad. It was achy and annoying and uncomfortable. I even did a birthday 20mile run! Then 3 days after that I did a 10mile track workout. Finally, after no relief, I saw my trusty chiropractor at Action Spine last Friday. I looked at him and said, "ohmigod, I bet it's a stress fracture." He looked at me and said, "you're probably right". Within an hour, I was in an MRI machine listening to Slacker and Steve on headphones choking back tears. And within an hour after that, I was on the phone with my doc explaining that I have a "medial malleolar stress reaction" and "prominent tenosynovitis" and I should "put a boot on immediately" and see my doc on Monday. 

That escalated quickly.

Yesterday, I figured I should let my wonderful insurance provider doctor people know about this... just in case this snowballs even bigger into something surgical or whatever. Of course they can't see me for over 3 weeks! After making some annoying phone calls and sending some desperate emails, the ortho doc calls and says, "we have cancellation, can you get up here in an hour?" "YEP!" When he opens the door, we both have a little chuckle... I'm here for my summertime broken bone visit! He goes over the MRI and Xrays with me. Xrays looks good... MRI not so much.

So what do I do now? Well I have been told a lot of things from a lot of people with a lot of opinions... which is fine because I ask for a lot of opinions and I listen to 50% of them. I've been told everything from "cast her up, she's done", to "oh you're still racing Ironman Boulder", to "it's not meant to be, this isn't your race", to "you should just aquabike it", to "don't even start if you know you can't finish"...

And the way I feel seems to change every hour too. One second my ankle is throbbing and I just wanna throw in the towel. Then I think, "well if lay off the impact activities for 4 weeks, then I'll be fine for Ironman." Then I think that is stupid and I shouldn't put myself through that. Then I think, "I've been training for this for 8 months, why stop now?"

But the truth is... I just really like to swim and bike and run, and I don't feel like I wasted the last 8 months at all. I kind of like waking up at 5am and getting in a workout before the rest of the world rolls out of bed. I like that 75% of my laundry is workout clothes. I like that, for my 30th birthday, Tyler gave me a new cassette and chain for my bike. 
happy birthday to me!
Of course I'm bummed the race won't go as planned... but this isn't the first time, and I'm sure not the last time, that injuries interrupt race goals. And dad always said, "hindsight is 20/20". Looking back, I know I was running too much... I was about to have my first 50mile week in a loooong time. I should have known better. 

What am I doing now? Everything I can get my hands on! 
  • Ice
  • Boot (most of the time, but I'm becoming convinced that it is causing more pain than helping)
  • Now Bone Strength
  • MBP Bone Renew
  • E-stimulation massager
  • Bone growth stimulator
  • Cold lasers
  • Dry needling
  • beer
  • crying
What I bought after I got of the phone with the doc...
I'm not officially 100% sure what my game plan is. But I'm pretty confident IM Boulder is not in the cards for me. I don't wanna risk making things any worse. I have my eye on the Harvest Moon Aquabike? And maybe a redemption IM next year. 'Cuz I don't quit stuff! I'm trying to "sleep on it" but that's not really my style.

go run some... I'll be out there in a few more weeks...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Boulder 70.3 Race Report

In a nutshell, the Ironman Boulder 70.3 went really well... much better than I expected! I met all 3 of my goals! I stayed on my bike with my feet clipped in and my helmet on my head and my bones in tact. I only let Tyler gain 6 minutes on me! And I had a pretty solid run to top it off. 


I'm not sure how I ended up with bib #83, but it got me a sweet position in the transition area right next to a port-o-potty! I could rack my bike and sneak in without having to run across the lot and back. Sweet! 

Ya know, I know I'll be WISHING for cold during the full Ironman in August... but it was definitely chilly race morning. My toes were purple and I could see my breath. I was starting to wish I had brought some cheap little gloves so my hands wouldn't go numb on the bike. Most of us were complaining about being cold but we knew it would warm up fast. Spraying sunscreen made me even colder. I decided to leave my tri top in transition so it would be dry instead of swimming in it. This was a stupid idea! It was immediately soaking wet as soon as it touched my skin. I should have just swam in it. I probably lost 30-60sec just trying to pull that thing over my head. Lesson learned... just swim in the top no matter what.

Starting early is awesome! I was grateful to get in the warmer water and get started at 7:20 instead of 8:20. Transition closed at 6:30 and I think I might have gone crazy waiting around for almost 2 hours. 


During packet pick-up the day before, I got an orange cap in my packet... no big deal. While we were all getting ready and putting our wetsuits on, my buddy said, "Why do you have a men's 35-39 cap?" Hmm. I don't know. When it was time for my wave, All World Athlete Women, to get in the water, I looked around and noticed that everyone else had burgundy caps with AWA on the side. Suddenly, a volunteer yelled at me to trade caps with her as we are walking into the water. I grabbed the AWA cap threw it on my head and barely had time to adjust my goggles before the gun went off. A little water leaked into my left gasket; but it wasn't too bad. My sighting was fantastic... which is not normal. I swam close to each bouy and made tight turns. I can tell I'm getting a lot more comfortable in the water. By the time I turned the last corner, I noticed I was in a pack of AWA men! I really didn't want to get out of the water, I was starting to feel good and the water was warm, and I kinda stink at the bike... oh well... off to pedal. 

I started off feeling really good! I kept my pace just below the "legs burning pace". We were heading north and apparently there was a nice little wind pushing me along which is probably why I thought I felt so good. I really didn't notice it until we started heading back south... then we definitely found that little wind. 

As I'm turning right off of hwy36 to head east on Ute Hwy, I merge with two cyclist who are also heading east on Ute. I notice they are not racing. They're on road bikes, one of them is wearing a Camelback, and they don't have race numbers. They are drafting each other very closely. Then, outta no where, a course marshal pulls up next to the 3 of us and slows down. He's looking us over pretty good. I panic and sprint off because I'm scared he's gonna think I was drafting off these non-racers. I imaging myself arguing with the marshal: "THE JUST PULLED UP WITH ME AND THEY AREN'T EVEN RACING!" I just keep my head down and keep hauling for a few more seconds. I think he was probably just checking out the other 2 guys and then realized they weren't in the race. I saw the scooter scoot off, phew. 

About halfway through the bike, I realize I'm awfully close to a friend of mine who is a stronger cyclist than I am. That is a good sign I should back off a bit as I have no business riding that close to her. "Save it for the run," I tell myself. I make a conscious decision to ease up and create a little distance. By mile 50, my butt was ready to get off that saddle. I HATE TRI SHORTS (all of them)! There is nothing good about them. The "padding" is a joke. There's nowhere near enough padding to ride a bike, but just enough padding to make running uncomfortable... and they're too long for short people. Ready to get run!

After a quick stop in my personal port-o-potty, I head out to crush this run. I take the first lap at a comfortable pace. I feel like I'm just putting around passing people here and there. I start coming up on some familiar people that flew past me on that bike. It starts warming up a good bit. I hit every aid station to get 2 cups of water, one for my head and one for my mouth. As I come around for the 2nd loop, I decide to pick up the pace just a tad. I check my watch and realize that I should come in under 5:30:00... woohoo!... given that nothing crazy happens. I notice that my feet are getting really sore. The whole run was on a gravel road and I can feel every little rock under my foot. This pushes me to go a little faster just so I can be done sooner. I finish up the run feeling strong... 5:18:56.

I always start my races with a plan and then make adjustments; depending on the weather or how my stomach feels or if I'm bored and just wanna eat. Here's how this race went down:
Pre-race: coffee, banana, muffin (homemade)
Bike: 1 Espresso Chocolate Chip Bonk Breaker (broken into 2 halves), 1 salted caramel Gu, 1 water bottle, 1 water bottle with Nuun, 2 Endurolytes
Run: 1/2 of Honey Stinger Chews, 1 Endurolyte, a lot of water and Gatorade

I strongly believe in not racing with my Garmin. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely addicted to my GPS watch when I am training. But when it comes time to raceday, I just go by feel. How do my legs feel? How's my breathing? Do I need to back off? Can I push a little harder? After a proper taper... you SHOULD be going faster than you train. If I would have seen my MPH or pace during the race I probably would have panicked and slowed down even though I felt fine. I just use a $14 stopwatch that I got from Target. I only use it for timing my nutrition... Like if I plan to eat # calories every # minutes... that's it. Data is overrated on raceday. 

I came in 10th in my new age group... not too shabby! I paid the price though... I've been crazy sore. I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. It's hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I have to do double that in 6 weeks... one day at a time. 

Go Run Some!
Race for Vince
Runners Roost!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pre-Boulder 70.3

The Boulder 70.3 is 3 days away! I have lots of mixed thoughts and feelings and goals and back-up goals for this race. I'm not even really sure how I'm gonna approach this and I probably won't until I put my face in Boulder Reservoir. Part of me wants to keep it relaxed and have a "training race" and the other part of me wants to see how fast I can go... hmm.  

I somehow ended up in this "All World Athlete" category?! I am being 100% honest when I say I don't know how I ended up in this group. I mean seriously, I did two official Ironman events last year. During the Raleigh 70.3 I spent about 10 minutes onthe ground talking to a medic and 4 hours racing with a broken shoulder. And my other Ironman event was IM Wisconsin which I was definitely not racing. So, I'm not sure what point system this All World Athlete thing uses... but they should be stricter... because I should not be included. 

But it is what it is and I guess I should enjoy the perks while they last! The best part is that I get to start at 7:20am instead of 8:05am. This means I don't have to stand around waiting to start while watching the port-o-potty lines. This also means I'm going to get to see even more people fly past me on the bike, as I am a crappy cyclist. Yep... I'll probably see ALL my pals on that bike course! At least I'll beat the heat (but the high is supposed to be like 78, and that's kinda nice). 

This sets me up for my biggest, loftiest goal...

Goal #1: Don't let Tyler pass me. I get to start a full hour ahead of him! We are basically identical swimmers (I used to be faster for the record!). Seriously though, he has a fancy new Cervelo that makes him go fast. I hate it. Hang on, let me do the math to see how fast he would have to go to catch me. Ok, so I averaged 18mph in Raleigh, so Tyler would have to average 26mph to gain an hour on me. I hope I can handle this. 

Goal #2: Keep wheels on road, helmet on head, feet in clips, and scapulas in tact. 

Goal #3: Find all those A-holes that passed me on the bike course and run them down. Just kidding... goal #3 is HAVE FUN!!!!

This will be my first official Ironman event that is local! Last year I traveled for all my big races; it will be nice to see more familiar faces out there. And I'll have a lot more rides available if I need to go to the ER!

Thing #1: Fix my aerobars. They've been crooked since October. One is pointing straight while the other points to the right and it makes me feel dizzy when I stare at the wheel. I should fix that. If it don't do it now, I'll probably decide I should fix it whilst racing--not safe. 

Thing #2: Socks or no socks on the bike? Something about bare feet in my bike shoes sounds gross. But putting on socks will add about 8 seconds to my transition time! Ugh! decisions... Decision made. It's worth 8 seconds. 

Thing #3: Put chain lube on my chain. I degreased The Green Flash and totally forgot to lube her up. She wasn't happy last weekend. Sorry girl!

Thing #4: What song should I stick in my head that will push me through 5-6 hours of endurance fun? 

Yes, these are the only choices.

I don't think I'm feeling as fresh for this 70.3 as I did last year. This one is a lot closer to my full IM race, so my training load has been a bit bigger recently. Oh well, we'll see soon enough!

Go run some!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Race For Vince

I was going to wait a while before I posted about this fundraiser. This is definitely not the first time I've asked for money for various charities. I have super-supportive family and friends that have always helped out my efforts some way... either donating or passing my fundraiser along to others. When Runners Roost presented the team with this enormous fundraising goal, I was really impressed and excited to start sharing the cause... but I knew I had to be a little tactful. I didn't want people to think "this is just another fundraiser Sara got into".... because it's definitely not. 
So, my plan was to wait until later in the season, when the fundraiser needed a little extra push. I thought I'd wait until Ironman Boulder got a little closer before I started spreading the word. But some circumstances have changed and I think now is the best time to share this story:

(The short version) Vince DiCroce, a member of Runners Roost and Runner Edge of the Rockies, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2004 and was told he had 3-5 years at most. Here's how he handled it:

"I signed up for an Ironman triathlon–a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon.  I didn’t know how to swim, but it didn’t matter. I completed Ironman Wisconsin on my 44th birthday, September 7, 2008. Since being diagnosed with brain cancer I have completed almost 30 marathons and 7 Ironman triathlons. All the while, to the amazement of everyone, doctors included, my tumor was shrinking.  With each race finish I felt I was defying death.  I was getting faster, stronger, and better than before." --Vince DiCroce,, Nov.2012.

Also, check out this article in the Denver Post!

I have been a part of the Runner Roost Race Team since 2009. It continues to grow every year. We have added over 100 members since I started. We have expanded from a road racing team by adding a ultra-mountain team and a triathlon team. This year I was especially proud to be a part of the team because we are decided to make a special effort to give back to the endurance sport community. During our team kickoff meeting last January, Roost announced that we would work together to raise money for the Ironman Foundation, in honor of Vince DiCroce.

"The athletes on the Runners Roost Race Team and Runners Edge of the Rockies will lead a fundraising campaign for the entire 2014 season, culminating with the Ironman World Championships in October, with a goal of raising $140,600 through the effort.  The money raised will be donated to the brain cancer research foundation of Vince’s choosing."-- Race for Vince

Well, this past Saturday, I received an email explaining that Vince had passed away.

Here are some things you can do:
1) Read his blog. It's pretty amazing. 
2) Donate! Visit Race for Vince.
3) Pass this link along to friends and family.
4) Set your own goal. Is there something you want to accomplish? That race you've always wanted to try? The clock is ticking!

The endurance community has lost a true hero and an inspirational person. 

Go Run Some! PS. It's National Running Day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

More of My Favorite Things!

It's time to share more amazing things you probably already know about! Here is my first "favorite things" post... FYI.

1) food
My current, and long-standing, source of workout fuel continues to be Honey Stinger chews. The best flavors are cherry blossom and pink lemonade (not a fan of the cola... that's just me). They're easy to open and shove in a pocket. They're perfectly chewy without getting stuck in your teeth... nothing like digging chunks of chews outta your teeth on your bike! There are 10 chews in a pack with is perfect for 2 mid-workout snacks. 
2) beer
Spring beers are here! But I really don't care...
While I was visiting my bro in NC, we decided to finally try to Evil Twin Brewing Yin and Yang. The Yin and an imperial stout and the Yang is an imperial IPA. They're both delicious (and expensive) on their own. Mixing them together creates an amazeballs black-and-tan-type creation. mmmmmm
split with someone (me); it gets you drunk
3) socks
I somehow ended up with a pair of Wigwam Ironman Triathlete socks; maybe I won them in a raffle or something. Well, after experiencing some massive and emotionally disturbing blisters, I decided it was time to upgrade my socks (even though my blisters were the result of an irresponsible pedicure, not my socks). I ordered 9 pairs of these socks in black and threw away all my old socks that I'm pretty sure my dad gave me for Christmas in 2005. I love these socks and you would too!
best. sock. ever. (make sure you get 2)
4) recovery
I bought a tub of Muscle Milk Light Cake Batter and fell in love. Here are some things you can do with it besides drink it like a normal person.
1) Mix it with iced coffee for a latte-esque recovery drink.
2) Mix it with vanilla yogurt for dessert, or lunch, or a snack, or whatever...
3) Make banana muffins
Don't eat with a spoon out of the tub (very dry), I've tried.
5) swimsuits
Got saggy-butt because your swimsuit is sooooo old? Look no farther! Splish has the most unique and super-cute swimsuits. Not only are they fashionable, they fit great and last forever. I just bought this cat suit! 
6) Blister prevention
Remember when I was whining about blisters? Well, a friend of mine recommended Tuf-Foot. I thought it was crazy and for animals... and it is both of those things. But I decided I was not meant to have pretty pedicure feet during running season, which we all know is year-round. I ordered a bottle off Amazon and I LOVE IT! I could immediately tell a difference and I haven't had one "hot spot" on my feet since I started using it about 2 weeks ago. 
So, I think I've got your bases covered. You can eat, drink, swim, and run comfortably and in style. You're welcome!

go run some!