Easter Sunday. A day of rebirth. A new life. Wiping the slate clean and starting again. To be honest I don’t really feel like it is a brand new day, I feel like I’m still climbing out of that hole I talked about yesterday. Maybe today I’ve got my elbows up on the ledge and I’m peering over toward the sunlight, but I have one hard pull to haul my backend up onto flat ground again. I’ll be heading up to CT after my morning swim to have Easter dinner with my family. We’ll be going to the tavern and I hope that I can make some good choices. They have really good food there so with a little smart ordering I think I can come out okay. I will bring my tracker with me.
I have discovered a secret weapon in how to make myself want to workout. Injury!! Yes, on Friday night while walking through my living room in the dark, I stubbed my toe on an ottoman. It hurt like the dickens. (Does anyone know what are dickens and why they hurt? click here to find out.)
On Saturday morning I was to meet Michelle and Martha to ride to Rockland Park. 60 miles round trip and I was looking forward to riding without stopping and just seeing how hard that will be for race day. When I woke up on Saturday morning my little toe was sore and a little black and blue but it didn’t seem THAT bad so I put on my cycling shoes with a little wince and left the strap around my toes loose. I decided I would give the bike a try with the promise that if it hurt I would turn around and come home.
I met up with the gals and some of their teammates as well as some of the guys from Asphalt Green (the tri club that I joined last month). Everything was fine except I overdressed terribly. The week before, Michelle, Martha, Ilona, Jess and I rode to Nyack and froze our toes off it was so cold, so this week I felt I would rather be slightly warm than cold at all. I was so hot by the time I got to park that I knew that I would not be able to ride in all of those layers. First thing I did was toss my cycling booties. They were all ripped up after three seasons of abuse and it was time for new ones anyway. Then I saw my friend Linda running by and I begged her to take my jacket with her. God love her she did it and I don’t know what I would have done if I had to wear that jacket. The only thing left were my tights and headband — Michelle took my headband in her bike pack and I wrapped my tights around my waist and insto presto I was stripped down and ready to ride. Improvisation in its finest hour.
Was happy to see Ron and Cliff were joining us. I did races with both of them in the past and they are very nice guys — very supportive of my training efforts even though I can’t keep up with either one of them. So it promised to be a nice day. My toe was not hurting — almost at all — so I figured it was probably not hurt that much after all and was relieved.
The ride went well. I felt fine on the way out. By the time I got to Rockland Park, however, I was out of water — I had packed two water bottles but it was much hotter than I had anticipated and I was really sweating. I know, I know — another nutrition/hydration snafu. But, I found a machine in the park and bought two bottles of PowerAde so I thought I would be fine. I don’t usually have to drink THAT much water — or do I? I guess I started out a little more dehydrated than usual.
Martha and I groaned a lot about the big hill awaiting our climb out of Rockland Park and we were not looking forward to it. Right before we were to start up the big hill, Michelle got a flat. Of course getting a flat is everyone’s nightmare and we all immediately jumped into fix-it mode. While we were waiting for Michelle to fix her tire Donald and Julia were riding by (how funny to be 30 miles away from home and run into friends on some road to nowhere.) They stopped and chatted with us for a bit — Donald and I reviewing each other’s new bikes. Martha and I were bemoaning the upcoming hill and wondering if there would be some other way around it. Donald agreed it was a big hill but doable. “Connie, you have a compact crank set, you can do this.” I agreed that I had a compact crank set on my bike but alas, did not have a compact ass to put on it. No matter how good the bike is, hauling extra tonnage is hauling extra tonnage.
Martha and I decided we would employ the pebble by pebble strategy to get up the hill. (I promised Martha I would mention our strategy in the blog today!) It worked. Believe it or not it really wasn’t that bad. I was even thinking to myself, “Geesh, I really think I could get off and run right now.” (Words I would come to rue in another hour or so.) I couldn’t help wondering about those hills in CT I did in the fall — the ones that made me cry. Am I really in better shape? Would I be crying going up those hills today? I made a mental note to try them again soon.
We decided to stop in Nyack for a snack at the Runcible Spoon — the bikers’ haven. I always enjoy going there because it is so fun to see the hundred bikers having coffee in their brightly colored jerseys. It’s really like a big club and it is fun to see the same faces time and again. There are two guys there I swear must just get dressed up in the cycling outfits in the morning and hang out there all day long because no matter what time or day I go the Runcible Spoon — there they are sitting there having coffee. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them ride in or out. But they have really fancy outfits including those little caps. It doesn’t feel like New York — it feels like some little cycling village in France.
At the Runcible Spoon I was aware that my toe was starting to throb. It didn’t like being off the bike so I was happy once we motivated and got back on the road and heading toward home. With a mile or two of leaving the Spoon I got very thirsty. I polished off the rest of the PowerAde and found myself almost beverage less. Uh oh. Not good. Once again improper planning coming back to bite me in my non-compact ass. Very quickly the dehydration headache set in. I knew I had to find water. I was starting to fade, had no energy and had a hard time keeping the pedals moving. I kept counting to 8 and then would pause, 8 pause, 8 pause. I told Michelle I had to stop at the golf course to find water. I guess I must have passed it because I never saw it. As we neared the GW Bridge I found a gas station. Normally I wouldn’t have stopped that close to the city but now my head felt like it was ripping open and I knew I was dangerously dehydrated. I bought lemonade and sucked it down like, like, well the dickens and immediately felt the sugar rush right to my brain. Whew, now I knew I could make it home.
I met back up with Michelle and Martha and headed back. While riding up Riverside my left quad cramped BIG TIME. I had to unclip and try to straighten my leg. That had never happened to me on the bike before — ever. I knew it was the dehydration. Suddenly all the wine and bad food I had been eating all week had come back to haunt me. I realized that when I am eating well — there are a lot of fruits and veggies in my diet which help in hydration. Poppers and Nachos don’t really help rehydrate your muscles. Nor is wine a good substitute for H2O. More self-flagellation — pedal to 8, pause, 8 pause, 8 stupid woman pause, 8 stupid woman pause. Once again I felt Tina’s embarassment at having such an undeserving rider as I weaved and wobbled her home.
Once in my apartment I almost fell into the chair — not because of dehydration but because my foot gave out. I gingerly removed my cycling shoe. “Oh My God” I gasped. It looked like gangrene. The entire right half of my right foot was black. “This can’t be good” I thought. I tried to move my toes. They moved with soreness. I could make out spots around my little toe that were very dark and then a larger patch around my three right toes that was less dark and red. For a second I thought — Emergency Room. But instead I decided to take a shower. After my shower I could see that bruise was really just around my little toe and the dark-red puffiness was probably due to having my foot in a cycling shoe for 7 hours. (It was 4 p.m. by the time I got home).
The funny part about my foot is that I immediately panicked about not being able to run. “Hey, you didn’t want to run on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, but now you want to run?” I admonished myself. I didn’t get my extra run workout in this week and now I’m screwed because I could tell that I will not be biking or running on that foot for at least three days if not more. Oh man, not now!!! Not right before my big race. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. All night my mind kept racing worrying about racing. I had a nightmare that our swim coach gave me an “F” on the timed mile and wasn’t going to let me swim. All of the people I had been helping with their swim all season passed the test but I flunked! “Earl” I kept pleading, “I’ve done 13 triathlons, how can you flunk me?” “I’m sorry, you flunked, nothing I can do about it” he replied in my dream state. I woke up in a panic. I must do my timed mile this morning. I can’t bike or run, so I’m going to swim every day until I’m better. Oh my God, I had no idea how deep this illness of compulsion runs.
I’m laughing at myself as I read this. Why must I make this so difficult for myself? What is so hard about eating right, hydrating, exercising? There is no cramming for health. A little every day goes a long way. I missed those three days of exercise and I could have had those days under my belt and not felt so terrible about now having to miss a couple of days now. I hope I can remember that any day that is a healthy day should be an exercise day since I’ll never know what day might be the one that gives me an injury or some other sideline. There is nothing fun about climbing out of a hole. Which is harder? Climbing out of the hole or avoiding it in the first place? Climbing out requires Herculean strength. Avoiding it requires a daily touching of the toes — preferably not black and blue.
How many points do I get for the poem about toes and uses the word Runcible? As a matter of fact the Runcible Spoon gets its name from one of Edward Lear’s other famous poems “The Owl and the Pussycat.” This really should be read out loud, try it — shut your office door and read it aloud — it’s fun!
The Pobble Who Has No Toes
The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said “Some day you may lose them all;”
He replied “Fish, fiddle-de-dee!”
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said “The World in general knows
There’s nothing so good for a Pobble’s toes!”
The Pobble who has no toes
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said “No harm
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
And it’s perfectly known that a Pobble’s toes
Are safe, — provided he minds his nose!”
The Pobble swam fast and well,
And when boats or ships came near him,
He tinkledy-blinkledy-winkled a bell,
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side –
“He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska’s
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!”
But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet,
Formerly garnished with toes so neat,
His face at once became forlorn,
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!
And nobody ever knew,
From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble’s toes,
In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps, or crawfish grey,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away –
Nobody knew: and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!
The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up
To his Aunt Jobiska’s Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish, –
And she said “It’s a fact the whole world knows,
That Pobbles are happier without their toes!”