Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Clearance!

What a week!

I am finding myself in need of a breather today after a little unexpected bonus running adventure yesterday!

First, what's up with the sign? Mental clearance sale? That idea came from my new friend, fellow blogger and passionate patient advocate Terri, at Diep C Journey. For those of my readers who also have an interest in breast cancer-related matters, Terri is a powerful and influential advocate for women who need education and resources for reconstruction options following a mastectomy. Since this blog is not about breast cancer I have given you her URL so you can check out and follow her blog.

I need a mental clearance sale today myself, simply because my brain has been on overload all week and things finally caught up with me yesterday.

Last week I was a slug. I just could not find the motivation again. I got an amazing amount of work done, so that was fine. Finding the consistency to keep moving is the struggle these days.

Monday I started out with a busy week but committing to myself to get back into the habit of doing about 10 miles a day on my feet. Not that hard to do if I run for an hour, walk the girls once or twice, and add a little extra walking somewhere during the day.

I got a fair amount done early in the week and had some extra preparation to do, I had a few client appointments, plus I am having a promotional video made for my business and part of the footage includes the exercise class I teach, so I needed to get things in order for that. Also, I had a tweet chat last night and needed to prepare for it.

To top it off we are finding ourselves in need of an extra person on the return crew for Bob's double Badwater adventure. Trying to find someone who is free to drop everything and leave for Death Valley, is fit enough and heat-prepared enough, and can be flexible about dates as we don't know how long it will take, and, most important of all, will be drama-free and have their head screwed on straight even when severely sleep deprived, is a major challenge. If we can't find that person, we will somehow make it work. But it sure would be nice to have the extra body.

I managed to do okay with the mileage on my feet for the first half of the week. I only made 10 miles one day but came close on the others. That didn't matter so much as getting a good quality workout with some vertical at some point this week. I have to fit those in when the time allows, and the only opening I had was Thursday. I figured I could get up early, drive up to Estes and do a couple of summits of Twin Sisters to get a good 14 miles and close to 5000 feet of vertical in, then get back to town in time to maybe even take a nap before the client appointment and the tweetchat.

As it turned out, I didn't need to set my alarm or the coffeepot for 3:30 am, because my body woke me up at precisely 12:57 am after going to bed at 10:30. I stayed in bed until 2 am, not falling back asleep, so I finally said #$@% it and I'm getting up, I'll just bring my headlamp. I left the house at 3 am with some PBJs, lots of drinks, and warm clothes.

I felt like crap of course, on 2 1/2 hours of sleep, but I was alert, and I arrived at the trailhead around 4:15 am. I haven't hiked Twin Sisters since before the 2013 flood which cut a huge slide in the side of the mountain and wiped out parts of the trail, so I didn't know how different it would be. Actually not that different, there's just some straight up vertical climbing for short little sections where the switchbacks used to be.

I headed up the trail, tripping over a rock but catching myself within the first 100 feet. Hmm. I guess being that sleep deprived doesn't raise any red flags.

I kept going, and when I got to the slide at about 1.25 miles, I had to take my time trying to see where the trail had been diverted, in the dark, looking for cairns which had been placed. It was hard to see and it took a long time to figure out where I needed to go. I was hoping to summit by sunrise, but as it turned out I was about a mile below the summit when the sun came up, in the bristlecone & lodgepole transition forest, which made for some awesome photos.

It took me nearly 2 hours to get to the summit. I did fine once I was able to turn the headlamp off. In the old days I was able to get to the top and back down, do the whole thing, in about an hour and 40 minutes. I can remember one year I did a triple in 6 hours. That's how fit I used to be. Not anymore!

I got up to the summit, sat on top of the west peak for a few minutes in the wind, took some pictures, sent Dennis a text, and then headed back down. Once you start to cross the rocky section above treeline, just before you head back into the trees, I was walking down the trail, and...

I was face down, looking at rocks and some little alpine wildflowers, my wrists hurt like hell, my knees were throbbing, and my right calf muscles were cramped in an almost square shape. Knocked the breath right out of me. I was gasping more from the pain of the calf cramp than anything. No one was around. It was 6:30 am, I was at 11,000 feet, lying prone on the trail, and once the calf cramp let up, I slowly had the sense to assess myself to see if I could get up and move. My left wrist was the worst, but my right shin hurt like hell too.

Did I break anything? I moved my wrist and thumb around, which were inside my glove. Fortunately I was bundled up in the cold wind from the summit, so when I peeled my glove back, only the heel of my left hand had skin scraped off and was slightly bleeding. My wrist and thumb were working fine. My right hand was rashed under the glove but the skin was intact, and no problems there except pain from the impact. I moved my right leg carefully so as not to trigger another cramp. I was scraped and a big knot was coming up on my lower shin, and my left knee hurt, but no blood.

I slowly got into a sitting position, lightheaded and feeling nauseated, I sat there for a second, waiting for it to either pass, to puke, or for me to pass out again without having to fall too far. Fortunately none of those things happened. I was shaking all over though. After a few minutes I began to get up slowly, hoping walking was possible. I was upright and began walking very slowly down the trail.

I felt a little lightheaded, probably from the altitude. I drank some water. Everything seemed to be intact, but I knew I wasn't coming back up for another summit. I was headed back to the car, and I figured I might even have to take a nap in it before trying to drive home.

Once I got down the trail and down in altitude a little, I felt a lot better, and made much better time, but I had to be extra careful not to catch my toe on any rocks. I haven't been doing my hip exercises, which were the thing that got me back to trail running in the first place. I am sure my hip flexors are weak and I was dragging my feet, plus being so tired. And of course, my tendency to G Bird out when I'm up high. 11,000 feet is a new low altitude record for turning into Gooney Bird, though. I obviously need to get up to the mountains more!

By the time I got back to the car I was awake and decided just to go home. I did a mental check every few miles to make sure I was still awake. Wasn't a problem. I arrived home and made breakfast, let Dennis know I was home and headed off to bed for a long nap.

I had to get up and get dressed to see a client, then get back in time to eat and prepare for the Tweet chat. I still owed the sleep bank a good 3 hours. I needed to get through until 8 pm and then I could crash. And I did, after some dinner, ibuprofen and a beer. Even Dennis took pity on me and got me some chocolate. Because I fell down.

The Tweet chat went well despite some issues with Twitter loading slowly, so I am hoping I'll get to do more of those in the future.

Today I have a huge knot and small scrape on my lower right shin, a small knot on my outer left knee, a very sore left wrist and somewhat less so right wrist, my triceps and shoulders and forearms all feel like I did an Olympic powerlifting competition and won a gold medal.

I don't know what I was thinking, really, I guess I underestimate my ability to do dumb things while running. I might have lost some fitness, but not that special gift with which so many ultrarunners are endowed. I am not in the kind of shape that I have been in the past, this is my first time at altitude all year, and on 2 1/2 hours of sleep, hiking up a slightly unfamiliar trail in the dark by headlamp, by myself, was almost Darwin Award-esque.

The one thing I can say is that besides being very lucky, I think I just saved my insurance company some bucks on a DEXA scan. If I went down that hard and didn't break anything, I must have some pretty dense bones. That slammed my distal radius. I am really sore today, all the way up my arms, shoulders and back. That was some impact especially on my left wrist. I can see the bruise on my palm.

You're very welcome, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

So, the plan is, chill out today, no intense brain, physical or other work. This weekend hopefully I can get a few miles in, but whatever. I have a week and a half until I leave for Death Valley. Hopefully we find an extra crew member.

And before I forget, beer plug of the month: Odell has outdone itself here. It's called Brombeere, it's a Blackberry Gose. Whatever that is. I am not generally a fan of sour beers, I have not been that impressed with many of the sour beers out there but this one I love. They balanced the flavors just right. A new favorite!


Terri said...

Alene definitely gone bad!! You are an inspiration, my friend. A woman warrior. I hope your healing goes smoothly as you prepare for Death Valley. Next time, maybe a few more winks before you head out?

On a serious note, thank you for a shout out on my website. Our friendship has been forged in education and advocacy. You advise, listen and lift me up when the going gets a little tough.

Mental clearance sale now for mental toughness in CA!! Go Alene!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Terri, thank YOU for the inspiration. Collaborating with you is a clear sign that I have chosen the right path. We have so much work to do, and fun to have along the way! May the taper worm leave us both alone!!!