Monday, March 11, 2013

What goes up must come down

"Did you see all that blood in the snow?" my husband asked me when he got off the chairlift and caught up to where I was waiting with our 4 year-old daughter, Mia.

"No, I must have missed it." I answered with disappointment because blood in the snow sounds somewhat exciting, for some sick reason.  Oh well, I thought and down the mountain we started once again with our little one practicing making her french fries and pizza shapes with her skis.  We were going to finish this run and then head into the lodge for some hot chocolate.


Going back about ten days, my life has been quite a roller coaster.  Two weekends ago, I flew with my 12 year-old son, Ian, to North Carolina for the weekend to visit my college campus and take him to a Duke basketball game.  That weekend is deserving of a post all its own so I won't say too much about it now except to say it was one of the best weekends I can remember.  Some of the highlights were an amazing Duke win over Miami, a gorgeous morning run on my favorite running trail near Duke and, best of all, quality time with Ian.

Ian and I heading into the Duke basketball stadium
although it is flat in this picture, the total elevation gain of 2,300 feet in 10 miles of this trail about killed me
I came home from the weekend full of energy and ready to tackle my last few weeks of hard training before heading to Mexico for spring break and beginning my tapering for Boston.  I felt strong and confident.

I recently switched my running schedule around so that I would do all my long runs on Thursday mornings instead of Saturdays.  This allows me enough time to get in a long run plus a quick shower before picking up my little ones from preschool.  This change also frees up my weekend a little so that I can be available to take kids to ballet lessons and soccer games and my husband can play his soccer games, too.  

I woke up last Thursday to a beautiful, clear day and temperatures hovering in the low 40's.  Absolutely perfect running weather.  After dropping the three kids off, I drove back home and immediately set out on my run.  My run took me down to Portland's waterfront where there is a trail right along the river and no street crossings or traffic to slow me down.  I simply got in the groove and kept going.  

My right IT band started hurting a little around mile 15 and I was getting fatigued by the end but overall, it was a great run.  In fact, I finished my 20 miles faster than my goal marathon pace.  

[To be honest, I haven't really determined my goal for Boston yet but one of my main goals is to run a sub-3:30, which would be a 5 minute PR for me.  Although I now think I am capable of running a 3:25 or faster, I may still run Boston a little more conservatively and save a little energy for the Newport Marathon, which I am running on June 1st with one of my favorite new blogger friends, Kate, from So Cal Runner Gal.  Kate and I are targeting similar goals and this will be both of our first time running back-to-back marathons.  (Other things we have in common: Boston and Newport will be both of our 7th and 8th marathons, we both have a PR of 3:35, we are vegetarians, we are from Chicago, we have identical lists of favorite books...just to name a few!)]

I was feeling so confident after this run and was looking forward to the 15K Shamrock Run on March 17th to help determine my goal race pace.  Just about a month ago, I had to miss a half-marathon due to coming down with strep throat on the day of the race.  As disappointed as I was to miss that race, I knew I at least had the Shamrock Run to help me gauge my fitness.

All this brings me back to yesterday morning on Mt. Hood.  My brother and his fiance had offered to watch our 2 year-old daughter and bring Ian home from his soccer game while we took the Mia up to the mountain to ski.  I never thought once about getting injured while skiing as I have been skiing since I was 2 years-old without a single skiing-related injury.  Besides, we were skiing with our daughter -- what could possibly go wrong?!

John and Mia on the chairlift
On our very first run down the mountain, Mia needed a little more help than usual so I had her skiing between my legs.  I was bent over and holding her up while we made big, wide turns on the bunny slope.  Suddenly, she got her skis crossed and somehow she fell down and I fell on top of her.  I felt a sharp pain in my lower right leg as I landed on the sharp metal edge of her ski.  Although it hurt like hell, I focused on getting her back upright and didn't want to make a big deal about falling.  But, damn, that really hurt my leg for a few minutes!  

An hour later, we were on our fourth run of the day when my husband mentioned the blood he had seen.  We skied down to the lodge and as we were taking off our skis, I said excitedly "Look!  There's some blood in the snow right there!"  And I took another step and suddenly a much bigger pool of blood appeared in the snow.  "What the...??" I murmured as I looked down to see I was dripping blood off my ski boot.  I slowly pulled up jut my ski pants and was greeted with an awful sight.  

Okay...most runners I know have a fairly strong stomach.  And if you are also a mom, then you have seen your share of gross things as well so I'm going to go ahead and post the picture of my leg...

Apparently, the sharp edge of Mia's ski had cut completely through two layers of ski pants, my winter running tights and my thick wool ski sock before cutting into my leg.  I had lost a good amount of blood by this point...both in my ski boot and then all over my clothes and the outside of the boot.  I had two major questions when I saw my leg -- how was this going to affect my training and how in the hell did I ski with my leg like this for the past hour?!

After getting medical attention on the mountain and then in the ER back in Portland for stitches, I have my answers.  Supposedly, I can run as soon as I feel up to it but that definitely won't be today or likely tomorrow.  Which means I'm taking almost a full week off with no running after last week's long run.  And I'm not sure what it means for my race this weekend or for my Boston training.  As for the second question, all I can say is that I'm a woman and a mom.  I think that automatically makes me tough.

I seem a little too happy here
the doc who stitched me up specialized in plastic surgery so he was able to do mostly internal stitches

leaving the ER
In all my "toughness", I declined the vicodin that they recommended I take for sleeping last night.  Not my best decision as I woke up in a lot of pain but I'm hoping it gets better quickly and I can run again soon.  Besides not running, I am most upset about ruining my favorite pair of lululemon running tights -- those things are not cheap!! Here's hoping everything takes a turn for the better once again this week.

Have you run back-to-back marathons?  If so, how did they go?
Have any non-running injuries sidelined you?
Ever had stitches?  This was my first time!

- Kristen