Thursday, November 27, 2008

Clearwater Race Report Part II!!!

Ok! So where were we? Oh.... yeah...

Bigun picked Erich and I up at the airport and proceeded to drive us to our hotel in Clearwater. Being the SNAG (Sensitive New-Age Guy) that he is, Bigun took care of everything including putting my bike together and forcing pain pills down my throat. I am forever indebted to the guy for all his help. After getting the bikes together we headed down to dinner where I proceeded to eat twice as much as the big dude. Yeah... I have eating skillz. And nunchuck skirrz. Don't let the emaciated body fool ya.

Needless to say, I was exhausted from the stress of the day. Forget that I had been awake since 2 o'clock in the morning... I'd been in pretty severe pain and riding an extreme emotional roller coaster the entire day. I was D.O.N.E. With a healthy dose of pain pills/muscle relaxants/ibuprophen/melatonin.... I was off to dream-land!

The next morning we headed down to the expo to get our bikes tuned up and check out the sights. I was also going to get a hold of some medical folks and see what the verdict was on my shoulder. Thanks to the miracle of modern pharmaceutical intervention... I had slept really well and in relative comfort. Waking up... the mobility in my shoulder hadn't gotten any worse... but I still thought it would be a good idea to get it checked! That's when it happened...
I ran into Mirinda!!! YES! It was HER! Looking as adorable as ever. No... I didn't scream like a little girl... nor did I faint... nor did I do the happy dance. I did my best to maintain my coolness... and failed miserably! I did however manage a semi-coherent sentence when she asked me what was up with my arm. *sigh... pitter-pat*

Ok. So! I find the massage tent and ask for the dude that REALLY knows what he's doing. So... in walks "Doctor Pete". Pete has a Ph.D. and is licensed in Clinical Sports Massage, Soft Tissue Injury Rehabilitation, Myofascial Therapy, AND Kinesiology. Yeah... that last big word? Remember the Olympics? Remember women's volleyball? Remember the funky tape on that one athlete's shoulder? Yeah. THAT'S Kinesio tape. Pete spent the next 45 minutes working on me. This hurt. This hurt a LOT.

It's funny. I guess its no secret that I'm uh... kind of... well... EMOTIONAL!!!! Its a blessing AND a curse. Anywho... I teared up while Pete was working on me. It wasn't the pain.... I liked that part. It was the fact that here I was at the world championships and I was NOT going to be even close to 100%. But that wasn't even it. I wasn't 100% before I even left with being sick and my crazy foot injury and my strained calf! LOL. It had more to do with the text messages and phone calls that I was getting. There are certain people that just plain "get it"... people that have wanted something so badly... more than anything in the world... and for a long time, had their hopes and dreams dashed over and over until everything played out. They've been through it... so they can relate in a way that no one else can.... and they let you lean on them... and they listen... and they say the exact right things... and THAT? That is what reveals the brilliance of these random "tragedies". If you just pay attention... you can learn so much about yourself and those that you're close to. Hm. WHEW! ANYWAYS... so I'm tearing up... and forgetting to breathe... which is ODD because I'm always talking about breathing and this other massage guy was like, "Hey maaaan... breathe into iiiiiiiit". So I relaxed and Pete was able to finish the job. He told me to spend the rest of the day keeping my arm as still as possible and then get in the water on Friday and try it out. At this point, I had resolved within myself that the worst-case scenario would be that I swim with only one arm. Game ON!

So for the remainder of the day I tried to stay as quiet as possible. Now THAT is just reDONKULOUS! Me? Quiet? Though you might not think it... I can actually be a pretty calm dude. At times... I might be considered stoic... yes... pensive even. However, is being at the world championships of ANYTHING the time to be quiet? Heck no. I ran around the expo and talked to vendors and got my bike all fixed up and ate and talked and ate and relaxed and got my stuff all ready and ate and took a picture with a lion and just kinda hung around. I got to say "Hi" to Bryan D. of Arizona fame, (Remember him, super-fast guy that I got to train with back in May?), I got to chat with Amanda Memphis Balding, in a Dorthy costume of all things, and the absolute BEST part of the day? I got to finally MEET my beloved coach LIZ! She gave me a ring and told me that she was down at the expo and to look for the tall, busty blond! Bah ha HA! I couldn't find her for the longest time... it was weird. Anyway... it was kinda like meeting a long lost friend and I followed her around like a little puppy for a while before heading out for an early dinner, (which Liz bought!). Along with Liz I got to meet Colleen and Bryan from Seattle. Colleen is another one of Liz's athletes and totally cool (its actually a requirement of being one of Liz's athletes... coolness). Bryan? He is just... ummm... he's just a dude. You know? He's one of those lovable guys that you meet and right away you wanna grab him in a bear-hug and yell, "I love you maaaaaan!" Yeah... that's Bryan in a nutshell.

Man! What is WRONG with me?! This is taking for-EVER!!! Sorry! Geesh!

Ok... fast-forward to Friday morning. Time to try the arm out in the water. Erich and I mosey down to the Gatorade swim, I struggle into my wet suit and walk down to the water. Wading in, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of apprehension. I'm human after all. I slid in and took a few strokes. The arm worked. I wasn't in excruciating pain, my range of motions was pretty good, and I was actually able to pull a little water. The weakest points of my stroke on the right side were the catch and the finish... but I could actually USE the arm! I was really happy. It was what it was... and I KNEW that I could at the very least swim a 35 minute swim. Coming out of the water, I felt... relief. I could race. I'd be slow. But I could race.

I went back and saw doctor Pete real quick. He stripped me of the current tape-job, worked on me for another 15 minutes, slapped on some MORE tape in a totally different configuration and told me good luck. There really wasn't any more that he could have done... and actually... I appreciated his considerable lack of dramatic and inspirational words of wisdom. Pete was a simple dude. I liked that.

So... transition bags packed. Bike dropped off. Well-fed. Early to bed. Calm. Focused. Ready to put together whatever I could early Saturday morning. I dropped off to sleep that night with absolutely zero race anxiety.

More soon... happy Thanksgiving. Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole.



beth said...

so happy you had a mirinda sighting...

happy thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad you didn't have to swim with one are a great storyteller, I feel like I was there. Keep the installments coming!

Anonymous said...

I bet you could PR while swimming with one hand tied behind your back, giving someone a buck on the bike and running with your eyes closed!!

You DO like bets/dares right?
S.H. (you know...s.h.)

Duane said...

Keep writing!