Friday, August 17, 2012

Rolling With The Punches

I love to suffer on the bike.  You know, that kind of eye-ball popping, lung-busting, leg-burning pain as you push yourself to the limits.  This type of pain is an endorphin-releasing monster that I welcome with open arms.  It is one of the many reasons why we endurance junkies race.

However, in the last few months, that "fun" kind of suffering has been replaced with a burning, stabbing, and sometimes even an electrical searing pain.  With each step or pedal stroke, I am constantly reminded that my neurological system is full functioning, albeit in a negative way.  If I am lucky enough, the pain is eventually replaced by numbness.

The pain is most definitely worse off the bike.  It hurts to stand, period, and walking barefoot is almost impossible on hard surfaces.  The only respite is when I sit, swim, or sleep.  Weightlessness is my friend, gravity my foe.

On January 15, 2012 when I registered for the New Hampshire 100, I was super excited to be headed to a new race.  LW had my plan dialed for me to peak for this one.  I was salivating at the thought of a 100 mile sufferfest and competing against some of the best endurance ladies in the US.

Fast forward to today.  I am headed to New Hampshire to race, but LW and I have re-set my goals.  As she so eloquently put it, "Setbacks that occur as your race career progresses are called insults.  Always frustrating and demoralizing.  When you have a series of setbacks holding you back from where you know you can be, the best course of action is to place a higher focus on the joy of riding/racing and less on the suffer part."

I have always placed the fun factor of racing first, closely followed by safety and seeking that top podium spot.  So I have decided to race the 100K.  At this distance I feel I can still have the "euphoric" level of suffering, yet not be hindered/frustrated/demoralized by the pain.  And at this distance, I will be able to enjoy 2 days of riding the Kingdom Trails afterwards.

In the meantime, I am following my doc's recommendation of using a trans dermal cream to help placate the nerves in my feet.  Two days ago I visited Choice Orthotics to get fitted for a pair of custom insoles.  Richie told me that my arch is super high and my metatarsal fat pad is non existent.  The insoles will help displace my weight more evenly along the entire foot.  I will get a properly placed metatarsal button and there will be a gel pad to help cushion the metatarsal heads.

They can also fit Ossur Cheetah carbon fiber foot prosthetics.

Right now the forecast looks pretty good for the race.  The 6:45am start will be a little nippy in the low 50's.  Zeke will be racing his Niner A9C single speed and I will be on my Niner Jet 9 RDO.  The legs are tuned and the GI is happy so hoping the rest of the body follows suit.

At least there is no target on my back!

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