First Aid on the Move

So I sustained a minor injury yesterday.  No I wasn’t out running on a remote trail in the wilds of Delaware (I prefer the roads and neighborhoods most of the time), but I was a scant .5 mile away from home in a neighboring development.  I was running on the sidewalk as there were cars parked along the road when I looked up and saw a tree branch I was going to need to get under.  I was about 1:40 into my long run and feeling really good so I went to duck under.  I made the first branch and never saw the second branch which must of been lower, and I smacked myself right on top of the head.

This is after I showered and cleaned up.  Nice and scabby now.

This is after I showered and cleaned up. Nice and scabby now.

So I saw stars for a moment, but quickly gathered myself.  I thought to myself, “Wow, now what do I do?”  Here’s was what I did, and while it might not be exactly as a medical professional may recommend, here’s my thought process…

(1) First thing, sit down and get low to the ground, because if you faint you have less distance to fall.  I also thought that the faster my HR is reduced, the better.

(2) I applied immediate pressure with my hand.  It hurt, but between the sweat and the blood I couldn’t tell how bad it was.

(3) I was on the lookout for light-headedness, nausea, and a headache.  I waited about 5 minutes and didn’t sense any of these things.  I also sensed that the bleeding was close to stopping.

(4) Call for help.  I debated calling my wife to come and pick me up, but decided to walk it back home.  I’m certain I looked ridiculous walking with my hand perched atop my noggin, but I wanted to walk slowly and still apply pressure.  I drank the remaining bit of water I head left.  Overall I felt more embarrassed than anything, and a little pissed to have such a great run derailed like this (I was gunning for 2 hours).

I got home and showed my wife.  It was a fairly large cut, but very much on the surface and not much to be stitched.  I jumped in the shower and cleaned up and the cut bled very slowly and very little.  I applied anti-bacterial cream and left it open to air out.

I usually run around town with my FuelBelt with one pouch which holds my iPhone, a tin of EnergyBits or a gel, and sometimes some cash.  It made my think of what I would’ve done if I were out on a remote trail somewhere.  I did a little research and gathered some resources concerning first aid.

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Race Recap – Rock and Roll 1/2 in San Antonio

(Note – I fully intended to pepper this post with photos of my race, but seeing as how the “water resistant” FuelBelt pouch I bought at the race expo woefully under-performed, my phone was toast.  I do not have a MicroSD card reader, so I’ll have to come back and add the few photos I managed to take.)

I spent the evening hours on Saturday carbing up.  I saw this tweet from Bella on the Riverwalk:

 

I figured that I would call it in, and then walk over and bring it back to my hotel room.  When I called, David the proprietor, he “shamed” me into eating at the bar and not eating in solitude in my room.  I’m really glad he did, as the restaurant was literally right on the Riverwalk in a secluded little pocket (almost hard to find due to some construction).  I had the lentil soup (first time for me, and I’ll be totally cloning this recipe at home), “Pasta Bella” (pasta of the day, sauteed Texas Gulf shrimp, red sauce, artichokes, shrooms, spinach, and red pepper flakes).  In addition to copious amounts of ice water and fresh bread and olive oil, I also enjoyed a single glass of Cab.  The wait staff was gearing up for what appeared to be an onslaught, but they took time to chat me up as I ate at the bar.  I really need to become more social, because it is so easy to retreat into what’s uncomfortable, even when the decision to do so is borderline anti-social behavior!

I headed back to the room and walked briskly  as I wanted to get a read on my legs.  I felt 100%, and I was confident that my lower body would answer the bell on Sunday.  I laid out all of my gear for the morning (the less thinking the better), and running races is so much more simplistic that triathlon!

I was amped up, to say the least.  The evening before I made the mistake of hydrating using a new Nuun flavor I picked up at the expo.  I love Nuun and have used it quite a bit in training, along with my normal go-to mix of 1/2 strength Gatorade and Blox, but this particular flavor had CAFFEINE!  Oooops.

So I turned in early, and I was completely packed except for shower stuff post-race and the clothes I would wear home on the plane.

 

RACE MORNING

I woke up on time and showered/shaved.  I watered-up and had a handful of smoked almonds along with a PowerBar.  I filled my bottle with 20 oz of Nuun (with the caffeine) and headed out the door.

I can’t wait to trim that belly fat off!

I was in Corral 15, and the corrals were very packed.  The crowd was a bit quiet, and everyone just did the cursory “dance” (back and forth, calf stretches, hammy stretch, etc – this really resembles the “Pee Pee Dance” to the untrained observer).  We’ll I did have to dash to the porta-john and I ended up just jumping back into my corral in time for our start.

We set off and I felt fine.  The temp was maybe a little warmer than room temperature.  My goal was simply to run very consistent splits, hold back at the beginning, and not walk (unless the conditions at the water stops required it).  I was also hoping to stay under an 11 minute mile pace.  I was keeping an eye on my heart rate, and I was happy that in the first four miles my HR never reached 169 and my pace was right on.

 

Some observations:

  • Mile 1 was my quickest mile (makes sense), and then my next was mile 13 (head scratching), but I wasn’t consciously trying to kick in to the finish.
  • I took some GU gel about 15 minutes before the start, and then gels at mile 5 and 9. This worked extremely well for me, as I never felt deprived or weak.
  • This was my first run of any significance wearing compression sleeves, and I thought they felt fine.  I didn’t notice any significant improvement in performance with them, and it’s probably not fair to compare my post-race discomfort in the days after since I’m pretty certain I would still be sore without having worn them.  Who knows, but lots of runners swear by them and at least I’ll have another recovery aid if I choose not to wear them on the road.
  • The sun came out around mile 3, and that changed the hydration strategy quite a bit.  I began taking water or Gatorade whenever it was offered, and dumped water down my tri-top.  It got hot out, and since our season changed up in Delaware it was a bit of a shock.
  • My iPod shuffle died about mile 10, so I ran the rest naked.  This is a bit new to me, but I was fine with it.  For 2013 I need to get away from the audio-assistance with the longer races anyway.
  • I remember passing mile 3 thinking, “OK, this is just like a 5K warmup to the (10 mi) Broad Street Run (I ran back in May).  When I passed mile 10 I had a similar thought, “This is just like a 5K warmdown after running Broad Street”.  The difference is that I felt like I was going to spin off the panet after crossing the finish at Broad Street in May.
  • The finish line was incredible chaotic, and the long winding chutes they make you walk through is almost like another race expo.  “No, I don’t want PF Chang coupons right now, I want a banana, chocolate milk, and a Gatorade.  Yes I’ll take that cold towel, but if you ask for me to sign up for anything I’ll scissor-kick you in the throat…”
  • One very small criticism is the water and energy stops on the course.  I wish they could make them clearer as you approach, as there was a lot of congestion with bobbing/weaving runners getting caught off-guard and not aware that a station was up ahead.  Broad Street in Philly does this really well, and with almost 40,000 runners it was very smooth.
  • I will say that the folks at Rock-and Roll run an awesome event.  The pre-event communication was tremendous, and I felt very informed and clued into what to expect as a first-timer.  I would whole-heartedly recommend the race series to anyone that is looking to tackle a distance race.

It was a longer walk than I expected from the other side of the Alamo Dome to the hotel area, but I made my way back to shower and catch a cab to the airport.  In hindsight I should have bought or brought 2 sets of compression sleeves – one to run in and the other to wear home.  My shoes were sopping wet, so I went the flip-flop route, and my full compression socks wouldn’t have looked right!

 

So I finally made it home about 9PM.  It was my birthday and my wife/kids had a little impromptu party set up for me which was nice.  I was away since the previous Wednesday and I was really missing home!

So all-in-all I am resting and recovering.  I plan to swim tonight and then lift tomorrow night while the girls have swim team practice.  I have a 20 week half-Ironman training sequence that I am reviewing now that I received from BeginnerTriathlete.com, and it looks extremely well-suited for my goals in 2013.  More on that later.

 

Fun at the race expo – t-minus 24 hours…

So this time tomorrow I’ll probably be about halfway through the race.  I am equal parts excited, terrified, and confident – I know that makes zero sense, but not much about any of this exercise does!

Seriously though, my business week here in San Antonio wrapped up really well yesterday, and as soon as I was free from obligations I shot on over to the convention center to hit the race expo.  The only other large race I’ve participated in (Broad Street Run in Philly was over 40,000) I skipped the expo and just grabbed my number.

Publicly, “Rock-and-Roll” events seem to carry a pretty positive opinion of their race operations, and if the race is supported as efficiently as the expo then I think I’m in for a good time.  It was a big event with tons of vendors and exhibitors, some running workshops, and something for everybody.

I did a little shopping for myself:

  • I grabbed some GU gels since I didn’t want to chance taking them through TSA
  • I grabbed some Nuun tablets for my hydration – I’ve been accustomed to Gatorade with a little BLOX silk amino acids added, but my system seems to function fine with either.  The Nuun is easier to transport home through TSA.
  • Shades – I grabbed a cheap pair of sunglasses – I forgot mine.
  • Fuel Belt pouch – I normally leave my cell at home, but I want to grab some photos.  Additionally it’s just a good idea while away from home.
  • CEP sleeves – I’ve work some inexpensive compression socks post-workouts, but I’ve never actually run in them.  I went for a short treadmill run yesterday and they felt nice, kind of like my shins and calfs are getting a nice hug!  I’m going to wear my full socks home on the plane tomorrow, but I’m going to give them a shot in the race.
  • I grabbed the 13.1 finisher shirt in addition to the freebie they gave away (which is a bit crappy in my opinion).  The finisher shirt is much nicer.

 

I grabbed some other freebies as I cruised through the expo.  I really wish my wife and kids were here with me, but there’s a ton going on at home and it just wasn’t feasible.  The one thing you don’t notice when travelling for business is that there is generally something ELSE to do next, and clients or colleagues to do it with.  Out here I’m solo this weekend, and dinner all by myself really sucked last night.

I’m working from the hotel room this morning, and then I’ll go for a walk to loosen up the legs a little later.  I’ll get a good stretch in, then apply some BioFreeze to help with some last minute recovery.  Lots of carbs and water today is the name of the game!

Ran a 5K Tonight – Tour de Lance Wilmington, DE

I jumped into a 5K this evening – again to benefit LIVESTRONG.  It was held on the Wilmington waterfront right along the Christina river.  I met my buddy Derek and his wife LeeAnn and a friend of Derek’s from Team-In-Training Laurie.  Derek’s knee has been a bit wonky since running his 1/2 marathon last weekend in San Diego, so he was our designated photographer for the evening!.

 

The course is flat, since it’s right along the waterfront.  I’ve not really worried too much about speed over the past year, but I was wondering if I could break 27 minutes.  I ran a 27:46 last December in my first race ever.  I’ve run a 5 miler, a 10K, and a 10 miler in the meantime, but I wasn’t sure if I’m really much faster.

 

I wanted to find a 9 minute per mile pace, but at the start I failed to see how FAR BACK in the crowd I was.  I had to expend a lot of energy running around baby strollers walkers into open space where I could get going.  As a result I never found that groove, my heart rate went way up, and I was hanging on by a thread to try to keep that pace.  Mile 2 to mile 3 was WAY slow, as I backed off to bring the HR down below 170 bpm.

 

End result, I ran a 28:04.  I’m not too upset, but it was a little hot, plus with better planning I would have had a better time getting free and finding my groove.

 

We rounded up at Iron Hill Brewery for a beer, and some dinner.  It was great picking Derek’s brain about his own training.  I almost forget sometimes that outside of his amazing accomplishments in endurance racing, he is a heart transplant recipient – I was reminded again of that fact when LeeAnn’s phone sounded an alarm reminder for Derek to take his meds.

 

So in the end – it’s a great cause – a BIG turnout for the race, and an excuse to hang with some awesome folks and get a sweat on.  My lower legs are a big ouchy right now, but I’ll tend to that momentarily.

Big Week Behind Me

I had an unbelievable week last week.

On Tuesday 1/10, I began Invisalign.  If you’re not familiar, they are clear corrective orthodontic trays which “snap” over your teeth.  There are 11 little “buttons” cemented onto the surface of key teeth to help torque and move certain teeth.  New traps come every 2 weeks, and  you need to wear your aligners about 22 hours per day for maximum effectiveness.  The first couple of days were uncomfortable, as the teeth move about a millimeter every 2 weeks (which is a lot).

On that same afternoon, my wife and I made some very critical decisions on the future of our kitchen project.  We are both very excited about the kitchen design we are creating with the help of A&C Kitchens in Chester.

That evening, I traveled to Philly for a 2 day company event “Kickoff”.  Since I am new to the organization and much of our staff if virtual all across the country, it was my first opportunity to meet and get to know many of them.

Part of my Goal Set for 2012 includes trying new and different things outside my comfort zone.  I managed to hit several last week:

  • Tried Artichokes
  • Sang Karaoke
  • Greek yogurt – twice the protein
  • Bowled and looked “stupid” in front of the work crowd

Overall, a very productive week.  I tried to run at the Philly Marriott fitness center, but the 90 degree heat and humidity at 5:30 in the AM was too much for me.  Instead I did a nice outdoor run yesterday in 19 degree weather 🙂

Started the New Year Right

New Year’s Eve was fairly tame.  Our neighbor blows up a crap-ton of fireworks in our cul-de-sac at midnight, and that’s worth staying up for.

 

Met a very nice fellow that was a Good Samaritan and met me at the Philly Airport to return my wife’s cell phone.  It fell out of her pocket on Friday when she took the girls to Disney on Ice.  Great dude, and I passed along a thank you note and an AMEX gift card that was gathering dust in my drawer.

 

We woke up and had a wonderful family breakfast.  I headed to Brandywine Creek State Park right by Thompson Bridge and ran an “out-n-back” for 3.2 miles at a good clip.  No lower leg issues, and I finished a lot stronger than I started.  I plan on staying around the 3 mile pace for a week or two, and then trying to get to 5 miles consistently in early February, getting ready for my 5 mile race in March.

 

Lauren and I put some time in on the 2-wheel bike today, but we did it on a grass field.  It was harder for her to get speed up, but she was much more confident and less afraid to fall.

Committed to my 10K – LiveSTRONG 2012 in Philly

I went ahead and signed up and joined a dear friend’s LiveSTRONG team.  He happens to be a two-time cancer survivor, and both he and his wife have battled the disease.  Our family is pretty close to his, and with my found commitment to fitness playing a big part of 2012’s goals, this is a big step for me.

 

My LiveSTRONG page is here, and the team page is here if you care to get involved.  Within minutes of the page going live this morning, an old friend that I haven’t seen in 20 years or so donated big, bringing my to 96% of my fundraising commitment!  I raised the bar a bit in light of his generosity!