Friday, August 26, 2011

A time to run

Beat complained that I haven't updated my blog all week. One might think it's because I'm lacking bike inspiration, and that's part of it. But another is that I've recently launched into a new writing project that I actually feel both optimistic and excited about — the first of my many starts this summer that I'm convinced I'll not only finish, but finish relatively fast. Work has been going well but it's been a substantial creative drain. I feel like I don't have anything left for my regular assignments, let alone my blog. I've even lost my focus for picture taking. This week during my evening runs, I saw beautiful sunsets, a rattlesnake, a crazy suicidal rabbit and intriguing light over Steven's Creek Reservoir. Not once did I even attempt a snapshot, until today, when I realized that I hadn't take a photo all week, and probably should make at least one to go with the blog post I promised Beat I'd write.

I still haven't ridden a bike since I crashed two weeks ago. My barometer for readiness is my ability to drive — when I can successfully hold both hands on my steering wheel for the length of a trip, then I will feel ready to take a chance on riding, starting with my fixie on the bike path. Sadly, I haven't been successful yet. Even the suspension in our brand new Subaru causes too much jiggling on my arm, and pain quickly increases from annoying to intolerable. I stubbornly held on over the speed bumps today; that was a terrible idea. Needless to say, if my arm can't handle speed bumps in a Subaru, those nerves are going to need a bit more healing before I can rip mad descents on my mountain bike.

It's hard to determine exactly why there's still so much pain. My wound is still open, shedding dead tissue and bleeding some, but there's no sign of infection. And my running strength has nearly returned to normal. I ditched my sling on Tuesday, and while I still run with my right arm held in place (and my left arm flailing to make up for this minor imbalance), I can run without pain. But every time I place pressure on my arm or grip something, the pain returns. It almost seems like a deeper internal problem, possibly with a muscle or other tissue that was compromised. I believe it will just take more time, and I'm willing to give it all the time it needs. It's been a rough two weeks, and I am so tired of this pain that I'll give up anything to avoid it, even cycling. Yes, it seems the universe has finally found a way to keep me off my bikes while I'm (otherwise) healthy and strong.

That said, if I were training for a 50K right now, I'd be pretty pleased with myself. Although I had a slow start to the week, I've been running stronger since I ditched the sling. A bit of pent-up energy and the fact I still have to short-step the descents has led me to push as hard as I can on the climbs — lung-burning, gut-busting hard. As I crested today's eight-mile, 2,500-feet-of-climbing jaunt, it occurred to me that I've been running six to nine miles daily all week, and starting to feel hungry for a long run. Without my bike in the picture, it's suddenly not difficult to log a 50- or 60-mile week.  This has led me to believe that if I just injured my arm before the Tahoe Rim Trail 100, I might have actually finished the thing. (I kid, I kid.)

I'm still sad I won't be getting on a plane to Seattle tomorrow to race the Capitol Forest 100. But I'm glad I didn't push that pipe dream; it's obvious I'm not ready.