Sunday, June 23, 2013

Death-Defying Training Day

Thursday was just an ordinary day and I was preparing for the morning or training ahead and then it was time to pack for my weekend getaway to Williamsburg VA with Rev3. I did not think that I would escape the clutches of death many times on a normal Thursday.

The day's brick session would include a 2.5h bike with some bouts of intensity and then run action off the bike--some time at race pace and then a cool down. I have been super focused on improving my run the last several weeks and have been seeing great strides in my bike AND run fitness...YAY! I was certainly looking forward to the training session ahead.

I normally don't take shower BEFORE a training session like this but I was pretty knarly from teaching several Group Ex classes and my own training the day and night before.

While preparing to get out of the shower, the industrial sized container of hair conditioner fell off the shower shelf and directly onto my left foot, creating a nice 1/2" slice along my pinky toe and another slice along the side of my foot...accompanied by a some nice bruising and swelling. Sweet! Who knew this would be an indication of the excitement to come!

A couple band-aids and a little HTFU later and we were ready to rock.

The weather was perfect, mid 70's and low humidity. Riding was nice and once I hit up the area along the beach the winds picked up. GOOD...Cedar Point can get quite windy so I embrace these conditions.

The bike was going well and I eased into my many 25 minute sets of mixed intensity and cadence, feeling strong and ready to go. Last weekend in Maine, there was a tragic accident at the start of The Trek Across Maine and a cyclist was killed when struck by the rear portion of an 18-wheeler. I had noticed that in the days following this accident, motorists were very conscious of the “3 foot rule” and had been quite courteous, at least more so than usual. When I ride alone, I wear a small mirror that attaches to my glasses so I can see behind me and I was grateful for that small tool on this ride. I heard it coming up behind me—like the sound of a freight train—a big green dump truck, and this truck was NOT giving me any berth! There were no oncoming cars, we were on a quiet county road and this truck just wanted to play chicken and see how close he could get to me without actually hitting me. I was prepared and ready to hit the ditch if need be…out of aero and into an upright position. The WHOOOOSH of the wind as he passed almost knocked me over! Death #1 of the day averted...

The rest of the ride was uneventful (Thank God) and I parked my beloved QR in her spot and I was ready to run! Coach’s directions for the run were pretty simple; if you feel good off the bike go right into race pace. If you feel like garbage, take it easy and figure out WHY you feel like garbage.

I felt great and I just ran by feel, "race pace" feel…the first mile ticked off at a sub-8 pace (woo hoo) and the following two miles were right at 8-flat. YES! YES! YES! I am still nursing some disappointment after the mess that was the Quassy run so I was pretty happy to be hitting some solid paces off the bike. Hello Fitness!! I’m happy to see you show up on the run today! While it was not HOT hot (low 80's by this point), I was certainly feeling the heat of the sun while running and just had some nice mental mojo going “yeah, you’re hot but you are not going to die” “hey, feel that breeze!” “keep running legs” "ooh, a 3 foot section of tree shade!"

Along one stretch of this road, there is a section of woods and it is notorious for having black flies and deer flies. I don't know why but biting bugs love me! There can be 1200 people around and the mosquitoes are biting only me...same goes with deer flies! They actually follow me on the run. Well, I could see from the noon time shadow that there was a pretty good sized deer fly buzzing around my head. I'd feel it buzz by, I'd swat at it and it would continue to circle my head. 

A typical Maine deer fly


then there were two.

run-swat-swat-run. Dang it flies! So I picked up the pace hoping to lose them. 
No such luck. They stuck with me. buzz buzz swat.

then there were three shadows circling around my head, then my legs.
and I got a good look.

These were NOT deer flies. Or black flies.

There were some dang wasps!!


oh yeah. Time to really pick up the pace. Now I am in danger-panic-mode and start getting scared. I don't have an epi pen with me AND I am a ways from home. I am running like a mad woman and these flying killers are keeping pace with me.

I see a home down the road a bit with the front door open, toys in the yard and I hope for the best. If I had to I would run into their house and ask for help. I book it across the street and I am FLYING! I get into their driveway and I can barely breath. I stop and see that they are no longer with me. I bend over, hands on my knees and try to catch my breath. I walked for a few mins just to calm down. My HR was sky high and my hands were shaking. Death #2 averted...

back to running.

My parents were watching Lola during the workout and they are not far from me so after death aversion #2 and the “race pace” section of my run was done, I decided to run to their house and hang out for a bit…and get a ride home. About halfway to their house was incident #3 of the day. This little old lady in a gold Toyota Camry literally came within inches of running me over…in the SHOULDER of the road, over the white line. This one section has a nice W I D E shoulder and there was no reason that she should have been so close. Lucky for me I was paying attention. Nice "RETIRED" license plate lady...keep your eyes on the road next time please!
She was driving right me!
Keep running! Ahh, yes Jen…this plan would time out perfect…sure enough, arrived right at their door at the :50 minute mark. I was a hot, sweaty mess! *ding dong*….no answer. Hmm, I checked the garage…no car. Whoops. No one is home…I just had to laugh. Of course this is how the day was playing out. Well, let’s keep on running! So I ran around to the back of the house, drank some water from the spigot, splashed myself a bit and hit the road to go back home.

So I averted death several times, executed a great workout and had a run the made me happy. All in all it was a great day and I am happy to be alive. 


Jen said...

Oh holy crap! That was a harrowing day! We lost another in runner/triathlete in our community about 2 weeks ago when he got hit by a car on his bike during a training run. makes me so sad/mad that these drivers are so careless.

You must've been freaking out with the bees. Sooo scary to be allergic like that. I remember the panic during the "swarm" at Rev3 Maine last year!

Kristin said...

Glad you made it home safe! geesh!

ajh said...

That all sounds awful! You're out there doing good stuff for your body. You shouldn't have to be watching out so hard to be safe.

Lorenda said...

I nearly got plowed over by a YOUNG driver a couple weeks ago. She was also driving on the very edge of the road over the white line. I jumped into the ditch. She just wasn't looking. A truck coming up behind me at the same time slammed on his brakes and he said out his window, "I thought she was going to hit you, I don't think she ever saw you, she wasn't paying attention at all."
This is why I don't wear headphones on the roads. I no longer feel bad about using gas to drive to the parks to run on non-motorized trails or driving to a small nearby town to run on the residential streets where it's 25mph and there's little traffic.
I'm glad you were paying attention and able to avoid all the mishaps of your day!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

And THIS is why people will say running is dangerous to your health! NOT the actual running but all the other factors you have to contend with. A jogger was just killed by a hit-and-run driver in my brother's town 20 minutes away. So sad.


I have met Maine flies and mosquitoes. They don't like me..

I am flying down a hill in CDA this weekend at around 50mph yelling to the guy in front of me "LEFT, LEFT, LEFT" so he moved left... Good thing I used to be a paper boy and delivered on my bike and became very good at evasive maneveurs

Glad you lived through the fun

Marnee A said...

Oh good grief! Those are the days we just want to crawl back in bed! So glad you are okay and did not get stung or ran over. I've had both happen on runs and its not so great! Did you race Williamsburg?