Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fun 4th of July Weekend

So, the week leading up to the weekend was a bit interesting. But all turned out very well in the end.

Rewind back to Monday. Actually, rewind back to March while we're at it....

(Note, if you don't want to be bored with my dental issues, skip ahead 5 or so paragraphs)

At my dentist appointment, the dentist noticed an issue on an upper molar in the back on both sides. Next step, a root canal for each of those because it was apparently too deep for just a filling. So, on to a specialist who does root canals. Visit #1 for a consultation. Visit #2 for first root canal. Visit #3 supposed to be for the other root canal. However, this guy felt the issue was too close to another tooth and wanted a second opinion (really?).

In the mean time, a crown was then to be put on after each root canal. I go in for crown #1 (from root canal #1), but the dentist can't complete it because he feels there's not enough tooth left. So, I need a crown lengthening on that before a crown can be put in. So, a temporary crown was glued on in the meantime (which popped out when I ate the scrumptious rice krispy treat from Noodles down at Columbia and had to get glued back in...oops).

Next on to another specialist for the crown lengthening. Visit #1 for the consultation at the end of the schoolyear and visit #2 for the actual crown lengthening on both sides (confirmed what root canal guy said). Lots of annoying half days needing to be taken during track season. Thank goodness school is out and I don't have to use any more sick days.

So, back to Monday (apologies for the multi-paragraph tooth malady summary). The dentist warned me going in I wouldn't be able to use my back teeth much for nearly a week. I figured that was conservative and I'd be eating pizza the next day (like after root canal #1).

Not so much. Monday night I was in BIG TIME pain. I used the pain-killer meds, put ice on both sides of my face and didn't each much for the rest of the night. This probably led to headaches probably from both the pain and also the hunger. Tuesday wasn't much better. Went to the summer program Tuesday morning but it wasn't too fun. Tuesday night, Beth's mom was in town so we went to the Olive Garden and it took me almost an hour to slurp up a plate of some fettuccine noodles. Wednesday I took a good 45 minutes to put down my two slices of pizza (usually only takes me 10-15 min).

After more soup, jello, pudding, and applesauce for most of the rest of the week I get to Friday. They needed me to fill in for the softball team (for a doubleheader, no less) and I figured I was game for it. I took a gel beforehand because I knew I was calorie deficient and it was hot out. I was slurping down liquids the whole way there and during the first game. However in spite of this I still cramped up while sprinting on the basepaths at the beginning of game 2. Not the hammy this time, but the left quad. Not good. I told the guys I lost 5th gear but could still jog (probably lost 4th gear too).

I finish out the games, but come home pretty bummed because it was pretty apparent the quad wasn't in good shape. However (and I'm not sure why) but it just "felt" like a cramp/knot and not a strain/pull, so I still had hope it may go away. I go to work on the quad at home that night trying to get the cramp out but pretty worried about running the 5k on July 4th.

Saturday morning I go out and try to run on it. I go on flat ground and jog over to the high school track. It was "tugging" at me a little if I tried to go too fast. 8-minute pace was all I could muster for that 25-minute run (with some stretching in there). I try it again on Sunday and this time I was able to pick it up and run a timed 7:15 mile on the track (not quite what I would hope for in the race). Then I tried three 200's and was able to get down to 45 seconds (6:00 pace) but I had to labor a little to do that and it was only a 200. I was pretty wary of how things would turn out because the quad was still tugging a little bit.

Enough of the leadup, on to race morning at the Hampton 5k. I warm up and it feels okay, but I'm still a little nervous. My strategy was to go out conservative and see how it feels.
'Racer X' was there and I figured I'd just settle back in behind him to start the race. The gun goes off and I can tell within the first few strides the quad was going to cooperate....at least to start. I tuck in behind Racer X and follow him on the flat first mile around the school.

We split mile 1 in 5:25 and I'm in 6th or so place. I guess the quad is feeling okay. However, mile #2 goes up a pretty steep, long hill. I figured this will be the true test for the quad and if it would seize up. I start motoring up the hill and all feels well. In fact, the leaders start coming back to me. By the top of the hill, I pull even with the front two and then I'm in the lead.

A wrap then around the middle school and back down the hill. I snuck a peak at the middle school turnaround and noticed nobody really came with me (I thought the two behind me would concede the hill but then put in a surge and catch back up to me on the flat).

Okay, this will be the true test for the quad to go back down the hill. All is well and I split 5:45 at the beginning of the return down the hill. I get back toward the high school with about 3/4 of a mile to go and Beth tells me I have about a 10 second lead (as can be seen in her stellar picture--what a spectathlete, getting splits and taking pictures!).

I'm starting to hurt at this point (the good hurt not the quad hurt) and I'm running scared back around the high school. I hope they don't catch me!! I'm peaking with each 90-degree turn around the high school, but can't see anybody. Beth updates me with less than 1/4 of a mile and says I have about a 15-second lead. I do my best to just finish strong and cross the line at 17:35 with that 15-second margin still in tact. (6:25 for the last 3.1).

So, in spite of the tooth procedure, the liquid/soft diet for most of the week, the quad "knot" two days before the race, and the general doubt of the unknown factoring all that in, a VERY satisfying time and a great finishing award!

The one disclaimer on career victory #2 is that this was most certainly the "JV" 4th of July race around Pittsburgh. All of the big boys were down at the Brentwood 5k (with the winning time of 14:57 and 14 runners sub-17).

A trip to the Hampton Community Pool while we are there and an easy 1650 while Beth gets a little workout in (and a cannonball off the diving board and a trip down the slide).

Very soothing on the legs. In fact, I credit trips to the YMCA pool with Beth on both Saturday and Sunday for easy swim workouts to help loosen up the cramp in the quad and allowing me to even race on Monday.

Throw in a BBQ at
Ben's house on Saturday, some fireworks, and the Buccos inching their way more over .500 and closer to first place, it was a great weekend!


Beth said...

Perhaps you should have oral surgery and quad strains/cramps/knots more often??? :)

m said...

Congrats on the win! Sounds like a well deserved good weekend after a pretty crummy week!

Steve said...

Congrats on the race, and who knows about those Central Divisions. Anything near .500 is in the running. You never know..

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