The Three C’s of Ironman Coeur d’Alene Training Camp: Cold, Crotch, and Chafing

This past weekend Jas and I trekked to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to train on the Ironman Coeur d’Alene course with some teammates before the big race next month. Jason will be racing but my big dance isn’t until Canada at the end of August, but I thought I’d be an overachiever and go to the training camp anyway, figuring it would help me for my race. The weekend didn’t go quite as planned and I ended up getting slammed with the three c’s: a cold, crotch issues, and a new batch of chest chafing. Sicky-Ki-Yay, Motherf*cker A crappy cold has been working its way through my team the past couple weeks, so it was only a matter of time before the germs made their way to me. At least three of the teammates who I had swum with and met for dinner last week ended up getting sick, and Coach Teresa was battling the yuck all week, too. So naturally, as Jas and I were driving across Washington on Thursday heading to glorious Idaho, I started to feel rundown and kind of blergh. By the time we checked into the hotel and met Mark and Teresa for dinner, my head was aching and I was battling Lumpy Throat Syndrome. The next morning, I sucked it up, chowed down on off-brand daytime cold medicine, and did the group swim at a nearby pool (swimming in the lake was a no-go considering temps were hovering at a nope-inducing 46 degrees), then suited up for a long bike ride. The first part of the Ironman bike course is kind of nice, with some slight, steady climbs along the lake before turning around and heading back into town. After about an hour, however, the course dumps you onto the highway where you get to bike out 20 miles before returning to town and doing the entire loop all over again. You spend 80 of the 112 miles on the highway, which is pretty sucky because it’s a boring, long, lonely, and mentally challenging stretch. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about riding alongside a rumble strip while semis careened past me as I dodged roadkill and random bits of debris, but if I had signed up for CdA I could probably suck it up on race day, although training on the highway was somewhat grueling. After I completed loop 1, I was starting to feel kind of crummy. The day was sunny and warm, but I was feeling too warm and started wondering if I was battling a low-grade fever–I’m used to sweating and sniffling during bike workouts, but this flop sweat, snot factory, and throbbing headache felt more cold-induced. I ran into Teresa, who went into Mom Mode when I told her I wasn’t feeling well and made me ride back to the hotel and rest. I felt kind of chumpy for only busting out 80 miles instead of riding the entire 112 and for skipping the brick run, but after I showered and spent the next two hours sneezing and blowing my nose, I figured I made the right decision. My evening was spent curled up in a chair in self-mandated quarantine watching re-runs of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and wheezing while my teammates went out to dinner. The next morning I skipped the second group ride but thought I’d give the team run a try, figuring that if I had to choose one of the workouts to do, I’d opt for the run instead of the bike because I could bail more easily if I still felt crummy. I still felt a bit feverish leading up to the run but felt surprisingly...
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The Most Expensive Dose of Benadryl Ever

I suffer from allergies and receive regular allergy shots to build up my tolerance against various atrocities that assault my immune system. It’s nothing deadly like licking a shrimp will cause me to balloon up and die, or being within three square miles of a bumblebee will result in a development of cankles and neck fat which will consequently cause me to balloon up and die. Nonetheless, my allergies have made me uncomfortable enough since childhood that my allergist determined weekly injections were the best course of action. While I have no food allergies, I’m allergic to a ton of pollens and mildews and grasses and some pet dander (cat being the worst). I get two shots, one for cat dander and one that’s a cocktail of trees, grasses, dust mites and mildew. Right now I’m in “maintenance” mode for the cat shot, meaning I only get that shot once a month. I’m still building up the other shot though so I receive that once a week. Yesterday I went to the medical center to receive my weekly injection. The nurse was someone I hadn’t seen before and I was less than impressed with her needlework. After a more-uncomfortable-than-usual shot, I texted Jas: Stupid new nurse pulled the needle out at an angle. Blood ensued. Come on, junkies take more care than this. Whenever I get a shot I have to wait around for 30 minutes afterwards to make sure I don’t have a systemic reaction from the allergens that were injected, so I wiped the blood from my arm and waited until my time was up, not knowing that the botched shot would serve as ominous foreshadowing to how the rest of my day would go. As I was driving home, I started to feel a pain in the middle of my chest. Not like a heart attack-type pain, but like a really bad bout of acid reflux or like there was a wad of something stuck in my esophagus. By the time I got home the pain would sharply flare up every few minutes and course from the middle of my chest up to my throat. I told Jas about my discomfort and he gave me a “WTF call the doctor” look. The ensuing conversation went as follows: Receptionist (in a bored, flat voice): “Medical Specialties.” Me: “Hi, I just came in for an allergy shot and I think I’m having an adverse reaction.” Receptionist (slightly less bored now): “Uh, okay, what’s your name?” Me: “Rebecca Kelley. K-E-L-L-E-Y.” Receptionist: “One moment.” Abrupt silence. Then: Voice: “REBECCA IT’S JEAN CALL 911!” Jean is one of the head nurses who typically administers my shots. She is very sweet and exceptionally cautious, as I came to find out from our phone call. Me: “Whuh–” Jean: “CALL 911 AND TELL THEM YOU’RE HAVING A SYSTEMIC REACTION! …then call us and schedule a follow up appointment, mkay?” Me: “Uh, my boyfriend is right here, can’t he just drive me to the–” Jean: “NO, IT COULD ESCALATE SO YOU NEED TO CALL 911!” Me: “Well where should I go, should I go back to the UW Medical Center?” Jean: “Whereever’sclosestI’mhangingupnowcall911bye.” I hung up the phone and looked at Jason to relay the conversation, but considering that Jean was shouting at me in a panicked Jack Bauer state, he had heard everything and the look on his face went from “WTF” to “Jesus Christ WTF was that?!!!” Me: “Screw it, I’m not calling an ambulance to take me half a mile. Jason, can you drive me to Swedish?” We headed to the hospital. The pain in my chest continued intermittently and I was feeling...
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The Quickest Way to Come Down from an Ironman High…

…is to get sick. I’m not surprised that Jas and I both got sick after the race. (Well, he got sick about two days after the race, while my body managed to fend off his cooties until Saturday, at which point I succumbed to the plague.) I had actually been really lucky all year and didn’t get sidelined from training with colds or the flu; in fact, I haven’t been sick since last fall. Guess it’s that time of year. I nursed a scratchy, sore throat on Saturday and Sunday, then transitioned to a head cold complete with snot and congestion. On Tuesday I decided to nut up and went to track practice to run an easy three miles (and afterwards my legs felt as stiff as if I’d run 20), but the next day my body rewarded my efforts to get back on the exercise saddle by hitting me with a fever. Damn you, immune system. I guess that’s what I get for venturing into porta potties barefoot and for ingesting Vaseline of questionable origin. Jason has taken advantage of my weakened state by constantly pestering me to shell out $1,200 for a community slot into Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Sample conversation: Jason: “You’ll do sub-12 hours. I know it.” Me, blowing my nose: “You’ll have to do better than that.” Jason: “Yeah, I know.” We had talked about taking next year off from full Ironman training and instead focusing on half Ironman distances, but of course all of that flew out the window once Jas found out that our friends Mark and Jeff were doing Coeur d’Alene, so now he wants to race with the cool kids. I, on the other hand, would like to actually make an attempt to save some money this year instead of pouring all of my available funds into triathlon-related expenditures. When I remind him of our pledge to be more fiscally responsible, he hangs his heads and pouts, “Yeah, I know” with a “you’re no fun” tone in his voice. I better shake this cold soon — I’m flying to Denver for work next Monday, come back Thursday, celebrate Jason’s birthday on Friday, and fly to Miami the following Monday night to embark on our vacation to Puerto Rico. Not only would I like to be healthy for all of that, I’m getting really antsy fitness-wise and want to start training for marathon season. The only upside to this cold is that it’s put me on the “nothing tastes or sounds good” diet, so at least I’m able to counter-balance the lack of exercise by starving off extra pounds. I can’t wait to look weakened and gaunt in a bikini by the end of the...
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Flashback to the 2008 Vancouver Half Marathon

Flashback to the 2008 Vancouver Half Marathon
Yesterday Jason and I ran the Vancouver half marathon. Jason dubbed it his “vindication race,” and before I talk about how we did, I feel I have to explain why he nicknamed it that. Time to flashback to last year’s half marathon. Cue the wavy lines… Okay, pretend it’s 2008. Jason and I are driving up to Canada to do the Vancouver half marathon. This will be my 2nd half marathon, and my goal is to finish in under two hours (my first half marathon was in Port Angeles a couple years before, and I finished at around 2:04). Jason had actually never run a half marathon before — he had done 3 marathons, so he figured the half would be a piece of cake and set a goal time of 1:45. On our way up to Vancouver, Jason starts noticing that he’s feeling a bit “under the weather.” It’s no big deal — just a little stuffiness and a bit of a headache. We get through the border, check into our hotel, walk to the Expo Hall to pick up our packets, have dinner, and go back to our room to relax and prep for tomorrow’s race. This is where things start to get a bit icky. Jason’s symptoms start to worsen and he begins feeling downright miserable. I’m not sure exactly what’s wrong with him, but I figure that once someone starts excreting goop out of his eyes, he’s probably not in the healthiest state to run 13.1 miles the next morning. Jason’s laying on the bed sounding congested and miserable with a warm washcloth draped over his gunky eyes, and I think, “There is no way he’s running tomorrow.” He’s sick and seems like he has a sinus infection, so the last thing on his mind should be hitting a PR for a half marathon…right? Oh, how I underestimate the competitive nature of men. The next morning, Jason rolls out of bed jacked up on adrenaline and race jitters. He pops a bunch of cold medicine like they’re Tic Tacs and suits up for the race. I keep asking him if he’s feeling well enough to race and he assures me with his husky, congested voice that he feels a lot better and will be fine. We meet our racing buddies in the hotel lobby and head to the start of the race. Since the finish dumps into a large stadium and there are thousands of people racing, we set up a meeting landmark for after the race: a giant inflated Ronald McDonald. It’s easy to spot the frighteningly huge clown, so we figured it would make for an idiot-proof meeting spot. We all wish each other good luck and I kiss my sicky boyfriend before the gun goes off and we all begin the race. I don’t feel great on the run — my main mistake is that I’m wearing pants instead of shorts because I mistakenly thought that race day would be colder than it actually was. I immediately get too warm and feel kind of miserable as I plod along, one foot in front of the other. Despite the wardrobe misstep, however, I finish the race in about 1:56 and feel pleased that I beat my previous half marathon time by 8 minutes. Wahoo! I run into two of my racing buddies who finished less than a minute ahead of me and we make our way to Ronald McDonald to meet Jason, who should have finished about ten minutes before we did. We get to Ronald and Jason’s nowhere in sight. I think that maybe he’s using the bathroom or grabbing food, so...
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Mo’ Money, Mo’ Massagin’

This week I got my second massage in the past couple months. I signed up for a monthly massage package and realized that I had gotten charged for March but hadn’t booked an appointment to get tenderized for an hour. I called and scheduled a late morning massage and figured I’d head into work after it was complete. Big mistake. A word to the wise for anyone considering getting a massage: don’t book one if you can’t shower afterwards. I had showered before going to bed and felt pretty clean going into the massage, but that changed after one hour and roughly 3 gallons of slippery mystery lotion. Afterwards I felt as greasy and sticky as a New Joisey mafioso, only without the thick gold chain, copious tufts of chest hair and velour sweatsuit. And somehow, my hair ended up looking like this: My bangs were uber-oily and stuck out like Alfalfa. I didn’t have any clips or pins so I resorted to wearing a winter hat all day. Nice fashion statement, I know. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of There’s Something About Mary gross out humor, I couldn’t help but think during this massage how the room felt perfectly suited for a, uh, “self-pleasuring” chamber. Seriously, it’s a dark, windowless room with soothing music and a box of Kleenex and a giant bottle of lube sitting on the table. (And after you’re done you leave the room feeling greasy but less tense.) Ewwwwww. Let’s move on, shall we? My massage therapist this time around was a spiky haired Asian dude named Troy. His hands were more brutal than Ana Lucia’s, which I liked, but he also felt the need to massage my face, which was weird. He also gave me a really awkward finger massage, intertwining our hands like we were re-enacting scenes from Jungle Fever. What the hell is the point of a finger massage other than to make the massagee (is that a word?) feel super awkward? If that’s the objective, then mission accomplished, Troy. After the massage was finished, Troy soothingly told me that I could take as much time as I needed and left the room. I took this “quiet reflection time” as an opportunity to spend several minutes blowing out all of the snot that had accumulated in my cranial cavity during the forty some odd minutes I spent laying face-down on a table. Gravity is a jerk-faced bastard. (So are colds.) I left the facility and went to work, and then went straight from work to my chiropractic appointment. I shamefully told my chiropractor that the reason I was so greased up was because I had gotten a massage and that, contrary to what he may suspect, I actually practice good hygienic habits. His response: “Sure, whatever.” Sigh. The Becca-shaped grease mark I left on his table probably didn’t help my cause. Overall, aside from feeling physically filthy and 125% more snotty afterwards, Massage #2 felt pretty successful. My back still feels a little tender but hopefully the muscles will learn to behave themselves and act less ridiculously stiff. We’ll see how #3...
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