making it to moab: not really a micro-blog
When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and leave the world wondering how you did it. ~unknown
I have this really obnoxious habit of using text editor to throw down my thoughts, notes, to-do items, and anything else that I don’t have room to store in my head, and then never doing ANYTHING with them (case in point: this particular document is “Untitled 83”). I also have a mild touch of what some might call Adult A.D.D., which is how I landed in the midst of my text edit docs while creating a new email template, setting up the professional email for my new website, writing out the steps to a recipe, and starting the foundation for the next Give Love Campaign Class. You see what I mean…. Adult A.D.D. at its finest. Anyway, as I time traveled back through 82 untitled files, I came across a little written-in-jest piece called “Making it to Moab: A Microblog,” (*see excerpt below) and it occurred to me that I never actually told the story. I mean, the people that see me regularly know where this saga has landed, but I’ve got a handful of friends and even smaller handful of readers who are still in the dark.
Side note: I use the word ‘landed’ because it won’t end until I cross the finish line. Oops! I guess I should’ve also given a spoiler alert.
I’ll start from the beginning. Sort of….
“Adi, just hit the fucking submit button, and then call me right back. You’ve been stalking this for three months, now.” Click. These were the last words spoken to me before I braved the biggest commitment to myself in 41 years. It was nearly 10pm on April 8th, but let’s back up to the start of January when two injured runners were road tripping back from a 24 hour balls cold volunteer stint at Bandera Trail Run - one that we were supposed to race but an MCL tear (him) and a stress fracture (me) kept us on the other side of the aid station table. Such is the life of an ultra runner or two, but I digress….
Somewhere just north of Hill Country, the conversation migrated to Leadville. Both of us had entered in the lottery and were just six days from the pull. We were already planning The Best Summer Ever Round Two. In the middle of talking training details, his tendency to get sidetracked popped in and he asked if I’d seen Candice’s new race in Moab yet. I picked my phone up to Google and exclaimed “No, but I hope I don’t get into Leadville this year!” before the website even loaded, and instantly, our plans had changed: I bring him in for the last 40 miles of Leadville 100 in August, and eight weeks later, he’s pulling me across the finish of Moab 240. I’d fly to Leadville and help him drive home, and he’d captain my crew. It was perfect!
Fast forward through three months of “Moab!” and “WHEN is registration going to OPEN????” and “Can the BLM just GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER AND ISSUE THE PERMIT SO I CAN FUCKING SIGN UP?” to the morning they actually did. I’m pretty sure I was the first one to fill out the form in its entirety all the way up to putting my debit card info in so they could suck a full $840.73 out of my bank account in a nanosecond. I’m also pretty sure that I was the last one to actually hit the button that day because “Holy hell that is four days of running and how am I ever going to stay hydrated enough and I’ll definitely vomit because I never don’t and that’s FOUR DAYS OF VOMITING and how do I manage pacers and crew because I’ve never had them before and how in the name of all that is holy am I going to MAKE A FLIPPING PLAN for this?!?!” So you can see why he had to cut me off until I actually hit “submit.”
I had a training plan in place before turning the lights out that night. It included weights and yoga and stairs and a weekly trip to run mountains and about eleventy-seven million miles in the heat, including one back to back to back 100 mile weekend in the heat of September on the Bluff Creek Trails.
Side note: If you’re not familiar with Bluff Creek Trails, it’s a 4 mile loop in OKC. It’s also a total, albeit beautiful, mind-fuck, which is precisely why I chose them.
And I did it. I did the weights and the yoga and the stairs and the weekly trips to run mountains and most of the heat training mileage and the mind-fuck 3-day 100 mile Bluff Run (which turned out to be pretty fun, by the way). I risked committing to myself and grew to trust that I could have a little piece of my life structured and not actually implode. I even learned to love it - words I never thought would come from me… someone who is happily, by nature, just a little bit chaotic. Or a lot chaotic. Whatever. In any case, I’d made it through training and the only thing left to do was embrace the taper and enjoy the race. I was, as they say, golden. Until I wasn’t…
It was the night of September 27th - exactly two weeks before we were leaving for Moab - and I was passing through the living room when I was accidentally knocked over by the sweetest lover of a dog who happens to have ten pounds on me. In a flurry of excitement to come play, he jumped off of his chair and body slammed the outside of my left leg, pushing my knee laterally inward. Given that the knee is a hinge joint, it doesn’t like to move from side to side without much protest. It simultaneously popped, buckled me, and doubled in size. I sat frozen, instantly nauseous and unable to speak for several minutes. There was dog-Adi chaos (normal) and then complete silence (decidedly not), which prompted body-slamming-lover-pup’s (I’ll call him Brooks for short) owner to check on the eery quiet. Once I was certain that my next move wasn’t a vomitous one, I stood up to prove that “YES I AM FINE!” (Of course I wasn’t, so please, I offer you this pause to complete your eye roll.) I stubbornly circled the couch in a pathetic little hobble before sitting down and then just going to bed where it was dark and nobody could see that my “fine” face was a mask for my “I know that something is really wrong and don’t want to admit it” face.
Two days later, I could walk without sharp pain, rather it just felt like someone was punching a bruise, and my knee was no more stable than it was on my shaky trip around the couch. I went to the doc and he said that my MCL is sprained (maybe torn), ACL is loose (maybe torn), PCL is sprained (maybe torn) and there is more fluid build-up than he’d like. To be clear, I’m not sure of the exact amount of fluid build-up that’s preferred, but apparently, my knee is an overachiever. <— obvious sarcasm. Racing is out. An MRI is in. Surgery is still lurking about waiting to be either invited to the cool kids’ table or shunned. I came home and wrote the following message to my crew and pacers as I, quite unsuccessfully, tried to keep from losing my shit:
I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the Moab trip. Unfortunately, I’ve had a non-running related accident that has done some ligament damage to my left knee. I won’t know the extent until I get an MRI, but the doc says that with the inability to put pressure on it, instability of the joint, and the fluid build-up, racing is definitely off the table. As it stands now, if surgery isn’t necessary, I can be back running on even terrain fairly quickly. If I tried this course, I wouldn’t finish and would most assuredly end up needing surgery. All of this to say, you all are free from crewing/pacing that week. I talked to the volunteer coordinator and secured some volunteer spots that earn an entry into the 2018 event, so Jonathan and I are still heading over for a couple of days, which softens the blow.
I’m so sorry to all of you who have taken the time to rearrange schedules and make plans to be a part of this. You are still welcome to come play in the desert/mountains/canyon with us if you want to volunteer, and, of course, I’d love for you all to be part of Moab 2018.
The up side to this (because there’s always an up side) is that it wasn’t my running, stubbornness, or stupidity that knocked me out. I had a solid six months of training, so I know I can do it again, and this gives me a chance to refine that and grow even stronger. I’ll also have the chance to see the course before running it, now. And I can have this asshole SI joint put back in place without immediately knocking it out again from training. More importantly than all of that, though, is that these sorts of circumstances always serve as great reminders about how truly extraordinary my tribe is. You all are part of that. Thank you for being a part of that.
One last thought… a missed opportunity can become just an opportunity with a little shift in perspective, so that’s what this is. It’s an opportunity.
Love to you all,
One week later, my MRI showed that nothing was torn but everything was really loose. It also showed bone contusions from the two points of impact: Brooks’ hit on the outside of my knee and where my kneecap slammed into the concrete floor when I fell, not to mention the “severe but not entirely distressing cartilage damage.” His words. Not mine. The good news, though, is that the 18 year old screws securing my knee cap to its proper position are still in place. Always a silver lining, even around the blackest fucked up knee cloud.
Why am I telling you all of this today? Well, I’d like to say that it’s because registration opened for the 2018 race today and I just registered for it (it did and I did, by the way), but the real reason is that I couldn’t bear to add an 84th untitled document to my virtual pile.
p.s. You probably caught that I went to Moab anyway, but that’s a story for another time. I’ll leave it at this: mountain, stranded, smoking Jeep. Stay tuned!
Making it to Moab: A microblog
It’s 4:14pm and I’m sitting on my bed, laptop on one knee and a bag of frozen edamame on the other as my alarm goes off. Just a day in the life of an endurance runner who, a mere sixteen days out from a four day foot race, was demonstrably shown, that the knee is, in fact, a hinge joint and not meant for lateral bending. I’ve been tasked with emailing the race director to inquire about volunteering for a free race entry into next year. You know… just in case. My sole reader of this microblog will be pleased to find out that not only did I ask about myself, but my crew captain/lead pacer, as well. Stay tuned for the next update, and thanks for being my number one (and only) Making it to Moab fan.