(A Wine and Dine Story) And So We’ve Come….

…to the end of the road.

Literally.

I know this has been a long, drawn out, painful process.  Much like my running life has been the last few years.  And it ain’t over yet.  Well, almost.

I promise.

The pain is coming to an end.

When last we checked in here and here, I was headed for that great big starting line in the……….wait.  No no no. Not THAT one.  This one.

wine-and-dine-start

Jeep packed up, Wonder Mutt dropped off at the neighbors, and off to the most Magical Place on Earth we go.  Not without a giant case of the nerves.  After checking in to our little temporary home for the next few days the night before, we headed over to the expo.  Nothing too exciting there, just your usual, if more complicated, expo shenanigans as in past years.  Complicated as in “let’s just make everyone walk all over kingdom come to get anywhere else between packet pick up, shirt pick up, and goodie shopping” kind of complicated.

We managed to get through all the madness, hook up with running buddies Rae and Lisa, grab a brewski upstairs from the expo, head off for a day of eating, shooting aliens in Studios, grabbing some moonshine at Fort Wilderness (literally, moonshine!), and singing our way all over central Florida.  Yep, that was us you heard.

night-sweats

Much less hairy though.  MUCH.

Fast forward to Sunday morning.  Oh-dark-thirty.  No sleep.  Nerves jumping like Pop Rocks.  I tape the beeJesus out of my knees, get dressed, try to eat the bagel the hubs had so thoughtfully picked up for me the day before, quadruple check that I have all race necessities – tunes, shades, Sport Beans, sanity (not so much), and off we go.  Hubs drops me off at Coronado Springs so I can hop race transpo to the start, and back to bed goes he.  After a very short wait, bus arrives, off to WWoS we go, and the reality of what’s about to happen REALLY starts to sink in.

Holy crap woman, you’re about to run 13.1 miles.  Again.  With the very real possibility that you may finish, not finish, implode before you hit the start line, or act like that ninny in A League of Their Own.

baseball.jpg

Thankfully, the wait to start wasn’t unbearably long, and before I knew it, Rudy and Carissa, those ever faithful runDisney announcers, had the corrals off and running.  Ever vigilant of not starting off too fast, I ignored the typical bizarre looks I was getting from runners around me as I had the following convo with my psyche.  Apparently out loud.

“Hey idiot.”

“What.  Can’t you see I’m trying to run here?”

“Yeah.  That’s why I need you to rein it in and make sure you stick to your intervals.  Otherwise you may not finish.”

“I may not finish anyway.  And I hate running intervals.”

“Hubs said if you finish, he’ll have Patron waiting for you.”

(silence)

(more silence)

(even more silence)

“Dammit.”

Needless to say, agave juice won out.

Margarita in a glass

Dammit.

Soooo, as I wound my way at a snail’s pace around Animal Kingdom, of course I had to stop and hang out with these guys.

Stilt Guys1.jpg

My, you’re all really…..tall.

The new course then meandered along random Disney World roads and back towards Epcot.  At which point, my eyes lit up like I had just discovered a giant bowl of spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.  Due in no small part to what was probably the GREATEST MILE MARKER EVER……

mile-9-rev

Maniacal smiling!

Mile 9.  I knew I was going to finish this bad boy one way or another.  But not before I had to go through what I lovingly termed the MILE OF REALLY MOTHER-EFFER?!?  I JUST COULDN’T GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT YOU, COULD I?!?

stubborn mule

Nope. Not a chance lady.

Hello Mile 10, hello “what the hell just imploded in my left leg?”  Oh wait, just a lovely little mixture of tight IT band, tuckered out left glute, with a touch of inner left knee soreness thrown in for good measure.  Now, all that being said, I had stuck to my intervals, stopped to stretch every 1-2 miles, and never pushed the pace the entire time.  I knew this was not going to be a speedy half, and had already decided to just have fun with it.  Having this blow up at Mile 10 didn’t really bother me all that much, and if I had to walk it in from there, then so be it.  I could live with it.  I knew the hubby and Lisa were already celebrating her oh-so-speedy finish, and I had every intention of joining them in consuming vast quantities of celebratory libations before much longer.

lisa-grouper1

“Move it girl, there’s partying to be done!”

Then I knew the runner gods had been paying attention.  Mile 10 consisted of an insanely banked ramp up to an overpass.  A ramp which had no flat spot to run on.  ANYWHERE.  Now, I had received very strict orders from the Man and Torture Tony to NOT RUN THE RAMPS OR ELSE.

And for once, I actually listened.

Not just because there wasn’t a flat spot anywhere along that ramp to run on, but also because – you know – that whole pesky left leg thing.

Then, a Disney miracle happened.

miracle.png

No, not that miracle.

As the ramp peaked at the top of an overpass around Mile 11, I decided just to test the waters a bit and see if the extended walk break may have been enough for everybody to calm the hell down.  After a few cautious jogging steps – and a lot of breath holding – things seemed to actually be…..ok.

laugh dog

Say WHA?????

What?  Were you not paying attention?

I said,

EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE OK

AS IN NO PAIN

ANYWHERE!

In complete and utter disbelief, I called the hubs and Lisa, told them to get the ‘ritas chilling, kicked it into high gear – well, MY high gear – and brought it on home.

The rest – as they say – is history.  Enjoy.

choir1

medal-shirt1

Enjoy the ride.

Thank you for following along with me on what has been on helluva ride.  Your good wishes and crossed paws all helped me cross that finish line on that beautiful morning, and I could not have done it without you.  I especially could not have done it without the encouragement of my hubs, my family, Lisa, PT Pam, Torture Tony, and Dr. Testa.  It’s been a long and painful journey, but we have finally arrived, in no small part to every one of you.  My running adventures will continue, and I hope to take all of you along on them.  Hang on tight, as the ride is only going to get better from here on out!

Full Circle…Almost

We came, we saw, we conquered.  Sort of.

wine and dine

So.  We meet again.

If your attention span is in any way even minutely better than mine, then you would know what a big deal this year’s adventure to the Wine and Dine was going to be.  This is going to take a while – and a few episodes – so sit back, grab yourself a nice fat ‘rita, a couple of ice packs, and maybe hook up that TENS unit for a bit.  Because gawd knows my attention-deficient brain won’t be able to hang in there long enough to get through the entire adventure in one shot.  Besides, cliffhangers are more fun anyway.

After #brokeknees Part 1 and 2 finally came to an end – almost – it was time to get on that training train again and start pulling on the whistle.  ‘Cause DAMN, those miles weren’t going to run themselves.  It was time to grab those pretty new pink ASICS and get to work.

After having my “less damaged” knee parts fixed a year ago, (for those of you new to the nonsense, that’s #brokeknee Part 1 in last April AND #brokeknee Part 2 last November.  Because just one knee surgery is never enough), I was over the whole –

a.   You’re not getting any younger so it may take longer to heal

b.   Can’t you just do something else?

c.   You really shouldn’t run, it’s bad for your knees

d.  You need to stop running immediately  kind of moose poop.

(Thank you runner friends for completely GETTING me on this crap).

hug10

Every time I’d think I was FINALLY getting somewhere, something else would go to total crap.  Lessons learned?  Hoka One One’s are NOT knee friendly for this girl.  Next one?  Never settle for just one opinion.  Lesson three:  sometimes being a concrete head (as the hubs often calls me:), can come in damn handy when you have no intention of throwing in the towel.  The biggest lessons I learned?  Husbands and Wonder Mutts can be your biggest supporters, and chiropractors fluent in the language of Active Release Therapy are worth their weight in GOLD.

After what was yet even MOREIAMSOSICKOFTHISDAMNFRIGGINPAININMYKNEES setbacks with my training, I was at my wit’s end.  I had gone back to embracing the Galloway run-walk-run method, was only training two days a week, and fully acknowledged the fact this race would have to be all about finishing the distance and not about the time.  (Or so I at least tried to convince myself. #concretehead).

Then an angel happened to flap her wings in my general direction.

I have a neighbor friend who is as obsessed about running as I am.  The difference is she is actually really good at it.  REALLY good.  She’s a few years older, (falls into that dreaded Masters category), and has consistently finished in the top three at every event she’s competed in.  She’s fast, strong, and could pull off the cover of any fitness magazine WITHOUT any photoshopping needed.

And suddenly found herself riding the injury train right alongside me.

Did I mention we’re good friends and like to share?chagrined_chimp

As my neighbor buddy didn’t really blame me for my need to overshare on the injury front, she did the kind neighborly thing and told me about THIS GUY she had been going to who was doing some really cool stuff to fix her very own case of #brokeknee, including such neat stuff as TENS acupuncture, gua sha, and compression icing.  Photo updates from her visits quickly became a source of “holy crap, that looks….interesting”, “he’s doing WHAT?!”, and a few “what the hell is THAT?!” comments.

Now, being a complete victim of FOMO, I had to get in on this out-of-the-norm rehab action.  The bad thing?  The doc’s office was entirely too geographically undesirable.  As in an entire county and way too much traffic insanity away.  However, said doc worked with another awesome GUY who did the same kind of stuff and had an office in a much more geographically desirable location.  (Insert happy Black Dog dance here.)

seinfeld happy dance

Stay tuned for the next chapter of “WTF is Really Wrong With the Parts and How We’re Finally Going to Fix Them”.  It’s a nail biter.

Seriously.

My literary non-talent has Wonder Mutt gnawing hers off as we speak…..

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

You’re killing me lady.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Have you ever refused to give up when injured?  Have you ever explored “alternative” forms of injury rehab/recovery?  What were they and did they work for you?