Worlds collided!

Remember when I went to Iceland to do that multi stage race? That was a tough mofo, right?

Could there be anything tougher?

The core team that prepared me to run that race consisted of my nutrition consultant, personal trainers, nurse practitioner, rolfer, massage therapist and yoga instructor. I managed get all of them to come to my place for a thank you party.

Yes, that was definitely tougher.

My boys ushered everybody in : “Welcome contestants. Let the hunger games begin.” img_5931

We gathered at my rooftop just as the wind picked up momentum. A few minutes later, while most of us were still eating and drinking, “just a lil bit of wind” gained hurricane force, started blowing food off of our plates and the tables and we had to abandon ship. Meaning all 11 of us (hmm… actually 13, sorry tango and Fox) had to get into my teeny tiny apartment where we pretty much had to take turns to sit.

Mostly because Tango (the axe cat) decided to keep a whole seat for himself. img_5932

We played Rockband 4 on my PS4. Fascinating, how, not more than one of us could play at the same time. Epic fail on the host. But one at a time, we played.

Oh, here is my awesome team14963191_2903562399422_7934598157229271738_n

From left : Amy from OK, Lisa, Michael, George, Nate, Alex, Saiju, Amy, Ellen and Chelsey.

And a million thanks to Cat for taking this picture.

Because between George “the lightweight” getting drunk and being hilarious after ONE drink AND Alex super patiently explaining “I’m whiskey”* to Cat AND me successfully escaping an attempt to make me retell my “undie story” AND all the “thats what she said” situations where I could not even make eye contact with Alex without bursting into a laughter AND Ellen’s funny and interesting stories (as usual) AND Cat and Nate and George playing RB guitar one small note at a time and their honest attempt at a high solo score…. HilaArious!

My point is, I was so into what was going on, it did not even occur to me to take pictures! The social media ho / diva / teenage girl / hairy Irish man in me is completely devastated! teen-girl-face-crying-facial-expression-cartoon-vector-illustrations-yellow-background-red-haired-emoji-79901552

And amazingly, they all liked the vegan food I got from my favorite South Indian restaurant, Woodlands!

Well, there were more than just Samosas and deep fried snacks but no pics <sadface>

I could write a post about each member of my team! May be after the next party… 😀

WORLDS COLLIDED! 

 

*  I introduced my kitties Tango and Foxtrot and said “that makes me Whiskey”. Cat had NO CLUE what that meant and Alex had to explain  the WTF *facts* 15037340_2903563079439_1666844468912705311_nAlex (L) and Cat

A stress reaction

On day 4 of Fire & Ice, after running about 80 miles altogether, I had severe pain on the lower part of my left shin. I ignored it and continued for at least another 30 miles in the next couple of days. I will step forward with my right but I had to drag my left to keep moving. When the race director said he’s not gonna let me go on the last day, it was heartbreaking. He said if I went, I will be by myself, without any support if I needed it. So I pooled in my resources to discuss my options. I talked to Shan, Ellen, Cat, and Matthew (I just met him at this race) and they helped me make the decision to not race the last day (I still went, without my pack for a few miles). Amy (from OK) also chimed in on fb asking me not to do anything stupid and to stop, citing her own bad experience. I came back home and decided to wait for a few days to see if the swelling and the pain will go away. After all it is just a muscle strain, right?

Wrong.

An MRI showed I have severe stress reaction on my left tibia. A stress reaction one teeny tiny step before a stress fracture. Had I raced the last day, I would have come home with a full on tibia fracture. My initial reaction is how thankful I am to those who walked me through the decision making process that night. Special mention to Amy (from OK) for posting the right words, in the right order on that comment on fb and Cat (my dietitian) for calling me back, realizing that I am in crisis mode.

What now?

I have 2 races, a full and a half, on the last 2 Sundays of October. I have been ordered by my doctor and my podiatrist friend to not run at all and go through this rehab routine for the next few weeks. I told them I’d rather kill myself.

What next!

I started training for this race in mid January of this year. It’s been a roller coaster ride until after the race. It was really cool to have something to focus on, something that is so demanding. Now, I’m completely lost. Historically, I put on a lot of weight soon after a big race. This time, I’m hoping, with the help of Cat (my awesome dietitian) I can maintain the (lost)weight.

I have been eating super healthy (for the most part) during my training. Now I can’t eat super oily (read super delicious) fried awesomeness anymore, it is messing up my stomach! I can’t drink wine either, in fact the only things I can drink without fear of hurling is whiskey and beer. Is that a positive thing? I can’t decide.

What next, you ask?

I wanna go back to Iceland and complete the race without DNFing any stages and earn that medal. When? Not sure now, will have to plan that. I also want to do more multi-stage, multi-terrain ultras. Because I am a glutton for pain and misery. Hehe… For the time being I have plans to run a full and 2 half marathons for the rest of the year. I wonder if I will be able to run without a heavy pack on my back. 😛

What else? I sent my thank you notes already, before the race. And I will miss hanging / working out with George!

Check me out wearing a shirt that I bought 8 months back but could never get in to because it was too small. While you are at it, take a close look at me kickass kicks too!

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Stand by for pictures of Ellen and I (with a couple of puffins) digging into the Icelandic alcohol loot this weekend. 😀

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The Race!

What happened in Iceland is slowly sinking In and I am beginning to believe it actually happened! I wrote up about the race based on what I remember. I regret not taking more, strategic pictures.

Day 1 – Monday August 29, 2016
Bright and shiny outside, totally freaking out inside! Completed the day which included a humongous hill but mostly OK terrain. Lake, lots of volcanic ash and lava. My pack was too heavy, over 32 lbs and my left shoulder took the brunt of it. Get patched by the med team in the evening. The same camp as last night, by Askja the volcano.

Day 2
Miles and miles of lava rock terrain. Was it a mistake, or did they mean it be the course! There were some beautiful mountains along the way. The highlight of the day being seeing Herðubreið, the “queen” of Icelandic mountains. A lil bit of rain towards the end of the day didn’t hurt much. But it was cold.

Day 3
Hypothermia. DNF. 35 degree, rain all day, 2 glacier river crossings (about 50ft wide each, about knee deep water). That was the day. The camp was at the most expensive camp site in the world, inside a broken volcano! Saw some Northern lights. The whiskey flask I was carrying with me with some 15 yr old Glenfiddich made my tent mates happy!

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About to go into a fetal position….

Day 4
Sunny and beautiful day. Severe shin issues as a result of walking through some super unfriendly terrains, limped my way to the camp for about 15 miles off the total of 30 miles. Walking on volcanic ash is like walking on a beach! There was this beautiful waterfall (it is the most powerful one in the northern hemisphere) with a rainbow framing it where I spent some time just admiring it. Saw more, brighter, bigger Northern Lights!

Day 5
Toughest terrain, the first (almost)12 miles were through Heathland vegetation. My already injured left leg was completely mad at em for doign this! At the first checkpoint, I decided enough is enough, time to stop for the day. Not an easy decision but I had to. The truck drove me straight to the natural hot bath thigies, right next to the camp! Dipping in that spring was one of the best experience ever! After that, where I was sitting, the wind kept bringing steam out of the springs.

Day 6
The race director would not allow me to race today, citing my injury. So I went on a limping run / walk for 10+ miles on my own, without the pack, just a bottle of water and a bag of roasted chick peas (I regretted not taking my phone with me when I walked past “boiling mud” pits!). It was fun, why couldn’t I do that the whole time! 🙂

Coming up, more Iceland shit, with pictures. Stay tuned…..

Starting today….

Flying out to Iceland tonight.

I had some painting accident last night. File_005

Just kidding, my awesome stylist, Cat, designed a fire and ice themed hair style for me to wear during the race! How cool, right? Here’s me with the designer! File_004.jpeg

This morning I went to see Cat (my dietitian) and George. This happened. File_008.jpeg

Here are some key players at VIDA who was there with me throughout this journey.

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From L to R: Cat, Saiju, Saiju, George, Gabe, Saiju

Gabe is in charge of the Fuel bar and he hooked me up with the most delicious recovery drinks every morning for the last few months!

From now till Monday  morning when the race starts, will be hell! Do they have whiskey in Iceland?

Never too early to say thanks….

Remember, it takes a whole city(apparently) for me to get ready for this race. I’ve mentioned a few people before, who have been part of this journey from the beginning. I wanna make sure that I give them proper credit!

Ellen – my race partner, who is to blame for this mess. 12-face-with-stuck-out-tongue-and-winking-eye.png She has been inspiring me from the beginning with her performance. And how humble she is about it! And front-ending all the logistics associated with this race. And for all the whiskey and beer and deelish food during our planning sessions! And driving me to race after race after…

Cat – my fabulous dietitian. She gets to be on top of this list because she has made the biggest positive change in my lifestyle. For starters(SWIDT?) I eat vegetables now, not just potatoes. She made me check the nutrition levels in my body and I find out that I have severe D deficiency (that will explain a lot of my physical problems including my eye issues – more on the eye later). Even crazier that she is not vegan herself but now knows everything about vegan diet and a (vegan)diabetic athlete!

George – he makes me smile, throughout every (tough)core training session at VIDA. And remembers every race I do (there was a fucking lot of them – even I couldn’t keep up) and checks with me at the end of every race.

Deepa – you spend a LOT of time with your coworkers. When you have someone you can call a BFF at work, it’s precious. I have no idea how she still manages to keep a smiling face and offers worthwhile responses everytime I am down. And whining.

Shantanu – my bro from anotha mutha. Puts up with all my bullshit (it’s a lot) still welcomes me with open arms everytime I visit LA(which is alot) and picks up my call everytime(again, a LOT), regardless of what time it is. Being a neuroscientist, he dukes out some seriously solid advises that you should never question, but I always do.

Dr. Salcedo – I haven’t said a word about Dr. Salcedo until now, though we have been working together since March (and her lovely assistant Virginia). She is my physical therapist and a tremendous resource for an athlete with her wealth of knowledge. She fixed my tendinitis and my injured back, quickly, like a boss. I learned a LOT about performing like an athlete from her! You can go see her at Chirocentric. Tell her Saiju sent ya!

Lisa – I have not mentioned Lisa either! She is a Rolfer extraordinaire, who keeps my body parts from separating out (or something like that). Cat connected us and it’s been awesome! I cry everytime during the session but feel AMAZING after!

Amy – my RNP who has been on *it* to keep me running and do other crazy things in spite of my diabetes and a slew of related and unrelated shitty issues!

Michelle – I have known Michelle for over 15 years now. I have been talking to her about racing recently and we are going to run a marathon together in October. Talking to her made me pay attention to a lot of minor details that will make a major difference. There are a bunch of them, which I might write about later.

Sumit – my bro I’ve known since 1990 (that’s a whopping 26+ years)! When I was not sure of running this race in the beginning, he talked to me in such a way that made sense to me to push my limits and pursue my goals! Bonus points to him for not using the term YOLO.

Amy (from OK) – my partner in crime, lately. Huge emotional support provider (because I am emotionally weak and a big time whiner), who told me “you are not shallow, you are discerning” which was a revolting concept for me! Bonus points for being an excellent yoga instructor.

Sonali, Rajesh and Sona, Rajesh and Sreeja, Rajesh and Kavitha (haha, they make it easy for me to remember their names), Santhosh and Lekshmi, JK, Tripti, Komal, Thenna…. some way or the other were there for me.

And then there is lovely Stephanie. My kitties love her and so do I. I can go away for races peacefully without worrying about Tango and Foxtrot thanks to Steph being there for us. And she is ALWAYS smiling.

Here is to hoping I won’t let my team down.

A whole city…. oi

How do you manage this schedule?
Run : 2-3 times a week
Core training : 3-4 times a week
Yoga : 3-4 times a week
Rolfing : 1 time a week
Deep tissue massage : 1 time every 2 weeks
Nutrition consulting : 1 time every 2 weeks
Physical therapy : 1-2 times a week

Meditation : 0 times a week

I told my Fab Dietitian Cat : “it takes a village to get me thru this race”
FD Cat : “in your case it takes a whole city”

Touché