Friday, September 12, 2008


I haven't posted since my bike crash. But I survived. The bruises are even gone. It only cost $35 to repair my bike (only the gear hanger was bent, nothing destroyed.) I had an extra helmet in case someone wanted to ride with me, so I didn't even have to buy a new one. The shoulder I thought was just scraped, was in fact mildly injured.... couldn't swim or do pushups for a couple weeks. The thigh that just kind of stung right after I crashed and that I thought was just sporting a little road rash.... well, here's the picture of how that went. In EMT class years ago, I learned that a bruise the size of your fist represents loss of about 10% of your blood volume.

Achilles Tendonitis update:

I'm still not completely pain-free, but I got custom orthotics last week (still adjusting to those); a new pair of trail-running shoes today; on Monday, I get to start a walking program.

Week 1: walk one mile, 3 days on alternate days, flat terrain. Upper-body training at least 2 days a week on non-walking days. Then each week I get to add 1 mile to the week's total mileage, for the next 8 weeks. After that, I get to transition into running and HIKING, assuming all goes well up to then. My physical therapist wrote a disclaimer at the bottom of the training program: "This is not a complete program, nor does it ensure you will complete hiking the Appalachian Trail." LOL!!! I'll be tickled pink just to START, and THRILLED TO DEATH to make it to Harper's Ferry, WV (close to home and slightly less than half the Trail but considered by hikers to be the "psychological halfway point") and ECSTATIC to make it to Maine.

Although it's cotton, I just might have to wear my Penguin Brigade shirt with its motto: "The miracle isn't that I finished; the miracle is that I had the courage to start." Hmmm. Not for hiking during the day -- my backpack would cover it up. But for hanging around camp in the evenings, and sleeping.... yup, I think I just came up with something. It's been autographed by most of my closest running friends. Wish I could send it around Blogdom for more signatures. Hmmm, maybe I can. A chain-mail kind of thing. I send it to someone, they sign it and send it on to the next.... I have ideas cooking like crazy.

It does remind me of marathon training, where my primary goal is always just to get uninjured and healthy to the starting line. Everything else is gravy. That said, I have never DNF'd through 24 marathons and 2 IronMan triathlons.

I'll be having my first DNF, though, at SavageMan next Sunday. Since I'm out $145 for the registration fee whether I participate or not, I might as well get some schwag out of it. Packet pick-up will net me a swim cap. There's no reason I can't swim 1.2 miles. I haven't done that this summer but I've swum 1800 meters a couple of times, which is close.

If there's a participant's shirt (as compared to a finisher's shirt), I don't see why I can't wear it if I complete the swim. I participated. And I've been through hell instead of training for it.

I've toyed with doing T-1 and starting the bike, quitting at the foot of (i.e., not attempting) the Westernport Wall. There's no way my tendons or training would handle that. Because of them, this summer I've avoided hills altogether. That comes at Mile 19. I haven't done more than 12 miles this summer, and not even that, in fact no biking, for the last 3 weeks. Damn tendons.

Maybe if I do 10 or 12 or 15 miles a couple times between now and then.

Maybe I shouldn't even take my bike.

I SOOOO wanted to conquer that Westernport Wall and get my name engraved on a brick to be inlaid in the road.

I SOOOO wanted to complete the full course of the "World's Most Savage Triathlon." It was going to be my one of my three compensations for not hiking the AT this year. I honestly haven't had any compensation at all. Everything has gone down the drain. The new granddaughter I gave up this year's hike for? The one who was my reason for and my main compensation for not hiking? Her parents are splitting up. Three months after a new baby. So although Sarah and her big sister Abbie are wonderful, and we love to see them, it's not really that much fun to go up there to visit them, with bickering, separation, etc. The third compensation was, I'd be near the AT in VA and MD and could do overnights and 3-day's, getting the hang of what works and what doesn't.

So my summer has been like this: PT (physical therapy) instead of AT (Appalachian Trail) because of AT (Achilles Tendonitis.) Kids fighting and splitting up with a baby and a 5-yr-old with special needs.

So no running. Little biking (kind of tendon-y, the pedal motion.) No hiking, not even the overnight shakedown hikes I looked forward to, after the 20-mile round trip over the Roller Coaster section (5,000 total feet of climbing over 10 miles, both directions), that screwed my tendons. New-baby-family fun for her first 3 months, although there was a tension and heaviness that I knew wasn't good, even before the announcement was made.

Funny how Appalachian Trail and Achilles Tendonitis are both AT.


boots said...

Hey Ellie-I started my own blog after reading this. what a great way to stir the thoughts. Your ability to turn some very negative into challenges of perspective are great.

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh man, that photo of your leg reminded me of mine earlier this year. Glad the costs to get back on your bike were minimal.

But, I'm really sorry to hear about the split-up. Hopefully that decision will somehow turn out better for the children than being raised in an environment where there's lots of bickering amongst the parents. Luckily, they have an awesome grandma!

Ellie Hamilton said...

Hey Boots -- I hope you'll come back and read this comment, since at this point there doesn't seem to be a way to get in touch with you (did you start that blog yet?) Thank you for being inspired by mine.... that inspires me!

Polly said...

Hi Ellie - glad you're still among the living. So sorry to hear about the split up and grandkids -- very few of our families escape that sort of strife these days.
Do what you can! You're an inspiration to all of us.