Sunday, June 30, 2013

Saturday recovering

I'm improving a bit day-to-day. My walking is getting better, but I'm still hobbling. I feel a bit of pain at my hip, but the worst part remains the inner upper thigh. This is consistent with what I've read about iliopsoas pulls: the one motion where my progress has been slowest is the clamshell move, laying on my left side with knees bent @ 90 degrees, then pivoting my leg at the hip and foot, and raising my knee. The knee just won't rise. Sitting with an orange Theraband between my knees I can spread them, but the mass of my leg is too much for me right now. This is likely the weak link in my recovery. It's the part most likely to cause sharp pain.

Two big sports events yesterday to distract me. One was the Tour de France. The big story on the stage, of course, was the Orica-Green Edge bus getting jammed under the finish arch. This was an error, of course: they said were sent through by finish line officials, but the officials claim they told the bus to go to the barrier and wait before proceeding. Finish lines are barely controlled chaos so it's easy to see how misunderstandings occur. The real issue was the bus was so late. But even so, stuff happens.

The inexplainable thing about it is what followed: first moving the finish line to the 3 km point, which was at the exit of a traffic circle. That was absolutely incredible that this would even be considered: it would have been total carnage. They obviously picked that point because they had timing equipment there, which is the spot where time gaps are determined in case of crashes between there and the finish.

But the announcement went out with less than 10 km to go, and not all the riders were able to hear it on their radios in the noise of racing, so you had some riders realizing that suddenly they needed to be at the front now in order to get ready for the earlier finish, others thinking they still had time. These guys ride absolutely at the edge under normal circumstances, and they've all previewed the few km leading to the nominal finish but likely not those leading to the 3 km point, so this was guaranteed to lead to a crash, and it did.

Fortunately the bus was moved, so they were able to move the finish back to the proper place. But communicating these rapid changes to the peloton, at full speed since they now thought they were just a few km from the finish, is a challenge. They're lucky there wasn't another big crash.

What I thought they should have done at the time was to stop the pack. This is difficult, but it's been done many times before when the road has become blocked, for example by protesters. The motorcycles at the front flash their lights then gradually slow. Then wait for the bus to move, and restart the group. Just a few km from the finish this also would have been a challenge. But better than the on-the-fly approach that was used. That traffic circle finish would have been insane.

The other big race yesterday was the Western States 100 trail run. I was addicted to IRunFar.com's live coverage, which was partially reports from volunteers at checkpoints, partially internet chat session with fans. It's amazing that a 15+-hour running race could be so addictive, followed via text only, but it was. I didn't follow it continuously all day, but I could have. In the end, it was an amazing result, with last year's winner Tim Olsen surviving peak temperatures of 106F on the course to finish in a very respectable time, holding off first-time 100-miler Rob Krar.

I had picked Rob for the win: he has run a 2:25 Boston Marathon, and is from Arizona, so is accustomed to the heat. And he ran a spectacular race, hanging back with the main lead pack while two other runners went out hard at the start. Neither of those two finished. Tim Olsen, who'd been in Rob's group, took the lead for good at Devil's Thumb checkpoint at mile 47.8. Olsen opened up a 12-minute gap, but Krar started to close it, and finished only 4:38 by the finish. It was a remarkably close race for the top 2.

Gary Gellin, who often runs Low-Key Hillclimbs, paced Ian Sharman to fourth place.

Race data are here (temporary link)

During the day, I managed one excursion, to get some Praxis chainrings form my bike from Roll (the San Francisco dealer for these highly-rated rings), some decaf coffee from Peet's, and some supplements from a new Vitamin Shoppe. This resulted in more walking then I'd done since the crash, several hundred meters, and I was tired afterwards. It's frustrating, because on day 16 of recovery, I'm ready to be done. It's going to be awhile more before I'm back up to speed, however. Frustrating losing my fitness in this way. I may try a little swim today, but my energy level has been so low, I'm also tempted to stop worrying about fitness and just rest instead.

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