Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Checkers Hare and Hound 2012

As usual Checkers put on a great race and this year they tried something brand new. Those who were doing all 3 loops could do them in any order.  What that meant for a newbie like myself was that fast riders would be riding on loop one while I was.  That's not usually the case.

For those who don't know, District 37 of the AMA puts on a couple dozen off-road races every year - most of them out in the desert.  The Hare and Hound races are 2 or 3 loops which usually total between 80 and 100 miles.  There is a one loop option for those in the Novice, Intermediate or Expert classes but most people run the whole course.  Those in the beginner class (like me) are only allowed to race one loop and that's just fine with me since I haven't yet built up my stamina to race more than the first loop - usually 35 to 45 miles.  That's not very far but the terrain isn't a walk in the park either and I'm usually completely spent afterward.  I definitely need to work on my conditioning.

I will post and provide a link of the video of my two crashes in this race - the first one wasn't bad but the second one messed up my foot pretty good.  I had to go to the hospital and was on crutches for about a week.  Fortunately nothing was broken but there was some soft tissue damage that had me hobbling for about a month.  I had high hopes for doing more races but that's not how it worked out.

The race was at the end of February and in late March I was able to walk longer distances without any pain.  I didn't want to try running because it still hurt a little at times.  My next step was to try riding my mountain bike since that should have less impact than running.  I went for a ride and the foot felt pretty good but the next day it started aching a little - nothing bad but I wanted to take it easy.

About that time I also lost my job of 14 years.  To top it all off I started having some sciatic pain.  I was able to ride my 'city bike' for a while until something happened and the pain became almost unbearable - I mean I halfway seriously felt that cutting off my leg would be preferable to the pain I was in.  I went to the doctor and was given some pretty strong drugs to help with the pain and started physical therapy (PT).

Long story short, PT didn't work, steroid injection didn't work and I ended up having surgery in August to remove a fragment of material that had leaked from one of my spinal discs. I had two herniated discs but only one of the fragments was causing any issues.

The doc said to take 6 to 8 weeks before returning to my normal routine but I would make a full recovery and could continue racing.  Good news!

A month after surgery I finally found a new job.  My savings has been depleted and my credit card now has a balance so I think any more races this year is out of the question.  I have to pay off the credit card and build my savings back up first.

I hope to start 2013 with a new District 37 number and make the first race of the year.

Bottom line - my old body just isn't made for the abuse I've been giving it all my life.  I'm going to have to be a lot more careful out there.