Sunday, July 28, 2013

Riding Venus De Miles

Ive been reading everyone's blog posts and they are great so I dont want to repeat what everyone has written (I might do that at a later date). Instead Ive decided to write my tips on how to ride Venus De Miles, since Ive just arrived home after my second year and completing the longer distance - YAY!

  1. Arrive early, parking can be a little tricky. If you have to park off campus and in downtown Lake Forest youll have to ride a mile. Can you carry everything?????
  2. Dress for all eventualities, last year it was warm and toasty, today it was cold and shivvery. Light easy-to-store in your jersey jackets and arm warmers are a great idea. Gear check a different jacket to wear when your jersey or light jacket is wet from sweat or rain. Wear sunscreen or a good moisturiser.
  3. If you own a profile bottle cage leave one of the bottles empty or rock a spi belt, the well stocked aid stations are amazing and its good to be able to carry a few of these goodies so that you dont have to stop for long and you can hit the road sooner rather than later. I invested in a crossbar speedfeed storage bag, worked a treat!
  4. Learn correct bike etiquette, it sounds obvious, but checking your left shoulder before pulling out and not slamming on the brakes in front of someone is a MUST. My good friend had an accident today because of someone stopping straight in front of her. Also make riders behind you aware of oncoming pedestrians, cyclists and runners and ride single file in specified areas.
  5. Bring a change of shoes, walking around on shoes with cleats on the field afterwards is no fun.
  6. Carry a copy of the course map just in case you get lost and a credit card in case you need to purchase something along the way. I passed a Walgreens which I would have popped into and bought a light jacket.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

70.3 miles and cake


Never in my lifetime would I have the knowledge, ability or time to tackle a half Ironman. I can barely cover half marathon distances and my own marathons were somewhat of a disaster, so when my good friend Kelly signed up for her Ironman, I knew she would need support, love and encouragement. This weekend she completed nay CONQUERED 70.3 miles of swim, bike and run in Racine and she did it with a smile. I spent all morning tracking her and I was excited, teary and worried sick that her stomach wouldnt hold up.

I used IronTrac iphone app which needed either Kellys name or her bib number. The app worked really well, I have no idea what the delay was and I did kill my iphone battery through constantly refreshing the app. I posted on Facebook whenever a new result came in and the anticipation was electric!

The tracker actually froze for quite a while and in the mean time Kelly finished - YAY! When the final results came in I forwarded them to her and she replied straight away I was thrilled and teary #soproud

So today, my girls and I headed to Addison to surprise Kelly with a few congratulatory gifts and cake - who doesnt need calories when you've covered 70.3 miles????

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No pain.. no gain

I bring a whole new meaning to the expression no pain..... no gain. I live in chronic foot pain 24/7 and I can either sit back and let it ruin my life or slap it straight across the face and get moving - I chose the latter.

So yesterday during my follow up from Shockwave Therapy I made my foot surgeons day and told him I would be going ahead and having the right foot reconstructed. I know, I know, I said IT WOULD NOT BE HAPPENING, but the moons have aligned and my September date works well in my schedule.

After a few months deliberation, I decided:

  1. Since I was already slowed down from the first surgery, I may aswell get the other foot out of the way.
  2. I feel way more prepared this time around and have 8 weeks to get the house, kids, dog, husband sorted (yes thats the correct order).
  3. My left foot has turned a corner and seems to like therapy. In 8 weeks time I feel sure it can handle crutches.
  4. I have a full race calendar which ends in October, no marathons for this girl.
  5. My dad is available if I need him.
  6. My girls will be in school.
  7. Theres no snow (hopefully although it is Chicago so cant be guarranteed)
  8. Finally next year I wanna move house and I cant do that in a cast!
The only downside is I wont be able to drive, which is totally shit, since I will still need to get to my 3 times a week left foot therapy appointments, my right foot follow up appointments and anything in between. My surgeon said patients miraculously make appointments but he doesnt ask how. I definitely wont be risking left foot driving and Im not convinced I would be insured if I was trying to drive with a cast on. I will have to find out. 

In the mean time Im going to enjoy every second of being active and looking forward to riding the 61 Venus De Miles ride next weekend. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mackinack Island

A month ago we booked our annual vacation. Nick is very busy at work at the moment so we have a very small window of when we can go away and we were very undecided on where to go. Nick wanted to go to the Gulf Coast and I didn’t want to drive that far and leave Funf in the kennels for too long. I don’t know how or why but I stumbled across Mackinac Island on a Google search and instantly fell in love with the pictures of the island.

Today we headed off on our 6 hour road trip. To be honest 6 hours stuck in a car is about as much as I can stand, especially with limited scenery. We were aiming to catch the 3pm ferry but had failed to take into account the one hour time difference and we eventually arrived in Mackinaw City at around 4.30pm. The next scheduled ferry was 5.30pm and the Arnold Cruise staff made our trip across to the island very easy and very efficient. It cost $104 for 4 of us and two bikes to safely cross. The friendly staff tagged and stored our cases, ready to be placed on the ferry, while we headed to Mackinaw City’s Pastie and Cookie store. Delicious, but very hot!!!

We boarded the ferry at 5.30 and took a 20 minute choppy ride across Lake Huron. The first sight of Mackinac is the beautiful coastline, its very breathtaking. We were instantly greeted by a hotel porter who arranged for our bags to be taken from the ferry and transported straight to our hotel. That was a god-send as the girls would have had to have pulled two rather heavy suitcases or pushed our bikes.

We took a very picturesque 10 minute walk down the main street to our hotel on the South east corner of the island, passing hotels, fudge shops, bike rental stores and horse drawn carriage taxis. It seems we have been extremely lucky with the weather, a very warm 76 degrees and no wind. Perfect for long walks with icecream.

We are staying a Mission Point resort, quite a large hotel and we were greeted by British speaking staff at reception. After a rather longer then preferred check in we locked up our bikes in a holding area and headed to our room. (The holding area is just an outside lock up and personally I was petrified of something happening to my bike). We have a small suite with two bedrooms and a bathroom to share, perfect for a family of 4. The only downside was the hotel is very sprawling and the rooms wifi is very intermittent. Not good for blogging.
Once checked in we headed to the pool so that Emma could swim and then onto dinner at the Bistro on the Green. A restaurant located in the middle of a putting green where the tables were only outside – a fair weather restaurant indeed. The restaurants food was tasty and well presented, however, do not head there if you are extremely hungry. The main course portions were the same size as a typical American starter unless you order from the childs menu and then your plate would be topped up with fries. A bottle of the house white started at $28.

We ate dinner and headed back to our room for an early night, its not very often we eat dinner at 9pm. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Grizzly Jack Grand Bear Waterpark Resort

Two months ago I spotted a Groupon deal for a 2 night stay at the Grand Bear Lodge at Starved Rock. $229 seemed very reasonable for 4 of us to stay for a couple of nights to swim and hike.

The main lodge has a waterpark and theres a separate building filled with a snack bar and amusement rides called The Enchantment Forest. It was very easy to walk to or there was a free train which shuttled in between buildings.

We stayed in a basic double queen bed room, which was plenty spacious. The bathroom desperately needed better ventilation though, it was hard to even get dry and dressed after a shower.

The water park looked like it needed an injection of cash with its very basic furniture. The jacuzzi was drained and closed and there were very few floaties for the lazy river. It did have a small wave pool which my girls really enjoyed and life guards were on hand. There is also a small poolside snack bar.

The main lodge is nicely decorated, the staff are very friendly and for an additional $6 each there is minigolf. 

At 7.30pm every evening an animated huntsman and bear narrate a story. Its very cute, but the bear seemed to be broken and didnt move.

One major disappointment though is the breakfast. The buffet breakfast was served between the hours of 8 and 10.45 and cost $6.95 for adults and $4.95 for children under 11years, DRINKS WERE EXTRA! The food was mediocre and I struggled to find anything enjoyable about it. It is definitely not the place to eat if you have any kind of food sensitivity/allergy. That said we chose to cut our two night stay short and left for home in the second afternoon.

There were a lot of rides closed in the amusement arcade and not that much to do for my girls at least. The amusement snack bar food was average and very pricey. All the ziplines/rides were free apart from the lazer tag.


The resort is very fun for much younger kids or teenagers who can hang out on their own. Pack lots of healthy snacks, the snack store in the lobby mainly sells pastries and candy.

Fun place to cool off if you are visiting the starved rock area to hike.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

44 and feeling great

I hadnt planned to bike today, so when my running group planned an impromptu ride I set my alarm and joined them.

We met at Frankfort Grainery and headed towards Western Ave, Park Forest turned around and headed back towards Joliet. After every one left when their 30 miles were up I continued alone for a few more miles until I eventually had to head home for our road trip. I was pleased that I was not as tired as I have been on some of my rides which I put due to a lack of hydration. Heres my Garmin map :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

All shockwaved out

Its 8pm and my foot has almost woken up from its midday numbing and round 3 of shockwave therapy.

Last weeks numbing didnt go well, in fact my foot didnt numb, but the treatment was very tolerable. Ive even noticed some changes and dare I say improvements, as theres some sort of movement of the tendon underneath the outside of my ankle bone - Shockwave 1 - Surgery 0.

Todays numbing was uber successful. Dr Vittori injected directly into my incision scar which made me a little queasy, but it did the trick. 

Twenty minutes later my left foot was sound asleep and he could start the treatment.

I could definitely tell Dr Vittori was asserting more pressure than usual, the pulsing made a slightly painful vibration in my foot.

So now that I have completed all three of my treatments its back to my foot surgeon for the next step of my rehabilitation. Im still attending physical therapy three times a week and my foot's flexibility is improving if not very slowly. I actually left the office and headed straight to therapy for some Graston Therapy while my foot was still numb. 

Im far too impatient and the sooner I get back to running my miles and being badass again the better. :)

Shockwave Therapy Verdict.

Ive had a lot of treatment on my feet, probably too much, but Dr Vittori made this treatment very easy and straightforward. The time spent in the office was just over an hour, once a week for three weeks and I could walk/drive afterwards. Because my foot was numbed the treatments were covered by my insurance but check with the office before going ahead. The patient does not have to avoid putting lotion on their feet before the procedure.

I would definitely have more Shockwave Therapy with Dr Vittori if it was necessary.