Sunday, February 18, 2007

The inscrutable Mr. Glass

Yesterday was the day that I was SUPPOSED to run the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon. That’s right, supposed to…I was also SUPPOSED to be writing out my ultra cool, blow-by-blow race report about this really cool event. Yesterday had to be the most perfect weather in the history of the Quad. We had a mid week snow storm that dumped a big fresh load of powder and yesterday was sunny, dry and warm.

What was I doing instead of the Quad you ask? Riding my bike and thinking how good I felt and doubting my decision to skip the Quad. Two weeks ago when I had that bike wreck during the brevet I also messed up my left leg. I’ve done one very painful 6.5 mile run, one fairly painful 14.5 mile run and one somewhat uncomfortable 5K since that wreck. Based on these runs I am convinced that I have once again fractured something in my hip joint area whether it’s part of my pelvis or part of my femur I don’t know but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I HATE having low bone density. I feel like glass.

I have an appointment with my family doc this week and I decided to stop running until I know something for sure, which means x-rays. I’ll probably ask for x-rays of my ribs too. About three weeks ago I had another bike wreck and the pain in my ribs has ceased being breathtaking only about a week ago. This is not the first time the rib thing has happened either. I suspect that if my ribs are x-rayed they will have lines of calcification all over them. On a positive note I have discovered that the stupid, extra heavy lunch pail that I have been strapping to the back of my bike is what has been causing me to wreck so that monstrosity is now gone.

So, I can’t run too hard and I can’t wreck on a bike. If I do either of these things, as far as I can tell, I am 100% guaranteed to fracture some bone somewhere. The funny thing is I’m developing a more comfortable relationship with my fragile bones and physical pain than I ever did with the single greatest motivating factor that keeps me going, my weight.

I’m not going to beat this into the ground or try and garner sympathy with some dark tale of my childhood pain; suffice it to say broken bones are a cake walk; the disappointment of missing a race or two is small potatoes…I know some, or even many, of you understand completely.

So, I guess, here’s to me, the inscrutable Mr. Glass…to many I’m now far more “scrutable.” In place of the Quad I did 108 miles on the bike Saturday and 3100 meters in the pool this morning.

I still expect a scattering of smaller events between now and April 15th but my next major event is still Ironman Arizona, which, of course, is April 15th. I will try and show up healthy but show I will, even if I have to crawl. Why, you ask, do I continue to pursue the Ironman dream, the ultra distance athlete lifestyle, when I am so obviously made of glass…why not switch over to exclusively racing sprints and Olympics, 5 and 10Ks, 25 mile road races?

Because I know that even some glass is metal. Amorphous metals or metallic glasses specifically. These curious substances have tremendous strength but have the unfortunate property of failing at room temperatures and their impending failure is never evident.

And still, they have their place in the world and this is my place in the world and life goes on…

Fortitudine Vincimus! Through endurance we conquer!


  1. I love you Baboo. Luckily I've lost enough weight so that I can't break you. Maybe if you keep break all the most stressed areas, eventually they'll be all calcified and too tough to break, anyway that's my theory, any medical people out there got any ideas about that plan?

  2. This crap is hard enough without worrying about breaking something. I'm sure Geekgirl will try, even if she says she can't....

  3. Sorry to hear about your situation! I have no doubt you will conquer! I look forward to tracking you online April 15th!

  4. Sorry to hear about your bike mishaps. I hope the bike is okay :).

    You are really one tough "outlaw".

    I hear ya, there is something about this ultra-distance that draws us in. GlassMan to IronMan, that sounds pretty cool.

  5. Nice post - a good mix of physics and philosophy - can we call this alchemy at it's finest ;-)

    Good luck on the 15th. Maybe I'll join you next year.

  6. well, I missed you at the Quad. But. There is always next year - which is the 25th annual and that much more significant. By then I'll be able to tell you all about it and you'll be that much better prepared.

    Thank you for illustrating your fears - I share them. I'm always afraid that I'll have to stop, and worry about how much that would suck. Because I don't wanna.

    Live to train another day.

  7. Glass can also transform and endure.

    Roman glass and Egyptian faience prove that glass can remain intact long after one might thought possible ...