Two good things happened at the appointment with my sports medicine doctor last week: I’m cleared to run again AND Dr. Holmes gave me this AWESOME t-shirt. His clever wife came up with the slogan.
I wanted to give a shout out to two friends from Nashville, Megan Conner and Mark Buckreis, who will be running their hearts out tomorrow at the Boston Marathon. Mark is a fellow member of the Nashville Triathlon Club and Megan is one of the dearest people to me on the planet. She is running on behalf of the American Liver Foundation in honor of her stepfather, who lost his battle with liver cancer in 2004.
Click here to read the story on the 25th Annual ALF Run For Research. You can apply to be a runner or donate to the cause!
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The 5th annual Alpha Delta Pi-athlon was a short but sweet race held on March 24th in the cold rain in Murfreesboro, TN. (300m/16k/5k) On any other day, I would have enjoyed a cold, rainy Sunday morning. Those mornings are perfect for grabbing coffee and catching up with a good book or magazine that I get too busy to read during the week. This particular morning, however, I found myself, standing outside in the drizzle, later full on rain, with blue goose-bumped skin trying to quell the inner monologue that went something like this:
Me: Turn the car around. Go home.
Me: No, I’ve trained and I’m going to do this.
Me: It’s in the 40’s and raining, idiot, turn this train around and go home.
Me: I can do it. They give out medals at the end. I want one!
Me: I’ll buy you one online, now get in the car and go home.
I came close to following up on the advice given me by the negative voice in my head, but decided instead to treat it like an episode of Survivor and muddle through the best I could. People climb mountains and boat solo around the world so I figured I could make this happen.
The swim went by super fast. I came within a millimeter of getting kicked in the face, but managed to avoid that. I know the day will come in which that will probably happen, but I didn’t need to add insult to the list of imaginary injuries I had compiled while inwardly whining about the weather. Running out of the MTSU swim complex in a wet tri suit wasn’t great and I wondered if the spectators were inspired by us or if they were thinking we definitely drank the Kool-Aid somewhere along the way and should maybe take up a different hobby.
T1 took me a bit of time. Having watched the weather forecast closely the previous week, I hit the cold-weather clearance sale at Sun & Ski on Saturday for gloves and a jacket to throw on for the bike ride. I ended up leaving the gloves behind, not because I’m some sort of bad ass who can bike in the cold rain without them, but because I couldn’t get them onto my wet hands and ended up cursing and throwing them after struggling for an entire minute to get one only halfway on. The rain really settled in during the bike portion of my race. Rain came in every direction. It fell from the sky. It spat sideways at us from the cars (the roads were not closed for the race) and it shot up from the tires, which were kicking up water and dirt. My entire body was soaked and my feet went numb at some point during bike, but I actually had fun and went as all out as I could, safely, given the poor road conditions.
About halfway through the course, I saw a woman with a coffee cup in hand watching the racers from her front porch. I could see smoke coming from the chimney of her house and it did cross my mind that having coffee and a chat by her fireplace may be more fun than what I was doing, but my inner monologue had taken on a more positive tone, so I didn’t stop to bum some coffee and warmth. My favorite part of the bike was the chachki cemetery we passed along the course. I’d never seen anything like it and wished that I had a camera to document the two acres (approx.) of strategically placed fake flowers, lawn gnomes, wheelbarrows and farm equipment turned art pieces. Amazing.
T2 took me about a 3rd of the time T1 did. I just wanted to be out of the weather at that point. I can honestly say that I couldn’t feel my feet for the first third of the run. The rain had stopped at this point, but it was hard to avoid the puddles of water on the course. I just wanted to finish. I was cold, wet and pretty hungry so I cruised across the finish line, thankful to have made it through the first race of the year. My time was 1:24. I figure that my time will improve in the future with better conditions. Happy Tri-ing!
“The path not taken will lead you nowhere.” -Me to Myself
I’m almost a month back into my training and today, after a painless 1200-meter swim last night at the Y, feel GREAT! Can I get an AMEN for heated pools? It just doesn’t seem right to walk out from a swim to a flurry of snowflakes. On March 5th. In the South. Mother Nature seems a bit addled. Bless her heart.
Now that, like Stella, I’ve gotten my groove back, there are a few things that I’d forgotten over the past four months that I would like to point out:
Number 1: The laundry. Training really adds to the laundry pile in a way that I had forgotten about. The workout clothes, the swimsuits, the towels, the bike shorts, the skanky socks. Bigger picture: So worth it. I don’t know if it’s the manual labor involved in laundering all of these items or the fact that I’m a month into training that has propelled my pants into a state of fitting better.
Number 2: Accountability. Being back with Coach Caroline has snapped me back to attention. There is a quote that I like by Pamela Theresa Loerstcher that promises a clarity and vision about life by simply knowing oneself. “Know thyself and all will be revealed,” she says. I have a long way to go in the journey of self-discovery, but I know myself well enough to confirm that having a coach and a training plan that requires me to log the details of my workouts is the level of accountability that I need to accomplish my triathlon goals. Bigger Picture: If asked, my recommendation will always be, especially for the newbie’s, to find a coach to work with one-on-one or with or one who offers a group-training program. So worth it!
Number 3: Small goals are ok. Last fall at my first meeting of the Nashville Triathlon Club as a board member, I remember distinctly feeling like an utter charlatan. The board members are all seasoned athletes with amazing race resumes. Then there’s me. At my first meeting I remember a discussion between some of the other members regarding the use of salt sticks in a long race. Thankfully the universe (God) slapped his hand over my mouth before I blurted out my first thought, “I love Pixie Stix!” Ugh.
I left the first meeting feeling like I really didn’t belong, but after some time and getting to know the other members a bit better, I was better able to remind myself that everyone was a beginner at one time or another. It’s ok if my first and second races of 2013 are super sprints. Who says I have to be an Ironman to call myself a triathlete? I understand that sentiment may induce palpitations in the purist heart, but my goals are steadily increasing and who knows what races I will be able to accomplish this year! Bigger Picture: For some people in the world, finding a place to sleep at night and food to eat are the goals of the day. Being able to afford the luxury of competing in an expensive, time-consuming sport is ultimately exactly what I characterized it as: a luxury.
Number 4: Man I forgot how an hour on the bike kills the sit bones. Ouch. Bigger Picture: My sore behind will look so much better in bike shorts because of my training.
Number 5: I still look like a swimmer in distress when attempting flip turns. Bigger Picture: I still look like a swimmer in distress when attempting flip turns.
Number 6: It’s not fun when the shower gel explodes in your gym bag. Bigger Picture: Not sure there is one, but if pressed, I would say it was a good and much-needed opportunity to clean and organize my gym bag.
Number 7: Nudity in the locker room will always and forever skeeve me out. Bigger Picture: None, zero, zilch, zip up your pants fellow YMCA members.
There are 18 days left until my first race of the year! I’m excited, motivated and missing the bottom half of my tri suit. Must find the missing pieces.
On a final note, I wanted to share an article that I found called “Tips For Getting Motivated to Run,” written by Christine Luff in the running and jogging section of About.com. The title suggests that this is about running, but insert whatever training goal is looming out in front of you and put these steps into action. I was already putting some of these into practice and the ones I wasn’t, I’ m going to give a whirl, especially the “cut yourself some slack” part. Here are the steps:
For the real explanations of the suggestions on the list, click here to read the article.
“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” -Oprah Winfrey
The temperature was in the 50′s on Sunday, so I took the workout outside. A pain-free run/walk through the 12 South District in Nashville. Beautiful!
Note: To my left in this picture, out of range of my iPhone camera is Mafiaoza’s, home of the best gluten-free pizza in Nashville. Too bad I had no money with me. Who’s afraid to run through Nashville with a pizza box in hand? Not me.
Earlier this year, I signed myself up to join the Nashville Triathlon Club. I thought it would be good for me to take part in their group training events, specifically the group swims. A few months later and I’m helping them with their website and blogging for them! If you would have looked into your crystal ball and told me that I would be not only a member of a tri club, but also be acting as their official blogger, I would have suggested you take a trip to your local therapist to get checked out.
I am loving getting to know the members of the club and am motivated and inspired by being a part of the growing triathlon community in Nashville. Yesterday I posted a blog on the NTC website in a section that I started writing called the Member Spotlight. I want to share that post with all of you, because it is SERIOUSLY INSPIRING. NTC board member, Nick Nicholson finished the IUTA Word Cup Race Ultra Triathlon in Lake Anna, Virginia in October. He completed the 421.8 mile race in 52 hours. Excuse me, what? Yes, that makes him a triple Ironman! He was one of thirty-five triathletes from 8 countries around the world who competed in this race. I will stick to sprints for now and let the Nicks of the world tackle the ultra triathlons. Click the link below to read a bit of his story:
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” -Gloria Steinem
Update: We got an e-mail confirming that the Santa Rosa Triathlon directors got the overnighted fees and applications that were required to make the change to a relay team. Yay!
It’s been a little odd to look at my training program and not see any runs on there. My coach designed this week’s workouts to reflect my inability to run or to bike without the air cast on. I set up the trainer in front of the tv and have been getting my workouts there instead of outside. I much prefer biking outside, but I think I would feel like a bit of a moron biking through Nashville with an air cast on my leg. Swimming is as usual.
This morning I went to my physical therapist and then straight over to the YMCA that I used to go before moving to a different part of town. My membership allows me to go to any Y in the Nashville area. Love that. Perry, my PT, did some amazing work on my back, left leg (my only good one) and hips. Just when you think your body can’t possible snap, crackle and pop any more, POW! I apparently have the flexibility of a pretzel. My alignment is seeing a bit of improvement. And since that seems to be the root of all my issues, it’s positive news.
So, about the Maryland Farms YMCA. I was mid-lap when I heard the most outrageously booming loud salsa music playing in the pool area. I mean loud. If you’ve read any of my old posts, you know that it made my day, realizing that the Silver Sneakers were having a water salsa dancing class in the pool. The instructor was outside of the pool standing near the edge demonstrating all of the dances. I stopped at the end of my lane, had my one moment of shaking it under water, then finished my swim. Now that I have a bum leg I have an excuse to weasel my way into the Silver Sneakers classes and not be regarded as a total interloper. Life is good.
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” -Walt Disney
Until what, I’m not sure. Until this past Monday, I thought a “stress reaction” meant diving head first into a cake during hard times, or having an uncharacteristic moment of road rage after being cut off by a particularly bone-headed driver. Bad hair day? Throw a brush across the room. Forgot the one thing you went to the grocery store for? Curse the Kroger for not putting the milk in a more obvious location.
Apparently parts of the body can have hissy fits and stress reactions of their own and in this case, my tibia is pretty darn pissed off at me for running on concrete and, most likely, not stretching enough. In fact, it’s more than likely that my tibia is down there in my leg giving me the bird.
Why? Last week I wrote a post about a trip to the doctor and an MRI I had scheduled as a result of that visit. So how did the MRI turn out? Not great. I was going to cancel the MRI and I honestly thought it was going to be a waste of my time, but a little nagging voice somewhere in my gut said to go. It’s a good thing I listened. I suppose I’ve been a run or three away from a nice little stress fracture as the bulge in my tibia is the result of swelling and fluid in the actual bone marrow. Ewww! There is also fluid building up on the outside of the bone and to top it off, shin splints. The doctor I’m seeing for this issue, one of the best in Nashville, dealt me a one-two-three punch on Monday. “You’re bone is injured.” POW! “No running for six to twelve weeks.” POW, POW! “Here’s an air cast I want you to wear for the foreseeable future.” POW, POW, POW!
Obviously, my first question was, “Can I still do the triathlon?” His answer, “Um, no.” SERIOUSLY? Firstly, I’m not a cryer. As I’ve said in posts past, I only cry over the Olympics and stories relating to dogs and our military. So when I started crying in front of the doctor, the weight of my disappointment was startlingly heavy. Thankfully, I simmered myself down and was able to cap off the waterworks. Secondly, I was able to maintain perspective and reminded myself of the other races out there and the bigger problems in the world. I understand the moral of my own story, but the yin to that yang is that I’ve worked hard and have been so excited for the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. I’m bummed, but it’s ok. I have a plan.
My first thought while driving home from the Dr.’s office and before calling my coach to break the bad news was that I could try to put a last-minute relay team together and just do the swim. Then I thought, no. Maybe this is a sign that I’m not supposed to do the race? Is it really that important? Just last week we had a family member still on life support after sustaining critical injuries while doing a triathlon and I was crying about having to wait a few months to compete in one. Perspective. I’ll do what the doctor says, be thankful that I didn’t actually fracture my leg and continue to work towards my goals. Do the next right thing.
I’ll be meeting my coach for coffee soon to discuss my next step (I’m still swimming and biking on my trainer) and what race I will train for next, once my leg is all healed up. In the meantime, I’m waiting to hear the SRIT race director’s response to an e-mail my brother-in-law sent in regards to allowing a last-minute relay team entry. He and my sister, who are signed up in their age group, are willing to bow out and do a relay so that I don’t have to stand on the sidelines. I had no idea he was trying to make that happen for me until I read the e-mail today. The waterworks went off again. I am blessed to have family like that.
Next: Grant’s Gang, a fund-raising effort for the widow and children of Gary Grant, an amazing human and fellow triathlete.
(Photo Source: My co-writer for the day, Maddie, 9-19-2012)
No, I don’t mean the Geek Squad type of support. I mean the kind of support that will help me figure out what the heck causes me pain in my hip, leg and lower back on what is becoming a daily basis. Piriformis? IT? I wish I knew! Thankfully I’m heading over to Pro Motion Physical Therapy in Brentwood, TN on Tuesday to see a PT, who was recommended to me by my coach and a marathoner friend who has had some major issues this year. More to come…
My run today was sort of a bust in that it was two-thirds running and one-third power walking. I was a bit tired after getting home late from doing a show, but the weather was amazing and perfect for running outside at the Richland Creek Greenway near my house. I have to squeeze in a functional strength workout that I missed earlier this week and then I will be done. I am wondering, though, if I can count packing my house and moving heavy boxes as a functional strength workout. Bend, squat, lift that box of books! I say yes. I’ll do anything to get out of doing planking exercises. You wanna get state secrets out of me? Force me into a plank position and in five seconds I’ll be singing like a bird.
So about that show I did last night. I sang backgrounds for a friend and fellow songwriter. I love both writing and singing with her. Why? Because she’s pretty darn amazing, that’s why. Check her out:
(Luisa, Robin and some baby grapes.)
(Put the grapes down, girl. Seriously.)
“Just go. Getting out the door is always the hardest part.” -Unknown
“The 30-day countdown to the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon begins! Yesterday was my much-needed rest day for the week. I did nothing in the physical activity department except buy some new fall boots. Fall boot buying as a workout? Yes. If you’ve ever pulled twenty pairs of boots on and off of your feet in a shoe store, you get it. My other big purchase for the day? A house. We closed on a new house yesterday and in 9 days, will be moving our entire household (2 adults, 2 beagles) for the second time in six months. Thankfully, we left about a third of the boxes unpacked during the last round, so although I do not relish the idea of a major move three weeks before my first ‘official’ triathlon, I’m hoping that I will come across no big-time hitches. Hey, did anyone see where I packed my bike?
Today’s workout: I will be out on my bike here shortly getting in an endurance ride with pick-ups, or what the Swedish lovingly refer to as a fartlek training session. I love the Swedes. They’re blonde, pretty and have funny names for things. I had no idea what this word meant earlier this year when I started immersing myself in all things triathlon, but in my effort to learn more about this subject I came across a few articles about how to do fartlek training. They are worth a click and a read.
*This one made me feel better about my incessant need to make fartlek jokes and my occasionally questionable maturity level.
*This article is simple and to the point.
“Fartlek and Interval Training: How To Run Faster For Triathlons” by Davey and Jess @ www.twotri.com
*This post is funny and full of information and hilarious graphics.
(Photo Source: Looking out through the front door of my new house last night at a major thunderstorm during the walk-through. )