Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tri Therapy! Tales of an Aspiring Triathlete!

Nobody warned me that I would need therapy after training for a triathlon! Haha...well, not that kind of therapy, but I'm not sure physical therapy is any less daunting than mental! 

After a few short weeks of Tri training I found myself having some muscle tightness and knee soreness. Most people would just blow this off and keep going (that has always been my mode of operation) but seeing as I've had 5 knee surgeries I think I  have finally learned to "listen to my body." So I told my coach about the pain and she changed my workouts accordingly and recommended I get an injury evaluation from a physical therapist. Being a PT veteran this was not necessarily music to my ears. I have done my fair share of PT and would be fine if our paths never crossed again! But, i guess that's just part of being an athlete and being active. Things break and get worn down. 

I obliged her and got the evaluation and besides stating that I'm a "bio mechanical mess" the news wasn't all that bad! Basically my right (weak side) gluteus minimus and medius aren't firing and are weak. This puts a lot of stress on other parts of my leg like my hamstring, knee and calves, which have been the primary points of contention. The recommendation: 1 month of PT, 2x per week using active release and trigger point therapy. My solution: at the moment I'm not sold on going to the doctor 2x per week, so we have integrated trigger point therapy and rehab exercises into my training routine and I'm hoping this helps. I am supposed to do the PT exercises 2x per day...which is harder than you would think! But ultimately, if it keeps me in the game, is worth it! 

Would love to hear about other people's bouts with therapy, views on Trigger Point, Active Release, etc!  Oh, and I bought some sweet new racing flats that are "green" literally and figuratively! They are super comfy and made 75% from post consumer recycled waste! Pretty awesome! 

Green Silence by Brooks

Silent steps to a Greener future... :)

My VFFs have continued to cause me lots of post-running calf pain so I bought these to switch it up and give my legs more support. Hoping they will be the perfect solution to my knee and calf concerns! Will keep y'all posted! At least they look cool ;) haha!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pool Talk! Tales of an Aspiring Triathlete!

Yesterday marked my second trip to the pool for exercise...ever! After last week's eventful trip I made sure and called to myself to see if the gym had an indoor pool! Funny thing is, it was actually nice enough to swim outside yesterday, lol. 

I show up a little less intimidated than the time before, prepared with some youtube instructional videos still playing in my head, determined to make this happen. I get to the pool and as luck would have it, there was one lane open...just for me! I do my warm up and when I finish there's a man standing at the end of my lane in a speedo asking me if he can share my lane. I was actually kind of shocked at first. I mean, couldn't he tell I sucked and that his life might be in danger if he were to share with me??? So, as politely as I could muster, I informed him that I was a novice and that he probably didn't want to share a lane with ME...and looking around, there were plenty of other lanes he could share. However, I felt obliged by pool etiquette to say "but if you really want to it's ok with me." And apparently that's all the permission he needed. He plops in and says, "just stay on your side of the line". DUH! Didn't he hear what I just said? So I jokingly reply, "Ok, swim at your own risk!" And to that he says he will just avoid me if it comes to that. Fair enough. We swim for a bit with no collisions thank God! And a few laps later a lane frees up and he's out of my space.

Thinking I'm in the clear, I continue on with my workout, and no sooner had I completed 50 meters do I look up and, you guessed it, another man, thankfully not in a speedo, appears at the end of my lane asking to share! "What is it with people?" I think to myself. Why do they insist on sharing with me when there are all these other people to share with?  I'm getting a little agitated, but again try to put on a smile. I then proceed to give him the same spiel as the last guy, but to no avail. It's even worse...this overweight grandpa, who used to swim in college, lol, is set on my lane. When I thoughtfully tell him that I may run into him, he replies, "Well, it's been so long since a pretty girl has run into me that I'm sure I won't mind." EW!!! Really...did he just go there? 

At that point, I just gave a pity laugh and submerged myself into the ice blue water hoping to evade this DOM for a few minutes. After a couple laps he starts giving me pointers, which normally I welcome, but this guy was hard to take serious. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and headed his breathing technique for a few laps, without much success. 

This swim routine was much more on par with my skill level, after the first one about killed me, my coach pulled back a bit. SHOCKER of the day: I actually think that I could start enjoying this whole swimming thing at some point. One thing I became acutely aware of is my need for speed. It's really hard for me to slow down and focus on breathing and technique b/c I'm wired to just get the workout done as fast as possible. But fast doesn't always equal efficient, so that's what I'm going to start working on. 

The swim practices ended with a somewhat pleasant surprise! The Y had a hot tub, sauna and steam room! Eager to get some good muscle relaxation I head for the hot tub right after my swim, only to find gramps already in there soaking it up :( I couldn't really just walk away when I saw him so I proceeded with caution, staying on the perimeter. Then low and behold, Speedo guy comes and sits right next to me. Really?!? All this made it pretty uncomfortable, but the kicker was the cloudy water and hair floating in it! I almost vomited and excused myself from my misery. After the Hot Tub Fail, I locate the sauna, which is actually nice, clean and serene. I tend to avoid steam rooms at all costs because breathing in other people's sweat just doesn't do it for me. 

All in all a successful, yet comical day at the pool. Here's to hoping next time is more swimming and less talking!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tri-ing! Tales of an aspiring Triathlete - Week 1 Done!

Thanks for tuning back in! I did it! I finished week one of Tri training, injury free ;)

I forgot to mention in my first blog the 2 Triathlons I'm training for: The Rookie Tri and The Couples Tri! If you are in the Austin area you should join in the fun!

Glad to have this first week behind me. I'm not gonna lie, it was tough. For starters getting back into the habit of working out 6 days a week wasn't easy. Then there was the soreness that set in on day four and has lingered all week. Thursday I ran the mandated 3 miles on my training routine at the gym because there was snow on the ground!!! It wasn't optimal, but it did allow me to track my pace and seeing as I've been out of the running loop for some time, my just shy of a 10 min mile pace was not what I had hoped for... but it is what it is! I used to run a 8.5 minute mile when I ran half marathons, so getting back to that pace is my personal goal. I'm interested to see how long it takes to get there!

Friday I'm back in the gym for round 2 of strength training. It's not as easy this time around because I'm feeling the effects of the past 4 days of training and my legs are super sore. Imagine being aware of every step when you just walk about normally...not normal, lol. But I figure working through the pain is best and finish the workout. 

Saturday, my calves are on fire. I'm not just "noticing" my steps, but regretting them at this point. Ever since I started running in my Vibram Five Fingers I've had this issue. I know it's because I'm running differently (more on the balls of my feet) but I really had hoped it would start tapering off! If you have any thoughts on this please do share! I endure it because my knee (which is notorious) hasn't hurt at all since I've started wearing them! If you wanna know more on why I wear them read this blog.

My trusty workout gear!

Tomorrow is Sunday...and is my "rest" day. Fitting seeing as it's the Sabbath! However, I really wanna ride b/c it's going to be nice outside again! Maybe I'm already becoming one of those crazy triathletes, mentally anyhow, lol! It is the Superbowl tomorrow, so maybe that will be my athletic endeavor for the day! On to Tri-ing Week 2!!!


Thursday, February 3, 2011


I am currently TRI-ing to become a TRIathlete! One of my goals for 2011 is to break into this competitive sport and actually get good at it. If you had asked me a year ago if I'd ever do a triathlon, I would have said, "heck no!" 

For starters, I had a major knee surgery last year and was out of the running game for a whole year. Secondly, I hate swimming. Not going to sugarcoat my disdain for using a peaceful, serene pool for a torture chamber! For me, pools have always been about relaxing, working on my tan, reading a good book or taking naps. I have always found plenty of other ways to cause myself grief, so there was no need for another. Until...

...I moved to Austin, TX, Tri capitol of the USA! I eagerly got on board with cycling, purchasing my first road bike this year and joining the ranks of my tri friends during the "bike" portion of their workouts. However, the minute they would lace up their shoes or head to the pool I was OUT. Then something strange happened. I got this crazy idea that I should TRI this sport out too. I think I must have gotten caught up in all the excitement of it all and just blurted out that I would do one...and from that moment there was no turning back! 

So, eager to not suck at this new sport, I decided to start training early. A friend had offered to coach me and I gladly accepted. Let's be honest, I need all the help I can get! Plus she finished a half Ironman last year and is training for a full Ironman this year. Let's just say, I'm lucky to get to learn from the best! January rolled around and with it my first Tri training week. But as luck would have it I contracted a nasty virus that left me hacking my way to a bruised rib (I know, don't ask...just google it). Despite this injury I was determined not to stop training and powered through 2 days of workouts before I was literally debilitated by pain. Laughing, coughing, sneezing, even breathing caused great pain. Sigh...this is not how I imagined things.

After consulting Web MD and texting a doc friend of mine, I self-prescribed 2 weeks of non-activity and a pure food detox. Looking back, I'm not quite sure which was harder! 

Finally, after 2 looooong weeks, I'm back in action and ready to become a bona fide triathlete. I immediately gravitated back to my bike, as the 70+ degree weather wooed me outside. Between Sunday and Monday I rode over 60 miles and loved every minute. Then, Tuesday, shows up and my first swim practice is on the schedule, yuck! I seriously, spent more time dreading the workout than actually doing it. I recruited a friend to come swim with me to help ease me into it. Plus, she is a swimmer and could give me pointers. Did I mention that the temperature was in the 40's outside this day??? It wouldn't have been a big deal if the first gym we attempted to go to had had a non-kiddie size indoor pool. Or if the guy working there wouldn't have misinformed us that the 2nd gym he directed us to had an adult size heated indoor pool. But no, we show up and request the pool, and the guy behind the desk laughs. Not understanding what was so funny, he goes on to explain that we aren't the only crazy ones wanting to swim outside today. Hmmm, I think I literally said, FML, without realizing it. Why did this have to be so hard? 

Five minutes later after deciding not to wuss out, I shimmied into my horrific one piece suit and scurried like the ugly duckling to the pool as fast as my feet could carry me. The wind whipped steam off the top of the 83 degree pool like steam rising from a warm latte, except less charming. Jumping in with enthusiasm I said, "Let's make this quick!" The drills were good, but hard. I'm def not in swimming shape, nor do I feel remotely graceful in the water. Hopefully, I'll get the hang of it sooner than later, but for now I'll at least keep the lifeguards entertained, lol! A huge thanks to Christy for bearing the cold with me and to Adri for being willing to take this journey with me! Y'all are the best! 


Strength training today was a breeze, but there's a run on the schedule tomorrow and Austin is calling for unseasonably cold temps. Looks like I'll be spending some QT with the treadmill. Yet another tri to get me to quit. Ain't happenin! Here goes nothing!!!