Tag Archives: injury

Just Going With It

After spending last week recovering from the Silicon Valley Long Course Triathlon, I’m supposed to resume my training today.  I’m suppose to start training for Ironman Lake Tahoe.  Last night I eagerly packed my swim gear, bike shoes and cycling clothes.  Last night I placed a couple GU Energy gels and water bottles in my gym bag. Last night I prepared my chocolate milk, my recovery drink.

When my alarm went off at 4:30 am today I woke up with my left leg feeling pretty bad.  It’s been a little tight all weekend.  But I’ve been spending some time on the foam roller and tennis ball.  So I tried to ignore the discomfort as I got out of bed, put on my swimsuit, pulled my hair back and brushed my teeth.  I even made it out the door with MLH.  But as much as I wanted to I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore.  After a brief, quiet exchange with MLH, we both decided it would be best for me to take it easy for one more day. I would also schedule an appointment with my PT.  (Side note: I finally found an awesome PT/chiropractor!)

It should be no surprise that I am pretty bummed about this.  I’m so looking forward to resuming my training.  I can’t wait to start my two-a-days.  I’m really excited to start this next chapter: becoming an Ironman.  This change in my schedule takes away from this.  But as I opened my front door to reenter, put down my gym and swim bags, and changed into non-workout clothes, I thought…one (more) day or even two (more) days off isn’t that bad and may even be a good idea (given that I took just one week to recover)…it’s better that this happen now when I’m about five months away from my A race…getting all worked-up over this (especially at 4:46 am on a Monday morning) is not going to help the situation at all…look at the pros who deal with injuries and continue to have amazing careers…don’t fight it, just go with it…this is part of the journey….

 

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A PT! A Big Void! And Hot Yoga!

Since late August, I’ve been struggling with an issue in my left leg. The issue came and went and came and went and so on and so on. It didn’t get worse but it wasn’t getting better either. (Oh yes, I do realize training in Tahoe probably wasn’t my smartest move. But honestly, I felt good for most of that weekend. Only during my last workout, the run, did I start experiencing discomfort and when I did I stopped. I know, I know, I probably should have shut it down before that weekend.) Perhaps I should have done what several professional athletes do at the end of their seasons – absolutely nothing. They take a complete break. Instead I tried to nurse my injury by easing up, increasing the icing, stretching more, getting a massage and avoiding lower body strength training. But none of this seemed to make the issue truly go away. So two weeks ago I saw a physical therapist (PT). (Side note: Seeing a PT is a big deal for me. At some point I’ll write more about this. For now I’ll just say it was difficult calling to make the appointment, sitting there with the PT as he tried to diagnose me and then talking to him about what I need to do next.) After a week of following the PT’s instructions and feeling no change, I decided to take a break from working out.

It’s been a week now and I’m struggling quite a bit; I feel off. I can’t describe how much I miss exercising, going to the gym, sweating, pushing myself, increasing my heart rate and having my special time with Noah. Talk about a void! It’s more than a void!

So this morning I decided to take my gym’s hot yoga class. The minute I walked into the locker room I felt better. And just five minutes into class I felt great! Going through the poses felt like numerous breaths of fresh air. We’ll see if the stretching, mild strengthening and loosening up help address the issue in my left leg. I know it’s already helped the rest of me.

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One Week to Go, One Week to Get Psyched!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been increasingly anxious about Hawaii.  I keep thinking, “I hope I can finish!”  This race does have cut off times for each stage:  1 hour 15 minutes after the start for the swim, 5 hours 30 minutes after the start for the bike and 8 hours 30 minutes to finish.  I’ve also begun to worry about my nutrition.  While I’ve been able to figure out what I need to consume for each stage while training, I’ve yet to put it all together.  Then reading about Lance Armstrong‘s struggle with race day nutrition reinforced my own concerns.  (Yes, I know, comparing myself to him is a little absurd.  He and I are in very different categories – actually completely different worlds!  He’s a seven time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor who this year returned to triathlons and in fact came in first place last week at Ironman 70.3 Florida, and I’m just an age grouper and bereaved mother who is hoping to simply finish her first Half Ironman.)  Oh and my left knee is still giving me issues every now and then.

Nevertheless, one week from today surrounded by 1,600 fellow triathletes (including Lance, Chris Lieto and other amazing professional athletes), I’ll be at Hapuna Beach State Park on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island in my tri-suit with goggles and swim cap on and body marked.  One week from today I’ll swim 1.2 miles, ride 56 miles and run another 13.1.  One week from today I’ll find out what 19 weeks of the most serious, structured and hard core training I’ve every gone through will do.  One week from today I’ll have another opportunity to honor Noah.

So starting with this morning’s training session I made a point to shift gears and focus on getting myself psyched.  After all, I’ve followed Pete’s training program.  And while next Saturday’s race will be my first 70.3 distance, I do have seven successful triathlons under my belt already.  And I did qualify for USAT 2012 Age Group National Championships.

As I prepared for this morning’s workout I pushed all negative/anxious thoughts out of my mind.  This worked!  During my two-hour ride I actually found myself dancing (as much as one can while on a bike – yes I’m sure I looked pretty funny) to some of the songs on my iPod.  I had to do a 10 minute 80%+ endurance effort and boy it was hard.  But I kept embracing this challenge more and more; digging deeper and deeper.  Towards the end of my ride I even found myself smiling a bit.  Believe me I did work very hard for the entire time.  With the exception of my 10 minute drill (which as mentioned before was at the 80%+ level), I stayed at the high end of my endurance level throughout the ride.  And I finished my session with a strong 20 minute run afterwards.

To continue psyching myself up this week, I’ve decided to think of all of the positives such as:

  • I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.  I recently hit a milestone.  On the bike I noticed it’s now taking me an additional 20-30 minutes to get my heart rate up to my endurance level — a sign that my body is getting into better shape.  (Also a sign that I need to increase my effort level!)
  • I’m back in CA.
  • I’m racing in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
  • I have the support of wonderful friends.
  • According to my grief counselor I’ve been making good progress.
  • I have MLH.
  • And of course there’s Noah.
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First Outside Run Since I Injured the Ankle

Yesterday my gym held a private event so I couldn’t workout there. I had to run outside. I was a bit nervous because the last time I ran outside was on December 25th when I sprained my ankle. Interestingly for the December 25th run, MLH and I planned to run eight miles. Yesterday’s plan called for an eight mile run as well.

Washington, D.C. has been experiencing actual winter weather over the past few days. And yesterday felt like a true winter with a low during the day of something like 24 degrees and a high of 34 (excluding the wind chill factor). And it was quite windy. I decided to run around 2 pm which is not my ideal time to workout. I prefer to train in the morning but I wasn’t about to spend 75 minutes or so in 24 degree weather. From 2-4 pm the temperature was as warm as it would get. MLH planned to run as well but he had to run 12 miles yesterday. So we started out together and then I turned around at mile four.

During the first half of my run, I was a little cautious. I constantly looked behind me for cyclists and other runners who may pass me. The volume on my iPod was just loud enough for me to recognize the song. I didn’t want to miss any sounds or warnings. And I didn’t run as fast as I should have because I picked a pace that would ensure stability with each step. Also, since running outside is different from running in a climate controlled room on a steady treadmill, I wasn’t sure how difficult this run would be. So I didn’t really push myself for a bit.

After my initial warm up I was still a little cold, especially where I wasn’t able to fully cover up such as parts of my neck and slivers of my ankles, (the gap between my running pants and socks). Also, although I wore gloves, my fingers never felt truly warm. At one point for a couple of minutes I thought about the differences among body temperature, climate controlled rooms and outdoor temperature. I thought about Noah and all of the temperature variables with which he dealt. During surgery and other procedures his body temperature was lowered. During the first few days of his life the nurses kept him warm with a heating device which was positioned above him. Most of the time he wore a hat to keep his head warm. These unexpected thoughts were a pleasant surprise. I’m still amazed at and grateful for how much Noah has and continues to impact my life.

At my halfway point I turned around while MLH continued for another two miles before his turn-around. At this point I felt really good. By the end of the first four miles, I became less concerned about having another accident and more interested in pushing myself. I felt very strong both on the cardio front and physically. I began picking up my pace and focusing on widening my gait. During the last 1.5 miles my left leg started to tighten a little. Once again I pushed through the discomfort. (I did spend a good deal of time stretching, using the foam roller and stick and icing both legs last night.) I completed my run and felt great afterwards. There’s something satisfying about training outside during the winter. You push yourself and feel as though the sweat and warmth from your body are signaling to the cold that you can take the brutal weather and then some.

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Time = Training

The concept of time bewilders me.  Before Noah my sense of time was pretty simple:  60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, 52 weeks in a year. I used specific times and dates to structure my days and help plan for the future.  I was intrigued with much more sophisticated concepts of time from shows like Lost or Star Trek (2009 version).  (I’m not a sci-fi fan nor even close to calling myself a physicist, so apologies to those who know more about the concept of time than I do.  I’m sure what I’m writing here is very rudimentary.)

On December 9, 2010 my simplistic view of time changed.  My world no longer consisted of 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours or even weekdays versus weekends.  Time consisted of pumping breast milk, hospital rounds, nurse shift changes, medical team meetings, Noah’s procedures and surgeries, feeding Abigail and Madeleine (my cats), Noah and me video chatting with MLH, and some sleep.  I had moments when time flew by.  I’d return to Noah’s bed after pumping and then after what seemed like just a few minutes, the next thing I knew it’s time to pump again!  Then there were moments when the world moved in slow motion such as when Noah went into cardiac arrest.

Then on January 10, 2011 my paradigm completely turned on its head.  The night MLH and I left Noah at the hospital for the last time, the schedule I lived by for the past 32 days no longer existed.   My world came to halt; I felt like time stopped.  It was taken over by the need to process — I should say try to process — the fact that after almost five months of planning, advocating, caring, loving, and praying for Noah, I lost him.  It was overwhelmed with all of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual reactions forcing themselves on me.  This was not the case for everybody else, though.  The world everybody else lived in continued to follow the Gregorian calendar.  Their lives continued to move along.  They celebrated birthdays, weddings, promotions and other milestones.  They recognized holidays.  Their children ended the school year, began summer and then started a new school year.  And they had babies.

I don’t know exactly when my world began to move again.  I do know that once I began training for Nation’s, I returned to a more familiar concept of time to instill some structure in my life.  I created a training plan which had me focused on specific workouts for a certain number of minutes or hours each day of the week and building mileage, strength and endurance over 12 weeks.  I was more cognizant of days passing, and I could feel myself becoming stronger.

I also know that after completing Nation’s my world lost some of the stability it gained from the previous few months.

When I actually pause to think about the fact that it’s been just over a year since Noah passed away and 17 months since we learned of his diagnosis (Heterotaxy Syndrome), I’m dumbfounded.  My sense of time seems to have three conflicting dimensions:  1. MLH and I’ve been through so — dare I say “really too?” — much during this period, 2. in some ways it feels like Noah’s birth, our time in the CICU and his passing away happened just last month and 3.  I feel as though my world is still on hold.

Ever since I was given the green light to workout again, I’ve been exercising to build a solid base and strengthen my injured ankle.  And although I’ve not officially begun training for my upcoming races yet, my focus on completing a solid daily workout has helped.  Training gives me a sense of order which I desperately need.  It helps me stay in touch with the concept of time by which the rest of the world lives.

My time paradigm now consists of 5.5 months or 19 weeks and two days to prepare to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles.  With each day, each workout session,  my world moves closer to Hawaii.

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