Sunday, December 4, 2016

Undertraining

I'm so busy you guys! Just kidding, I don't purposefully use that excuse because isn't everyone?


I actually steer clear of the writing of the blog posts due to my defense mechanism: avoidance. It mostly reminds me of my injuries, lost abilities, and things I only wish I could write about.

There are dozens of great kid pictures
to post for the grandparents to check out, many stories of the little ones buried in my brain crevices to write down. Kids are so cute and funny! And time consuming? Yes. But cute and funny first.



Consuming the majority of my limited computer time these days is USA Triathlon and its biennial recertification requirements. I don't need to do all that much, but I do manage to cram it all into the last few weeks of alternate years. Of course since this is the area I have chosen to study in my free time since grad school, I enjoy learning more, but time is at a premium. The main thing I have gotten from my study so far is this: keep your elbows high under water. Just do it. (Credit: Sheila Taormina's book, Call the Suit. Totally worthwhile read.)



As far as my pitiful undertraining efforts are going, I was much less optimistic just a few weeks ago. I am having more hip pain, or back pain; who knows? because it is all quite continuous these days. After a couple of nerve blocks plus some steroids, I went in for a really wonderful nap in the anesthesiologist's office, but they woke me up to ask where I felt the tingling. It was in my hamstrings and glutes at the time, which I surprisingly remember. He singed a few nerves back there from L3-S1 and sent me home to wait 3 weeks to feel better. It took 3 weeks to feel much difference, but I *think* it is slightly less painful after 4.

My three sticks in the back. No wonder the spinal erector muscles were sore. They got a good needling.

After several weeks of 2x3 mile runs, then a 4 or 5 miler thrown in here and there, I went out and ran a flat 6 miles. Limping the next day from pain in the groin and hip flexors made me take off 2 weeks from running and get addicted to a new show while on the trainer: Dexter. Why did nobody tell me to watch this before? I can pretend I like riding the trainer now.

I'm turning 40 in a couple months and I don't see any PRs in the future. I'd get into some other sport, like weight lifting, but I really can't squat to parallel without my hip popping and eventually pestering me. I learned this by picking up toys endlessly one day. I suppose I could swim with my newfound technique, but it can be so hard to get into water when it's cold!

I haven't quite convinced myself that I'll never get back into racing or being at least closer to my former speed, but I am slowly accepting that few people actually get it back after this surgery. More than once I have been told that I am just getting older and this is what happens to older bodies. And some days I may lose a little more motivation because of that, even though I know 39 is not too old to be fast. Why couldn't I have been one of the moms who have this amazing postpartum fitness? But enough crying in my soup. I can still do a lot of things. Like hike with my big kid.





Since it has been no less than 2 months since my last post, we go from the beach to Christmas. In between I spectated at Ironman Louisville and watched my three amazing athletes Ironman very successfully. It was such a motivating day, it almost made me sign up. So I put Jeremy on it, and he's racing Chattanooga next year. Living vicariously again.


Thanksgiving was full of family and sisters who love me. Actually we just seemed to always pose as though I was either dying or worthy of congratulations, so of course we made fun of ourselves.



We had an extra little furry being in the house, but this one sat contentedly in laps while squeaking a cute little tune and driving the cats insane. Meet Princess Brownie Julia. Now we apparently need a guinea pig.

 

We still love you most, Bear. For your patience, foremost.

 

Thanksgiving week turned out to be beautiful. For as much as I do not like fall and it's rainy, cold, impending winter self, we do have a pretty nice view from our upstairs back deck that I have appreciated more than usual this year (since it has been unusually warm).

   

And this little one has LOVED being outside regardless of weather conditions. 

   


Now onto Christmas season we go. Hunter is our master decorator this year, having arranged the hickory nuts on the hutch with the greenery,


 and single-handedly placing every ornament on this tree by himself. I don't want to brag, but y'all, he is good! He got a tall bar chair out and climbed right up to work.


He even made ornaments himself. I love the crayon filler. It's so him. And me. Crafting out of craft supplies.

The cats and baby have been loving the tree. And I love this picture for Josie's face, which shows that she is not being overly gentle with bear (squeeeeeezing him no doubt), and I also love it for the blue painter's tape, which is obviously holding the paper snowflake ornament on the tree.
 
 

A big Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Single 2016 Race Report

How it became the end of September without so much as a photo posted from our August trip to Seaside, I don't know. The beach was hot, sunny, and beautiful, the house perfectly located, and the company incredible. We dug, ran, swam, splashed, jumped, ate, lounged, played, and relaxed.









After arriving home and getting back into all-things-school again, Hunter decided it really was not for him, and it got more difficult (for me) every day. The turning point came when I was squatting by his classroom door consoling and trying to convince him to go in, balancing on my toes and nursing a hungry baby, and being interrupted by the assistant principal who asked if she could help take him in his classroom. Um, no? I was a little confused until I realized that she did not want me nursing there. She was lucky my mind was attending to more important things and that her boss called to apologize to me later. We are back to full-time unschooling, without the curriculum. Except not by my choice. We have never let anyone cry it out around here, and beginning school was not the time to break that rule. So. Not much time for mommy to get training plans and blog writing done. Then there's that pesky housework and cooking gig, which I honestly don't mind so much.

Last we talked, I had been to the pain clinic with all the other senior citizens to see what could be done with my back. After our vacay I went in for a little steroid injection in the L5-S1 facet joint. It was guided by x-ray, and I have a great picture of just how awful it looks compared to the left side; it garnered comments from the anesthesiologist about how we knew this was indeed the right spot. The numbing meds injected just prior to the steroid took my pain completely away immediately, to my great relief. Too bad the steroid didn't completely take care of it long term...

Since I had so much less pain, I had been riding 45 minutes on the trainer like 4 days a week, swimming twice a month, AND I ran 2 miles in 15 mins (no, really!) one day, I decided that I should partake in the local sprint triathlon. This was the only race I did last year, and the last race I did 2 years ago. It has been warm enough that of course no wetsuits were allowed, so without my life-saving neoprene, I decided to start very wide with the first timers. I panic especially bad when people whack me in the head, and avoiding them surely saved me a few attacks. Still, I can barely swim to save my life. It is hard to believe that these actual same arms have swum decent Ironmans (even though once I got a "wow, you have so much room for improvement in the swim!" after an especially good race) and lived to bear weight on aerobars for many hours after. My Garmin somehow measured my swim at about 200 yards instead of 500, so it tells me my 100 yard rate is over 4 minutes, which makes me feel soooo much better about myself.

After the longest 500 yards ever, I stood up all woozy, started to run, then remembered I better save my hip impact for the actual run, and walked up to T1. When you race once a year, you forget how to put on a helmet and lap your Garmin, so T1 took a while. And mounting a bike with a hip that doesn't really go that direction? I hadn't practiced that. For the 15 mile bike ride, I tested out a position I hadn't seen since April: aero. It didn't hurt at the time, but my hip and back told me all about it later. I rode with my powertap for the first time ever, and hmmmm. At least it was a distraction from my speed, which, thanks to Strava, I know was a bit slower than previous years. To my relief? dispair? my front tire was completely flat once I got  home and started unpacking the car. When did that happen? Maybe I can go faster...

Then I got to the run. My plan was to enjoy it all, since I didn't expect to be able to complete this distance a few months ago, much less run it all. But I started slowly, with heavy legs, achy hips, and tall grass to run through. Drew gave me the gap on 2nd place as I started, and I figured there was no way I would be catching any girls. First place was waaaay ahead after the turnaround, and 2nd was wearing running shorts, a tank top, and a headband, which could only mean one thing: relay. Shannon was next behind me, and after some math I realized I should be able to keep her there, though she did make me speed up a bit. I negative split the run and managed a 7:50something pace, despite my hip and back now yelling at me.

I finished a distant 2nd female, at a speed-- in all 3 disciplines-- slower than my old Ironman pace. But who's counting? (not me. ok, me.)

Truly, I had a great time. My body hurt and I have taken many many doses of ibuprofen since then, and I am working on scheduling a rhizotomy on the sensory nerve to my dumb facet joint. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit sad about how unlike my old self I felt, but hopefully the master's category next year will treat me well.

But happy 10 years to my good ole Quintana Roo, and happy 20 years of triathlon to me! It has been my thing for more than half my life, and I wouldn't change that fact, even for a healthy set of joints.

I'm now going to focus on my three coaching clients who have Ironman Louisville in 10 days! Eek! I'm excited.#livingvicariously


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tackling the Back

I'm usually the type of procrastinator who puts off decisions and actions in hopes that things will sort themselves out while I let my fickle brain mull it all over. It is so unlike me to take a drastic action like voluntarily having hip surgery. You know that I had to rely on Jeremy to urge me on, reminding me that torn up hips do not sort themselves out. The short story to the present day brings us to my being glad he did, happy with the surgery results, and even beginning to run again.

The longer version has not yet ended, and the back pain I've had since Hunter was a rapidly expanding infant wrapped to me via lumbar spine, was not directly related to my hip's torn off labrum. I was hopeful all was fixed in the weeks following surgery, when my back, while sitting in a wheelchair most of the day, wasn't causing me many problems. But now, oh now! I have such sympathy for people in chronic pain. I never realized that everything hurts worse -- a toy truck to the shin, a small child running across your stomach-- when you have a constant pain elsewhere. 

I was on a roll after taking charge of the hip pain, and having met my insurance deductible for the year helped me speed myself up. Back I went to my original sports med doc, who ordered an MRI on my lumbar spine, then sent me to a pain specialist at the Spine Institute. After finally meeting with him, I am super optimistic about my prognosis. No, really! He thinks that a steroid injection into my right L5/S1 facet area will decrease the inflammation enough to take the pain away, since the findings included facet arthropathy with fluid on the right side (where the center of the pain is located) and some neural foraminal narrowing on both sides. Apparently I have extra large facets. I win! Er... There is a disc bulge with a small tear and protrusion, but he does not think that is causing my problems. I have some additional facet arthropathy and a mild disc bulge at L4-5, but, I mean, who doesn't? If the steroid does not do the trick, we can just do a little rhizotomy back there. Nobody really needs sensory input like this anyway.

Getting this injection had to be put off until after we vacation next week, since last Friday wouldn't work: it was Hunter's first day EVER at school! He was excited before, a bit nervous during, and not completely opposed to going back. So that's a win at our house.

Oh, did I mention that I can run? Why yes I did. When he heard the news, Hunter exclaimed, "What?! You can run now?" My ortho doc released me to walk 10 minutes, run 10 minutes, and walk another 10 minutes three times a week, conceding that 10 minutes surely did not seem like much. To me, it's huge! The muscles in my legs had certainly forgotten how to run, and it seemed like a very foreign movement that was followed with some delayed onset muscular soreness the next day. Running isn't without pain, since I feel twinges randomly with every step, which could be attributed to my hip, weak muscles, back bulges, or tactile hallucinations-- who knows really. But still, I have quadrupled my 2016 run mileage with my 6 one-mile runs. I will surely never sit criss-cross-applesauce again, and please don't ask me to do a sit and reach test. But I do look forward to my putters around the nearby flat church parking lot.

And at least some of us get to run around like with puppies when they come to play. Do we need one of our own? 



Monday, August 8, 2016

The vintage hutch

This strays a bit from my original blog theme of all-things-triathlon, my later all-things-baby, and lately all-things-labrum-repair-surgery. Hmmm, now I'm seeing randomness as the unintentional theme. Alas.

From Ethelyn's house, the family took ownership of furniture according to what each person loved most, what fit in our houses, what was most meaningful, and what we could find a use for. I have so many treasures. Some, like the magnets that greeted me on her fridge, holding dozens of photos in place, are almost as memorable as the smell of lavender soap in her drawers. Others I had seen a hundred times in her closed in garage storage room, but never put much thought into or asked of their history. Like this hutch, below.


It's beautiful, seven feet long, and extremely heavy. You should have seen how much directing I had to do for the four people getting in the house. For having spent at least 60 years in a garage, it is in excellent condition. Obviously there is some chipped paint, newer spray paint in white and green on the front, and a broken door. But the beadboard, perfectly wavy glass, and adjustable shelves!



I need some information from an antiquer, or just someone who knows more than I could find out from my mom's cousin. He said that in his earliest years, it spent time inside, in Ethelyn's bedroom maybe. Mom doesn't remember it ever being in there. Maybe it came with the 130+ year-old house when my great-grandmother and great-grandfather bought it around 1905.


It has few pieces of metal holding it together, and just one detailed lock. One caster wheel was attached to the bottom, of which the double wheel was wood.


I am sure it is a custom piece, and definitely painted with lead-based paint at some point. But not all of it. They got tired before finishing the last foot. I have been cleaning and sealing with polycrylic so that when, not if, my children lick it, we don't need to call poison control.

I am excited to finish cleaning and sealing it, and get to filling it! With something other than babies. 


Friday, July 22, 2016

One Year Old Life

Being a one-year-old is pretty cool, y'all. You cover yourself in paint and chill in front of the fan while soaking up the rays. Your spend your days with friends, swingin', swimmin', and having three celebrations of your birthday.

 


 



Cake! Have some.

You got me what?
 

Mommy is this icing colored with...beets?

Well it is delicious!
 
  

Whew, that was exhausting.