Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The summer of no triathlon

It's not too late for me to change my mind, which I am inclined to do now and then. But I have mostly decided that the 20 year streak will end this year with zero triathlons completed. I can run, I can ride my bike, and I'm assuming I can still swim, but the desire to go out and just complete a slow race still eludes me. It isn't the end of the tri career, but I am not going to go out and putter through just to say I did it.

The summer is going too quickly anyway. We spend a lot of time swimming. Again, Hunter has taught us that if we just leave him alone, he will figure things out. Like swimming. And math, and all kinds of random things that keep me asking, "where did you learn that?" It just goes to show you don't have to "potty train" or take "swimming lessons." Along the lines of some of my significant life choices, if you just let things be, they can usually work themselves out.

A lot of the past month has been traveling; we went back to New Mexico, Santa Fe in particular, for the first time since moving to LR. The air was so clear, crisp, and thin. Over 7000' of elevation, to which I am completely not acclimated anymore. The friends were just like I last left them: wonderful, entertaining, and fun. The scenery and hiking were gorgeous, and the latter was a bit different than when we used to run alone, just Jeremy and me. But much more exciting.

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In mid-July we set sail on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas, which was an exciting, beautiful, activity-filled trip that didn't stop when we disembarked. We went on to the Magic Kingdom for a couple of days to finish tiring us out completely.

 

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It was all kind of perfect for us, and I hope it filled the little ones with lots of great memories of adventure.




 

I did do a 5K at Castaway Cay. It consisted of half an hour of staging, a half mile walk to the start with the group, half a dozen people sprinting off the start line, and about 3 men beating my 8 minute mile pace. I had no one around, little motivation, and plenty of humidity. Glad I did it.

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Now here we are in August, starting to think about the upcoming school year. This time, I'm actually excited about the school year. We are doing things a little differently than most for the start of Kindergarten. And I think it'll be perfect for Hunter. To be continued...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Summer Start

I am just going to dive right in and pretend it has not been over two months since I last posted. So let's see, I wanted to keep a good record of all things hip labrum repair and my incredible return to running faster than ever. That is a post for a later time, like when it has actually happened. My back got all painful again after the nerve regrew, and instead of cutting it off once more, I opted for PT, then more PT, with a much closer and different set of eyes. He is encouraging me to "hinge forward!" as he often calls out across the therapy floor when I'm looking a bit too sway-backed (which is apparently all of the time). Does this mean that I don't actually have a giant booty, but I just stick it too far out? Hmmm.

Apparently I am a structural nightmare. My facet joints are all inflamed from being crunched together, but at the same time there is too much movement in the lumbar spine. I have mild dysplasia in my right hip, but also an impingement if I extend it back too far, which is what happens when I try to tuck my hips and run. The newest PT is now accusing my right leg of being longer, but he said I don't have scoliosis because I'm strong. I know, I almost laughed when he called me that too, and then I realized that most of his patients are probably senior citizens, so relatively, yeah.  It does make more sense that the less exercise I do, the more things hurt. I have spent the last 5 years getting weaker, slower, more lordotic, and older. The PT also said I have taken good care of myself, of which I had recently been thinking the opposite. My aunt used to tell me to slow down, even before I fully comprehended the ill effects of my chosen sport (long distance specifically). Thanks #science.

My goal, since it is now unofficially SUMMER!! is to start extending my piddly little trainer rides to longer than 40 minutes and maaaaybe do some outdoor rides, you know, like a bike is made to do. Running will begin again, or uh, has begun again actually, if you can call it running.

Something about the trails between Watercolor and Seaside down on the Emerald Coast make it completely impossible to not run. Darn little scenic houses with white picket fences lining the smooth, sandy, pine-needled trail, and the wooden bridges over the dark alligator-infested lily-pad covered lakes force me to run. And not just once, but two days in a row. Luckily Jeremy was busy racing Gulf Coast and I didn't get a chance to go more when we were down there two weeks ago.

I'm sure we will be getting plenty of travel and swimming in this summer for my little fish.


That water!



No, I promise they were actually thrilled to be there! :)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Growing

I think it would surprise anyone who has seen the (very low) frequency of my posting here to know that I have been keeping a daily paper workout log for over a decade now. Maybe more like two decades. I am missing one important year in which a newfangled online training log was all I kept, and once I quit, it was erased. So how did I manage that best performance in Kona? I'll never remember, although it was truly short of outstanding anyway. I have skipped a few weeks here and there, for a week or so after Hunter and Josie were born before I returned to walking, or those 3 weeks of non-weight-bearing after hip surgery. I have gone from detailing the workout, how I felt, how many pounds of sweat I lost, the temperature, and who my company was, using two pages per week, to squeezing in two months on those same two pages, line by line.

These past two weeks I should just be skipping as well, although I can write "PT" in on certain days. After my ablated nerves decided to regrow so that they could finally get their pain signal back to my brain, like the doctor said was likely, I realized that I could go right back to the pain clinic or I could try to do something to restructure everything that's out of whack. This is a big job for my lucky physical therapist. He came so highly recommended that I drive half an hour each way before sunrise twice a week to have him tell me to stop picking up things like children, bending, sitting too long, riding my trainer and running, rolling my quads in a plank position, and most any chores around the house (sorry husband!). If I could just stop weight bearing, everything would heal a little faster. Problem is, I can't call in sick, nor can I stay off my feet. I'm winning to be on my feet without holding both kids at once.

Oh OK, I'll climb the tree with you.

If I'd had any plans to take my new age group by storm this year, now that I am officially a master's athlete, I could forget them now. Luckily I had no big aspirations to kill. I knew it was a long road back from all these structural defects, but I didn't plan on having to take up an entirely new sport, something a little more leisurely, quite yet. I can hear my mitochondria dying off. But at least my hunger has subsided. I cannot justify a daily half pint of Milk 'N' Cookies ice cream when I am instructed to sit on my rumpus all day. But then again, I do have milk to make for the baby... Justified!

While watching myself age, very up close when plucking gray hairs and using extra strength wrinkle cream, I also get to watch the little ones grow like weeds. (After looking at smooth young baby faces all day long, does anyone else kind of surprise themselves when they look in the mirror? No, just me?)

My big one is 5 today!  And he is turning into my little sidekick. Our latest adventures, besides sword fighting, climbing things, and getting dirty, include painting. Every once in a while I get on artsy kicks and whip out the old acrylics and canvases. Hunter has been showing me up and creating some quality abstracts. I'm too shy about mine to actually post them, so here is the real artist's work.

He named the first one Forest of the World.

He also cooks, decorates his own birthday cake, and builds incredibly complex lego jets much better than I do. My little dude is quite the imaginative, perceptive, determined boy. And still a favorite around here.



 
 
 

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