Saturday, December 13, 2014

Oh Winter Training

How hard is winter training? I know some people love this time of year, and I do love the Christmas season, but not in relation to exercise. We can't complain that Jeremy only works at the daytime clinic 4 days a week, which leaves three days (on non-call weekends) of daylight hours in which to train. He has been getting up before 5 to get his workouts in, since he did sign up for an Ironman that takes place in 20-something weeks. That leaves a rare lunchtime or the after work (meaning DARK) hours for me. Not that I would trade training hours with him. Early mornings are not my thing. I used to try to get on the trainer while the toddler napped, but he has decided recently that naps just aren't for him anymore (and even back then, he could sense me riding and wake up after 30 minutes, getting mad that I was all sweaty). A few times the miracle of sleep has come upon us before 8pm on those non-napping days, for the first time in his life. But other times he likes to extend his waking hours so that when his internal alarm goes off at 7am, he has gotten a total of 9 hours of sleep in the last 24. He definitely gets it from his dad, because I have never been a naturally early riser, or one who happily survives on 30% less sleep than average. His latest sleeping habits include less frequent nursing, but if I'm not directly touching him, he wakes me up every hour or two to let me know. Every night. No, he doesn't "sleep through the night" yet, by any stretch, but I'm sure one of these days he will be in his own bed and I won't be alerted to this so frequently. I am really not complaining about this, since it's just part of having a little one, but rather I'm explaining why I just can't get up in the mornings to run, bike, or swim. Especially when it's cold and dark.

Since my decrease in mileage when I decided that the half marathon wasn't in the cards, I have slowly increased back up a bit, and even begun again the season of 24 where I left off, meaning I rode my trainer. I'm still going to the gym for barre or strength classes. I was thinking recently how ironic it is that I need to go to these classes when I have the knowledge to train myself perfectly well, and I have even been an instructor in many of these. It's just that I can't get the motivation part down. Or I just plain forget that it has been three weeks since I lifted a weight other than the toddler. 

We planned to have Jeremy run the St. Jude half last weekend. On Thursday I texted our homestay, Nancy, to see what time we should get there on Saturday. Her reply was that, well, the race starts at 8am Saturday, so... For the previous six months I had believed the race to be on Sunday, and now travel would need to happen Friday night after work, with either a cranky toddler, a napping on the way toddler, and/or a toddler who wanted to stay up until midnight and play with Nancy's kittens. She pointed out that it was a long way to go for 13 miles, and it occurred to me that yes, it was. So we stayed home. I was sad to miss my friends and fun in Memphis, especially since I wasn't the one who had to worry about racing. But we will be back!

Every post needs a toddler picture, so here is even better: a video clip of Hunter's first ride on Mystic. "Mommy, Daddy! I'm on the grass on Mystic on the grass!" He's a natural equestrian. I'm not a natural videographer I'm afraid.


Friday, November 21, 2014

The completely off season

I must have a button somewhere that switches me from in season to off season that was accidentally pressed. Ages ago, before I knew what exactly my hip problems were, I signed up for a half marathon. Five weeks out, it was time to add some mileage and get the hips accustomed to longer stuff again before completely surprising them with a race. I had a decent 10-miler, and then within 3 days, my off switch was turned. I have mentally DNSed the race already with 2 weeks to go.

I am a bit impressed with my ability to do so little exercise and not be completely crazy about it. Winter seems to do that to me anyway, just not always to such an extreme. Oh winter, you're not even here yet and I'm ready for you to be gone. I'm missing the sun being up after 5pm, the flowers that were suddenly killed by the freeze, oh, and warmth. How can 70F inside feel so different between winter and summer?

My gym will probably be attended more frequently soon. By me. I have started my own little hip rehab in the form of barre class. I may the last person on earth to try it, since I'm rather slow to embrace fitness trends. The class seemed not particularly difficult, but the tightness in my little stabilizing hip muscles for the following three days told me it was working! I'm really excited to see if this, finally, is the key to fewer troubles. 

If the pool at this gym could manage to keep their air temperature above the outside temperature, I may get back into it. But convincing myself to jump into water when I'm shivering already isn't an easy task. 

One success so far this cold fall is that the toddler happily wears a jacket outside! It's a miracle. But don't dare suggest a hat or gloves. We will just be trying to keep our little fingers warm by the electric space heater in the garage for now. 

Somebody still gets his mileage in. With a passenger on board too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Full Days of October

I thought I was such a terrible blogger last month, and I actually wrote twice. I've somehow missed over three weeks of October without a word. In my free time, besides that of the athletic variety, I have actually read a book, and not just Giraffes Can't Dance, although I really recommend that one. Hunter likes to skip naps many days of the week now, and usually I'm pretty tired by the time he goes to bed. I have slowly come to realize over the past two and a half years that most children are not quite as demanding of their parents' attention as mine is. Whew! But he has things to learn! Lately he wants to know what every word starts with and how to write the letters. And how to draw Minnie Mouse.

For some reason I can't stop doing my own art projects in my free time, including the painting that has been a slow work in progress for like six months now. I call it my disasterpiece, because really, it's terrible. I like a few tiny sections of it enough that I'm not willing to paint over the whole thing in white just to save the $20 I spent on the canvas. That, plus I've spent a lot of broken up hours on it. Now the canvas just sits in the office while I alternate ignoring it and looking at it in every conceivable light.

As for the "athletic" free time, I was doing pretty well with getting it in when I had a nasty cough hit me and make me take three full days off from exercise. For normal people, I imagine husbands are proud of their wives for exercising three days in a row. My husband was proud of me for taking them off.

It finally occurred to me that the last time I'd had a lot of right SI joint pain, I would go to the chiropractor in New Mexico who I started seeing to help me try to turn Hunter vertex. Not wanting to go through with any hip scopes right now, I decided to find a chiropractor here who would do something similar. I have to say, while I appreciate the aligning he does, I'm no so into the "spinal scans" and "heart rate test" that tells him that I don't have enough HR variability, and that my system is too sympathetically inclined right now. I cannot figure out how sitting still with my finger on a metal plate for 5 minutes is going to tell him any of that information. Just crack my back and send me along.

I converted to some Hoka Bondis about 150 miles ago, and they are doing great. I figured I needed all the gentleness I could get for my hips, while I still  pound away at them every few days. It's funny, I think my legs have always known that minimalist shoes just weren't right for them. I never got into the minimalist movement, because runs were just more painful in less cushioned shoes. Now I realize that it must be due to the impact. Smart body. If just my brain would catch up.

Unfortunately the brain seems to be going the other way. Just this week I was cooking some peaches on the stove one evening and completely forgot about them. The next morning when I saw charred remains in the fridge it took me standing there a few minutes to realize what it was. Thank goodness Jeremy saw the flame going when he turned out the kitchen lights before bed!

Now that the toddler is asleep,  it's time for me to go prop my feet up or get some much needed sleep.

Toddlers need to prop their feet up sometimes too.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

End of September

How about just some September photos? For once I've actually uploaded my camera on the last day of the month, and there are surprisingly few pictures. At least compared to Hunter's first year or two of life, when I had literally a thousand per month. 

Please Mom. The camera again?

Wildflowers I brought from New Mexico

Who is this grown up kid?!

Oh yeah, just my sweet baby

Deep convos with Nana

Birthday celebrations with Mammo

"Sheep eating grass"

Bearded Daddy (who blogged!!) He really is the best.

Friday, September 19, 2014

CATS sprint tri

One more race for the 2014 season (really my last race, husband-who-registers-me-for-races) was up in Conway last Sunday. I raced there a couple of times back about 15 years ago, and even met my future brother-in-law there. Race day started out similar to that last time, with low morning temperatures but (questionable and questioned) water temperatures that made wetsuits illegal. As a side note, what is with this group and their thing about swimming? The swim courses are always long and they get excited about measuring the water over 78F. Must be a family of swimmers?

Anyway, I still can't make myself swim more than every couple of weeks, so I was slow even for me. Ah what's a few minutes lost to the front girls? Turns out, those 2 and 3 minutes may have cost me a win, but whose fault is that? My arms'. 

I was determined to have a better bike than my other two races this year, and going behind two waves of men, and having dozens of girls to catch after that swim, gave me points to focus on and catch. 

I'd say it was a much better bike leg than previous races this year, but then I got into transition and fumbled with putting my bike on the rack, whose available space had shrunk somehow with the rearrangement of the men's bikes around me. And then I knocked one off the rack. Poor kid, it was his second race ever and he seemed to have done well in everything but reracking. I made quick work of some reorganization and finally got out of transition. 

I saw a girl coming into T2 who I had just passed in the last mile of the bike, but was surprised when she flew by me a half mile into the run. I kept a very slowly increasing distance behind for a bit probably just out of fascination, but soon enough she was gone. She was 22, just like 95% of the other competitors I saw out there. I have no idea what made this race so popular for that age group this year. And hey, wasn't I...yep, 22 last time I did this race?! I decided my 22-year-old self would've passed me on that run as well, since I wasn't going very close to any speed I could maintain just a few years ago. How has my half marathon pace from less than a year ago become my 5k at the end of a sprint pace? These are things I contemplate when I should be focusing on running a race. 

I assumed the speedy runner had not caught the one other (22-year-old) girl ahead of us, but I was wrong. In fact, if I'd gotten my head together or my feet thawed out before the last few hundred yards, maybe I could've caught her too. The run was a bit long, but I needed it and the bike to both be a bit longer still. Seems my swim split was 22nd among women, but I had the #1 bike and the #2 run. Not bad for the old chick in the crowd. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

By the Seashore

I really love this age. Not 37-- it's fine, but nothing special -- but 2 and almost 1/2. I knew this years ago because of my nieces and nephews, but had forgotten just how great little kiddos are when they can tell you everything on their sweet sponging minds. My travel buddy and I spent a day together getting through a few airports, riding on underground trains, jumping off the last steps of escalators, and mostly importantly, flying to the beach.

 "I get on TWO airplanes!" he told the desk clerk, showing a finger on each hand. The very first flight started off a little bumpy after all the excitement (he's well-traveled but doesn't remember much of those flights), and Hunter promptly asked to nurse and fell immediately asleep for the entire duration. To make up for his silence during the flight, he talked non-stop through our long layover, and through the entire second flight.

There was lots to see out the windows, and this time, we talked about the speed bumps in the clouds that make us go up and down. We saw a rainbow, and upon descent, we saw trees and water, which I pointed out. "Trees and water! Yay!!" We played many a game of I-put-the-window-shade-up-and-you-put-it-down-with-a-bang, and not being concerned with what other adults on the flight think of our noise and games, I didn't stop it. Close to deboarding, the lady across the aisle leaned over to me and said, "you seem like a good mom." Whew, they didn't all hate me. The lady behind me piped up and said she agreed, and she loved hearing H's sweet voice. And what a sweet voice he has!

What a great husband I have to drive all the way to the beach, leaving early enough to pick us up from the airport after having unloaded the car FULL of beach equipment at the beach house on the way. To be honest, this trip wouldn't have happened if I had to try to entertain a carseat bound 2-year-old for over 10 hours. I'll take 3 hours in an airport anytime over that.

Jeremy and I first went to Seaside five years ago around the end of August. We decided last year to make our spot. It is such a great little community with really good food and a small town atmosphere. And, of course, a beautiful, white sandy beach with clear turquoise water. I'm not sure the full impact of "endless sand as far as you can dig," and "a giant ocean bigger than any swimming pool" had hit Hunter before he saw it.

We were armed with trucks, diggers, backhoes, buckets, shovels, and animals, and to top it off Hunter's grandmother and great aunt brought him more. They met us down there the next day, so that little H could have twice the usual doting adults to play with.

My days started with a run in the trails throughout Seaside and neighboring Watercolor, which ran around and across a lily-pad covered, black tea-colored lake filled with paddle-boarders, and, surely, alligators.

The hard packed sandy trails were just what my old creaky hips were needing, although the winding and dead-ending of the paths made my pace a bit slower than usual. If I hadn't gotten lost so many times, I might not have gotten in the mileage I did. I would come back to the house looking like I had jumped in the ocean, and Hunter gave me the funniest look when I told him I needed to shower. It was a "you haven't already showered?" look.

Jeremy set up not one, but two large canopy tents on the ocean, which we used to shade our assortment of blankets, chairs, bags, and trucks. The water was smooth and calm, and Hunter would ask to swim and kick those big toddler feet so hard. "Look I swimming Mom! You want to swim?"

He jumped over waves and looked for fish, but was not fond of the seaweed that would come in during the afternoon. We ate lunch on the beach after picking up gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from the Airstream food trucks, and took short afternoon breaks back at the house to cool off and pretend we were going to nap. Early suppers were finished in time for us to get back to the beach for one more round as the sun went down.

Our beach house ("where our other house?") had an enclosed outdoor shower around back that was just perfect for getting 75% of the sand off. The other 25% followed us back into the house and managed to get into my bed. But that may be part of what I love about the beach. I'm finding powdered-sugar sand stuck inside little truck tires back at home, and I'm not washing it off so fast. The last night there in our beach house, I sat out on the upstairs porch, under the fan, and rocked my little one to sleep to the sound of the crickets chirping.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Missing the Motivation race, that is. I think it basically comes down to stress. There is a degree of stress that goes into racing, good stress most of the time (eustress, for the technical types), even when you are in tip top shape and eagerly awaiting your chance to go. The details of final preparation, gear checks, lists, a slight fear of the pain you will inflict on yourself. 

I know I don't have a necessarily stressful job, or at least one that involves deadlines or public speaking. Except, on second thought, I do have to feed the toddler every single day before he gets cranky, and I am talking constantly to an audience (edit: I'm answering questions. There are so many questions about the world to be answered. Some questions I've never pondered before, and then some answers I may get slightly wrong. Like why it gets colder in the winter--it's not as simple as I made it!). There is an increased level of stress involved in the care of little children, and I do work very hard at it. I find myself avoiding participation in races this year, just because the stress is too great given the reward of finishing another race with a ho-hum result. If I could really do something fantastic on my 6 hrs/week, I might change my mind. 

I am, on the other hand, really enjoying triathlon training itself. Group rides, a "super brick" on a Saturday, yeah count me in! I want to be part of that, and I'll even try to beat you on the one mile all out brick run, but strap a chip on my ankle and I am out. 

For now you can find me out running with the stroller up monster hills (I mean, 450ft of climbing in 3.3 miles?! WTF), then relaxing in the dirt or sand, with a glass of wine in one hand, and a bulldozer in the other. 


Or small

Even in the rain

Best day ever: backhoe working right across the street (AND it's garbage day)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Injury Report

Technically it's not really an injury I suppose, but the problem with my hip is that the underlying issue causes injuries. I can pretty much attribute all running injuries I've ever had, except for when I ran into that tree and busted my head open, on this hip problem. 

At first I was so happy to have found a doctor who actually listened to me when I said my hip was causing me pain. Others had said, "haha, what do you mean 'hip'? You are pointing to your femur!" to which I would've liked to respond, "yeah I'm familiar with anatomy, thankyouverymuch." Both hips cause intermittent pain, which made me think I was crazy, just having psychosomatic pain, or sympathy pain. Or that I don't really know how hips are supposed to feel. I thought that worst case scenario, my bad hip would have a labral tear that really needed fixing. 

It seems my good left hip may have a labral tear. The doctor was showing me the X-ray and I was all turned around and said something about my bad hip and he said, "oh no, that's your left hip. The right hip has a different problem." It's dysplastic. My first response was, "did I cause this?" I didn't. But we decided based on symptoms that while I have had dysplasia all my life, a certain 2008 Little Rock half marathon, followed by a 7 mile cool down, which caused a lot of groin pain later, was probably when my hypertrophied (and stabilizing) labrum was torn, causing my hip to become very unstable and gradually more painful. 

I can blame my 16 year old "hamstring tendinitis" to pain coming from my joint capsule, as well as my Achilles tendinitis, back pain, tensor fascia lata pain, knee pain, my crazy knock-kneed form, and even my gimpy pregnancy leg on this unstable hip. Can I attribute poor swimming to it? Yes! Why not?

The real fix for this is a periacetabular osteotomy, where they cut out your acetabulum and reposition it with very large screws. "It sounds worse than it is," the doctor told me. Um, no it doesn't. I mean really. It sounds exactly as terrible as it is. 

I said to the doctor, "I can't be non- weight bearing," since the recovery includes like 8 weeks of it. He said that indeed I could be. Actually, I have a 2-year old and I'm not allowed to even sit on the couch for more than 15 seconds at a time, so...not really. 

But first things first. I cried only a few times before realizing that I don't have to have a PAO, especially not immediately. The angles of my acetabulum hood (whatsitcalled?) seem to my in house doctor to be better than he is measuring, and the radiologist reported that I have minimal cartilage damage based on the MRI. Doctor Downer thinks it is worse than that, so he is getting another read on it. I went in for a CT scan (extra radiation is always helpful), from which he is going to have a cool computer generated, 3D interactive model of my hip created to see exactly how good my coverage is. I agreed to this mostly because I want him to be wrong about how bad it looks.

So! Now I see why people avoid the doctor! If only I could remain ignorant and go about my running. I had this thought in the back of my mind: I just want to make sure I'm not doing permanent damage to my hip. Well yay because I am. I could always avoid the PAO and just get a total replacement when it gets bad enough in 10 years ("you'd be lucky to make it 10 years," said Dr Downer). 

For now I have cut back on the running and just got some new Hokas, which I tried for the first time today. I figure extra cushioning, but with a minimal heel to toe drop, and a nice toe roll off could help preserve some of my cartilage. I'm doing all my physical therapy exercises, but just couldn't justify actually going to the PT a few times a week and paying $30 for him to give me a set of Jane Fonda leg lifts to do, leaving for 10 minutes, then returning to give me a set of transverse abdominus exercises, leaving again, etc. I mean, who has time for that? But I do appreciate his input. The strengthening has possibly reduced some of my pain recently, at least in my dysplastic side. The good side, though, seems to be compensating. 

Do me a favor, all of you pain- and injury-free people out there? Run a few miles for me and enjoy it. At least I appreciate my poor hard working legs more than ever.

Oh right, they've been gone for a while. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Days

We are having a blast this summer. At least I am, and given the excitement that Hunter has to wake up every morning (just a tiny bit too early for his mom), he must be as well.

Our garden is growing well, and I have to admit that I'm surprised every day how much rich soil and water can make a difference in the sheer size of plants. My squash plants in New Mexico were a foot tall at their best, producing hard yellow bumpy squash that I had to peel to render edible. Our current squash plant could take over the yard with the help of the cucumber plant, that sends its little tendrils out to wrap around anything that will sit still long enough.

Our albino eggplant

The blackberry bush that borders our front side yard between us and the unmanicured lot next to us has given us daily treats, enough to make a blackberry cobbler, and supply snacks to us, the cousins, and the neighborhood birds.  Delish.

 A staple summer activity for me is picking blueberries, and since we don't have one growing at our house yet (soon!), we ventured out to the local picking farm, where we even got to see a giant pig, tiny horse, and goats after our blueberry sampling. 

The 4th of July holiday we spent eating, swimming, and horsing around with Nana and Granddaddy and Ethelyn. Somebody wore his Euro-baby swimsuit in their secluded back yard. 

Ready, set, jump!

And speaking of swimming, Hunter is having a blast at our neighborhood pool, jumping in, around, and even under the water occasionally and accidentally. It doesn't seem to bother him much.
 And then there are sprinklers. And hoses.

Since the weather threatened to turn fall on us for a while, we went to the zoo to feed the giraffe, and hang with the cousins, except for Annie and her brand new baby brother! who we hope to meet soon!

 Indoors, we create a lot of things, like a Hunter original design, this forklift.

There is a bit of an obsession with trucks and heavy machinery equipment here lately, and if you watch the Bulldozer video on youtube by TwentyTrucks, you may have that catchy 80s beat song going through your head as you try to fall asleep every night. My big boy is asking a million actually really good questions lately, like where things come from. He knows how water gets into plants, how concrete mixers work, what color fruits and veggies turn when they are ripe, soup recipes, which climbing wall at the playground mommy does not like (it's super scary), how a grader works, how many shanks a ripper usually has, what a coupling rod is, etc etc. And then he teaches me what he's learned, demonstrating each step and how things work. "See? Like this." :)

And when I can get him to sit still, I hand him markers and crayons. I told him once how to write an H, and a week later he repeated back to me, "down, down, across."

 I have been riding some, running a tiny bit, and swimming less. A nighttime 5k sounded fun last weekend, so I rode my bike over from the closest River Trail parking lot, a couple miles down the trail to another park where the race was held. I'd registered the day before, so all I needed to do was hit the potty and warm up. When my key almost fell out of my unzipped shorts pocket I realized that I hadn't zipped it because I'd forgotten to lock the car. So I rode another 3ish miles back to the car, then realized on my way back to the race start that I was cutting it pretty close. As I neared the start line I could see a hundred bright orange shirts lining up to start, and I wondered what makes people wear the race t-shirt during the race. Then I rode cyclocross style over the grass and tree roots to the nearest permanent cement structure that looked suitable for a bike lock. 

Sprinting over to the start line was my run warm up. And then we took off up and over the Big Dam Bridge. Just as we leveled off at the bottom of the other side, around we turned and up and over again we went. I had to chase down a few women more than once, but I ended up beating them all on the second downhill somehow. And then the race was 3.2 miles and I forgot to stop my watch anyway. I'll just calculate it as a 6:35-:37ish pace and be less than thrilled about it. That bridge is big. The post race sunset, the bug-splattered bike ride back along the river, and the chirping crickets singing were just pure summer.

And of course, we have tried to do some relaxing during the hot summer days.