Sunday, July 29, 2012

I think I did it!

Today was the last day of this "Can I still swim and bike?" week... and I think it was successful!!

I swam twice and my arm/shoulder didn't really hurt.

I biked three times and didn't crash.

A ran three times and it didn't hurt!

So I think I will go ahead and start my modified triathlon training plan (a mash-up between the free plan from Swim Bike Mom and the plan I used last year that came from an issue of Women's Running Magazine I got at the Princess Half Marathon in 2010 LOL).

I was able to sell my bib (legally!) for the Area 13.1 Half Marathon, so I have that money available for the triathlon entry fee. The only thing I really lack at this point is CONFIDENCE.

Hopefully, I'll swim, bike, or run into it in the next couple of weeks! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm a Brick. House.

Today I got on the bike again... took it to a different park and tried to ride. But this trail is very curvy and I spent most of my time braking. So I took to the large parking lot and did zigzags for 30 minutes. Lots of fun! LOL But I did my last mile at 14 mph which is good for me! :)

When I got off the bike, my legs felt funky so I decided to walk it out. And then, in a moment of craziness, I decided that since I was going to walk, I may as well try to run. What could happen? If it didn't work, I would just walk again. So I wasn't out anything. Well, I ended up doing my 4/1 intervals(4 minutes of running/1 minute of walking) for 1.1 miles! I had forgotten how heavy the legs feel when you are running off the bike! LOL And it was worse this time because my Brooks Launch shoes are very lightweight so my feet felt like they were wearing clown shoes and I was clodhopping my way around the park. But I averaged just under 11:00/mile so it couldn't have been all that bad!

And that's how I did a Baby Brick today! I'm trying not to get too excited, but it seems that things are falling into place. Today I sold my bib for next month's half marathon, so now I can apply that money towards the triathlon entry fee if I so desire. I just need a little more time before I pull the trigger. Yeah, I have to admit to being nervous about jumping into it. But I will keep praying and seeing how my training will go and hopefully I will have a peace about it so I can go ahead and register.

I am still feeling very good so far. This weekend will be a good test when I have to run-bike-run on consecutive days. Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm back in the game!

Today I tackled the swim portion of the triathlon. I hadn't been in the pool for a couple of months, partly due to my injury and partly due to the jazz and Zumba classes taking up my cross-training time. That's the same reason I hadn't been on the bike. But I tackled that one on Sunday, and now it was time to tackle the last one. After all, if I'm wanting to do a triathlon in roughly 2 months, it would be rather important to get back into the water.

As with the bike, I was nervous. I was afraid my shoulder/arm would bother me. I've been reading the Total Immersion book and watching the DVDs from the library. It is quite similar in theory to the Chi Running book, so I'm able to use many of the ideas that I already learned for running and apply them to swimming. But the one difference with running is I can practice and not have to worry about drowing. ;)

The swim went very well, I think. I wasn't sure how many laps I should do, so I started out slowly. Did a 250 meter set and rested for a minute, then did another one. It was on this set that I got the surprise of my life - a man practically swam right into me in my lap lane!! I was really shocked and when I got to the end of the lane I sort of looked around to see if I could figure out what happened. A man was swimming next to my lane and said, "Sorry about that... I didn't know that you were in the lane." HUH?? Really? I'm wearing a green swimsuit and a bright blue swim cap. Planes flying overhead could see me. @@ Maybe I grabbed the Swim Cap of Invisibility this morning by mistake??

Anyway, I was going to do another set of 250 but then that would have my total be 750 meters, and the swim portion of this tri is 400 yards so I thought I'd do an even 800 and that would be double the distance.

My arm didn't bother me while I was swimming but I could feel it afterward. It wasn't pain, per se. More that I was just aware of a sensation in the arm. I came home and stretched it out and also did my strengthening and it didn't bother me the rest of the day. I noticed it now and then, but no pain. Very strange.

I'm really pleased that I could get into the pool after such a long break and crank out 250-300 meters at a time. Now granted they were very slow, but I don't care. The fact that I can do it is a big boost for my confidence. I'm still not ready to sign up for the tri yet, but I am feeling like I may be able to pull it off! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I got up before dawn this morning to go to the park with my beloved Frankenbike for the first ride I've taken in months and months! I was so incredibly nervous. I didn't sleep well last night as I had dreams of crashing the bike over and over. I had tested out my bike yesterday in the neighborhood so I knew my gears worked, my tires are full, and the brakes did their duty. But I was still worried.

I put my bike rack on the car and headed over to the park. I was so nervous heading down the trail, and I went very slowly on the first lap. There was a lot of debris on the trail from the storms the night before so it was like dodge-bike! LOL

Surprisingly enough, everything went really well. I was able to go a little faster each time around. I am still nervous on the bike, but that's OK. I am planning to ride 2 more times this week so I can get acclimated. And maybe one day I will consider riding on the street!

I am feeling great, physically. Yesterday I ran for an hour, and then 32 minutes on the bike this morning and I really feel much better than I did after the 8 mile run last week - and that took about the same amount of time. I hope this continues!

It's so thrilling to have the excitement back again! :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Is this the problem??

The other night, while stretching, I was looking at my running shoes lying on the floor. The pink ones are the Saucony Rides - the ones that turn my heels into bastions of blisters. The blue ones are the Brooks Launch - the now discontinued shoe that gives me happy feet.

Since I spend a lot of time stretching it gave me time to really look at my shoes, and I noticed something in the way the back of the Saucony shoe is designed. Do you see how it bulges out in the back? And the Brooks shoe goes more or less straight down?

Can you see it better in this shot?
I also dug out my old Nike Structure Triax shoe, which is a style I've been wearing for the last couple of years with no blister problems. Can you see the bulge in the Saucony (pink) shoe?
I think, for whatever reason, that my foot must hit that bulge in some way that causes it to blister no matter how much glide I put on it. I tried different styles/weights of socks. I tried lacing the shoes differently. I tried blister pads. I tried combinations of all of those things, and every single time I wore those shoes they gave me HUGE painful blisters. My feet are now finally just healing up and it's been several weeks since I last wore the Saucony shoes.

This may or may not be the cause, but it's different enough to make me suspect it. I know I will be paying attention to the shape of the back of my shoe from now on! LOL I'm not taking another risk of spending $100 for shoes that hurt me. Of course, I have learned the lesson that if the shoes are causing blisters, TAKE THEM BACK! Don't keep trying them out thinking that your feet will "toughen up"! ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I've got butterflies again!

I spent this afternoon working on a training plan for the Lake Lanier Islands triathlon. It is a mash-up of two training programs: the one that I found in Women's Running magazine a couple of years ago and used last spring while training for My First Triathlon, and the one in the free e-book from Swim Bike Mom (free when you sign up for her newsletter here).

The reason for the mash-up is that the WR one doesn't work well with my life schedule (swimming on the wrong day for the early hours at my local aquatic center, etc) but the Swim Bike mom one is 3 months long (or 6 or 9 if you're truly a newbie) and I don't have that much time. In the end, though, I think I devised a plan that will work well for me!

And it gives me butterflies! I am SO excited! THIS is what it's supposed to feel like when you're training for something - that mixture of anticipation and adrenaline! It can't be beat!

It's not all excitement, though. I am a little nervous - mostly of the bike ride. I local lady suffered a traumatic brain injury during the bike portion of the IronGirl triathlon in May. I had wanted to do that race (still do LOL) but it fell on the day of my daughters' dance recitals so I couldn't. The lady is recovering, but it's scary to think that you can get that hurt on the bike. If I crash while running, I'd probably get some scraped knees. The bike intimidates me quite a bit. I'm also nervous about my shoulder in the swim, but I got treated for my impingement and I've been really working on strengthening and stretching both of my shoulders/arms, and I'm also working on my form using the Total Immersion DVDs. So basically I'm doing what I can... and I just have to let it all play out. I am infinitely better now at allowing that to happen. ;)

I'm going to work in 3 bike rides and 2 swims next week to see how I do! I am really excited!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A change of (training) plans :)

As you may have gathered from my previous posts, I haven't exactly been enjoying this evening training at all. Though it has been going as well as I could ever wish for, waking up in the middle of the night after a run with my legs all cramped up is not a fun experience. And I'm not able to fall asleep easily because I am exercising so late in the evening. I've been lamenting this to my husband over the weeks and finally the other day he said, "Then why are you doing it? I thought this was supposed to be fun for you!"

Then on Sunday morning, my Coach found me (I'd been avoiding him LOL) and asked me if I was going to do any triathlons this year. I told him about the half marathon I'd signed up for, but that my heart really isn't in it, and he said, "Well, there is a tri at the lake in September, you know. There's still time to get ready."

I was already feeling mopey because that morning was the Tri2Remember triathlon for Alzheimer's that I had wanted to do. And the young assistant coach from Austin's ball team last year was participating. I'd been following his training with much envy. I was very happy for him and am proud of his performance, especially considering that he was kicked hard in the ribs during the swim. But I guess my mopey-ness was evident, because later that afternoon, the young man texted my hubby and said, "There is a triathlon on September 30th at Lake Lanier. Your wife might be interested in it."

That was enough to get me to break out the calendar and the sprint tri training plan and see if it was even possible. Let us all forget for a moment that I haven't even been in the pool for 2 months. Apparently that sort of problem doesn't really come into play. LOL It is doable... training would need to begin on July 30th.

During my run on Sunday evening I spent a lot of time thinking about what is important to me. And why I chose this half marathon instead of a triathlon when 2012 was supposed to be all about tris for me. It was my shoulder problem, and the fact that the sprint tri training began with an hour long run and I hadn't yet built up to that time/distance yet. But my shoulder is feeling much better, and I'm learning about form in swimming to help avoid more problems, and I am now able to run/walk for an hour or more.

So I decided to give it a shot! I am going to dump the half marathon (hard to lose that money but if the training isn't giving me joy then it's worth it!) and shoot for the triathlon. Remembering, though, that I have not been in the pool to swim in 2 months, I will wait to register for a few more weeks. This is my last week of dance classes, and next week I'll be able to get to the pool and on the bike again and see how it goes! Am I nervous? You better believe it - and I'll expound on that in another post - but it's nervous in a good way. My heart was fluttering with excitement just contemplating the tri in a way that it hasn't for a very long time! I think that's a good sign!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Another milestone run!

I ran 8 miles tonight!!

It's been a long time since I can claim that sort of mileage! It was 3/2 intervals tonight, which actually seemed very easy. I found myself looking down at my watch wondering when it would be time to run again. That's always a cool feeling. 

I had been looking forward to this run a lot. I remember very clearly the first time I ever ran 8 miles. You can even read a little bit about it here. I remember the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride that I felt. I stopped in the middle of the trail and lifted my arms into the air and yelled, "I did it!" I was wondering if I would feel something similar this time, especially considering I would be at the same park. 

The answer is no. LOL I did the miles, and my legs definitely felt tired as I got towards the end. But my Garmin registered 8.00 and I pushed the "STOP" button and that was that. I didn't feel anything except the usual pleasure at having completed my long run. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing... it's just sort of funny!

Here is something funny, though:

I just looked up the statistics from my Garmin and I completed this 8 mile run 35 seconds faster than my very first one. That doesn't sound like too much until you consider that the first one was running straight through. This one was running 3 minutes and then walking 2 minutes continually. I am actually faster now even with the walking?? How ironic! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Six months??

My mom asked me this evening, "When did you do Goofy? 2011?"

"Nope, that was earlier this year... January, 2012."

Seriously... only six months ago? It seems like a lifetime! Some days I don't even feel like the same person that took on 39.3 miles in two days - and the waking up at 2 AM each of those days! LOL It's amazing to me how quickly those memories fade. Shouldn't that still be so fresh to me?! If you asked me if I've run a full this year I would tell you no! It doesn't even register that it was really THIS year. And I keep thinking that I haven't run a half since Princess 2011! But I did one of those in January, too! ::shaking my head::

Am I the only one who experiences this sort of "race amnesia"?

Edited to add: It's even worse than I thought! I looked back at my Race Calendar thing on my blog and saw that I did the Rock N Roll Savannah Half in November. That one never even entered my mind. I can at least understand that (because it was walking - and a huge disappointment), but wow! This is so weird!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A run to remember

Yesterday was a crappy day. There is no other way to put it. We had storms the night before that kept me awake most of the night. Then I had to deal with internet issues that just would not go away. The evening run loomed over me all day (one of the reasons I am not enjoying this evening training) and it was such a hot day that all I could do was watch the forecast with dread. On the way to the park, my van decided to get completely funky with me and all of the gauges started randomly flipping back and forth. It stopped after a couple of minutes, thankfully, but it was so weird. Then I get to the park and my GPS wouldn't find the satellites.

"Are you indoors?" ::looking around:: Nope. I'm at the park. @@

I turned off my GPS and turned it back on and tried again. Once more it asked me if I was indoors. I clicked on "Yes", thus turning my Garmin into a very bulky stop-watch, and started my warm-up walk. 5 minutes later and I turned on the 3/1 interval setting (cut-back week so the "long run" was 4 miles and shorter walk interval) and was grateful that I've run this trail so many times I know exactly how far 4 miles is.

But then the magic happened.

I didn't notice it until about a mile in...but I felt good. Really good. And relaxed. All of my muscles felt nice and loose. The running felt effortless, even on the hills. It was amazing! It was hot, but I wasn't breathing hard. And my legs which are usually so tired from Zumba the night before my long run actually felt fine. I have no way to explain it, but I don't care! It was a perfect gift from above and I will take it! :)

8 weeks of training are done... 6 weeks to go!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

That's how I roll...

I was introduced last fall to that mysterious friend of all runners (and athletes in general): the foam roller.

I didn't know anything could hurt so much and yet feel so good! My foam roller and I have spent hours together in the last 9 months. He has even traveled with me to Disney World. We make a good team - I am faithful to him, and he keeps me feeling good.

As my body has loosened up over this past year, and I've gained more flexibility, I have started to notice some tightness in places which aren't easily reached using my dear foam roller. A few weeks ago at the free yoga class I took, I was introduced to a new friend.

Meet Mr. Tennis Ball!

I use Mr. Tennis Ball in one of two ways. I begin by sitting on him and rolling around. This produces noises and facial expressions that make my husband question what exactly may be going on. Once I have finished sitting on each "side" using my new friend, then I stand up and roll the bottom of my foot over him. I can feel little crackles and pops while doing this that remind me of how it feels when I visit my massage therapist, something that has had to become less and less of a regular occurrence due to cost. These two new activities are proving to be very beneficial in my overall recovery! ;)

OK, all joking aside... the tennis ball is really doing great work on my tight glutes. I have been experiencing some tightness in my left hamstring and I believe it's due to tight quads and hamstrings on that side. So now I am continuing to roll the IT Band and hamstrings, and I have also begun to roll my calves as well. And then I'm rolling my glutes and the bottom of my foot on the tennis ball! LOL