Monday, February 20, 2012

it takes a village

With all my extra time this week (not just a holiday weekend, but rest week to boot), I've been contemplating the cast of thousands that it takes to play at triathlon as I do.

  • ELF:  Goes without saying that she is *key* to all I do.  She writes the script, I play my part.  That's how it is.  Trust the ELF, trust the plan, do the work.  'Nuff said.
  • Heather: Heather is the menu planner.  I worked with her for my last IM(s), she set up my nutrition plan.  This year we're starting a bit earlier and she's setting up plans for some earlier, shorter races so I can get plenty of practice stuffing all that food and fluid in on the bike and run.  You have to fuel to keep the body moving.  She also is good at smacking me upside the head when I cry about wanting to lose more weight.  
  • Curtis and Crew:  The mechanics.  Not just bike fitter, but also PT.  Curtis has really helped me fix some issues with my run form that were causing heel pain.  And now Katie is helping me fix my chronic shoulder issues. Teaching my bad shoulder where it needs to be and how it needs to work.  I definitely needed to get this done prior to heavy IM training loads.  I'm not sure my shoulder would hold up otherwise.
  • The Bicycle Garage:  More mechanics.  Actual mechanics.  They keep my wheels spinning and my gears shifting smoothly.  And it's almost like Cheers when I go there, "Hi Kris, what's up!?"  Of course they also think I'm nuts for, you know, doing other stuff than just riding a bike. :)
  • Family and Friends:  the supporting cast.  I'm so thankful for my family and friends that keep tabs on me, encourage me, and sometimes think I'm nuts.  
  • BHE:  best husband ever.  Not only does he support my craziness, he often comes out to cheer, be my sherpa, and doesn't blink at the somewhat crazy amount of tri stuff that filters into the house.  He recognizes that while I might not win races, I win *my* version of the race.  I'm pushing myself to get stronger and faster and he often tells me how proud of me he is.  Maybe just as importantly he keeps me honest on those days where I may feel like slacking off.  (And no, I don't think I've ever *not* felt better after a swim/bike/run is finished.)
  • BDE:  best dog ever. :)  Helps me relax with daily walks, allows me to live in her house and sleep in one of her beds.  And no matter how bad or good my day has been, I can't help but feel better when this face greets me at the door, most often with a stuffed animal offering, whole body wagging.
I'm cute.  You know I'm cute.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

just du it

Saturday was my first race of the year. And yes, I know this is going to sound very "sh#* triathletes say", but this wasn't an A race.  Or even a B race. It was more of a hard training day race. Just use it to get a good solid day of work in and see where I'm at.

One of the things I really like about this race was the start time. 9 a.m. Oh yeah. So even though it was an hour away, I still didn't have to leave my house until about 7:30. With as small as this race was (20 women pre-registered for the du), I figured a half hour was plenty of time to get set up, warmed up, and get ready to go. I was right. I arrived at the race with a light drizzle/mist coming down. I wasn't sure what the day would bring, as I knew there were some big down hills and I'll be the first to admit I'm hesitant enough on wet roads.

I parked about 50 yards from transition, wheeled my bike over and took a spot on the women's 40-49 rack.  Along with all of about 7 or 8 other women. Yep, small race to be sure. Didn't take long to get set up and ready to go, including a warm up to get the blood pumping.

At a couple minutes before 9 the race director called us all over to the start line and counted down the time for us. And we're off! And of course, I immediately fall into the trap of starting off too fast. It was an out and back course and I tried to pull my legs back in and stick to my plan. Although I had my Garmin running, I really wasn't paying any attention to it. It was just there to track the data and I could look at it later.

About 1/3 of a mile of the course, each way, was on a dirt trail/road. On the way back I adjusted my foot fall to avoid a slippery rock and felt the ground just give way under my foot. I don't know how I did it, but I managed to pull my foot, which was half sunken into a hole, up and out without falling or twisting my ankle. (Altho, even a couple days later I can feel something, tendons or ligaments, strained on that side). A guy running next to me gasped and asked if I was okay. When I said I was he said, "Wow, that was close!" You're not kidding! But soon enough I was on my way into transition and onto the bike. (Fastest T1 for women too, thankyouverymuch!)

I had ridden the three bears route before, but it had been a while. I have to say that while the three bears part of the course were about what I remembered, some long up hills, some nice down hills, the rest of the course was more rolling than I remembered. I passed a few people climbing, would get passed by some folks descending (is it legal to pick up some bricks at the top of the hill and drop them at the bottom?!?!). I played leapfrog with one woman and managed to pass her on the last big down hill and didn't see her again on the bike. Mostly I just tried to keep my tired legs moving, up, up, up and recover but still pedal some speed on the down, down, down. Stay off the paint (slippery), watch for the turns. My legs were definitely feeling a bit trashed by the last of the hills and I was pretty sure the next run would be ugly.

Mama, Papa, and Baby bear.
I don't think I'd call any of them 'just right.'

I came into transition, racked the bike, pulled on my running shoes as best I could with cold hands and got moving again. At least I think I was moving. I couldn't feel my legs at all. I don't think they were all that cold, just trashed from the hills. It felt like I had two stumps of wood rather than legs. And it stayed that way for about 2/3 of the last run. At the turn around I saw one woman in my age group and just tried to keep my legs moving enough to stay in front of her. I finally made the last turn toward the finish line, and just had to make it up the hill back to transition (evil, evil, way to finish).

Yeah, this was definitely not a flat run....then again, 
I'm not sure why I thought it would be.  
Run course was basically the same for both run legs.

I'm not overly thrilled with my performance, but as was brought to my attention, it's February and I'm not exactly in 'race' shape just yet. I'm still base building and don't need to stress out over the results from a "C" race in February for goodness sake. I did end up 2nd in my AG (out of 4, so I guess that's 50%, eh?) , and it's always fun to bring home bling.  Even if it's just a cute little plaque.

Some things I learned. Or learned *again*.

  • If I'm warm at the start, I have too many layers on. I had a wind jacket on over my bike jersey and I ended up riding with it half unzipped for the entire ride. Wind sail anyone?
  • Um, yeah, about that jacket. I haven't raced in it before. Nothing new on race day! The back pocket is a zip pocket and I had zipped my gels in there so they wouldn't get bounced out on the run. And the zipper proceeded to get stuck while I was trying to get my second gel on the bike out of the pocket. So I managed to blow my nutrition plan there. I could tell I really needed that gel too...I was getting a bit light headed toward the end of the bike. Oy.
  • I need to spend some time riding in the rain if I'm going to do early season races. No it will not be fun, but what else will make me more comfortable on wet race days than practice?
Live and and learn.  Best of all, I get to practice all over again in about a month!

Monday, February 13, 2012

itty bitty muscles

I know, a race report is due, and I promise it's in the works.  Patience grasshopper (says the pot to the kettle).

This morning I saw a new PT.  My regular guy wanted a second set of eyes to take a look at my chronically jacked (yes, that *is* my technical term) shoulder.  So he wanted me to see Katie, who was a diver/swimmer at Stanford, is currently a triathlete, and has her PhD in physical therapy.  Or something like that.  Dr. Katie.

She took a quick history of when the shoulder seems the worst (swimming with paddles) and grimaced when I said that I also tend to sleep on that shoulder.  Then she immediately got to work digging into a bunch of old adhesions.  She may or may not have told me that I win the award.  Unfortunately "most impressively messed up shoulder" is *not* really the award I'm really shooting for.

What it basically comes down to is that some of the chronically tight, dysfunctional muscles are pulling, pulling, pulling.  And the itty bitty teeny tiny muscles, like some of the rotator cuff muscles, are just doing everything they can to hold it all in place.   But they're losing.  The lower trap on the left side has next to no muscle mass and is getting really stretched out.  And my internal rotation, which is evidently pretty much required for a good swim stroke, is non-existent.  The good news is that once I get this fixed up, and I am determined to get this fixed up, my swim stroke should see some nice improvement.  And who doesn't like improvement?!?!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

getting ready

It's early February.  And for this year, that must's time to get ready for a race! 

Now, I use the term race loosely here.  This is not one of my big races for the year, more like a good, tough training day.  Some attempts at speedy running and hauling my butt up some hills on my bike.  It's been a while since I've done that for sure.  Time to tackle the "3 Bears Du."  So far the weather is looking good, projected as partly cloudy with a high of 63.  Nice.

And a quick update on my little monster.....

She's *quite* happy without her spleen, thankyouverymuch.  Doesn't seem to miss it a bit.  Her appetite is good (a little *too* good).  The 'regulars' on our walk route are amazed at how well she's doing.  It's like she's a new dog.  She's got pep in her step!  And in what has to be a coincidence, she has been doing well with her neck issues/limping and hasn't had to go back for acupuncture since right before her spleen came out.  I have the feeling that what I attributed to 'she's just getting older' was really that she wasn't feeling so good.  And now, we take every day as a gift and she just gets spoiled rotten.  (And that's different from exactly?)

Happy Race Week to me!