Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Break

This weekend was tied up in resolving loose ends and hanging out with friends and family. Since I didn't train other than swim and strength building exercises I tried to use my time taking care of other things.

Our house has a problem with plumbing backing up. Just recently it really backed up bad and after plunging, snaking and using an inordinate amount of chemicals, it wouldn't give. So, we had to call in the big boys: Roto Rooter. Well, they did the job. Thank goodness because every toilet and shower in the house wouldn't drain.

Next I bought a new dryer. Our last one was louder than a lug nut in a hub cap. It's amazing how quiet a new runs!

Then I did a bunch of laundry to get caught up.

Another thing we're doing now that summer is started is having the kids make their lunches for camp rather than charging it to the monthly gym bill for cafe-made lunches. I took Elise, Grace, and Mia to Walmart and went through a detailed shopping list picking easy-to-make items. We decided to make a rather hardy lunch since the first thing the kids will do is swim team every morning, which should knacker them out fairly will. I'm looking forward to tired kids at night so it'll be a bit more quiet around the house.

We also had Tanya's brother and family come into town for Colorado Springs, so we spent a bit of time with them. And, we spent time with friends.

All these things are good distractions so I'll let my leg heal. I'm struggling to stay still and let my leg heal. But, I know it's the best thing to do right now. I feel like my leg is half-way there. Perhaps one more week and I can do my first bike ride. I'm scared now that I'll reaggrevate it so I'm trying to be smart. I have found that the BOSU is a good implement to improving my leg. We'll see. My spirits seem to be a bit better though. Sometimes it helps to thing long-term rather than "right now". On the plus side, my swimming is really improving. I swam 4100 yards on Monday. I was able to really push hard. In fact, I took my own lane and nearly doubled the workout. It's my only outlet at the moment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Watching the World Go By

It’s at these times, when I’m sidelined from the events I love, that I really realize how much training means to me. I feel lost and out of sorts. You’d think I’d be soaking up the free time and relaxing in a hammock in the shade fully absorbed in a book. You’d think. But, I’m not. I’m irritable; I’m grumpy; and I’m pensive. I have this nagging feeling that all I’ve trained for these last months is slowly slipping away. I feel like an addict wanting one more fix of a 5 hour ride…just to let me know I still have it in me. Fitness is so fleeting—especially at the higher end of your capabilities. And, sitting around doing nothing can’t be good…right? I don’t know. This trial and error training approach is so tough on the psyche. I’ve always been of the mindset of doing too much is better than doing too little, and that doesn’t seem to work in triathlon training. It just gets you injured.

I’ve sent out a few emails to potential coaches. I’ve received one response so far saying he only coaches 10 athletes at a given time and he’s currently full but will add me to the waiting list. I sent a request to the number one ranked coach in the nation who coaches the best ironman triathletes in the world. It was a long shot. He charges way more than I can afford, so I pleaded with him to take me in as a charity case at a great discounted monthly charge. I haven’t received a response yet. I figure it’s worth trying at least. I’ll send a few more requests for other coaches. I think, generally, when you approach a potential coach, and pay him or her the full amount they ask, there wouldn’t be any hesitation. Sure…let’s get started. But, I can’t afford what they’re asking, so I’m telling them what I can afford, which is still significant for me, but less than what they’re asking. I suspect this is why I’ve been wait-listed on my first response so far. I think coaches would be willing to take a haircut on fees for someone if they knew there were great upside results potential, and I think I have that quality. But, it’s still too early to tell. I don’t have much in the way of results. So, I’m an unknown quantity. From they’re perspective, I could be a bag of hot wind that’ll blow out quickly. I know that’s not the case, but I’ll have to convince them.

I’ll keep you posted on the coach selection process.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I kind of hit rock bottom this last week with exhaustion and a nagging injury. I’ve tried to push through this one too long and think I need to rest up, cease running and cycling (especially painful) activities for a brief spell, and try to get better. Saturday, the masters team did a 5X1000 meter practice. I did my first three at about 17 minutes each. The next one was 18:30 and the final was >20 minutes. I didn’t realize how much the swim took out of me. I came home, ate breakfast, lounged with literally no motivation, and finally went out on the bike about 9:30AM. After about 5 minutes of riding, I became acutely aware I didn’t have the energy to ride another 4 hours. I turned around and came home. I’ve been training consistently since December at an average of 15-20 hours a week. In that time frame, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends…and it’s finally caught up to me. Our bodies are great at telling us when enough is enough. As an athlete, you learn to ignore the pain and the fatigue because continuing on will make you stronger. This is true with proper rest and recovery. But, without that recovery, you just dig yourself into a hole. I’m in that hole regardless of whether I want to acknowledge it or not. I’ve put off that knowledge hoping for a miracle of sorts. Saturday brought that knowledge home to me. I need rest.

I plan on taking off running and cycling for a couple of weeks…it kills me to do so, but I really don’t have any choice. I’ll continue to swim because it’s non-impact and you lose form quickly. I’ll do some strength training activities in the interim.

One other resolution: I NEED A COACH! I’ve been killing myself training every waking moment available. I need someone to tell me to back off (or pick it up). I’m not objective and often find myself with a “More is Better” approach to training. I need someone who can harvest my potential yet keep me fit/healthy enough to keep going year round. I hate trying to get a coach because they can be expensive. They can cost as much as $500 a month—that’s a car payment for goodness sake. But, something’s got to change or I’ll self-destruct.

Finally, I took the wife to the Tamaya resort Saturday night/Sunday day for a belated Mother’s Day gift without the kids. It was a great get away. I’m amazed at how quickly I get used to a quiet/calm atmosphere. We spent the night at one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in New Mexico, and we spent the day by the pool in the sun lounging. It was truly great.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't Read This!

I've been in the dumps lately. I can't run and am losing all the run fitness I built up. I worked tonight until 8:30PM. My boss keeps insinuating that I need to work more. I feel like it's a battle just to train anymore, and, if I can, I hurt myself. Why can't I just win the lottery and do what I want?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Run Assessment: BAD!

I got up early and ran for 30 minutes in the morning before work. About a minute into it, my hip flexor started to hurt again. Before I could run without pain but felt a pain for about 2-3 hours after running. Now, I feel pain while I run and after. Basically, the results of the assessment were: Fail! I was very discouraged. I put off taking Ibuprofen as long as possible but the pain was pretty intense. When I got to work, I scheduled an appointment with the ortho just to rule out the worst possible scenario: femoral kneck stress fracture. Though it’s a low probability; the risk is high with runners and I had some symptoms. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The ortho x-rayed my hip and moved my leg in awkward positions and assessed there wasn’t a stress fracture. She referred me to a PT. I pleaded for a cortisone shot or steroids that would allow me pick up my running where I left off and prevent any future injuries--anything to carry me forward. No such luck.

As I take on the quest for Kona…I’m constantly reminded this may, indeed, be a longer road than I initially hoped. It seems I take 2 steps forward and one step back. I’ve been really frustrated and even considered quitting. I have less than 2 months before my first event and that’s now at risk. One of my goals for this year is to realize my running potential. How can I do so if I’m always on the mend for some running injury?

I scheduled my PT appointment and rode my TT bike after work. I hadn’t ridden for a week and I was rested. I joined a friend and we did a TT effort to the east side of the mountain. It must have been all the frustration from not being able to run, the rest, or work related stress, but I put down an incredible time. I dropped my riding partner on the way out and put some good time into him at the finish. I hit a HR of 185 BPM. It was just what I needed. I felt no pain when I rode.

It looks like the next month or so will be swim/bike/rehab focused. It’s not cool but it’s better than a dull stick in the eye.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Swim Week

This week I racked up roughly 16,500 yards of swimming. I did one yoga class…did lots of stretching throughout the week, and didn’t run or ride my bike. I’d like to say my leg is 100% and I’ll be training full speed ahead. But, my leg still doesn’t feel 100%...it’s better but not 100%. Sunday, the three older kids did the 5K Run For The Zoo and I toted Mia around on my shoulders for the duration. I was worried I’d be sore afterwards but wasn’t. That’s an improvement. I’ll have my first test run tomorrow. I’ll start with an easy 30 minute run and assess from there.

Otherwise the weekend was good. I watched Ethan’s basketball team demolish another team. Ethan and another player were on fire. By the third quarter, the refs pulled the score and just let the kids play out the time.

Afterwards, the family went and watched the new X-Man/Wolverine movie. It was entertaining and fun to hang out. We smuggled in lots of candy; I had my favorite Peanut Butter M&Ms. Oh yeah!

We just signed the three oldest kids up for the local swim team. I timed Elise while she swam 100 meters for a before-and-after comparison. She swam it in 3:20; She used all sorts of strokes (i.e. dog paddle, back, modified crawl); she rested at the wall. It wasn’t pretty but she got it done. It’ll be interesting to see what her post-summer time will be. I’ve told her the focus this summer is to focus on form/technique and endurance. We don’t need to worry about speed or races—those will come later. Elise has the perfect body and determination to be a great swimmer, if she get’s hooked. Unfortunately, she gets put off of any thing I try to push her into. So, I have to not pressure her. Don’t worry though, I’ve already contacted the swim coach at my alma mater to see what she needs to be able to do for swim camp next year. I’m so bad!

Friday, May 1, 2009

1 Year Away

One year from today, I will be gutting it out again in the St. George Iron Man hopefully with better results--healthy running split. The times at this event will be less relevant as the placings for the Kona ticket because the bike and run course are horrendously challenging with elevation gains. Check out the course profiles:

No sense in getting worried about the elevation gain...just have to train...specificity...specificity. The bike course picks up upwards of 4,500 feet of elevation and the run picks up another 2,000 feet. I couldn't live in a better place to prepare with high altitude and lots of climbing--no worries!

Leg is slowly getting better and I'm enjoying recovery time. Tomorrow's day starts with a swim with Masters, watching son's basketball game, and relaxing by the pool...oh and maybe catching a movie with the kids. Now that's what I'm looking forward to.

This next year's going to be crazy! I hope to see as many friends and family as possible at the finish line this year.