Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Keeping The Old But Inserting Some New Goals

I wonder if this is going to work. I just wrote a long post and lost it.
 Looks like it's working so I'll try again. I was being so creative too. Darn. I don't think I can reproduce it as good as it was the first time.

 It's been almost a year since I posted anything. A lot has happened in the past year but I'm not one to mull over the past.

 In less than a week Stan and I will be taking off for Des Moines, Iowa for The 5150 Nat'l  Championships on Sept. 2. We qualified last year by winning our respective Age Groups. It was a fun race and we are anxious to go back. We swim in a nice quiet lake, ride on wide roads with no traffic and finish the race in front of the state Capitol. Extremely well organized.

 I doubt if I will do as well this year because I am looking at arthroscopic surgery on my right knee  Sept 6.  I will swim as fast as I can and ride my bike as fast as I can but the run will have to take care of itself. I'll probably be walking a lot. Of course we entered long before the knee issue but had so much fun last year we decided to go back anyway.

I have a new hobby now that will keep me occupied during recovery from the surgery.

 I have taken up target shooting. I have a new .22 LR rifle. I'm just a beginner so I will be doing a lot of practice. I have taken one 2.5 hr. lesson, learned a lot and improved a lot. It's loads of fun and definitely challenging.This fall I'm taking an Appleseed rifleman training course.  They teach the history of rifleman from the Revolutionary War. There are several locations throughout the country and I have found a couple near where I live and am going to attend one.  I will learn marksmanshop in the four basic positions and after I have mastered  shooting in the four positions I will be certified  rifleman marksman.  Cool!  Somethng to shoot for! : )  They have women instructors as well as men and women are encouraged to come and learn.

 Since I will have to start over again on my running maybe I can actually improve there too. Triathlon will always be a big part of my life. It's pretty addictive. I can't imagine not doing regular training or racing. I am more and more interested in getting back to my first interest.... swimming. I love open water swimming and will be looking for an open water swim or two next year. They are never in convenient places for me to travel. So I will have to see. Maybe I'll be the one to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Fl without a shark cage. HA!

Don't know why the font is diferent on the last paragraph.  ???

 I guess since it's been so long since I've done this I have to learn all over again.:(

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ironman Florida

After training for nearly 5 months to participate in The Florida Ironman on Nov. 5, 2011, I scatched the race.
Why I decided to not race was a simple decision. It was too cold.

When we arrived in Panama City Beach, it was a nice day. The sea was calm and the water was turquoise blue and green... beautiful, and of course the beaches are sugar white. But on the second day, things turned different. The temperature dropped a lot ... to the 40's and the sea churned up with rough waves. The next day was even colder, with the wind blowing hard and the sea rougher still. Only a handful of people were venturing into the water for practice swims.

The forecast said it would be in the low 40's race morning with temperatures climbing to the low 70's for a high.
Since we have to rack our bikes the day before the race I had to make my decision that day as to whether I was going to race or not.

A lot of triathletes come from cooler climates and of course they are ALL younger, if that makes any difference. Many thought the low 70's temp was perfect. I, on the other hand, was thinking about how cold I would be AFTER the swim on the bike BEFORE it reached the low 70's. :) I even bought an inexpensive windbraker to wear at the beginning of the bike leg to discard later when it warmed up. But observing how things were the day before I knew I would not do it. People were doing training rides with leg warmers and long sleeves, jackets and walking aound with stocking caps. Stocking Caps!!! Are you kidding ? This is a triathlon not a ski resort! Who thinks to take a stocking cap to a triathlon?

Some people prefer cool temperatures but not me. I live where it is warm year round and if we have a short cold front, I just train indoors. I'm not going to ever get acclimated to the cold. The high temps in the summer however are another story. High temps I can tolerate better than most.
As it turned out I was more than glad I did not start the race. The next morning the water was smooth as glass, with a temperature of 69 degrees and the air temp was in the low 40's. The water temperature did not concern me although I don't think I have ever swam in water that cold; the wetsuits do a terrific job of keeping you warm. My concern was for after the swim. I would have been shaking like a leaf. No fun at all. This triathlon business is supposed to be fun and I did not see anything fun about to happen.
Observing the swim portion of race from the VIP observation deck, I was shivering. No way at all did I wish I had made a different decision. I had on jeans, shoes and socks, a sweatshirt and my new windbraker.

There was a record set that day. The overall male finisher was the first person to break 8 hrs in an Ironman in North America. But he hadn't done so well in Kona a few weeks earlier. He dropped out of the race at the 5K mark. Maybe it was too hot for him.:)

I have made some decisions now about my future triathlon career. No more triathlons in Nov. The weather in Nov is too unpredictable. I have done four races in Forida in Nov and three of them were cold. Whatever made me think it was warm in Florida ? If you want to be warm,
come to south Texas. It was 82 deg when we got home.

I am also seriously considering retiring from Ironman. Not positive yet. You know, 'Never Say Never'. The training is very hard and I don't recover as well as a did just a couple years ago. It's been a hard year due to a late build up in the spring because I had a stupid injury.
There are a few things I could do to improve my recovery and training strategy. I will see how things go over the Winter .
I have decided to focus for now on improving my running and getting faster for the shorter events. I am entered in at least one maybe two 70.3 (half Ironman) a Nat'l Championship for the 5150 distance and a training camp. Also several short runs 5Ks and 10Ks.
I'm excited about having a new focus. It would really be cool to run an entire 10K without walking.
I'm not sad about Florida but I still love The Ironman. I did get in great shape and lose a bunch of weight training. So we'll see how I do and maybe re-evaluate things next spring.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Preparing for Des Moines

Stan and I are getting ready to leave Wednesday morning for Des Moines to particiapate in The 5150 National Championships. This is the first time this race has been held. But Des Moines has been hosting triathlons for several years and is very proud to be the host city. The 5150 name comes from the total distance of the race.... 1.5 K swim, 40 K bike and 10K run= 5150.

I haven't trained real hard for this race. It is sort of a "B" race for me as my "A" Race is the Florida Ironman on Nov. 5. So this is like a test to see where my training is at this point. When we get back, IM training will kick into full swing.

I think this is going to be fun. An Olympic distance triathlon is short enough that it had ought to not 'kill me off' but challenging enough to push me. No wetsuit swim at this race. The lake water is 82°. I'll not be wearing my arm coolers either because they take too long to put on. I haven't decided whether to wear my Vibrams or my K- Swiss shoes for the run yet. I can certainly run 6.2 miles in my Vibrams ( I call them my toe shoes). I will take both and check out the run course after we get there. I run faster, easier and better and it's more fun in my Vibrams but if I'm running on concrete it might be too hard of a surface. I don't want to get another stress fracture!

We will toe the line Sun, Sept 4 for the 5150. My wave states at 7:15 AM and I'll be done before noon, at least I'd better be! :)

I haven't done an Olympic Distance race in so many years I have forgotten the last time I did one. We actually qualified at the New Orleans 5150 last April but it turned out to be a Run/Bike/ Run race because the water in lake Pontchatrain was too rough for swimming. This should be an interesting experience. I am so used to distance triathlon, I'll have to approach this one differently. I might actually have to go fast!

I'm not familiar with the terrain in Des Moines so we'll check it out as soon as we get there. I'm hoping the bike course is not as hilly as it looks on the graph. We always arrive a couple days early to get settled in and get all the preliminary stuff done.

We have a lot of stuff to do the last day before we leave. We contact the Police and neighbors to keep an eye on our house. The Police do a wonderful job, checking the premises several times a day. Newspaper has to be stopped as well as the mail. Also watering the yard and plants thoroughly to keep them alive for a few days.

Two triathletes traveling to a Triathlon is like moving. There is so much that has to be done. And of course we still have a full day of training to do on the last day. Since we are driving, bikes have to be loaded into the truck and all tri gear packed. Thank goodness this isn't a long trip and we don't have to take a lot of clothes.

One less burdensome article... I've got my new Kindle so I don't have to lug a big book along too. I'll just stick the Kindle in my purse. I never go anywhere with out my book/s
This is just a rambling blog so I'll head off to bed now so I can get everything done tomorrow. First thing is an early morning run before it gets 100°.
'llI write again after the race an sum up how it went.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Training in the Semi- Tropics

It's hot here in South Texas. The entire country is suffering through a big heat wave. But here at home, it feels just like it always does this time of year.
Stan and I did a long bike ride today and the heat index was 106° when we finished. I think I got a little dehydrated. I was wearing/using an ice and water filled camelback, had an aero-bottle of Gatorade, and an additional water bottle. Drained nearly all of them. Still, when I finished I felt a little light headed. Then I drank an entire bottle of water and a small bottle of GatorAde. It took me several minutes to recover.
We started early, but not early enough I guess. It doesn't really matter. The temperature doesn't drop much at night, the humidity increases and the wind picks up as the day warms up. So It's always hot no matter when you ride. Getting an early start simple means it's not as windy... yet!

I'm wearing arm coolers this year. I have acquired a lot of sun damage in the past and so now at this late date I am protecting my skin more (not just wearing sunscreen) from the sun. They really do feel cooler as you perspire and the wind blows over your arms. So far they are working... 4 hrs in the sun and no sunburn.

Cycling in the heat is not a problem for me as much as running in the heat. I have a long run tomorrow so I will probably get up before dawn to start. It won't be cool but It will be dark and I won't have the sun beating down on me. I'll be perspiring in a couple minutes anyway. That's what living in a humid environment is like. :)

Well, that's enough about the heat. It's always hot in the summer.:)

I am training again for an Ironman. This year I am entered in the Florida Ironman on Nov 5. IMFL is where I first qualified for the World Championships in Kona, HA. Hoping to do it again 10 years later. I may be older, but I think I am wiser and a lot more experienced. It would sure be cool if I could come close to the time I did back then.

In Sept, Stan and I will be racing in Des Moines, Iowa in an Olympic distance Triathlon (1.5K Swim,40 K bike,10 K run). It is called 5150 for the total distance of the race. It willl be the Nat'l Championships for that Distance. I hope to do well there. It will be sort of a measurment test for Ironman Florida.

I had some minor injuries this past winter so I'm a little behind in my training from where I usually am this time of year. But I have confidence that my trusty coach will get me in shape. Looks like training volume has already picked up. I love it. I just have to make sure I get in all my training and follow my training diet and not get injured.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Overcoming Injuries

It's been so long since I posted anything, a lot has happened.
On Dec 13 I suffered a stress fracture in the second metatartsal of my right foot. I was enjoying my running so much for a month or so in my new Vibrams five finger shoes.
Vibrams are like running barefoot. It is the newest craze in running but actually it has been around forever. Barefoot running is the natural way to run. But if you are used to lots of cushioning and stability in your running shoes, you might find them uncomfortable. I tried them out when I was in Kona last year and loved them immediately. Since I've never been a great runner, I discovered that I was running better, differently and faster in my new Vibrams. Running was fun again and I was looking forward to every running workout. I was running longer before I felt the need to walk and I was running faster. In short I was having a blast.

But on Dec 13 I felt a sharp pain while running and stopped to walk a bit. After a couple minutes I decided it wasn't so bad so started to run again. Almost immediately I 'heard' it crack. I might still be trying to get home if a nice couple hadn't come along and offered me a ride home (neighbors). I had an X-ray the next morning but a stress fracrture will not show up on an X-ray. A day later I saw my sports medicine Orthopaedic specialtist. No running for 4 weeks and I was to wear the hard soled shoe they gave me to keep my foot from flexing.
Christmas came and went in that time and I was still able to bike and swim. But since Christmas takes almost the entire month of December I didn't really get in much training.
We went to VA to visit our daughter for Christmas and it was so cold I didn't go outdoors the whole time we were there. But I did do 2-3 w/o's on the bike trainer.
Home for the New Year and company for New Years Day dinner. By the end of the day, my right leg was hurting so bad I could barely walk. It got so bad in a couple days that I drug out some old crutches I had from an old injury.
Stan was taking really good care of me but on Jan 5 th , he was out for a training ride on his bike and had an accident. I got a call from a man ,several blocks away, that I had never heard of, who told me my husband had been in an accident and an ambulance was taking him to the hospital
Stan told this man who lived on the street where he had crashed that I couldn't drive, due to my own injury. So this very kind man ( an X- Marine) came to my house and took me to the hospital to see Stan. I had to wait for X-ray's on Stan's leg. He couldn't move it. Of course it was broken(displaced) and we had to contact our Orthopedic surgeon. Stan had to be moved again to another hospital. There I was stuck at the hospital with no transportation home. My transportation neighbor had left me at the hospital but told me that when I needed to leave, he would come get me and take me home. I'm still amazed of the genorosity of strangers.

As it turned out I was able to drive, just could not walk without my crutches and I was in horrible pain. Stan had surgery on Jan 6th and had a 14 in. rod inserted in his femur. He survived the surgery in great shape and was transferred to a rehab hospital a day and a half later. Stan's recovery has been remarkable.
He is now riding an hour or more on his trainer, able to swim 1500 m in a pool and walk 40 min with a cane (that's a step up from the walker) He hates both.

My condition however, was still in a terrible shape while Stan was in the hospital. I finally got referred to a PT who was able to get rid of my pain in about three visits. I had Kinesio taping, Dry Needling, Massage and heat.
Diagnosis was Lateral hip syndrone due to limping around for 3 weeks on a post-op shoe. I was using a lot of secondary muscles and developed a lot of knots etc. It was the worst pain I ever had in my life. Pain was from my right lateral hip, all down my leg to the ankle and included my foot.
I have now fully recovered from the stress fracture and the Lateral hip problem and I am back to full triathlon training. I've lost a lot of conditioning but it's coming back fast.

I am going to try to get back to running in the Vibrams but I will transition to them more slowly than in the past. I am convinced they are the best way for me to run. I will not run in them every day and be more careful to not get an overuse injury again. My stress fracture is labeled an overuse injury. In this case it was running too far too soon in barefoot shoes. I'll alternate with shoes with a little more cushoning but will definately use them to race and in training to get the feel of correct form.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Well, it's been a while since the Hawwain Ironman. I don't think I felt like writing about it right away. I'm still not fond of the memory.

As my friends know, I pulled a DNF. That was the last thing I expected to happen. I had trained so hard for so long. But somehow I knew things were not quite right going to Kona and all the days leading up to the race. I was just not performing like I would expect to do going into an Ironman race.

My running was pitiful. I had turned to race walking several months before because I was convinced I could not run. Therefore I decided I would learn to racewalk. My running was so slow that I could walk almost as fast as I could run. But racewalking is really hard. A lot harder than I knew. The physical act of heel striking in a walk is very hard on one's shin muscles. And as I gradually increased my running/walking time and milage, my shins began to hurt. At first just a little but as I added more time on my feet it became worse and about 3 weeks before Hawaii I was in such pain I could not put any weight on my leg at all.
I entered a 1/2 IM in Dallas in mid- Sept. and could not complete the run. In fact, at that point my leg was so injured it hurt to swim or cycle. After we came home from Dallas, I had an X-ray and MRI to determine if I had a stress fracture, which would have put me out of the race completely. Tests were negative but that didn't stop the pain. I had physical therapy everyday until we left for Kona and didn't run a step. Not good. But I thought if I could get through the bike I would kill myself to finish no matter what the cost.

As it turned out I didn't have to do that. The swim is what did me in. That is still something I don't understand. The swim at Kona is always challenging but I had trained hard and felt confident. Besides I love to swim and I'm not afraid of open water. But it is tougher than a lake or river swim. The first half is fairly comfortable but the second is always a lot harder. I think because we are swimming with the out flow on the first part of the swim and this year there were several BIG swells towards the end. I felt like I was swimming and swimming and not going anywhere.

When I did finish I was very tired, way too tired. I didn't recover for 30 minutes or more. I was in a state of exhaustion going into the bike and that is not a good thing. Needless to say the bike leg started off bad and didn't get any better.Way before half way on the bike I 'threw in the towel' knowing that I was so far behind and I knew I did not have the speed to cover the distance in the time left. My reasoning at that time was "why should I kill myself off for the next few hours and still not make the bike cut-off time"?

I'm still not sure I made the right decision. But I knew for sure I could not have made the bike cut-off. The question I ask myself is, 'should I have stuck it out until they pulled me off the ccourse'? I did that before and that is too depressing. I didn't want to experience that again.

There probably is an explanation for my performance that day but I don't know what it is.

What I do know is this....
I will never give up. I have 'gone back to the drawing board'. I'm going back to basics and learning how to run again. I'm lifting more weight than I ever have. I'm working on speed and power in the water and the bike. I'm running faster than I have in years. I'm having fun and looking forward to 2011 and some new challenges.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pre-race training in Kona, Hi

Well, The time is almost here. I am in Kona, Hi now doing some easy pre-race training.
I'm getting used to the winds on the Queen K highway and swimming in the ocean.

It's strange that I train in the wind all the time, as I live near the Gulf of Mexico, but the trade winds blowing off the ocean are still stronger than the winds I have at home. It's important to stay focused when the winds are blowing hard. I have been almost blown off the road several times. If the wind is in your face, the effort is magnified many times. If you get the wind at your back , you can fly down the hills. But most of the time the wind is a cross-wind and bowing all the time

Swimming in the ocean is a lot different than swimming in a pool. I have done thousands of yards/meters in training but the ocean is harder. Just like the wind, the ocean is variable. Some days it is smooth (relatively) and other days it is rough. I've swam in the ocean three times since I've been here and it has been different each time. But I am getting used to it. I'm learning to'rock and roll' with the swells and waves. I'm convinced that if I could swim in the ocean regularly, I'd be a lot stronger.

The seafood here is wonderful as one would expect. But I'm trying to not 'pig-out'. We're eating in our condo for breakfast and for lunch and have a nice dinner at night. I bought a couple papayas at the farmers market. They are the best ever! I love Mai Tais.... they are not sold at the farmer's market. They are my favorite alcoholic drink. I only have them in Hawaii.:)

I have been testing my injured leg since we've been here. An overuse injury put an end to my running a few weeks ago. I was taking physical therapy every day before we left. I did not run or walk fast for two weeks.
But I did a run/walk workout a couple days ago andmy leg seems to be holding up well. I don't think it is 100% well so I am focusing on swimming and cycling right now and hope for the best on race day.

Resting a lot now has it's disadvantages. I don't know what to do with myself. But I want my body to be fully rested by race day.

We plan on a snorkel cruise next week as a diversion before the race. Love swimming with the fishes. So looking forward to that. My confidence is building a little day by day.