Monday, November 24, 2014

No Pain No Gain

I think that people throw around the saying "No pain, no gain" pretty frequently without really understanding what it means. After going through rehab for my foot injury I feel pretty sure I know EXACTLY what the saying truly means to the nth degree.  Several people have asked me about the PRP therapy that I did so I thought I would write a nice little blog post for you to describe it in detail and hopefully answer any and all questions.

First, bones and muscles have a lot of blood flow going to them and as you probably know blood carries your body's healing agents.  This is why muscle injuries and bones can heal much  more quickly than tendons or ligaments which have very little blood flow.

I did several rounds of biopuncture leading up to the September race in an effort to speed along the healing process while stubbornly staying committed to doing the race. Biopuncture is the injection of  biologically active substances which are physiologically regulating. The injections generally also include some sort of pain management ingredient.  These injections while fairly painful at first leave the area pretty numb after a few minutes, the worst injection was into the second metatarsal joint. I think biopuncture is a useful tool if you start treating an injury pretty soon after it occurs but the level of pain I was in coupled with the fact my tendons where essentially fused together meant that biopuncture was not effective in solving my issue.

After my race failure I threw up my hands and told the doctor I would do whatever he wanted me to so that I could get back to full training by January 1st.  He immediately mentioned a boot and PRP.  PRP stands for Platelet-Rich Plasma and is a process by which the doctor draws your own blood, spins it for 14 minutes to draw out the platelets and then injections the platelets into the affected areas.  This process is the most painful procedure I have ever experienced.  Drawing the blood is no problem at all but the needle used to inject them back in is rather large and these injections go much deeper than the Biopuncture. 

Dr Scott at performance health suggested that we do three rounds, each spaced a week apart to really get ahead of things and attempt to aggressively get me back to training.  The first round as scheduled at 10am and I went to work afterwards and that was a HORRIBLE idea.  The pain was intense, white hot pain that made it almost impossible to walk even with the boot.  I promptly changed the appointments for the next two rounds to be later in the day. I highly recommend doing the injections late and then going straight home and putting your foot up.  You are not supposed to take any sort of anti-inflammatory because your body's natural healing involves swelling and let me tell you my foot looked like a Flintstones foot for the better part of those three weeks. The intense pain that limits walking and movement lasted about 24 hours the first time, however it increased with the second and third rounds. With Biopuncture it is important to get the area moving immediately post injections, however with PRP the goal is actually to keep the area pretty immobilized in order to allow the platelets to do their job and repair the area. 

The first round of injections was done on October 13th and Dr Scott said that typically it is 6-8 weeks to notice the gains from the injections, this week is 6 weeks from that first round and I have definitely noticed drastic improvement.  I no longer have constant pain in my foot, however I still am not allowed to do much as far as training. We have coupled the injections with pretty intense manual therapy, which is essentially a very focused, very deep massage.  For me this has been an extremely painful but cathartic process to break up all the scar tissue and fascia that has formed binding the tendons together and keeping my toes from properly moving.  

While this whole process has been extremely painful I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I even got in the pool on Saturday and swam 1000 meters with the pull buoy, still can't kick but at least I was able to practice!

If you have any other questions that I didn't answer let me know!


Swim: 1000m
Bike:
Run:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tenacious D...I mean triathlete...Tenacious Triathlete.

The other day I was talking with a very good friend of mine who shares my passion and dedication for running and it gave me a brilliant idea for a blog.

I have long been called stubborn, strong willed and pigheaded (thanks mom).  While sitting down to write this I looked up some synonyms for stubborn and I picked out a few I really like, tenacious, persistent and iron-willed.  Sure there were plenty of synonyms that have much more negative connotations but for the purpose of our conversation we are going to stick with the positive. Just like in life, if you keep a positive spin on things you will be happier in my opinion.

Being stubborn to a degree is a require trait for any endurance event because your legs will want to quit, your body will be exhausted, your brain will question your motives and you need that small part of you that says, "sorry shut up legs, get over it body and who cares brain." I've been pigheaded since I was a small child and I am sure that made things slightly difficult for my parents but I think they did a fabulous job of fostering my fierce independence while reigning me in when it was necessary. My mom might just describe me as complete nuts now after watching my races, kidding, at least I hope.

Whenever I meet new people they are always amazed when I say my first ever running race was a half marathon and their eyes bug out of their heads when I say I signed up for a half iron having no idea how to swim.  The first thing they always ask is "how did you know you would be ready."  My answer is always, "there was no other option."  It isn't in my DNA to not complete a challenge that I have created.  Now to clarify I always make sure I have the proper lead time going into a race to ensure I have the correct training but I can't imagine signing up and then not doing the work to make it happen.  It isn't to prove something to anyone else and I think that is the important fact, it is for me to show myself that I am capable of the greatest challenges I can find.

This tenacity is why I love my role in helping others achieve their goals and helping them to learn how to be stubborn.  Mental toughness can be trained just like anything else but it is MUCH harder.  Unfortunately being strong-willed isn't always a great personality trait in my current rehab senario and it likely is what caused me to have a harder recovery since I didn't head to the dr at the first sign of pain.

After a month in das boot I moved to real shoes this week and let me tell you that was a HUGE relief as I was so tired of wearing that stupid boot. The physical therapist and the doctor are pleased with my progress after the Platelet Replacement Therapy, which was the most painful experience of my life.  I, however, am frustrated and impatient and trying very hard to not over do things as I wait for the tendons to figure out how to repair themselves and stop constantly hurting.

I'm feeling the pressure of my impending race season and it is making me feel extremely restless to get back to training but I know that pushing too hard right now could cost me months or even a race in the future.  How does one stubbornly rest?  Well they start getting back to strength training slowly while monitoring their foot, they learn to ice said foot three times a day and they read a bunch of books about training.  I've also been doing some mentoring and I volunteered at the NYC marathon which was a fabulous chance to meet some wonderful ladies.  It is a great feeling when people come up to you and say "Oh wow YOU are Katrina! I've heard so much about you!"

Here's to an injury free 2015 and a soon to be productive off season!

Resetting the mile counters to 0 (until I'm cleared to really work out they will stay there)
Swim:
Bike:
Run:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough

Dreams can mean so many different things for so many people but for me a dream is a goal that I set for myself that seems unattainable. You don't want your dreams to be easy because going down an easy path doesn't make you grow as a person. If you don't face your fears you will never feel the euphoric feeling of accomplishment that comes when you do something that your brain was convinced you could NOT do. 

My next adventure will be long, grueling, exciting, and no doubt extremely life changing. On Monday, September 29th in a coordinated conference call effort, Jamie, Ladawn and I all signed up for the 2015 Little Debbie Chattanooga, Tennessee IRONMAN. Yes, we had a conference call, we are all very type A and had to ensure everyone got in since it sold out in minutes last year.  Turned out it took a few more days to sell out this year but we were all pretty excited anyway. We whipped out our credit cards and over $800 later I was ready to embark on the toughest physical challenge I have ever faced.  The business and cost of Ironman will come in a later post, but let's just say it is not for the faint of heart. 

The past month dealing with my injury and the countless appointments made me very much doubt my ability and mental capacity to continue my journey to a 140.6 race.  However, I had a brief come to jesus moment after I got back to NYC from Canada when I was walking down the street and having a particularly down day when I saw a Captain America shirt.  As you might know my cousin Packy loved Captain America and I took this is as sign from him, which I generally always do, well that and when I see bud light another favorite of his :)  Anyway, here I was feeling sorry for myself and complaining about my doctor's appointments to get my foot better when my foot clearly is not a life threatening injury. 

Perspective is a beautiful thing my friends.

Perspective that the whole reason I wanted to do Chattanooga is the charity is Crohns and Colitis foundation, a foundation that is searching for a cure to the disease that Packy fought.  A deeper meaning that going into this training is my testament that Packy truly did teach me to Never Give Up not to only do it if it was fun, or easy, or I wasn't hurt. I can handle a few doctor's appointments in order to get myself back in top shape for my upcoming 2015 race schedule if Packy could handle the countless appointments to try and stay with us. 

Don't get me wrong I will still have days I feel completely overwhelmed but those days I will make sure to remember I have my angel with me. Every mile of that 140.6 is to celebrate a person that changed the lives of countless people and impacted the world in his short time here.  Every mile of training is to reaffirm that I'm alive, that I have hopes and dreams and that I deserve to be at that level of race. 

Before Barrelman in my lucky Captain America Shirt with the people who always support my wacky adventures and let's face it sometimes are the cause...I'm looking at you in the background JAMIE!


Dream big, dance in the rain, smile at a stranger and remember life is one big adventure. 



Resetting the mile counters to 0 (until I'm cleared to really work out they will stay there)
Swim:
Bike:
Run:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The lost summer of 2014

I have majorly slacked on updating pretty much all summer which is mirrored by the fact I haven't trained or raced well either. Let's try our best to do a short, concise catch up post before starting into the new, fun stuff.

Long Island Triathlon
We signed up for the Long Island Triathlon as a relay team for All Women's Tri Team, I was running the 5K. I'm not a very good 5K runner, I am really more of a distance runner but I figure I need to get faster at some point. The course was a little weird you ran on pavement for about a quarter mile, three laps on grass, a quarter mile on sand and then finished up on pavement. I was pretty worried about the grass but that was only because I didn't know about the sand at the time! I managed to figure out the grass but when I was hit with the sand well let's just say we are lucky I didn't stop entirely.  I had to walk a bit, it felt like quicksand! Once I got back on solid ground I sprinted the heck out of that last part and ended up with a fabulous PR of 24:57. Our team even won the Women's Relay grouping!

Aftermath
After the Long Island Triathlon is when things got a bit out of control. I woke up unable to breathe with a racing heart rate and managed to drag myself to urgent care. After passing out during a breathing treatment it became pretty obvious I was in fact quite sick. Turns out I had a very serious lung infection which lead to a two week break from working out.

Sadly that break from working out cause the aches and pains to start coming to light and turned out my left foot was KILLING me.  Off to the dr I went rather begrudgingly to discover that I was in fact falling apart.  Do you know how to make a triathlete very sad?  Tell them that they have an injured rotator cuff due to a bike accident, asthma, allergies, a stress fracture in their foot as well as ligament and tendon damage. How about that for a lot to handle?  I went from on top of the world to completely down in the dumps.

Physical Therapy
I personally find that physical therapy is harder than training because you are in immense pain and it is mentally exhausting without the normal endorphins from working out. The stress fracture was complicated by the fact I trained on it for probably several months, oops someone has a high pain threshold. I have learned that tendons and ligaments are MUCH harder to heal then bones, well isn't that just peachy.  I spent most of the time very focused on getting ready for Barrelman because I refused to admit I couldn't do it. After months of painful physical therapy and no training I don't know why I even thought I could do the race but sometimes I can be stubborn. Ok, ok not sometimes.

Barrelman
I wasn't trained and I had no right to expect my body to perform to that level BUT well I'm a stubborn, pigheaded brat (thanks mom) and I couldn't quit. I do have to give myself some credit because I hadn't really swim in weeks, unless of course you count some leisure swimming in the Spain and France and let's face it that was hardly training. The practice swim the day before didn't go very well but the water wasn't too bad, cold but not terrible and it was really clear.  The swim was hard and I wanted to quit several times, maybe some day I will love swimming or hell even like swimming but today was  not that day. The water was so clear but I got kicked and hit more than any other swim.

Coming up from the swim I realized it was pretty on par with Eagleman which given my horrible lack of training was not awful  It was fabulous to see my parents when I was trying to "run" to transition.  I felt very light headed coming up out of the water only to discover that there were yellow jackets in my bento box.  YELLOW JACKETS.  You should have seen me in transition trying to spray water to get them out.  Eventually I realized one was going to stick with me and set off on the bike course.

The course was not too hilly which was good until I realized there was a constant headwind.  You actually had to pedal to go downhill, yes you read that correctly, I had to PEDAL to go DOWN hill.  Holy crap I was not prepared. About 10 miles in I had a completely meltdown yelling at myself 'This isn't even fun' 'WHY are you doing this?' 'This is STUPID'.  Of course I stuck with it because Packy was with me and well let's face it I'm stubborn (noticing a trend yet).  It was the hardest bike experience of my life, constant headwinds, dangerous crosswinds, wet roads, a foot that hurt and a hamstring that was aching due to compensation.  I really should have rejoiced when I pulled in to transition 6 MINUTES over the cut off but I didn't, I was extremely upset and disappointed.  6 freaken minutes, that was all and in reality given my lack of training and the tough conditions I should have been proud but instead I was pissed at myself, upset that I hadn't pushed through the pain to train, ticked off that I slacked on my vacation, angry that the foot wasn't improving.  You name a negative emotion and I felt it.

After I had time to eat, get some water in me, stretch, and some tears I realized it was for the best, if my day was going to end early it ended before I started the run and possibly caused set backs in my foot recovery. It was a win because I wanted to quit so many times and I didn't, I powered through and tried the best I could get from my body on that day.  That doesn't mean it is the best I can do ever it was just the best I could do given the exact conditions on that day.  Another day will be better and the best part of life is you just have to keep moving forward and you will come across those days that the stars align perfectly for you.

Now that you have fallen asleep I will leave you with a nice little quote that means a lot to me "'It's impossible,' said pride. 'It's risky,' said experience.'It's pointless,' said reason. 'Give it a try,' whispered heart."

Listen to your heart, try the impossible, take risks and realize nothing in life is every pointless you are always learning.


Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm a half Ironman! Eagleman 2014 Race Report

I truly can not believe that I am writing a race report for a half ironman, a 70.3 mile triathlon that I completed.  This is going to be LONG so I apologize ahead of time!!

The week pre-race was filled with small freak outs over many small little things, nutrition, weather, packing, stuff, pretty much everything.  I did manage to keep it together for the most part though and the excitement was definitely out weighing the nerves.  I was feeling pretty confident after our training weekend but the confidence was nerve wrecking actually.  My goal was just to finish but I had a goal I hadn't really said which was to finish in 7 hours and 30 minutes, it was my first one though and I knew I had no idea what the weather or distance would have in store for me.

I went out to Jersey Friday night so I spent much of Thursday night cross checking SIX yes SIX different lists of "what to pack" that I found on the internet, compiled from LaDawn and the Athlete guide.  Type A to the max ladies and gentlemen.  I packed multiples of almost everything in case it got lost and read the Athlete guide every night that whole week before bed.  Friday, Jamie came to pick me up and off I went to my second to last sleep before the race!

Saturday morning we got up early, packed the car, headed to Maryland and once we arrived it was a whirlwind of activity.  We tried to wait in line for packet pick up but the line was HUGE so we had to drop out to go to the mandatory athlete talk.  We met up with the other girls and sat in the shade to rest our legs and stay out of the sun.  The head referee ( i am not sure that is the right word) was really good, I loved when she told the men "Women WILL pass you don't try and race them to get back in front".  I, however being a rule follower was petrified of littering or drafting already and her talk did not help those nerves!

After the talk we decided to ride our bikes over to transition to check them in and also give us a chance to ride them one last time to ensure they were working properly after the 4 hour drive.  We brought our wet suits and swim stuff so we could get in a practice swim as well.  At the Athlete talk they announced the water temperature was 74.2 degrees and it would more than likely be a wet suit swim.  The swim went ok, I felt more tired then I would have liked but we did realize it was pretty shallow all the way out to the number 6 buoy.

When we got back to the festival area we waited in line to show our USAT cards, sign our lives away and then pick up packets, shirts, backpacks and trackers.  Excitement was definitely out weighing the nerves at this point and I went CRAZY purchasing swag.  Siobhan and Jared arrived with O and we decided to head to the hotel to check in and find food.  I had been hydrating all day but I was starving, luckily the hotel had food so we could just eat and then head to bed.
Definitely still wearing the wrist band.

I actually slept pretty well that night before but I was pretty achy so I went to sleep covered in BioFreeze.  We woke up nice and early to get ready and head over on the shuttle.  As we were waiting for the shuttle, Dionne texted to say they were announcing it wasn't a wetsuit legal swim then my parents texted to say they were late leaving their house.  I may have almost cried on the shuttle.

At transition taken by Dionne.  The sunrise was AMAZING.
I headed to start setting up transition, all the while freaking out about the wetsuit change.  The finally made an official announcement and said they would add a wet suit wave at 8:40am and that you couldn't win any awards.  Now I knew that you couldn't win an award and was NOT concerned with that but I had no idea they moved your start time later.  I was already concerned about being so close to the time cut offs so it became a choice between using the wet suit which made me feel more comfortable and being the absolute last group up against the 8 and a half hour time limit.  It was a tough decision and there were definite tears in making that decision.  I sat down and took off my calf sleeves and with that the decision was made. Ladawn couldn't decide on her lava pants and eventually decided if I wasn't she wasn't so we could stick together.  I'm glad I did that because being last is not a great feeling, although I did manage to keep myself from having a mental meltdown about it.  Actually mentally this was a great race for me, well after the wetsuit/ swim meltdown I was mentally prepared and kept my cool even with the issues I faced.

All READY for no wetsuit swim!
I did my generation Ucan 45 minutes before the start and I was excited but the nerves were kicking in, however I DIDN'T throw up!  Success!  It was an in water start so we stood down there in the water holding hands when the start went off we hung back a little and then got started.  Things were going fine but I had a complete and utter freak out.  I hadn't been in open water with no wet suit and this was only my third time in open water.  I rolled to my back and I was saying I can't do this and Ladawn swam by and said "YES YOU CAN."  I rolled back over and got back to it.  I swear swimming is the worst, the whole time I never feel that I'm getting anywhere and it is frustrating.  The other age groups behind us started catching up to me and swimming over top of me.  In fact one guy actually swam over top of me to the point I was completely under him and couldn't come up or move my arms.  Before I even had a chance to freak out that I was drowning he grabbed my tri suit and pulled me back up.  He said, "You ok?" I said yeah and he was off, I have to admit that was so nice of him generally people just swim over top of you and don't even stop!

51:59 later I was so happy to see my parents as I got out of the water!

Transition went pretty well, I remembered everything I needed to remember but as I was walking out the guy goes watch your water bottle and at that point I realized the throw away water bottles I purchased were too slim for my cages!  Of course I started freaking about them falling out and getting me a littering call so I pulled over to wedge one into the metal and then held the other one in my hand for 5 MLES chugging it until I got to a trash drop zone that was technically for the run but I used it to toss both water bottles.  That of course meant no water until the next bike stop at 20 miles, oh man and it was HOT.  I got two water bottles at that stop only to realize the event bottles were too small too.  I didn't freak out, I just put the one down in the trash drop zone and then kept the other one in the back cage where it seemed to not fall.  Turned out the power aide bottles did fit so I got one of those but I can't do power aide so my stomach was very upset after one bottle.  Luckily I ran into Ladawn who told me that I should just dump out the power aide and fill it with water.  Thank goodness because my brain was NOT working.  The bike course is very flat which is good and bad, the headwind is AWFUL at points you feel you are going backwards. At times it was very lonely, probably because I was in the back. 

Things I learned on the bike: It is possible for men's armpit hair to blow in the wind, generation ucan did not work very well in the bottles I picked for it, I need to hydrate better, I need to put the salt pills in a more accessible area, wearing the bike shirt worked really well, bike seats and lady bits are NOT friends and the wind is NEVER at your back.

After an expected 3:49:54 on the bike I came in for T2, I am actually surprised to see my splits look so consistent for the bike.  I felt I wasn't very consistent, at times spinning up to 20 mph when the wind wasn't so awful and at times jamming it at 12 mph into the headwind.  My handling skills have improved but I need to get better and passing and not hanging behind people that I should just pass. 

Oh the Run, in my opinion this is where my particular race fell apart completely the sun was beating down on you and you could feel the heat off the asphalt.  I actually looked at the water and said wait can I just do the swim again.  I don't think I actually bonked but perhaps that is what happened because looking back I didn't take in NEARLY enough calories or water on the bike.  Starting off on the run my right calf was KILLING me for some reason and after a near ankle twist near mile 2 I decided it would be smarter to do a run walk method to finish.  My stomach was questionable, my legs were on fire and it was HOT.  I hadn't trained in the heat hardly at all due to the weather and my body was NOT prepared for it.  About mile 3 I realized that all the water I was dumping on myself, the sponges and water I was running through were causing a blister but the heat was unbearable.  At this point I met a girl who said she was going to throw up and as you know I am an expert at that sort of thing so I talked her through eating  banana and we started doing a run/walk together.  We stuck it out until the end with our plan and crossed the finish line together.  I never felt like I hit a wall but I do feel that I sucked at nutrition and I need to be better at it for the next one.  Again though my splits are super consistent so I guess I wasn't as back and forth as I thought.
Definitely bought a finisher shirt the day before and then hoped I didn't jinx myself

My parents were on the sideline cheer for me and my mom was crying and I felt so proud of the accomplishment as I crossed that finish line.  They said my name and I headed to get my hat, shirt and medal!  The girl needed to get my timing chip off and I of course told her there was no way I could bend down to do it, she laughed!  I went to get my picture with my new pal and also alone with my medal and then went around to find my family.  My dad told me I finished in 7:44!  So I killed my original goal of just beat 8:30 but a bit off my 7:30 goal.  My run was AWFUL but I am proud because not once on that run did I think about quitting or giving up.  The entire time I just knew I was going to finish it and needed to beat the cut off time. 

Tastes good!

This whole experience has given me so much more than just the horrible sunburn lines.  I have learned so much about myself and how much I can accomplish and push through pain both mentally and physically. I set a goal and I put in the time needed to get myself there and I fought past many, many freak out moments where I didn't think I had anymore left to give.  I learned there is always more to give and just because things don't go to plan doesn't mean that I will fall apart it means I will find a way to power through.  I've made some amazing friends that I feel I have known for years, we've been through an experience together that has cemented a life long friendship. I know when I falter they will be there to push me and I will always do the same for them.  I was so proud of myself when I crossed that finish line and now on to goal setting for Barrelman in September and more contemplation of a full iron next year. 



Monday, June 2, 2014

Road to Eagleman 2014

I would love to start this post with "When I signed up for Eagleman in October 2013 I was a talented Triathlete with a bunch of sprints and olympics under my belt.  I was very experienced and knowledgeable about all three disciplines and owned an expensive bike."  As you probably know by now that could not be farther from the truth

In October 2013, I did not own a bike and I did not know how to swim but I had just been through the most tumultuous time in my life and was very deep in the marathon training process.  My best friend's husband had completed an IronMan in May of 2013 and I had been riveted by  his training and hearing about the race itself.  My friend Jamie decided she wanted to try her hand at a half iron man and told me that I at least had to come cheer.  I figured if I was going to cheer why not just do the race I had all the resources available to me to become better, Jamie was going to prepare a schedule of races to get me prepared and I had all the time in the world since work was my only distraction.

In October 2013 I was just learning to redefine myself and I had thrown myself in marathon training as a means to center myself and regain control over my life.  I was feeling a little adrift and in the midst of major life changes of selling my house as well as all my stuff to make the move back to the city.  Truthfully while selling the house was terribly sad the move was actually a freeing experience because I was able to start over in a sense.  Plus the loss of that commute changed my life in so many positive ways (more time for training)!

When I explain to people that I signed up for a half iron man having no swim skills nor owning a bike they normally look at me as though I am completely insane or have two heads.  Often times they will say "What was going on in your life".  Many times I say back "well I got divorced."  It is pretty weird but that seems to be the only thing they need to hear to make sense of my crazy choice, I guess divorce makes people do crazy things.  If your life is headed in one direction and suddenly takes a drastic turn as I see it you have two choices; wallow in self pity and relive the past day after day or take charge and become the person you always knew you were.  I clearly chose the later with a little help from my friends.

As I sit here, 6 days out from Eagleman 2014 I am nervous but I am excited. I'm proud of myself for taking a leap of faith in my own dedication and athletic abilities. I'm in awe of how far I have come since October but excited to improve even more over the summer.  The past months have been filled with conquering fears, completing new challenges and coming into my own skin to be more confident and self assured. I've restored my own independence and control over my life. The sport of Triathlon is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle born out of dedication and sheer desire to better yourself to conquer fears and achieve goals.

I may not have a swinging social life and I'm sorry to everyone that I don't call or visit as often.  I don't get as much sleep as I would like most nights and some days I really don't want to drag myself to the pool but on those days when I reach a new goal there is nothing better in life.  I don't have quiet, relaxing weekends anymore they are filled with fun new friends and adventures.

The friendships I have made as a result of my interest and rather crazy choice to do a half Iron man are extremely valuable and important to me.  The women of All Women's Triathlon team have become family to me and many of them have faced far greater challenges and adversities than I can imagine but we lift each other up to excel at this sport we have decided is our passion.  My biggest fear for race day is not letting myself down but letting down the women who have such confidence in my abilities to complete this race.

I'm honored and extremely proud to be a part of an amazing group of women that strive to help, train, and assist other women.  No woman left behind!  I will make them proud on Sunday, June 8th although I think many of them are already proud to have participated in my journey.  I will make my parents proud on June 8th although I am pretty sure my parents couldn't be more proud than they already are and my mom could do with less open water swimming ;-)  I will make myself proud on June 8th although I am already so proud that I took a leap of faith to start this journey to discover a life I never realized I wanted to live until I was a fancy watch, a nice bike and multiple tri outfits deep in it.

Alright Packy, it's you and me buddy....let's ROCK this!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Last Big Work Out

The bike ride the day after Brooklyn was awful, my legs were shot and by the end of it my confidence was completely destroyed.  As I made my way back to my apartment I was having some pretty severe doubts about not only my ability to make it in under 8 and a half hours but also my ability to just finish at all.  After some painful foam rolling and an early bedtime I reffocused on the week ahead.

Memorial Day weekend was a planed simulation of the event with a 56 mile bike ride followed by a 10 mile run on Saturday and then a 1.2 mile open water swim race on Sunday.  Nerves were at an all time high Friday when I got completely soaked walking home from work which lead to about a 10 minute meltdown on my bedroom floor while I tried to pack and get things together to take out to Jamie's house on my bike.  I was soaking wet, exhausted and freaked out.  After a call with my mom I pulled myself together, threw some things in a back pack and set off across town for the subway.  Once off the subway I walked my bike to the GW but decided to bike over and I'm glad I did.  It was beautiful although VERY stormy on the south side of the bridge, in fact part of the way across there was lightening striking as I was riding.  I think this was the exact confidence booster I needed!

BIKE
We woke up early and I had my generation Ucan and we set out on our bike ride with only a little sprinkle at the start.  I felt completely different than the week prior and it was a confidence booster for sure.  We had a few close calls with rude drivers but the bike ride was largely uneventful.  With about an hour left I had to take my generation ucan gel that I had made and put into a plastic bag.  This was not my most graceful moment but I did manage to eat most of it, while getting it all over my face and bike.  I was pretty proud at how long I could ride with one hand, my bike handling has definitely improved!

RUN
Transitioning to the run I tried to hang with Jamie too long and gas'd myself out pretty early in the 10 miles.  I need to be more aware and do my own pace and race.  I did eventually get it together and the 10 mile run took my right under 2 hours which was my goal.  I'm not trying to break any records, personal or otherwise on this half marathon!! The generation ucan from the bike did a great job and at the end of 10 miles I was just starting to feel hungry which was likely due to the fact I didn't get a chance to finish my whole baggie of gel.

SWIM
We woke up VERY early in the morning to head down to Rumson, New Jersey to swim in the Nave-sink river.  My nerves got the best of me and I threw up on a porta-potty on our way down to the river.  We checked in, got our swim caps, timing chips and body marked.  I was definitely chilly as we put on our wet suits but pretty excited.  Luckily Jamie and I headed down to the water for a test swim because as soon as I put my face in the water and realized all I could see was a murky yellow green color I had a freak out.  My heart was racing, my brain was screaming and my body was giving up.  Jamie told me to try Tarzan's so I did those and then realized that was going to exhausted me quickly so I decided to try breathing every three strokes.  This helped trick my brain as I saw light every three strokes.  Ladawn came down and we told her our tricks and she practiced a bit.

The men's group went and we headed to the start line with Ladawn and I holding hands and a plan that we would let the crazy people go ahead of us and start once it wasn't so stressful.  Once we got going I lost Jamie and Ladawn in the sea of pink caps and decided ok well here goes nothing.  That first buoy seemed SO far away and it seemed as though no matter how long I saw I never was going to make it there.  Eventually though I managed to make that first left turn and start toward the far buoy.  Unfortunately at that point I veer'd completely off course and when I brought my head up I noticed I was almost at the dock.  After cursing myself I yelled I was fine to the guy who asked if I was ok and then turned myself back on course and set back to it.  At this point I felt I had been in the water an hour and was getting no where, my heart started racing and I decided to roll over to my back. I looked up at the sky taking deep even breaths trying to calm myself down.  Mentally my brain was not on my side at that point as I thought about how I needed to give up, I couldn't do it, I wasn't going to make it.  Luckily something clicked and I said to myself "You can't quit, quitters don't get medals and you can't take a finish picture without a medal.  You have given up WAY too much to give up now, two weeks before the race"

At the turn around buoy I got kicked in the face pretty hard but luckily my goggles didn't come off and the way back went MUCH more smoothly than the trip out!  Sighting on the way back was nearly impossible because of the sun and there was a bit more chop to the water but my confidence had returned and I think that helped.  Overall a 49 minute swim which is not terrible!

7 days until the big race!

 

Monday, May 26, 2014

No Sleep Til BROOKLYN

Leading up to the Brooklyn half was a tough week, my wedding anniversary, or I guess old wedding anniversary was that week.  The anniversary of Packy's death had been the week before along with the one month count down to Eagleman and I think it was pretty safe to say my emotions and nerves were pretty shot.  I wore a Captain America under armor shirt in honor of Packy and the crowded loved it, I got so many cheers! I love the Brooklyn half though, the energy is fun but the trek down Ocean Parkway does leave something to be desired.

This was my test run of Generation UCAN and I must say it went pretty well.  The only real issue I had was mixing it pre-race as I had a 20 ounce bottle and I tried to dump the packet in but I learned rather quickly that it does not sink, it floats.  I kept tipping the bottle over hoping to have it mix up but it was not very effective, perhaps next time I should drink a little water out first as the powder was seeping out the top at this point.  I also had white powder ALL over me and looked like I had just done crack prior to coming to the race!  After getting it pretty well into the bottle I drank it and boy was it chunky which I am not sure was do to the actual product or my lack of mixing skills.   The one issue is the proximity to activity you must drink it lead me to have to pee at mile 1.5.  I also did one bag of sports beans pre-race because I was nervous about it not working.

The first two miles were pretty smooth other than the bathroom break, in fact I was going way faster than intended but it felt very good.  I kept my new plan of walking at the water stops which is proving very effective.  Nelly Hill killed whatever good speed and motivation I had for the race but luckily not to long after the hill I saw Stephanie from my tri group and we ran together for several miles all the way onto Ocean Parkway.  We kept a nice conversational pace which was perfect as this was more a training run for me than a race although in the back of my mind I was hoping for a new PR.

Once Stephanie decided to drop back I was back to being alone with my thoughts which mostly centered on how warm it felt and Eagleman.  I misunderstood and thought my friends would be at the mile 9 water stop and I spent a while looking forward to that and was very disappointed when I arrived there and saw no one.  Ocean Parkway is BORING with little shade.  Luckily they were at the mile 10 water stop so I stopped for hugs, pictures and smiling faces which were the perfect boost because I was feeling blah.  Physically the Generation UCAN was doing it's thing and I felt I had energy but mentally I was not into it.

Mile 12 I had to stop and walk because of shooting pain in my surgery foot that had tears in my eyes.  It came on suddenly, without warning and was pretty intense.  A cop yelled at me, "You are in shape, you are almost there get back to running" and I almost screamed at him but politely "Are YOU running?"

Once I got into Coney Island I knew that finish line was near and I got back to a run but the course was changed a little from last year and I misjudged slightly.  I did try and sprint on the boardwalk which I had done very successfully last year but this year there was a lot of sand on the boardwalk.  I felt my foot start to slip and said to myself "You have eagleman in less than a month you better not get hurt sprinting for a stupid finish" so I backed off.

I did still manage to take a minute off my PR from April and finish with a strong 2:13:11.  It was not the best race but it was a a great training run in warm weather.  The foot felt better as soon as I got the sock and shoe off but didn't seem very swollen. The post race festival was MUCH more fun this year and I spent a long time stretching and laying in the outfield at the stadium.

 My number even had a 26 for Packy!
 Done running, sun streaming...my kind of day!
Have to get a picture with the medal of course!

Packy

May 8th, 2014 was an important date for two reasons, the first anniversary of the day we lost Packy and one month until Eagleman.  I found that to be especially fitting for me as Packy has been there with my through every single day of training in the form of his bracelet, Captain America shirt, random memories and even just moments when it feels that he is pushing me not to give up.

Is there a proper way to mark the anniversary of someone passing?  If there is I am not sure I have figured it out.  I thought about him a lot that day but I do most days, I sent cupcakes to his sister so she knew I was thinking about her, I meant to write a blog post but we see how well I am doing with that!  I think that each day we honor the memory of those we have lost but living our lives in such a manor to carry on their name or in such a way that would make them immensely proud. I think to think Packy would be pretty impressed at my training and hopefully completing a half IronMan.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to help make a difference in the realm of colon cancer and Crohns.  I really need to get into looking for some races to benefit those causes.  I think building tolerance and understanding of Crohns is extremely important but I need to think of a good way that I can make a difference in that arena.  Any ideas please let me know!

Love you and miss you Packy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Anatomy of a Half Marathon PR

I would LOVE to tell you all the details and pre-planning and huge amounts of training and prep work that went into my half marathon PR at the MORE half marathon on April 13th.  The real truth is I had been so focused on my triathlon and not ticking off my hurt foot I hadn't been running much at all.  The triathlon the day before only needed a two mile run so I was running three miles at most and doing a lot of interval training.  The night before I did not do my normal routine, I barely ate because I had a late lunch, I didn't hydrate enough, about the only thing I did right was go to bed SUPER early because I was completely exhausted.

That morning I woke up feeling terribly dehydrated and started sucking down major amounts of water, something I NEVER do the morning of a race after having to pee my second half marathon and wasting 10 minutes in the bathroom line.  Jamie arrived and I was a MESS.  I hadn't picked up what I was going to wear, I was sucking down water and chowing down on cream of wheat.  This is NOT the way I normally do race mornings AT ALL.  I threw on a brand new pair of shorts, I literally ripped off the tag and said yep these are brand new oh well. It is pretty funny how comfortable you get once you have run a certain number of races.

We wandered over to Central Park and it was pretty crowded.  I ate my chews and I had brought a whole bottle of water with me. Jamie and I chatted and we were each going to run our own race.  She was going to try and break 2 hours and I had no expectations just wanted to cross the finish line.  We were in the same corral and then I said bye as she ran off at the start.  I settled into an easy pace but then felt oh no I have to pee.  The line at the first porta potties was LONG so I said ok suck it up.  As I rounded towards Cat Hill I was never so happy to see the boathouse.  No line, I was in and out QUICKLY and I was so happy.  Got back into the groove of things and found myself catching up to the 2:10 pacer.  I looked at my watch saw my pace was 9:15, realized I felt great and then said oh well guess we will see how long this lasts.

That first lap of the park, the whole 6 almost 7 miles felt like a walk in the park.  I was going at an easy pace keeping up with the 2:10 pacer with no issues.  I was stopping at every water stop to drink a little water and then would run and catch back up to the pacer.  That little difference of stopping and drinking my water really settled my stomach.  At mile 6 I opened my chews, now if you follow my blog you know I like to throw up, or well I don't like to throw up but my stomach always feels the need to puke.  So this time I had two chews at mile 6, drank my water and walked a little.  At mile 7 I had two more chews and walked a little drinking my water.  Mile 8 I did the same thing.  Wow I felt amazing, I was keeping with that pacer and feeling great.  THEN came the second trip up Harlem Hill.  Now at this point I was really running at percieved effort.  I have been training with a heart rate monitor in my zones but I wanted to race more free form.   It was working extremely well and about half way up harlem hill where you curve around and then see the hill continues my body said, "Stop and walk so you can finish strong".  As I let that pacer go I was frustrated and kicking myself but I knew it was the right choice, my heart rate had gone too high.  I didn't even know what my rate was but I knew my effort was too much.  At the top of the hill I ran to the next water stop, walked with my water and regrouped.

Those rolling hills of the park post Harlem Hill are decieving because they are no where near as large as Harlem hill but they are still difficult.  I never caught back up to that 2:10 pacer but I just kept telling myself as long as you don't see that 2:30 pacer you are fine.  Coming around towards the finish I walked a little bit but I felt good.  I was walking with a purpose, bring down my heart rate so I could sprint it out at the end.  I know that course pretty well as I spent most of my marathon training in the park so I knew exactly where I could start sprinting.  Oh my did I sprint, my face was so determined some guy yelled "Now THAT is a game face".  2:14:24.  Holy crap.  If someone I knew had been right there I would have jumped on them in a hug.  I got my medal, my heart was racing not from running but sheer excitement.

Finally I found Jamie and all I could do was show her my watch.  She screamed, I screamed, she said she made it under 2 hours, I screamed, she screamed.  We were SO excited! 13 minutes off my old PR, a whole minute for EVERY mile of the race.  My multisport training is paying off.  I honestly think that also my more laid back approach and lowered expectations really helped.  Also I think my new method of walking to really drink that water, let it settle and also get my heart rate to drop was the difference.  My legs were definitely sore the next several days so I need to improve my lactic acid recovery but that will come with more longer runs.

Feeling STRONG!

Two DESTROYED PRS

Did I mention I was EXCITED

Monday, April 21, 2014

I apologize this will be LONG- First Triathlon!

April 12, 2014 was a Saturday like no other a day that forever changed my life.  The Power of a Woman Triathlon could not have been more aptly named for what happened that day.  Our group had over 30 women from all backgrounds and fitness levels participating.

The forecast called for rain all week but that morning when Joanne and I left Brooklyn it was beautiful.  We loaded the bikes in the back of her car with a blanket between them to protect them.  We arrived to Eisenhower Park about 6am and it was much colder there than it had been in Brooklyn.  We were some of the first to arrive and the nerves really set in at that point.  Luckily our support system was already there and that really calmed me down.  This was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for Eagleman so I could basically learn how to be a triathlete and do transitions.  Jacky helped set up my stuff with my bike and after much back and forth with a few volunteers we finally got things situated. Who knew there was a specific direction your bike had to be pointing depending on what side held the X.  Well the more you know the better you are I guess.

The really good part about our group is that we know how to party.  The event power folks were playing music and of course we all started dancing to get the nerves out.  After our big team photo we headed to the pool area and Dereka and I got in two practice laps.  It felt great to get some laps down to get the nerves out but when I got out of the pool I was pretty freezing.  Jacky recommended I do a couple more laps to keep warm.  Then it was time to line up for the National Anthem.

SWIM
 I lined up in the 10 minute group and felt nervous but pretty confident.  Well confident until the moment they told me, "Once she pushes off the wall you go."  I said, "Ok!." then promptly jumped into the pool with my goggles on top of my head.  I pulled them down quickly but of course they were filled with water.  Now back in January I did the same thing at the Chelsea pool and that time I immediately got out of the pool, freaked out and didn't go back in that day.  On Saturday I told myself, get to the other end, you MUST get to the other end.  I couldn't see much of anything just light and some shapes but I made it the 50 meters to the side of the pool, quickly fixed the goggles and then got to moving.

The pool set up was awkward as you swam down a length and then under the rope and back the opposite way.  I found it hard getting towards the middle as some people were taking rests and it was hard to figure out to navigate, I also felt every time I got into a rhythm it was time to stop and turn.  At the end I tried to sprint to the end but ended up boxed in between several other swimmers, I brought my head up and heard someone yell "Keep going KATRINA"  I have never put my head down so fast, I had no idea where I was going to keep going but I went back to swimming.  When I got out of the pool I didn't feel out of breath and I was really proud but things weren't over, time to run up to transition!

BIKE
I always tell myself just don't fall when getting on and off,  I was successful!  I did not try to eat or drink on the bike though and I think that was a questionable move. Looking back I also didn't push myself at all for those 6 miles, I was busy thinking I better hold back for the run.  Our friends were on the side  line as I came back into transition which was a really good energy boost and also pressure not to fall off when I unclipped!

RUN
Coming out for the run all I could hear was Jacky saying "FASTER KATRINA".  I felt like I couldn't go any faster, it felt like the longest mile of my life.  Once I finally hit that mile marker I sucked down that water took a couple beans and got back to running.  It honestly felt I was running backwards at one point.  Once I saw that finish line though I started an all out sprint.  I realized I had SO much energy left.  I definitely did not leave it all out there on the course but for a first time effort I was HAPPY.  52:52, 8th in my age group

AFTER

WOW is pretty much all I can say about our team.  The energy, team support and over all excitment really made the experience so much more than just a race.  We cheered for every single person and made sure no one was left out on that course.  I am so proud and honored to know these women who faced their fears and gave it their all to finish their first triathlon.  Many of them mothers who had their children there to witness such a spectacular display of human spirit and determination.  Setting such a positive example of not only health and fitness but also the never give up spirit.  I can not wait to see how much they continue to grow this year as many will tackle their  first open water triathlons.




Friday, April 11, 2014

Not a creature was stirring not even a Triathlete

Nerves are the name of the game today.  Soon I will pack my stuff into a backpack and take my bike onto the subway to Brooklyn.  Tomorrow morning I will wake up before the sun, gather my things and wearing my brand new team tri kit I will head to conquer my newest challenge.  By tomorrow afternoon, midmorning if I am lucky I will be an official triathlete.  Months of training coming down to one small race which is really just a short dress rehearsal for the much larger race in June, less than TWO MONTHS away.  Cue the freak out. 

I am feeling fairly confident going into tomorrow's race.  I'm looking at it as a training race, it is a chance to see how to transition.  A chance to see how I do in the pool with many other swimmers and how my swim anxiety does in a race situation.  Biking, oh the biking, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect here post duathlon but it is always good to get practice with no drafting and passing.  This time I will be more in the thick of things as opposed to the duathlon where everyone was WAY ahead!  The run is only 2 miles and will hopefully be the easiest part of the day but the bike to run transition was extremely hard in all my bricks as well as the duathlon so we shall see how my foot manages it. 

All in all I am feeling excited for this step on the journey.  I'm proud of how far I have come but fully aware of how far I have to go in such a short time until Eagleman (still freaking out).  

Sunday, oh right then Sunday on to a half marathon in Central park because well why not?  I wouldn't be me unless I overscheduled myself :)  The goal for the half marathon is strictly to finish not a single time goal at all.  I haven't been putting in the training miles running wise and I owe it to myself not to push like crazy.

Hopefully there will be a nice update Sunday night about my race fun :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Be Kind, Please Rewind

I have a new motto post my duathlon meltdown and it goes back to my new found appreciation for self and also my lovely trainer Rachel knocking some sense into me.  I'm going to do a little rewind to get myself some perspective.

"Success is not how far you got but how far you traveled from where you started"

I found that on an instagram page after a chat where Rachel basically told me I need to take a hard look at where I had started and enjoy my accomplishment instead of feeling angry at myself.  She is quite wise :)  When I saw the quote I immediately texted her to inform her of my new motto and needless to say she wholeheartedly approved.

Now for our rewind, or a throwback in the young kid lingo :)

RUNNING
I started running in June of 2012 and I couldn't make it a quarter mile without stopping and feeling terribly winded.  Then as I built up so very slowly I would get about 1.5 miles and I would throw up.  In those early weeks/months I knew I was getting better because I could go farther before puking.  Looking back I bet the neighbors LOVED me, although I did try and spice up my route so I never puked in front of the same house!  My first half marathon which I am sure you have read the race recap for since you are a dutiful blog reader, was in October 2012 and thus I was bitten.  A little over a year later I ran my first marathon, that is a pretty good progression if you objectively look at it.  I wasn't very fast but I put in the miles.

BIKING
Oh right, biking.  Well I got a bike, oh wait I was supposed to do more than that?  Crap.  So I bought the bike in October and refused to ride it pre-marathon for fear of falling and hurting myself.  Then cue winter and I rode it for the first time in February, that's right, February.  I have been officially bike riding about a month, I have no clue what right I had to berate myself for not doing an awesome 28 miles on my bike last weekend.

SWIMMING
Well in my 32 years I have not drown but I am most definitely NOT a swimmer.  My sister was on the swim team, I managed to propel myself from the end of the diving board to the side of the pool.  Don't get me wrong I love water, perhaps I have a healthy respect for the ocean but I do love being in the water.  Swimming technically started in November and then took a little hiatus while my foot surgery healed so back at it in January.  Not a very long time considering I was starting from pretty much scratch and I tell you learning things as an adult is HARD!

BE KIND
I'm turning over a new leaf!

1) I WILL set up my training peaks and I WILL follow it
2) I WILL start swimming at Riverbank in the mornings to take advantage of the 50 meter pool.  Goodbye sleep I was getting, it was nice knowing you
3) I WILL see the positive changes and improvements I have made and recognize them

In January 2013 I started my fitness journey.  I didn't want to just be skinny anymore, I wanted to be fit. Plus I had signed up for a crazy number of running races and didn't want to get hurt and I also needed an outlet.  My life has changed so much since then and I am truly happier than I have ever been and grateful for everyone who has come into my life as a result. I will leave you with a photo of my birthday present from my amazing friend Shawna.

I LOVE IT!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Duathlon Recap

Let's have a little refresher.  Pre-Saturday I had been outside to ride my bike exactly once, two loops around Central Park with no clips.  I had not practice with clips, had not practiced drinking water on the bike, had not practiced eating on the bike and had only done one brick workout.

To say I was extremely nervous going into it would probably be an understatement but I was treating it as training.  A learning experience to feel comfortable with the bike, transitions and the atmosphere.  We arrived a little before 6am after the train gods were pretty good to us.  It was very chilly and I was wearing several layers of clothes.  They were not exactly organized and not much was set up when we arrived which add a little bit to my nerves.  When we were finally able to get our race numbers and my race number was 26.  It almost did not even register at first until I had it in front of me and at that point I felt a little more calm thinking about Packy there with me.


We started late after a brief talk from the USA Triathlon person and the race organizer.  My anxiety was pretty high at this point but I was excited, it was a very small group doing our distance, maybe 30 or 35.  When he let us go the entire group took off RUNNING, I mean so fast they were all almost out of eye sight very quickly.  I tried to stay pace with Jamie for the first several miles and managed to hold on until the first water stop but at that point I realized if I was going make it 7 miles I needed to slow down.  I spent the next several miles beating myself up about how slow I was and how my training was terrible and I should be doing better.  I looked at my watch at this point and realized that I was still under a 10 minute mile which is VERY good for me, I think I was just too focused on everyone else and not just me.  I did have my friend Carl come watch for a lap and also Miss Rose came so those were definitely positive moments when I felt I was doing horribly.

Coming in for the bike transition I was feeling happy to stop running.  My right foot actually did a great job in my new shoes so that was a definite positive but my left foot was not feeling great.  I got on my bike and managed to clip in and get going, of course the first challenge was Nelly Hill right out of the gate.  I felt the first few laps went pretty well although I need to get faster I felt strong and more comfortable with each lap.  Then, I needed to get a drink of water, oh dear the horror.  I managed to get my water bottle out of the cage, then realized I hadn't moved the spout to open.  Boy was that fun trying to open that, the bike was definitely wobbling at this point but I managed to get the water bottle open and get some water.  Then comes the fun part, putting it back in the cage.  I swear I almost threw the darn thing on the ground!!  I finally managed to get in and move on.  At this point I saw Anna on almost every single bike lap!

Eating is another story entirely!!  I did have chews with me and the one package was actually open already so those were fairly easy to get into my mouth out of the package.  The problem came when the second package was not pre-opened so I had to use my teeth but couldn't get a big enough opening.  It was VERY difficult to get them out and I know I did not eat enough so that is something extremely important to work on.

8 laps later I was DYING.  Ok maybe not dying but certain parts of me were in definite pain :-P  It was my longest ride to date, when I spin in my apartment I can kind of sit up on the seat and give myself a break but out on the road that is not really an option.  This transition was a little crazy in that I was kind of out of it and totally almost ran out of the transition area still wearing my helmet!

That last 4 mile run was AWFUL, horrible, terrible, oh dear.  I thought that first run was tough but this run was probably the toughest 4 miles I have ever done in my life.  I struggled, my foot was killing me, I was miserable but I never stopped.  At one point I started a very controlled run/walk to make sure I wasn't going to hurt my foot more.   Anna came and jogged the last bit with me which helped a lot.  They were already taking down the ropes around the bikes and Jamie was guarding our stuff while Mike and Anna and a few volunteers cheered me on and gave me a medal.

Positives:
I did not puke
I did not fall off my bike
I did not die
I did not give up

Opportunities for Improvement
Bike faster
Better eating and drinking
running conditioning is VERY needed
Practice more Bricks
Be nicer to myself, stop beating myself up, focus on the race at hand, commit more to training if I want to be better.

Running: 70 miles
Biking: 16 hours/ 40 miles
Swimming: 11,000 meters
Strength Training: 19 sessions

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ahh 3 MONTHS until Eagleman

March 8th, 2014.  Holy crap, it is 3 months until Eagleman.  Color me freaked out!

Big plans of workouts for the weekend have been derailed at least for Saturday and I am frustrated, worried and annoyed.   The weather here in NYC is gorgeous today so I was pumped to get in a nice 10 mile run in the morning, head to a 12:30 swim class and then hit the park on the bike later.  I had some errands to run as well because Sunday's plan is even busier!  About 5 miles into my lovely run through Central Park I started having pain in my foot and not my surgery foot but other foot.  Cue annoyance.

I really wanted 10 miles but the pain got pretty intense and I realized my body was trying to tell me something so I stopped at 7.  I then took myself straight to the shoe store to get another fit and test out some new shoes.  My right foot bothered me some during the marathon back in November but at that time it was very overshadowed by my left foot. I did have the podiatrist at least do an xray at that time to make sure there was no stress fracture and he recommended rest.  Obviously with my surgery I had plenty of rest, annoying, long, frustrating, fitness losing rest.

My treadmill runs have been doing extremely well, the 5K last weekend was the first major outside run and that went well.  What is it about 5 miles?  And why on the most beautiful day of training does it have to act up.  I spent two miles of the run not even enjoying the weather but beating myself up about not training well enough, not foam rolling enough, not being in better shape at this point.  Frustration is at an all time high.

I have a pair of New Balance shoes to try now for a couple weeks based off the store's return policy.  I also got some inserts for them and I think I need to find myself a better foot roller because J thinks it could be my tendon.  I also got a recommendation to try Hoka shoes which I think I will go test out one night this week.   I iced it and took a nap instead of my planned activities but I had to walk up to Asphalt Green to get my pass card for the swim class and just the walk was painful.

Things can only get better from here, at least I have some time to get things like blogging and schedule making done.  Tomorrow is a busy, busy day!  Swim at 6:30am then Compu trainer class at 11 and then spin and core class at 2:30pm.

Running: 52 miles
Biking: 12 hours/ 12 miles
Swimming: 9000 meters
Strength Training: 15 sessions

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 30 day Challenge- CORE

I have to say that these 30 day challenges are intriguing to me because I do think if you actually commit to the 30 days and make a change to your schedule then you can continue it well past the end of 30 days.  For March, we will do a Core Challenge but then we will keep going because I know many of you want to see results and can only commit to short blocks of time in the morning before the kids wake up or at night before they go to bed.

I will include videos from youtube to help show you how to do the exercises and I won't pick anything you can't do easily in your own home.

MARCH- CORE
It is important to understand the difference between core and just abs.  You don't just want to focus on the designer or easy to see muscles because your core is extremely important to your every day life.

Exercises:

Bicycle Crunches- This video has different levels, try to increase up to the hardest level by the end of the month.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FGilxCbdz8

Toe Touch Crunch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eazQpjRjy2U

Plank Hold with Knee Crunch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDFNUlJb0jE

Legs Raised Crunch
*I could not find a good video to describe this one so perhaps I should do my own.  Lay flat on your back and put your legs straight in the air.  You want to push you legs straight up into the air, go as straight as you can not out. Your hips and butt should leave the ground.

SuperMan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6PJMT2y8GQ


March Core Calendar

*Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional nor a trainer so please consult a professional if you have a question.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sleep with the fishes

Well hopefully I will not be sleeping with any fishes or seeing any dead bodies that are currently in the East River. In order to raise money for the Never Give Up 26 foundation (http://www.nevergiveup26.com/about---mission.html)  I will be swimming from Brooklyn to Manhattan on July 20th.

Yes, me the person who just started swimming in November and who cried when her hands were dirty with cookie dough until her mom washed them will be swimming in the East River. I'm definitely a bit nervous about going in the gross water and also the current but I am looking forward to meeting the challenge.  This year is about confronting and moving past fears and this race will be high on that list!

Another fear has been my bike, I love riding it on the trainer where there is absolutely no possibility of falling off and spin class is delightful.  Well this weekend I took advantage of the nice weather and my bike and I did two loops of Central Park.  Oh wow, getting on and off are my two biggest fears followed closely by the curvy areas of the park.  I managed to not fall off and actually had fun going around.  The second lap was much better after I got more comfortable with it and wasn't so nervous about going too fast. When I first got on the bike I thought to myself for a second, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING? WHY DID YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS?

Luckily I had the ladies of AWTT (more on that later) and they made me feel comfortable and pushed me to keep going.  After a quick couple of minutes the nerves were better and I was feeling pretty excited to be feeling the wind in my face.  Although I could do without all the darn tourists just randomly walking in front of me while I am trying to climb harlem hill.  It will be a while before I am whipping around the park but it was very successful!

Swimming is well it is swimming.  I hate it, with a passion but I signed up for a Tri Stroke Clinic at Asphalt Green and I am really excited about it.  I feel like I get so many different opinions and recommendations on this and it gets hard to know what to do but I feel frustrated I'm not getting better faster.  I'm hoping some specific guidance will help not only my stroke but also my confidence.

Ok that is enough for now!

Running: 37 miles
Biking: 8 hours/ 12 miles
Swimming: 7000 meters
Strength Training: 13 sessions

Sunday, February 9, 2014

4 MONTHS TO EAGLEMAN!

Yesterday passed rather uneventfully until I realized it was FOUR, yes FOUR short months until EAGLEMAN.  Cue freak out of epic proportions about not feeling ready.

Last week was actually a really productive work out week and I felt a little confident going into my swim Saturday morning.  I met with some ladies up at Riverbank park to utilize the 50 meter pool, my arch nemesis. I feel that swimming ALWAYS goes better when you have people with you but I was still super antsy about the length of that pool.  54th street where I normally swim is not even really a 25 meter pool and I am always searching for that wall.  Last time I swam at Riverbank was almost a month ago and I had to stop in the middle of every. single. lap.  Disappointing.

This Saturday I was feeling pretty pumped after swimming two mornings during the week and feeling as though I was making progress albeit small.  The first lap I actually made it to the end of the 50 meters without feeling like I was going to drown or having to stop!  2000 meters later it was a mixed bag but I think if I am being honest with myself I have made progress.  My mom always told me that I am my own worst critic and that I am always too hard on myself.   I tried to focus on breathing steadily and not freaking out.  I don't feel I am anywhere near ready to do multiple 50 meter laps without stopping but if I keep putting in the time hopefully I will feel that way by the April sprint.  I actually wonder sometimes how much is my own head knowing a wall is coming and searching for it rather than actually needing it.

Sunday I attended a great seminar on Bikes at Brands Cycle in Wantagh.  It was weird to be back on the Long Island Railroad again, when they announced the Long Beach train I felt like I should be on it.  The seminar was really awesome and made me really excited to ride OUTSIDE!  I got bike shoes, clips and pedals but at some point really soon I need to schlep my bike out there and have those great guys put my pedals on my bike and make sure my fit still works.  They were so informative and helpful even when I was trying on shoes, I highly recommend their shop for all your bike needs.

Running is improving, my foot seems to like running intervals on the treadmill so I am sticking with that for now.  No need to cause any more pain than necessary! I also ordered a new pair of shoes to use for my trainer sessions that do not have a seam across the toe box so hoping that will assist with the foot issues during burpees and planks!  Progress my friends, sometimes it is slow but it is beautiful.

Big week planned this week, more swimming practice, spin class and some interval runs then home for my sister's baby shower so I will have a little trouble getting in my weekend work outs but I'll see what I can do at mom and dads.

Running: 26 miles
Biking: 6 hours
Swimming: 5200 meters
Strength Training: 9 sessions



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Are you dating anyone?

Friday is my rest day and also pretty much the only day I ever head out to do something outside of my general, workout, work, workout, stuff my face, sleep schedule. This past Friday a particularly nosy co-worker who shall remain nameless asked me about 15 questions about if I was dating anyone, why I wasn't dating and then lectured me that if I didn't go out more often I would end up an old spinster.  Frankly I was rather annoyed and thought a few other choice words I don't want to write BUT she gave me an idea for a blog so I guess, "Thank you annoying, mean coworker."

My schedule this week...
I use dry erase boards to keep my schedule on my fridge with my 70.3 magnet to remind me why my schedule looks insane. So, yes annoying co-worker I actually am dating someone. I am dating a woman who has big dreams and goals of completing two 70.3 races this year and we actually decided to make our relationship more solid and plan a 140.6 race for 2015. We are extremely happy together fulfilling our own needs and wants without having to compromise our goals, sleep or schedule. Why is it so crazy to spend a period of your life more focused on yourself than finding someone else? Incidentally why should finding someone to date be more indicative of a successful life than challenging yourself to learn a new discipline and then complete 70.3 or 140.6 miles in one day and three sports.

My podiatrist once told me, "You know why you never want to date a triathlete?"  I said, "No, but I can't wait for this answer." He laughed and said, "they can't commit to one sport how can they commit to one person?" At the time it really made me laugh, a little doctor humor as he was being supportive of my switch to multisport training. Now, I realize why it is difficult to date a triathlete because they are too busy training in multiple disciplines or foam rolling after a week of intense work outs or sleeping because they are completely exhausted. That isn't to say it is impossible to date me or any other triathlete but let's just say my standards are a bit higher these days.  So pals, lovely friends of mine if you are thinking of setting me up here are my requirements these days:

1)Must love the smell of chlorine mixed with biofreeze; bonus points for being able to apply biofreeze before bed
2)Know how to wield a foam roller or lacrosse ball to get out all my muscle knots
3)LOVE waking up early...every.single.day.
4)Enjoy seeing me with crazy, frizzy hair from being washed twice a day almost every day
5)Not mind that I am pretty much ALWAYS in sneakers
6)Be able to hold their own on a run, or maybe a swim, or maybe a bike trainer session
7)Let me sleep when I have the time to sleep
8)Give good massages
9)Listen to me talk constantly about strength training, swimming, biking, running, shoes, race nutrition, race locations, well you get the idea
10)Come to every single race to cheer me on and carry my shit

BONUS: Squats make me look nice in my Tri suits :-)

For now I will stay content dating this fabulous woman I know who has decided to focus on herself and her fiercely independent streak to achieve some amazing dreams that she never knew she had until recently.  I will be selfish but guess what it won't be considered selfish because I only have myself to answer to and I'm pretty damn happy right now. 

Thanks for letting me get that one off my chest :)

Running: 20 miles
Biking:  4 hours
Swimming: 2800 m
Strength Training: 7 sessions

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Patience is a virtue....

that I definitely do NOT possess.  Is being stubborn a virtue?  I have that in spades!

Foot surgery Dec 6th, half marathon January 26th...does that sound like a good idea to ANYONE?!?!  I went to the podiatrist on the 23rd for  my last post op check up and I said, "soooo can I run a race this weekend?"  My doctor who is on to my sneaky ways said, "How far is it?"  We played a little cat and mouse briefly until I finally muttered under my breath, "a half marathon" and he looked at me as though I had 4 heads.  After a lecture about scar tissue, not pushing too hard and patience I was told under no circumstances was I to run the race.

I was pretty devastated.  Not being able to run has not only been frustrating for me but also depressing.  Running is my release, it channels all my frustrations, stresses and helps me think through problems.  I'm addicted, I need it and when I don't have it I just feel off balance.  I guess if I was going to be addicted to something it is a good thing, but still really an addiction and this forced break has been very difficult for me.  I was crushed at the prospect of not running that race because I felt I NEEDED it.  I am doing the 9 plus 1, for those not in NYC that means run 9 New York Road Runner Races and volunteer once to qualify for the NYC 2015 marathon.  So I needed the race for my 9, I also had signed up with the intention of getting redemption from last year.

Saturday before I met up with J and after our sushi dinner we had some drinks, I had red wine and I must say all my great ideas come over a couple glasses of Pinot Noir these days.  We did the math and figured out exactly how fast I needed to walk to finish the race by the cut off and I can not even explain the high I got from deciding to do the race.  It was going to be freezing cold and I had the perfect excuse to sit home in my nice warm bed and here I was scheming ways to get out there and do 13.1 miles in 18 degree weather.  Who am I?  I'm not sure most people I grew up with would recognize me these days, I definitely do not look much different but athlete was never a word to describe me, more like scrawny :)  I think I may have even impressed my own little brother which let me tell you means more to me than most of my race medals (not the marathon medal I mean let's be real here!).

Sunday morning I got up, gave my foot a pep talk and then put on compression socks covered by wool socks and my running shoes.  I feel calm just putting on the shoes, relief washes over me and I feel as though I can conquer the world.  Several layers of under armour later I bounced out the door to Central Park.  It was cold but I swear I didn't even feel it at first I was just too excited and happy to be out there, adrenaline is a beautiful thing when used properly!  I gave J a fist bump and told her to kill it and then set out to "run" my race.  I lightly jogged the first mile, walked the second and kept that pattern for the first 8 miles.  This was an exercise in self discipline, keeping to a plan and not running myself into the ground.  I did not take any pain medicine pre-run because I wanted to feel the foot and know if I should stop.  About 8.5 miles in I ran into a woman who was limping and after talking to her it turned out she had hurt her IT band during the race.  We walked and talked, she called me an angel and said she was debating just quitting until she saw me.  In reality she was likely MY angel because I needed someone to slow me down a little and bring me back to my situation.   We ran across that finish line at 3 hours and 5 minutes.  Definitely not my best time, not my goal for that race at all but a powerful learning lesson, I felt so proud of myself and instantly more centered.  My foot was not impressed and required icing and elevation the rest of the day but I still didn't take any pain medicine so a win in my book!


Running: 20 miles
Biking:  2 hours
Swimming: 2400 m
Strength Training: 6 sessions