Friday, July 29, 2011

random friday facts

1. Everything goes in the dryer.  Including spandex.  I KNOW.

2. I am having an incredibly difficult time typing/spelling this morning.

3. I always get up to pee once in the night and can go straight back to sleep.  If I get up twice, I'll be up for the rest of the night.

4. I make little piles all over my desk.

5. I can't stand unread emails, but I almost never check Facebook anymore.  The little red numbers used to haunt me, but not anymore!

6. My status is always "Busy" on Google chat.  

7. I went to the bike store yesterday later in the afternoon, after I'd had a work appointment.  One of my bike guys said, "Hey, I think this is the first time I've seen you not looking like a sweaty homeless person!" It made me proud.

8. Sometimes I am afraid to tell people I don't drink coffee.

9. I really like DailyMile, but I really don't like the overwhelming amount of fake "GOOD JOB!" that is there.  Or the people that post the exact same comment on everyone's workout every day.  

10. Graham likes to sleep under my work chair with his butt on my feet.  

11. The only good thing about summer running is that my upper lip isn't chapped all the time and my right shoulder isn't a frozen mass of wiped snot.

12. I take almost all of my showers at the gym.

13. Bad smells drive me crazy.

14. The first car I learned how to drive was stick, and all my cars were stick until 2008.  I miss it, I always felt like a race-car driver.

15. I do not pee in the pool, but sometimes when I push off the wall at the end of a hard effort, I feel like some might leak out, but then I realize by the time I get back, it will have floated away.  

16. I've been cramming a lot of last minute beer drinking in this week.  August 1 is Monday!

17. When I find something funny, I keep repeating it to myself over and over and cracking up.  Good thing I work alone in my basement.

18. I still don't think I know how to cook tofu correctly.  It always falls apart!

19. I often put things on my calendar after doing them, because I like the colored blocks.

20. I usually get the most amount of work done on Friday afternoons because it's very quiet.  

21. I slept for 11 hours last night.  Let's not talk about what time I went to bed to make that happen.

Happy Friday!  Drop me a note if you did a RFF today and I'll add the links throughout the day!

Today's RFF squad:
That Pink Girl
Runner In Progress
Knickers In A Twist
Miles To Go
Twice As Hard
rmd in the district
Ab's Pear

Thursday, July 28, 2011

three things thursday

1. Two weeks ago, I had my first Graston treatment on my psoas/iliacus.  For about the past week and a half, my sacrum has been falling out of alignment much more often, going from 4-5x a week (still a lot) to at least once and usually twice a day, but sometimes as often as 5 times.  And until yesterday, I didn't put these two pieces of information together, but now that I have, here's what I think happened (Back off, man, I'm a scientist).  My tight piriformis used to be holding my sacrum down, and when that loosened up, my psoas/hip flexor started holding it in place.  Now that my right hip flexor is completely calm - and trust me, I never thought this day would come - there is NOTHING holding it in place.  It makes complete sense, but until I put these pieces of information together, it was really smoking my bananas.  On Tuesday morning, I felt it move out of alignment while I was doing planks at the gym.  Come on, now, PLANKS!  Planks are strengthening the muscles that are supposed to be holding it in place!

So I guess we can call this progress, but really it's just a right turn on the road out of injury only to discover I still have a giant mountain to climb.  I can feel that there is nothing holding that part of my back in place right now, and trust me, it's seriously weird.  I talked to my PT about it yesterday, and he has been fabulous and brought me so far over the past 2 months, but he's completely stumped about how to make my sacrum stop falling out of place all the time.  He said that my core is really strong and should be holding it in place, and is mystified as to why it's not.  Part of it is due to the fact that I'm hyper-mobile, which means all my ligaments are looser than they should be, and part of it is just that my body seems to be some kind of fucking science project that no one can completely figure out.  He did think that maybe my insanely tight adductors might be throwing something off, so I got those Graston'd, and let me just tell you, everything else I've ever done in PT has been a walk in the park compared to that.  At this point, I'm just going to keep working on making my core and glutes even stronger and we're both hoping that he has a 3am "EUREKA!" moment in the next few days.  I am thinking about traveling back out to see Dr. Maggs for a second opinion, because I completely forgot to ask him about the alignment thing last week and while I totally trust my PT and think he's awesome, sometimes it's just good to get another set of hands on your busted ass.

2. I talked to my coach earlier in the week and he recommended a few days off for my naggy shin, so I've been off until this morning, where I ran 15 minutes off the bike.  It's at the point right now where I can't tell if I'm feeling a slight ache or if I'm just feeling the ghost of an ache (or if it's just aching because I keep poking it to see if it's aching), but I've been living in my compression socks and icing pretty regularly, which seems to be helping.  It felt completely fine on the run, so I'll probably do another 15 minutes over the weekend and see where I'm at.  

3. I've started looking at TT bikes just in time to realize that all the bike makers are going to change everything for the 2012 lineup.  Last week Beth and I went out to Bonzai Sports to try a few things, and I was completely shocked to be comfortable on a TT bike.  I was expecting to hate it, but once I got used to "Am I steering or am I drunk?" it was actually pretty sweet.  After thinking about it, I realized that I spend a lot of time in my drops on my road bike and I'm really comfortable and happy there, and it's roughly the same thing, except with shoulder support.  I wouldn't ride something new for Poconos because it's too close (and because from what I hear of the course, I'll want to be on my road bike), but if I'm going to ride a TT next June, I'll need to buy it in time to put about 3-4K miles on it before race day.  
Yes, it does say "Then I showed up" on my ass.  The front of the shirt says, "You had your chance."

So now I'm just biding my time until 2012's hit the stores and I've dug enough pennies from the couch cushions to be able to afford it.  I think the best plan is to not even consider something until after October 2 - that way I'm not tempted to ride it.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

wordless wednesday

We bought Molly her own dog bed yesterday.
It's her new favorite thing ever.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the really very important things post

Usually blog-chain-letter-type trends make me pretty stabby.  To be fair, a whole whopping lot of things make me stabby: people who stand on the left side of the escalator, people who spit when they talk, when the toilet paper is put on upside-down, etc.  But I kind of like this one that has been floating around, and in the interest of propagating self-absorbtion through blogging (isn't that the whole point of blogging?), I've decided to stamp and send the chain onwards.  (Many of these posts exist under the "I LOVE THESE" tab on the blog but I can only be modest for so long).
My Most Beautiful Post
Calling a post "beautiful" makes me snort protein-yogurt ooge out of my nose.  However, the "post that made the highest number of people email me to say that they were crying at work" was the letter I wrote myself on my 30th birthday.  It actually one of my favorites as well, and I have no idea how I'm going to top it when I turn 31 in a few months.
My Most Popular Post
See?  Blogging is one big popularity contest, just like high school was.  The post with the highest number of hits on it was the post where Susan Lacke showed me that I really did want to sign up for an Ironman - over 3000 hits in a single day.  I have to believe it has something to do with the amount of times the word "fuck" was used in a single post.
Another popular post was the one where everyone emailed me to tell me that we are the same, which is comforting, because I'm a fucking disaster in general.  
My Most Controversial Post
I'm not sure it's a single post, but the most controversial topic I've discussed is the subject of rest.  Fake rest days, active rest days, lots of rest days.  For some reason, a few of my very well-meaning friends are a little bit cranky about the amount and type of rest I should be taking in any given cycle at any given time.  Right now, I'm taking at least one full rest day AND one strength-training/yoga-only day a week (rest from cardio) and that seems to be keeping me pretty happy.  
My Most Helpful Post
I do not have either the desire or the ability to be helpful, but I made a serious attempt in my lifting post (which I now realize is completely out of date and should be updated, hmm).  I also think that my gait analysis post would be helpful to anyone that has experienced the exact same string of injuries I have.  If you're out there, what's UP!?  Let's grab a beer.
Oh, and the posts I did on mantras were really helpful to me (it's all about me, don't forget!), because they gave me lots of good stuff to think about while I'm running.  Thanks, y'all!
A Post I Feel Didn't Get The Attention It Deserved
I've told my story quite a few times on the blog, but I told it from the view of my weight and am still pretty pissy that a few people didn't comment on it.  DON'T YOU GUYS KNOW I'M AWESOME?  I also told my story the first time when the blog was very young and I was excited to get a single comment.  It's explaining why I run.
The Post I Am Most Proud Of
Why, that one is easy.  My National Half race report.  Otherwise known as, "How To Have a Great Race With a Debilitating Back Injury."
All right, so that should keep you guys busy until work is out for the day.  You'd better go read each and every one of these posts and leave at least three comments per post or I'll know that you didn't read them.  I ALWAYS KNOW.
Also, I'm not tagging anyone because I can see at least 15 of these posts waiting for me in my reader but if you haven't done this post yet, well, WTF are you waiting for?  Especially if your blog is only 12 posts long.  If you don't do this post, you will have bad luck for at least 7 years.  Or maybe it's just 7 minutes, I'm not really clear on the rules because I'm too busy realigning my sacrum every 4 hours and trying to get these goddamned compression socks on.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Crystal City Twilighter 5K: race report

After I ran this race last year, I swore I would never do it again.  The heat was just plain ridiculous plus I went out hard and choked.  In a 5K.  But when first the poet, and then I stumbled across free bibs, I said okay, but there was no way I was going to race it after declaring my hatred for evening summer races a few weeks ago.  A 3.1 mile easy run with water stops sounded great to me, plus I had lots of mafia blog buddies running the race as well.  

I tapered for the race by doing a 3.5 hour brick much earlier that morning with Emily.  We went out and rode the Reston inner loops again.  The hills felt much easier than even 3 weeks ago, and I really concentrated on keeping my HR low while climbing.  As it turned out, we averaged a faster pace over the 51 miles than we did the first time.  It was starting to get pretty hot when we got back to the car, so I whined obnoxiously convinced Emily to only brick for 15 minutes and then we headed back.  My legs felt wonky and weird for the first 5 or so minutes off the bike as usual, and then settled down and I just felt tired.  

We showered and had lunch, and then I completed the second half of my taper by napping for over four hours.  I woke up with just enough time to down several glasses of water and head up to volunteer at packet pickup.  I was drenched in sweat after standing still handing out teeshirts for an hour.  The poet and I agreed again to just run easy, and I even joked that if I felt tired, I'd drop out when we ran past the finish line at mile 1.5 and hang out with Lauren, who had come down to cheer and take pictures and hold our giant pile of crap while we ran.  

The starting corral was PACKED with sweaty nearly-naked people, and it was a relief when the gun went off.  My blog friends had higher aspirations for the race and took off.  I hung back and started telling the tall girl about my gait analysis - she had decided to run the 5K about 15 minutes before the race started, after biking 10 miles to the start.  Badass.  We chatted for a bit, but the poet and I lost her in one of the many turns.  I ignored the water stops because I had my baby handheld, and the "cool water misters" were actually just blowing out hot air.  I had set my Garmin to only show time of day so I wouldn't stress about time, and it was too dark by the first mile to see the split.  The poet and I kept chatting and dodging people walking, but a bit after the first mile marker, my naggy shin yelled hello up at me, so I stopped to walk for a few seconds.  Walking was worse than running, so I took off again almost right away.

I had told the poet to go on without me (SAVE YOURSELF!) but caught up with him around the next turn.  Somewhere before the 3-mile marker, my shin pulled again, so I stopped to walk again for about 10 seconds, and then just decided to haul ass into the finish.  My head felt like it was boiling and about to explode.  We crossed the finish line right around 30 minutes.  My mile splits were roughly 9:30, 9:45, 9:30 - exactly what I would do on an easy run.

We hung around for a bit afterwards taking pictures and dripping and robbing the finish line.  Melody (nice to meet you!) found us after the race and stood around making everyone feel bad about their abs chatting with all of us for a while. 
And that was that.  I think I'm finally getting used to the fact that I'm just going to run like crap while it's this hot out, and I'm okay with it.  If I don't get faster when it cools down, well, then I'll have something else to complain about.

How was your weekend?  Did you run any disgustingly hot races?

Friday, July 22, 2011

gait analysis

I've been in PT with Dr. Paul for about 5-6 weeks now, and I'm really happy with the progress I've been making.  When I started working with him, he recommended pushing back the gait analysis that I had scheduled after being so frustrated with this injury.  In his words, " Your gait is going to look completely different a month from now."

I'm so pleased that he was right.

Yesterday morning, Amy and I trekked out to Gainesville, VA, to work with Dr. Maggs at Active Spine and Sport.  Amy attended a presentation he did a few months ago and was impressed with him, and he came highly recommended by several other people, including Cristina, who did a gait analysis of her own a month or so back.  We decided that we'd drive out early to avoid traffic and do an easy run before our appointments.  As many of you know, the weather in DC lately has been a bit hot, and our "4-5 miles" was quickly downgraded to "4 at most" and then "well, we need to do 3 or it doesn't feel like a real run."  My shin was nagging me a bit, so we stopped to walk a few times, and ended up running around the parking lot just waiting for the watch to beep "3."  I can't wait for winter.  But as we dripped sweat all over the reception desk, I also had the thought that, I really love that this is my lifestyle.  Waking up an hour earlier to get an easy run in seemed like a completely normal suggestion.  

Amy went first, and I'll let her tell her own story, but I was pretty fascinated by the process.  He was able to pick out pretty tiny things in her gait and demonstrate how they were affecting her body and give a string of suggestions on how to work on them.  

When he started playing my video, the first problem was immediately obvious.  I'm not sure if I always do this - I mean, I must, video doesn't lie, but I've never seen it before in pictures - but my feet were crossing over the midline with every step I took.  Essentially, it looked like I was running on a tightrope.  Dr. Maggs explained that this was contributing to my pronation because of the angle of the femur, and that it was making my adductors work harder (which is definitely why they are always tight and, in the words of a PT, "have a death grip on the inside of my leg.").  This could also be contributing to my recently naggy shin.  Fortunately, the solution to this one is simple - stop doing it.  He told me to go and run on a track and concentrate on letting my feet land on either side of a lane line.  He also said that if I can fix this, I probably won't need such a huge stability shoe anymore because it will probably also fix my pronation.  (As a bonus, it might ALSO fix my horrible chafing issues!)  I used to hugely pronate on both sides, and when I was video-taped at RRS a month or so back, I was only pronating (but a LOT) on my right side.  Yesterday on the video, I was pronating very slightly on both sides, perhaps a tiny bit more on the right, but it was much better than what was going on even a month ago.  

The video also showed that I have a mild heel-strike going on, but again, not nearly as bad as the hot mess of early June (not to mention my entire life to date):
Instead, it showed that I was still heel-striking but my knee was very slightly flexed when my foot lands on the ground, and he said this was acceptable.  The knee being bent means that far less impact is going up the leg than if the knee is straight.  He did recommend that both of us do some barefoot exercises just to work on soft landings and reducing impact, but he also said that plenty of runners heel-strike without issue.  I also was very slightly over-striding, but again, nothing like the disaster you see above, and he measured my cadence and said it was right on.  

During the physical exam, he discovered that my pelvis doesn't move very much.  He had me twist to one side and then the other, and my shoulders are doing all the twisting.  He gave me a very simple exercise to help this, and I think that this is more of a performance/power issue than an injury-prevention issue.  He also had me do some lunges during the physical exam and that's where I learned that I was pushing back off my right foot from the toes instead of the heel.  This apparently is my glutes continuing to try and dodge doing any work at all.  Another easy fix - just stop doing it.  Being aware of it will fix most of the problem, and fixing this will help with my gait because I'll be teaching my glutes to activate during movement.  After testing my strength, he said that my glutes are strong (a month ago Dr. Paul called them "incredibly weak" - hello, improvement!) and came to the same conclusion that I have recently - the strength is there, now it's just a matter of teaching my body new habits while running.  He gave me a handful of easy drills for this.

All of these things were minor tweaks instead of huge problems, although when I showed him some race pictures from earlier in the year, he said that he wished he could have video-taped me back then, because it looks like I was a complete mess.  I'm very glad to have concrete evidence that I'm making progress.  He told me that everything Dr. Paul is doing is right on the mark, which I thought as well since I'm so clearly getting stronger and am in less pain, but it's great to have affirmation that I'm moving in the right direction.  I might always struggle with injury, but I'm hoping that all the work I'm doing on form will help me stay healthy and run clean and strong and for longer than 4 months at a time.  I will take that over huge PRs or 7:04 average pace any day.  

Have a great weekend, everyone!  I'll be attacking the Reston hills again and slogging through a 5K.  What are your plans to stay cool?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

three things thursday

1. Right now, as you read this, I'm at the fabulous (we hope) Dr. Maggs getting my gait analyzed.  Fingers crossed for a magic fix!  (Spoiler: this never happens.)  Even though I've been working on my form for over a month now, I still decided to go do this because I am hoping that he might be able to point out minor things that my PT/coach/everyone that I make stare at my ass all the time/self have missed.  My running has been fairly consistent, although still low in overall milage, for the past few weeks, and I am starting to feel more settled into good form, so I think it's a good time to go.

2. I'm almost 2 weeks into the Brooks Adrenalines and I'm still loving them.  They feel so much lighter than my 2150's and I really like the smaller heel.  My shin is still bothering me the teeniest tiniest bit, but I noticed earlier in the week on the bike that it was twanging and that made me notice that my cleat was slightly off-center, so back to the bike shop I go.  I haven't been there in over a week, they must be sad and lonely without me!

3. The poet and I are going to lightly and easily jog the Crystal City Twilighter 5K on Saturday evening.  There is no effing way I'm going to run at race effort in this heat - in fact, running at a recovery effort is probably still going to give me a stroke.  When I ran this race last year, I spent the entire time stressing out about my IT band and my first mile, at 9:29, felt incredibly fast.  It's nice to be able to look back and see that, despite the fact that I'm still in PT and working to try and make my body and running better friends, I've come so far.  I'm shooting for a 5K in the 28- or 29-minute range, but I really don't care what the clock says.  I can go out and run 3 miles without a second thought, and for right now, that's good enough for me.  Plus, it looks like it might actually be hotter than the record-breaking temps of last year.  Maybe I skip directly to the beer.

It was also one of the first times I hung out with Liz, and now if a day goes by and I don't get at least 37 emails from her as part of the massive CAR blog mafia group emailing insanity, I start to worry that zombies might have eaten her body.  Here's to good friends.
Happy Thursday!  If you're going to be at the 5K this weekend, let me know so we can high-five and splatter sweat for 8 blocks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

random & wordless wednesday

We have two of these:

And two of these (possibly to be three in the not-so-near future):

So this week, we brought home one of these, to carry it all:

The face of a woman who's just signed up for an Ironman:

Molly can fetch while swimming:

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

two-hill-workout tuesday

So, the way my schedule has unfortunately worked out, I've done NCVC hills on Monday night and CAR hills on Tuesday morning for the past few weeks.  I take both workouts pretty easy, but by the time CAR is over, I'm ready to give these legs some rest!  (Side note: Wednesday has been a rest day for the past few weeks, don't get your rest day panties in a twist!)

Monday night generally looks like this:

And Tuesday morning generally looks like this:

Last night at NCVC hills, though, I was the only woman to show up, and the nice guys who usually hold the pace back and ride easy with me weren't there.  So the "recovery ride" workout turned into a swinging dick hammerfest around the rolling hills of Arlington.  That plus the fact that the heat is worse this week than last meant I was a little extra tired.  I made sure to cool down, foam roll, stretch, ice, and eat right after the workout, but I had a pretty sleepless night which meant it was extra tough to get out the door this morning.  When I walked outside, I thought there was a heater blowing on me.  My car had 84ยบ at 5:45am.  Ugh.  I managed to get in four repeats, but if George hadn't been chasing encouraging me up the last two, I probably would have slowed down quite a bit.

To my legs: thanks for getting me through the last 12 hours.  I've sent lots of protein and good carbs down the pie hole.  Enjoy your rest and recovery!

Monday, July 18, 2011

another monday mashup

So, just like every athlete that gets pregnant signs up for an Ironman, I'm going to promise to try REALLY HARD to not only talk about the 140.6M baby I'm planning on delivering next June.  We all know how that goes.  But I think you should be safe for the next 6 minutes months or so.

I'm still in my self-imposed super rest period.  Last week was pretty easy, although I did have two quality running workouts for the first time in weeks (instead of the usual one or zero).  On Friday morning I went back to tempo.  Even though I only did 2x1 mile, it was still awesome to be back, especially since the CAR blog mafia was there in full attendance.  However, despite the fact that I love the morning workouts, particularly in the summer, I think I'm going to have to flip back to the Thursday night tempo so Friday can be an easy day (this is what I did in National Half training).  On Saturday morning, I woke up with a very upset stomach (which I'm sure had nothing to do with the enormous amount of candy I consumed Friday night while watching Harry Potter), but I still suited up and headed out for my ride.  Less than 3 miles out, I turned around and headed back home.  I had a late night both Thursday and Friday nights and a grumpy tummy plus being extra tired was not going to make for a good ride.  I ended up going back to sleep for several hours and then taking a second nap later that afternoon.  If there's going to be a time when I get to blow off a major weekend workout, it's now, but it's also good to learn that my body isn't a fan of the quality workout on Friday.  When I'm in half-IM (and likely IM) training, I don't think that I'll be doing 2 tough speed running workouts a week, so it might not be an issue, or maybe after a few weeks my body will adjust, or maybe if it ever cools the eff down I might not want to die all the time, but I was shocked at how tired I was, especially since I did a very shortened version of the Friday workout.  

I've got another week of taking it easy before I start easing into Poconos 70.3 training.  I'm not using an extremely complicated color-coded plan this time.  I did make a giant spreadsheet, but that was more for me to work weekend events (Reston, Philly Half, Dad is visiting, etc.) into my training and to make sure that I was planning my long runs and rides so that I would peak and recover at the correct times.  Other than the weekends, I've been living in the swim-bike-run rotation long enough that I'll be able to sit down at the beginning of each week and roughly figure out what I need to do.  I am also not building in a certain day as rest every week (ALWAYS REST THURSDAY OR ELSEEEEE), but instead will take rest days as needed throughout the cycle.  I think this works better for me because if I have a rest day scheduled, I'm more likely to push through workouts for several days and dig myself deeper in a fatigue hole than to just take the day off that I need immediately and move forward.  

And, running.  I think I'm finally starting to see some concrete progress.  Two weeks ago at PT, he Graston'd my piriformis/glute med/random butt muscles.  It hurt like crazy for a few days but made a huge and noticeable difference in that the tightness I have been chronically feeling went away completely for the first time in months.  Last Wednesday when I went back, he could put his elbow through all of my butt muscles and almost out the front of my pelvis with no tightness or knots anywhere (this is a first).  So then he Graston'd my iliacus and psoas.  It was tender to the touch for about 3 days, but it loosened up my hip quite a bit.  I think I might need one more round of Graston on these because these are still a bit tight, but it's a ridiculous and significant improvement over what's been going on.

I noticed a few weeks ago that as I was running faster (roughly sub-8:30 pace), my form was going all to hell which was resulting in pain as things started compensating.  At tempo on Friday morning, I did 2x1 mile (roughly 7:53, 7:49 - I don't exactly remember and am too lazy to look it up).  The first mile I held my form really well and felt fantastic - no pain in my butt or hip at all.  The second mile I started to fall apart a bit in the third lap, and felt a tiny bit of tightness afterwards as I cooled down, but I came home, foam rolled, iced and stretched and it felt fine later in the day.  

I'm really glad that I've learned how to see the cause and effect relationship between form and pain.  It's been a very interesting ride through PT this time.  He could clearly see that I needed to figure out how to activate and strengthen my glutes right off the bat, but it's taken a lot of careful attention to form while running to carry that over - and I still don't think I'm there yet.  I've been concentrating on keeping my hips directly under me, keeping my shoulders back and my upper body upright (I tend to crunch over at the waist, especially when I'm fatigued, which sends my hips back which turns off my glutes which starts to piss off my psoas which yanks on my piriformis which pulls my SI joint out of alignment.  Did you follow that?)  Yesterday morning I ran 8 miles, the longest I've run since Kinetic.  It was a miserable run - hot, humid, no shade on my route (I know, that was stupid), I ran out of water at mile 3 and then choked on a bug at mile 4 which made me hork up most of the water that had gone in, and I had to stop and walk every mile or so on the way back because I was overheating and my HR was going crazy.  But when I got home, I realized that I had been able to hold good form for almost the entire run, and there was no tightness in my butt or hip.  It was an awful run, one of the worst I've had in quite a while, but it was also the longest pain-free run I've had in a a long time - a milestone.  I used to think that I should just run and let my body figure it out, but now I'm changing my tune (actually, 4 injuries in as many years is changing my tune).  Fixing my form is what's going to get me to the starting line of all these huge things I have planned, so I will focus on it every moment of every run until my body has learned how to do things correctly.  

How was your weekend?  Have you ever had to fix your form, or am I the only one with a ridiculous mess of a body?

Friday, July 15, 2011

random friday facts

RFF side note: Thanks to everyone for such overwhelming support yesterday.  You guys make me feel pretty pumped about what's to come.  Much more on all of this next week; for now, it's random friday fact time!

1. I met Richard Dreyfuss once.  He came in the Apple Store and I fixed his computer.

2. I have only paid for a race picture once in my life, and that's because it was the worst race picture I'd ever taken.

3. I really appreciate proper usage of the semi-colon.

4. My books are organized like this: separated into categories that only make sense to me, author's last name, title.  And the ones I'm embarrassed to own are mostly in the basement.

5. I get mad at my shuffle when it plays too many songs in a row by the same artist.  That's not shuffling!

6. I have no desire to hang up or display my race medals, but the bib from every race I've ever run is in a big clip on my fridge, and on the back I write the distance, time, and date.

7. Somehow I'm getting worse at planks, not better.

8. I need it to be completely dark to sleep, but am more than a little scared of the dark.

9. I think it's a little creepy when people name their kids when they are barely pregnant.  Don't you want to meet them first?

10. I'm going to see the new Harry Potter movie tonight.  Please don't spoil the end for me before then!

11. A month or so ago, I bought the most expensive pair of sunglasses I've ever purchased in my life ($39, they match my bike, shut up).  They are still intact.  It's a miracle.

12. I've completely stopped wearing makeup to work.

13. I've had to shower every day this week.  Rude.

14. I'm afraid my rhododendron is dying.

15. Sometimes I go back through my twitter and delete stupid things I've said.  Not often, though.

16. I don't like knuckle-cracking.

17. I'm thinking about giving up ice cream for Poconos.

And last week's RFF posters linked here!  If you RFF this week (or did last week and I missed you, sorry about that, let me know and I'll update it), drop me a comment and I'll link you!
Miles to Go
Knickers in a Twist
Fat Biscuit
That Pink Girl
Beth Gets It Together

Have a GREAT weekend everyone!  Lots of luck to everyone racing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the village

It takes a village for me to do most things.  
Even though I've stopped mentioning it here on the blog for, ohhh, at least 3 days, it doesn't mean that I've stopped thinking about it, and it definitely doesn't mean that I've stopped talking about it.  I worked through it with a friend, and was convinced that I wanted to sign up.  But then another trusted, reasonable, logical friend presented me with the undeniable fact that I get injured, often and a lot, and I mean, of COURSE I can do an Ironman.  Just maybe I shouldn't do one this (next) year.  And the logic got me - the logic always gets me, it's just so....LOGICAL.  So I told myself no.  Not this year.  Have a healthy fall season, rock some more 70.3s, and then maybe.  And I realized that IMAZ sign-up would happen after this "healthy fall season," so I started thinking about IMAZ 2012.  Or even IMWI 2012.

But then I looked at courses, and I read race reports on top of race reports (OMG WIND IMAZ), and I looked at some more courses, and none of them fit, not nearly as well as IMCdA, the one that first caught my eye.  It's big and hilly and beautiful and fits what I do well and that stupid race just kept nagging at me.  I couldn't shake it.  It was waking me up at night, "just to talk."  So I talked through it some more with my extremely patient friends and wrote down all the very reasonable reasons why I shouldn't sign up for an IM right now.  But I just had this gut feeling.  And let me tell you, I hate gut feelings.  They go against every part of my type-A, sanity-only, there's-no-room-for-silly-emotion-here, ENTJ executive self.  Gut feelings should be taken out back and shot by good sense.
So I dithered and I dickered, and I went back and forth and couldn't decide and just generally drove everyone around me completely crazy.  And it got to the point where I was annoying the shit out of myself.
And then a letter showed up in my inbox.  A letter designed as a guest post from one of my favorite cupcake-eating triathletes, Susan Lacke.
I can’t take it anymore. The “will she or won’t she?” drama is getting old. This dawdling is toying with my emotions worse than this season’s “Bachelorette.”
You keep going back and forth about doing an Ironman. One day you will, one day you won’t. Then you drink a beer and change your mind…then you drink another beer and change your mind again.
It’s time to man the fuck up.
You’ve proven you’re made of some pretty tough stuff, not because you’ve had some really high points, but because you’ve had really low points, too. And THAT, my friend, is what Ironman is all about.
You think it’s about being able to swim 2.4, bike 112, and run 26.2 miles? Puh-lease. That’s only a small part of it. Almost any reasonably fit person can do that.
But most reasonably fit people don’t, because they find an excuse not to. It’s too hard, they don’t have the time, they don’t own the right gear, they’re scared of swimming in lakes…there’s always an excuse.
No, being fit is not all it takes to be an Ironman. The people who do Ironman have cojones, and you, ma’am, have brass ones.
Ironman takes commitment to a full year of laying the groundwork to avoid injury and burnout on your way to the starting line, and flexibility when your groundwork takes a sudden and unplanned detour. 
It takes knowing that you are going to have some really crappy days in the water, on the bike, or in your running shoes, but you’ll log it in the training books, slam the cover, and move on to the next day anyway.
It takes a sense of humor to balance out the Type-A tendencies that you didn’t know you had until you began training for the race.
It takes a support group that understands why you are skipping happy hour in favor of an 8 PM bedtime, or is willing to meet you at the door with a beer and pizza after a 5-hour ride. 
It takes mental fortitude to keep your body going when every single muscle, bone, and nerve ending in you wants to quit.
You have all of that.
Ironman is not about covering 140.6 miles in one day. It’s about achieving something that most people would never even dream of doing. It’s about having that swagger in your step that says “Bitch, PLEASE…I’m an Ironman!” It’s about having the confidence that comes with knowing that if you can accomplish this, you can accomplish anything you damn well please.
Is it hard? Certainly. Is it scary? Oh, yeah. Will you doubt yourself? More than once.
Is it worth it? Like you would not believe.
As the saying goes, shit or get off the pot. If you decide not to do it, fine – we’ll high-five and never speak of you doing an Ironman ever again. But it’d be a shame for you to waste all the essential tools you need to be an Ironman…because you have every single one of them.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to man the fuck up. 
It’s time to sign up for an Ironman."
She’s right, especially about the beer (I bet you hear that a lot, Susan).  And that last part really got to me.  If I were to decide not to do it, to put it off, no one will think less of me.  Except me.
My life isn’t awesome because it’s easy.  I’ve been through some stuff that is hard as fuck, and I don’t let it knock me down.  I had this whole post written for today about how pissed I was earlier in the week, when I rode in last at a cycling hill workout and then huffed it in last the next day in a running workout.  Last last last last last.  But after a few days, I'm not that pissed, and I'll keep going back -  not because I have something to prove anymore, but because surrounding myself with people who are stronger than me is what makes me stronger.  

And you know what?  I do get injured a lot.  But I sure don't get injured from sitting on the couch.  I get injured because I go out, day after day, and I work hard and I'm tough and I don't give up, and I don't know where that part of me came from or who feeds it while I sleep, but it's there.  I did seriously consider waiting to do this.  But a year from now, I won't have any more of the tools I need to make this sound easy.  My legs might be stronger, but my heart sure won't be.  I'll borrow words that I read when my friend Ron (I hope it's okay that I call you my friend and not "that scrawny guy from twitter with the awesome bike jerseys") completed his first Ironman last year, also at Coeur d'Alene.  I stayed up late on Sunday evening, cheering on twitter and stalking and watching him finish his incredible race.  And when he recapped it later, he didn't focus on the idiosyncrasies of the race, he instead focused on the experience:

"I’ll leave you with this my friends - we are all athletes embracing a fever that just won’t break; we can not talk about our glory days because we are too busy creating them. I will stop listening to you if your story begins with “You should have known me when..” I want to know you NOW. If I can do this, then YOU can do this. You just need to ignore the negative voices in your head because they are WRONG. Those voices are not YOU, NEVER were and NEVER will be. Those voices are anomalies of others that fear your success. Let’s face it, in life, sometime the one person you need to stand up to is you. I stood up to myself at Coeur d’Alene and found that I had less than 900 seconds to spare…"

When I'm 82 years old, I won't care about the fact that we had to put off getting new carpet for a year so I could register for an IM.  I won't really even remember my tight hip flexor that was plaguing me a year earlier, or the fact that when I signed up I had a bruised heel from being stupid about shoes and 4 stitches in my abdomen and had just had my iliacus Graston'd until it was purple.  I probably won't care about the $600 I spent signing up and the $400 I spent on a year's worth of running shoes and the God-even-knows-how-much I spent on Clif bars and Fritos and Gu.  I want to be able to look back on a life that is rich with adventure and this, today, doing it now - this is how I make that happen.  And I sure as hell hope I'll be able to remember the finish line.

So to everyone else that sent me a "You can do it!" in the past week: holy hell, I hope you guys are right.  And to Susan, while I'll most definitely be cussing your name at some point over the next 12 months, I'll always be thankful that you held up the mirror so I could see that it wasn't a question of doing or not doing this, but realizing that if I didn't, my life would be forever changed, that I wouldn't be living the life I am so goddamn proud and lucky and grateful to be living.

(Someone should probably tell the poet that I signed him up for the Philadelphia Marathon to make myself feel better about all of this.)