Wednesday, February 29, 2012

wordless wednesday: ass and puppy

You guys probably don't realize how much work it is to take a decent ass picture.  I was the creeper in the locker room for about ten minutes trying to get this shot right.
 I finally just gave up and took this one.
I'm also extremely excited about my sexy new bake-and-wear bike shoes.
Sadly, there was garlic bread in the oven so I couldn't make shoe casserole last night.
However, the puppies all approved of the new addition to the shoe family.
 Ass and puppy, with a side of new bike shoe.
Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

don't call it a comeback

If you thought for a second that I could triumphantly return to running without documenting every little tiny insignificant step, well, then you're a fool.
I was granted ten minutes of running at my PT appointment yesterday morning, and I tried to wait until the conditions were ideal to head out: sun shining, wind gently whipping my sunglasses off and into the street, stomach the perfect combination of "I ate too much pasta for lunch" and "feed me again, please."
The poet made sure to commemorate the occasion by taking at least six photos for every glorious minute I was permitted to bounce down the street.
Indeed, it was a family affair.
I started out pretty tentatively, but after a minute or two without shooting pain up my leg, settled in and it felt oh-so-good.  Heavenly, even.  Big ups to my calf.
Sadly, 10 minutes and 47 seconds was definitely enough for the first day, and I woke up sore and stiff and limping just a bit, but I'll take it.  Don't call it a comeback, baby, I've been here for years.

Monday, February 27, 2012

that light had better not be an oncoming train

I get to try 10 minutes of running today!  I hope it feels like this:
But it will probably feel more like this:
But I don't care!  I'm so cracked out on the fact that I'm healing that I almost can't deal with myself.  The pink boxes are back, bitches!  (That's the Training Peaks boxes for those not in the know).

Happiest of Mondays, friends!

Friday, February 24, 2012

random friday facts

1. I can't sleep with socks on.

2. Having the hiccups makes me really angry.

3. There is a mouse living behind the washing machine, and he is smarter than several different kinds of mouse traps.

4. I changed my mind a lot in college, but eventually graduated with the same major I started out in.

5. I like that my smoothie is pink.

6. When I first moved to DC, I was mad because I liked it so much I thought I could live here forever.  I wished I had moved other places first and settled here.  Now I don't think that anymore.

7. In any situation, I really appreciate good manners.

8. I think white spandex is a terrible invention.

9. Sometimes I worry about who is going to take care of me when I'm old.

10. My favorite kind of tea is Earl Gray (decaf).

11. When something makes me laugh, I repeat it over and over.

12. There is no peace like waking up with a puppy snoring in your ear.

13. I bought calcium chews and glucosamine this morning.  I'm getting old.

14. It's been so nice to ride outside this week.  I can't wait to get back out to Skyline Drive and do a few hours of 8mph climbing.

15. IMCdA is four months from today.

16. Right now, Sofie is doing what's called "blowing her coat," probably for the first time in her life.  This much hair comes off of her 4-5 times a day, every day.
17. I think you can tell how good or bad my day was by what I cook for dinner, and whether or not there is music playing in the kitchen.

18. My goggles have been leaking for weeks.  I bought a new pair, and those were leaky, so I exchanged them for another pair, and THOSE were leaky, so I exchanged them for another pair, and now I'm afraid to try them out.

19. I think I could eat pancakes every day.

20. I like obnoxiously-colored workout gear.  

21. I only own one pair of dress pants, and they are too big.

22. We are terrible about recycling, but now that we have the big blue bins, I am trying to be better about it.

Happy Friday, friends!  Leave me something random about you or let me know if you RFF'd!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

three things thursday

1. The "what the hell is wrong with my leg" trainwreck Q&A I've been playing for the last week was abruptly halted yesterday with a diagnosis: partially torn soleus.  The soleus is the big calf muscle that lives inside of the outer calf muscles and runs up the back/inside of your lower leg.  I came home and googled it and every single symptom, every single one fits, it all just clunked into place.  The symptoms of a gradual tear due to overuse or tightness, the pre-tear symptoms, all the various places my leg has hurt since this all happened, everything.  Essentially the tightness in my shins that was caused by all my gait changes was exacerbated by my failure to transition into my Newtons properly along with an increase in running volume (NOT intensity), and eventually that tightness turned into a tear which grew until I couldn't run anymore.  Hindsight is such a bitch.  

2. My PT is overjoyed about the diagnosis because it finally all makes sense.  He said that the tear was what caused all the inflammation in my outer calf muscles, which he broke up last week and caused all that sweet bruising.  Now that the outer calf muscles are no longer swollen and ridiculously inflamed, he could feel the knot of scar tissue surrounding the tear.  And nothing to do with a knot of scar tissue except rip it apart with the Graston tools.  It caused the kind of pain where I can no longer be tense and pull away but instead can do nothing but just give up and succumb and let it wash over me.  However, when he was done, I got up and could walk around without the pain shooting up from my heel for the first time since this mess happened.  It feels like he ripped my calf muscle in half - which he sort of did - and I'm rocking a pretty serious pimp limp.  But it also feels better, it's hard to explain how I can be in some pretty serious post-Graston pain AND feel better, but I feel like it's healing, like he did good work and now all the inflammation and scar tissue and crap just needs to be washed away so the muscle can heal.

3. I've been trying really hard to not fall in the pit of injury despair about this over the past two weeks.  Last year when I injured my back, I literally climbed in bed and ate nothing but Oreos until my girlfriends showed up without warning and dragged me down the street for Thai food and injury tales of their own.  It's so tempting, and would be so easy to let it rock my boat, but the lesson I'm trying to teach myself this time around is to not let it fuck with me emotionally.  That doesn't mean I haven't had bad moments, that doesn't mean I didn't get off the trainer yesterday morning and throw my bike shoes on the ground because of how mad I was that it hurt to push hard in a low gear, that doesn't mean I didn't start crying in my office when thinking about all the gorgeous weather running I am missing right now.  But I'm trying, I'm working really hard to keep a good outlook - not only externally, not only to my friends, not just keeping a brave face on it, but internally as well, really staying calm and breathing.
And the support that has been zinging my way from everywhere has been amazing.  It feeds me where I need to feel strong, it reminds me that I'm not alone.  
I don't know why either, but I've said before that while I don't really understand why this is my journey, I'm going to own it.  In the big picture of my season and even the little picture of the next month, this is a bump in the road.  So I'm going to just bump right over it and roll forwards.  It really is hard sometimes, to be an easily-injured klutz in a sport that is so hard on the body, but it's who I am now and I'd certainly rather this be my life than watching it pass by from the couch.  Sure, I wouldn't have a torn muscle in my stupid leg, but I would have missed out on so much happiness as well, and I'll take it if it means that I get to wring myself dry in the pool and fly down a mountain on a bicycle at 50mph and cross that finish line over and over and over.  To the universe: if this is the deal, if these are the trade-offs, than it's worth it.  I accept. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

wordless wednesday

Tennis balls are a serious business.
Who will emerge victorious?
Molly, duh.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a jumble of semi-related thoughts

My trick collapsing leg is still being quite the trickster, and as such, I haven't run in over a week.  I've done a handful of 10-20 second test runs, each slightly less painful than the last, but I'm still getting quite a bit of pain in my ankle shooting up my calf and into my knee on impact.  Pool running doesn't hurt, but it irritates my hip flexors, so I'm staring down a pretty serious swim+bike block until my body gets its shit together.  I've been giving the angry calf plenty of attention in the form of the weird salt bath, compression socks, ice, and continued torture from Dr. Paul, which has left me rocking this bad boy.
As most of you know, the weather was nice enough outside this weekend that I could take my new crank out for a spin, so we decided to head into Arlington to test that sucker out on the Tuesday night Conte's hill loop.  2.5 loops plus some bonus climbs in and out of Falls Church later, I'm pretty happy to say that I've regained the ability to climb without mashing my brains out.  It does mean that all of my gears are in a different place yet again, and I need to re-re-learn how to control the bike as I climb and descend, plus the bike itself is still fairly new to me and I'm figuring out how to eat and drink and take pictures of myself without crashing.  But it was the kind of ride where I can't do anything except feel thrilled to pieces to be alive, and almost quiets the part of my brain that is angry about being unable to run.

I was fortunate enough to have Monday off, and I was stupid reckless enough to tell my coach Sunday evening that I was feeling extremely rested and would love a big day in the pool and on the bike.  She was happy to deliver, and after finishing my swim workout (description included lots of the word HARD) and getting my calf mashed up, I bundled up and headed into Maryland to climb lots of hills and play chicken with idiots driving silver Mercedes'.  This wasn't a HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY ride, this was the kind of ride where I learned a lot about where I am and got a good strong reality check about how much work is ahead of me to get where I want to be this season.  Being mostly inside on the trainer for the past few months, I've lost a lot of my good habits as related to nutrition and hydration.
By the end of last fall I had it down to a science and it worked.  I knew how much and when to drink and how much and when to take in calories, and it's been a really long time since I've bonked on the bike.  But bonk I did, yesterday, bonk bonk bonk all the way to the bottom of a long descent where I pulled over and ate every last calorie I had in my bottle, my pockets, stuffed in my bento box and hidden in my seat bag behind the spare tubes.  25 minutes later I still had the glassy-eyed slow-pedaling detachment that I associate with a serious need for fuel and pulled into a gas station to throw some more fat calories and caffeine down the hatch.  I had been tracking pretty carefully since the beginning of the ride and didn't think I was short, but the wonderful thing is, your body doesn't give a flying fuck about the math.  If it wants fuel, it wants it, and no amount of me thinking "but I've had 240-250 calories per hour, what's the problem?" was going to change that.  I think I failed to recognize that I was starting to ride at 11:30am instead of 5:30am and had only eaten about 500 calories so far in the day, I had done a swim with lots of hard effort and I wasn't taking into account how much work my body was doing to fight the pretty hard winds and not-cold-but-definitely-chilly temperatures.  I only had liquid calories with me, which is usually fine, but I probably should have eaten more non-liquid calories before leaving on the ride to give my stomach something to do the first easy hour.  I was able to spend a great deal of the ride in aero, including every single long climb, but I think that works against me in terms of nutrition.  It's all a balance, I just need to figure it out again.  I also got a good feel for where my climbing ability and endurance is at right now, and it's both slightly depressing and extremely motivating.  So, lots of work ahead, lots to be done on the bike, but I'm ready to put my nose down and bull forward.  When I finally rolled back up the driveway just ahead of the setting sun, I was worn out to my core but pleased about all the good stuff I had been able to work on.  Yes, my jacket can been seen from outer space and I don't care, it was 70% off last April and it keeps me warm despite extreme ugliness.
This is the first time I've really been injured in any way in the midst of full-blown triathlon training, and it's interesting how my responses are different.  I can bike and swim almost completely without issue, but there's a hole in my life where running usually is - and it's a different, smaller kind of hole than when I've been injured before.  Ever since college, I've felt secure in classifying myself as a runner.  I wasn't fast, I didn't do it a lot, but it brought me a great deal of joy and I wore that proudly.  I had special pants and knew how to wear my iPod headphones down the back of my shirt and had loops and routes and gave myself little pats on the back every time I got out the front door.  And when I got injured and couldn't run, I had nothing left.  It sent me reeling into a pretty deep depression that made it harder to climb out the back end.  Now, not being able to run is still creating a void, but it's tinier and harder to see and isn't a black hole.  Part of that is because I can still swim and ride, and my schedule can be filled up with those things to keep the itchy parts of me happy while I wait for the leg to heal.  Part of it is definitely because my coach is being pretty zen about the whole thing and not turning on all the panic stations, and that is calming.  And I think part of it is just because I'm not a runner anymore.  It's not what defines me.  I've become one of these crazy multi-sport athletes, a triathlete, and not only am I happier here than I ever was as a runner, I'm steady.  I never thought I would like being in the pool, but I find a lot of peace in the water and get real giggly when those 6K swims show up on my training plan.  I've loved the bike since the first day I rode it, and the only thing I don't like about heading out for a ride is how annoying the trail is the first 40 minutes I roll away from my house.  Running will always be how I got started, but I think I've finally stepped away from the roller-coaster love affair I've had with it for the last ten years.  So don't call me a runner, not anymore.  I'm putting down some pretty serious roots in the land of swim-bike-run, I'm thrilled to be here, and I'm never going back.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

random friday facts

1. I don't like scented candles that smell like cookies, vanilla, sugar, anything like that.  I like the light flowers and the minty stuff.

2. I think someone wrote my phone number on a bathroom wall somewhere.  I've been getting a lot of very interesting picture texts from wrong numbers.

3. This is the first house I've lived in since I left for college that has curtains in it.

4. I really like my boss.

5. I have a very difficult time choosing furniture.

6. I got my ankle realigned this morning.  Stupid hypermobility.

7. I found a pair of running shorts with a pocket.  And it zips closed.  Why don't more companies do this?

8. I find it hilarious that my dogs bark at the mailman.

9. I wish my house had more windows and natural light.

10. It makes me happy in a way that I can't describe when all the puppies snuggle up together.

11. I don't buy groupon-type deals.

12. I feel like my electric toothbrush is sad when the batteries die.

13. I hate when men wear pleated khaki pants.

14. I am absolutely terrible at remembering to send birthday cards to friends.

15. I'm still hungry and in love with the pool.  MOAR SWIMMING PLZ!!!!!

16. I've been wearing my change-every-3-month contacts for at least 6 months now.

17. Still stuck in a cooking rut, but at least I'm eating more veggies.

18. I've gone almost 4 days without drinking any Powerade Zero.

Happy Friday, friends!  Share your RFF's with me, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

three things thursday

1. The first thing has got to be ow.  Lots of strange things have been happening to my legs since my appointment last week - first it seemed like it was healing, then I had a perfectly good long run, then some weird calf pain came back, then my knee felt like it was 8 times bigger than it should be, more collapsing leg, all kinds of fun stuff.  I plunked that hot mess on the desk of the fabulous Dr. Paul, and from that he deduced that my posterior chain is just real pissed.  (Note: any medical information told to me goes through the cheese grater of my ability to remember so it's possible that this is all wrong.)  My solaris muscle (one of the hamstrings, apparently there are many) was really tight and pulling on my knee from the top, and my calf was a giant mess of inflammation-turned-clumpy-scarlike-tissue that was actually glueing my two calf muscles together and yanking on my knee from the back.  So that's the recipe for collapsing leg, in case you are trying to make it at home.  

Anyhow, out came the giant metal toothbrush.  The solaris gave in pretty easily, but I think that the re-separating of my calf muscles might nudge out the shins for the most painful Graston session yet.  It essentially felt like someone used a knife to slice open my skin, poured salt and gasoline in the wound, set it on fire, and then rubbed it up and down for about 10 minutes with a handsaw.  This is the first time I've actually tried to use my safe word ("stop") in a session.  When he was done, my magical collapsing leg had fled, though, so I'll take it.  I generally don't bruise from these sessions but I'm sporting a sick black-and-blue from this one.  He recommended an Epsom salt bath (I did it although I have no idea what it is supposed to do), lots of ice and stretching and I go back in tomorrow for another round.  I'll try to keep the blood-curdling shrieks to a minimum this time.

2. I decided to balance my desire to lay in bed eating spinach and blueberries and grapefruit all week with a night out with some of my favorite girls.  Despite the fact that several of them have blogs of their own, I somehow managed to escape without a single picture being taken of my food, our table, or the group shot where we are all leaning over weirdly and have the flash reflecting off of our foreheads.  I had a blast and was able to sneak in some good-for-recovery foods (limes, tomatoes, beans) and did not even one time have to hold up my fingers to show how miles I ran that morning.  I continued to behave like a responsible athlete by climbing directly into the Epsom salt bath when I got home, showing admirable restraint by only eating one two most a few of the chocolates from the 70%-off day-after box that the poet picked up after my frantic pre-dinner phone call from the sold-out CVS in Dupont Circle.  

3. The bike refit I did a few weeks ago is almost perfectly good.  My shoulder pain is staying away, but something was done to my saddle that means the seam of my bike shorts is now perfectly aligned between my sit bones and the edge of the saddle.  I've never had saddle problems before - only one instance of having a sore lanced and that was from wearing old chamois-fraying shorts - and I'm not interested in starting now, so I might be tootling back to the shop today or tomorrow to get things adjusted yet again.  But I'm wondering, lady friends, if it's not so much the position of the saddle but the shape.  I've tried multiple pairs of shorts and the chamois seam seems to ride constantly in the same place, which makes me think that maybe the back of my saddle is either slightly too wide or slightly too narrow.  Before I was refit, I was constantly sliding back on my saddle, which I was told was because it was too far forward.  Now that the saddle is in the correct place, I'm wondering if maybe it's not right for me.  I really don't want to set fire to any more cash in the name of triathlon, and I'm more inclined to pursue the fit route before I pursue the expensive new-saddle route, but if you've had similar sit-bones/seam/saddle issues, I'd love to hear about it.  My current saddle is whatever came on the QR - some kind of Adamo.

Happy Thursday friends!  Let's talk us some crotch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

wordless wednesday

I'm honored and more than a little intimidated to be included on this list of pretty ridiculously awesome athletes.
It's not just about the ass shots anymore, boys and girls.  
Okay, it's always going to be a little bit about the ass shots.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

on resting

It's rest week now.  I'm a little torn about rest week, because on one hand, I have all this free time and should make all those dates I haven't been able to make for the past three weeks because I've been a hamster on a Training Peaks wheel.  But on the other hand, rest week is about letting all my little broken parts heal so they can be stronger for the next three weeks.  So I'm trying to compromise.  Yesterday and today I am treating my body like the little tired solider it is.  Lots of time drinking tea and resting with my legs up and having toast instead of a protein smoothie for breakfast.  I've got plans for later in the week to spend time with some friends, but for the most part I'm going to really try and rest.  To heal.

I came out of this block with some pretty pissed off legs.  I think I've zeroed in on what caused the problem (a hard run in some shoes I wasn't completely adapted to yet, followed six hours later by a not-so-short run).  I got pummeled by the evil steel toothbrushes last week, which got me through the weekend, but now it's time to let the blood cells carry away the angry black monsters of inflammation.  I took a day away from poking things with a sharp stick and today I'll just gently foam roll to get the blood moving.  I'll get Graston'd to death again tomorrow and later in the week I'll try a test run, but right now I feel like the best thing I can do for my body is to be gentle with it and let there be peace.

The wonderful thing about training properly - periodization, the fancy folks call it - is that by the time recovery week rolls around, I'm truly ready for the break.  My workouts are all pretty short and light and I can execute them without a lot of physical or mental effort and then move on with my day.  Last time I didn't start itching for the hurt again until the weekend rolled around, and I feel the same way now.  I'm not bouncy and twitchy and dying to go hammer some bitches.  Watching the "who can go faster" competition roll by on twitter barely interests me.  For such a long time, my training was going all hard all the time, and I never properly rested, and while I made progress, there was no master plan.  There was no thought into a bigger picture of any sort.  Instead I just got caught up in what everyone else was doing, and that's definitely what is not best for me.  Sure, there have been times in the past few weeks where I've been really lonely in training, and where I've tried to schedule workouts with friends to get out of that funk, where I've tried to move my life around to make it so I don't have to spend another three hours in my head.  And when I've subsequently been blown off, it does piss me off, it does hurt my delicate little pink feelings, and it definitely makes me appreciate the people who will join me for a run here, or a swim there.  But I believe in what I'm doing, I believe that the path I'm on is a good one, and if I have to travel it alone, then those are the sacrifices I am choosing to make.

So if you're looking for me this week, I won't be on the bike.  I won't be in the pool and I definitely won't be out stomping around outside in my running shoes.  I'll be on the couch with my legs up.  I'll be cooking good strong muscle-building dinners and going to bed at 8pm.  I'll be showering in my own bathroom instead of at the gym for the sixth time in five days.  I'll be having a quiet date with my number one fan, the one who never lets me down but instead is unfailingly supportive of the crazy life I have chosen.  But most importantly, I'll be trying really hard to let go of all the noise that wants to surround me and suck me under.  There is a lot of it, right now, and it is pretty noisy noise, and what I need is not to fight against it, but instead to let it roll right by me, let it roll off me and away while I sit in the peaceful place I am trying to create for myself.  It's right here, it's the mental work I need to do while my physical parts rest, it's the other kind of toughness I need to be building.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love The Run You're With 5K: throwback race report

New Year's Eve 2009 brought the first time I had run any distance since November 4th.  I had been jumping through hoops with a multitude of doctors in those two months, all who told me to stay off my right foot with the weird pain.  I had a couple of cortisone injections and a bunch of x-rays, but finally had been cleared to run.  After the NYE race, I began running just a little bit, on the treadmill at the gym where my boyfriend had purchased us gym memberships for Christmas.  By the time February rolled around, I was running at least two and sometimes even three times a week.
I signed up for the 5K.  My boyfriend had been running pretty regularly for a while now and he signed up as well, his first race.  The original date for the race was Sunday, February 14, but the race was postponed after a huge snowstorm hit the DC area.

I was actually pretty glad to have another couple weeks of runs under my belt and even got in a long run of 5.5 miles one week before the race.  I was ready.  I also managed to convince my good friend and new running buddy Rudi to sign up.  I After huddling in the Starbucks for a while pre-race, we lined up and went.  Rudi and I started together and the poet started a little bit further back.
I remember so clearly being thrilled to be in a giant pack of so many runners.  The first song on my 35-minute playlist was the Ke$ha song about brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack, and I was singing the lyrics out loud to Rudi (standard) as we turned the corner and headed up the huge hill.  My only real goal for the race was to run the entire time.  I had forgotten my Garmin (Forerunner 50, no GPS) at home so I just tried to stay extra steady on the hills.  Somewhere after the 2-mile marker, Rudi took a quick break to grab some water and I just kept going.  I couldn't believe how far away the 3-mile marker was, but I enjoyed running back down the hill and around into the finish.  34:14 was my final time.
Rudi and the poet weren't far behind me.  We took some post-race pictures in the parking lot and celebrated. 
Someone taught us (probably a blogger) that crossing your legs makes your thighs look thinner.
The poet decided that since he had run a race, he would buy real running shoes and stop running in the ones he bought at Target.  So we went to Pacers, stopping at the house first to let our little puppy outside.
He was pretty proud of us.

Friday, February 10, 2012

random friday facts

1. I remember reading something somewhere a while ago that said something to the effect of, while you are training hard, you aren't growing brain cells.  That sentence should prove that this theory is correct.

2. Two separate women stared at my crotch this morning in the locker room.  I'll get a bikini wax next week, RELAX.

3. Yesterday I tried to eat conversation hearts on the trainer.  It's a pretty bad idea.
4. We bought one of those $20 digital-rabbit-ears thing for the TV a few weeks ago.  I still watch all both of my shows online, but it brought the NFL back into this house.

5. I buy my compression socks one size too small for some extra leg hug action.

6. My eating has been totally out of control this week.  I'm trying hard to make sure I'm putting down GOOD food (for the most part #3) but the sheer amount is kind of startling.

7. I wish I had a prehensile tail.

8. The best thing about fixing my broken ass?  I don't have to wear spandex shorts anymore.

9. Still no itch to race.

10. I don't care about Valentine's Day.

11. If I don't read before bed, I don't sleep as well.

12. I miss being outside on the bike.  I even miss sweating my brains out when it's 102ยบ at 6pm and I'm in for an hour of chasing NCVC ass desperately up another hill.

13. This blog post has been sitting open for over two hours while I try and think of another fact but I'm pretty sure my brain has shut down for the day.  Instead, I shall post it.  Let me know if you RFF'd so I can read some posts that are less lame than this one.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

three things thursday

1. My cranky shins started barking extra loudly earlier this week after a double-digit double-run day, so I went to see my "strength is important and oh this is actually going to really hurt" PT for some relief.  My left shin/calf was aching every time I put weight on that leg, my IT band/hip was sending zip zaps of pain all over the place and my knee kept buckling inwards for some reason.  His diagnosis is that none of it is anything too serious, but it's all related and slowly crawling upwards from my foot.  My shin crankiness has been around for a while, and is largely from my body adjusting to the changes that happened to my gait once my glutes started firing last summer.  In the past 2-3 weeks, I've run a higher volume of weekly miles than I probably ever have in my life, so that contributed, and I'm in a peak week of training right now, where the name of the game is loading up the training stress.  I also started wearing a pair of extra-comfy new pink shoes about six weeks ago without taking the time to transition into them correctly slowly.  Add all those pieces together and I've got a stack of angry body parts.  So he Graston'd my shins, my adductors, my IT band and my hamstring, did some ART on my hip flexors, realigned my sacrum and sent me packing with a prescription for ice, stretching, and less Newton-running for a little while so everything can just calm down.  This morning I feel like someone beat the shit out of me, which is usually a good sign.  I've got four more hard days of hard training to get through and then I can sit on the couch for an entire day and call it rest.  

2. I've always kind of poo-poo'd the idea of getting a regular massage - mostly because I'm usually in and out of PT so often that I don't need anything extra.  But before yesterday, it had been almost six weeks since anyone had smashed my bits.  I've started to consider the idea of getting a massage done, maybe monthly or even bi-weekly if I can afford it, going forward into IM training.  I've collected a handful of recommendations of people who will pound the living crap out of me, and I'm hoping that starting in March this can fit in the budget.  I'm curious to hear from you guys - do you get regular massages as part of your training?  Where in the cycle do you get a massage and what magic does it do for you?

3. All of that said, it's confession time.  For the past two months, I've done a really crappy job of stretching, sticking, icing, foam rolling, or really doing anything except fluttering my eyelashes at the poet and asking him to rub the knots out of my back.  I KNOW.  For some reason I decided that I would just wear compression socks all the time and eat more spinach and that was all I needed.  Sadly, this is very obviously not the case (see items #1 and #2), so I'll be trying to make friends with my foam roller on a daily basis instead of just chasing Molly around with it (she barks her brains out, it's hilarious).  I know most people say to just do it at night while you watch TV, but I don't ever watch TV and I pretty much go straight from the dinner table to bed.  I know you're jealous of my incredibly exciting life.  I also probably need to finally invest in a decent desk chair since I've been working from home for almost three years yet am still sitting on an old kitchen chair that I inherited from my uncle in 2002, which can't be helping my cranky sacrum at all.  But does anyone honestly ever remember to foam roll every day?  I'm going to try and roll, stick, and do some light stretching at least once a day.  We'll see what happens, I'll probably either pull a muscle or poke my eye out with the stick and that, dear blog friends, will be the end of that.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

wordless wednesday

It might be slightly crazy a lot of the time, but it was totally and completely worth it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the bars, the bars

Like it or not, I eat some kind of protein/fruit/granola/something bar about once a day.  They are quick and convenient and for the most part, better than eating a candy bar when I'm in a hurry.  And just like everything else in my nutrition life, there has been an evolution.  I used to only eat Kashi bars, especially the chocolate ones.  Then I started looking at nutrition facts.  YIKES.  So now I have a big pile of different brands/flavors that I rotate through, and they all serve different purposes (for example, this box was on sale at Costco).  I thought it might be marginally interesting to talk about it (it's February and I'm not racing, cut me some slack, there isn't a lot else going on).

Clif Bar
The Clif bar, for a long time, was my wake-up-and-go-exercise bar.  No matter what I was doing, it would go in the mouth and I'd be out the door.  My favorite flavor was Cool Mint Chocolate, but then I discovered it had caffeine in it so I switched to Crunchy Peanut Butter. But then I discovered that these suckers have a lot of carbohydrates in them, mostly from sugar.  So now I only grab a box of these if they are really on sale, and then I save them for pre-longer/tougher workouts.  They are also good if it's two hours until dinner and I'm trying not to graze on everything in the pantry.

Luna Bar
The Luna bar was my original bar love.  Chocolate Raspberry and Lemon Crisp are my two favorites, and they also were a wake-up-and-go bar for me.  I also spend most of my first year as a cyclist eating them on the ride.  But the Clif bars are a little more filling and have a tiny bit more protein in them, so I eventually stopped buying these.  

Luna Protein Bar
When I first tried this bar, I thought it was gross.  I think I tried the Cookie Dough flavor, and it was thick and tasteless.  So I avoided these for a while, but then the Mint Chocolate Chip came out and I gave it another try.  Oh, this is a great bar (note: I'm fairly sure they changed the recipe).  A solid amount of protein, not a TON of sugar, and keeps me feeling full through longer workouts.  The only problem I have with it is that it has a lot of fiber in it, which makes it a definite no-no before high-intensity workouts.  It also doesn't have any ingredients with the word "syrup" in there anywhere, which is something I look for in a bar.  I had one of these this morning before an hour run and wasn't hungry when I arrived back home.

Clif Mojo
I bought a box of these at Trader Joe's one week out of idle curiosity, mainly because the "Peanut Butter Pretzel" flavor sounded amazing.  I found that, for whatever reason, they didn't fill me up at all and I'd be hungry again 30 minutes later.  We buy them occasionally when they are on sale at Costco but I mostly keep them in my purse as the emergency back-up food and put them in the pile that the poet is allowed to steal from.

Powerbar Performance
This one was recommended to me by my former coach as a pre-race meal.  This bar looks like a weird gummy lump of ooge.  It's very chewy and feels like it's probably going to pull my fillings out.  I'm not a huge fan because it's obviously really processed.  However, it has the right balance of carbs/protein/fat that I need pre-race and is low in fiber so I don't want to whoops in my pants after running hard.  After testing it out in training and racing last fall, I pretty much reserve this one for race day because it's just weird, but it works.

These I just like because they are delicious, and my RD friend approved them to stay in my diet as they are actually made from real food.  I'll eat one in the morning before a not-long workout, or between two back-to-back workouts that require driving (long run then swim, for example) or snack on one in the horrible empty time between my fifth breakfast and lunch.  My favorite flavor, Cherry Pie, has three ingredients: dates, almond, cherries.  It doesn't get a lot simpler than that.  The Key Lime Pie flavor is pretty brilliant, I have no idea how they make those five ingredients equal tasting like pie.

PureFit Bar
I recently got some PureFit nutrition bars to try.  These are advertised as all-natural, gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, high in protein and diabetic-friendly.  Whew.  That's a tall order.  These little guys have a ton of protein in them, but also a ton of fiber.  I tried the granola crunch bar first, and it left me feeling a little heavy going into my morning workout.  The chocolate brownie flavor was pretty good, and much more tasty.  I think I'd keep these in the rotation as a pre-long-low-intensity workout bar - the amount of fiber scares me a little bit too much to have one pre-race.  

I also didn't realize until I started writing this just how much of it comes from one source: Clif.  I try not to eat more than one "bar" a day in my current quest to rid my diet of highly processed food.  I'm also trying to figure out what I can make at home that will do the same thing these bars do.  I attempted to turn this pre-workout pumpkin bread into a muffin recipe and it was a dismal failure.  I know that I can "make" my own Larabars but I feel like that defeats the purpose a bit (and I'm lazy).  So, question time, blog friends.  What do you eat pre-workout?  Where can I get it?  Do any of you make your own pre-workout foods?  

Monday, February 6, 2012

ass and puppy

I got in this weekend to get refit on my bike.  Of course I documented every step for you all.
Yes, I do have enormous thighs.
Sunday afternoon I spent inside hiding from the nasty weather, watching old episodes of the Biggest Loser and chatting.  
With a tiny little cheerleader.
Sarah approved the guest shot of her ass.
My appetite for the past week or so has been pretty depressed, despite my training volume.  I'm pretty sure it caught up with me Sunday evening, but I beat it into submission with homemade chili and probably less than half a bag of M&Ms.  How was your weekend?

Friday, February 3, 2012

random friday facts

1. The yoga class with the teacher that I really like meets on the only weekday that I have a meeting over my lunch hour and can't go.  It's hard being me.

2. We finally figured out why Sofie smells so bad after four baths and cleaning her ears out every day for a month.  Double ear infection and massive skin infection.  

3. My company doesn't do direct deposit, and I really miss it.

4. I wish I could mute people on twitter.

5. I love NFL football, but I really don't care about the Super Bowl this year.

6. I have absolutely no itch to race (or sign up for races) right now.

7. I made muffins last night.  With a hammer.

8. I got up early(ish) this morning to swim and didn't realize until I was in the water that I actually could have slept in another hour.

9. I am still not planning anything for after IM in 2012, but I've already had rather vague thoughts about what I'd like to do in 2013.  This horrifies me.

10. I had a bunion surgically removed on my left foot when I was 15.

11. When I moved in here, I went from my own huge walk-in closet to sharing a tiny half-closet.  Now I can't imagine having more clothes than I do.

12. Graham just jumped up next to me and started licking my ear.  He says hi, blog land.

13. I think it's weird to have a master bedroom in the basement, but we're thinking about moving things around.

14. I hate it when people put smile faces in work email.

15. Our couch and matching chair don't actually match.

16. I finally tried a Gu flavor other than the chocolates (raspberry, mint, etc).

17. Every time Molly yawns hugely it makes me really happy.  

18. I probably own about 20-25 cookbooks and have never opened a single one.

19. I want airy white curtains for our bedroom.  I also like sleeping in complete, solid darkness.

20. Yesterday I hit the highest HR I've ever hit on the trainer (spoiler: not high at all).  Thanks, Limp Bizkit.

21. Our washer/dryer is really tiny.  It makes washing sheets a royal pain in the ass.

22. I'm not sure my MBA was worth the stress of dealing with student loans.  Hopefully I won't always feel this way.

23. I'm tired.  I'm not complaining about being tired, but I am, in fact, tired.  I'm almost 2 weeks into what I think is a 3-week build block, and this is the point where there aren't enough recovery tricks in the world for me to feel bouncy again.

24. People preach about spinach being super food so much that I feel like I should get a Roctane-type kick in the ass when I eat it.

25. I wish I knew how to build an addition on our house.

Happy Friday, friends!  Let me know if you RFF'd today so I can come check it out.