Falling behind

Life. It happens. Life doesn’t care if you have a triathlon in two weeks or are just starting a 13 week training plan for your first 25K trail race. It carries on however it pleases and you have to figure out how to roll with it.

It also doesn’t care if you are supposed to be starting a new job in two days either. But this is a running and fitness blog so we’ll stick with the other stuff 🙂

When life calls, you answer. You don’t ignore what’s going on because you have something else going. When someone needs you, you go. This isn’t me complaining that I had to pick up at a moments notice and go home to be there for my family. I would do it again in an instant. It’s about how you pick up when you get back.

You can sit there and be miserable that you missed that time. That triathlon PR would’ve been great. That 12 mile trail run that turned into a 9.5 mile trail run could’ve been way better if I didn’t miss the first three weeks of the training group. But I didn’t PR and I didn’t train those weeks. It is what it is. You pick up and continue. Make the best of where you are and know that you’re going to get there. It’s just going to be a little longer than you first thought.

It’s totally ok.

In fact, it’s better than ok. It means that you are confident enough in yourself to know that you can step away for a moment, tend to what you need to, come back and be fine.

Never get so caught up in your own life that you aren’t able to answer the call when someone needs you. Running teaches us to be confident and strong. Be confident enough to step away and lend that strength to those around you when they need it the most.

Injury Update

Lots has happened since my last post. Well. One thing. The start of my senior year at Missouri State. Did you know studying kinesiology involves needing to know trigonometry? Yeah, me either.

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I feel I was misled. This is exercise SCIENCE not exercise MATH. UNFAIR.

Anyways. Enough of my complaining. I have been known to not listen to my body and exercise through an injury. So far, I haven’t ended up making myself permanently disabled as a result. Thankfully. Because I know better. I’m going to school for this. I know the consequences of not listening to my body. I also know signs and symptoms better than the average Jane. So when I put myself on the swimming/overhead activities disabled list, I was somewhat concerned that I wouldn’t be able to follow through.

But here we are, two and a half weeks later and I haven’t set foot in the aquatic center! This is cause for celebration. I have successfully completed my “rest and recovery” stint. The nagging pain that was in my shoulder is gone. I have been able to do some limited overhead movements without pain. I have “cleared” myself to begin limited, light intensity shoulder work.

No triathlon on Saturday like I had hoped 😦 but long term is what matters.

So I’m injured.

Remember that nagging shoulder pain? Yeah. Turns out that’s not just a little thing. No, I’m not an athletic trainer or a doctor. But I did take a class and I know how to feel things out.

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Repetitive overhead motions (such as swimming without proper form) can cause a shoulder impingement. Pretty sure that’s what I’ve got going on here. One thing I knew I needed to work I was my arm movement during freestyle swim. My right arm tends to end the water more flat that angled. Puts undue stress on the shoulder joint, blah blah blah, and here we are.

I’m terrible at taking time off when I’m hurting. But this is a little different. This is nagging me almost constantly. It has lessened but still hurts. A few weeks off should take care of the pain and drills should help me correct the form.

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My biggest sadness is that this could and likely will keep me from participating in my second triathlon at the end of the month. It isn’t the end of the world, but it is disappointing.

The Monday After

It’s been barely two days since completing my first triathlon. Nothing has changed, I still can’t wait to do another one. I’m searching high and low for another sprint tri to do. And wouldn’t you know, there’s another at the end of this month!

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At this point, I’m 75% sure I will enter this. I just have to come up with the entry fee 🙂

Oh yeah, there’s also this nagging shoulder pain. What’s up with this?

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My knowledge of athletic injuries is limited, though I have taken a class on it. I know it isn’t a SLAP tear! And probably not a torn RC. Doesn’t hurt all the time, nothing limiting overhead ROM. Something in the coracoclavicular area. So I’m on a mission to noodle it out. It has something to do with my swimming form, which makes my need for someone to help me with my swimming all the more important.

Thankfully, today I got an invite to join the Missouri State Triathlon Club! Yay for sweet coworkers who are also triathletes 🙂

Tiger Tri: Things I Learned

Yesterday marked my foray into the world of triathlons. It was crazy, fun, scary and exhilarating. Unlike anything I had ever experienced. Something I want to experience again soon. I trained hard for this and yet I could’ve trained harder. There were some things you cannot train for. Here’s what I learned.

1. Do not underestimate how long it will take you to swim. This triathlon was a snake swim and we lined ourselves up based on how fast we thought we would be. This was known ahead of time. Myself and others timed our training swims in order to make an educated estimation. Others did not. This lead to pile ups and angry swimmers in the lanes when someone thought they could swim much faster than they could. Be courteous to those around you and be real with yourself. Nobody is judging if you are in the 8 minute swim group instead of 6 minutes.

2. Get there early. Triathlons start early. As you have a transition area to set up, you’ve got to get there even earlier. Some events set up the night before, but if yours sets up the morning of, get there at minimum an hour and a half early. Earlier if your race is particularly big. I had to get my timing chip and body markings in addition to setting up my station. Leave yourself plenty of time to poop relax, because you WILL need it.

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3. Do not judge your abilities or equipment because of others. My morning started out with serious bike envy. Starr Trek is nothing in comparison to elite triathlon bikes that cost more than my car. But she’s a good bike and I do well on her. I set my transition station far away from others because I was immensely intimidated. Standing in line to swim, I also psyched myself out. Many of my training swims were in the 9 minute for 300yd range. Not terrible but I’m not winning the Olympics. I completed a couple around 8 minutes but was convinced those were a fluke. Others around me said I would be fine but I wasn’t sure I could compete with their 8 minute flat times. Therefore I convinced myself I would have to swim my heart out so they wouldn’t pass me, which lead me to my next issue…

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4. Do not panic in the swim. Nothing, and I do mean nothing short of doing lap swimming through a crowded public pool, could have prepared me for what it was like to swim in a pool filled with 30 other athletes. Though it was a snake swim not open water, there was still the added element of swimming with others before and behind you and waves being made in the water. Part way in, I caught some water in my mouth and started to choke. I told myself I wouldn’t use the breast stroke at all but I HAD to keep my head above water and calm myself down when I started to panic. By the end I was fine but for a moment there I considered screaming for help.

5. Have Fun! This event was challenging and so rewarding. I’m so lucky to have had people there to support me and cheer me on. I met tons of wonderful people who were so willing to help and give advice. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness and forget to enjoy the day.

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Other notables:
– I met a really cool lady in line for the swim who had done many open water swims and she helped me feel way better. What a cheerleader! I also saw her and her adorable son running a nighttime trail race the same night.
– Some people relax after a triathlon by smoking a cigarette. To each their own.
– POWERADE.
– If your bike isn’t a beach cruiser, you’re miles ahead of some.
– Taking transition time to set your GPS could cost you a place in the medals (I almost placed!)

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Hills on Hills…oh Hills

After getting to see part of the triathlon bike course last weekend, I knew I needed to start training hard on the hills. If not, I’m in for a major butt whipping. What better place to train than Wilson’s Creek Battlefield?! With segments like Bloody Hill…oh, Bloody Hill. I’ve been out a few times for training runs. Almost every time, I’ve lost to the hills.

Today, I was determined to beat them.

I had a goal to complete two, five mile loops. No pace goal. Just do it. Happy to say, I crushed it. THREE times. I have to get over my fear of downhills. There is no way around them. It certainly is easier when I’m alone. I may or may not have screamed going down a hill or two. I topped out at almost 33 MPH.

I also made it up every hill. Slowly, but surely. By the last loop, I really felt like I was tapping into pushing down from my glutes instead of working so much from my hamstrings. Way more efficient and comfortable. I just need to keep practicing. I’m very happy with an overall pace of 13.8 MPH. I’m only getting better from here!

Tomorrow is a brick day – swim then bike. Boyfriend is going to help me plan a route around campus. Mostly I want to see what it feels like to come out of the pool and go straight into biking. I’m nervous! In an excited way 🙂

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Get techy

I’m more of a creature of habit than anything. I stick with what I know for as long as I can just because it’s comfortable to me. That’s probably why I lived at home until I was 24. This applies for technology as well. I use what I use because I know how to use it. Phones, tablets, apps, whatever. But when your boyfriend is a tech nut, you find yourself with new gadgets.

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Enter Pebble. Maybe you’ve heard of it. This thing is PRETTY cool. You can access so much of your phone from this sweet little watch. Text messages, music, whatever. This includes RUNNING APPS!!! I’ve been toying with the idea of a garmin. But creature of habit here. I like love Runtastic. And a Garmin is expensive. I just liked the idea of seeing real time pace on my wrist. Which is why the pebble is so great. It can be my Garmin, does way more AND was about half the price.

I have yet to take it for a run but as soon as I do, expect a review!

Brick it. Brick it real good.

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This is Amy. My running buddy. My sister from the womb of a different time (she killed me in utero. We know this.) She is the reason I’m so crazy. The reason I did a half marathon. The reason I am doing a triathlon. This may sound like I resent her. But I love her. She is so much of why I am here, running wise. Why I am so happy. Ok. Too mushy.

Today, Amy introduced me to my first brick workout. Bike then run. I was nervous. Totally nervous. I’m still getting used to the bike. And I’ve only ridden with boyfriend. But I needed to ride with someone new. Even more important, I got to experience some of the triathlon course.

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The part we rode was tame in comparison to the hills I will see on race day. We drove those, along with the cows that laugh at you as you go up the BIGGEST HILL EVER. The hill that comes after a decline that is basically 90 degrees. Ok. Exaggeration. 80 degrees. I laughed as I drove down the hill. Out loud, belly laughs.

I survived the bike ride. I hit the highest downhill speed I have to date. And averaged about 13mph for 9ish miles. Not bad!! I’m getting over my hill of flying downhill. It scares me. Seeing the course made me understand what I will have to do and there is no choice but to go fast downhill so I can carry some momentum up the hill after.

Jumping off the bike to go run was…new. Different. Weird. My legs were semi jelly after the bike and every step was just a weird feeling. I can’t describe. I will get used to it. I can’t wait to see what swimming then biking is like. I think I may try tomorrow.

Bottom line. You have to step out of your comfort. I’ve been terrified on the bike. Especially of the downhill. But you can’t get better until you do more. Today, I did more. I am proud to say I completed my first brick at a good pace and that I’m ready to keep doing more.

Overtraining: when to say when

If you’re like me, you’re addicted to training. You think more is better and more than more is even better than better. Feel me? If I can run three miles today, then maybe I should run five. Or six. Or maybe I should do a long run in the morning and speed work at night. It’s a slippery slope…

Training for my half marathon, I ran just about every single day for two months. And when I say ran, I mean I RAN minimum three miles a day and did strength training three days a week. This probably explains why I’m a little burned out at this point.

I hate admitting I can’t do something. I know there’s people out there who run twice as much as I do every day. They’ve also probably been running for YEARS. Years upon years…upon years. I have been consistently running for under six months. So, overdoing it? Yeah. Maybe.

I’m an exercise science major. I am EXTREMELY familiar with this bell curve:

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Oh, diminished returns. There is a point where you WILL stop getting better. I see my run times stop improving, my appetite go away, and a whole host of other issues pop up. Sometimes the strongest thing you can do in your training is ADMIT you are overdoing it and slow down.

The last thing you want is to be a slug on race day. Dead legs aren’t fun during training and they sure as hell aren’t fun when you’re trying to set a PR. All that you have gained through training will not go away in a day. Or two days. Take that rest day. Come back feeling refreshed and more focused.

And when you hear me complain that my legs are dead and I cannot function, feel free to ask when my last rest day was and refer me to this blog post.

July Goals and Week 2 TriTraining

Last night I wrote about how I do my goal setting for the month. This morning, it’s time to put it out there.

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June is over, time to move on from what I didn’t accomplish. In the grand scheme, it was a great month. I got a promotion at work, bought a bike, signed up for a triathlon and lost six pounds. This month, I obviously want to stay strong with my triathlon training. I leave for California (HALLELUJAH!!!!) in 22 days and will be there for two weeks. My mind needs to be in the right set to maintain my training and diet so that my triathlon performance is top notch.

This weekends training went well, all things considered. The heat finally caught up to me and I was just exhausted. Saturday I was able to complete a couple miles of speed work, leg strength training and a 6 mile bike ride. Let me make this clear: the relationship with your significant other must be STRONG before you embark upon a bike ride with him or her.

Interested in having a fight? Go for a bike ride! I’m stubborn and prideful and I HATE not being good at something. Hate. Riding a bike? Yeah, not there yet. Downhill terrifies me. Boyfriend is a bit lot more seasoned than I am. And I hate to admit something scares me because who wants to be a wuss? Like anyone else, I’m not such a sweetheart when I get tired, hungry, sore or when I’m awake in general. You get the point. But I accept that he’s just trying to help me, even if he doesn’t understand how the female mind works from a motivation standpoint.

Sunday (after sleeping until 10:30!!) it was a 4 mile run (with hills, because what good is a run without hills and where can you run without hills in SWMO??) and a 20 mile bike ride. I’m gonna be honest, that run sucked. My pace was fine but my challenge hill gave me a case of “omg I’m going to vomit”.

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I know the bike distance is only 12 miles for my triathlon but how can I get comfortable if I don’t spend time on the bike? It rained, we didn’t fight until mile 9 and I didn’t fall. So SUCCESS! Average pace was somewhere 13+mph so I’m getting better.

My biggest concern now is putting all of these things together. When do you start putting your training together? What is a realistic way to start?

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