Thursday, July 24, 2014
I went for a swim aster work last night. I was feeling pretty unmotivated, so I decided to just swim with the snorkel and concentrate on form instead of worrying about testing out if I'm doing any better overall. As I was getting dressed, I realized I didn't have the wrist watch for my HRM. I opted to just get in the pool and swim, freed from the tyranny of the HRM.
I only swam twenty laps, but it went really well. After five laps, I tried swimming just one lap without the snorkel. I felt like I knew what I was doing. Not great, but I could swim a lap. I was even able to breathe bi-laterally. I did one lap after each five laps with the snorkel. I'd call it a success.
I've been in a less-than-stellar mood recently. I'm sure it's a combination of not getting enough sleep and not being able to run. I don't really enjoy running, but I enjoy the sense of accomplishment after having run. Worse, though, is that I haven't been walking, either. It's as if I've given up because I can't run.
I also see myself getting lazier. When you have to get in workouts for three different disciplines while commuting by bike several days a week, you schedule. I haven't done that, because I'm feeling some serious *meh*.
I know I need to sit down and schedule workouts, including my commutes. I plan to do a longer, hilly ride on Saturday. I will swim after work on Friday. And I will quit being a crybaby and get out there and walk!
The Tour de France ends this weekend; at least I'll get more sleep starting next week!
Monday, July 21, 2014
I was right about one thing that came out of my doctor's appointment last Friday, and wrong about another.
I was right that I wouldn't like what he told me. I didn't. I was wrong about the diagnosis. It is plantar fasciitis. I'd convinced myself if wasn't because the pain is in my heel, not my arch. And that's why I decided to go to the doctor: if I'd gone with my guess, I would have been completely wrong.
So I am to avoid being barefoot except when I'm sleeping, swimming or bathing. I need to stretch my feet & Achilles tendons daily, and preferably a few times day.
Once I've been without pain for a week, he wants me to run a quarter mile. If that doesn't hurt, he wants me to add a little bit of distance every other day. I just hope I can be pain-free for a week at some point.
I told him I'd intended to not run at all until my next triathlon (August 16th). He doesn't like that idea, but I doubt I'll have enough time to work back up to running prior to then. And, even if it completely wrecks my foot, I'll have all winter to heal.
Once it's healed completely, he wants me back to being barefoot as much as possible. I'll be happy to do that! Wearing shoes in the house feels so weird.
He told me I'd lost eleven pounds since January. I found that hard to believe until I looked at my daily weigh-ins. I feel like I've been stuck in the mid-170s forever; I guess it's only been a few months. Of course, my foot would be a lot happier if I weighed less. But, like healing, that will take time and effort.
On the plus side, we've detected this injury early enough a complete recovery is feasible without too much work. And he didn't say anything about surgery. I like that my doctor gives me the tools to heal myself, and recognizes my autonomy. But I still wrinkle my nose in disgust at the idea this is plantar fasciitis.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I swam for about an hour last night. I may never excel at swimming, but I'm motivated to keep at it.
The biggest reason is that swimming has toned my lower torso. At least a half-dozen people have told me I look great and I look like I've lost a lot of weight. I've lost about 35 pounds from my peak, but I haven't lost much since my bout with gastroenteritis four months ago. (I painfully dropped five pounds in a weekend, and it's mostly stayed off.) More importantly, I look sleeker. And that's wonderful.
I love how sleek I feel in the water. I feel tall. My arms feel like they're four feet long.
Yesterday I interspersed laps with the snorkel with laps without. I'm doing better, but my form still falls apart. I decided that it's okay to pause at the end of each leg. True, there's no edge of the pool in an open water swim, but there's no reason I can't pause briefly every 25 yards in the swim portion of a triathlon. I'm okay with being the last person out of the water, because getting out of the water last still means I completed the swim portion.
The happy news is that my foot feels okay. The heel is still a little tender, but I have no reason to suspect it's plantar fasciitis. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. I didn't run for a month. I did a 5K, running about 2/3 of it, and my foot hurt like the dickens. But less than a week later, it feels okay. And okay is pretty wonderful.
I'm a member of an Athena triathlete group on Facebook. One of my Athena sisters asked for advice on how to prepare for the bike leg because the bike scares her. I told her I didn't really have any advice, but I was really grateful she posted her question because the swim terrifies me. It's good to be reminded that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. The appeal of multi-sport is that it forces me to address my weaknesses rather than ignoring them. I believe that makes me a stronger and better person.
I'll continue to lay off the running until my next sprint tri in about a month. It's giving more time on the bike, which always makes me happy (despite the 100F+ heat).
Friday, July 11, 2014
I'm doing a 5K tomorrow. I haven't run in a month. My foot feels better, but there are still times it aches. Tomorrow's run is a test.
Last Wednesday evening, I had a bad session in the pool. It wasn't terrible. When I was talking myself down off the "I'm going to throw myself into this pit of despair" ledge, I recognized I did several laps without the snorkel, and I am getting better at it. But I had a few moments of thinking this isn't worth it, and I should just give up and go back to being the really fat woman who rides her bike everywhere.
One of my problems is that swimming seems to bother my ankles. Seriously. I got runners' knee from riding my bike and sore ankles from swimming. Did my body not get the memo about swimming and riding being non-impact sports that are good for my joints?
Wednesday was one of those day that nothing felt right. I kept getting water in my snorkel. I couldn't focus. I couldn't seem to get a rhythm.
Thursday, my legs (calves & hamstrings) were sore. I wish I could use html, so that I could write "sore" in red. Sore like they haven't been in a long time. I wore compression sleeves on my calves all day yesterday. If it wasn't 100°F, I would have been wearing compression tights.
And then I remembered: I rode a longer (ca. 30 mile) route home Tuesday evening. I haven't been riding long distances because I'm spending more time on other sports to prepare for my next triathlon. This particular thirty mile route includes one category 5 climb. It's barely a ripple to some cyclists, but to this pudgy, middle-aged cyclist, it's a hill. From there, the route continues an imperceptible climb of about 160' over the next seven miles. I never felt like I was climbing, but I wasn't coasting, either.
My Garmin recorded the temperature as the mid-90's, but two signs I passed in the last third of the ride reported the temperature as 99° and 101°, respectively. The humidity was around 20%, so as long as I was moving I didn't feel hot. And I never lacked for water to drink.
The reason I've written all this is it occurred to me this morning that my legs are probably really sore because of the heat and long-ish ride with a hill. I stretched afterwards, and I made myself a banana-cherry flaxseed soy protein smoothie (with tart cherry juice, even!). I ate some Honey Stinger chews and a Hammer gel packet during the ride. I don't think I got enough electrolytes to help my muscles heal fast enough to do the swim the next day. (I used to rely on Gatorade. But I won't combine a solid glucose source (chews & gels) with Gatorade, because it's too much glucose all at once. That dehydrates, because the body needs water to get the glucose out of the gut and into the blood.)
I'm trying to get up and walk around frequently today. I want to keep my legs lose.
And here's the crazy part: I'm planning to ride my bike to the 5K staging area tomorrow. It's about ten miles. My hope is that the ride will loosen my legs up. Riding in the car causes them to tighten up. I'll be there early enough that this won't be a brick workout. And I don't really care about the outcome of this run. It's a color run, so I'm hoping to have fun. I want to test my foot a little, but if I have to walk the entire way, so be it. And it will give me the opportunity to ride in the heat, which I really enjoy. This time, though, I will intersperse chews with Gatorade. And lots and lots of water!
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I recently noticed that the club's pool schedule has changed for the summer. The lap pool is available at 4:30 p.m. every day, so I can swim after work.
Swimming with a snorkel is helping. I end each session in the pool with a lap or two of swimming without the snorkel. I feel like I'm "getting" it, but with a catch: it is a LOT easier to breathe on the right side. I'm resisting the temptation to swim breathing only on the right side because I know it will create more problems in the long run. But it is tempting! (If any reader is thinking of chiming in that I should breathe every third stroke, thereby automatically switching sides, don't. I am not fit enough to do that. I was breathing every stroke because I needed the air. I'm pleased that my fitness has improved enough that I can breathe every other stroke. I'll get there, but for now, I can only breathe every third stroke for about a minute before I need to shorten the time between breaths.)
Oddly, the increased time in the pool seems to be bothering my left ankle. It's the one that's been gimpy of late, along with my self-diagnosed possible case of emerging plantar fasciitis. I hope continuing to swim strengthens the connective tissue, and that this is just a bump in the road. But, truth be told, I'm getting a little weary of bumps in the road.
I'm doing a 5K this Saturday. That will be about a month without running. I'm going to try running, just to see how the foot & ankle feel. My doctor's appointment is the following Friday; if my foot goes back to being an achy lump of fire, at least I'll be able to tell the doctor that a month was not a long enough break. After the 5K, we're driving to Boise to watch the Twilight Criterium. I'm hopeful that I can still walk after the 5K (and then sitting in a car for hours).
It's warmed up here. It was around 100°F yesterday and it will be 100°F again today. I drove home last night so that I could swim. I'm looking forward to tonight's ride. Yeah, it's hot, but as long as I'm moving I don't really feel the heat. I may take a 20- or 30-mile route home. I packed some energy chews, just in case. Yeah, it's a little nuts, but I haven't ridden since last Wednesday. I miss the bike!
Tomorrow will be an exciting stage in the Tour de France. The riders will be crossing the cobbled sections that are used in the Paris-Roubaix race. They're referred to as "The Hell of the North." Fabian Cancellara has a bike specially made for the cobbles, and I'm really looking forward to watching him ride. I'm going to come in late tomorrow because I simply have to watch this stage. Ah, the Tour: the one thing that gets avid cyclists off their bikes and onto their couches, during the middle of the summer.
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