Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Training Review 9/17 - 9/23

A part of me wants to give up on the Week in Review-type posts.  But I want to be able to look back and see what I've done through the process, so I have to honestly put it out there. 

All-in-all, a monumental week in the whole experience.  I went from down in the dumps, to elated, to questioning, to physical therapy and encouraged, to tentative, back to elated.  It was emotionally exhausting!!!  I also opted to babysit some of my favorite little kiddos, making rides impossible on the usual Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  In the long run, so worth it.  Love those cuties!

Swim: 2500m total, which was great!  My swimming buddy Glenn really pushed me during the 100's (18 x 100 @ 2 minute starts).  With warm-up and cool down, I managed to get the most meters in ever on a swim night.

Tried out running for the first time in a couple weeks.  I got up early, but not too early to see how 2 miles would feel.  It felt GREAT.  With every step I was hesitant and expecting to feel the twinge of pain in the calf, and it never came.  Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!  I iced it when I got home, and had a better outlook.  Because of this better outlook, I posted the "Pushing the Pause Button" entry I actually wrote the week before.  I felt like I could approach the prospect of not being able to run the marathon leg of the Ironman like I wanted to in a more...mature way?  Sure, we'll go with mature.

Back to swim, where I noticed my shoulder was hurting a little on the "pull" motion through the water.  I decided to take it easy after the intense swim on Monday.  I did a warm-up, the 16 x 50's that Rich gave us to do, then decided to just swim to a mile and go home.  Just what I need is another injury to keep me from a second of three sports in the Ironman!

Back to the asphalt to try another short run; again I only allowed enough time to do 2 miles...just in case I was tempted to do more.  Again, it was GREAT!  Again I iced my calf when I got home and the endorphines kicked in.  Oh, happiness!
While the kids were in school I was able to get my ride in, 33 flat, fast miles.  I am really enjoying the versatility of the cycling workouts and the intervals the manual calls for.  This one was:
Warm-up about 4 miles, then a gearing pyramid:
4:00 in easy gear @ 50%
6:00 in next harder gear @ 55-60%
6:00 in next harder gear @ 60-70%
4:00 up one more gear @ 75%
Main set:  3 x 6.2 miles:
#1 @ 75%, followed by 3:00 recovery spin
#2 @ 84-92%, followed by 10:00 recovery spin
#3 @ 84-92% - go straight into cool down

See what I mean?  Totally fun!!!

Rest day, but I was hardly ever off my feet. 

I also went to the physical therapist for the first time.  If you are in the Fresno area and need a physical therapist, I would highly recommend Barrow's!  I was impressed at the thoroughness of the examination I received.  Not happy about why I am having trouble, but determined to do what I'm told and make it better!  He said that my core and upper body are weak and that my lower body is taking the extra strain.  He showed me how when I stand the normal way I stand, my legs are working harder than if I stand straighter.  Then the legs are more relaxed and not overworked.  He watched me run, had me stand on one leg, then the other, then with my eyes closed.  He ended up loosening the joints in both feet which was painfully delightful.  They felt better, and I could stand on one leg better, too.  I go in five more times in the next two weeks, and looking forward to it!

Pat was taking the day off to prepare for his Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday, so unavailable to ride 4 1/2 hours with me.  Never wanting to be "alone" for the long rides (because of safety, not because I want to draft...although that is nice), I was able to get a ride in with our fellow IMAZ participant, Steve.  We decided to do a ride/run brick and go for 4 hours on flatland.  The miles just ticked right passed, and before we knew it we had 68 miles done and were off to run.  Let it be known that Steve is amazingly fast on the bike, and when we had straight shots, he shot straight off.  Seriously, the man just pedaled out of view until I saw him at our meeting points. 

Then came the wild card...the run.  Sure, I could do 2 miles alright, but we were going to try 30 minutes.  Which then became aiming for an hour.  Thankfully we ended up doing just over 5 in 43 minutes, and it felt so great to be running again.  I mean, really, really running.  It was crazy hot outside, and we stopped a few times for water.  By the time we were almost finished, I was feeling pretty cooked.  My leg felt fine, but I noticed a slight tightening in the last mile.

After we finished I dashed off driving to try to make it to two of my kids' soccer games.  Ken was super-man and handled all four games the four kids had that morning (at three different sites).  What a guy!  I managed to watch my youngest daughter play in the last part of her game, and the entire game of my middle son.  They are just too cute in their little shin guards and uniforms!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hungry for Hotcakes (Recipes!)

Going into this little adventure I really thought I would be foraging for food all the time- an insatiable appetite due to the many hours and calories burned while training.  Well, fortunately for my waist line that has not been the case.  My appetite has worn away, leaving a "blah" state most of time, with only periodic moments of sanity-losing states of hunger.  The only thing that really sounds good?  Pancakes...of many varieties.  I could eat them all day, every day!

I thought I would share with you the recipes of a few of my favorites:

#1  Brown Sugar Oatmeal (aka The Race Day Pancake)
My mom would make these for breakfast every time I was going to have a race later that day when I was in high school.  She said they would "really stick to your ribs".  Turns out oatmeal is one of the super foods for endurance athletes!  She will still make them for me when I go and visit.  My kids are now big fans as well!

1 egg, beaten
2 T. vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats (I always use old fashioned)

Mix egg, oil and buttermilk together, add dry ingredients and mix together just until blended.  If using old fashioned oats, I suggest letting the mixture sit for about 5 minutes to soften the oats.  Spoon onto hot, greased griddle and spread out batter.  Turn when bubbly.  Watch carefully, the brown sugar will scorch if you leave them too long. 
Yield:  About 10 if you use a 1/3 cup to spoon the batter.  I end up tripling the recipe for my family of 7 ferocious pancake eaters, so adjust accordingly.  :)

#2  Favorite Buttermilk Pancakes
I inherited this recipe when my Grandma Jo went to live in a retirement community.  She had cut it off of a buttermilk carton and had it in her collection.  She got my mom hooked on buttermilk, and my mom passed the craze on to me.  I like buttermilk in as many baked goods as it will go in.  There's just something magically delicious about it!  I have had this recipe memorized for years now, it's easy to remember ones and twos!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 T. melted butter

Mix dry ingredients together.  Beat eggs and buttermilk together.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Add butter.  Beat until smooth.  Drop from spoon on hot, greased griddle.  Bake on one side about 2 minutes.  Turn and bake about 2 minutes longer.
Yield:  About 16 4-inch pancakes.  I usually "only" one and a half the recipe for my family. 

#3  Heavenly Hots (From The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham)
Only one of my children do not "care" for these- but boy, oh boy, the rest eat them up faster than I can make them.  These are scrumptious little hots!  They are so light and fluffy they need to be eaten immediately!  I get the 3 lb. tub of sour cream from Costco when I am planning on making these.  Totally worth it!

4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup flour (yes, you're reading that right!  Only a fourth of a cup!)
2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix well.  Pour onto a hot, greased griddle; can be dollar-size or bigger.  Cook until you see bubbles, then turn over and cook briefly.
Yield:  About 50 dollar-size; which may sound like a lot but it's not when you see how small a dollar-size is, and find out that one person will eat about 15 of these little goodies.  They are that light- they practically melt in your mouth!  I have to triple this one for my fam, so I make them a little bigger or various sizes to shake things up, and so I won't be standing over a hot griddle all morning (or whatever time of day!).

Enjoy!  :)

Pushing the "Pause" button

(I wrote this almost a week ago.   I think it's ready for others to read now.) 

If it were possible to do such a thing, I would have.  For two weeks now I've been waiting.  Waiting to be able to run, waiting to go to my appointment, which will bring more waiting to get real results.  I'm usually not very good at the Resting part of R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate- the most common solution to injuries while waiting for the professional opinion).  Technically I haven't gone on a run in eight days.  Naturally I am on my feet a lot on any given day.  I've iced after any real athletic endeavor, which hasn't been much in the past week.  I've kept my compression sock on until it's too hot to wear pants to hide the fact I'm wearing it, or when I don't feel like explaining why I'm wearing a black knee-high sock.  Elevate?  Doesn't that require you to be sitting?  Ok, so I honestly right now pulled out the drawer next to me to prop my leg up because, after all, I am sitting right now!

I am usually a very optimistic person.  I've learned to be a realist, and I have a bit of strategy to help my cheerful little self out.  It's playing the "what's the worst that could happen?" game.  Follow each answer with "And then what?", and you get a better perspective...or at least a preparation for what's to come.  For example, when I was pregnant with my first child, I couldn't imagine what labor was like.  Being a fan of history, I was familiar with the frequency of the mother dying while in labor.  That, to me, was the worst that could happen.  Fortunately God did not see fit for me to experience difficulty in any of the five labors I went through, and would actually rather give birth than have the stomach flu any day.

But that's not where I was going with all this.  Playing my little mind game, that's what I was going to play with you.  So, here we go:
My calf hurts.
And then what?
I won't be able to run in time for the Ironman.
And then what?
Then I don't think I can do the Ironman. And the Nike Women's (NWM) half marathon in October, or the Two Cities (2CM) half marathon in November.
And then what?
I'm out a lot of moo-lah for the Ironman, for NWM, and P & G for registering me for 2CM; I have to tell my family not to come, cancel my reservation, and tell anyone who knew I was going to do the Ironman that I didn't do the Ironman.
And then what?
I'm embarrassed, I feel guilty about the money, I miss out on an amazing opportunity.  I'm out of the Ironman club.  A lot, and I mean a LOT of plans have just gone up in smoke.
What's the worst that can happen?
I would have to tell my brother.

After I play this little game in my head, I get a text from my dad, and a phone call from my mom.  They want to know if I've spoken to my brother.  No, I haven't lately.  So they fill me in.  His hip surgery  is going to have to be postponed until next year (For the other hip- the other side was done in February), he's going to need a surgery for this, and for that, his infusions are giving him side effects...and I'm just stupefied.  Because I feel really, really stupid. 

What's the worst that can happen?  I can have it all taken away from me.  What do I have to complain about?  A sore calf?  Not being able to run for a month?  How would I like it if I couldn't run for...who knows how long?  Or swim?  Spending money on medical procedures instead of events?  Having to watch others do what I wish I could do?

Oh, and by the way, my brother never complains.  As in, never-ever.  He can be in excruciating pain and you'd only know because he has a forced smile, and possibly a little cranky.  But only a little.  He only tells my parents what's going on because they've given him a stern talking-to about being his parents and his greatest supporters, and that they really, really need to know what's going on with him.  So he obliges, but not in a whiny way.  It's always very matter-of-fact and straight forward:  This is what has to be done.  This is how things have been lately.

So, there you go.  I've debated on whether or not to push the "Publish" button.  Maybe I could just keep this one as a "draft" in the blog's library.  If I've learned one lesson from my brother, it's don't complain.  I've been holding all this in for days now, and just had to let it out. 

Ok, resume play now....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Praying for healing...

Clarification #1:  One of my main reasons for blogging about all of this training is so I can look back and see what/when/where it all happened.  This has come in handy today, as I was wanting to know how long it took my calf to feel better the last time it felt so bad (I'll get to describing that in a moment).  I found out my answer, but also found out it was my right calf that I had injured in January, not my left which is the one currently injured.

Clarification #2: This is me being honest to the journey of life in general, not just the Ironman journey. 

Ok...now that that's all out of the way.  Let me explain.  Last Thursday at our track workout I was feeling fine; or at least as fine as one can feel at 5:00am in spandex.  I had the usual warm-up, the usual stretching, the recommended pace and recovery time, but it must have been more than that.  We were scheduled to do 2x (3 x 1000m) with a 200m walk between intervals, and six minutes between sets.

On the fourth interval my left calf felt tight.  When it was over, I stretched it.  After the fifth one, it felt worse, feeling like a cramp.  More stretching, a little rubbing.  On the sixth and final one, and by far our fastest (we averaged 5:46/mile pace), it seized in pain when I was done.  More stretching, more rubbing.  Time to cool down.  Running home was painful with every other step, and with a half mile to go I had to walk.  

I iced it when I got home, thought it would be fine and go away, and continued on with planning out Saturday's training.

Saturday:  Started out with a sluggish mile swim, then moved on to the bike.  When I aired up my back tire I pulled too hard and ripped the valve, causing it to flat.  Woops...I used my only spare tube, and we hadn't even left Pat's house yet.  We planned out a two-loop, 70 mile ride and set off.  About 18 miles into it, Pat got a flat.  Then his spare tube had a defective valve and wouldn't hold air.  So we were stuck.  A phone call to my fabulous husband, an hour later, and a tube delivery, we were on our way.  Seven minutes later: Pshhhhhhh went Pat's tire again.  Another call to the husband, and this time we loaded up into his truck to get a ride back to Pat's and decided do our long run instead.

As soon as we started running, I was reminded my calf was hurt.  It didn't bother me at all on the bike, so I honestly kind of forgot about it.  Not any more.  With every step of my left foot it hurt.  It felt like my calf muscles were tearing apart every time I lifted up to mid-foot on my strike.  Our intended 13ish mile run suddenly became a weak and limpy 3 mile run.  I was frustrated and scared.  This didn't seem right at all!

I followed the R.I.C.E. advice: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.  I strapped on my compression sock, starting icing, kept it up the rest of the day.  Throw in a little Ibuprofen and some limping, and that was my Saturday.  Sunday I was able to walk without a limp if I walked slow enough, and by Monday I could walk normal again.

Tuesday I set off to get a ride in, sure that taking two full days off would do the trick.  The ride was lovely and just what I needed.  It was so lovely, in fact, that I had this crazy idea to run a little.  Just a little, to see if it was ok.  I jogged my hallway to see, and yes, it felt fine, so on went the running shoes and out the door I went.  I had 25 minutes until I needed to pick up my kindergartner, so figured I would just do two and a half miles.  No problem.

Mile one:  Great.  To run is to love what I'm doing, and I was running!  Mile one and a half:  Dang.  There it is.  It's starting to feel like a cramp again.  Mile one and three-quarters:  Oh my goodness, I have to walk, it feels like my calf is going to pull apart.  But I am a mile from the school and have 10 minutes to pick up.  I have to keep going! 

After pick up I let my son know I was going to go slow, and unfortunately I jogged the half mile home still.  That was 48 hours ago, and it took until this morning to not walk with a limp. 

This sucks.  How am I going to run a marathon in two months when I can't even run past a mile?  I want to run!  I love to run!  That is the one of the three I was hoping to do the best in!  What did I do to my calf?  Am I going to have to take a lot of time off from running?  Will I be able to run the half marathon in a month?  do the Ironman at all? 

Oh, dear Lord...

Which is how I come to the title of this post.  Praying for healing... Do I have the right motivation to pray for healing?  Is it God's will that I even ask for such a favor?  It seems like I would be praying to escape some sort of lesson He has for me.  I also feel extremely selfish asking for such a favor- Am I just asking so I will look better at the Ironman?  Am I so worried about what others think of me and afraid of their judgements on my ability and training?  Hopefully, maybe, probably, and yes, yes I am. 

I appreciate Romans 8:26: "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himslef intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

But this one really hits the spot:
"Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7

So, I'm praying for healing.  I am also praying for God's will to reign in my life, no matter what.  I'm also praying for the right attitude.  I don't want to be mad, but I am.  I don't want to be anxious about missing the Ironman, but I am.  I want to be gracious, no matter what.

I have an appointment next Thursday afternoon with an orthopedic doctor.  Knowledge is power, as Pat says.  I'll be sure to pass that power on in a future post.

Thank you so much for reading all of this...and if you feel so inclined, you can join me in praying for healing.