Monday, September 26, 2011

The Pain Train

In an effort to blog on a consistent basis, here goes my recent training recap!

Swimming:  I've been getting in my pool workouts consistently for the last 2-3 weeks- yay!! Of course, as I write this, I bailed on my swim workout today.  I WILL get it in tomorrow morning though ;) Nothing notable about progress/speed/etc., except that I am, in fact, swimming (which says something, if you know me...).  In fact, I'm about out of Foggle wipes... it would be such a shame to NOT see that black line at bottom of the pool crystal-clear like I've gotten used to... must order more!! :)

Biking: I'm pretty lucky... my body responds well to bike training.  I get by on less training than most... I hear of people consistently putting in 150-300(!!) miles per week of cycling to yield fitness and little progress...but on the other hand, when I am in the saddle, I am (no pun intended) working my a$$ off!!  Here's a little story about this weekend....


So on Saturday, I had a LONG ride at RACE pace... I needed some help on this one.  I was lucky enough to recruit some some ridiculously fast cyclists (ie ROSS and BRIAN) to let me attempt to sit on their wheels for a few hours.  The first 1-1.5 hours were pretty easy/steady, but then they got into their "normal" pace... which put the HURT on me!!  I was hanging tough though...   After about 1.5 hours of the "hurt", we picked up another fast dude (MIKE) and then it was really GAME ON.  for the next 1.5-2 hrs I could barely even look at my Garmin in fear that I would fall off the Pain Train... It got to the point where I was playing mind games...

"OK Laura, HANG ON until the next intersection, and then you can drop off... alright, good job, let's see if you can hang on until the next time they turn..."... etc. etc..

I NEVER got dropped!  But boy did that HURT! Ross & Co. sure did drop the Hizzie (one of the funny jokes that they were casually laughing about on this ride while I was trying to maintain lung functioning).

I followed this ride up with a T-Run that wasn't a cake-walk either... I was WRECKED after this whole workout was done.

Good news:  Nutrition worked great on the ride.  The past few weeks Coach Jen and I have discovered that the nutrition plan that I was using on longer/low-intensity rides doesn't work as well on high-intensity rides I scaled back the kcals this week and had no issues.  I finished a bottle of concentrated First Endurance Tart Lemon Lime EFS (i.e. margarita) and 2 Vanilla Liquid Shot flasks- YUM.

My friend Anne was having a Tri-Shark celebratory get-together that night (for all the REV3 Cedar Point, IMWI, etc. finishers!) so I wanted to rest-up and clean-up a little bit before heading over.  I had a great idea to "rest" on my couch and close my eyes for "just a minute"...

... and then woke up 2 1/2 hours later still in my workout clothes!  GROSS!  I felt like I had just gotten hit by a bus!!  Luckily I cleaned up quick and celebrated my "victory" with a couple of these:
Nectar of the Gods

and devoured a bread bowl with some delicious dip with a "pack" of triathletes (we were referred to as a pack of hyenas with giselle blood on our faces lol).  Good times!

Running: Ah, the battle.  I had a "long" run on Sunday, and it went OK.  Pace and HR were just fine, even on destroyed legs, but yup, achilles acted up.  I focused on recovery the rest of the day...

Monday (today) I saw my athletic trainer (physical therapy) and massage therapist (Don at Aches Away rocks).  I upgraded my 30-minute "lower leg only" session to an hour on full lower body so I can try to walk down stairs normally this week... I'm in the thick of long-distance tri training folks...

I also saw my trusty running expert Mitch at Often Running and he helped me pick out a new pair of running shoes that might be a little bit more forgiving on the achilles...we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recovery ain't easy...

Hey all!  Gosh it's hard to write a blog post when a whole summer full of vacations, racing, etc. has passed by!  Where to start??

Hmmmm... how about injuries??

Running can be soooo great, but it's also the devil.  My last major running accomplishment was the Flying Pig Marathon in May 2009 (3:43).... since then I haven't FELT like a runner!

I slacked/took time off running the rest of 2009 to plan a wedding/start a full-time job/move into a new house... then got back into it WAY too fast in early 2010, and ended up with severe heel pain (plantar fascitis).  This ruined my 2010 season (but, I made a lot of improvements the bike!).

Early 2011:  Plantar fascitis STILL bugged me.  After numerous round of doctor visits, massage, and physical therapy, I finally found that the GRASTON technique worked around June/July/August it started feeling better.

But guess what?  As soon as the heel pain subsided, the back of my calcaneus bone (bottom of the heel) started hurting- great.  Right where the the achilles tendon attaches...hellooo achilles tendonitis.  

Why did this happen?  Most likely because I went from being a "heel striker" to a "midfoot" striker... since my calves were weak from not running, and there is a LOT more stress placed on those muscles when the heel isn't absorbing the shock, I'm guessing my achilles tendon got pissed.

My coach Jen and I have worked with it...slowly building up miles, keeping intensity low, backing off when needed... but when I had my first DNF at a half-ironman over labor day weekend (achilles was getting too painful on the run and I would have caused further damage if I continued), that was the last straw.  I got ANGRY.

After another visit with my foot doc, here's what I've been doing the last few weeks:

  • A 6-day steroid pack to reduce the inflammation
  • PT using the ion patch 2x/week
  • GRASTON 2-3x/week
  • Massage 1-2x/week (when I'm not bruised up from graston)
  • Icing 2x/day
  • Ibuprofin
  • wearing stupid compression socks/sleeves
  • Stretching constantly, and foam-rolling/golf-ball rolling if I'm not banged up from graston.
A bit about Graston...
Ouch.  Bruising is common...does it HAVE to hurt/bruise? No.  However, I let them "dig in" as much as I can tolerate...
From their website, the Graston technique can be described as a "form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions.  The technique utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation."

Yup, it's like a deep-tissue massage... with a set of "tools"...they pretty much "scrape away" all the junk that builds up around inflammation and any muscle or tissue damage.  From personal experience, I can tell you that the pain and bruising isn't SO bad when it's on connective tissues that don't get a lot of blood flow, but it can be brutal on/around learn more, click here.

The "schedule" is exhausting.  It's time-consuming.  That stupid achilles doesn't stand a chance though- I am ATTACKING it!  Recovery ain't easy...