Almost back to normal? Maybe?

cat swimmingI don’t want to jinx anything, but I think my energy levels are just about back to normal.  My doctor told me it would be about 2-3 months, and I’m almost 8 weeks out from surgery (I can’t believe it’s only been 8 weeks – feels like forever), so it would make sense that I’m nearing normal.

I’m still training while listening to my body, but I’m definitely pushing myself harder and not letting myself out of workouts just because “I don’t wanna.”  For whatever reason, my most dreaded workout is the swim.  I don’t know why – once I’m in the pool, I enjoy the swim and feel great afterwards.  I suspect it’s the logistics.  I have to pack a bag, drive to the pool, hope I get a lane, etc.  Running (well, walking) and biking are much easier.  And if I’m swimming during the week, it’s an even bigger production.  Pack a bag, making sure I have work clothes.  Leap out of bed (no snooze button), race to the pool, wait for the swim team to get out of the pool at 6am and hop in.  Swim for an hour, then rush to get ready and race (aka sit in traffic) to work, where I’m hopefully only an hour later than normal.

I still haven’t been running, but my PT exercises have been stepped up significantly, which has been a huge boost.  I am still demonstrably weaker on my left side, which I take great delight in, as it means there’s still room for improvement.  I’ve been doing a lot of exercises with elastic bands, and those things are no joke.  I have a set of 5 bands, and I’m doing most of my exercises with bands 2 and 4.  Band 5 is still in its package because it scares me.

I’ve said all along that I’m going to commit to a training plan again in May to get myself ready for my triathlon in July.  I’m still not sure if I’m going to be running or walking the 10k (hopefully a combination of the two, even if I can only run for a mile).  But I’m excited to get back to racing again.  I miss it!

2018 First Quarter Link Love

Sticky Notes EverywhereSo I decided that I was going to start doing a monthly link love update, highlighting some posts that I’ve bookmarked in my Feedly account.  And then promptly didn’t write any of the posts.  We’re now in the fourth month of the year.  Good job, self.

So here’s a dump of some things I’ve enjoyed.  I culled this list way down, so some other posts will be highlighted over the next few months.

The Journey Begins – Ruth is one of the loveliest people you will ever have the chance to meet, and her story is awesome.  Talk about “never give up” spirit.  She inspires just by being her amazing self.

I bookmarked Kecia’s March update because I love how she puts them together and want to copy emulate her style.  She looks at her training, things she’s enjoyed, and other highlights, and I think it’s a great way to share the month but also create a log for yourself to look back on.  Maybe I will try this for April.  She also shared a post of great yoga links that I keep coming back to.

Amanda’s nightmare wedding makes for a great story.

I love going to antique stores and thrift sales, so EPBOT’s adventures don’t disappoint.  Be warned, there are lots of scary clowns in this post.

My amazing teammate Lectie was hit by a car earlier this year while out riding, and her recovery is doing amazing, but Michelle writes about the anger and frustration we all felt when we found out she was hit by a driver who was drag racing and how the drag racing community blamed Lectie for the accident.

There is a lot in the news lately about mental health, and Christine writes about it in such a lovely way.

Katie posted (last year, whoops) about her cyclocross race and I am still so impressed!  I love riding, but this is just so far beyond anything I have ever tried.  We should all push our comfort zones more often.

Gina put together a triathlon playlist – I need to put together my “pump up” playlist for this season. As always, it will contain the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean.

This is a gorgeous post about a visit to Pearl Harbor.

And a recipe – Lighter Chicken Parmesan



Lessons from the Boston Marathon

Photo credit: Charles Krupa/Associated Press

This week was the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon.  And though the weather was miserable, the race was awesome to witness.

I will likely never run the Boston Marathon.  I’m a retired marathoner, and would have to be in my 80’s to even be able to consider making the qualification times (I actually didn’t look up the 80-year-old female qualifying times, so they might still be out of reach, but let me pretend, okay?)  None of that means that I don’t still find it amazing.

This race was cold, wet, and apparently even involved some snow.  And still, so many runners went out and made the most of the day.  They worked so hard to get there, and most of them weren’t going to let a little weather get them down.  I’ve seen so many awesome pictures from before and after the race.  Everyone looks so cold, but so happy to be there.

The stories of the winners of the race are also pretty incredible.  Desi Linden finally, finally won Boston.  She is the example of someone who just keeps going, dealing with injury, less than ideal finishes, and she certainly wasn’t expected to win Boston.  In fact, she said that she considered dropping out, so she decided to just help the other US women hold their spots.  And then found herself in the lead.  Even though she felt miserable, she pushed through.

Sarah Sellers, the second place female, was also not expected to finish as well as she did.  She isn’t a pro – she’s a full time nurse.  She trained while also working 10 hour shifts.  (She’s not a nobody, of course. She has won a marathon and is working towards qualifying for the Olympics, though I saw one report that said this was only her second marathon ever.)  But she too battled the weather, didn’t give up, and found herself on the podium.

The men’s winner, Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, also isn’t a full-time runner.  He’s a high school administrator.  He’s having a great year, having run and won four marathons so far this year.  He was also not expected to win, but benefited from his cold weather experience and won his first running of the Boston Marathon.

To me the lessons here are clear.  Put in the work and don’t give up.  Every day won’t be your day, but that doesn’t mean you should quit.  Sometimes you will meet your goals, and sometimes you won’t, but there’s always a next time.  Every race might not feel amazing, and you might be miserable, but sometimes pushing through and focusing on the effort will make all the difference.  And never stop dreaming.

Coming to Terms With My Race Season

Zorro4 / Pixabay

Over the weekend, I did a little cleanup on the backend of my blog and while doing so, I updated my race calendar.  It is really, really sparse for the first time in years.  I guess I’m lucky to have been so healthy throughout my athletic “career.”  As of right now, I’m registered for two races in 2018 – Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic Triathlon and Space Coast Half Marathon.

Of course, I’m not stopping there.  I fully intend to register for the Army Ten Miler during priority registration next month.  I’ve run that race every year since 2008, and would like to at least try to keep up my streak.  Will I be able to run it in the time limit by October?  Who knows!  But I’m going to hope for the best and plan to be there.  It’s probably going to be my big “challenge” race of the year in terms of running.

For the Space Coast Half Marathon, I’m less concerned.  I registered for the “slower” half of the race, meaning that I have a full 7 hours to complete the course.  Since I don’t have pain walking, I’m absolutely confident I can train up to walk 13.1 miles without issue.  And that’s not a bad “worst case scenario.”  It’s entirely possible I will be running by then.

I’m also planning to add on some additional multisport races after Williamsburg.  What, I’m not sure.  My favorite local race group offers an Aquabike option at most (if not all) of their triathlons, and since I can swim and bike without issue, that seems like a good plan if I’m not able to comfortably run.  Doesn’t mean I can’t still be run training, it would just let me run without the added pressure of having to be ready for a race sooner that I need to.

I’ve also realized that maybe being an aquabike athlete is where I should go when it comes to multisport.  Let’s be honest, the run is the part of the race I dislike the most.  I do enjoy out and back races where I can see people and cheer them on (regardless of whether they’re ahead of me or behind), but generally, the run isn’t what I enjoy.  I love the rush and the ridiculousness of the open water swim.  I love flying through a course on my bike.  And then I have to go run.  More than once, I have watched the aquabike finishers roll in and thought “Man, that’s the way to be.  This running stuff is stupid.”

I’ve also realized that I have some opportunities for half-distance aquabike.  The run is where I end up in trouble when it comes to race time limits.  I’m not fast.  That’s totally okay – but races have rules, and I need to stay within them.  However, when it comes to the swim and the bike, that’s a different story.  Sure, I’m not fast, but I’m much closer to midpack.  Of course, I’m not quite ready to be riding 56 miles just yet – and I’m not going to push myself.  But it’s a pretty sweet option.

Of course, I also love the rush of finishing a triathlon.  And I can’t give up races like the Army Ten Miler.  So I’m not sure what’s next for me.  But what I love is that there are so many options and I don’t have to pick just one.

Tacking the Tour of Watopia

You know what?  Easing back in is hard.  Because even though I’m well on my way to being back to full strength after my surgery, I still have this hip injury to deal with.

Right now, Zwift is doing their Tour of Watopia, a series of 7 rides that takes you through all of their courses (I think).  It’s a pretty cool challenge, and while I’m not sure I will be able to complete it due to scheduling (and also some of the legs are super hard), I figured I would try the first leg.

The great thing about the challenge is that it’s not a race.  It’s not about how fast you go.  You just have to cover the course.  Which is good, because I wasn’t fast to begin with and dealing with an injury and surgery recovery, well… yeah.

(Thankfully, the programmers at Zwift are nice and no matter how slow I went, they never made my avatar fall over, which is exactly what would have happened if I were actually riding at that speed on some of those steep climbs.)

I made it through the first leg taking it easy, not pushing, and just riding at a comfortable level.  It took forever, but that’s okay.  Also according to the stats, I wasn’t last.  And most importantly, it didn’t hurt.

At first.

My muscles were not prepared for this workout.  While I made it through with no pain, just some fatigue, a few hours later, I was sore.  Super sore.  Do not recommend.  Of course, some of this was my own fault – if I had stretched just a bit more or not done the workout so late in the evening and walked around more following the ride, things may have been better.

But it was a good reminder that I’m not back to full force just yet.  No regrets, of course.  And I’m still going to push the workouts (though I don’t know that I’m going to finish Tour of Watopia, because one of the legs has almost 4500 feet of climbing and that’s a lot).  But I’m also making a point to remember to take rest days when I need them.  Slow and steady.  Slow and steady.