Racing On My Mind

Okay, not this kind of racing, but don’t these dogs look super happy? violetta / Pixabay

I’m not even into taper week and already I’m starting to think a whole lot about my upcoming race.  You would think this was my first triathlon ever, not my first triathlon of the season.

No, that’s not quite the right way to explain my feelings.  I’m not nervous, at least no more than I am for any race (and let’s be honest, I’m mostly just worried about forgetting something important like my bike or sleeping through my alarm – everything after that is what I’ve trained for).  I think I’m mostly super excited.  Super SUPER excited.

Of course, there’s a lot to be excited for when it comes to this trip.  Rev3 puts on incredible races and the Williamsburg race is definitely one of my favorites.  It’s a fast course and has been my PR course for a few years running.  So it’s a great course to return to.

I also have so many friends racing, both local and from far, far away (guys, Florida is really far away when your running partner abandons you to move there), and I’m so excited to see everyone and get to hang out.  I’m excited to get to cheer at the sprint on Saturday.  I’m excited to eat at the delicious Cheese Shop.  There’s a lot to look forward to.

I’m also just really ready to be back to racing.  I’ve missed the adrenaline of race day.  I’m pretty sure every race morning, I utter the phrase “this sport is stupid,” and let’s be honest, it kind of is, but stupid things can be so much fun.  While I’m far from fully recovered, I’m able to run again and I’m excited to get out there and see what my body can do.

It’s definitely going to be a challenge, since I’m taking the labral tear rehab incredibly carefully.  So far, I’ve been able to run without pain while slowly increasing my distance and reducing my walk intervals, but I don’t want to overdo it.  Right now, my goal is to keep following my training plan, see how this week’s runs go and then decide what walk/run interval I want to set for race day.  And if on race day, my body says “Hey, this running thing hurts,” (and it’s in the bad hurt kind of way and not the “it is hot and running is hard” kind of way) then I will be walking.  And that’s okay.  It’s all about getting back out there.

But I really hope to be able to run at least some of the 10k.  And I fully expect I will be able to.

I’m making a point to not do too much race day visualization just yet.  I have to get through this last week of focused workouts and not think too far ahead.  Next week will be time for race obsessing.

And then figuring out what other races I want to do this season because I miss racing!


Reach In

jplenio / Pixabay

With the recent tragic suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, there have been a lot of things written online suggesting resources for people who are struggling with depression.  Lots of phone numbers of places to go for help, lots of people saying “Hey, if you’re in a dark place, contact me.”

And this is all great information.  But you need to also look at the words coming from the people who have been in those dark places.  When someone is so depressed that they are considering suicide, they don’t think they have value.  They don’t think they will be missed.  They think that others will be better off without them.  We all know that is so very wrong, but their disease is lying to them.  And so they aren’t going to reach out for help.

Instead, we have to make a point to reach in.

I’m lucky in that I have struggled with anxiety and probably some mild depression over the years, but I have never been suicidal.  But I have friends who have been and friends who have been in some pretty dark places.  And you know what?  I didn’t reach in.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Maybe I thought they needed time alone, maybe I was too wrapped up in my own life to notice that someone needed help.  Wherever I was, I wasn’t there for them.

Now, I’m not trying to say that anyone is at fault for suicide.  Suicide is entirely the fault of depression.  It’s a vicious disease.  We would never judge someone for dying from cancer.  We would never judge someone for getting medical help for cancer.  Depression should be treated no differently.  The problem is that one of the effects of depression can be the intense need to hide away, preventing the afflicted from getting help.

So if you have a friend who is struggling, or who you haven’t heard from in a while, or who you’re just a little worried about, check in on them.  And depending on the situation, maybe don’t take no for an answer.

There is a wonderful Twitter thread circulating about a woman struggling with severe depression following the death of her father.  She moved to a new apartment and had been unable to muster the energy to unpack (another effect of depression) so her friends simply showed up and setup her home for her.  They didn’t ask, they just went into action.  Sure, this was a risk.  The woman could have gotten angry.  But it was a worthwhile risk.  It showed her that she was important, that she was loved, and it created a safe, comfortable space for her to live in as she fought with her depression.

I’m not saying that you should just invade a friend’s space, but if there is someone you’re worried about and inviting them out isn’t working, try showing up with food and a movie.  Worst case, they close the door in your face.  Not the end of the world.  Maybe they aren’t up for seeing you, but at least you brought them something to eat.  But maybe they will let you in and sit down with you for a meal.  Even if you just watch the movie and don’t talk, you’re showing that friend that you’re there.  If you’re far away, just keep trying to get in contact.  Send texts, send emails, send a care package.  Do whatever you can.  Because while depression is a disease and is often best treated by medication and therapy, friendship and caring can also make a difference.

Weekend Group Ride

This weekend, as part of my role as a Coeur Sports ambassador, I led a beginner friendly ride of an old triathlon course here in Maryland.  While the ride was welcome to riders of all paces, my big goal was to make sure that slower riders felt like they belonged.

I know what it’s like to be afraid of group rides, worried that I won’t be able to keep up.  So I made a point to note to everyone that this ride was open to all paces.  I would be riding in the back, and if someone wanted to take a break mid-ride, that was fine by me.  This was all about getting out there and riding.

I had a small group of people show up, but I couldn’t have been happier with the participants.  Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to each other, and I heard more than once that people were so glad that the ride was zero pressure.  Sure, I had people say “Oh, I will be slow, don’t worry if you have to leave me behind.”  And you know what?  They were WRONG.  They weren’t slow.  In fact, I was expecting to have an easy ride and came into the morning with slightly dead legs.  This was not the easy ride that my legs wanted.

I’m absolutely guilty of underestimating myself and my abilities.  I don’t think I’m “good enough” for a lot of group rides.  But like some of the folks who came out for my ride, I need to take a hard look at what I can do and not psych myself out because I don’t think I’m good enough.

I had so much fun getting this group out and riding, and I plan to do at least one more ride later this summer.  Most of these people were complete strangers who showed up to ride and I think we all had an awesome time.  Thanks to everyone who came out!

If you’ve been thinking about putting together a group ride, do it!  You never know who might be looking for a group to ride with.  Put out a Facebook invite, tell people in your tri club, ask people to spread the word.  I’m so glad I did.

Labral Tear Recovery – 4 Month Update

Just over four months ago, I was diagnosed with a labral tear.  Of course, I’ve been dealing with it since November, so it certainly feels like forever.  But it’s been a while since I discussed my recovery, and since I spent a ton of time searching the internet for information about labral tear recovery, I thought it was time to do an update.

So to quickly recap, I started having pain when I ran back in November.  I saw a doctor in January and was diagnosed with a labral tear at the end of the month.  I started PT in early February.  Of course, because the MRI of my hip also discovered the cyst on my ovary, that became priority one, and I lost much of March in terms of hip rehab, since I was recovering from abdominal surgery.

Thus, even though I’m four months into labral tear recovery, in many ways, I’m also really only at month two of solid rehab work.

Physical therapy isn’t a quick fix, especially not for something like this.  After all, I’m working to build the muscles in my leg, hip, and torso to better support the joint and do the work that the torn cartilage is supposed to be doing.  You don’t see results in the gym after just two weeks, so it makes sense that PT would be similar.

But I can confidently say that I am seeing results.  I’m not to the point of being 100% pain free, but I don’t have pain when I run (though I’m absolutely easing back in incredibly slowly), and that’s awesome.  Previously, I was having pain immediately when I started to run.  Walking would be fine, but swinging my foot forward for that first run step was painful.  Now I have some stiffness, but nothing like before.  Some days are better than others – some days my left leg just aches, and after cheering at Chattanooga, I was significantly more sore than I anticipated.

Physical Therapy is easily a 4-6 month process, and even though I’m four months in, I’m counting April 1 as my beginning, since I lost some of the progress I made in January when I had to take off much of March.  But even looking at it 4 months in, I’m really happy with where I’m at.   This reaffirms my decision to go with physical therapy rather than straight to surgery or experimental procedures.

Of course, I’m lucky that my insurance covers a good amount of physical therapy (after my copay, of course), but I’m sure they’d rather fund this than a second surgery for the year.

So for now, I’m just continuing with PT and making sure to do my daily exercises.  I’m sure I’m going to come out of this stronger and better balanced than before, and I’m hoping all this work will help prevent any additional injuries in the future.

Weekly Workout Recap

callmegundu / Pixabay

I am so excited to finally be able to do a weekly workout recap again!  I’m finally back into normal training without injury or travel (sorta) or anything else to get in my way.  Here’s to recommitting.  And being tired all the time.  And hungry.  So hungry.

Last week, I had to do a bit of finagling with my schedule to get almost everything in, but thankfully, I have a coach who understands that life sometimes gets in the way.

Monday (Memorial Day) – 90 minutes on the trainer.  It was such a bummer that all my county lap pools were closed because it would have been a perfect day for swimming.

Tuesday – Walk/Run intervals.  I’m still very slowly easing in to running with a solid warmup and cool down and a few 30 second bursts of running.  I’m terrified every time, but I’m still pain free.

Wednesday – 60 minutes on the trainer.  My coach does structured workouts that I can download into Zwift and I LOVE it.  I love how Zwift guides you through the workouts.  It’s so much easier than trying to keep my eye on my watch.  I’m using it with a dumb trainer, so I still have to do the adjustments, but the screen alerts are awesome guidance.

Thursday – At PT today, my therapist spent a ton of time on my TFL, to the point where walking was hard afterwards and it was sore til… well, til yesterday.  Needless to say, I did not run this day.  I did walk a mile to and from PT though, so it wasn’t a total waste.

Friday – Pool time!  I switch back and forth between a meter pool and a yard pool, which makes some of my drills seem so much harder.  You don’t think about the difference being that big until you’re doing longer sets.

Saturday – More pool time, plus another walk/run set.  Picked up the pool time I missed on Monday.

Sunday – I so wanted to be outside.  But it poured.  So much that at one point during the day, I was outside cleaning crap out of a drain so my basement didn’t flood.  So I spent another 90 minutes on the trainer.  Which I love, so that’s okay too.

Look at that!  A full week of workouts.  (Well, sorta.)  I’m so happy to be back to full training, even if I’m just easing in to the running.  I do miss my couch, but I finally feel like I’m normal me again.