February Training Recap

The Y Pool

The Y Pool

February was a good training month. I found my groove in the pool again and my power on the bike is slowly returning. I finished the month off with completing 26:47 hours of quality training time.

As a side note, I have decided to separate out my personal writings from this blog and created another blog … Diaries of a Wandering Lobster, so I can keep this one more focused on my triathlon life. I will be writing about life, travel, personal finance, etc. on Diaries of a Wandering Lobster so don’t forget to check it out! 🙂

Now back to my monthly training recap! There were a few days I took off due to not feeling well. Remarkably I have not been seriously sick, especially compared to last year. Knock on wood of course! The weather was terrible a few days in February and by a few days I mean it snowed a lot and was just down right cold!

I managed to bundle up and run outside for a majority of my runs, but there were a few times that I aired on the side of caution and ran on the dreadmill. The pool closed early a few times on me due to snowstorms and I had to shift my training days around a bit.

I started taking a pilates class the end of January and it kicks my butt every time! Unfortunately, we didn’t have class 3 out of the 4 weeks in February because of a snow day, school vacation week, and the instructor took a vacation. I’ve already noticed a big different in my core and hip strength, which is exactly what my hips need.

Speaking of my hips, they have been behaving themselves lately. They were quite sore a couple weeks ago due to my recent long run on hilly terrain. I saw my chiropractor the next day and informed her that I may or may not have strained my piriformis since it was super tight and sore. She stretched me out and said my hips were actually really good, but my hamstrings were still very tight. Story of my life!

I’ve spent a lot of time on Azul and also making friends again with the spin bike as I teach spinning on a regular basis now and love it! I completed my first FTP test of the year last week. My results were better than I expected, but still not anywhere near my 2012 bike fitness levels. I’m working hard to get back to that fitness level so I can crush the Timberman bike course in August!

March Goals:

  1. Continue perfecting my flip-turns! I have finally decided to flip-turn all my workouts after 4 years of intermittingly doing so. I know how to flip-turn since I swam in high school, but was too lazy to do so in triathlon training.
  2. Continue to build my power. Now that I know where my current bike fitness is at, I can work to build up my power through my workouts. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to ride on the road soon because I’m getting antsy on the trainer these days!
  3. Continue to strength train to ensure my hip issues are not a problem this race season!
  4. Dial in on my nutrition to reach race weight in the appropriate timeframe.

Do you set monthly training goals?

 ~ Happy Training!

Monthly Training Recap: January

Hello bike trainer!

Hello bike trainer!

The first month of 2014 is already done! Whew… time does fly. January 1at marked the official beginning on my Annual Training Plan (ATP), although I really began base training in December. As I mentioned in a few of my posts, I decided to coach myself this year. I decided this for two main reasons: 1) I want to save some money, and 2) I wanted to try new training methods on myself before I “prescribe” them for my athletes. One of the biggest rules of personal training… never have a client do an exercise that you have not tried yourself.

So far things are going well. I had a decent start, but have missed some workouts due to weather and making changes to my schedule because of my teaching schedule. Let’s recap each sport:

SWIM

I only swam once in January. Not a good start in this department! I get a corporate discount to my local YMCA through work and thus decided to wait to begin swimming until my membership at the Y began. My application got held up a bit in the office and thus my membership began two weeks later than I had hoped for. Yes, I could have swum at other pools but I didn’t want to pay the $3-$5 pool fee each time I went. My first swim went well though! I swam once in November since IMLP and that swim was a complete disaster. I really thought I was going to drown; it was that bad. However, I was completely fine and was hitting about 5 seconds slower than my normal 100 yard pace.

BIKE

I spent A LOT of time on my bike and also a spin bike. I taught four spin classes in January and will be teaching at least 7 in February. I include these workouts in my training plan because I am participating in class on a bike. However, I do prioritize my own bike workouts outside of spin class. I generally aim for 3 rides a week, but sometimes only get 2 in depending on Junior League meeting schedules. My main triathlon goal this year is to rebuild my power on the bike and I believe that I am on the right path to do so. I was supposed to complete my first Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test this past Wednesday, but I wasn’t feeling well and thus have decided to postpone it until next week. I have been training on the bike based on HR and feel for the past two months while I regained some cardiovascular fitness and now I plan to transition to power-based training.

RUN

This winter has plain sucked for running! I’ve discussed this numerous times with my Chiropractor as she is training for the Boston Marathon in April. Since I am recovering from yet another hip issue, I decided to be smart about my run training. If the roads are icy and it’s super cold out, then I hit my bike trainer instead. I have gotten in a few quality short runs. I haven’t been cleared for running more than 5 miles at a time, so I’ve been focusing on taking it easy and just running in my endurance zone. My pace is extremely slow! Like 11-12 minute miles! Back in my peak running shape in 2012, I was running in my endurance zone at a 8:45-9:20/mile pace. Urgh! Patience my dear!

STRENGTH TRAINING

I’ve been strength training like a boss! This is the area that I have really excelled in lately, which is good for me because I miss strength training and my hip needs the strength gains. Since I began teaching at Zone 3 Fitness, I have access to all their classes, which are awesome! If you live in the Greater Portland (Maine) region then I highly recommend you check them out. There is a free Seven Day pass on their website HERE!

The Base Training phase is a perfect time to focus on one's weaknesses within the sport of triathlon.

The Base Training phase is a perfect time to focus on one’s weaknesses within the sport of triathlon.

Goals for February:

  • Swim 2-3x a week – My goal is to swim at least once or twice a week during my lunch break if my schedule allows and once or twice a week in the evenings or the weekend. If I can swim a 4th day that would be awesome. My focus is mainly to get comfortable again in the water.
  • Run at least 3x a week and build up my mileage – My main goal here is to do it injury free and thus I need to be careful with building my miles up slowly. My body has already built some leg strength again running, so I know it will come with time. I want to build a solid base here and thus must embrace the idea of slow and steady!
  • Continue with strength training – My body adapts quickly and well to strength training. I find that my body loses weight more quickly when I strength train on a regular schedule and therefore I will include it in my schedule at least twice a week with added specific hip and core focused work as well.
  • Train with power on the bike – After my FTP test I will train using my power zones on the bike to increase my FTP and my bike fitness.
Here is a butt-kicking full body workout for you!

Here is a butt-kicking full body workout for you!

 ~ Happy Training!

2014 Goals: A Year of Adventure, Stability, and Growth

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This year I decided to pick three words that I hope will describe the upcoming 365 days in 2014. Adventure. Stability. Growth. These three words have multiple meanings to me, but in summary the words are synonymous to the goals that I will work towards achieving this year.

2013 started off a bit rough, but as the months passed on, I started to move my life in the right direction – where I wanted to go. You can read my 2013 recaps HERE and HERE if you missed them last week.

2014 Goals:

Professional:

  • Grow in my job – I have been in my current job for just over 3 months now and I really love it thus far. Throughout my public health graduate studies, I would have never thought that I would find a job in healthcare technology. It was a topic that never really interested me; however, now that I work in the field, I love it. Not only is healthcare technology important in the United States, but globally, where my heart lies in global health and international development. My job is challenging and rewarding. Each week I am learning new skills that will only improve my work quality and also aid in my future career development. In 2014 I look forward to working hard, learning new skills, and furthering my future career path.
  • Grow my business – If you have read my blog for a while you have probably noticed the changes over the past couple of months. I plan to officially launch my new business in a couple of weeks. I started my own coaching and personal training business because it is my passion and I find great satisfaction in helping people achieve their goals. I don’t plan to make a million dollars in my business, but a few extra dollars to help pay my student loans would be nice. I have some interesting plans and opportunities in the future so stay tuned for future developments! 🙂
  • Learn French – This has been one of my goals from early fall 2013. I want a future career in global public health and international development, thus I need to become bilingual, or at least competent at a second language. I’ve been slowly practicing my language skills via software programs, but I will continue in 2014 with french lessons at The Language Exchange in Portland. I don’t naturally pick up language quickly, so this is going to be a tough goal, but it is necessary and important for my future career goals.

Personal:

  • Become more financially stable – The last couple of years have been a bit tough financially. Last year I took a risk with my career and it did not pan out as well as I hoped. The last couple of years were also riddled with unexpected purchases, i.e. lots of car repairs and health bills. My graduate student loans also kicked in and I quickly realized that about a third of my monthly income goes directly to SallieMae and Nelnet. Awesome. With my new job I received an increase in pay from my old one. I need to buy a new car some point this coming year and thus I have begun to put some cash away for that big-ticket item. I’m still driving my little car until it dies for good (or is going to cost me a zillion dollars to fix). I also plan to stash some money away again into my emergency fund since it became low due to said expensive car repairs. For the past few months I have created budgets and reviewed my spending habits to determine where I can cut back. Going into 2014 I feel pretty comfortable with my monthly budget and I have been researching ways to live more frugally. Stay tuned for that journey.
  • Travel – It’s ironic that one of my main goals is to save more money and live frugally, but I also seek adventure outside the US. I haven’t been to a new country in a couple of years and thus, 2014 is the year I discover a new part of the world. My mind has gone crazy with ideas, but I yet to commit to anything yet. I may travel to South America with a friend, go on a medical mission to a developing country, or take a solo trip to Southeast Asia or Europe. I love daydreaming about traveling the world and I know this year will be the year of an adventure. Anyone looking for a travel buddy? 🙂
  • Volunteer more – This past fall I joined the Junior League of Portland, Maine and have met some pretty fabulous and inspiring women. The organization is built on giving back to the community, which is one of the main reasons I joined. I look forward to volunteering around the community with the JLP, but I also hope to give back to my community in other ways. I have been researching various organizations related to my career interests and will be making contact soon so hopefully I can help in any way needed.
  • Read a book once a month (or more) – I love to read and you periodically will have book reviews on my blog. For a collection of old book reviews click HERE. I’m an avid reader and I usually read daily, whether job related papers or pleasure reading. My goal in 2014 is to finish a book at least once a month; however, I would like to read more than just 12 books a month. Heck, in the past 5 days I have almost finished all three Hunger Games books. 🙂 I have a stack of half-finished books so I will start my reading list there.

 

Health & Athletic:

 

  • Injury Prevention – I plan to focus a lot this year on injury prevention and prehab. I was struck with a lot of hip/knee/IT-band issues last triathlon season and I don’t want a repeat this year. Now that I’m confident that my chiropractor and I have identified the underlying cause of my chronic right hip issue, I know where to target my prehab exercises. Much of my issues are fascia-related, which often take 12-18 months to fully heal and thus it will be a long-term goal to return to normal human movement patterns.
  • Weight – I’ve mentioned before that I’ve struggled with disorder eating in the past. I still have relapses often and thus I need to focus on living healthy and forgive myself when I make mistakes. I’m so use to negative talk about my body image that sometimes it is often tough to shake a stick at it. I’m slowly accepting my body and learning to create a healthy body image through exercise and a “diet” that works for my body. I’ve played with different “diets” (note: I use the term diet to refer to food in general, not your typical diet to lose wieght) over the past couple of years and have discovered what works and doesn’t work for me. I will continue on this journey over the next 12 months.
  • Triathlon – I announced my tentative 2014 race schedule about a month ago. You can view it HERE. My “A” race is Timberman 70.3 in August with a few local races spattered in between. I tried to keep my race schedule light this year to save money (racing is expensive!), making sure I keep my body healthy, and also to enjoy other fun things in Maine, like hiking, rock climbing, and go to the beach with friends just for fun (apparently brining your wetsuit to swim is frown upon with “normal” people). I would love to qualify for Age Group Nationals. If I qualify for this coming season then I won’t go because Timberman is so close, but I would consider 2015 depending on the locale. My very, very far-reaching goal who be to qualify for 70.3 Worlds at Timberman but the chances of that happening would be that of me winning the lottery (and I would actually have to purchase a lottery ticket to do so)!
     

 

So what are your 2014 goals? Anything fun and exciting? Want to travel together?

~ Happy Training!

 

A Year in Review: 2013 – Part I

Since today is the last day of 2013 I should probably start my Year in Review posts. Hmm… I’ll keep this one to more of the highlights and photos. But, 2013 was a good year. It started off a bit rough, but ended with many good things happening. I can’t complain.

January

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January was a month of ups and downs. I just finished my MPH degree in December and began my job search. Some decisions made by my boss at work made me extremely stressed since I wasn’t sure I was going to have a job. This caused me become sick often, which hindered a lot of my tri training, which began on the 1st of the year. Things at the gym were also unusually slow so professionally and financially I was stressed. However, I got my degree in the mail so it made things more real!

February

Picking the pace up!

Picking the pace up!

I ran the annual Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler again. It went way better than my disaster of 2012 race where I ran sick and came really close to DNFing. However, I still treated the day more of a training run than anything because I was learning I lost all my running aerobic fitness over my Fall running hiatus due to plantar fasciitis. I also learned important lessons in time management. Working three jobs and training for an Ironman is not fun or easy to do.

March

My mother, my sister and I (1989)

My mother, my sister and I (1989)

Azul and I celebrated our One Year anniversary. I love that bike! I also celebrated the 4 year anniversary of my mother passing, which is never easy to do. I miss her everyday.

April

Done!

Done!

I started April off with a bang! I ran the Race the Runways Half-Marathon again, this time as a training run. It was insanely cold and windy, but I had great company throughout the race. The next day I developed a 102 fever and was out for a couple of days. Go figure! Towards the end of the month I began to develop a bit of a twinge in my right knee. I also went to the USAT Level One Coaching clinic and became a certified coach!

May

Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth - all taking home hardware after a great race!

Tammy, Myself, Marisa, and Beth – all taking home hardware after a great race!

That twinge in my right knee developed into full-fledge IT-Band issues that plagued me for the rest of the summer. I managed to race the PolarBear Tri… barely. Miraculously, I placed 3rd in my age group.

June

Okay, not from my rides this week... but from the Patriot Hald Aquabike

Patriot Half Aquabike

My run training was extremely limited. I saw my chiropractor at least once a week to help heal my IT-Band issues. I dropped down from the Half-Ironman to the Half Aqua Bike at the Patriot Half. I had a good day, pacing myself like I would at Lake Placid. However, I almost ran over both turkeys and geese on the bike.

 July

IMLPfinishline

I became an Ironman! I celebrated yet another epic 4th of July with my favorite family and began my final build to the big day. My Ironman day went as planned. My knee held out to mile 18ish of the run before I was forced to walk the rest of the way, but I finished my goal, and that was to become an Ironman.

August

Enjoying a day at the beach

Enjoying a day at the beach

August was a recovery month. I spent a lot of time with friends and family. Towards the end of the month I began running again slowly just to rebuild my horrible running fitness. I had several promising job interviews. I also left my job at the gym I was working at to go off on my own to start my own business.

September

An example of pubis symphysis seperation - clearly an extreme case (Source)

An example of pubis symphysis separation – clearly an extreme case (Source)

I finally got offered a job! A great deal of stress was lifted off of me. I continued running easily until my pelvis decided to twist itself again. Awesome. I then began another running hiatus and began my yoga addiction.

October

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Hot Yoga Time!

I became addicted to hot yoga and it was fabulous. I saw my chiropractor at least once a week to convince my pelvis not to split into two. I was happy as a clam at my new job and I joined the Junior League of Portland, Maine.

November

One of my favorite quotes of the year!

One of my favorite quotes of the year!

I continued with my yoga binge, loving every minute of it. I was slowly cleared to return to “normal” training. I mostly rode my bike, but ran a few times. It hurt.

December

Skiing at Shawnee Peak

Skiing at Shawnee Peak

I skied for the first time since my mother died almost five years ago with a friend. More to come of this in the next week or so. I’ve slowly been building my aerobic base again, mostly through cycling.

~ Happy Training and Happy 2014!!

Cleared for Take-Off: My Return to Running (or some semblance of it)

 

One of my favorite movies! (source)

One of my favorite movies! (source)

Last week I finally got cleared by my chiropractor to run again after a long 10+ week hiatus. Back in September I signed up for the Thanksgiving Day 4-Miler in Portland, but I made a wise decision not to run it even though I probably “could” have.

Casey, my chiropractor, said that I could run on a flat surface and no more than 3 miles. Well, obviously the 4 mile, very hilly course on Thanksgiving was out. Fine by me! I secretly hate that race anyway; however, I’m the idiot that continues to sign up for it because all my friends run it…

Between the holiday craziness, the icky cold weather, and work I wasn’t able to run until Saturday morning. I put just about every winter layer of running clothes I had on, since the last time I ran was back in September in shorts and a t-shirt. Apparently, I have become a cold weather wuss… I normally have no problem running in rain, snowstorms, hurricanes, and on ice, but now that the temperatures have dropped below freezing my body has decided that it prefers warm weather. I blame hot yoga…

I’m a veteran of returning to running after an injury. You’d think I would be used to the pain and mental mind-f*** of sheer lack of any aerobic fitness that a person has due to running. I brought my dog, Reagan, with me on the run for motivation (okay, maybe I was hoping that she’d just drag me around the trail…). That dog loves to run (and chase birds and chipmunks).

Source

Source

I felt good the first mile. I was running again! Yippee! I wore my Garmin but didn’t really pay attention to pace or time. I knew I would be slow. I just ran by feel. Around the Mile One mark I looked at my watch to check my pace and heart rate. I was going just a hair-below a 10-minute mile. Not bad for a slow, long run pace! Then I looked at my heart rate… 178bpm. No wonder I was sucking wind and felt like dying. I was running damn near my zone 5 heart rate!

Time to slow down a bit before I succeed to keel over from a running-induced heart attack… the “return to running” pain started to set in a bit during mile two. Argh, this process is going to suck. I was starting to get a small twitch in my right knee again. Please no! I was hoping with my running hiatus that my knee/IT-band issues would start to resolve! It was getting better post Ironman as I was focusing on rebuilding my lack of running fitness in August and September. Grr…

The knee was really starting to bother me after my Garmin beeped at the Mile Two mark. I held out until 2.25 miles and then surrendered and finished with a walk home. Why make the problem worst now?

Over all, it felt good to run again. I miss running. It’s going to take a long while to regain my running fitness, since I never really had any all of 2013 due to the knee/IT-band issues that began fairly early in my season. I’m okay with that. My big “A” race in 2014 isn’t until August, so that gives me some time to really ensure my body is healed enough to begin picking up the intensity and volume of training.

I will continue to run a couple times of week now, but my main focus right now thorough the early winter will be rebuilding my bike power. I’m hoping that we’ll get a lot of snow this year in the Greater Portland area so I can do a lot of cross-country skiing in place of running. And stay tuned for more pathetic stories of my return to running. J

~ Happy Training!

A Happier “Unhappy” Pelvis

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A few weeks ago I wrote about my “unhappy pelvis,” which of course you can read about HERE.

I’ve been seeing my chiropractor on a weekly basis for the past two months. We’ve become quite the BFFs. Okay, maybe we were before since she is the one that keeps my body from completely falling apart…

Last week we had a breakthrough! ALLEHUJAH! My pelvis has settled down a bit and has finally managed to stabilize itself. Now that my pelvis has stability and isn’t playing the hokey pokey (and moving all-about), we can begin to focus on regaining mobility. ALWAYS train stability before mobility… that’s my take-away message today. You can thank me later.

Casey has determined that my right hip lacks internal rotation due to the fasica tissue surrounding my gluteus medius, semitendinosus, semimembranosus and adductor magnus. Being the total anatomy geek that I am, I started doing some research on the topic. There isn’t a ton of research out there on the topic because hip and groin injuries in athletes are less common than injuries in the extremities. However, when they do occur, they can result in extensive rehabilitation time (Anderson et al., 2001).

Fun fact – loads of up to eight times body weight have been demonstrated in the hip joint during jogging, with potentially even higher loads in more vigorous athletic competition. So, if you are a 200 pound man then you could have up to 1600 lbs of force working against your hip joints. Yikes! But, the hips are uniquely adapted to transfer such forces (Anderson et al., 2001). The body’s center of gravity is located within the pelvis, anterior (front) to the second sacral vertebra. The hips are essentially a series of arches, which according to Wikipedia (obviously a completely reliable source 😉 ) resolve forces into compressive stresses and, in turn, eliminate tensile stresses.

The major ligaments of the pelvis and hip are known to be some of the strongest in the human body and are well adapted to the forces transferred between the spine and the lower extremities. The iliac crest has multiple muscle origins and insertions, including the internal and external oblique, latissimus dorsi, paraspinal muscles, and fascia from the gluteus medius muscle. The gluteus medius (GM) is an important muscle during movement.

Source

Source

A significant amount of GM muscle activity has been reported during the midstance and terminal stance of gait to provide pelvic stabilization during a single normal gait. The GM is generally referred to as a primary hip abductor (leg moves away from the center of the body); but, research has indicated that it most likely plays a more effective role as a pelvic stabilizer (Schmitz et al., 2002). The anterior fibers of the GM also play a role in hip internal rotation while the posterior (back) fibers play a role in external rotation. Lack of internal rotation of the hip has been linked to lower back pain (Vad et al., 2003) in several studies in athletes.

So, what does this mean for my hip? Well, it means that my chiropractor can beat the hell out of my hip musculature. Last week she broke out her graston tools and left me with major bruises on my hamstrings, piriformis, and GM. Though, I wanted to cry while she stuck her metal tools in my GM, it made a world of difference in my hips! All week I felt that I had a whole new hip.

We have now isolated the problem in my hips through the process of elimination. My GM is so much better now and most of the “bad” fascia tissue has broken up leaving me with more mobility in that muscle. Cue the theme song to “Happy Days.”

My chiropractor has identified that the lack of internal rotation in my right hip is due to the semitendinosus and semimembranosus (medial hamstring muscles) and my adductor magnus muscles. The adductor magnus muscle is actually an external hip rotator muscle, but it was playing a major role in pulling my pelvic symphysis apart a few weeks ago. The issue is isolated at the muscle origins, where each muscle attaches to the ischial tuberosity (sit bones). It is not actually my muscles causing the problem, but the fascia tissue surrounding each muscle that is restricting the muscle from flexing and moving correctly. Thus, stretching and yoga are not effect methods to “fix” the problem. Stretching and yoga certainly help, but myofascial release is the best method.

The Guilty Parties... (source)

The Guilty Parties… (source)

My hip issues have been prevalent for the past couple of years and I feel like I am making process in finally determining the root cause of the issue and resolving it. I know that training and completing an Ironman on an injury was not the smartest move. My goal this year is to be smart about training and listening to my body. It’s hard for me to step back and take a break from training, but I know in the long run that it is a worthwhile investment to my health and my performance. I mean, it’s not like you would put a second floor on your house if you had significant cracks in your foundation making it impossible for the foundation to support a two-story home, right?

~ Happy Training!   

 

References

Anderson K, Strickland SM, Warren R. Hip and groin injuries in athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2001; 29(4): 521-533.

Schmitz RJ, Riemann BK, Thompson T. Gluteus medius activity during isometric closed-chain hip rotation. Journal of Sports Rehabilitation. 2002; 11:179-188.

Vad VB, Gebeh A, Dines D, Altchek D, Norris B. Hip and shoulder internal rotation range of motion deficits in professional tennis players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2003; 6(1): 71-75.

An Unhappy Pelvis

 

My pelvis is an unhappy camper. She’s always been a wee bit of a crooked fellow, but over the years she has usually just stayed mute. However, since 2011 she’s been making a bit of a racket. And she has taken no mercy this Fall!

I’ve recently been doing a lot of research about hip injuries and fascia tissue. A friend shared a really great article last week about fascia tissue on Facebook. Check it out here if you haven’t read it yet. I found one point very interesting: old accidents that we think have healed can reek havoc later in life. A couple of years ago I saw a sports chiropractor about a nagging shoulder injury and he mentioned it was due to an old injury. I pondered for a while what that accident was that could have caused that injury.

It took me awhile, but then I remembered my old horseback riding accident that I had when I was 12 years old (actually I don’t remember much of it…). I got bucked off a horse and fell on my right side, hitting my head so hard that I knocked myself out, had a seizure, and ended up in the hospital with a contusion to the brain. It was great fun. Side note: WEAR A HELMET!

Even though my accident happened well over 14 years ago, I still have lingering issues. But, I think the main culprit to my hip issues is actually the severe frostbite I got on my right big toe in January 2011. I was lucky that my tissue was able to return to “normal” and the doctors didn’t cut it off. And of course, me being the idiot that I am some days, I tried doing too much on a damaged toe. Due to the fact that my toe was so swollen and the nerves were not functioning for several months, I walked very funny, which obviously led to a major gait change. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I just wanted to resume normal training again and I succeed to train for multiple races, including my first half-ironman. Towards the end of my half-ironman training, I was getting a lot of piriformis pain. A friend suggested that I see my current chiropractor. Boy am I happy that I did!

So, in a nutshell, my pelvis issues are due to a couple of old injuries that just don’t want to heal. My pelvis has a tendency to get twisted, thus causing a whole host of other injuries linked to the hip. Plantar fasciitis? check! IT-Band issues? check! Piriformis syndrome? Check!

Currently, my right adductors and hamstrings are so tight that they are pulling my pubic symphysis apart. Major ouch! The problem lies in the fascia tissue and not the actual muscles. Recent science is beginning to realize that most injuries are actually fascia-related versus muscular or tendon-related.

An example of pubis symphysis seperation - clearly an extreme case (Source)

An example of pubis symphysis seperation – clearly an extreme case (Source)

Unfortunately, no matter how much I foam-roll or roll on a lacrosse ball, the fascia tissue will not release. I had 90 minute massage a couple of weeks ago focusing on my right hip region… all without the use of massage oil… Let’s just say I could have used a rag soaked in whiskey…

I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately, which has helped a bit. I mostly use it as my current strength training regime, since I can’t strength train or run currently. I was cleared last week to ride my bike finally!

Hello bike trainer!

Hello bike trainer!

My latest pelvis issue is nothing short of frustrating. I hate not being able to do the things that I love. However, I think this injury has really confirmed my decision that this coming race season will be a light race season so I can focus on getting my hip healthy.

Do you have any nagging injuries?

~ Happy Training!

November Goals

Story of my life...

Story of my life…

Now that October is over with its time for some new November goals, but let’s review my October goals and see how bad I failed well I did…

  • Continue building my running fitness with zone 2 running. About half way through the month I’ll begin adding more speed and Half marathon specific runs to my training plan. The November half is not an “A” race and thus my time goals are not anywhere close to setting a new PR. Running has halted to a zero due to some pelvic issues and thus both half-marathons are off the books for the Fall 🙁
  • Work on core strength and improve my overall mobility and stability. I enjoy trying new things so I plan on trying out BarSculpt at Pure Movement, hit up some yoga classes and also some boot camp-like classes at some of my favorite studios. I’ve been a total yoga rockstar lately due to the fact I can’t do any running at the moment because of my pelvic issues. I also can’t do any strength training because of the pelvis so no BarSculpt until I get clearance from my doctor.
  • Devote at least 30 minutes each day to work on my french learning skills. I’ve been doing pretty good with this, but still need to continue…
  • Clean up my eating and focus on making a majority of my meals at home. With the new Fall weather I can break out my crock pot and make lots of yummy soups and stews! Yay! I’ve been doing well with this, but that damn Halloween candy…
  • Find a place to volunteer at and make contact once I figure out my new work schedule. I joined the Junior League of Portland (which I absolutely love!) and have found a place to start volunteering at that is related to my career interests 🙂
  • Write and update my blog on a regular basis! I’ve been slacking lately, but I have some really awesome ideas for posts. They just haven’t happened yet. I wish I come just connect my brain to my computer and write posts as I think about them (which happens a lot during my training sessions). The transition to the new job as been a bit tough with my schedule so I’ve been slacking a wee bit, but I have some good posts in the future and also a new blog look in the works too!
  • Grow my coaching and personal training business. Hint hint: I’m accepting new athletes and clients! Still working on this (and always will!) 🙂

November Goals:

  • Getting my pelvis back into alignment (literally!). My pelvis is getting twisted again and putting apart at my pelvis symphysis, which is actually quite painful. I’ve been working with my chiropractor to get my pelvis back where it should be so I can get back to my daily routine. Yoga had been helping some and I recently got a massage that released a lot of the tension in my right adductors.
  • Making meals at home and eating out less. I did quite well with this in October and will continue to make this a habit going further.
  • Continue with my french learning.
  • As soon as I get the okay from my chiropractor I hope to begin bike training again on my trainer. Last year I lost a great deal of my bike power and I hope to spend the winter regaining my power back to its 2012 numbers.
  • Continue to be a rockstar yogi! 🙂 I can almost hold a decent crow pose!

~ Happy Training!

Post Ironman Honeymoon

After two weeks the honeymoon is over. I certainly made the most of it. From ice cream to beer to spending the day at the beach. It was weird to do completely nothing for a while. I must admit that I did enjoy it, but I’m ready to get back to work with a few goals in mind.

Enjoying a day at the beach

Enjoying a day at the beach

After IMLP, people either asked me if 1) I was happy with my time and/or 2) will I do another Ironman. The short answer to both is yes.

I am happy with my time. I’m not jumping for joy over the time, but I’m content. When I started to train for Ironman back in January I was hoping to go much closer to 13 hours or even sub-13, but then I was hit with a lot of stress from work, which led to me being sick a lot. Plus, the whole hip/knee/IT-band issue that plagued me for much of my training didn’t help my case. Back in April when the IT-band/knee pain first appeared I wasn’t even sure that I would toe the line in July. Luckily I have an amazing chiropractor who helped me get my pelvis back into alignment and work her magic hands on my IT-band and overactive quads. Going into the race I didn’t have a real time goal. I just wanted to finish. Secretly, I did hope to go sub-14, but I knew going into the race that my limiter was my knee. When my knee gave out then I knew it would be time to walk, crawl, or roll myself across that finish line. I lucked out that my knee finally gave out at mile 18 of the run. I was impressed that it lasted that long. I also knew my bike fitness was lacking from the previous year, which was a total bummer, but it is what it is.

IMLP 2013

IMLP 2013

I will absolutely do another Ironman. The soonest, however, that I will do an Ironman will be 2015. I need to take a year off from Ironman to heal and fix my hip that has been causing all my IT-band, knee, and plantar fasciitis issues for the past couple of years. Someday I would love to qualify for Kona. I know that my chance of actually doing that is about the same chance I have of winning Powerball (in other words, a snowball’s chance in hell since it would require me to actually buy a lottery ticket!). However, I really enjoy the Ironman distance. I had a feeling that I would, but I want to be smart. I intend to be in this sport for the long haul so I need to step back and focus on healing my body to reduce chances of future injuries and also prevent mental burn-out.

I also need to step back and focus on my career. My professional life has been nothing shy of stressful this year and I really need to put myself in a positive and challenging new career path. Now that I have some more free time I have been taking opportunities that will help me reach my ultimate goal. I’m also looking forward to taking on new clients and athletes for personal training and coaching. (HINT HINT!) 🙂

This past week I have begun to add more structured workouts into my week. However, for the month of August I just plan on doing what I feel like each day, whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, yoga, or even just walking my dog. I rode my bike yesterday for the first time. Only 25 miles, but holy cow were my quads on fire throughout the ride! Last Wednesday my chiropractor put my pelvis back into alignment, which took away a considerable amount of pain away from my hips and right knee. She has “prescribed” me several hip opening yoga poses each day for the next two weeks to help loosen up my hips. My hamstrings are super tight and are one of the root causes of my hip issues so hopefully with some yoga they will loosen up and help relieve some pain.

Reunited and quads still burn from IMLP!

Reunited and quads still burn from IMLP!

So what’s next? I haven’t completely decided. Much of my Fall plan is contingent upon my knee and hip. I’m hoping to run a couple of half-marathons and then begin marathon training for the Maine Coast Marathon in May. I also want to focus on building up my power again on the bike, since it dropped rather drastically from last year to this year. Note to self: don’t take a 4+ month break from your bicycle before beginning Ironman training. Opps! Lesson learned.

~ Happy Training!

Hip Stretches for Athletes

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Stretching is actually a controversial topic in the exercise physiology research world. There are several types of stretching. The two most common are active and passive stretching.

Active stretching – Is accomplished by contracting the antagonist muscle (the one opposite the target muscle you are trying to stretch). For example, to actively stretch the hamstrings, the quadriceps must be contracted.

Passive stretching – Uses gravity or force from another body part or person to move the body segment to its end range or motion or beyond.

The October 2009 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published two different studies on the potential hazards of stretching. The first study showed that muscular force was diminished in those who performed static stretching just before activity. Static stretching can be performed both actively and passively. Actively is much safer than passive. The second study showed that sprint ability may be compromised following static stretching in young male athletes.

Dr. Richard Dominguez, the author of The Complete Book of Sports Medicine and Orthopedic surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center, says the most damaging static stretches to the body are the yoga plow, hurdle’s stretch, toe touching, and stiff leg raise.

However, yoga when performed correctly can greatly improve “whole-body” flexibility. Yoga poses should be performed using a slow, deliberate, and easy motion and not be performed in a hurry. Many athletes tend to perform the poses too fast and hard potentially causing more harm than good.

My chiropractor shared a few really good yoga poses to help me stretch out my tight and problematic hips. So far they seemed to have helped a lot better than the more traditional static stretches that I have been taught in the past. Many runners and triathletes are extremely tight in the hip region and I thought I would share these in hopes that the poses/stretches may help you with any pain that you may have. Enjoy!

Hold each pose for 3 minutes at a time for each side.

1. Child’s Pose – Start in kneeling position and then drop your butt to your heels as you stretch the rest of your body down and forward. Take your knees out wider than “normal” child’s pose.

2. Frog Pose – Start in a table top position. Walk your knees out as wide as possible. Flex your feet pointing the toes outward and bring the inside of your feet to touch the floor. Bring your hips down and backwards.

3. Shoelace Pose – Start in a table top position. Bring right foot under left buttock and left foot over right knee and sit back on foot. If sitting on your feet hurts then try to pick them away from the body as far as possible.

4. Modified Pigeon Pose – Start in a table top position. Bring right leg forward and bend leg in front of you. Right leg should be bent in a 90 degree angle with lower leg against the floor. Lay upper body over front leg.

5. Firelog Pose – Get in a seated position with both legs in front of you. Bend the knees, bring your legs one at a time under you stacking your legs one at a time. In a perfect flexible world, the hips, ankles, and knees of each leg should form a 90 degree angle. Lengthen your spine and lean forward over your legs. If two legs are uncomfortable, then put one leg straight forward as in a reverse modified pigeon pose.

Stay tuned for some hip strengthen exercises this week!

 

~ Happy Training!