Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Needs vs wants

In Triathlon training there are lots and lots of workouts on your schedule. Usually you will have a  few runs, swims and bikes. What is also there is strength training. I'm sure it's no huge secret that to be a triathlete you have to be a bit of a cardio junkie. Surprise surprise right?!  Anyway that's my deal, if there was any workout that was going to slip off the schedule it was going to be the weights...the one workout I NEED to be doing. 

Last week, as any week would have it, especially now during these last few weeks in the coveted off-season I have 3 days a week in the weight room as well as my swimming, biking and now running. Which exercises do you think went down the drain last week? That's strength days.

So when the doc asked me how the program went last week (you know the program he made from me, tailored to meet the needs of my knees and overall body, the one geared to make me a lean mean triathlon machine, ya that one)...I was  honest and told him straight up, it wasn't happening.  That's when I got the lecture. He made it very clear that strength training MUST be on the list otherwise I am going to need a second job to pay for all the sessions I am going to need over the next year. So with hearing that, strengthttraining has become the primary focus and three days a week you'll find me with the weights in hand doine the workout I NEED to do, not necessarily Want to do. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

What are you running for?

I was talking to one of the Chiro's this weekend about running, we were discussing the mental aspect and what some people get out of running.  He had made a comment that for some people, they are running away from something and that got me thinking about why people run or what it does for them.  

I know for myself, running is therapy.  I'm not sure if it's cheaper at the rate I like to expand my training wardrobe.  I have worked out so many things that use to drag me down while out on a run and  I have had some great realizations while my feet were pounding the pavement (now the swipe across the ground).  When I head out there, I feel as if I am running towards something, towards my next race start line and towards to ever evolving version of me.

Over the past couple of months while running was not on the plan (I know you know this already as I whined about it the whole time) I really began to feel it. Even though I have been able to swim, strength train and recently get back into spin class my mind has felt weighed down.  I was thinking too much, thinking about everything and letting my thoughts spiral downwards.   

Yesterday I was reading some articles and blogs about running and something I read really resonated with me and gave me a whole new perspective that coupled with a fantastic treadmill run was just what "the doctor" ordered.   I felt amazing after I wrapped up my 5 k, I don't remember the last time I felt so good during or after a run.

So for yourself when you lace up and head out the door, is there something you are running from or running towards?  Either way I hope you have a great one out there and enjoy every step of the way.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

got the green light

Last Thursday had me back at Chiro and I am very happy to say I got the green light for spin class and "supervised" running.  I bet you're asking "what the heck is "supervised" running". Well it's me being allowed on a very specific treadmill, the one at the Chiro's office.  So I have been doing a bit of running there and loving every minute of it!   Last night was the first real run I have done in almost two was three set's of 3 and 1's and I didn't want it to end!

I hit spin last Friday & Saturday and was back for more this morning. Plans are already set for a swim tomorrow morning and back at Spin on Friday.  After my appointment tomorrow night I should also be allowed to embark on a real run...outside...on the myself!  It feels great getting back to the running and spinning.  

I feel like things are starting to come together and I am feeling so much better about training for another ironman.  The road is going to be long and tough but I know I got this!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Managing Osteoarthritis

October 8th had me at the sports MD clinic where we discussed treatment options.  It was at this appointment that the full scope of what I am dealing with came into focus. I realized that this wasn't just 'bone spurs' I needed to treat but it's full on Osteoarthritis in my knees. Now, my chiro did make this clear when we first reviewed my x-rays but I had focused solely on the spurs at the time.  I left the appointment feeling a little overwhelmed as the realization sunk in.  On the plus side I had options that could delay surgery and delay eventual knee replacements.  The best option on the table was to move forward with injections that would basically lubricate my knees.  I had the usual chiro appt that night as well and we discussed my options a bit more and dealing with Osteoarthritis and the next day I booked my first injection.

I went in October 15th feeling a little nervous, excited and very hopeful that this was going to do the trick!  The sports MD preped the area and I barely felt the needle but I could feel him injecting the fluid into my knee.  It took not even a minute and that was it, after the injection he just worked the fluid around a bit and I was done and booked my right knee for the following week.  

So last Tuesday I went back to get "righty" done and I wish I could say it was the same experience as it was with the left but boy or boy it was anything but!  I felt everything this time, the needle going in was incredibly painful and I could feel the injection more as well.  But again less than a minute and it was done!  As soon as I got back to work my hamstring starting stiffening and it wasn't long until my calf followed.  By the end of the day I was limping around work.  When I got home I stretched out with a heating pad and had dh work on my calf in an attempt to loosen up the muscles a bit.  I had tears streaming down my face it hurt so badly.

The next morning I emailed my chiro and he fit me in that evening.  By this time I was full on limping around the office as my leg was stiff and swollen.  He took one look and got me on the table connected to the electric muscle stimulating machine.  I think I sat there for a good twenty minutes while the machine worked it's magic. He then followed up with some ART just to finish off the treatment.  Following doctors orders I went home and soaked in a warm bath then stretched out my legs a bit more.  I was amazed, within 24 hours I was walking normally again, what a difference!

I learned a big lesson from the experience with my right leg.  Before these types of injections I need to make a trip into the chiro office for some clean up so my muscles can calm down and not be super tight to begin with as I had done that for the left and I think that was the difference between the two.

This past Saturday I went back for another treatment and my knees felt great after!  Even today I am noticing a big improvement with reduced pain and I don't feel the grinding, cracking and popping as much...perhaps it's already working!  

I also started back doing some hip strengthening exercises this weekend and plan to continue that today.  Slowly, ever so slowly I am making my way off the bench and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get the green light to bike and run again this week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Remember, this is temporary!

I was having a rough day yesterday and it seems to not have gotten any better today.   I think the pain in my knees got to me over the past few days.  I did a workout on Friday and I was feeling it big time over the weekend.   Maybe I am feeling the pain more now, maybe I was just blocking it out when I was at the tail end of my training in the summer.   Okay, maybe it's been a little rough since they looked at my X-rays and I found out that I needed to see the sports doctor and that I might need surgery and if I do, it's more waiting. Thinking back even my swim coach gave me a pep talk that last couple of times I saw him on the pool deck.   I walked into chiro last night and my doctor gave one  look at me and new I was not in a good place mentally.  He reminded me this is temporary but is this one of those scenarios where I can't see the forest for the trees?

I really do try to focus on the things I can do and not on what I can't. But I'm scared, I am scared that I really caused some serious damage, I'm scared that I won't be able to run the races I want to run next year and I am scared because I don't know how long I can't run for. Ok so maybe I AM  panicking about it, I refused to admin that before... But I'm told that it's okay to panic, that panic turns into anger and anger into focus so maybe it's just a matter of going through the process.

The other thing I am struggling with is that I miss my run therapy. I have worked out so many things while I was out on a run and now, I can't see the problem here right?   So besides panicking I am getting twitchy and anxious and seriously need to find an outlet for all this energy.  I physically feel a need to run, it's a desire it's a need that is deep within.  This is the first time in over two years I haven't gone for a regular run and it's seriously starting to get to me.

Maybe it's time to just open a can of "suck it up", suck it up that I can't run boohoo poor me...I can still swim and I can bike and I can lift weights till I can't lift any more.  It's a funny thing this internal back and forth I am going through.  I guess I just need to keep my chin up, stay positive and remember this is just temporary...and for now get my ass to the gym!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pity party of none, not one.

I was practically vibrating I wanted to run so badly on Friday, the only thing I "can't" do and that was the only thing I wanted to do.  I have been running for over two years now and being told "no running" felt like I had been given a punishment!  

The pity party of one didn't last too long as I reminded myself that my focus is strength training for weight loss, lose more weight while building more muscle will only make running better and me faster and stronger!  I just have to keep reminding myself of everything I still can do!

The only thing I need to remember is that I am in this for the long haul, not just a few weeks or even months but this is what I love do to and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.  So with that in mind the bumps I have along the road now will only make be strong for years to come.

On that note I had a great 60 km bike ride on Saturday morning.  It felt great, I haven't gone for a ride like that in about a month so it was a lot of fun to get back on the road for a longer distance.  Sunday I did AB Ripper X from the P90X program then a bunch doctor approved of hip & leg exercises.  Let me tell you, I am FEELING it today!

On the workout front, that's pretty much it for now. The focus remains on strength training, swimming and biking and what ever else I am allowed to do, probably anything as long as it's little to no impact on the knees, they have been through enough already.

Friday, September 13, 2013

slate clear direction set

"Slate clear, direction set" these were my doctor's words.

just highlighting a few for you
So it turns out that my knees are riddled with bone spurs, also affectionately known as Osteophytes.  I had x-rays done this week and low and behold they are everywhere and not in one knee, both knees.  He also mentioned and this is the best part... my knees aren't the worst he has ever seen, but they are the worst for someone my age.  This is NOT how I want to be known in his office.  I am going to be known as the girl who totally worked her ass off to get the results she wanted!

So what happens next...I go see a specialist and see what their recommendation is for treating this thankfully there are a few options and all I can do is keep moving forward. IMMT 2014 awaits!

slate clear direction set

Running road to hope this year, probably out of the question as I am off running for the time being.  Swimming and biking are in so great news there and I will ask about roller-blading when I go back next week.

slate clear direction set

I have mostly let go of the negative feelings I had about my Ironman race and am really looking forward to racing in 2014.  This is a new year, new goals, new experiences and new lessons to learn!  And learn I will!

slate clear direction set

I now am looking at resetting my goals expectations and goals for the remainder of the year.  I certainly plan to spend as much time as possible strength training to work on becoming a lean mean triathlon machine!  

slate clear direction set

Each new day is an opportunity to work hard and move one step closer to my goals and kick my own ass!  I have never felt such determination as I do today!

Slate clear direction set.  You bet it is!

If there is anything anyone can learn from my experience it would be this: If you are exercising to lose weight, please please please ensure you are incorporating a strength training program into your overall strategy as this is critical and PLEASE consult a doctor who is familiar with strength training and weight loss to ensure you are doing things safely and correctly.  Message me if you are looking for someone to assist with this and I will pass along my doctor`s contact info.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting back at it, but isn't it the "off season"?

Tonight had me at the chiropractic clinic where my doctor had me doing step ups and then the cables... I use to hate the cables but I am starting to grow fond of them.   At his clinic it's so much more than the usual 5-10 minute appointment you might have had at another clinic,  you get your butt kicked as your treatment is geared towards your injury or main area of weakness then usually some acupuncture and if you are really lucky you get ART. He is also tailoring a strength training program for me  to follow during the "off season". 

What is the off season you ask considering my key race of the year has passed and I am still training and will continue to do so for the rest of the year. The off season gives me a chance to focus on areas where I need to make some changes, for example improving my flexibility and building strength and also getting leaner and meaner for the next race season. The off season is also I time where I don't have a heavy training program like I will come spring and summer and it gives me a break mentally from the stress out of a rigorous schedule. And it's the time of year that I don't have to wake up before the birds to train. 

While it may be the triathlon off season it's still running season and I am now preparing for the Road 2 Hope half marathon so I guess I am also training for something. Next up after R2H will be the around the bay road race and then the Mississauga marathon in May.  Well there you have my plans for the next nine months in case you were wondering. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sometimes you need to remember where you came from to appreciate where you are now.

I can't find the words that can explain this year so far but I have certainly gained a lot of perspective and learned a lot about life.  There have been so many ups and downs and all these experiences have changed me and how I see the world and live my life.   I have learned there is absolutely no reason to worry about anything ever.  All you really can do is enjoy life, live the life you want to live and if you love someone tell them, tell them every day.    Oh and of course, you really don't know what tomorrow brings so buy the shoes and eat the ice cream!

Reading back through my posts from my first year of triathlon training also reminding me how far I really have come in the past two years.  It was just over two years ago this incredible journey started with first learning how to run outside and here I am today having participated in one of the hardest races a person can sign up for!   As Adena said, "this is a journey" thank you for reminding me.  The past two weeks were tough but like everything else that has happened this year, it's just another experience and more lessons learned.  I guess I just needed a little time to feel what I needed to feel and am now ready to move forward.

Yesterday I went through all the photo's Tony had taken during the weekend up at Mont Tremblant and they are ah-maz-ing! Looking at all the pictures I remembered what an awesome weekend it was and I really felt happy and proud of myself and remembered all the excitement and feelings I felt leading up to the race.  

Below are some pictures from my first Ironman experience and don't worry there will be more, I already signed up for 2014 :)

IRONMAN, you can't help but feel the energy and excitement in the air!

The "Angry Beaver"

The M Dot was every where, even on our dessert!

The BEST volunteers!

Chantelle and I before the swim start.

Cheer squad along the red carpet.

My IronMom and IronDad :)
Best Cheer Squad Ever!

My personal Ironman Support Crew!

A few more teammates! 

Getting ready to check-in our gear.,

more angry beavers

Pre-race dinner...carb loading :)
The benefits of working out 14+hours...
you can eat WHAT EVER YOU WANT!

lots of emotion before the start.

Morgan & 1  on our way from the swim to T1 to star the bike.
We started and finished the swim together :)

90k done, 90k to go then the run!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It wasn't my year to hear...

Disappointment, failure, sadness, embarrassment, these are a few of the adjectives that would describe how I am feeling right now.  There have been a few moments where I felt pride and happy even some sense of accomplishment but they are few and far between.  I'm tired, I feel emotionally worn out and sad.  I feel like I am missing out on the excitement and energy and feelings of joy that my teammates are reveling in.  They earned it, I didn't and it breaks my heart.

During the run portion of the race, I was wearing the ironman visor I had bought.  When I was on the way back from the first turnaround when I knew for sure it wasn't going to happen I took it off my head and clipped it to my race belt, I felt like a sham.  I had 20 km to come to terms with the fact I wasn't going to be a finisher out there on the course. I came up with my attack plan to make my comeback, to seek redemption and get my ironman title.  Everything changed after dinner on Monday, it hurt so badly sitting among my teammates celebrating their victory, they were all amazing and supportive and were incredibly kind, it just hurt to know I wasn't an ironman with them.  After dinner we were all talking and I made up my mind that I would be back next year, not in 24 months,I couldn't wait another two years it was just too long to hear those words I have been working so hard for the past two years to know "Amanda Bolger...You are an ...." I won't say it here, because I am not...not yet, not this year.

I want to be excited and pumped up for next year and I know I will be, just not yet.  Right now, I will feel what I feel and when I am training next year I will look back on all of this and remind myself that I never want to feel like this again.  I know there are lessons that I have learned from the past two years, training for the past 8 months and the race itself and I am sure there will be more to learn on the journey to MTTB 2014.  I won't make the same mistakes, next time I will finish the race!

I know some of you asked what happened out there, what was I feeling, did I crash, was it nutrition and all I will say is this: The ironman is like nothing else I have ever done before in my life. While I am disappointed in the outcome of my race, I am happy that I had the courage and the desire to even attempt it and complete 127 miles of the 140 race.  It is an incredible experience and not one that I feel I can do justice by trying to write about it right now.  But, if you ever get the opportunity to participate as a racer or even a spectator you can be sure you too will be amazed!  It is the most exhilarating atmosphere and by far the most professional sporting event an amateur athlete can participate in, in my opinion.  That attitude and compassion is evident in the entire community, not only on race weekend but throughout training season as motorists shout words of encouragement and support while driving along the 117 highway.

So far now I will lick my wounds, document my mishaps and successes and get ready for the 2014 season where redemption will be mine.