Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Iliotibial band story. Don't Fret, be smart.

So , it happened. I had my first injury , or better defined overuse syndrome . Ironman Coeur D Alene being June 29th, we decided to prepare with Ironman 70.3 ST George on May 3rd, as it is a very Hilly and challenging course. Up to this point I had been lucky, no injuries so far even after two previous marathons in the last 6 months. Running is obviously the hardest on the body and is definitely my weakest of the three events. So , yes , it happened. The bike for Ironman St George had a gain of 4,000 vertical feet throughout the 56 miles. I know in that race I had to be tweaking my form to stay in the saddle . There were several bikers that had to get off their bikes on the vertical in Snow Canyon. I don't remember feeling any pain while biking however. The run was crazy hard. Basically 1000 vertical feet climb in the first 6.5 miles, then turn around . It was about mile 7 or 8 that I felt the pain in my left lateral knee, a burning , aching pain. Wow, I thought. This is not good , this is not my final destination. I had 8 week until my full Ironman. I began to try and take it easy the last half of the run. I stretched and stretched for the next 24 hours after the race. Then two days later I was still super stoked about completing IM St George that I decided to get right back into my training. 5 mile run, and ouch, there was that pain. Oh crap, this is not good I thought. I stretched and iced and decided to rest it and only swim and bike the next three days. Ok felt better, Then that Friday did a an hour bike , 5 mile run. Felt great on the bike, felt great the first 3 miles of the run, then bam, the pain was worse! I had to walk my last mile. OH HELL you think. 8 weeks until the hardest, longest most grueling athletic endeavor of your life. Ok be smart , I thought. this has to be classic IT band syndrome. So the exercise physiologist in me went to work. The beauty of the internet , is you can acquire a lot of information fast. So, I started reading as much as I could about IT band syndrome. However, I believe no matter what the symptom you Must figure out the underlying cause. In running it is mechanical. Yes , you have to heal the injury , but more so fix the problem that got you in the situation in the first place. I went to a Physical therapist friend, whom I trust, he is 30 years experienced. He assessed my injury and confirmed it definitely was IT band syndrome. I love how he thinks, he showed me some stretches, and suggested deep tissue massage to loosen up the band, but said Heather , you need to figure out why this is happening. My father was a nuclear engineer , I did inherit some of his Physics sense. Plus I had been studying Running chi. It makes so much sense. If you are going to force your body into extreme endurance you have to make it as easy on the joints as possible. First step in fixing my IT band. Stretches, stretches and more stretches. Religiously stretching. And I actively rested. I took one week off of running and did long swim sessions instead. But I stretched and stretched. My husband and I created a daily routine of stretches that really stretch the IT band , the gluteus Maximus, gastrocnemius, and peroneus longus. Basically stretching the hips, to the calf and shin. In 5 days no more pain. Ok need to start easing back into the running. But I was terrified I would just reinjure and have to start over with the resting and now there are only 7 weeks until my IM. Second step , I changed my shoes. It was more a mental move , or wishful thinking, since so many other Blogs on IT band syndrome suggested it. I bought two new pairs. I brand new pair of the same shoe I have been using, which was the Saucony Kinvara 5 and then I went out on a limb and also bought fully cushioned zero drop shoes from Altra. The zero drops arrived first. I put then on and oh my god they felt like I was wearing slippers. The toe box is so big they felt weird at first. The story behind the Altras is that they claim to make you run more naturally and in more correct form, again back to Running chi. I ran one mile. No pain. Ok, so the next day I biked and ran two miles. NO pain. The next day I biked and ran 3 miles no pain. Day four my new Saucony's had arrived , so I ran a 4 mile run in them and OMG there again was the pain! Not horribly but there it was again. OK, back to the zero drops. Sorry Saucony, you have been shelved!
So, IN the weeks to follow, I have been stretching every day . I ended up running a 1/2 Marathon on May 31, nice and easy, without strain and my time was not a PR but descent and I had no pain in my IT band but a slight burn at 12.8 miles when I had to climb a steep descent to the finish line. So I am sold on the zero drops. And sold on the stretching. The other mechanical things in my running I have paid attention to closely are not over striding or heel striking. Higher cadence with smaller stride. Posturing slightly forward. ON the bike, keeping the knees pulled in. I think there are several variables in keeping yourself injury free, but for overuse injuries you must get to the root of the problem. Proper stretching after every training session and in between is what I feel has helped tremendously.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother of 4 looses 5 dress sizes and eats whatever she wants!!!

I truly have lost 5 sizes since the birth of my last child whom just turned two and with triathlon training I really do eat MOSTLY what I want and how much I want. That is what I love about swim , bike, run! It trains every aspect of my body. I feel invigorated after. I don't have to pump iron, or starve myself either. And though it seems I devote a super amount of time to doing all this , It really is more like 12-15 hours a week. I can think of several other ways to waste 12 to 15 hours a week. I don't watch TV, I don't sit and read or drink coffee very much. If I sit and read it is on my indoor bike trainer. Granted I don't eat a bad diet. I prefer healthy foods. My body craves protein and simple vegetables when I train hard. However I don't deny myself certain treats and I definitely don't diet. The closest I have come to dieting in my triathlon training is the three days prior to long races I have several food avoidances. And yes I drink beer and sometimes more than just two. I actually crave beer sometimes after a really long race or workout. I am not perfect model material, and your welcome to criticize me for my post. but I'm a proud fit, mother of four and I ROCK. I feel HOT, mentally and physically, and the other great thing about being my age, is I can care less what anyone thinks.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014 Ironman 70.3 St George Utah. HOT and HILLACIOUS!

What a great first ironman venue, in a great city, with great people and a super challenging course. After driving the course to see what I was in for , which mind you is very Hillacious, I realized that my goal was to finish strong and smile the entire way. I almost reached both goals. There were times on the uphill runs I was not smiling so much. The rest of the way, I think I was, at least I look happy in my race photos. Ben , my hot husband, maintained his usual look the entire race. It was hot , but I don't seem to mind hot. There were plenty of aid stations, one every mile on the run , with ice, sponges, drinks and treats. I had a great weekend in St George. We stayed at the Sand Hollow State Park, which was where the race started. It was nice being at the start and not having to bus in to it at 4:30 am. The water temp in the reservoir was 60 degrees but felt warmer to me. The swim was wave starts every 3 minutes. I started 50 minutes after the first wave of professionals. The waiting and waiting was stressful!! Even though it was a wave start , there were plenty of people to swim thru.
The bike was challenging. 4 Up hills , that did not always lead to a down. Very challenging! The snow Canyon climb was the hardest, the hottest, but most spectacular. And after that it was a fast , fast downhill. I was hitting speeds of 38 to 40 mph in my aero bars, which kind of scares me. The bike , was great. I felt great, felt like I still had energy when I hit the run.
Then realized OMG, the first 4 miles is uphill. Wow, it was tough. So I all I could do was keep on moving and smile. Enjoy the experience. I was 30 minutes off my usual 13.1 mile run , but I cannot lie, it hurt. The uphill hurt , and sometimes the down hill hurt worse.
When I finished that race, at first I wanted to cry, then I couldn't stop smiling. It is an amazing feeling to come through the finish line, with people screaming your name. I had completed 70.3 triathlons before, but never such a challenging venue . IRONMAN is amazing.
Ben's official time 6:00.49 Heather 6:21.35 My road to Ironman Couer d' Alene 140.6 continues.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Is it ????? At all about the Bike??

The new bikes, pretty kick ass, NOT TOP of the LINE like you bought a new used car "bike" , but still thousands of dollars have been invested. Up until this Spring I was riding a 2003 Aluminum Trek road bike with tri bars. I have to say I did beat lots of people on super fancy bikes with ZIPP tires even. So, I know it is not ALL about the bike, but it feels good to have a responsive faster Bike. My husband and I both have full carbon, triathlon specific bikes, and have been fitted and tweaked and fitted for top performance. IM 70.3 St George, May 3 2014 here we come. First big stop before Ironman 140.6 Couer d 'Alene . I got the womens fit Felt B16, which many a races have been dominated with by female triathletes. My husband got the Cervelo p2 .

I found the rub free bra!!! Halleluiah. Female endurace athletes with the Sistas can rejoice!!

I have searched far, I have trialed and error and spent too much money . I have completed endurance events with bloody, ulcerated wounds around my sternum. But I will search no more. And I did not buy it at any fancy , expensive athletic store. I bought 6 of them of course a Fred Meyer for 12.99 a piece. I ran a marathon in them before Easter, two weeks ago , and not a problem!!! Halleluiah
Sisters!!! I will save the rest of you all the Grief. Cascade Sports performance no seam , reversible athletic bra.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Running pictures are not flattering!!

Yes, sometimes it is nice to commemorate your accomplishments, but holy hell, freeze framing most runners is either a picture of comedy or agony, or the movement doesn't give the slightest justice to the task at hand. So here are my husband and I's pictures of us running and finishing or second marathon. As highlighted in my last post, it was a great run until mile 15, then there was the wall of 20-30 mile an hour wind from mile 15 to 20 and the last 6 miles were up and down rolling hills. The finish was also up hill the last 1/2 mile . I suppose I can sort of laugh at myself , for you think in your head your feeling good, and kicking ass, then you see the pictures and think OMG I look like I am torturing myself to death.
First picture of me, good cadence , mile 4-5 , feeling awesome. Still cold , so super bundled up.
Still holding cadence maybe almost half way.
mile 15 , getting hot, getting tired, and here comes the wind!!!
26.2 miles done!! Definitely NOT the " I just want to feel this MOMENT" moments. I really think I was delirious! As for my husband there is a joke about him. He literally has two looks. Pissed and more pissed at all times. so he never really looked phased. NOT like me.
Ben, my hot husband, did awesome , but the turtle beat the hare once again. Sorry honey!! love you. Anyway, lesson learned on my road to Ironman. Smile for the camera as much as it may hurt. And if you want really good running photos hire a friend or relative to get your good side. Sonja Kireilis Wildt , I need you !!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Glutton for Punishment, Lake Lowell Marathon

2nd Marathon completed. It was hellaciously grueling. Not because I was not physically ready, but because the environmental variable. You see I grew up a competitive swimmer in Southern California, where the weather is typically sunny and 70 degrees, and the breezes are rare. In competitive swimming the environment in which you compete has very little variable. Competitive racing pools are pretty standard, and alot of them are indoor. All you need to worry about is "are you ready to compete". In marathon running and triathlons the variables are many, the WEATHER, the elevation changes from course to course, traffic.. These things that the athlete cannot control. Here in the mid west, the weather can change everything. My husband and I decided to do this marathon, as it is about this time in our training that we are supposed to peak up our running mileage, to prepare for our June 29th Ironman . Honestly we were both "rockin" it, I was well under my mile average to get my Boston Qualifier, until ............... Mile 15. The wind became uncontrollable, like it does in Idaho, it is know to blo over Semi trucks and stuff. It was a wall of wind averaging 25 to 30 miles an hour. For 5 miles it came from the North , North west . I tried to keep my running cadence in hopes that I could salvage through it, but OMG did it zap ALL my energy. I went from running 8:30 minute miles to 9:45. My husband went from 8:00 minute mile to 10:00 then 11:00. Water station cups were flying, Runners hats were flying off peoples heads, and of course tumble weeds were crossing the roads. It was a mental game at that point. Needless to say , I finished, and right at my best, still dont know my official time , as they have yet to post those . I May have been a few seconds under my best, or a few seconds over. No time to dwell, just hope I recover well. In three weeks is Ironman St George, a 70.3. The road to Ironman continues.