Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh, the Ironman...

After many months of training, I did indeed drop out of my Ironman competition. There were many reasons why, (but one main one) and I am still processing all of it.  I wasn't physically injured, though at the time I almost wished I was, so I could save a little face. The truth is, I really don't have anything to be ashamed of.

Am I sad? Do I have regrets? Well those are loaded questions, my friends. BUT, it is what it is. The Ironman isn't going anywhere. If in the future, and the timing is right for my family and myself, maybe I will, as NIKE puts it, JUST DO IT! 


We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Flying Wheels 2012

Before the start.
Flying Wheels Summer Century was yesterday! Fun! Fun! Fun!

I had been warned that this was a hilly century, and it was. I believe there was 3800-3900 feet of elevation gain to be had. I would tell you exactly, but my dumb self forget to turn my Garmin 310 back on at one of my stops and didn't record "The Big Hill." Whoops.

Off we go!
This was a hard century for me, actually. I had some issues along the way that were not enjoyable. First of all, I had muscle cramps in my legs like nobody's business! My calves were in agony, and my quads and hammies were seizing within the first 30 miles of hills. Not good. I didn't keep as quick a pace as I usually do on century events, but I must have been doing decently, because I spent most of my ride either alone, or towing a drafter or twenty. I always find it eerie when you think you are all alone, and then you happen to glance over your shoulder, and you have a guy drafting off you...so close you could make out... Um, how about a courtesy "Hello, I'm here!"

I was SO happy when I saw this place!
At first I thought that I might be dehydrated, and that was causing the cramping. I really focused on drinking like mad, and rewarded myself with a full bladder...that needed emptying...frequently. Hmmm... (Sorry if this is TMI for some of you, but apparently I don't care, because I'm typing it anyway,) my pee was water-clear, so I wasn't dehydrated. I had drank electrolyte-replentishing fluids, so that wasn't the problem either.

Since I had no other ideas, and I was low on options, I simply accepted that my legs were going to cramp and hurt, and that they may do so until the finish line and/or beyond. Period. It's kind of nice when you can just see a situation clearly and for what it is, and then just accept it. I am always able to do this during a race, or when I'm on a long ride or run. My mind gets more clear; almost like I'm meditating... I want to be able to do this better off the bike...

50 miles in. So hungry I don't even realize I'm voluntarily eating a hotdog.
So despite leg pains, and an unfortunate little spill I took (I dropped my chain on a hill and slipped on the wet pavement when I unclipped. D'oh!) I really enjoyed it out there! The ride was peaceful and the scenery gorgeous! I talked to some really nice people, as I always do at Cascade events.


A day well spent!



Saturday, June 2, 2012

My first Triathlon!

Well folks, I'm no longer a triathlon virgin.

I'm as ready as I'll ever be!
My day started at 4am. Yeah... I was pretty tired, and fairly sure I had forgotten to pack key things when I left the house to go pick up Jesse. Half way to Issaquah, (after picking him up) he realized the he had forgotten to pack some key things; his tools! Whoops! I wasn't too worried though.. He had tuned my bike since I returned from Hawaii, so I knew Fi was fine.

Marked.

When Jess and I arrived at the race, it was busy and chaotic, but I found the packet pick-up, got my markings, and went to find my transition area. I was the second person the set up in my little section. The guy that got there before me was a middle-aged guy who I could tell had been doing the tri thing for a good long time. He was really nice, and actually offered a lot of helpful tips; including putting a plastic grocery bag over your hands and feet while putting your wetsuit on. (Way easier that way!)


Cold, wet, and gravely.
After I set out my stuff (it was a sloppy mess I would come to find out), I got suited up and headed to the beach for the "briefing." Soon, I realized I had made a critical error; I had forgotten to use the facilities before I committed my whole body to the wetsuit. Ugh. Oh well. I couldn't hear a damn thing at the briefing, so I just worked on putting on my swim cap (or caps rather; I wore my thicker one under my purple race cap - to stay warmer.)

And I'm off!
After a bit, I asked Jess if he saw any other women in purple caps. He looks around and says, "Oh my gosh! They're in the water!" I looked and sure enough, they were just about to start my wave! I took off sprinting down the beach, and made it to the line with 30 seconds to spare! The water was not as cold as I suspected, but it was f'ing disgusting. Luckily, there were no lake weeds that I could feel until close to the end (and I pretended they were another swimmer), but the water was so murky and brown and filthy! I couldn't see a dang thing! I was second to reach the first buoy, but that's when it happened...I panicked. I couldn't see anything through my goggles underwater or above, I had gulped down a bunch of water somehow, which had me almost retching. The wetsuit was also making me feel restricted and tight in my chest, and I felt like I couldn't take a full breath. I started to think I couldn't do it...that I was going to drown, but then I snapped out of it and realized I was just scared, and that I am an excellent swimmer.

I was SO happy to get out of that lake.
When I was coming out of the water, I was fighting tears. I hadn't performed well in the water. That really disappointed me...I had hated every second of that swim; every last flippin' second. My biggest thought throughout that whole swim; "how in the hell can I expect to do THIS for 1.2 miles?" When I saw Jesse, he was all smiles. He was so encouraging. He told me I was doing awesome. I needed to hear those words, but I was secretly thinking that he had to know how badly I had just failed. He was a Godsend truly though, in more ways than one. When I got back to the transition coral, I couldn't find my transition area! lol Luckily Jesse knew where to direct me!

All smiles on the bike, of course!
My transition was pretty slow, but that was due to my shitty novice transition set-up. lol I remember looking up at Jesse and mouthing to him, "I don't want to do this." He said, "You're doing great babe." He is so great.

I got on my bike, and everything was almost immediately better. The ride was just plain bitchin'. I loved every moment of it. It was interesting.. I tore past a ton of men on the bike today. Of course I was passed by some too, but less than usual. There were a lot of strong women, and a lot of weaker men. Oh!..and there was one guy with panniers! WTF do you need to take with you on a 15 mile ride?? You barely need water on a ride that short!

Yay!
My second transition was much better, but I still could have done better. The run, although I was a bit tired, was not at all unpleasant. I didn't run it fast, by any stretch of the imagination, but I ran it and I finished with a smile on my face. :)

Proud finisher.


Incidentally, my timing chip was faulty. It did not record when I started the race. Bummer, eh? I may have some rough estimates coming though.

When I got home, I ate an apple and peanut butter, and took a 7 hour nap.



Off to enjoy my victory banana.





Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The New Addition

Hi all! It's been awhile! Life has been busy and full since my return from Hawaii. My calves are 100% now, I believe, so it's back to training for me...finally! I have been going nuts without exercise! I am fairly concerned about the toll this injury has taken on my ability to be fully prepared for my race... I already missed one scheduled running race, which was a bummer, because it is a fun event and for a good cause; juvenile diabetes. My next event is that Issaquah tri. I don't feel ready at all, but that could just be nerves...the distances aren't bad. I feel out of shape nonetheless. It's been a good 2 weeks sitting on my rear eating!

Nirve Cruiser, Classic Beaulieu Vineyard, Handmade
In other news, I got a new bike! I have been wanting a cruiser for ages, and yesterday, this gal at work gave me her "old" one. It is not more than a couple years old and it's in perfect condition! It is a Nirve Cruiser and she's shiny and red. She has this sweet springy seat, and coaster brakes. I like her a lot! I feel like a kid when I ride her. So much fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Compartmentalization: Not just a Coping Stategy!

Happy Bike to Work Day!....but not for this bike commuter... :(

Soooo.... Remember my little "fun run" on the beach? Well, the pain in my calves wasn't any better by Thursday. In fact it was worse, so I went to see my doc. Basically I screwed up. I knew better, and I screwed up. It was funny hearing him tell me that barefoot running is something that you have to start with short distances and ease into. Like I said before, I knew better! I know running, and I know that I shouldn't have gone more than a half mile TOPS in that stupid sand! Why on earth wasn't my brain turned on that day? Gah! He has ordered ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories. Oh...and no exercise. Yeah.

No, I'm taking it ok... I will flip the F out though, if I can't walk normal by Monday... I really can't think about things beyond that, or I might have a mini flip out sooner...


Compartment syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment. It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Thick layers of tissue, called fascia, separate groups of muscles in the arms and legs from each other. Inside each layer of fascia is a confined space, called a compartment. The compartment includes the muscle tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. Fascia surrounds these structures, similar to the way in which insulation covers wires.
Fascia do not expand. Any swelling in a compartment will lead to increased pressure in that area, which will press on the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. If this pressure is high enough, blood flow to the compartment will be blocked. This can lead to permanent injury to the muscle and nerves. If the pressure lasts long enough, the muscles may die and the limb may need to be amputated.
Swelling that leads to compartment syndrome occurs from trauma such as a car accident or crush injury, or surgery. Swelling can also be caused by complex fractures or soft tissue injuries due to trauma.
Long-term (chronic) compartment syndrome can be caused by repetitive activities, such as running. The pressure in a compartment only increases during that activity.
Compartment syndrome is most common in the lower leg and forearm, although it can also occur in the hand, foot, thigh, and upper arm.

Symptoms

The hallmark symptom of compartment syndrome is severe pain that does not go away when you take pain medicine or raise the affected area. In more severe cases, symptoms may include:
  • Decreased sensation
  • Paleness of skin
  • Severe pain that gets worse
  • Weakness

Signs and tests

A physical exam will reveal:
  • Pain when the compartment is squeezed
  • Severe pain when you move the affected area (for example, a person with compartment syndrome in the foot or lower leg will experience severe pain when moving the toes up and down)
  • Swollen and shiny skin

Treatment

Chronic compartment syndrome (what I seem to have) in the lower leg can be treated conservatively or surgically. Conservative treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatories, and manual decompression. Elevation of the affected limb in patients with compartment syndrome is contraindicated, as this leads to decreased vascular perfusion of the affected region. Ideally, the affected limb should be positioned at the level of the heart. The use of devices that apply external pressure to the area, such as splints, casts, and tight wound dressings, should be avoided.[14] In cases where symptoms persist, the condition can be treated by a surgical procedure, subcutaneous fasciotomy or open fasciotomy. Left untreated, chronic compartment syndrome can develop into the acute syndrome. A possible complication of surgical intervention for chronic compartment syndrome can be chronic venous insufficiency.Surgery is needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

With prompt diagnosis and treatment, the outlook is excellent for recovery of the muscles and nerves inside the compartment. However, the overall prognosis will be determined by the injury leading to the syndrome.
Permanent nerve injury and loss of muscle function can result if the diagnosis is delayed. This is more common when the injured person is unconscious or heavily sedated and cannot complain of pain. Permanent nerve injury can occur after 12 - 24 hours of compression.

Complications

Complications include permanent injury to nerves and muscles that can dramatically impair function.
In more severe cases, amputation may be required. (Let's hope it doesn't come to that! Sheesh!)
No Ironman.....? (Don't get all drama, CG! You're going to be fine!)
Insanity. (Kidding. Sort of... Ok, I added this one.)

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compartment_syndrome
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002204/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Training Run On Hapuna Beach

Sunset at Hapuna Beach after my run.
Three days ago, I decided to do my run on the beach...barefoot...in the sand... Um, WTF was I thinking??? My calves are still killing me!! I'll tell you though, if I ran on the beach like that all the time, my leg muscles would be ridiculously enormous! The run was very enjoyable though... I wasn't wearing my Garmin, so I have no idea how far I went, but I really got in a good workout. Everytime a wave came in, I incorporated high-knees in. It was fun. I also practiced toe striking, which is not how I usually run, but felt nice on the sand.

Open Water Swim!


video
I got in my first open water swim the other day at the Captain Cook Monument, in South Kona. Ok, I'll admit it, I was a little scared. I had a bit of trouble keeping my head down in the water; I assume because there was nothing down there I could see that marked where to go - like there is in a pool. The only way to check your location is to lift you head out of the water and glance at your surroundings. I couldn't see anything when I was just breathing to the side. Although the flawed head positioning does impair hydrodynamics, I don't think I was doing too shabby (for a first try). Luckily, I watched the video right after it was taken, so I was able to make a correction right on the spot. :)