Comeback Race Perspective

I've conveniently used my attorney as an excuse why I haven't been writing since my accident this past December.  Basically, I'm not supposed to comment on "that" until all the paperwork is complete. And there's a lot of "that" to talk about, let me assure you! Finally though, I've found something worth writing about that doesn't directly involve "that."

So instead, I'm going to write about this.

I was with my coach this morning for only my second trail run since "that" occurred.  We were talking about my comeback race, the first race of 2013 for me, Boise 70.3.  Up until our conversation, I had every intention of unleashing THIS on the race course.

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A New Kind of Countdown

A little less than a week ago, I received the results of my MRI report.  And I began a new kind of race countdown. Previously, I was gearing up for the Lake Piru TT on January 6. Followed by the Bandit 30k trail run on February 17.  Then, in March I'd have the Cheseboro Half Marathon.  April would bring the ITU Club Championship, all building for a shot to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Ironman St. George 70.3 on May 4.

Those countdowns all ended with one phrase from my orthopedist: "You've got the Blake Griffin injury."

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Guilty, or Grateful?

Should I feel guilty, or grateful? Today I was supposed to swim for 45 minutes, easy laps, focus on cadence, yadda yadda yadda.  Then, I was supposed to spin easily for 45 minutes. I forgot my local pool is closed on Mondays, so that left me with a mere 45-minute workout day coming off a weekend where I missed a key long run due to a potential injury (more on that in a moment).

In other words, I didn't need a recovery day from fatigue.

But perhaps I needed a genuine recovery day as a reward for my body putting up with me not permitting it to rest so much after Friday's terrible leg cramps.

Fortunately, after my ART appointment this morning, I learned that my hip flexor/TFL strain was mild at best and I'd be fine.  My injury was essentially from overuse and probably an awkward position in one of my exercises (I'm thinking reverse situps or step ups with weights).  It stems from a weak psoas muscle (deep in the lower abs) that triggers overcompensation in my left hip muscles.

It's so strange that in my second go around with Ironman training, mentally I'm in great shape five weeks out but physically I'm practically falling apart.  Some days I wonder if I'm going to sprint to the finish or stagger.  However it turns out, I will cross the finish line.  Walk, shuffle, jog, run or sprint, I will cross the finish line.  I feel like I'm too experienced not to, and I've made so many mistakes over the past couple years and months that I'm due for a "good" race.

But I don't expect one either. I expect to do my best, try to be smart, listen to my body, and take what the day gives me.

If only I listened to my body a bit more in training.  I think I got lucky this weekend I didn't tear something.  It could have been a lot worse, only missing one big workout -- one I'll make up tomorrow morning.

So, guilty or grateful?


Most grateful.

34 days and counting.

Observing, Not Particpating

This morning I finally gave in to visiting an urgent care center for my flayed fingers.  Shannan, my trainer, and some of the other trainers at my office complex gym, took a look at my exposed fingers following a strength training session and grimaced.  I'll admit, I kinda dug the attention as it reminded me of being a kid when you'd show off cuts and bruises to the girls and make them recoil. Boys will be boys.

At the doctor's, the physician indicated that my fingers were going to be fine (as I expected all along).  Fortunately though I have an updated tetnis shot and am currently on antibiotics from my upper respiratory/sinus infection.  Thus, infection was ruled out for the most part.  The issue now is keeping my fingers dry for the next couple days so they can air out properly.  Sadly, that means no swimming until at least Sunday, which also means that I've got 1.5 days of rest since tomorrow is an off-day. Normally I wouldn't complain, but after interviewing Chris McCormack ("Macca") last night and after seemingly finding a better bike pace, I'm fired up to train!

Why is it that when we want a break there isn't one in sight, and when we don't need one we get more than necessary?

So tonight, instead of swimming, I'm going to train in a different way: Atop the deck at VNSO pool.  I'm going to shadow Gerardo and see what he's seeing.  Maybe I can even help out a bit.  I think that maybe I can learn to become a better swimmer tonight by watching, not doing.  Then, on Sunday, I can mimic what I see in the water.

I'll let you know how it goes then.

45 days and counting.

Fall Down Go Boom

You ever hear of that adage about how most car accidents happen within a few blocks of your home? It applies to bikes too.

Yep, I went down this morning, on a slippery hill at Dixie Canyon Road.  Luckily, I was coasting just a few miles per hour when I hit a watery stream and my road bike came out from under me.  I had enough control of the bike to know I was going to fall but remembered being so surprised that I didn't have enough time to even tense up.

It's not serious though, outside of the two bloody fingers on my right hand that made me quite the vision as I put the chain back on.  Blood makes injuries look a lot worse than they really are!  But, my bike helmet is toast, a fine crack towards the left front side.  My Giro 2 has lasted me more than two years so I suppose it was time to replace her anyways.  The grips on the bike are shredded too, so that will need to be replaced sooner rather than later as well.

The irony, of course, is that on Mondays I usually ride on my trainer for recovery workouts.  I just didn't feel like it today.  I wanted to get outside and just ride for the pure enjoyment of it!  Which I did, until I found myself staring at sky unintentionally!

I suppose my harmless little spill taught me a few things.  First, I have so much more respect for the pro cyclists who do this all the time in races and get right back on the bike to pedal at 30-plus miles per hour.  I can't imagine that!  I just had to ride a few miles home, wash myself off, bandage myself up, and go to work for the day.  These guys have such a high threshold for pain.  Second, my heart goes out to the fallen cyclist today from Team Leopard Trek, who crashed at the Giro d'Italia and died.  Granted, he must have been riding at massive speed for his accident, but since my helmet cracked from a silly fall it's easy to see how quick something horrible can occur.  Finally, despite learning the lesson the hard way, I was proud of myself for how I handled it.  I laid on the ground for a minute, realized I was bleeding, but that I had to get home as I was riding alone.  I picked myself off, fixed the chain with shaking bloody fingers, and got myself calmly home.

Literally, I fell and got back up.  I managed the pain, and finished the ride.  There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Yeah, like keep recovery rides indoors!

48 days and counting.

Ramping Up, Slowing Down

My vacation has felt like anything but. Though my "office" work has declined, my writing has increased.  I'm working on two columns for Lava, a story for the Fortius website and I'm trying to keep up with blogging.

I'm living on my keyboard. And loving it.  This is what I was always meant to do, but I knew it would be difficult to make a living as a journalist.  Hence, focusing on marketing and public relations starting my senior year of college.  It took me several years after graduation though to realize I could continue my writing career while paying the bills doing something else I enjoy.

Career Nirvana.

I actually prefer this approach even if I could make a career writing full-time.  Growing up, I was a sportswriter (stringer) for the Simi Valley Enterprise, LA Daily News and ultimately my high school and college newspapers.  I found that when I became the college basketball beat reporter for the Arizona Daily Wildcat that college basketball became less fun.  It became "work."  So the more I can truly enjoy writing for its own sake, the better off I'll be.

I wish the same could be said for my training right now.  My IT bands continue to bother me, and I'm just not healing the way I thought I would from Ironman Arizona.  Even though the desire is there, I find that each workout is still filled with annoying locking in my right leg.  Which makes it a little less enjoyable.  There's no Nirvana.  No vacation.  Just work, without the sense of accomplishment.

I now realize that it's probably time to slow down on the pedaling, the kicking and the running. I need to listen to my body.  I can't just will it to get better.  I may have to live with writing about triathlon for the time being and not being as active a participant as I'd like.

I wonder how I'll get through that.  The Surf City Marathon is now in jeopardy.  So is the Los Angeles Half-Marathon I just signed up for.

Writing will become my new training.  My healing process.  My dealing process.

I think it will help.  Like a counter-balance.

For those of you going through injuries as well, we'll get through this together.  I'll help you.  You help me.


184 days and counting.