Showing posts with label Running/Triing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Running/Triing. Show all posts

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Don't Cry While You Have Acupuncture Needles In Your Arms and Hands

Backstory - I'm getting acupuncture done once a month in hopes that it will prevent or shorten flares. I had success a couple of months ago when I started flaring and getting acupuncture GREATLY reduced the duration and intensity of the flare. May have been coincidence, but I am all for trying something new - the consistency aspect that is, since I've been getting acupuncture intermittently for several years now.

Main Story-

So I was lying on the table while my Awesome Acupuncturist was doing her needle sticking thing and we were catching up over the last month of activities. We've become friends over the three years I've been going to her and she had just completed her first half-Ironman and I wanted to hear the awesome details of her amazing accomplishment.

She was doing a few extra needles in my arms due to a rough week of nausea and my desire to take as little Zofran as possible (side effect are BLAH). She asked how things were going and I mentioned the fantastic camping trip I went on and the decent hike we took and how it slightly kicked my butt, but not too bad, and I realized I needed to get in better shape for the upcoming Patagonia hike, so I sought the advice and input of a friend at work who is a personal trainer and she gave me homework. Awesome Acupuncturist asked "what was the homework?" and I answered, "the main part is to put a workout schedule together. And that's a really big deal for me because…"

And then I started crying.

When you are laying on your back, with acupuncture needles in your arms and hands and legs and feet (thank God she hadn't put the one in between my eyes yet - that would have HURT!) and you have tears dripping down your face, you can't really wipe them away (moving anything with those needles in sends fiery shocks up and down your limbs)- so that was excellent impetus to control the emotions.

Awesome Acupuncturist just looked at me knowingly (she knows my health history) "you're afraid you won't be able to finish the workouts, aren't you" and I just nodded (giving her a thumbs up was out of the question thanks to Mr. Needle in the base of my thumb and wrist)  She kindly encouraged me and we chatted a bit more, me sniffling as delicately as I could (tears were bad enough, but if my nose had started running!? Gag!), and then she left me for the 45 minutes to rest while the needles did their thing.

I usually take a nap. But this time, this time I spent thinking and praying over my emotional reaction to a spreadsheet.

Fear is so interesting. I feel like I have tackled fear in certain areas and then, before I realize it, it's been lurking in an area I never even thought of.

I just recently (say four-ish months, since going off the Big Bad Liver Killing Med) have been feeling better. I could have attempted to start working out again, but I didn't. I was expecting to get sick again. And I did - a few days here or there, but not prolonged, like the last 4 years have been.

I have about six different workout schedules that I have created over the last four years when I reached an In-Betweens and I never got more than a week or so into them before I would start flaring or something new would pop up. And believe me, these workout schedules are very very gradual - I'm not going out and running 5 miles or swimming 1000 yards or anything like that.

And here I was - afraid. Again. Afraid I would be yet again disappointed by an uncrossed-off workout list. So afraid, that I wasn't even trying anymore.

I thought about my necklace and the verses I have memorized to combat that fear that can well-up so quickly:

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" - Psalm 56:-34

Okay, remember that.

I then thought of another verse I was recently reminded of during my bible study a week ago:

"The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent" Exodus 14:14

(Moses told the Israelites this after they headed out and were facing the Red Sea and Pharaoh's chariot army rapidly approaching from behind.)

For me, this verse means quieting my mental voice, so I can hear His. I can toil and moil over things I cannot control. I need to back off, trust in Him, and let Him work out His plan. I want to fight and argue and add 1000 "buts" to anything that comes my way.


How does this look for this workout schedule that I sent (I honestly hesitated when I hit "send")? It means I focus on taking one day at a time and actively, by His Grace, seek to trust Him. No matter if I can't do the workout that day or days or weeks and no matter if I can do the workout. Regardless of how many excel spreadsheet merged cells (oh yeah) get grayed out, He is still working His plan. He is still fighting for me. I need to be silent before Him, listening to Him, heeding His word, His direction, His instruction.

And to be clear, when I say I need to be silent, it doesn't mean that I stop praying about it, or bringing my hurts and desires to Him. What I mean is my constant  and sometimes subconscious "what-ifing," my "toiling and moiling" needs to stop, needs to be silent, because I can't hear Him over me. As John says in chapter 3:30 "He must increase and I must decrease."

And the finishing note - I got my gait (i.e. how I run) analyzed on Thursday. I ran, they filmed me and gave me exercises to correct some weak muscles that are causing the knee pain I've been having at some recent run attempts. And, the big news. For the first time in THREE YEARS, I bought new running shoes.

It felt great walking out of that store. By His grace, I will trust in Him to be able to use them, and if He has other plans, by His grace, I will trust in Him to give me peace and contentment in His plans.

His will. Not mine.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Training on the horizon?

It's probably too early for this post, but I thought it would be fun to post about something I haven't in a long time.

With the new pain meds, I find myself with more of my usual energy...I didn't realize how tired I was from hurting so much. The pain med takes the edge off- I still hurt, but I am not as aware of it (praise God!). And since the inflammation I experience is not damaging my joints (thankfully!), it's just a matter of dealing with pain, and my doctors have no restrictions on what I physically do (they know I pay close attention to my limits), I decided to go for a run on Monday!

It was nice to pop out of bed at 4:45am ( I know, I am crazy right? :) ), put on my running shoes, and head out. I just took a regular watch with me, not my Garmin, because I didn't want to pay attention to my pace. I just wanted to run. I ran 1.4 miles and I felt good after it. And since I timed my run, it turned out I ran at a 10:00 even pace...not bad for not running since January. My right IT band still caused some problems, so there is gait analysis and some PT in my future when I start increasing mileage.

Then, I went on a bike ride on Saturday. My friend Lisa and I did an easy 25 miles. I did feel this workout...we took a Starbucks break towards the end, which I really needed. Right after the ride, I felt zapped of energy and my left ankle and hips weren't happy, but some lunch and three doses of the pain meds over the day made it tolerable (I'm allowed up to 4 doses a day, so I didn't max out, but I usually only take 2 per day).

And then, I went swimming today. I started a membership at a new pool in hopes of conquering the Big Bad Swim...and figured this would be one exercise that would be more forgiving on the joint inflammation.

Holy-out-of-shape-Melissa Batman.

 I used to be able to swim over a mile...I was gasping for breath and couldn't feel my arms after just 100 yards of freestyle followed by 100 yds of breaststroke. I made myself do 100 yds of pulls without paddles, 50 yds of sidekick drills, another 100 yds of free and 50yds of breaststroke...yup, 500 yds total (hey, engineer here, I like even numbers :) ). I almost landed on my face as I pulled myself out of the pool because my arms were completely DEAD...I seriously had spaghetti limbs and a high heart rate...but I recovered decently (might be the ice cream I ate afterwards ;-) ). I wasn't upset over this, I mean, I honestly can't remember the last time I swam, so I wasn't expecting a Phelps-like performance today. The hips and shoulder joints did hurt a bit afterwards, but seem to have settled probably just doing 300yds for a while will be a good distance for me.

So what did I learn? That I'm definitely not ready for full blown training- exactly what I expected and I am content with that. I just wanted to see where I was physically. I can do small amounts - the run distance was good, the bike was a bit long (or I need to take more breaks), and the swim distance will need to be shortened until fitness improves, but I can start getting some cardio and muscle back, which will be nice. Obviously,  I don't want to rely on the pain meds to "bandaid" everything (they are non-habit forming, just in case anyone was concerned (I was, that was the first question I asked!), and hopefully, and Lord willing, once the insurance approves the new meds, they won't be necessary. But of course, baby steps here - I don't want to stress my body out any more than it already is - I am shooting for the rehabilitating affects of exercise, not the training least for now :).

So that's my fun "training" post - I hope you weren't anticipating trumpets and fireworks, but I'm glad I was able to do what I did this week. Such a good reminder to be thankful for every step forward, and for learning my limits and my dependency on Him.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Olympic Marathon Trials

Early this morning, my running buddy Lisa and I drove up to downtown Houston to watch the 2012 Olympic marathon trials. I was so excited to all of these amazing runners that I have read about for the past 4 years in person!

We got a great location to watch and the course set up was perfect for spectating. These are amazing athletes. Meb Keflegzighi placed first in the men's race and averaged a 4:55 min mile. ::jaw drop:: That's INSANE. Double that and that's my pace...on a good day! The women's winner, Shalane Falagan averaged5 a 5:33 mile. I am in awe.

Here are a bunch of pictures:

All ready to cheer on the Olympic hopefuls!

As I was trying to take a good picture of the starting line, this really annoying guy leaned into my photo...and then I realized it was my friend Brian (I visited him and his family in India)! I couldn't believe I ran into him and his oldest son, Corbin, in a mass of thousands of people!

The men, just before the gun

The women waiting for the "Set" call

Our Olympian men! I was so thrilled to see Ryan Hall (left) run past several times. He is such an amazing runner and gives God all the glory!

I love this picture - the 3 women Olympians comforting the 4th place woman, who actually led for part of the race. I love the sportsmansship and true camaraderie.

Our Olympian women!

Truly an amazing event to witness! Go USA! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My new running style

Remember how I said I was going to re-train myself to not subconsciously shorten my stride when I run so my IT band would behave (if not, read here)? (by the way, may I add that it's very difficult to unlearn something you learned subconsciously?...)

I'm pretty sure this is what I look like when I try to lengthen my stride (it's only a 7 second clip and you will still get my point with mute on)

I feel all off balance and floppy and, well...Phoebe-ish.

Good news though, I just got back from a 2.3 mile run, and I just ran and told myself to run natural and the IT band behaved pretty well. A little sore now, but before Christmas, I could only make it about 0.8 miles. That's improvement!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ode to IT band

It's always gotta be something right? :)

Before the Turkey Trot 10k, both of my knees were giving me some problems, they would hurt under the kneecaps after a run. After the Turkey Trot, my knees were yelling loudly was like ground glass under my kneecaps and the insides of both knees were hurting. It went away after a few days. At the Reindeer Run 5k, the outside of my right knee started hurting after 1 mile. I finished the race, but was hurting pretty bad and gimping around at our traditional Starbucks stop. I had just started using a new running shoe (Brooks Ghost) - I loved them, but started wondering if they were the cause of the knee problems, because, thankfully, I've never had any knees issues (well, until I hit the 11 mile distance mark :) ). I went back to the running store and exchanged the Ghost for my usual Mizuno Wave Riders and went for a run - and was greeted with sharp pain down the side of my right knee. That's where the illiotibial band is...I rolled it out and iced it, but was still hobbling pretty badly the next day so it was off to my awesome chiropractor/PT inflictor, Dr Alice.

After chatting with her some about the knee pain, I think we've determined what the problem is: I've changed my stride when I run. I've subconsciously shortened my stride to reduce the impact/jarring that my back experiences when I run. Go figure. And it's affecting my biomechanics - hence the knee and IT band pain (but, no back pain!). So, the good news is, I can keep running - I'm not damaging anything, it's just going to hurt like the Dickens (where did that saying come from?) until I can retrain myself to not worry about my back hurting and just run like I used to run. I find the whole situation kinda funny, apparently there always has to be something wrong with me...but it keeps me humble and depending on God, so I'll keep welcoming the challenges. Oh and my knee is an awesome purple-y gray color now from the bruises inflicted by Dr. A (I told her my IT band hated her, and she just grinned at me and said that it would like her later. Whatever. Oh the pain of PT). But seriously glad to have Dr A to help me through all these bumps.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Turkey Trot and Reindeer Run

It's just SO awesome to post about races. I am incredibly thankful to be running again.

My running buddy, Lisa, and I did the Turkey Trot 10k (6.2 miles) on Thanksgiving morning. This was an interesting race for both of us, because neither of us really trained for it. I had only run up to 3 miles due to joint issues and a sinus infection, and she hadn't worked out since she finished her Half-Ironman three weeks prior (so, really, I was the one who hadn't trained...she definitely was ready for it :) ).

Two days before the race, I went and bought new running shoes because I couldn't stand my current ones - they were too stiff around the ankle, and I was finding that any distance over two miles was really starting to hurt. I figured running 6 miles in new running shoes couldn't be any worse than running in the horrible contraptions of Mizunos I had...and I was right...the new Brooks Ghost felt great (although, now I think they hate my knees...might be back to the revamped Mizunos...). We ran the entire thing (me giving my hips and knees a pep talk around mile 5.5) and averaged a 10:51 mile. Not bad for no training! :)

Post race, warming up with some coffee

Today was the Reindeer Run 5k. This was my debut-back-to-running race last year, where I was only able to run the last mile. Today, I ran the entire thing and averaged a 10:16 mile! My awesome running buddy was sweet to remind me today, when we hit the point where we had starting running last year "remember this time last year?" :) Yeah I do. And I am so thrilled to be feeling better and staggered by how much I have grown spiritually and emotionally during the past year and a half. It's been tough, and I still take it one day at a time, but God has been faithful throughout.

Pre-race photo, sporting our now traditional socks and antlers :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Running Brain

I surprised myself today...I forgot how weird my running brain thoughts are...

I was running here today:

Seabrook Trails

I love these trails. It was my first running spot when I moved to Texas and I've pounded a lot of miles out on those trails. But I digress...Running Brain.

So as I am running along this afternoon, I head into a more densely wooded area and was saddened to see the state of the woods due to the severe drought here...the trees actually looked thirsty.

Here are the thoughts that Running Brain was outputting:

"Hmm, the human body is made mostly of water"...
"What if the trees smell me as I am running through them"...
"Would a root shoot up from the ground and stab my leg like a straw?"...
"Wait, it would just get blood and that's salty and counterproductive to quenching thirst"...


"Oh no! Now the rabbits are after me!"

Yes, scary, I know. I managed to control any thoughts on thirst-crazed rabbits chasing after me...and Running Brain settled, until I saw the usual alligator warning sign and started planning for how I would wrestle the alligator that was probably about to jump out of the bushes at me (how it would manage to jump, I don't know...I don't seem to have a lot of control over Running Brain).

Hey, at least it makes the miles go by fast :)...maybe Running Brain is just glad to active again...

Friday, August 5, 2011

My new toy!!!

The trainers ready to be distributed (minus mine)
It's a trainer!!!

No, not like "hey I hired a personal trainer". A bike trainer. I can now ride my bike indoors!

All thanks once again to the most awesome of awesome bike stores who is willing to negotiate with me (like with my bike, and my cycling shoes, and my bike rack).

Six of my coworkers/friends also wanted to invest in a trainer. So when I took my bike to the shop for a tune-up (and to adjust my bike computer), I told the owner that I wanted to talk to him about purchasing a trainer. He asked me which one I wanted. I told him the Magneto and that I wanted 6 of them. And I asked what kind of a deal we could work out. He did a quick search online to find out the retail price and gave me an offer. I counteroffered $15 lower and he accepted it! I ended up getting each of the trainers for $100 off the retail price!!!! And two climbing blocks for 50% off! (I can put the climbing block under my front wheel and it's like I am instantly riding up a hill...oh joy...)

Putting it together

Ready to ride!

Gone are the fears of weekday rides in rush hour traffic. Of not being able to ride due to bad weather. I can just hop on my trainer and still get in a good ride (in fact, many pro triathletes do most of their week day rides on a trainer and save the long weekend rides for the real road). Can't wait to try it out!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Swim breakthrough? Mayhap...

I'm hesitant to blog this, because it was only one workout, but it was the first time in a LONG time that I finished a swim workout not completely disgusted with the sport of swimming (I'm telling you, it's a love-hate relationship).

I did my 300 yd warmup. I have a race in a couple of weeks and the swim is 300yds. So I decided to time much for the warmup :). I did it in 6:40, which is just a tad over 1:06 per lap. A pretty decent time for me. I did my drills -I've been really focusing on my rotation in the water. I am more comfortable rotating to my right than my left and I think that's causing some issues in my stroke. I have no idea how many yards of drills I did, I was just trying to create muscle memory by repetition. Then I started stroke count lengths (remember, a lap is one circuit of your lane, a length is just down to one end). The fewer strokes I use during one length means that I am swimming efficiently (i.e. gliding and not wasting energy by moving my arms too much). My stroke count has consistently been between 26-28. That's high.

I pushed off from the wall and started counting strokes (every time a hand enters the water, that's a stroke). I focused on rotation, high elbows, hand entry - all the stuff I have been drilling). I reached the 21. What!? WHAT!? 21? Fluke. Got to be. I turned around and headed back. 21 again. And again. And again. For at least 300 yds I hit 21 strokes on every length. And celebrated each 21 with a little "oh wow!" or "oh cool". Out loud. Pretty sure the rest of the pool thought that the girl in the purple swim cap was just a bit too excited about making it from one side of the pool to the other. I timed a couple of laps and I was going at a 1:05 pace. That's a big difference from my 1:12 pace a few weeks ago. I tried to speed up my pace but my stroke count quickly increased, so I obviously don't have the whole balance between stroke count and speed down yet.

I hope it sticks :). And what a blessing - here I have been whining and complaining and feeling like I have reached the end of my rope with swimming and I get this little glimmer. Thanks God.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Shadow Creek Ranch Sprint Triathlon

So, this is the only picture I took of this race. It's of my shirt :)

The day before this race, I tweaked my back...adding air to my bike tires no less. It went something like this: Front tire: pump, pump, pump, pump. Done. Back tire: pump, pump, pu-OH MY GOSH THE RIGHT SIDE OF MY BACK!!!! Yeah, it was hurting to bend at the in the motion that you use on the bike to lean down to grab the handlebars (and aerobars). So, I stretched, and iced, and popped some muscle relaxers. Rinse and repeat that series throughout the day. The back was feeling better by evening, so I went to sleep thinking, "if I wake up and it feels better, I am doing this race until The Back tells me to stop". And praise the Lord, when I woke up, the back was at about 85% (pretty much normal these days, although, I've been hitting about 90% lately). So I jumped in my car and headed to the race.

My stats:

Age group (30-39): 19/31

12:57 (slow, but only 50 sec slower than my pool time, which shows how nice the open water swim was)
T1: 1:55
Bike: 48:08 (16.8mph average)
T2: 1:14 (one of my longer T2 transitions because I forgot to lay out my Endurolyte capsules (salt pills) and had to dig them out of my bag)
Run: 36:04 (11:16/mile pace) - eh, I was just glad my face didn't explode away from my skull. It was so hot.

Total time: 1 hr 40 min.

The Story:
I met my friends Erin V, Rick, and Lisa L in transition, and we walked down to the swim start. This was the first time I was doing a swim where it was a point to point swim (ie, we started the swim in one spot and exited in another spot). What this meant was a glorious straight stretch of swimming with no buoys (and swimmer congestion) to swim around. As we waited for the swim to start, we were "treated" to a surprise shower of the ground sprinklers. Apparently, someone forgot to tell the park to turn them off that morning :). Despite the heat and humidity, 400 triathletes found themselves shivering at the swim start. Good times.

Swim (77 deg, 90% humidity)
The airhorn blasted and off we went, water churning. It was actually one of the less hectic open swim starts I have done, so that helped me get into my pace (my SLOW pace) quickly. I only finished 50 seconds slower than my pool time, so the open water craziness at swim start wasn't too bad (for comparison, my last tri swim time was 3 minutes slower than my pool time). I have so much room to improve in this area.

Bike (81 deg, 82% humidity, heat index, 86 deg)
The bike was pretty decent. However, I hadn't ridden my bike in 3 weeks and hadn't done an actually brick workout (bike then run - I did do two 'pseudo' bricks: after a 45 minute spin class, I ran 2.5 miles) so I was cautious on how much I pushed it on the bike, I didn't want to blow up on the run. I definitely could have pushed more.

Run (86 deg, 72% humidity, heat index, 92 deg)
The theme of the run was "hot, hotter, holy moly it's hot". There was no shade on the concrete trail that we ran on for 3.2 miles. I ran with Gatorade, something I have found key for me to do so I don't overheat (too much :) ) on the run. I also took an Endurolyte capsule. Endurolyte is a brand of salt pills - they are supposed to help you not to overheat. I forgot them on the bike, so I think if I would have taken one on the bike and then on the run, it would have been a bit better. I did have to stop and walk a couple of times, not because my muscles were tired, but because I was seriously afraid I was going to do damage to my skull as the top of my head felt ready to blow off. HOT.

I did not feel ready going into this race. Due to some other medical issues I had earlier in the month, I hadn't put in the training time I wanted to. However, after the race, my muscles felt great, so that tells me I did have the training. Now, I need to up my training so I can start getting faster. My back did GREAT during the race. It did AWFUL after the race. By the time I drove home, it was starting to tighten and by late afternoon, I could barely walk. I stretched, iced, rested, and eventually popped a muscle relaxer and a Vicadin because it was THAT bad. Thankfully, when I woke up on Monday, it had calmed quite a bit and I could walk without the "granny stoop". My chiropractor got me in at 9am and PTed me up. By the end of the day, things were much better. I've had to use the back pillow all week for additional support, but my run this morning went well (no back issues all day), so I am so pleased with how quickly the Back bounced back. Thank you Lord! But still, I'll take one day at a time. One race at a time. And be thankful for what I CAN do and for what He allows me to do. By the way, this race happened to be one year TO THE DAY from when I went to the ER initially for my back pain. How great is God? He has taught me so much about myself and my walk with Him, my position before Him. I would NOT trade in the past year for what I have learned. And that my friends, can only be typed because of His grace. Thank you God.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Confessions of a Swim Slacker

Hi, I am a Swim Slacker (i.e. not me in the above photo :) ).

See, I love swimming. My mom always says I could swim before I could walk. I have always enjoyed the water, be it pool or ocean. One would think with such a love of water and a decent introduction to swimming (my mom was a lifeguard and on the swim and dive teams in high school so she taught all of us kids to swim in early childhood) I would be a decent swimmer. So.not.true. (and not Mom's fault, by the way :) ).

Okay, I am not a bad swimmer exactly. I had one of my co-workers who has raced several Ironman triathlons come out and critique my swimming. His summary was that I have a technically decent stroke and a strong kick. I just don't glide. Gliding is important in swimming because it means you go faster and waste less energy getting where you are going.

So, I am a slow swimmer. And it bugs me. I wish I could hop in the water and Michael Phelps-out all my swim training sessions, but that isn't happening soon (okay, EVER :) ).

Why am I taking all this time to let you know my swimming woes? 'Cause the sad truth is that if something doesn't come easily to me or I don't see myself improving, I don't want to do it. And swimming fits right into this category. I want to be instantly good at swimming, without the work and effort required to improve (::rolling eyes at myself::, oh Melissa, you are so logical).

Anyhow, now that the cat is out of the bag publicly, that means I am accountable (in my head at least, maybe you all don't care, but I am going to PRETEND you care) to truly making an effort to improve my swimming. Up until this point, it's been half-hearted: I did correct my hand-entry position into the water (thanks to Ironman Coworker who warned me I could atrophy some arm muscles if I kept up my "Melissa-esque" hand-entry position). The correction has stuck and has definitely helped. I am also doing all of the drills he told me to do.

I swam 500yds today because I have a race this weekend and the swim is 500yds. And today was the first time since last year that I swam 500yds in a row. And it was slow. 12:06 to be exact. That, my friends, is 1:12 PER lap. ::heaving sigh::. I am slow.

So, I need to swim more. Three times a week is my goal. Now that I am back in town for a decent chunk of time, I think that will make it easier to stick with that goal. And I am going to create a new swim training plan, borrowing heavily from a swim article that was in the latest issue of Triathlete magazine.

God has allowed me to start training again so I'm going to do my part and glorify Him in my training and not whine about how slow I swim and rather, be thankful that I CAN swim.

It's time to shake this Swim Slacker attitude ::focused determined face::

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tri Girl Tri Super Sprint

Wahoo!!! I am back in the tri saddle and it feels GREAT!!!

Lisa, Erin W., Pooja, Erin S, and me at the start line...getting nervous

It's been a long road getting back here, and the journey probably isn't over. I just take one day at a time and today was a good day. Thankful to God for the work He has been doing in me, and the people He has put in my life to help encourage me and to help my body to heal (big shout out to Dr. Alice!).

I raced the Tri Girl Tri Super Sprint this morning (200yd swim, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run) with 5 of my friends (who also happen to be my coworkers as well). It was so much fun hanging out with these ladies and doing this race together!

My stats:
Swim 7:17
Transition 1: 2:18
Bike: 28:33 (16.8mph average!)
Transition 2: 1:16
Run: 20:20 (10:10 mile pace!)

Total: 59:46

My goal was to finish under an hour and I did! :)

Swim gear has been donned...almost go time!

Do you see me? Yeah I grinned like this through a LOT of the race! It felt so great to do this again!

My swim time wasn't what I had hoped for, but I did it. Time was 7 min, 17 sec. Open water is so different from the pool (for comparison, my pool time for this distance is 4:31). There's the people, the freak out factor, the choppiness of the water's a whole different world from the pool.

Coming in from the bike

I hadn't been on my bike in over two weeks, so I was a bit nervous about it, but kept a good pace, a lot of that due to the lack of wind :)

Finishing the run

The run went well, even sans Garmin ;-). I started out too fast as usual, but tried to really listen to my body, and got into a comfortable rhythm. It always amazes me how much faster I can run during tris (during my 5k a few weeks ago, I averaged a 11:10 pace, during the tri - 10:10)

Tri Girls!

I finished. And that is a huge milestone. But what makes it even better is that I finished well and with a bunch of my friends. Extra blessings just heaped on me. Wow.

Next tri? I'm looking online now for a good race :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Garmin- least for now...

My superwoman watch is broken. ::pausing for cries of "oh no!":: Yes, yes it's true. My trusty Garmin 310XT has decided it does not want to be a GPS unit any more and only function as a stop watch. Gone are the days of it acquiring it only mocks me with the status bar creeping towards 100%, only to jump back to the beginning and start over again. The Garmin customer service people have been great though- on the phone and via email. Unfortunately, all their ideas thus far have not panned out...Master reset?- fail. New software upload? - fail. I think I may have to send it colleague at work quipped "looks like you have a master antenna failure" (note: this is a truly nerdy and hilarious NASA-esque comment, but I am not going to expound on what it means because 1) you all would fall asleep 2) you would not find it as hilarious as the group of us did when he said it and 3) explaining it will just make me more nerdier than I already am :) ).

Aww, see how excited I was a year ago about my new superwoman watch...when it was working perfectly? Ahh ::memories::

Now I must rely on ::gasp:: a regular stopwatch type watch and actually listen to my body whilst running rather than on my beloved gadget that could pretty much calculate every drop of sweat I sweated.

::disclaimer- yes, this is meant to be a lighthearted, self-deprecating post, spurred by my fleeting sense of loss and panic when it first died...and then the next thought of exasperation "oh good night Melissa, it's JUST a watch". Just in case you all thought I needed to be prayed over and spoken to about idols ;-) :: Oh technology.


I ran an entire 5k (3.1 miles) this morning!!! The furthest I had run since The Back was only a little over 2 I was definitely in unknown territory this morning! I did the Yuri's Night (Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space- the 50th anniversary of his flight was this past week) 5k. It was in a great park on both paved, grassy, and dirt paths. The grass was a little challenging for me- the bumpy terrain jarred my back quite a bit. There was a decent short hill and I had to walk/run the descent cause my feet were landing too hard and jarring me too much. I tried to pick up the pace during the last mile, but The Back wasn't having that, so I decided to just be thankful that I was going to be able to finish the entire distance. My friend Jessica happened to be doing the race too, and she's also overcoming an injury, so we ran together. It was a gorgeous cool morning for a run and the race vibe was laidback and fun. I would definitely like to do this race again next year.

This morning, when I woke up, I prayed "God, I am going to run as far as you will let me". And 3.1 miles and 34 minutes later, I crossed the finish line, having run the entire course :). Praise Him.

Post race shot with my running/training buddy Lisa (she finished in 29 minutes!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's incredible, really....

Incredible how amazingly adaptable the brain is. Bear with me here...I'll get to the incredible part, but a little background first...

My workouts over the past two weeks have included 1.5-2 mile runs, over 500m swim workouts, a two-workouts-in-one-day morning swim/afternoon run, a brick workout (6.5 mile bike/1 mile run), and a spinning class.

Oh yeah, and I signed up for my comeback triathlon at the beginning of May, Mother's Day actually, - a super sprint distance of 200yd swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run.

And I am doing a 5k next week, with the goal of running as much of it as possible.

I am feeling good. But it is a different type of good than I felt a year ago. My body has a new "good".

My back still hurts. It's usually just a small nagging ache and sometimes (rarely these days) a sharper-suck-in-your-breath-quick kind of pain.

This is where the brain is's adjusted my pain tolerances. These days at work, I rarely am aware of my back (unless I have to stand for a long time or sit for awhile without my lumbar pillow). That's AMAZING. I could be constantly aware of my back, constantly aware of it not "feeling right"...I imagine that would make me very sad and not much fun to be around...(at first, because I've seen God's grace in my attitude the past 9 months and know that He would bring me around eventually :) ). I am SO grateful to God for designing our brains to adapt to uncomfortableness so that we can still enjoy life. I'm overwhelmed by the mercy in His design. And yes, there may be days ahead where I will have trouble remembering this mercy and be constantly aware of pain, but not today. Today I am going to marvel at the design of my God (and pray that on that day when I am hurting and having trouble remembering, that one of you will remind me of this post!):

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:13-14

Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm continuing to make progress with my health and my back. My stomach and inner ear are handling the new dosage of the immunosuppressives well (they initially made me super queasy and my head all foggy). I'm definitely starting to stabilize- a long-sought answer to prayer!

This past week I completed 4 workouts:

Tuesday- run 0.75 miles, walk 2.1 miles, run 0.25 miles
Thursday- walk 1 mile, run 1 mile
Saturday- 800m swim workout
Sunday- 10 mile bike ride

The back handled it all pretty well. I definitely could tell it was getting used to the activity. I woke up this morning with sharper than my new normal pain, which made leaning over to eat my awesome flax cereal a bit of a challenge, but I spent some time stretching it out and over the course of the day, it feels back to "normal". I don't think it liked the "back-to-back" (is that a pun?) workouts, so that was a good thing to learn. I'll be careful to space out my workouts for awhile...gotta give the body time to adjust.

I am planning on signing up for a super sprint tri the first week of May. The distances are 200yd swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Before I do that though, I want to do a short brick (bike, then run) workout to see how the back handles the loading. I'm a few weeks away from attempting that though...

In the meantime, I've signed up to volunteer at two upcoming triathlons. I'm doing body-marking (writing folks' race numbers on their arms and legs) at the Kemah tri in April (I raced this last year) and my training buddy, Lisa, and I signed up to help out at one of the bike aid stations at the Texas Ironman in May.

I am really excited about volunteering at the Texas Ironman. I figure watching an Ironman in person will just make me want to do it more. Oh yeah, I have the heart of an Ironman...not sure about the body, yet, but we'll see what it will let me do. It and God of course. Anything that I can accomplish physically is a direct testament of God's grace in my life, because my doctor says "you really shouldn't be able to do that" (when it comes to running and triathlons). So to Him be the glory. And I will be thankful for whatever progress I make, remembering the past 8 months and how walking without grimacing is a victory in itself.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


That's what this week has been, a rollercoaster.

Now if you had asked me how my week has been on Friday, I would have said GREAT. So, apparently, it was a very unsymmetrical rollercoaster...

I got in 3 great workouts during the week:
Monday - 4 mile walk
Tuesday - 600m swim
Wednesday - 3 mile walk and 10 minutes on the elliptical
Took Thursday and Friday off 'cause I had some long work days and evening plans

I introduced short running periods of about 1 minute every 3/4 mile or so and my back was doing well. Still the ever present "hi, I am your back and I am not normal", but nothing awful.

Then yesterday, I went on a walk...I wanted to go 5 miles. I started out at a slower than normal pace, due to the distance and wanting to up the amount of time I was trying running (from 1 minute to 2 minute). About a half a mile in, I knew it was going to be a rough hip joints were stiff, oh hello Disease...back was okay though. I ended up doing 4.3 miles and was a bit gimp on the part home (and walking SLOWLY). The back really wasn't bad, it actually felt pretty good on the runs. It was just my whole body. Why can't my body listen to what my mind and heart want it to do? Dumb body needs to grow some ears...oh wait...

You see, I had this somewhat secret goal of walking the Galveston Mardi Gras Half Marathon on February 20th...which just happens to be my 30th birthday. And I came to the realization yesterday that it is just not going to happen at this time. I can't make it through 5 miles without being pretty uncomfortable. So...disappointment city.

It happens. I know. And I can think about the fact that I still locomoted 4.3 miles...that's pretty good considering the past 6 months and yes I am happy about it...if it wasn't for that thorn-in-my-side-not-meeting-my-goal-of-walking-the-half-marathon.

So I am working through it. Me and God that is. Tough questions being asked, tears being shed, learning a new level of being patient and waiting on Him. Thinking about the "short term" makes me want to cry...but thinking about the "long term"... I know He is working this for His good and He will be glorified and I will learn a WHOLE lot in the process.

Sometimes the process has it's stinky moments....

One step at a time...Philippians 3:14

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Aqua shoes!

I took advantage of end of the year sales (woot!) and bought a pair of AQX aquatic shoes for my aquajogging. There are a lot of good shoes out there for aquajogging, but these are the only ones that I found that are designed to increase your drag in the water, which means a harder workout...and you all know I love a challenge :). Now, if I could just kick this cold so I can get in the pool and try them out...

Definitely increasing the nerd factor by adding these to my aquajogging getup ;-)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Reindeer Run 2010

Surprise! :) :) :)

You read the title correctly. Read on for the whole story…

I started “running” again on Nov. 7th, 3 months and 3 weeks from the day I spent in the ER sobbing to the doctor about the scary back pain I was experiencing and that started a bazillion doctor visits, scans, weeks spent laying on my back, PT sessions, lots of tears-grimaces-winces-groans, baby steps, small flickers of light…you get the point…on with the story.

On Nov 7th I was on the Seabrook trails and feeling good, so I upped my pace and put more weight on my footfalls…not even sure if you can call it jogging, let alone running…I did that for 10 seconds. It felt the same as walking (i.e., still felt that dullish right side back pain, but it didn’t get worse). A bit later, I did another 10 seconds, with more weight on my footfalls. Felt the same as the first 10 seconds. So then I did two 30 second jogs about 15 minutes apart. Oh wow did it feel AMAZING to move my legs like that again! And yes, I told my chiropractor/PT inflictor and she approved :).

Here are the walk/run combos I have logged since Nov 7th:

Walk 1 mile, run 30 seconds, walk 1 mile, run 30 seconds

Walk 1 mile, run 30 seconds, walk 1 mile, run 45 seconds

Walk 1 mile, run 1 minute, walk 1 mile, run 1 minute

Walk 1 mile, run 2 minutes , walk 1 mile, run 3 minutes, walk 1 mile

Walk 1 mile, run 2 minutes, walk some more, run 2 minutes, walk some more, run 2 minutes (total 3.1 miles)

Walk 1 mile, run 2 minutes, walk some more, run 3 minutes, walk some more, run 2 minutes (total 3.1 miles)

Walk 1 mile, run 5 minutes!, walk 2 miles

Walk .25 miles, run for 7 minutes, walk, total 2 miles

Walking .25 miles, run for 9 minues, walk, total 2 miles

And TODAY, walk 2 miles, run 1 mile :) (~11:30 pace)

I bawled tears of joy during the first 3 minute run I did. Bawling and running with a HUGE grin on my face and chanting “thankyouLordthankyouLordthankyouLord”.

(followed by a quickly squashed mental wail of “oh my gosh I have completely lost my cardio fitness…being honest here :) ).

The walking was done at a pretty decent clip, 15:15-16:00 minute pace, with the runs at a slow-for-my-usual-pace of 11 minute/mile. In each of these combos, when I start running, I feel the same “not quite right” right back pain feeling- it’s not truly painful, just annoying. Then, as I have increased the run durations, the feeling almost goes away, and I feel pretty much pre-July normal.

So this morning, my running buddy Lisa, who had said she would walk this race with me, actually got to RUN the last mile with me, and I crossed the finish line…RUNNING… ::INSERT BIGGEST GRIN EVER::



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gotta love dreams

I had a dream last night that I was competing in a triathlon...after I ran a half-marathon. Apparently, I am an over-achiever even in my dream state.

'Course, I didn't end up doing the triathlon, 'cause I hadn't finished packing my transition bag the night before and my bike tires weren't pumped up since it had been sitting in the garage for the last 5 months...and I was stressing out about being able to get out of the transition area before they closed it and was freaking out to my running/training buddy Lisa about it...this is the second triathlon dream I have had since being sidelined and the location of the tri was the same...some random lake in the middle of the's quite a pretty locale with a smooth-as-glass lake that looks fun to swim...

This is what happens when you cheer on a friend who is running a half-marathon with your running buddy earlier in the day and then talk about marathons with friends over dinner...and you are currently experiencing a moratorium on tri-ing/running. ::chuckle::

Least I can run/tri in my dreams, right? :)