Thursday, April 19, 2012

Back to Life, Back to Reality...

After a few visits with Erik (my PT), I am feeling better and better with my running. I haven't had pain and have been able to run up to 45 minutes at once. As expected, there was a little bit of lost fitness, but with how quickly it arrived at the start of my training I am confident it will return in a fairly short time.

At this point I am right in the heart of my training. It is week 17 of 30 and the volume and intensity are both picking up. This time of year is generally my favorite as the weather starts to warm up and race season is upon us. Everyone is itching to race and road races no longer satisfy that desire. This is without a doubt the most successful and dedicated winter I have ever had. My fitness is well ahead of schedule, my weight is right where it needs to be for the time being and I already have a ton of miles in my legs. Given my current state, all I want to do is RACE!!

Ironman Lake Placid and Syracuse 70.3 are the only races I am currently registered for. LP is obviously the focus and Cuse is just a tune up for Placid as it is 4 weeks prior to the big day. Me being me, I have been looking all over the northeast for races that fit my training prior to Cuse. All I want to do is showcase my fitness and kick some ass. With my mind going a million miles per hour and legs jonesing for a race I temporarily lost track of what the big goal is....Kona. Lucky for me, I have a great friend with a wealth of experience in this area and he did for me what a true friend would do and gave me a hard dose of reality:

"Don't worry about it (race next weekend). Remember Kona is the goal. Having fun is no longer part of training."
Me: so don't race quabbin or the sprint tri? Just stick with planned volume?
"Yup. Its not fun I know but you have to put your eggs in the training basket... I know its boring but in terms of giving you the best possible chance those 5 hour rides are key."

Its true, Ironman (and even half irons) aren't short races. I know I can get pumped for a sprint and have a great day and a ton of fun in the process. That said, it will be a great feeling when I get off my bike at Placid in under 5.5 hours and can still run a great marathon. Punching that ticket to the big island is all that matters, even if it means I don't get to race the Speedo Challenge this year. Some people give you ego boosts and all the confidence in the world, then some people tell you what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.

That said, you will see me at the Speedo Challenge. I may not be in one of my new custom speedos and I may not be on the start list, but you can count on me watching the fireworks happen as it is anyones race, and just being there will continue to stoke the fire that will really explode on July 22.


ps, I have successfully linked Soul II Soul and triathlon...youre welcome

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Improving Fitness, fast races, and scary injuries

My fitness feels good great. With work and training being the two large commitments, it is much easier to get the workouts done without worrying about wedding plans or moving. As a result my weight is right where I want it to be, my paces are ahead of schedule, and the results are supporting it all.

In the last 2 months I have completed two road races; Hyannis Half Marathon and the Holyoke St Patrick's Day Road Race (10K). Both races resulted in significantly faster PRs and the expected amount of pain given the times. I couldn't be happier with where I am was 1 week ago.

On Sunday April 1st I had a long run of 101 minutes planned with the last half hour or so at Z2. It was awesome that it happen to coincide with the Westfield Half Marathon. My plan was to do my long run during the race and stay within my appropriate zones. This way I could run with many people, and still get all the time in that I needed. When the gun went off I went out like I would on any Sunday run as opposed to the fast push that is present when I am actually racing. The first few miles are net uphill and as a result my pace was a little on the slower side. As the run went on my pace began to fall. I settled in around 6:45s and just kept an eye on my watch so I knew when to kick it up into zone 2. I was running with Mike C just before the zone 2 kick which was nice because talking helps distract you for a few minutes. I think Mike appreciated it too as he was toughing out the last 2 miles after coming off some rest post Panama 70.3.

As the finish line go closer I turned around and began running the course in reverse. I had another 12-15 minutes and figured it would be best to double back to cheer on the teammates. When all was said and done, I had run just over 15 miles at 6:39 pace with an average HR at the top of zone 1! And to think I was still almost 4 months out from race day! I packed my things up and headed over to New England Bike to pick up Gus which had a newly installed power meter!

The next morning I woke up with a bit of pain in my sacral region (think northern butt crack). I wasn't sure what it was, but shrugged it off as tightness and headed to the pool. I felt great the rest of the day, but unfortunately woke up with the same sensation on Tuesday morning. Again, it improved as the day went on and so I went out for my bike and run as planned. The bike felt great, but unfortunately the run did not. I hopped off my bike and took off running with the first mile in Z2. I was hauling a$$ when the pain worsened at about the half mile mark. I backed off immediately and began jumping to conclusions just as fast. I decided it would be best to hold off on the running until I get some answers but keep with the biking and swimming since they didn't cause pain.

Fast forward to today, almost 10 days later, and I finally have my PT eval. For a week I have been expecting a stress fracture and trying to get my head into a good place on how to handle the news once my PT confirms it. I went to a local PT that had been recommended by two different friends of mine that are also ortho PTs. I would have loved to see Mike Roberts at Central Mass PT and Wellness unfortunately the secret is out and its no shock that Mike is booked a week out. Instead I went to see Erik at Attain and am happy I did.

I didn't tell Erik that I am a PT because I didn't want to impact his eval at all. I am not saying that I would have, however I know that I am the worst person to try and diagnose and treat myself, so I figured the further out of it I stood, the better. I was right. He was very thorough in his eval and arrived at a combination of things that ultimately contributed to an alignment issue. I now have my homework to do and will be following up with him on Thursday. The best part is that Erik is 99% it is NOT a stress fracture!! (this is why I don't diagnose myself, my clinical judgement is obviously clouded when it pertains to me).

I am back to a happy place where I am still able to swim and bike, and will be able to return to running much sooner than later. Even though it has only been a week, it feels like an eternity! It would have likely felt like much longer had I not had such great friends and club mates checking in with me on a daily basis.

The best part is that there is a chance I will be ready to race at the Sherriff Sprint at the end of month! This is going to be the showdowns of all showdowns as at least 3 past champions will be racing as well numerous contenders.

On a side note, I am currently awaiting two new speedos. One is my best creation to date, and the second one is a bit of a publicity stunt. Either way keep your eyes peeled (or covered) because they will be surfacing in the next couple of weeks.

In the mean time, its back to the foam roller...

Hyannis Half Marathon

Holyoke St Pats 10K
Westfield Half (long run):