Monday, August 31, 2009


People often ask what inspires me to do an Ironman. To me everyone is capable of competing in an Ironman, it is not as difficult as it appears. An ounce of discipline, a pinch of fortune, a teaspoon of insanity, and a whole lot of time all combined makes for an Ironman finish.

What motivates you to get off the couch is different for everyone. For me it is not one thing, it is a culmination of things that I can't fully articulate. It's because I can, I am able bodied and healthy and I love being outdoors. It's because I know people my age and younger who can't because they struggle with and manage debilitating diseases. If you look, motivation and inspiration are everywhere.

As an example, yesterday on my 70 mile ride I saw a guy who had his left leg amputated half way up his thigh. There he was peddling along on one leg--no prosthesis just using his one good leg and he had the broadest smile. Do you have any idea how difficult that is? Get on a trainer and try an hour of one-legged drills....or five minutes worth. It takes serious strength and fortitude. See, motivation and inspiration are everywhere you just have to open up your eyes to it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Still waiting for the miracle

The professional read of my MRI shows lots of swelling around the IT Band and oddly, on the opposite side of my knee, a nearly complete tear of the medial meniscus and chondromalacia. The left side injury has caused me no pain or swelling. It's one of those things where you hear a diagnosis that makes no sense with your experience and you doubt the accuracy of modern science. The good news, I suppose, is that the injury causing me grief--IT Band--will eventually heal. And so I wait, patiently or not so patiently, for the miracle that allows me to return to running.

Meanwhile, I'm tired of being called weak hips. In addition to my Myrtl Girdle hip exercises which I continue to do religiously (except when interrupted by a dog v cat fight) I'm thinking of purchasing a slide board, you know, fake indoor skating. I cannot accept the term "weak" being associated with me, hips or otherwise. If the latest scientific studies are true and hip weakness is the cause of many knee problems I'll be the lab rabbit to affirm or dispute them.

Hoping beyond hope for a little brick run tomorrow. Something longer than a mile.

Monday, August 24, 2009

8 minutes until meltdown

I got up a wee bit early today in the hopes that I could squeeze more then 12 minutes out of my knee. 8 minutes in, hello. Back to the stairmaster.

Tomorrow, I get the results of my MRI. I've looked at the films myself. To me it looks like a knee with some muscles and tendons. To the doctor it better look like a problem he can fix...and fast. I'm over not running. How much sportcenter can a girl watch on the stairmaster. Oh, go Yankees, go Yankees, go Yankees!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Myrtl Girdle and Vibram Check In

For the record, I absolutely love the Vibram 5-fingers. They are like walking in sand all the time, spray an essence of ocean air and I would be convinced I was at the beach. Many websites warn that your calves will hurt running in the Vibram 5 fingers and until Tuesday I was convinced that my sculpted calves were superior to that warning. What changed? Well, there was my 12 minute run but I've run equal time in them before without incident. After my run (ended abruptly by my uncooperative knee) I hit the stairmaster for 30 minutes. Uh, yes, there are many more muscles in your calf then you would think.

As for the Myrtl Girdle, still no relief on the knee but I think I could hurdle if I had to. The flexibility in my hips is quite noticeable. I was convinced my knees would be knocking together constantly if my hips got any tighter. Now that fear has subsided. So as a consumer and person willing to try anything, these two experiments are a success.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yeah, you

I find myself getting angry at runners. They are everywhere. Many are out for a 20 minute run, some longer. Many have horrible form, I really get angry at them because they deserve to be injured. I should be running. I should be able to go out the door for several hours because I want to, this is the "because I can" time of the year only I can't.

I tried to run again today, 9 minutes until the knee melted down. The time between a twinge of pain and excruciating pain is getting shorter even though I have religiously done my Myrtl Girdle Hip exercises and stayed out of my running shoes. I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever run again or if I will only be able to compete in Aqua Velo races (swim and bike only).

Yes, there are millions of people with greater woes but you have to appreciate that running is my drug of choice and I am in involuntary detox.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shoo Fly

Crisis. We were shoo'd from our favorite riding location yesterday. Quantico offers endless miles of rolling hills and roads uncluttered with traffic. Of course, you have to be able to withstand small arms fire in the background and the occasional camouflaged Marine loaded to bear that pops out of the forest.

Saturday, KR and I rode some 50 miles at Quantico and even discovered some uncharted territory that runs along the Potomac River. It was amazing, the kind of ride that makes you look forward to the next weekend. Yesterday we brought some friends up to Quantico after a nearby lake swim for a very short, flat ride, or so we thought. We were turned around at the gate. The heavily armed MP insisted that this had always been the policy--no civilians on base. Interesting, I've been riding there for years. Of course, as he is stating the "long standing" rule, a cyclist rides by. "When was the last time you rode up here, Maam" he said, hinting that back before the depression civilian riding was allowed. "Yesterday" I stated emphatically. Stutter, stutter. "Well, some people have not been enforcing the rule", he said. Seeing an opening, I tried another gate--hoping to find someone who was not enforcing the rule. Same luck there.

Hopefully this gets resolved and things return to normalcy because riding in our traffic will mean I will get hit by a car...again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not the same

Did hill repeats today--walking. Sure, the heart rate got up a tiny bit and maybe there was a bead of sweat but definitely no endorphins. Myrtl Hurdle routine, you better get me back to my run.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Plan Z

Out of desperation I've moved on to plan z in the unending quest to run again. I read an article about a scientific study that linked IT Band issues to weak hip muscles. I acknowledge that for every scientific study proving a relationship there is one that disproves it, that said, I know my hip muscles are weak so I see no harm in my new approach.

Six days a week for the next two weeks I'm going to focus on the Myrtle Hip Girdle routine. I'll admit part of the attraction is being able to say, "Today I did Myrtle Hip Girdle". I will continue to bike and swim but I will not run...or I'll try not to. I will do long fast walks or if I can find a way to avoid the boredom perhaps I'll go to the gym and get on the stairmaster or elliptical machine. I will use my Vibram five fingers because they will help stretch out my calves and strengthen my toes and ankles for stability. That's the plan. I hope to position myself to at least be able to complete the Nation's Tri on 9/13. While I know there is a DNF in everyone's life, I don't want mine to be because I cannot run.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Jonesing for the next big thing

Here I am, 11 days post Ironman, still eating like I'm training for Ironman and more importantly wallowing in melancholy. I know the diagnosis: I'm jonesing for the next big thing. If I could sign up for a marathon, or a half-Ironman or something that requires substantive training all would be right with the world. Alas, with my knee kaboshing any ability to run, my plans to race a marathon in October in quest of a qualifying time for Boston are hopelessly lost. Woe is me.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Theory

As I was rifling through my drawer to find my cho-pat knee support the other day--a last ditch effort in addition to the IT Band strap to save my ability to run--I was thinking when I had last used it. Last Thanksgiving I ran a 5 mile turkey trot and subsequent to the race I developed knee pain. In retrospect, I'm thinking this was an IT problem as well but I can't remember which leg it was. For the next 5 months, I ran using the cho-pat because it seemed to hold the tendon from snapping across my bone. Yes, it sounds all too familiar.

What I'm coming to realize is that I have more running injuries then I would like to admit. I came across an article recently on barefoot running. The article lead me to a website and soon I had spiraled out on to list servs where converts confessed how barefoot running has eliminated all of their running injuries. You might think that I would be an easy sell to any snake oil salesperson promising a cure to all that stands in the way of my current problems and running. True, but you do have to demonstrate the benefits scientifically before I'm willing to buy in. I think the barefoot running idea has sound scientific merit. Maybe, just maybe, the expensive running shoes and custom orthotics are the root of all evil. Think about it, I'm not a heal striker and the build of the shoe and assistance of the orthotic only come in to play when you strike your heal on the ground.

I'm in. I can't quite jump in barefoot if you will for three primary reasons: 1. I live in a city and we all know there are things on the ground you don't want to make skin contact with; 2. the winters can be a little cold and the gym probably would not allow barefoot running on the dreadmill; and 3. I fancy the fact that after all of these years of running I have no calluses and baby soft skin on my feet. Luckily, there are some options and one that I'm jumping on board with. Never let it be said that I'm afraid to wear ugly shoes. Enter vibram five fingers the close to nothing barefoot option. Thanks Mom for my shoes as a kid which we all know I was incessantly mocked for. My youth has given me the steely chutzpah to sport my own vibram five fingers.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

What to do

I went out for an hour run today or 6 miles, whichever came first. Within 10 minutes the knee starts up, by 15 the pain was so excruciating I could not continue. I walked 7 miles completely frustrated. At this point, I see no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to run anytime soon.

I'm getting desperate for endorphins. Sure I can swim but there is no buzz from that. I swam yesterday in a brand new pool which was exciting but it only made me winded, and easily winded at that. I can't bike for probably another week. I'm stuck with walking and swimming--really, the only less attractive option is the couch.

I'm going to continue to believe in a miracle. I want to anchor the Caz Tri and make a respectable contribution to our team effort. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....