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Friday, December 29, 2006

Bruised knuckle

I think I have had a perpetual bruised knuckle on my right hand for weeks if not months. Every time it starts to feel better, I bash it into the lane lines again on my next swim. Maybe I should start "sighting" in the pool. : )

It is a small price to pay though and I'm just happy that I swam the 3500 yards today with no left arm pain. Woo hoo!

Hopefully, my 40-minute treadmill run later this afternoon will be without pain too.

If I don't get to post again before the Jan 1, let me say now to have a safe and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rowing team dinner picture

Here is a picture of a subset of my rowing team from our Christmas dinner. Such great gals!

Truly spoiled

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I certainly did.

Matt's sister and her boyfriend came up from North Carolina and we had a good time hanging out Saturday and Sunday. Maggie hooked Matt and me up with a ton of individual Hammer gels. She made sure to get only the flavors that we liked. She also got us running socks. The special treat was a mug for each of us. Maggie throws pottery and she is slowly turning our dining set into something more fun with way more quality. My mug says "Jen's Java". I don't drink much coffee, but I'm thinking of drinking more just to get to use the mug.

Matt spoiled me terribly on Christmas morning. When I came downstairs at 7 AM, he had the fire going. He patiently waited for me to eat breakfast and then excitedly asked "Can we do presents now?" So, we did the exchange. He got me leg warmers, warm bike socks, mountable GU flasks for each bike, an "In Training for 2007 Ironman Lake Placid" technical t-shirt and drum roll A GARMIN FORERUNNER 305 WITH CADENCE ACCESSORY. Wow, I never expected that! I've been debating about whether to get one for over a year now, but the expense has kept me from purchasing it. Now, I will know how fast and how far I'm going. Plus, you can record routes and download them to the Computrainer. It has many more features, but I'll have to learn them along the way. Jodi should be expecting lots of questions.

After the present gluttony, we headed out for our annual Jingle Bell Jog (which ironically has no jingle bells). I was worried about slowing him down terribly, but he stuck with me for the first 1.6 mile loop until I encouraged him to continue on at his own pace. At the end of the second 1.6 mile loop, I was tempted to call it a day, because my right hamstring was so tight. The song "One More Time" came on, my spirits lifted and my hamstring loosened enough to complete the 4.25 mile run. Fortunately, the IT band was only slightly irritated and I felt fine after the run. I'm calling it a "Christmas miracle".

That night, we went to Canton to visit my mom,her friend, my brother and Grandpa for Christmas dinner. My mother has been notorious for buying too many gifts, like we were still 12 and not in our 30s. So, this year, Dave and I convinced her to limit the gifts to 1-2 each. Crazily enough, she complied. Of course, she bought expensive gifts, but it is a start. She got me a digital camera, so I'll be able to post pictures more often here. She got Matt a Tanita Body Composition Scale. Now, we'll be able to monitor our body fat percent, water percentage, etc. as well as our weight. Pretty cool!

All in all, it was a great Christmas again! I'm so lucky to have my family and friends.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Longest swim yet

Last night, I swam my longest swim yet (not by much, but still a new record). I went 3600 yards. Yes, I know for the swimmers out there that isn't a lot of distance, but for a girl who just learned how to swim in 2002, it is HUGE!

And, I did this swim in my gym's 20-yard pool, which equates to 90 laps (180 lengths). I remember when I used to think 5 laps in a 20-yard pool was both long and difficult! So, yes, I am proud of myself.

And, I did this swim alone in the evening. In the old days, I would have needed a buddy to get me into a pool in the evening (especially on a cold night), but Iron Jen can't really afford to recruit buddies for every workout. Again, proud!

I'm finding that chunking the long workouts into smaller manageable bites is working exceedingly well. On the long, straight swims, I don't think Ok, let's go for 60+ laps. Instead I think Just make it through 12 laps. It is amazing how well my brain handles that and before I know it, I am finished.

This morning, I tried that out on the bike trainer. Angela had assigned "out of the seat, climbing" intervals and they passed the time well, but after they were finished, I had to stay aero for 35 minutes. So, I kept changing gears and told myself to get through the next 3:20 instead. Again, before I knew it, I was finished.

I think this will serve me well not only on the boring, long indoor sessions, but also on Ironman day. Of course, I've never done an Ironman, but Matt says that it is all about patience and "living in the moment". TriSara just waxed poetic on that subject the other day and she is also an IM finisher. So, instead of thinking I have to get through the next 2.4 miles of swimming, I'll think get to the next buoy and instead of thinking about biking 112 or running 26.2, it will be get to the next aid station. I think I can handle that. Game on!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Back on the horse (so to speak)

I ran today for the first time in almost 3 weeks. The PT cleared me to give it a try. It was no long run, but I did get to run for 30 minutes. I ran on the treadmill, because I wanted the option to stop without being stuck out somewhere. It was okay. I felt a twinge of irritation every now and then, but for the most part, I felt fine. My HR was elevated, probably from the lack of running. I didn't go fast. I only made it 2.8 miles in that 30 minutes, but it was better than not running.

I go back to the PT on Friday afternoon. Hopefully, everything will be still in place and he'll clear me for more running. Christmas morning is our traditional annual Collister Jingle Bell Jog, where Matt and I run together. We don't typically run together, because he is way faster than me, but holidays are an exception. And, this year, his sister is going to join us. She is training for the Cleveland marathon in May and Matt and I are so proud of her! Last year was her first half-marathon and now she's moving up to the marathon. Good on her!

So, hopefully running is back on again. Swimming has been tough lately, because I've had pain running down my left shoulder through my bicep. It isn't bad enough to not swim, but it makes me nervous that it is a sign of things to come. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and staying positive that this is just a glitch from the additional volume and speed I've been adding.

Speaking of volume, I'm really happy with myself with the longer swims I've been doing. Two years ago, 2000 yards seemed terribly far. Now, 2500 yards is an easy day for me. I never thought I'd get to that point. I suppose in a few months, 3500 yards will seem like an easy day too. It is all about perspective.

In summary, game back on (I hope)! Wish me luck!

Friday, December 15, 2006

What was I thinking?!

Repeat after self, "Chocolate muffin and chocolate chip cookie are not appropriate post-workout food". I typically have a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter on it after my swim workouts. However, I decided I needed the bagel I had for a lunch item instead of post-workout snack.

The building has a cafeteria. Sure, there were bagels and fruit, but the chocolate muffin screamed Eat me, you've been a good girl and haven't eaten one of me in months and months. Then it said You've swum 3 days in a row, biked last night, deserve this. So, Willpower 0, Muffin 1.

Then, I finish the muffin and am still hungry. Do I reach for a piece of fruit? Willpower screamed (in slow motion), Nooooo Jen, don't go for the large chocolate chip cookie leftover from yesterday's lunch. Willpower 0, Cookie 1.

I'm going to brush my teeth now and try to step away from the sweets for the rest of the day. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ninja Warrior

Has anyone seen the show NinjaWarrior on G4 yet? I'm such a geek. I love it! Basically, it is a crazy obstacle course in Japan that the contestants have to navigate in a short amount of time. You have to be strong and agile. I'd love to try it, but I know I'd never make the time limit. Girls do compete in Stage One, but none have ever made it to Stage Two.

Paul Hamm, the U.S. Olympic gold medal gymnast competed in the one I saw today. He made it past Stage One, but failed in Stage Two. That is one strong, agile dude and he bombed out. I think their training must be similar to Ironman, because they train for months and months. Some build obstacle courses in their backyards. They have focus and determination, like we do. Come "race day" though, their dreams could be shattered in less than 2 minutes. At least when I do months of training, I will have a good shot to actually accomplish my goal.

Anyway, I watched two episodes that I saved to DVR this weekend during my 90-minute trainer ride this morning. Definitely a good way to keep my mind off of my crotch pain. During the commercials, I listened to my Ipod while riding aero. Something about that position on my tri bike is so comfortable on the road and so extremely uncomfortable on the trainer. I've tried applying Chamois But'R, wearing three pairs of shorts, boosting up the front block, etc. with no luck. I may have to go back to the road bike for the rest of the winter season or at least alternate to give my privates a break. Okay, TMI, right? But, it is making me hate my bicycle. I love my bicycle, so this is not an ideal situation. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Falling apart

I know it isn't true, but I do feel like I'm falling apart. Maybe, it is just typical stuff for a 35-year-old, but I doubt it.

My IT band hasn't been getting any better, so I went to a physical therapist yesterday. Dr. Ockler came highly recommended by my coach and by the Snicker's girl. He told me that the reason my ART isn't working is because the doc is treating the symptoms and not the cause. My right leg is having issues, because my left leg is totally screwed up. My pelvis is so off that one leg is longer than the other. The shorter leg has to reach farther to the ground, which is irritating my IT band.

Doc Ockler thinks he can get me back in shape, but I have to avoid running for the next two weeks. I'm allowed to swim, bike (spin only, no gear mashing) and elliptical, but no running, stretching or weight lifting. Oh, and no missionary position sex. Standing and kneeling are the only two options for now. I have to admit to that conversation being a little weird. It started with "you have a depressed pelvis". I giggled. "Does it need Prozac?", I asked. He laughed.

Anyway, he gave me two exercise to do 30 times a day for the next two weeks. I then go back on December 19. He would have liked to have seen me sooner, but he's heading out to Colorado for a vacation next week. Hope I can hold it together until then.

So, I had a 2.5 hour trainer ride (supposed to do the Lake Placid course on the CT) followed by a 30-minute run scheduled this morning. Instead, I set up the Fluid II in front of the TV, turned on the movie "Mean Girls" that I had DVR'd last night and set to spinning. I thought I'd try for at least 2 hours, but it just wasn't happening. After 90 minutes, I called it quits.

Now, you may say "Hey, you have time to work on your swim?" Well, I'm not so sure about that either. Yesterday, I had 3000 yards planned at CSU. About halfway through, a painful twinge ran through my left bicep during a 50-yard lap of backstroke. I thought, "No more backstroke for me today", which worked fine until around 2650 yards when my bicep started twanging during the front crawl. D'oh! I finished up at 2700 yards and called it a day. Hope it was just a random twinge and not a premonition of what is to come.

Okay, enough griping from me. I'm sure I'll look back at this post in a few months and barely remember not being able to run, having pain on the bike and twanging during the swim. Of course, I know I'll be tired and in pain from the Ironman training, but I can handle that. Injuries are much tougher for me than just plain emotional and physical exhaustion from hard training.

Wish me luck. I promise to continue to appreciate how good I really have it and not wallow in self pity!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fun Sunday!

Well, okay, it wasn't all fun, but most of it was.

My run was the non-fun part. I drove down to the park, so I could do the loops and never be farther than a mile from my car just in case... I ran into my husband after having gone about 6.25 miles and he could see the pain on my face. He told me that I'd run enough, so I went home. My coach agreed that it was the right thing to do. This IT band pain is so frustrating! I just have to be patient, right?

On to the fun part. I had 9 of my triathlete gal pals over for a few hours yesterday afternoon, while Matt went to the Browns game. Everyone brought a tasty dish and we had the perfect variety of food. I made a vegetarian lasagna and pumpkin bars, which were both well received.

We stood or sat around and chatted for hours about everything, not just triathlon. It was great to socialize with the ladies I normally only see in a sweaty state! We'll be spending many more hours together in the coming months, so it was nice to let our hair down.

Here are two pictures I took from TriSara's blog. Someday soon I will have a digital camera too! Watch out! : )

My husband came home about 10 minutes after everyone left. The Browns actually won against the Chiefs (a team vying for a wild card spot) in overtime. Oh happy day!!!