Sunday, January 31, 2010

January - Month in Review

I can't believe the first month of the year is behind us already! I am making good progress towards some goals and well, not much progress at all towards others. That is the beauty of these monthly reflections -- they keep me honest and help me redirect as needed in the months to come.

January In Numbers
Bike: 7h 55m - 126.6 Mi
Run: 8h 25m - 55 Mi
Swim: 4h 00m - 8,900 Yd
Other/Strength: 10h 10m
Total Active Time - 30h 30m

Stretching: 3:45

Goal Tracking
1. Reading the Bible cover to cover -- I am a couple of weeks behind schedule. My goal for February is to not fall any more behind schedule and to hopefully catch up a day or two.

2. Photography -- unfortunately, my camera was in the repair shop most of the month after salt water got in the lens after a trip to Sea World. I am looking forward to taking Tyler's 3 year old photos in February.

3. Weekly stretching -- on track, minus this last week

4. Nutrition -- I am still living in a state of dehydration, so if I do nothing else toward my goals in February, my goal is to stay hydrated! I haven't needed a recovery drink yet, but am looking forward to trying it out soon.

5. Strength Training -- great progress here too. I had my first meeting with the personal trainer and the first workout was not ab specific enough for me, although it kicked my arse. I have heard good things about the P90x ab workout, so I may look into that too.

6. Swim Technique -- stay tuned, I was not swimming much in Jan, but am planning a serious come back this month.

7. Fun goals -- I deferred the Ultra, but all other goals are still in place.

Farewell Off Season

Well, it is official. I have logged the last of my off season workouts and it is time to get back on the wagon. My first race is 10 weeks away and my first A race of the season is a mere 12 weeks away. It is time to get serious!

I am both nervous and excited to be entering a new season. I am excited because I love having a goal, but nervous because I know the hours and tired afternoons from early morning workouts that are just around the corner.

I have definitely learned a thing or two about respecting the off season and the importance of down time and I will go into my next off season with a sense of purpose instead of flying by the seat of my pants.

Sunday Reports
Mileage for Week Ending 1/31/2010

Swim: 2500 yards in 1:00
Bike: 12 miles in 0:45
Run: 16 miles in 2:22
Strength Training/Core: 1:30 (high heart rate)
Total: 5:37
Stretching: 0:05

Mileage for Week Ending 1/24/2010
Swim: 2200 yards in 0:50
Bike: 44.6 miles in 2:45
Run: 18 miles in 2:45
Strength Training/Core: 0:50 (high heart rate)
Total: 7:10
Stretching: 0:35

Friday, January 22, 2010

Music is a Time Machine

Music is a time machine for me.

When I hear Alanis Morissette's hit, "Isn't It Ironic," I am 16 years old again, driving around in my 1989 Toyota Camry, braces on my teeth, with not a worry in the world. Ok, lots of worries, none of which were really important!

When I hear ABBA's "Dancing Queen," I am taken back to my wedding reception, spinning around in circles in my wedding dress. I have never had so much fun dancing as I did on my wedding day. Twirling in that dress was amazing.

How is this triathlon related?

I mentioned in my Ironman FL Run Race Report that I heard Katy Perry's "Waking Up In Vegas" with about a mile to go on the run playing over speakers in a cheering section on the course. I couldn't help but start to sing along. It made me smile and gave me chills because I had a burst of adrenaline and I knew that I was so close to achieving my dream.

Fast forward to today's run at lunch. 70 degree, sun shining, makes you happy to be alive weather. A mile or so into my run, "Waking Up in Vegas" came across my iPod speakers and I was transported back to Panama City Beach. Chills went down my spine and I could hear the crowd cheering me on. I smiled for the rest of my run.

I love how music can capture a moment in time that way. What songs rev up your time machine?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Out of Shape

As promised, I am attempting to diversify my workouts during what is left of my "off season" in hopes that I will find time to incorporate some of these other workouts (strength / stability) during the non-peak weeks of the regular season as well.

Monday I took a 50 minute class at my office gym that is dubbed a "conditioning class" -- think lots of walking lunges, squats, core, exercise ball, push-ups, arms, etc. I felt the burn during the class, but overall I was happy with my showing. The only move I really struggled with was the ab move where you come up to a "V" position and pass the exercise ball from your feet to your hands, go down flat, back up again and pass the ball back. That totally kicks my ... core!

I definitely felt like I got a good workout, although I would have been even happier with more core work and less leg work, because legs are my strength (or so I thought) and my abs, well, they could use some work, but I digress ...

I should also note that besides the physical therapy, elliptical during my no-running weeks, one hot yoga class, and the recently added push-ups and stretching, I have done nothing but swim, bike and run since April of 2008.

Ok, so back on topic. I woke up this morning for a 7 mile run to test my Piriformis Syndrome and immediately felt stiff from Monday's class, but I still managed a decent run. I didn't feel any pain specific to my PS, which was good. I listened to Born to Run and was happy to be listening to a portion that described run technique so I was able to play with my stride a bit.

After my run, I took my shower, got dressed for work and drove my boys to school. I wore flip flops because I have found driving in heels aggravates the tendinitis in my left foot. When I got to work I put on my super cute BCBG black peep toe patent leather pumps ... and after taking one step I nearly fell over.

I hobbled and found my stride and as usual, took the door to the parking garage stairs to take the 3 flights down to the ground level and after the first step, I almost fell over again! I literally had to use the hand rail to make it down the stairs. Later in the day, I was crossing my legs at my desk and had to pick up my leg in order to do so. I am still stiff walking, although thankfully walking is much easier in flip flops than in 3 inch heels!

I can't remember the last time I felt this sore ... definitely not after Ironman or any other race in the last 2 years. It just goes to show that you can be in shape in one aspect of your health (endurance) but entirely out of shape in another (everything else!).

The good news is that all of those leg exercises should be strengthening the area around my Piriformis. I have no idea how my run today effected my PS because my legs were so sore from my workout, so I will be anxious to see how it feels after Thursday's run.

Two things are for certain -- one) I am going to feel like a brick tomorrow during my swim (hmmm...maybe I will postpone my swim until Friday??) and two) I better keep this up so I don't feel this sore next time!

10 Things That Make Me Happy

I was tagged, so here are some personal tidbits about what makes me happy...

1. Tickle fights with my boys and getting greeted at the door with hugs and kisses after a long day’s work or a tough workout

Tyler's Tickle Monsters

2. Cuddling on the couch with Douglas (and Indy, our chocolate lab) watching How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory -- if you don't watch these shows, you are missing out!

3. Finishing the “toughest” workout of the week, usually my long brick and crossing the finish line at a race (elation!)

4. A good meal, particularly (in no specific order) pancakes, spaghetti, sandwiches on fresh bread, ok, really any good meal. I love to eat.

5. My weekly catch up calls with Allie (she lives in CA and I only get to see her once a year or so, but it is so nice to decompress with a girlfriend!) and family fun dates with the Browns, Englands and McGowans
6. A good bargain – I love finding *things I need / want* on sale!

7. Listening to a good audio book on a long run – it is a multi-tasker’s dream come true!

8. Capturing great photos of my family – the age of innocence is fleeting and those smiles are so precious!

9. Margaritas with girlfriends – I definitely don’t get to enjoy this one often enough!

10. Blog comments. The encouragement is fantastic, the feedback is helpful and it gives me a sense of community. I am pretty good about leaving comments on people’s blogs who leave comments on mine, wink wink!

Now, I am supposed to tag 10 fellow bloggers - all of these blogs are definitely worth a read, including the blogs of Mark (TriDadofFive) and Kelly (TriMommyLife) who both tagged me!

1. Iron Trish
2. Joel - TriMadness
3. Kristin - The Lazy Marathoner
4. Big Daddy Diesel
5. Jessi Thompson - a super FAST trimommy!
6. Sonja - Go Sonja! - Endurance athlete extraordinare
7. Sally Aston
8. Kathleen
9. Mike Russell
10. Rockstar Tri

Monday, January 18, 2010


As expected, the podiatrist I saw today recommended custom orthotics. I have heard great things about him and his orthotics, as he goes to great lengths to create a well fitting, functional orthotic (thanks, Kathleen!). The way it was described to me is that the orthotic would engage my foot in a way that would lessen the use (and thus impact) to the tendons / muscles that are currently inappropriately overworking and it will further engage the muscles that are currently inappropriately not fully engaged.

I am waiting to hear how much my insurance will cover and in the mean time, how my runs feel this week without orthotics. I am somewhat torn on how to proceed – my feet are a mess and always have been thanks to bunions, so I think the orthotic could be helpful, but there also seems to be a lot of science saying that less is more. I am leaning towards giving them a shot to see if they help. You have to cross one bridge at a time, right? If you wear orthotics, I am definitely interested in hearing about your experiences.

Thank you all for your recommendations last week. I am definitely going to keep asking questions. I did have the PT check my SI joint (again) and he said that I was generally in-line. He also had me do several exercises to see if they caused pain that would be typical of the SI joint and I did not experience any pain, so for now I am still focused on piriformis syndrome. I was happy to hear (and to read) that spending time in flip flops and barefoot is good for strengthening your foot because I live in flip flops 9 months of the year here (except at work, unfortunately) and I am always barefoot at home.

Here is the weekly wrap up – I am really looking forward to running again this week (and listening to Born to Run!)!

Mileage for Week Ending 1/17/2010
Swim: 2000 yards in 1:00
Bike: 50 miles in 3:10
Run: 17 miles in 2:41
Total: 6:51

Stretching / Foam Roller / Push Ups / Core: 1:50

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Born to Run

I am currently listening to Born to Run on audio and I am really enjoying the stories of these ultra runners. Like others, it has reminded me how much I love to run. I think now more than ever, after a forced hiatus from running, I realize how much I enjoy running.

Like the author of Born to Run, I am frustrated by an injury and even more frustrated by the conflicting advice that is currently saturating the running community. Newtons and the Barefoot phenomenon vs more supportive shoes is just one example.

I have not finished the book but my husband and others have, so I know generally how the author feels about stretching, cushioned running shoes, podiatrist, orthotics, etc -- and spoiler alert -- he thinks they are crap.

I am currently running in a light weight fairly neutral shoe. I have been wearing this exact shoe and style for over a year, but in that time, I have gone through 3 pairs and until mid-November I was totally injury free. In fact, I have run for exercise for as long as I can remember and have never had a running injury.

I know a lot of people who swear by stretching and orthotics and others who think they cause more harm than good.

So what gives? Is there a right answer? My guess is that it depends on the person, so I need to figure out what I need. Has something changed in how I run and what is the best way to be entirely injury free again? I am working on getting these questions answered.

After 3 weeks of rest from running and 6 weeks of PT, I have had three runs back. My first run, a 4 miler, went off without a hitch and I had no pain during or after. My PT encouraged me to increase my distance to see how I felt, so on Tuesday I ran 7 miles with no pain during the run, but I felt the Piriformis Syndrome for the rest of the day. It is not extremely painful, but, it is literally, a pain in the butt! It also makes my leg tingle. I had no pain on Wednesday though, so I tried again this morning and I will see how I feel the rest of the day. I had no acute pain during today's run.

I have an appointment on Monday with a new podiatrist that treats a lot of local triathletes and runners. I will be interested in what he has to say. I still have some pain in my left foot in the anterior tibial tendon, so I will ask him about that too.

So, the bottom line for me is that neither of my injuries bothered me while I was not running, but came back, at least to some degree, when I started running again. I know there is a formula to get back to the point where I could run forever without any pain, during or after, and I just need to figure out what it is.

The good news is that the fire pain I felt in my calves on my two runs immediately before I took my 3 week break has not returned. That was the main driver on taking the time off. At the time the PT thought I may have been overcompensating from the Piriformis Syndrome, but I think it likely had more to do with the hills and speed work I did the weekend prior. The PS in my right hip and the tendonitis in my left foot don't hurt (much) while I am running, so I am confident that I can simultaneously work on correcting these issues while keeping my April races on track. A bike focused program is usually beneficial to triathletes, right?

So, for now, I am gathering opinions on the best course forward. My last PT appointment is tomorrow so I will see what they have to say. Then there is the podiatrist appointment, and I am also looking for someone to look at my running form. I would love to hear what you all think.

Do I hang up my running shoes for a while longer? Note: I don't think this is the answer :)

Do I try custom orthotics?

Do I work on my running form?

Do I do nothing and see if I leave it alone - no PT to aggravate it, whether it gets better on its own?

Recommendations on who to visit for a second / third / fourth opinion?

Something else?

I do agree with the author on one thing for certain -- we are born to run and running should be generally pain free. I WILL find a way to get there again!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


You know, the thing about decisions for me is that they can be hard to make, but once they are made I feel so much better. I try not to question the decision, but stick with the plan that was made as a result of the decision.

After some soul searching and a heart to heart with my super supportive hubby, I decided not to run the Rocky Raccoon 50 miler. First, I had to ask myself why this race was so important to me.

I just needed to be honest with myself to realize the reason the race was really important to me was that my training partner and I had discussed doing this together and I did not want to let him down.

Do I want to do an ultra one day? Yes. Do I want to do an ultra less than 1 month from now after coming off an injury and 3 weeks of no running? Ummm, no.

Rocky was never an A race, it was a space filler, something to train for during the off season. So why risk aggravating an injury that could jeapordize my entire tri season? I want to train for an ultra and be able to treat it as an A race.

I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders when I told my buddy that I was not going to run. I volunteered to go out and support him on the course and even volunteer at the race, if he chooses to run it.

With that, there is no looking back. I am finishing up PT, enjoying the rest of my off season (with a new reduced schedule!), and looking at a couple of shorter road races to add some fun in to the schedule in February.

I have two races in April that I am targeting, a new Oly distance race put on by the race directors that do Escape from Alcatraz, called Gateway to the Bay (April 11) and the Lonestar 70.3 (April 24), two weeks later.

My training is going to have to start in earnest in abut two weeks, so I am going to try to have as much fun as I can over the next two weeks - mixing up my workouts and not worrying about mileage.

Oh, and very exciting news ... I was cleared for a test run! I ran 4 miles on Saturday with NO PAIN! I will be s-l-o-w-l-y building my mileage back up over the next month, provided the PT is happy with my progress on Monday.

Mileage for Week Ending 1/10/2010
Swim: 2200 yards in 1:00
Bike: 20 miles in 1:15
Run: 4 miles in 0:37
Elliptical: 2:45
Rowing: 0:15
Total Active Time: 5:52

Stretching / Foam Roller / Push Ups / Core: 1:05

Happy training!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Report

I am starting to have a love / hate relationship with the elliptical machine. In an effort to keep up my "mileage", now that I have been cleared to do everything but run, I have been spending a lot of quality time on the elliptical to simulate running.

I am headed to the PT tomorrow morning for another session and I am hopeful that he sees improvement in my leg ... but the real test will come when I get to go for my first test run, hopefully Saturday.

In the mean time, I will be spending a lot more quality time on the elliptical machine. Fun, fun, fun! I will never complain about a long run again ...

Mileage for Week Ending 1/3/2010(!)
Swim: 2200 yards in 1:00 -- toughest, slowest swim I have had in a long time! Serves me right for skipping the pool for 3 weeks.
Bike: 12 miles in 0:45
Run: 0 miles in 0:00
Elliptical: 5:00
Total Active Time: 6:45

Stretching / Foam Roller / Push Ups / Core: 0:50

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goals for 2010

Happy New Year!

The birth of a new decade brings with it new goals and new challenges.

I try to keep things simple, so I usually have one goal a year and everything I do is in working towards that goal.

My goals for the last several years have been:

2006 - pass the CPA exam
2007 - Tyler was born, nurse for 1 year
2008 - Get back in shape for me, tackle a HIM
2009 - Ironman Florida

Don't get me wrong, there are always other, smaller goals that I may be working on at any given time, but there are only so many hours in a day, so those goals sometimes get squeezed as I work on my main goal for the year (for example, my photography has taken a major backseat to triathlon training) while trying to also be the best mommy, wife, friend, daughter, and worker bee that I can be.

So, what is in store for 2010?

I have a personal, non-triathlon specific goal that will be easy to quantify at the end of the year (e.g. did I do it or not!), and that is ...

To read the Bible from cover to cover. I found a great One Year Bible, which is broken into 365 daily readings (15 minutes or less a day!). This has been on my list for a while, so I am excited to have found a tool to help me achieve this goal.

I also want to spend more time on photography, but I know that until I make it a priority (like take classes, buy lenses), I will live in a state of mediocrity! I am going to make an effort to add more photos to my blogs this year to kill two birds with one stone and I will also look for a photography project each month to keep me focused.

Jan - Get organized!; Feb - Tyler's 3rd Bday Portraits; Mar - Spring Break; Apr - Bluebonnets; May -Mommy&Me (tripod fun); Jun - Father's Day - Daddy Photos; Jul - Andrew's 6th(!) Bday Portraits; Aug - Summer Fun; Sept - Road Trip; Oct - Halloween Portraits; Nov - A Day in Photos; Dec - Night Photography

The endurance training front is trickier for me for 2010. I do have specific goals but I don't have a big, fat hairy goal like I have had the last 2 years. It is almost harder because I am trying to fine tune my training (and results!) so rather than a singular goal, I have a theme I want to focus on in 2010. I am hopeful that if I write down my plan I will be more likely to hold myself accountable each month on the topics below.

Theme: Respect my body.

It has worked hard for me for 2 years and I need to return the favor by giving it what it needs. No more excuses that I don't have time. I need to train smarter not harder, and I am going to do that by:

1. Weekly stretching and foam rollering. Massages as necessary. Tackle minor injuries before they turn into big problems.

Quantifiable goal: 30 mins per week of stretching and/or foam rollering. That is less than 5 minutes per day! I can do that ...

2. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. Every day, pre-race and race day. I did a good job with race day nutrition in 2009, but I could have done a lot more in terms of daily hydration (I live in a constant state of dehydration), recovery nutrition (directly after a long, hard workout or after a race), and of course, my daily diet (hello vegetables, nice to meet you, my name is Anne ...).

Quantifiable Goal: drink at least 64 ounces of water a day (more when needed) and begin using First Endurance Ultragen for recovery after all hard efforts and races. My diet? I need a goal I can achieve, so my goal is to learn to make 2 new healthy, well balanced meals that we can add to our repertoire.

3. Core / stability / strength training sessions 2x per week

Quantifiable Goal: I want abs. No more mommy belly. In January I will work with a personal trainer to develop a program that I can follow 1) at the gym (30-45 minutes) and 2) at home (15 minutes or less). I may not ever have a 6 pack, but I can be fit and strong!

4. Focus on swimming technique

Quantifiable Goal: Get videoed (again!) and work on weak areas. Do more intervals to work on speed. Utilize Tri swim coach DVD. To swim fast you have to swim fast!

5. Fun Goals to Chase

Quantifiable Goals:
-Do a Sprint just for fun and leave it all on the course
-PR HIM (time to beat: 5:52:58)
-Complete Cedar Point Iron Distance Triathlon -- if I can maintain my swim and run and better my bike, I should be able to break 13:00 and then some ...
-Complete an Ultra (may defer this goal depending on recovery of existing injuries)

To keep myself honest, I will check-in on these goals when I do my month in numbers blog posts. Here is to a productive year!