Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving morning we headed to do the annual Naperville Turkey Trot. For some reason I LOVE doing this silly 5k. I always have fun doing it and look forward to it no matter what kind of run shape I am in. It has gotten so big and is pretty crowded, but I love going and seeing old friends and doing a nice run on Thanksgiving morning makes you feel a little better about all the indulging at the dinner table later in the day.

I have done this race in 45 deg and shorts, and 0 degrees bundled up. This year the weather was decent. A little cold but no wind (miracle), and thankfully didn't feel the need to wait around in the gym that was so packed. My running has been coming back to me, little by little. I haven't been running gigantic workouts but but pretty steady. I have really been enjoying the fall with some good runs and not tons of hours of training. I felt great, stronger, not speedy and nice to see a chunk of time come off.

Thanks to the Clay family for sharing Jessica. Jessica Clay is a MSM kids team member who is recovering from an injury and couldn't run. She watched Jack for me so I could run. They were great cheerleaders!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pain Free

In my job as a physical therapist, I spend my day helping others become "pain free". My job is to get them funtioning again after surgery, trauma, or overused due to repetitive strain. The focus often drifts towards the amount of pain they are having, at rest, during normal day to day activities or...during their sport or fitness routine. I am always amazed how people can become frustrated and discouraged that they can have pain and swelling for more than a few days after any of the above. Do they realize that surgery involves cutting tissue? not to mention they use drills, and all kinds of hardware in the operating room. and a trauma has caused damaged body parts. I have learned over the years to avoid asking things like" how is the pain today?" or do you hurt? Pain is subjective. Every one's interpretation and perception of tolerable pain is different. I see it everyday. This perception of pain for some can hinder and hold them back, slow down their progress if they have a low tolerance to pain. For others, with a high tolerance, they progress well, but their are times that high pain tolerance can get in the way. These are the ones who do too much too soon and cause more swelling and irritation which in the end, can hold them back. Having a high pain tolerance is not always a good thing because it can often enable someone to push themselves over the edge.

As athletes we deal with some level of pain during training or racing. Lets face it, some workouts hurt. (Sickly, they are the ones I usually like the most) The training enables to train the body to be more efficient at working at those levels that hurt. I tell my athletes when trying to run a 5k, it should hurt. It hurts if you are running 5 min pace, or 8 min pace, it is relative to where body is with dealing with lactate. Athletes are also goal minded and driven. If an injury starts creeping up, it is easy to brush off in order to keep the training going. I can't stop, I have to get this run in, my race is only 4 weeks away. We get good at dealing with pain. The result of too much of this mindset can without doubt lead to an overuse injury. And wow....those last 4 weeks heading into the race, you know have some nice forced rest.

However, the workouts we do, does cause muscles soreness, and strain to tissues. It is part of adapting to the training. If every time a workout was skipped because of something was sore, then that would lead to a lot of inconsistent workouts and little gain int fitness. It is a fine line to know when to keep going or when to rest. It takes a little common sense and not always a Masters in Physical Therapy to figure it out. If it hurts during the workout and the pain is getting more intense causing limping or altered gait, its probably a good idea to stop. If it hurts just walking around the house putting laundry away, feeding the dog, sitting in the chair.....its probably time to think about backing off. If it doesn't hurt working out and is a little sore when you're done but goes away the next day, you are probably ok. If it hurts for a few weeks and you keep training, and it starts to hurt more and you keep training, its probably a time to stop. You need help! :)

It is easy for me to give this advice to athletes and clients, and I myself have remained pretty much injury free during 18 yrs of racing....until this summer when I was a dummy and lost all common sense. I am happy to say though that for the first time since Aug 2 (Steelhead), I am pretty much pain free from my bout with being a stubborn athlete. I had ignored all the signs going into Steelhead and wound up in a twisted mess that has taken until the past week or so to unwind. The toys above are part of our living room furniture, and I finally feel like I am not walking with 1 high heel on.

So be smart this off season. Get yourself strong. Listen to your coach and do the core strength. Get flexible. (I have been spending a few evenings a week with Rodney Yee, yoga master since the yoga classes seem to only be offered when I am working) and then keep up with it. Most of all use common sense and listen to your body.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bring It!

Yes, its time.

Time to bring it.

Time to step up to the plate and show them what you've got. Time to strut your stuff and show them your big sassy self. Its time to bring out the smoking guns and get all fired up so that steam is coming out of your ears and eyeballs. You'll need it. No more fluff, or pussy footing, no more cruising through when its easy.

Put on the big girl pants, saddle up sister because this is when it counts. If you can do this you can do anything.

No, I'm not talking about an upcoming "A" race (no siree not even close).

I'm not referring to the next big workout on the schedule, or politics, or the Bears game Sunday, or a job interview. No, I'm not referring to the upcoming holiday season, although all of the above may apply.

I'm referring to Chicagoland triathlon training from Nov. to May. Its time. Its here. We were privileged to have a few extra weeks of 70 deg. days. They were spectacular. But, it is so easy to go out and train in those perfect days. The true training comes when you have to dig deep. Dig deep to put on all the layers. It takes time to get all that on to go out to run or bike; it needs factored into the workout! You have to dig deep to head out in the dark, and climb on the trainer once again. Yes, training this time of year makes you tough. Its here, so go find your game face and bring it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Back

This is the weekend when the clocks go back an hour, and its good because we get that extra hour of sleep. But with young kids and a dog in the house, they are still up at the regular time and that extra hour will most likely get put towards folding and putting away laundry. Next year I should plan ahead and book that extra hour getting a massage or some type of spa service. Or, if I were smart I'd use that extra hour to start Christmas shopping, but I always start that in Dec. and do just fine. I won't even go into the discussion of what else comes with the fall back of the clock. Which is the more positive way to say it more darkness, or less daylight. Enough said..

We had Halloween to the max at our house. Hours of trick or treating including the dog with a costume. Jack actually bonked by the end and was found lying in the grass at the neighbors house. The kids were amazing. They actually ran, rather sprinted at their LT from house to house! Eventually, their buckets became so heavy, that they were dragging them. Now we have way too much candy in the house. It will never get eaten by the time all the Christmas candy comes out. I'll end up having to take some into to work to get rid of it.

Recently I have started getting back into training some. After 6 solid weeks off, and doing next to nothing except for maybe a few "jogs"...I returned to working out with a schedule and a purpose. It was a good mental break, physical one too which I really needed. During that down time I actually got motivated, and figured out a few things that I want to accomplish next summer and how to balance it with being mom, physical therapist, coach and iron wife. I feel good about it and I even have a new coach. He is Craig McKenzie PRO triathlete from AUS. I am looking forward to new workouts and some new types of training the way the Aussie's do. I think change is good. Its good to mix it up try new things and keeps things interesting. My schedule has mostly been run focused with a few swims and bikes. Thanks to Keith and the MSM kids team I went from 0 -- to 4000 in 1 swim practice and walked like a gorilla for a day, and thanks to the warm weather haven't had to be on the trainer, something I am trying to avoid until the absolute end. I am all about 60 degree days in November!