Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Build up & Lock Down

Many athletes right now are starting their “build” as some like to call it for their first big race of the season. For many those first races aren’t too far off, so the training is ramping up, the motivation is off the charts, early spring camps with much more volume than normal are on the calendar, intensity, speed, focus, determination are all ramping up. No workout is skipped or deviated from while every interval and set is completed to perfection. Race day nutrition plans are being planned and executed during key workouts. The graphs and TSS scores are all indicating kick a$# performances and pointing towards a race of a lifetime. Athletes are walking around in a state of fatigue but deep down smiling and happy because they know they have been digging deep into the well to become fitter and faster.

can't beat riding outside in Feb

With all that hard work and determination comes the build up. Its happening and you don’t even realize it. It’s happening with every pull through the water, pedal stroke and foot strike on the run. Often you can’t feel it happening and can keep plowing through the weeks of training unconditionally, collapsing at the end of the day in bed or on the couch forgetting an important piece of the puzzle. Its forgotten until all of a sudden one day... 3 miles into the key long run your knee locks up causing you to stop in your tracks and have to turn around and walk it in or call for a ride home and then wind up on my schedule at work(or someone like me) swearing “I don’t understand it came from no where. My knee was fine” "I've never been hurt before".

seeing me at work is never good unless you are just bringing coffee or Grahms' chocolate

Muscles, tendons, fascia and connective tissue are shortening, becoming tighter and restricted from repetition and the by-products of exercise eventually causing lock down on the IT band, plantar fascia, or hip flexor/psoas, or posterior shoulder.

don't make the ITB mad

Once pain is detected, "lock down" has already happened and then a tendon, joint or muscle becomes unhappy and inflamed. Now rest, therapy and ice are in your future instead of the starting line.

Maybe I'm over exaggerating just a little (maybe not..I've seen it all and you'd be suprised!) to get my point accross. Even though it’s not fun and doesn’t seem to be what will make you faster on the race course, adding stretching, and foam rolling to the weekly routine will prevent build up and lock down and eventually shut down from working out.

there's a little training going on in our house

Stretching too

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quick trip/Quick post

This week I was supposed to be in Death Valley coaching athletes and getting a little bit of my own training in. However, I found out a week ago that my Dad has MS. It comes as a shock, for sure. My Dad has been the one person who has always, no matter what encouraged me to dream big and chase it. "No dream is to big!" he said to me numerous times. When my races tanked, he is the one who could set me straight again. I chose to take some of the already scheduled time off and make a quick trip home to Portland to take my own little assesment of what is going on, see what was up and make sure steps were being taken to manage his symptoms.

While there, I was able to get a few hilly running and riding in. I always love training in the foothills of Mt. Hood.
I climbed over the hill and rode along the river farther than I have, deeper into national forest.

I was frozen, dressed more for 60 deg vs. a damp 45, but loving every moment. I am still amazed I used to live in such a place and took it for granted, coming back makes me appreciate it so much more. I didn't get nearly the training in that I would have if I'd gone to DV, but I cheered myself up by saying its early Feb, and I'll be less trashed come Sept. and at least I wasn't back in the snowy 10 deg. temps that Chicago had.

I learned a lot about my Dad's symptoms and how he can manage them. One way is diet. He has been following a strict Paleo style diet (actually called MS recovery diet) and has felt better with diminished symptoms at times. I have to admit to having a little anxiety in the chance that there is some genetic component to this. After doing some research and reading I have decided to try the Paleo diet for athletes. I am attempting this for my overall long term health more than for athletic performance. So if I get the added bonus of racing faster then hot damn. I luckily have had a happy stomach in at least 95% of my races, don't have a sweet tooth and for the most part happy with my body when it comes to race nutrition. I love my bagel with PB, and Spaghetti for dinner. I am busy. Fitting in workouts can be challenging, so trust me adding "Top Chef" to my already extensive resume by adding chopping and cooking to the list, isn't something I'm dying to do. I don't have time to shop organic, chop, cut and eat whole but, when overall long term health is concerned I'm game to try at least to see if the effort is worth it.

At least I like shopping at Trader Joes.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I sometimes watch UFC fights with AZ and have gotten to where I can do so without covering my eyes the whole time. I’ve watched enough now that I can even name a few of the fighters and have even developed a few favorites. Favorite fighters for me are:

#1 how fit or hot they look, of course
#2 if they are a good sport,
#3 where they live (i cheered for a guy, just because he was from Oregon)

If you uncover your eyes enough you can see they these guys are very unique, but amazing athletes. I bet most of them have better hamstring flexibility than I do. Each fighter gets their own walk down song, the song that must pump them up enough to jump into a ring they could potentially be killed, or hurt very badly. One guys' song is “Face the Pain”, I forget which fighter and I forgot who sings it but it is a a loud, naughty song that I have on my ipod and save it for when it really starts to burn, hurt or get really ugly. Now,... I am a physical therapist and work with people every day on facing their injury and pain, which is a different kind of pain that you shouldn't ignore.

I love the phrase ” face the pain”. When it starts to hurt, burn or get ugly in hard workout, interval set, race what will you do? Face it head on and stare it in the eyes? (um these fighters are great at giving frightening stare downs), or will you crumble, fade and walk away from it. Good places to practice facing the pain are in workouts. Face it in those uncomfortable sets, least favorite workouts, or least favorite conditions. The more times you face it, the better you get at dealing with, and taking on whatever is thrown at you. For me, facing a solo swim when I am tired, cold and without a real workout is a a painful experience, but I have been staring down the eyes of it more often and getting better at putting up the fight. Facing the Pain doesn't always have to be pushing through a hard set or even be related to working out It can also be facing head on whatever you least like doing. I once read in Apolo Ono’s biography No Regrets , that he used to put bowls of his favorite candy out in his house when he was trying to drop weight, just to “face” the temptation and walk away. Ouch!

Training hasn't been too unpleasant to face. The weather has been phenomenal for Feb and I have been outside and happy! Runs have required sunglasses and not as many layers, and my bike hasn’t really been stuck on the trainer. I was faster on the track last week and almost felt like I had arms in the water a couple times. My awesome Coach Scott Iott has been pretty nice to me so far, but with some time off work and a trip home to Oregon I see some real work ahead of me! Time to Face it!