Monday, July 1, 2013

State of things at the year's half-way point

I celebrated my half-year point with a 50-miler on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday. I can't believe it was June 30 and I spent 3/4 of the ride wearing arm sleeves in the mid-morning chill. It's been a strange spring and summer.

Garmin had this ride at 5000+ feet of elevation gain and it's always a bit humbling out there. There are times I am positively just slogging and it does not seem all that steep. But the BRP always rewards effort with amazing vistas, backdrops, and of course - descents!

Stats, year-to-date:

Swim = 118,000 yards in water, 79,000 yards on the Vasa Ergometer; 45 hours in water, 31 hours on Ergometer.
Bike = 1440 miles, 82 hours
Run =  556 miles, 75 hours
Strength Train = ~50 hours
Total Training Time = 283 hours (10.9 hours/week)


I started the year off with PRs at the Blacksburg Classic 10-miler (1:12:42) and at the Boston Marathon (3:33:53).  I was definitely on a roll at least those first four months. Then I switched back to triathlons where I have finished third (Smith Mountain Lake), third (Salem Sprint Tri) and fourth (Bath County Sprint Tri).

Unfortunately, I would have to say that while I have been swimming better, my bike and especially my run have been rather lackluster so far this year. My run at Bath County was one of my slowest 5Ks in years and there is a reason behind it.


Since Boston I have been having trouble with my left quad and starting in early June it has been a real impediment to my running. This month I have not been able to run more than 4 miles or so without stopping to give the quad a quick break before continuing. Add in hills or speed work and that is even shorter. I'm not experiencing pain in the acute sense, but more of a building fatigue to the point that it is just "done." It's like a balloon inflating within an enclosed space and when it's full, it's full. After a quick break it resets (deflates) almost back to normal but then each resulting span of running is successively shorter and shorter. It's pretty disheartening for a person who loves the freedom of running. Right now there is nothing free about it as I spend every step and every thought of my run trying to tweak position or outsmart myself to see if I can't find a workaround.

I have no pain in the course of the day, only on the run. It's not even much of an issue on the bike. I'm taking my own advice and stretching, rolling, and strengthening several times per day. I'm consulting with various bodywork folks to see what ART and acupuncture might do. It might even be stemming from a hip or glute issue or some kind of biomechanical inefficiency that has just overstressed that quad.

This is just one of those "body detours" as Coach Eric Neilsen called it. I'll work through it but it may require some race schedule adjustments to be sure I'm in the best shape possible for Nationals and Worlds.

It's all part of the ups and downs of the sport and being an athlete and I'm looking at this as just a puzzle to solve.

Despite the quad issue, I feel good otherwise. I had some bloodwork done a few weeks ago just to see where things stood (it had been two years) and it's always nice to get the report and see everything within range and trending better, especially as compared to my pre-triathlon self.


This is our first summer not doing swim team and I have to say I'm glad to have one less thing on the schedule for the summer. We are still at the pool pretty often and Spencer has done some lap swimming with me. I am trying to find ways to keep the kids moving. I got Spencer his first road bike a few weeks ago and he's been out on it a few times. On Saturday the kids and I headed out on the Huckleberry Trail. They biked to the end and back with an ice-cream stop at the mid-point. I did an out and back run. It was nice to give them some freedom and independence yet we were all out there together.

So that is the 'state of the union'! A little quad problem-solving, keeping up the training, managing as a working mom, and just enjoying the ability to get out in these beautiful southwest Virginia mountains on a regular basis!