Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I've been fairly lucky in the injury department.  Early on when I first started running I ended up with some periostitis (inflammation of the periosteum (the lining of the bone)).  Because I didn't want to back off I ended up having to take 5 weeks off running.  That turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me because I went to my first Spin class and my first yoga class and went with Flipper to the pool and started on the journey of trying to learn to swim.  ((Hard to believe I literally couldn't swim 25 yards back then!))

A full year later I became a "real trail runner" and skinned up my knee which kept me out of the pool for a few weeks. (How on earth did I manage the pattern of damage I got??)

Then in June of last year my knee started acting up a bit which ended up taking me out of training for several weeks.

Well...back in September I started noticing my left shoulder would bother me after hard swims.  It wasn't horrible and it always resolved by the time another hard swim would roll around.   Then I added some things to my workout yoga and TRX.  Here's the thing...I didn't tell my coach, "hey I want to add these things in, do they fit?"  I just added them.  I know better, but I wasn't thinking from a coaching perspective.  I was thinking from a "I want to do these fun workouts" perspective.

When I started noticing it wasn't getting better from one workout to the next, I went to see my favorite sports chiropractor, Dr. Olson at P3 Chiropractic and Sports Care.  After a couple of visits and no workouts it actually was feeling worse so broke down and went to Sports Med.  The dr there said it was a raging case of tendonitis.  He said NO running or swimming or anything else that would require use of my shoulder and he gave me a prescription for steroids with instructions to get some PT after 10 days and return to see him in four weeks.

Well....after 10 days it was still hurting.  I moved up my appointment and had an injection on Friday....and it's still not better.  In fact, I'm writing this as I wait for my MRI.

I've not been able to do any kind of workout except spinning since early December.   That may not seem like a long time, but you have to remember, I'm used to working out almost every day.  While I have been able to spin, and that is a great workout, I'm certainly not getting my fix!!

What's interesting about it is my attitude about it.  Back in the spring of 2010 when the doctor told me I needed to take a couple of weeks off, I thought I was going to die.  I had just started running.  I had just embraced the idea that I could run and was being told I needed to back off??!!  Well...I didn't do it.  Then when he said I would need to take even more time off, I found other things I could do instead.  When I skinned my knee I was still able to run and ride my bike so I didn't feel like I was injured.  When I hurt my knee it continually felt like it was getting better so it always seemed like I was moving forward.

This time has been different.  It seems like it's only gone from bad to worse.  Even after the injection that was supposed to provide some relief, I haven't had a day without some kind of pain.  And yet, I have not felt any sense of despair.  I actually miss swimming--I didn't think I'd ever say that!!  I really miss running.  Maybe it's because I've still been able to bike ((although I haven't been able to get out on the road because the only time the weather wasn't bad my shoulder was at it's worst)).  I honestly think it's because my thinking has shifted.

I'm not an athlete because of what I do.  I simply AM an athlete.  Just because I'm not being able to work out in the way I want to right now, that doesn't change who I am.  I'm not saying it's not hard to not do the thing I love.  Because it is.  And, I'm not saying I'm not scared to death about what might be wrong.  Because I am.  But I know that no matter what I am told Friday when I get the results of the MRI (Lord, please let there BE results) I know I will persevere and I will work through this adversity and be back on track as soon as I can be to train for my Ironman in September.

This injury may have knocked me down, but it has not knocked me out.

Thanks for stopping in...I'll let you know what I find out. 

Boy howdy...I just realized how it was that Rocky could have kept getting up!!!  :D

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Maybe I'm Part Vampire!

Back in September of 2010 I wrote about how I was coming to believe (against my will) that garlic really was causing pain/imflammation in my body.  At the time, I had already had a blood test (an ELISA test) which showed garlic to be one of several foods that cause an immune reaction in my body.  I didn't really want to buy it.  It's interesting, the idea that food was the root of the pain I had been feeling gave me power over it, but I didn't honestly want that power.  Actually, the more honest thing would be to put that in present tense, I don't want that power.  That power means I have to change doing something I really like, in order to have something I really want. I am over two years later.  I really do avoid those foods on the list...until I don't.  Thanksgiving and Christmas this year ended up being a free for all for me diet-wise.  I went nuts and actively sought out all the foods I "can't" eat.  I did this knowingly and prepared for the revolt my body would go into.  The day after Christmas I ratcheted down and believed I would be back to normal (diet wise...and "normal" for me) by New Year's.  (It usually takes a good week of clean eating to get back to feeling good again.)

To my shock, I woke up on the 1st swollen up like a puffer fish.  My body felt like it did after a food "binge" ((keep in mind, I'm not talking volume, I'm talking kinds of foods that cause me to have certain reactions in my body))...but I thought I had been eating "cleanly" for a week.  That should have been plenty of time to rid my body of the ill effects.  ((Imagine waking up a full week after a drunken weekend party* hungover worse than you were the very next day.  *Okay...maybe not everyone has done that, but I trust you get the picture!))

My first thought was I had been wrong the last couple of wasn't specific food after all.  Maybe I'm getting arthritis.  Maybe I have cancer.  (Yes, my mind generally does make that leap, and it usually is that quick...)  I mentally reviewed all I had eaten the night was all "good".  Chicken with a spice blend of rosemary/basil/sea salt, roasted sweet potatoes with the same spice blend; tofu smoothie with almond milk, spinach and banana....normal stuff. 

Okay...combine that feeling with the fact I've been suffering for a while now (3-4 weeks I think) with shoulder tendonits....and the fact it seemed to be getting worse (even on Steroids).   I haven't been able to swim or run or do anything other than ride a bike...and even that has getting harder.  New Year's Day, not only was my shoulder was KILLING ME, it seemed that every joint in my body was joining in the "fun"....namely my knees.  I'm falling apart.  I have an IRONMAN in NINE MONTHS and I'm freaking falling apart.  If it wasn't food (how could it be, I'd been eating well...and even taking a prescription for steroids for my shoulder...if it were inflammation from food, the combination of removing the food and taking the meds should have taken care of the problem).  

Maybe I really am a big ole sissy?? 

Well...night before last I went to put some chicken on the grill and reached for my new favorite spice blend (Rosemary/Basil/Sea Salt)...and something hit me.  Wait, did that label say "blend"?  I read that label, right?  I read it before I bought it...I wouldn't buy it without reading to make sure there was no garlic in there...would I??  

Well...apparently I would...right the third ingredient--GARLIC.  I don't know why I didn't see it.  I don't know what I was thinking--it's a spice BLEND...pretty much every BLEND has garlic in it.  I've used that darn spice BLEND almost every day for three weeks!!!!

In the last two and a half years, I have come to understand (but not like) that different foods really do have various effects on my body (dairy causes respiratory issues--sinus stuff, makes it harder to take deep breaths, coughing; wheat seams to cause me to retain water and bloat; and garlic especially causes inflammation in my body).  You would think that connection would be enough for me to cut all those foods out for good.  But my taste buds still WANT them!!  Not only that, it's HARD--REALLY HARD-- to not eat all those foods all the time.  You trying going to a restaurant and find something that doesn't contain ANY of the following:  eggs, dairy, beef, garlic, dill, peanut, coconut, avocado, or wheat/gluten (other than plain salad, hold the croutons, any nuts, cheese, anything breaded or that has been grilled in butter or pre-seasoned, and the dressing since most dressings contain egg, dairy or garlic).  Combine that with the fact I don't WANT to believe it's true and I wind up choosing to have "just a little" of the "bad" food.  Even when I make the conscious choice to eat "cleanly", I sometimes forget to read a label and wind up sabotaging my efforts.

It's not like I'm being faced with eating veggies or candy.  It's not like I'm choosing whether or not to put drugs into my body.  These aren't overtly, inherently BAD foods.  In fact, garlic is a natural ANTI-inflammatory food!!  ....maybe I'm part vampire? 

Well...I'm SO glad I found what I think is the's been 2 full days since the last time I used the spice.  The swelling is going down (quickly), my knees feel better and my shoulder isn't as bad today as it was the 1st. be clear, garlic wasn't the CAUSE of the pain in my shoulder, it merely amplified an issue.  I overused my shoulder so when the inflammation hit my whole body, it was like pumping air into a tire with a weak spot (I did that once...).  The air will fill the tire, but will make that weak spot POP..if you over-fill the tire, the weak spot will blow out.  The air didn't CAUSE the weakness to be there in the first place, but it was the spotlight.  So...once the inflammation goes down I have to work on getting that shoulder stronger.  ...but, one step at a time.  First, no more garlic!!  :D

Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DC Rainmaker Explains How to Do Your First Tri

If you haven't discovered DC Rainmaker, you must either not be in the fitness world, or you have been living under a rock!  He wrote a post earlier today about doing your first triathlon, and I have to say...I think it's the best article of this kind I've seen by a non-coach.  Quite frankly, it's better than a lot of the ones I've seen written by (so-called) professionals.  It helps that he's an excellent writer, but the information he included is spot on.   I can't think of anything I would add and certainly can't see anything I would take away.   So...go read the article HERE.  Even if you've been doing tris for years, it's still worth the read!  :D

What's in Store for 2013?

Do you see how clear that water is??!!
Boy oh boy am I excited about 2013!  I think the biggest thing I should mention is IRONMAN LAKE TAHOE is September 22nd.  Nine months...that's how long it takes to bring a baby to full term.  It will be here before I know it.

But I have quite a bit planned before then as well.

The beginning of January will be focused on dealing with a (hopefully) little shoulder "issue".  I don't even want to spend time talking about it other than to say it is the result of not listening to my body.  I've learned how to speak "leg" language, but I obviously needed a little practice on "shoulder".  Hopefully this thing will be resolved in the next week because I'm actually very ready to get back in the water!  The 26th I'll be headed to Nashville to complete another class, the Metabolic Efficiency Training Certification.  I'm especially looking forward to this class because I believe wholeheartedly in the principles being taught and I'm anxious to learn all I can.

In February three of my athletes will be participating in the Mardi Gras Half Marathon.  I'm really hoping I'll be able to go down there to cheer them on.  That's one of my favorite races in one of my favorite towns, what could be better??

I'm not looking at this...
March will be filled with plans for a training group I'm helping to lead which will start in April and go through June.  Sandwiched in there is the IMLT training camp scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.  (Ah man, I just realized that means I won't be able to do the Cotton Row 10K for the first time since I started running.  That's a bummer until I stop to think about where I'll be and what I'll be doing!)

July, August and the beginning of September will be a mixture of working with athletes to help them achieve new records and distances as well as working my own training for my first case you didn't catch it, I'll be competing in my FIRST IRONMAN in SEPTEMBER!!  I'll also be headed back to Hood to Coast with the Dixie Daredevils in August.  But just one month later I'll be in LAKE TAHOE working my way up to 7200' of elevation during my FIRST IRONMAN!!!

Yes...I'm pretty darn excited about 2013.  I have several athletes who will also be tackling their personal longest distance races and/or who have goals for personal records which I will help them to achieve.    I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing year on so many levels.  

Let me know what you have planned...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Job as a Tailor

How I love my job!  Training athletes has to be the best job in the world!!  Thinking about what each individual needs in order to reach his/her specific personal goals and designing a plan for that one person with his/her strengths and limiters in mind...what could be better than that??  Getting to know how an athlete ticks, what can make them give their all, what motivates them when they think they have nothing left to give, seeing someone achieve a goal they never even thought was's so rewarding to me.

I had someone ask me the other day what exactly it is that I do.  Well...first of all I spend a lot of time researching/reading/learning as much as I can about how the body and mind work.  I worked hard this past year to earn some designations/certifications, but I also spend quite a bit of time doing "continuing education" that doesn't "count" for anything other than personal knowledge, in order to be the best at what I do.

Book knowledge is great, having a motivating attitude is wonderful, but, in order to train other people well I have to learn how to apply the things I know.  There are a lot of theories on training out there and there isn't one single thing that works on EVERY body.  How I train someone who was a competitive athlete in their younger years will not look anything like how I train a 40something woman who never exercised a day in her life.  There is no "one size fits all" plan out there that will get someone in their personal best shape.  It's the difference between a dress or suit off the rack and one that has been tailored to fit YOUR BODY.

As a professional coach, I design plans for individual athletes which will allow that person to reach his/her personal goals.  I have a group of athletes, but I don't issue group training plans.   A workout that is ideal for one athlete may not serve another athlete's purposes or goals at all.  I not only need to have a handle on my athlete's goals, I also strive to establish an understanding of what each one of them needs, not just in terms of workouts to get him/her to the desired result, but also what will motivate that athlete to give his/her best.  I don't necessarily have a pattern as much as I take each individual athlete and tailor a plan very specific to that person.

Does a dress or suit off the rack fit good enough?  Sometimes.  But other times, it's just wrong for you.  Unlike ill-fitting clothing, an ill-fitting training plan can result in underperformance, burnout or worse, injury.   We all have a limited amount of resources (time, money, energy).  I'm sure you'd rather have just the right items of clothing that fit perfectly rather than a closet full of clothes that fit "good enough".  In the same way, having a workout plan tailored to suit your personal goals, your training style, engineered in a way that will work best for you is an investment of your resources.

I've found many items of clothing in stores I have loved, but that just weren't a good fit for me.  I've bought things that just didn't work simply because everyone else was wearing that style.  When it comes to training, groups can be super fun but they may not be tailored enough to fit your personal goals.  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against training groups, in fact I'll be co-leading one this spring.  However, it won't be your typical group.  Athletes will receive personal coaching in a group setting.  The plan will be the same for everyone, just like bridesmaids' dresses or rental tuxes.  However, instead of being a photographer at the wedding, telling everyone how great they look, I'll be one of the tailors on hand to make necessary alterations as needed to ensure a better fit.  We all like cheerleaders, but sometimes what we really need is a good tailor.