Monday, February 17, 2014

Not Looking Ahead...Yet

I started this blog in 2010 (well, technically I started it at the end of 2009, but it was about starting the blog in 2010 so that doesn't really count).

My first post in 2010 was about getting ready to get started on the path to becoming a runner (a marathoner to be exact).  I talked about how important it is to start slow and I expressed my desire to take a turtle's pace forward.  I knew then that I was in this new life for the long haul.

My first post in 2011 was about discipline.  This was when I first started thinking that training shouldn't dictate life, but that it should work the other way around.  I decided it wasn't good for me to follow a stock plan, but at the same time I needed structure and organization.  Very quickly I started talking triathlon and being welcomed by the swimming and biking communities.

My second post in 2012 was all about looking ahead for the year.  I wanted to add strength training into my plan and to be choosy about which goals to work on when.  I did have my race calendar filled in for the year, but I had only planned training through spring of that year (up to IM NOLA 70.3).  In that post I talked about how I felt like I had two big issues:
  1. One of the problems I've had in the past is not making decisions about what I ultimately want causing me to change course mid stream because I hadn't clearly targeted where I was going.  
  2. Another huge problem is giving up on what I want because getting there is too hard, or will take too long. 
I tried to fight those tendencies by setting some goals up for the year (race calendar) and by putting a plan in motion to accomplish those goals.  But I also made a conscious decision not look too far ahead, to stay focused on the task(s) at hand.

Last year my main focus for the new year was IMLT.

This is February 17th and I haven't taken my eyes off today long enough to even think about what might be in store for me as an athlete this year.  I know what's going on with me as a coach (more on that later), but me as an athlete?  That's a different story altogether.

I have 2 more weeks in the sling, then about 30 days until I can start training again (from what I understand right now)....44 days and counting.  While I don't think it's too early to be thinking what my goals might be for this year...I also know I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.  I am not that person who must have a race on the horizon to train for all the time anymore.  I don't think it would be a mistake to simply start working toward being stronger for right now (...that is in fact precisely what I am doing right now but I'm talking on day 45 and beyond).

With progress slowing down just a bit, it's becoming more challenging to stay focused.  However, I know that is what is required right now.  It's always darkest before the dawn.  I will get "there"...and "there" will be farther than I have ever gone before (and faster...).

Relentless forward motion doesn't always break speed records!

Until next time...

Friday, February 14, 2014


I'll bet you thought I was never going to post again.  (Okay, so maybe you really didn't miss me at all...)

This is the longest I've gone without writing a blog post, but I have good reason.  Sort of.

As I explained, I had to have surgery January 7th.  The dr who performed the operation told Dwayne that my rotator cuff and labrum looked great but the bicep tendon was "a mess".  If you look at the photo, you can see the bicep muscle has two tendons that attach it to the shoulder.  The long head (number 10) runs across the top of the arm bone, the short head (number 5) goes in front of the arm.  Using this photo as a reference, basically the doctor cut out most of the white part of number 5 out and then attached the end of the muscle to my arm bone.  There's a graphic youtube video here of a procedure like mine if you are interested.  (As a warning, I actually like watching surgery videos, but this one almost made me sick...maybe it's because I kept thinking about it being done to ME which puts a whole new aspect on watching!)

The surgery went well, and I'm now five weeks out.  The worst part about the whole thing has not been the not-working-out part (although that has been extremely tough).  It has been the wearing of the mammoth sling.  I just realized I don't have a picture of me in it to share with you, but this is pretty much the same one I'm wearing.  It's not horrible torture during the day, but it's a real nuisance to sleep with it on.  From what I understand I have three more weeks of captivity.

Physical therapy started the day after surgery.  I've been going three times a week.  I've always heard how painful shoulder rehab is, and I'm certainly not going to dispel that rumor.  However, I will say that since my rotator cuff and labrum weren't injured, my rehab has been much better than it would have been had that not been the case.  I am almost at 100% range of motion for a normal person.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) I am very flexible which means I still have quite a ways to go before the left arm matches what the right arm can do.

If you have ever seen a house being built, you know how at first it goes up so fast you can't imagine that it will really take months to be finished, then progress slows to a snail's pace and you wonder if it will ever be DONE?  Well...I'm at the snail's pace right now.

Last week I started a new stretch (the "towel stretch").  Before I got hurt I looked like the guy pictured.  After working for a week, I have gone from barely being able to get the back of my left hand to my left hip, to being able to grab the end of a long towel behind my back.

That.  Is.  Progress.

Progress is, by definition movement toward a goal, advancement, growth, development and/or continuous improvement.  I am making progress.  I do see that.  But, I have to look really close to notice.  At least once every day I think (and more often than not, I say) "I'm never going to be able to X again."  (X is anything I am wanting to do that I can't manage at this point in time -ride a bike, swim, run, move without pain...)  I do realize that it's ONLY been five weeks.  But, come's been FIVE WEEKS already.

Of course, it's been six weeks since I have written a post and you probably barely even noticed I was gone.  Sometimes ---okay, most of the time--- progress is just a matter of perspective.  When you are right of top of a situation, or very close to it, you may not notice the changes.  Step away and things seem to happen over night.  (That's why they say a watched pot "never" boils.)

I have a lot more to report on, but for now, I'll leave you with this little gem I found when I searched for a picture of a snail to add to the post.  Enjoy.  Until next time. :D