Month: February 2013

‘Twas the Week Before Race Day…

Brrrrrr. It’s cold outside.

Mother Nature has sure had a bee in her bonnet about something this winter hasn’t she? I went to sleep last night with my fingers crossed for a “snow day” (aka a day where the roads were “too dangerous” to make the 20 minute drive into work), but woke up to a wet, slushy mess and 2 degree temperatures. The inner child in me was devastated. No snow day.

Sad

Anyways, despite getting off to a slow, sleepy start this morning, I’m determined it’s going to be a productive one. With less than 4 days to go until the Chilly Half Marathon, it’s all systems go for getting some last minute running in, hydrating like a crazy person, eating really well and getting 8 hours of sleep. Or, you know, as close to 8 as can reasonably be expected anyways. My plan is to be in bed on Friday and Saturday night well before 10pm.

When Matt and I flew out to Winnipeg for my last half marathon (and Matt’s full marathon), I seriously don’t think I’ve ever slept so much or so well in my entire life. I got 10 hours of sleep both Friday and Saturday night, and also napped for a couple of hours during the days?! It was like I had reverted back to an infant or something, it was freakin’ fantastic. I woke up at 5am for the race start on Sunday morning bright eyed and bushy-tailed chirping about how “I didn’t know why I felt so awake so early in the morning!” The rest of Matt’s family was somewhat amused by that.

That half marathon in Manitoba was by far the best race I’ve ever run from a time perspective, a recovery perspective and also just from a pure enjoyment perspective. I was really happy the whole race, didn’t really suffer at all, had my head up and was taking in the scene as I ran….it was a good race for me. I don’t really know if all that sleep had anything to do with it, but some of Matt’s weird, neurotic goalie tendencies are creeping into me a bit (somebody help me) and I kind of feel like I should repeat all actions I took before the last race to help my chances!!!

So…in bed before 10pm both Friday and Saturday night. Done deal.

I got in a really great treadmill run this past Sunday morning and ran 9.3 miles (or 15km) in 95 minutes. There is a new love in my life. And his name is “my treadmill”. Oh baby, this thing is the greatest. I bought the Livestrong LS8T treadmill when it was on sale for 75% off just before Lance Armstrong’s big confession on Oprah, and my oh my, Lance may be a doper, but damn the man makes good treadmills.

Livestrong Treadmill

First of all, the treadmill is heavy as HELL, it’s really super sturdy. Moment to appreciate my dad, Matt and my brother Andrew for lifting that sucker and carrying it down a very twisty turny flight of stairs and setting it up for me!!! I felt like I was running on a treadmill at the gym compared to the typical lighter and a bit more flimsy treadmills that are sold for home use.

Second of all, it has this awesome feature where you can actually adjust the firmness of the terrain that you run on to “Firm”, “Neutral” or “Soft”. God bless you Lance. You understand the woes of knee injuries. I flipped the dial all the way to “Soft” which increased the bounciness of the treadmill a bit (although not too drastically). I know that it might be more advisable to actually use a firmer setting to better simulate and prepare my body for the road, but as I’m just coming off a pretty serious injury, my goal right now is to make it to the START line of the race. And that means being nice to my joints as much as possible.

Thirdly, the treadmill comes with this handy dandy little cord that you can attach to your iPod and actually play the music through two speakers on the treadmill!!! LOVE!!! A total music addict, I find it really tough to exercise without music, BUT it’s a total pain in the butt to hold onto your iPod while you run (and don’t even get me started on those arm band things – they never stay put, and you can’t change the song!!). I freakin’ LOVED that you could play the music through the treadmill itself and run with free hands!! Also I’m sure it’s better for your ears to not have loud music blaring in them for 95 minutes, and this way you can sing along to the songs without feeling like a total idiot. Yes, I do that.

Last of all (I know right, I’m STILL talking about how much I love this treadmill), the treadmill is super smart. There’s an interface screen where you can plug in a USB and it will automatically log and save your workouts, and then challenge you to do better next time with messages encouraging you to go for your personal best, or increase the speed to beat your previous time. When we discovered this last weekend, Matt’s little brother Scott says “Woah, it’s like a video game!” I concur. The screen also “knows” that maybe you need some extra encouragement at the end of your run, and with 2 miles left to go, I got a message across the screen saying “YOU CAN DO IT!!” and the volume on the music speakers increased a little bit!!

Mario

So long story short – I love my treadmill. Although I got it for basically nothing, I would pay full price for it in a HEART BEAT if I had to. It’s well worth the money.

I’m planning to do an easy 5km run tonight before my Pump class, and then a really short 3km run on Friday afternoon, and that will about do it before the race on Sunday.

Matt’s brother Neil and his girlfriend Jess are going to be in town this weekend for the race as well and it should be a fun weekend!! I’m really excited for it, there’s nothing better than the atmosphere of a race weekend. Now it just needs to hurry up and get here already!!

Outside

Do you know anyone running the Chilly Half Marathon or the Frosty 5K in Burlington this weekend?! If so, good luck to them (or maybe it’s you?!). 🙂

Never Give Up

Hello out there (if anybody is still there?!) – I’m back.

Sorry for the long hiatus, to say it’s been a busy couple of weeks is about the understatement of the millennium. There have been a couple big events over the past few weeks that have kept me away from the computer screen. In no particular order….

1. It was Release Week at the gym

2. We moved into our new house

3. I injured my knee

If you recall from my Les Mills International mini-series, Release Week is the time when we get to officially “launch” the new music and moves for all of the Les Mills programs at the clubs. We get a new set of music/choreography each quarter, teach it for 2-3 weeks and then mix and match the music/choreography until the next new release comes out next quarter. It’s always a HUGE party for us instructors, we love getting together to team teach, match our outfits, plan theme classes and launch the new stuff to our members who have been eagerly waiting and trying to get the details out of us for weeks on what they can expect! We literally look forward to Release Week like Christmas every quarter; it’s such an amazing week!!

RW TEAM 1

RW TEAM 2

Sara & Meaghan - RW

All that being said, Release Week is also a TON of really intense, hard work for us instructors as well and most of us are pushed to the absolute brink of exhaustion. Since most classes need to be team taught, a lot of us are teaching 2-3 times more classes then we normally would in a week. Combine that with the fact that the new releases usually tend to be a “step up” in intensity from the previous release and you’ve got a recipe for some seriously sore muscles and joints. Not to mention the hemorrhaging from the brain. It’s a freakin’ lot of choreography to cram in the old noggin’!

I went into Release Week this time apprehensive because my body was feeling like it was teetering on the edge of an injury in the weeks leading up to it. I was getting some pain in the top of my foot, and that pain migrated into the heel of my foot. Both totally minor things, but I know my body well enough by now to know that when those little things start popping up, something bigger is brewing.

In 6 days, I taught 10 classes. By the end of the week, interestingly enough, the pain in my foot was gone, but something new (and serious) had developed in my left knee.

The pain in my left knee increased and increased and increased over the course of the following week, to the point where I could hardly walk after my BodyAttack class on Saturday February 2nd. I knew enough was enough, and it was time to take some time off.

My chiropractor (aka my angel) reassured me that it didn’t seem like I had done any structural damage to my knee (i.e. torn the meniscus or cracked any bones), but that it seemed that I had kind of hyper-extended it, and bruised/banged up the under-side of my knee cap. This kind of made sense to me because the pain was the most sharp and severe when I flexed my quad muscle with the leg straight.

In any case, I took 8 days off of any lower body activity, and started cautiously getting back into my high impact classes last week. I also went for a massage last night, and it made a world of difference. I’m feeling much better now!! Man, there is nothing like an injury to make you truly appreciate what your body does for you when it’s healthy!

While I was off teaching, I did get some extra swimming in, which was pretty much the only form of cardio I could do. That’s the kind of nice thing about triathlon training, if something’s wrong with one part of you; chances are there’s something else you can work on with the other parts!!!

I must say, my timing is really impeccable with this one. With my knee being bad for about a week and a half before I actually took any time off, the 8 days I did take off, and then the recovery time I gave myself as I eased back into my classes, I basically haven’t done any distance running in over a month, and the Chilly Half is just a week and a half away. Ugh.

I thought about passing on the race, but I’ve changed my mind and decided to do it. Part of my Half Ironman journey is becoming a person who finishes what they start. And that includes these races that I’ve committed to do along the way.

My plan is to get in a nice easy pace 5km run tonight; maybe a 3 or 4km run on Friday night and then a nice slow 12km run this Sunday morning. Next week I’m going to get in at least 2 slow 5km runs (Wednesday night and Friday night) and then just give it my best shot on Sunday for the race. I’m not expecting a good time, nor am I expecting to run the whole thing. I’m going in expectation-free, just hoping to enjoy myself and finish the race with a smile, just like John Stanton said.
I was so discouraged about this knee injury that I seriously considered closing down this blog and giving up on the entire triathlon. I realized over the past few weeks that it’s not realistic to expect this whole journey to be straight up all the way. Any athlete is bound to have their ups and downs along their way.

Some of you may have seen the news of American 4 time world champion alpine skier Lindsey Vonn’s terrible crash in Austria a week or so ago.

The crash (to quote Lindsey’s doctor) “shredded” the ligaments in her right knee, and she was air-lifted off the hill for immediate surgery. One week post-op she posted this photo of her right knee with the hashtag “longskirtsthissummer”.

Lindsey Vonn

Grisly huh?

The totally incredible part (at least to me) is what she released in her statement to the public last week:

“I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi (for the 2014 Winter Olympics).”

“She’s got her mindset, she’s going to come back stronger than she was,” Alpine director Pattrick Riml told the AP. “She’s got her goal — ‘I’ll be back in Lake Louise (for the 2013 World Cup Speed Races)’ — and Lindsey will do whatever it takes to be back.”

Can you imagine looking down and seeing your knee looking like it does in that picture, and somehow giving your head a shake, and vowing to be back tearing up a ski hill in 9 months?? The girl is fearless. Lindsey’s story gives me hope that no matter how bad things seem, with determination and an absolutely dogged refusal to give up, anything is possible.

All of my best wishes go out to Lindsey, I hope you do make it back girl, and (even though you’re American and will probably wipe the floor with our Canadian girls), I do hope that you come back stronger than ever. Anyone with your courage and determination deserves it.

Lindsey Vonn - hill

Have you ever suffered a serious setback on your path to a goal? How did you deal with it? Any tips or words of wisdom to share with us?