Sunday, January 27, 2013

Onwards and upwards.

Real success is not about never having a bad day. What is important is how fast you
can turn that bad day around, how quickly you can form a strategy to overcome 
any obstacles that may appear on your path and how fast you can recover 
from a disappointment or blow to your confidence.

A couple of posts ago I had disclosed that my shins had been giving me grief. Well pretty soon I was told to rest by my trainer and physio till I got some scans done to diagnose exactly what was going wrong in there. My physio, whom I have aptly named now as "Stef the tenderiser" was quite concerned with the amount of pain I was in everytime she went anywhere near my bone. After a few sessions the pain which I only felt in my shins (which was quite localised) had dropped to below my ankle. I had also told her that my first few steps of a morning are painful and now kicking when I swim was starting to hurt in my ankle too. Hence the reason for a bone scan.

Jen (SpartaPT) my coach rearranged my training program to exclude running and crosstrainer and to include water running till diagnosis and future plans for rehab were discussed with my physio. Going for my bone scan was a bit - ALOT - nerve wracking. Not only was I kept waiting for forever, but I could hear my name being whispered as well as terms like "ankles, scan higher, her shins" only then to have the Doctor come and speak to me about where my pain was and he then stated "I can definitely see shin splints but want to investigate a bit further". I started crapping myself right then and there. In my head I had already been diagnosed with something horrendous. Panic stations were on high alert and I was sent off to wait for Part B of the scan.

With Part B done and what felt like a lifetime of waiting, my results came through. Shin splints. But not just in my right shin, although that was the worst - it was in both. But my right showed definite stress changes especially where most of my pain had been. With there also being uptake of the radionuclide in my feet. And whilst the news was upsetting, in a way - I was glad to hear that I wasn't imagining my pain. 
Thank goodness for my family and friends with their supportive words. Cause if I had to just sit and wallow in my own misery it could have been tragic. 

And whilst the road to IM will be more challenging to say the least - I can now go on focused with the things I need to do to make sure I will make it across that line. And that is lots and lots of swimming, cycling and water running. When it comes to water running - I think I have found my new love. There is something about it that I absolutely find extremely relaxing. And maybe it's just because I am in the water, but doing something that hurts so much in an environment that feels so nurturing really makes me want to go do it everyday. And that is not something that I can say so freely when it comes to running on land.

Check out that beautiful form. Not something I can boast about when running on land, but in the water, surprisingly I look graceful and feel just as graceful. And as I am running and doing my efforts I imagine that this is what it must feel like for my friends who are seasoned Triathletes or long distance runners. For once in the water I can pretend I am fast even though I am moving at a pace that closely resembles that of a sloth. And I know I am getting a good workout because I finish with heavy legs and arms thanks to the waters resistance. Bring on more water running I say. I really do enjoy it. And because I know I am going to be in there for the long haul, I purchased an Speedo underwater MP3 player so I have some tunes to sing to during my workouts.

So even though my direction has been re-routed, Im still getting there, just via a different path. And it's a journey I am enjoying.

So tomorrow, I do my first Open Water 5km - Bridge 2 Bridge swim. Looking forward to it with slight trepidation. Not quite sure how to pace myself for that sort of distance. Nevermind, I will just keep swimming. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nowra Olympic Triathlon.

Don't wait for extraordinary
Seize common occasions and
make them great.
~ Orison Swett Marden ~

Having been thrown a curve ball on my journey to Ironman Port Macquarie, 2013 - I decided that rather than let it get the better of me and just lay down and tap out, I was going to still take the opportunities that I had planned and run with it. Well not literally but figuratively.

Let me explain.

On my last post I do believe I said I was going to get the verdict on my sore shin. Well, a bone scan has been booked for this coming Friday to exclude the possibility of a stress fracture of my anterior tibia or Periostitis traction (ie shin splints). Both of which I do not want, but both could explain as to why it hurts to run or jump on that leg. So, whilst I wait for the scan and the results, I have not been running but I have continued to swim and cycle. And now I can add water running to the mix for which I am ever so thankful for. Sounds like it is going to be fun and I am literally in the water 5 days (between swimming and water running). I think I am going to grow a set of gills shortly. Not that Im complaining. I love the water.

Anyway, back to the reason for this post - Nowra Olympic Triathlon. I had signed up for this Triathlon I think at the end of last year with the intention to try and squeeze in as many Olympics as I could before doing Ironman. But with the possible diagnosis of a stress fracture and being told not to run I was thinking that maybe I should just pull out from it. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realise that I could still do part of it, so long as I felt comfortable with the idea that there was going to be a DNF at the end of my name. Of that I didn't care. So off I headed down south with my hubby to stay with some very dear friends Paul, Jennie and their gorgeous girls at Jennies parents home away from home. Paul was racing too.

The morning of the race we woke up to rain. I dont mind racing when it's wet, it cools me down. I ate my usual pre-race brekkie - toast with honey and a good cup of black coffee. And before we knew it, it was time to head to the race. Paul and I set up our stuff in transition and caught up with some friends Erin, Nicole and Clare. It was great having Stephen, Jennie and the girls there for support. Also saw Ben (Erin's hubby) there too. I love hearing my name be yelled when Im racing. The usual pre-race jitters (upset tummy) got the better of me which meant I missed the pre-race briefing so as I headed down to race start I had to ask someone as to how many laps the swim course was. Turns out it was one - thankfully. I'll tell you why shortly.

I made my way into the water and was quite surprised as to how warm it was. I did a quick out and back warm up and then found Paul before he headed off for his swim as his wave set off before mine. And then it was my turn. As usual my heart started to beat loudly in my ears and I just wanted to get started. I positioned myself up the front but to the side - turned out it was the perfect spot for me. As the siren sounded, I took off and took the lead with 2 other ladies. For once I played my swim strategically and positioned myself behind the second lady. It was a fantastic spot. Now I know why people do it - I hung for dear life to her that was until we started to reach the green turn around bouy. Then something happened. She disappeared.

I started to feel that I was working harder and harder and the turn bouy was difficult to get to. I made it - JUST and then I found that instead of going directly straight to the next bouy I was swimming uphill diagonally to it. The current had picked up - BIG TIME. I worked my toosh off to get to it and then as I finally turned the current literally dragged me back to swim start. Somewhere between the start and the 1200m I also noticed that we were sharing the river with jellyfish. And not little ones either. They were big, fat, gnarly ones. In my head I kept telling myself "you have swum with jellyfish before at Yeppoon" & "big fat jellyfish don't sting" - WRONG. As I turned the last bouy to come into shore I copped it fair and square from my left shoulder down to my elbow. A searing burning pain and the first thing that came to mind was "hurry up - swim faster". I didn't want to get stung anymore - it hurt alot. 

Coming out of the water I started to do a little bit of a jog to T1 - the pain in my lower shin reminded me that I shouldn't be doing that. So I did this funny little jig that could have quite easily been put in the skit "Ministry of funny walks". I heard Stephen call my name but couldn't see him and then as I approached Jenny she asked how the swim was. I think I said it was good. Certainly for once I actually felt alright exiting the water even though there were a few challenges.

SWIM : 27:33

As I came out of T1 I was really looking forward to getting on my bike. With my strength training and WT sets from SpartaPt I have started to feel strong on my bike again. I do believe the only time my speedo went below 32km p/hr was when I was turning a corner. Other than that I tried really hard to keep my cadence high and the speed up there. Twice I saw Paul and tried to get his attention out on the bike course - but he looked so focused. Finally on the way out on the second lap I yelled out to him and he gave me a really big grin. Then on the way back 2 really fast girls passed me and I thought to myself "you don't have to run, so what the hell are you holding back for. Gooooooooo". So I cranked it up a couple of gears and tried to hang on (within legal distance) to those 2 fast girls. Thanks girls for making me go faster. So with this little pick me up I ended my bike leg on a fantastically fast note for me.

BIKE : 1:15:18

As I ran out of T2 - I crossed the line and then went straight to first aid to get some ice for my leg and then caught up with Stephen, Jennie and her gorgeous girls and Ben and his little cherubs. With my job done it was time to cheer on the rest of PTC. I later found out that Clare wasn't able to finish due to her bad Jellyfish sting. Her arm had massive raised red welts on it. Paul scored himself a first place in the Clydesdale division - his medal is AWESOME. So proud of you Paul. Erin looked superb out there, always smiling and did a great race as did Nicole. I wasn't able to catch up with Susanna - Jen from Sparta's new client but I heard she did great too.

After all was said and done - it was so nice to hear Paul say he was really proud of me. A) I look up to Paul as a great swimmer. He is like a great white shark in the ocean. Strong and powerful. B) Paul is like my brother. So to have my surrogate brother tell me he is proud of me makes me feel very special indeed. Thanks Paul.

It was finally time to go back to Paul and Jennies home to rest, relax and enjoy the remainder of the weekend till we headed home the following day. I had such a wonderful time and it was great to get away with hubby. Thankyou Jennie, Paul and girls for your wonderful hospitality and for sharing your little slice of heaven with us.

Oh and before I forget - I scored myself a pair of Hokas. OMG - they are awesome. Talk about feeling like you are walking on clouds/marshmallows/foam.I look forward to wearing them whilst running, but in the meantime I shall reap in the benefits of less impact whilst I am walking.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hurdle Number 1.

Amazing how quickly the body can decide when it's not liking something even though you have been doing it for a while. Amazing how with all the best intentions and laid out plans when your body says ENOUGH, it really means it. Amazing how even though running is not my preferred leg in the sport of Triathlon, it is the one I want to do most now to get to my goal of IM. And whilst a part of my brain wants to feel frustrated and sorry for itself, the other side is refusing to allow it.

For the past couple of run's my right lower shin had really been starting to plague me. And after Thursday's run I really struggled to touch the bone without grimacing in pain. It's the one that always bothers me when I start running again, but it is the one that had me stop running at the beginning of my journey to Port 70.3 in 2011. Now with not an awful lot of training time left to get to Port IM (5th May, 2013) I cannot afford any down time with my running whatsoever. So it's off to the physio today I go.

Am I scared with what he is going to say? You bet!!!!! But am I optimistic with all the choices that will be laid out in front of me to help overcome it? Damn straight I am. Since it started being a pain (literally), I have been icing, stretching, NSAID's and praying. But it needs more now, more care then ever before. 

I'm sure I sent a mental memo out to all necessary body parts at the beginning of this journey for them all to comply with the rules. Somehow, my shins decided to ignore it. Well, it's now time to up the anti, and get them behaving. This is just a mere hurdle. And what do you do when you face a hurdle? Well it's obvious isn't it? Jump over the bloody thing!!!! I am known for not letting things get the better of me. Even if something beats me at first, I am the one that eventually comes through the other end a better and stronger person. And this is no different. It's just a hurdle.

What hurdles have you had to overcome?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The tides have turned.

I have my MOJO back. Finally, at last it has arrived and I don't feel it subsiding any time soon. Oh how I have missed thee. It's been a long time in the coming, and whilst there were snippets of it here and there I was beginning to have grave doubts as to whether it was going to stick around at all. But something happened and I am not quite sure what - but I felt an instant feeling of well being - an urge to get out again and to keep conquering. So instead of fighting it, I just went with it for once and here I am - STOKED TO BE BACK. 

My training is going really well. I am feeling heaps stronger, but the main place I am noticing it is in my core and my hamstrings. Those puppies have had far too much time off and since starting on my program with Jen from SpartaPt I have really noticed a huge difference. I can now do hamstring curls on a swiss ball which I have never been able to do and I am now able to do a plank on the swiss ball whilst alternating leg raises. This is a HUGE improvement and an awesome step in the right direction. Am I happy? You bet ya.

Two days ago I had another awesome breakthrough. I started the day at Kurnell with the TriNSW Sprint Triathlon down there. I didn't compete but I did help out with TriShave. It was another awesome day spent promoting a great brand and seeing lots of awesome Triathlete's do their thing. I was able to catch up with a few friends too - that was a nice surprise. Funniest thing happened whilst I was there handing out the prizes. I was standing next to a really nice young chap who had the nicest legs and who was handing out the medals and he was asking me if I was into Triathlons, Im like "yeah, love the sport. I love swimming but I suck at running, I start somewhere at the front then finish towards the end". He proceeds to say "yeah I love running. Im the other way around". Five seconds later he gets announced as having the fastest run split (5km) during his race of 14mins. He looks at me and smiles, I look at jaw drops, he laughs a bit more. Anyway, he was really supportive of this old duck trying. 
After the day was done I still had a 70-80km ride and a 15min run off the bike to get done. Doesn't sound to bad, but Sunday was stinking hot. At 4pm it was still 34 degrees celcius and there was a hot wind blowing. Now where I live there is not alot of shade happening so it was just about hydrating well and trying not to let myself overheat too much. I stopped twice along my ride and bought some really cold water to drink as both my aero bottle and normal drink bottle were hot as hell. And I just dug in deep for a 3hr ride. Good Ironman training I kept telling myself. Three hours spent in my own head was not as bad as I expected it to be. I was entertained by the stares I was getting from people, and it kind of made me feel BAD ASS......hahahaha. By the time I finished my run, I was dripping sweat and just couldn't wait to get in the cold bath. It was divine.
Then this morning I found my run mojo. It's been ages since I felt really good about my run and I have never really had anything positive to say about running. That was until today. Something just finally clicked, and I could feel myself just running. And whilst I still know I run funny it just felt good. I had great music happening, the sun had only just gotten out of bed and I was enjoying the moment. I feel only good things coming my way from now on. Strength, courage and determination will get me to my goal of Port Macquarie Ironman 2013. Of that I am certain.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The year that will be.

Wow, what a year 2012 was. A real roller coaster of a year. Ups and downs with a few twisty curves in there for some added self growth. But however challenging it was as a year I do believe I have grown from it exponentially and for that I am eternally grateful. So with all of those experiences banked it is time to roll into the New Year grinning from ear to ear with all the exciting opportunities that lay ahead.

I have made a mental list of all the things I hope to achieve out of this year and whilst some are a roll over from last year as I feel some things need to be continually worked on - some others are brand spanking new. I feel that 2013 is going to be really exciting for all the right reasons, brimming with possibilities and new challenges to grasp with both hands and do with them as I will. And I will.

I read a book over the Christmas-NewYear period "A life without limits" by Chrissie Wellington. Probably the best book I have read in I don't know how long. Aside from the fact that it was a good easy read - I hate books that have technical words that I have to decipher, I really found it totally inspirational. It really helped place alot of things into perspective for me. Her words really struck a cord. 

One part in particular really hit home. And it was all about positive words and how they affect your everyday living. How what we say to ourselves day in and day out affects the outcome of our lives. "But I cant lift that weight, I can't run that fast, I can't complete an Ironman. You may not be able to right now, but, with a positive frame of mind and a willingness to work, anything is possible". This couldn't be any more precise. I do that negative self talk all the time - like a form of self sabotage. On one hand I get all excited and sign up for things and then I get cold feet and start questioning my ability instead of just getting out there and giving it a real good shot. A bad habit but one that I am determined to crack this year. Im digging my heels in and not letting my negative mind win, I deserve this much.

With this new positive mind frame I will go into my Ironman training with as much zest as I can muster up. I want to overcome my fear/hatred of that Ironman swim start they call the WASHING MACHINE. I have to man up and get tough - make my mark in that water and leave as much of it behind me as I can. I know I can do it - I just have to grow a set of "you know whats" and plough through the water showing others that I wont be pushed around. After all Im not shown any either - it's just the nature of the game - so if I can't beat em I shall join em. And whilst things can and will go wrong along the way it's h.ow you overcome them that matters. I'm going to try to put myself into as many uncomfortable situations as I can to help me overcome those negative feelings along the way. It's all about training the mind. After all what the mind can conceive, the body will achieve.

And whilst I have a goal time for the Ironman my main goal is to finish. Being hard headed I hope will get me to that finishers chute. I have proven to myself at Yeppoon 70.3 that I can be stubborn enough to finish even if I wasn't all that prepared. So I can only imagine what I will achieve being as prepared as I will be - it's very exciting indeed. Im really looking forward to it - and whilst I am 100% certain that there will be alot of tears and frustrations along the journey (allow me to apologise up front to my coach, family, friends and training buddies) I am sure there will be alot of fun times too. Bring it all on I say.

But enough of me - what are some of your goals for this new year, this clean slate? What words, dreams, memories will you leave transcribed upon it. What do you hope to achieve when you reach the 31st of December 2013? The choice is yours. Live it, love it, do it.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage