Santa Cruz 70.3 – 2.0

What a race….

I’m still reeling and winding down from the eventful race day.  I’ve never come to the start line so prepared and so ready to race.  It was also the first time I’ve made it to the start line without a nagging injury.

The POWER of SUPPORT:  I had my family there to cheer me on.  It was Eli’s (5) first experience at support crew.  Zoi (11) has proven to be a master of support this past summer. Rodney mastered the art of support; keeping tabs on my effort and when to expect me back at transition all while keeping kids entertained.  Zoi and Rodney planned out their support roles.  Zoi would handle the video, Rodney would take the pictures, and Eli would ring the cow bells.  I keep replaying the moments I got to catch a glimpse of them.  I couldn’t help but smile really BIG!!!!!

Running into a plethora of past teammates expanded my heart tenfold.  Mike and Camille – you brought so much light to the day!!!  I think I almost squealed with delight when I saw you Camille!

The text messages leading up to the race and after were amazing.  I can’t believe how many of my teammates, friends and family followed me that day.  Love you so much for your support!

The RACE:  I’ve spent 2015, 2016, and 2017 coming back from a mystery injury.  A year ago I could barely ride and wasn’t able to run without excruciating pain.  I’m a fighter though – I am wired with true grit, perseverance, and believing I could overcome.  I’m pretty certain that is how I got the nickname “Beast”.

One thing I experienced in this race was clustered swimming.   I had people in front of me, behind me, on the side of me.  Brought me right back to our Monday and Wednesday early morning swim session where we would practice cluster swimming and taking turns being stuck in the middle.  So grateful for those sessions….I knew exactly how to handle it.

I am so proud of my effort.  I rested well the night before, my nutrition was on point throughout the race, and when it got tough I reached for my positive, forward moving, mantras.  You’ve got those right?

Gratitude:  I wouldn’t have made it this far without O2 Endurance taking me in.  Coach would say I did all the work.  I’d agree with that (I was always first to the training center – ready to go at 5:30 AM) but it takes more than work.  Coach provided a well executed training plan.  Thanks Bryant for believing in me and giving me a chance!

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Thanks for all those crazy epic climbing rides (a.k.a Charlotte), indoor trainer session, and altitude training session- Wow, that clearly paid off!!!

Onward an Upward: Crazy thing is this is just the base…..what will the “Beast” look like next year and the year after that….I’m excited, stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BeastMode v2.0

A couple weekends ago I was able to share my love of triathlon with my daughter.  She has come to my races and cheered me on in the past but this time we competed together.

I was excited but also a bit nervous.  I stayed with her the entire way.  Any mama bear would.  I cheered her on and encourage her to keep pushing.

Some key moments I am taking away:

When we were coming out of the water I was coming out slowly to wait for her…next thing I knew she blasting past me, running hard into transition.  I couldn’t help but smile. It’s clear the determination runs through her blood and is engraved in her DNA.

Zoiswim

I did a lot of cheering especially when I noticed it was someone I knew.  It didn’t take Zoi long to jump in and cheer too.  It’s important to recognize the little things we pass on!

Coming through the shoot Zoi kicked into gear and blasted through the finish line…..That my friends is BEASTMODE v2.0 in the making.  Great first race Mini-me!

Zoifinish

KorrieZoi

Alice and the Rabbit Holes

Alice

Remember when Alice falls down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland?  My journey has been much like Alice except I’m not falling; I’m jumping…and I keep jumping into one rabbit hole after another in search of finding the root cause of my pain.  The goal being to get back to training so I can get back to racing.

A little History

Back in July 2015 I pulled something in my right hip reaching for a nutrition bar 3 months before Cabo Ironman.  From July – October I had tried chiropractic, PT, acupuncture and massage.  I have blogged about those trials and tribulations in past post.

This new Journey…The “Alice Journey” started in October of 2015 when I started working with my PT to resolve my hip pain and agreed to start from the ground up.  Since July of 2015 I have found the following to be true:

  • I have said this over and over again. Pain is on the outside of my right hip.
  • I can’t touch the pain.
  • I can’t sleep on my right side.
  • Sometimes I get burning sensation in my right glute
  • Other times I get a toothache-like throbbing at the top of my IT band where it connects to my pelvis
  • And sometimes I feel it pulsate on the outside of my thigh.
  • It hurts on the top side of my hip when I stretch the right side. It feels like the muscles are super tight along the right oblique.
  • Sitting is bad and standing is good
  • Hip flexor stretches help to dull the pain but it never really goes away.
  • I do not have low back pain
  • I want to race!

Rabbit Hole #1 – Instability – Physical Therapy

After x-rays concluded nothing was broken the Sports Med wanted me to do physical therapy before doing any further tests.  I had failed the stability and mobility tests like a champ in the office so he was certain that my pain was from instability.   I met with the PT twice a week for an hour each time and I would leave with specific exercises.  It was like a reset.  I had so many imbalances and my muscles weren’t firing on time and some muscles weren’t firing at all.   It took three weeks to get my glute muscles to perk up and that took the PT walking beside me poking my butt as I lunged across the gym.  I did PT from October to January and had completely transformed how I moved.  I went from struggling to roll over to jumping on and off of a boso ball one-legged and bear crawling with a flat back for 20 ft….fast.   I have done PT in the past but this was different.  I think there is something to be said when a PT works with their patient holistically.  I wasn’t just a number.  I didn’t get pumped in and out in a 20 minutes session.  I needed more.  She worked with me for an entire hour each session and we started out with two sessions a week and then progressed to one session a week.  Each session built upon the last session.  I could feel myself getting stronger each week.

But….I still had hip pain and still struggled to make any gains on the bike.

Rabbit Hole #2 – Inflamed Bursa – Cortisone Injection

In January I went back to the Sports Med where he agreed to do an MRI after I passed all the mobility and functional tests.  I then met with an Orthopedic Dr who reviewed my MRI and felt I had inflammation in the bursa and I needed to do a cortisone injection.  This rabbit hole probably never would have happened had I not been impatient with the Sports Med Dr.    In goes the injection with no results.

Rabbit Hole #3 – Glute Tendon Tear – Prolotherapy

Back to the Sports Med where he ultrasounds my hip and glutes to find that my glute medius tendon has micro tears and lots of scar tissue.  We agree to try prolothearpy.   Prolotherapy is when sugar water is injected into the affected area to create inflammation which stimulates healing in the area. After two sessions of prolo with zero relief I moved on in search of other options.

Rabbit Hole #4 – Body Alignment – Rolfing

I found a rolfer that was willing to take on the challenge.   Rolfing (also referred as structural integration) is different from deep-tissue massage, in that practitioners are trained to create overall ease and balance throughout the entire structure, rather than focusing on areas presenting tension. As a structure becomes more organized, chronic strain patterns are alleviated, and pain and stress decreases.  You can learn more about the benefits of rolfing here.  My goal was to realign my body and eliminate the hip pain.  My first session she noticed my body pulling to the left of my body so she wasn’t surprised that my right hip was hurting.  I have completed all 10 sessions and have found relief in all parts of my body…except my hip.  I plan to continue to incorporate rolfing as part of my training program when I am healed and back on a consistent training program.

Rabbit Hole #5 – SI Joint – PRP Therapy

After all the work with my sports med doctor and failed attempts with prolotherapy I was guided to try Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy by my super fabulous PT and with support from the sports med doctor.   After an assessment it was determined that much of my pain was coming from my SI joint.  I was setup with and a cortisone injection to the SI joint as a test to see if the pain would go away.  Now I didn’t jump off the table with zero pain.   It took about a week for me to notice I could sleep on my right side with no pain.  I was pain free and it felt so so good.  I was back to biking and running (reserved training of course).   Then about 5 weeks after the injection the pain came back.  This means the SI is likely the root cause.   I am scheduled for the PRP injection next Tuesday.  I am a bit nervous and afraid of the procedure but really hoping this is the cure to what has plagued me over this past year.  You can learn more about PRP here

Rabbit Hole #6 – Spinal Adjustment – Chiropractic

While waiting for the cortisone injection results I was referred from the PRP specialist to a chiropractor.  I’d never go back to a chiropractor due to past experiences but the specialist urged me to do so.  I’ve known my L4 and L5 were slightly compressed for well over 10 years and it really hasn’t been a problem.  However before diving deeper into PRP I went down this rabbit hole just to make sure this wasn’t the culprit.  The adjustments did help relieve the feeling of pressure through my spine a bit but it was hard to feel if this was working because my pain was still masked by the cortisone injection.  Once that wore off it was very clear this wasn’t going to be the fix.

Rabbit Hole #7 – Body Alignment –  Strain Counterstrain Therapy

This is an interesting one and difficult to explain how it works.  The practitioner identifies sensory organs located on your head.  Tenderness found on your head refers to a specific part on your body.  The practitioner then goes to that part of your body finds the tender spot and works it by shortening the muscle and connective tissue resetting the dysfunctional neuromuscular and the tissue returns to a normal state that translated to pain relief and improved mobility.  They then go back to the location on your head and the tenderness is gone.  Crazy right?!?!   All I can say is that I can get off the table and have less pain and more mobility…but it doesn’t last long before it returns to its inflamed state.

What now?---Down the Rabbit Hole

Well, we will see if the PRP is the golden ticket.  I pray it helps because I don’t know what else I can do; I’m grasping for a solution….what other rabbit hole can I possibly go down after this?

Cutting Cermony

After racing Santa Cruz 70.3 I have continued to wear my race bracelet….until today.

Keeping my race bracelet on was for a much deeper reason.  Many think it is because of the little spousal rivalry my husband and I had set into play over the 70.3 Santa Cruz course in which he said he could finish in the same amount of time as me…which I won.  My race bracelet really has nothing to do with that at all.

Surprise!!!!

You see, I had found such a great group of like-minded triathlete friends in Oakland that I have really struggled to transition to Portland fully.  I miss them every day.  I miss the weekly swimming and running session and the weekend rides.  I know I have expressed my heartache but I don’t know that I really recognized how emotionally draining it has been on me.

Once in Portland I felt like I was missing out on big events and training sessions that I really wanted to be a part of and found myself back in “train on your own” rut.  I even traveled down to participate in training weekends when I could…and the fact I won’t be making the end of season team party next month really aches my soul.  This race bracelet is the last moment of the season I was able to spend with my favorite peeps…and I really didn’t want it to end.

Santa Cruz  23 Santa Cruz 21 Santa Cruz 22

Now that the season is over and I have slowed down to reconnect with myself a bit more I realized something.    I haven’t lost those connections…because they are still there (in a virtual sort of way) and will be there when I visit and at a couple of next years races..and maybe if I can convince them to come this way for a weekend of training.

I do need to strive to make those types of connections here in Portland.   Now hear me out, I don’t need motivation to keep the desire I have inside me to compete in triathlons…cause that is seeded deep.  I have close friends that could attest to that!!!!  LOL

But it is awesome and motivating to connect with people who enjoy the sport like I do.

bracelet

So today ….cutting of my race bracelet symbolizes my willingness to move forward instead of staying in a constant
state of longing.   While I heal physically it is also time to heal emotionally.

I have already begun to connect with like-minded triathletes here in Portland and they are pretty awesome individuals…

Onward and Upward!!!

2015 Triathlon Memories

It was a roller coaster of a year. A few things that really pulled at my heart strings.

  • Started the season with a foot injury.
  • Bullet hole through my front windshield…yes this really happened
  • Moved my family from Oakland to Portland.  I stayed behind
  • Car broken into twice
  • Sold our Oakland home
  • Then I moved to Portland (I really didn’t want to leave but the babies needed me)

Through it all I met the most extraordinary individuals…..

Santa Cruz 70.3 Race Recap

If you are thinking about a really cool new destination for a 70.3 next year add Santa Cruz 70.3 to your race lineup.  The water temperature was in the mid 60’s and it was overcast most of the race.  I never got cold and never felt like I was going to overheat.  Lots of volunteers and aid stations the entire way as well.

I have nothing but great things to say about racing Santa Cruz 70.3 especially since I shouldn’t have been racing at all. With a hip and back injury that forced me out of racing Cabo it was really time to let my body heal….but you see there was a little husband/wife wager on the line…and I’ll be dammed if I was going to lose.

Several months back my husband said he could do this race and finish in the same amount of time and without any coaching. It ignited a fiery flame of determination. This was all about principality. I knew I could beat him so I set the bar a bit higher for myself. I wasn’t only going to beat him I was going to beat him by an hour.

See he is stronger on the bike if we are just going for a ride; he can out run me on the run if we are just going on a run…but putting it all together and add a swim into the mix…baby I got you beat (hair flip).

Swim
The swim started out great but I got thrown around like I was in a washing machine after I reached the first turn. It was a bit smoother on the way back in but didn’t make for the best swim of my career. My wave went 20 minutes before my husband’s wave so I knew I wouldn’t see him for awhile.

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Bike
I knew if I was going to have any issues on race day it would happen on the bike. At about 1.5 hours on the bike my hip and sciatic pain started up. With every peddle stroke the burning on my right hip intensified. I really wanted to be in aero as well but knew it wasn’t good for my injury. At mile 40 I saw my husband on the bike and felt I was a little bit behind my 1 hr goal. I pushed harder but found it hard to maintain because I really had to pee (I refuse to pee on the bike) and the burning sensation on my hip was insane. I jumped off the bike for a potty break somewhere around mile 44 and that break helped subside the constant burning pain through the hip as well as my bladder…enough to get me back to transition.

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Run
The run course was an out and back and I knew I could gauge my lead on my husband by when I passed him on the course. I didn’t waste any time getting into a rhythm but fought the hip and sciatic pain for the first 5 miles. No sign of my husband at mile 6 or 7. I still hadn’t seen him by mile 8. Then there he was coming up the road as I passed mile marker 9. Doing all the calculations in my head I was still a bit behind my goal. I finished up the run where I saw a humpback whale come up out of the water to eat. Coolest part of the event.

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Of course I beat my husband…but only by 43 minutes. Oh Yeah…doin the dance, doin the dance !!!  I didn’t rub it in his face or anything like that.  His friends, who had no idea of the little household competition, took care of that.  Once he finished and we connected his friends said to him “Dude, your wife kicked your ass.”

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Oh, and I finished with a PR of 18 minutes which is amazing given my injuries. I just keep thinking if I can do this injured….I can’t wait to see what I can do healed with nothing holding me back.

Injury Wins! I Surrender…

This weekend in 140 characters or less: Skipped Century and Pulled out of Ironman Los Cabos – Despair Anger Depressed Realization Acceptance Depressed Again #FeelingLikeAFailure

surrender

The Slightly Longer Version….

Yep, I have decided to back out of Cabo. It was a very difficult decision but one I think I have subconsciously been thinking about for several weeks. I have come so far in my training (lots of money spent as well) but reality is I have been fighting an injury for 7 weeks (see my post, “Listening to Your Body” for the full cautionary tale). The hip and lower back pain have been bad enough that they keep me up at night….every night! Pushing through the pain to do the training was making the injury progressively worse. With only 9 more weeks to go, it was time to pull the plug.

With the decision comes a lot of mixed emotions. I wanted more than just to cross the finish line. I am hoping by writing this post about my decision, about how I am feeling and about the thoughts that passed through my mind leading up to the decision I could impose some order on my jumbled thoughts. Here is the best I could do.

Despair – When I reached out to my support crew on Friday; my triathlon coach, chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, strength coach, physical therapist, triathlon colleagues, sports medicine doctor, and primary doctor there was no one that could save the day and help relieve the pain. Why won’t my body just get it together? There was nothing I could do and no one that could help me (my support crew has done everything in their power to keep me functioning). Realization that I was helpless.

Anger – This weekend’s century ride was an important milestone. I knew last weekend I wasn’t going to be able to push through the total distance but I never expected that I wasn’t going to be able to ride at all. The realization was crushing. (insert explicit screams here).

Depressed – I have put so much time and effort into this training. I had inconvenienced my family and friends for this training. I feel like a complete failure. Commitment leads to results. That is what I have been taught. That is what I believe. I made the commitment and put in the work and was dedicated.  My coach would tell you I am one of the most dedicated athletes she has had.  You give me the plan.  I am going to do the plan to the fullest…and I am going to love every moment of it. Training has been #1  and I worked everything around my training schedule.  Even with the commitment and dedication there was something missing, a weak link, and it feels like that weak link was me.

Realization – I have been fighting this injury for 7 weeks and every day I push through the training the worse the injury gets. I only have 9 more weeks to go and have only completed 40% of my plan due to the injury. Do I really want to start the race dragging my right leg behind me? What would that look like at the end of the race? Would I damage something beyond repair? My primary goal (which I wrote down from the very beginning) was to get to the start line strong, healthy and ready to race. My current state is nowhere near that goal.

Acceptance – There are other races. I would rather start a race healthy, healed and strong rather than drag my injured self across the finish line…after all my dream is to podium. That’s not going to happen with this injury and if I continue to damage what hasn’t been allowed to heal, I might make sure that it never happens. I was not willing to possibly sacrifice my dream for the sake of this one race.

Depressed Again – Hey, I’m only human. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between acceptance and depression the past several days. Give it some time.

The Big Scary Ferocious Truth

With my last race report I included a quote that “Sometimes the words we leave unspoken are the most important ones that should have been said”. This was probably less prophetic and more psychoanalysis. There was certainly something I wasn’t saying and something about the quote certainly touched a nerve. I was trying to dig past the rational me (thanks Sigmund) and get to something that was even more terrifying than 100 miles of the fiery flames of hell licking up my thigh (describing what would have been my century ride).

The scary truth is, this could be it. No more triathlons…ever. My family and friends know how much I love triathlon.  It is a sport I plan to do for a very long time… like forever ever. (After all it is the only tattoo on my body) The thought of having an irreversible injury that would pull me out of triathlon for good is unimaginable.

So there it is. The deep darkness of my worst fear. Now that it is out in the open for all to see I can tell you that I don’t go down without a fight. In fact I think it’s safe to say that I usually come back swinging even harder.

Hopefully; hopefully I’ve learned something. I am taking a deep breath and fighting against every instinct I have to do it differently next time and take my recovery one step at a time.

If you are dealing with injury, what is the hardest part? Being a grouch all day? Feeling guilty about eating so much and not training? Feeling like a sloth? Leave a comment below and share your biggest fear.