Friday, September 30, 2011

Regrouping Part 4

The Goals and the Plan

Writing out my goals - that is the hard part. Once I write them down and put them out there, there is a certain commitment and pressure to follow through.  And some of these goals are ones I've written down time and time again, but failed miserably.  How do I make this time different? I dunno.  But I guess I'll just keep on trying.

I have a number of things I want to accomplish this fall/winter.  Running, Biking, and Swimming are only a part of the plan. I also want to focus on core strength in the off season and regain control of my diet.

The "Sports" This Winter

Running - 10 km race on October  and full marathon in the spring

* Two 30-45 minute runs during the week, and one long run on the weekend.
* Short runs on Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday
* Zone 2 runs only until December/January
* IF I am feeling good and there is no inkling of injury, start to throw in some hills and/or tempo runs once in awhile.
* stretch/ice/tape/shin sleeves - whatever it takes to stay loose

Biking - Crosstrain only throughout the winter

* One or two 30-90 minute sessions on the trainer per week
* Zone 2 HR only

Swimming - Maintain swim fitness

* Undecided - possibly swim this winter, if I can arrange some one on one sessions with a coach
* After January, swim 2-3 times per week
* Upper body strength - swim specific muscle groups

Core Strength

The off season is the time to work on core and overall strength.  It's so hard to fit that in during the regular season - now is the time to give it my full attention, and hopefully develop some habits and routines that can carry me through the next race season.

My plan is to do core and strength training, in addition to yoga on most of my non-running days - three days a week minimum.

The 'D' Word

In addition, as always, I need to look at my diet once again.  I tried something different this year. I tried to just eat smart and not count calories, splurging once in awhile, enjoy life, but try to be mindful.  It doesn't work for me. As of June 1st, I was up 3 lbs, by the end of the summer, I was up 6 lbs, end of September, 7 lbs.  If I don't count calories, I gain about 1 lb a month.  That sucks. My clothes feel tight and I it is affecting my fitness. If you're fit and you don't believe me, try tying a weight belt of 7 lbs around your waist before you head out for your next run.

Throughout the summer, instead of counting calories, I played around with a lot of different 'diets' (for lack of a better word).  My standard favourite is the Mediterranean Diet that allows lean meat and dairy, healthy fats, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and lots of fruits and vegetables.  This summer, I played around with a vegetarian and vegan diet and have subsequently found it easy to make vegetarian choices much more often.

Four Hour Body

I tried the Four Hour Body diet for about ten days at the end of August - which allows primarily meat, beans, and vegetables - no white carbs, sugar, dairy, or fruit.  I lost weight quite quickly but it seemed to be mostly water weight as I was eating much less carbs. As soon as I ate carbs again, the weight came back in 2-3 days. The breakfasts were the worst - meat and vegetables just aren't a nice breakfast.  I can only eat so many eggs - and I missed fruit and yogurt/cottage cheese terribly.  I also happen think whole grains are good for you.

So - I think I will go back to my Mediterranean diet with a greater focus on alternate protein choices and very little white carbs. I will also begin counting calories again as it seems that's the only way I can lose weight.  Hello Sparkpeople....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Regrouping Part 3 - Tidbits

OK so I said I would talk about my goals in this post, but I remembered I have a few short bits of news to share first.  

Brace Yourself
For the most exciting news - I finally got my braces off last Wednesday, after 2 years, 9 months, and 18 long tortuous days!!  Yeah, I know, "First World Problems"...  I should be glad to have the opportunity to spend $6500 to get my teeth straightened and another $6000 to get dental work done. Anyway, although the horrendous metal contraptions are finally off my teeth, I'm not done yet.  It'll be another 6-12 months before I get new veneers on my four worn down front teeth and everything is finally 'fixed.' :)

Hip Hip No Hooray

OK, so I haven't done an update on my hip lately.  I got the results back from my MRI and met with the sports doctor last week. The good news - no tear in the labrum (the inside coating of the hip joint).  The bad news - I have a 6mm (1/4 inch) piece of bone or cartilage floating around loose inside my hip joint. They could not tell what the object was, nor where it came from, and there's not even any definite connection that this loose body is what is actually causing my pain.

The MRI report recommended a CT Scan to see if they find out where the piece came from, and I tentatively have one booked for Oct. 25, however my doctor isn't sure it's worth getting the extra radiation because the treatment will likely be the same regardless of where it's from.

My doctor and I both suspect that:

1) the loose object may be a piece of a bone spur that broke off when I hurt my hip skiing last winter.

2) the pain in my hip isn't actually being caused by the loose object, but rather, other bone spurs (osteophytes from mild arthritis) in my hip joint are rubbing and/or catching when my leg is moved into certain positions.

However, we aren't positive so....

Call in the Surgeon

After some discussion, we decided to get a consult with a surgeon to get his thoughts. He can view the actual MRI and might have some insight as to what course of action I should take. If it is a bad thing to have that piece of bone in my hip joint, it's a fairly simple procedure to 'scope' my hip and remove it. I say 'simple' in the relative sense, since anything surgical is never really 'simple' and naturally would require some time off training, and probably work as well.

The way this hip pain affects me right now, I really don't feel that surgery is necessary, but I am concerned about the long term effect of that loose piece floating around in there. If it ends up doing damage to the hope joint over time, the resulting repair could be much more complex.

In the meantime, I will wait to hear from one of the local surgeons and hope I can get a consult appointment within the next few months.  I have no idea what the wait list time for any of this is.

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow - short term goals.  Thanks for reading. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Regrouping Part 2

So I left off last night, mulling over my race goals for the upcoming year.

As I mentioned, Erik and I have both decided to do the 10k race held here in Kelowna, on October 9th, part of the Okanagan International Marathon weekend. It will be my World Wide Festival of Races race for 2011. I've run lots of 5 k's and a few half marathons, but I've never ru a 10k, so this will be interesting and fun to do.  I haven't trained specifically for the race, but if I'm feeling ok, I should be able to push hard enough to come in just under one hour. If not, plan B will be under 1:05.  I don't really care - I just want to get out and race. :)  

Marathon Training versus Triathlon Training

The dilemma for me has been how to train for both a half iron and a marathon. I think if you come from a running background and move to triathlons, you can d both simultaneously, but for me, it doesn't seem to work that way. One thing I've learned about myself is that I take a LONG time to recover from races, even a short sprint tri. If schedule a race in the middle of marathon training, I get behind on my long runs while recovering from the race. So next year, I need to have a different plan.

My Fall Plans

Here's my thinking - between now and January, I will focus on running three times a week.  I will run 30-45 minutes twice a week on school days, and I will do a long run on the weekends. I won't try to lengthen my long run - it'll be from 60-75 minutes every week, just to build up my endurance. I've done this before but never long enough. I start building too soon and then hurt myself.

If I take 3 months to focus on running 2-3 times a week (yes, I snuck in the 2 there because some weeks I just can't get out for a run on two school days), then maybe by January, I will be ready to start slowly building my long run. I also plan to build my long run slowly, taking a step back week every 3rd week instead of every 4th.  I am hoping that this will help keep me from being injured.

During this off-season time, I will also stick with my core and strength program religiously.  I will ride my bike indoors or out, but only Zone 2 easy rides to burn calories.  I don't want to tire my legs out.

No Oliver Half Iron?  :(

The hardest part of all of this, is having to stop triathlon racing between now and June, and primarily that means missing the Oliver Half Iron the first week of June. I find that a really hard decision to make but I know that I won't be able to race a Half Iron one month after running a marathon. I just wouldn't be ready.

However, in 2012, Outback has decided to move the Wine Capital of Canada Sprint and Olympic races to June 17th (instead of mid May) so I think a new goal might be to do the Olympic distance in June.  It would be about 6 weeks after a spring marathon - that seems manageable.  As you probably know, I've never done an Oly, so maybe this year will be the year I focus on doing a few Olympic distance races.

Training for a Spring Marathon is tough

The other challenge will be doing some of those long runs in the winter when there is snow and ice. The longest I ran last winter on a cold snowy day is 1:45 and that was tough. For that reason, I am giving myself a time goal and a distance goal for each long run. If the conditions are such that my pace is slower than expected, I will stop when I reach my time goal, regardless of the distance done.  My plan is to add 15 minutes each week.  That is about 1-1 1/2 miles (2-3 km) per week. January will be the toughest with three or four 1:45-2:15 long runs scheduled during the cold, snowy, icy time of year.  And no, I don't do treadmills.  Maybe with any luck, we'll have another non-winter like last year.

Tentative race plans for the next 12 months

October 9 - 10km race in Kelowna

May 6 - BM Vancouver Marathon (or one of the other two BC marathons in that time period)

June 17 - Oliver Olympic Triathlon

August 19 - Kelowna Apple Olympic Triathlon

Other possibilities

- a few local 5-10k races
- Okanagan College Half Marathon on March 26 (as part of a 27km training run)
- Desert Half Iron in early July (not likely but always possible)

Tomorrow, I'll talk about my lesser goals for the next three months. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Time to Regroup

So, I managed to survive the first two weeks of school more or less unscathed.  The first week was exhausting as always, and I did not get a single workout in.  I was too busy and too tired and it was still hot out so I wouldn't have wanted to run after work even if I had found any energy [insert a plethora of other excuses, some of them being I'm just plain lazy].


Although my new class seems to be a good group of kids, I am facing a few other pressures at school this year.  I spent a couple of days after school teaching teachers how to do some computer stuff, and although it was my choice and I'm happy to do it, it did take away from my planning/prepping time.  In addition, teachers in our province have been without a contract since last June and negotiations are going HORRIBLY.  Subsequently, we started the school year with job action which causes some stress and extra work because I am the acting staff rep while another teacher is on sick leave for 2 months. In addition to the regular start up pressures, I have had a number of extra meetings to attend and information to send out to keep teachers informed. For example, last week I had a 7am meeting on Wednesday and a 4-7:30 pm meeting on Thursday and I've had to field many calls and emails to stay on top of things. It's hard to fit in a workout around 12 hour days.

Week two of school was a little better, I started to get things under control and had a bit more energy.  I went for a run after work on Tuesday AND Thursday (yay me) this past week, but I did not do any of the other stuff I had been thinking about. This week is the week that I am hoping to add in the "other stuff". As usual, I am recording my goals and my plan here in my blog in a, hopefully not lame, attempt to make myself get stuff done.

Mojo, Where Are You?

If you listen to my podcast, you know I've been suffering for a distinct lack of mojo for the past month or so.  In fact, I really haven't been feeling I'm at the top of my game since my "A" race at the Oliver Half Iron last June.  Throughout the summer, I decided to kick back and relax and do my training and racing for fun instead of pushing for time goals. A minor foot injury in July kind of forced me into that frame of mind as I prepared for the San Francisco Half Marathon on July 31st, and it carried me through the summer until the Apple Sprint Triathlon on August 21. I found myself becoming something of a "Triathlon Funster" (to steal the title from my twitter friend, Dawne).

Funny thing is, I really enjoyed the "low-keyness" of this style of training and racing - less pressure, more fun.  But it also meant less fitness.  That part is a little more difficult for me to accept.  When I went low-key - riding when and how I feel like riding, swimming minimally only to prep for a race, but continuing to run 3 times a week (mostly 3 times a week, but sometimes only twice) - I found I lost some fitness, particularly on the bike. I guess I'm the only one who can decide if that's a big deal to me or not.

Running Goals

I've also be hashing and rehashing (is hashing a word?) my running goals all summer.  Originally I had hoped to do a full marathon October, although in the back of mind, I knew it would be a serious challenge to train for triathlons all summer as well as build up my long run for a fall marathon. After my sore foot injury and SF race, I decided to push the marathon goal back a month and see if a November race might be easier to attain.  But it wasn't. My running legs just weren't responding in the way I wanted, and my long runs were a big enough struggle that I couldn't seem to get past the 12km mark.  Eventually, I consoled myself with the plan to do a Spring marathon and to shelve all triathlon training throughout the winter, including preparing for the Oliver Half Iron (insert sad face) which is held in June, and just focus on core fitness, strength training, and running.  I will spin on the trainer and swim a little as cross training, but do nothing that will fatigue my legs.

Although I have not yet chosen a spring marathon, I have a few possibilities in mind.

* BMO Vancouver (the new course will be revealed in 2 weeks) May 6, 2012
* Elk Lake Trail Marathon (flat easy 4 loop course) in Victoria May 5, 2012
* Run for Water Marathon in Abbotsford, mostly flat - May 29, 2012 (later than I want)
* There's also a flat, marathon length race in Richmond on March 6 but I don't think I'd be ready that early.

In the meantime, I am planning to run my first 10k race on October 9, 2011 here in Kelowna. It's flat and I've never run a 10k race so it should be interesting. I'll be happy if I can break an hour.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this post. Tomorrow, I'm going to decide on my long and short term goals and how I plan to attain them.

Thanks for reading. :)