This morning, while enjoying my beloved cuppa joe, I watched a video recap of the Ironman Canada race (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run) that was held this past weekend. A couple of my friends participated in this pinnacle of triathlon greatness, and I have to admit to getting pretty choked up while watching the inspirational highlights. Ten years ago, before the health issues, before the weight gain, before the bad knee diagnosis, I competed in triathlons. At that time, it was a someday goal for me to complete an Ironman event. I was not really surprised by the emotional pull I felt while watching my friends going through this process.
We spent the last six months at the gym with our training focused on the warrior race. Goal achieved, it is time to reassess and set new ones. I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with something that will inspire me to new athletic heights. My ladies have decided that they would like to improve their 5K race time. It is a reasonable goal. It is measurable and attainable. I think this is a great thing to strive toward. I have to say that in the gym, the ladies have been absolutely killing it! I even caught one of them doing extra pushups during a rest break. Seriously, they’re on fire!
Still searching for a new goal for myself, and inspired by my friends’ Ironman finishes, I got online and did a little searching. While it would certainly be a grand goal for me to go from zero to Ironman in one fell swoop, it appears that with age, I have been gifted with the unexpected voice of reason. I think a half Ironman is a fine goal to work towards. In May of 2014, there is a race. This race is a half-Ironman triathlon which consists of a 1.2 mile open water swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. I competed in this very race 10 years ago.
When I was living in my dark days, I never imagined that I would be able to once again contemplate something so immense. Looking to the future, I would love to compete in this event. You might think that for a former fatty with bad knees, that just competing would be enough, but I want more. I not only want to complete this event, but I want to beat my time from ten years ago. The biggest challenge in contemplating this event will be training for the swim. Winters here in North Central Washington State are cold, and the options for indoor swimming during the winter are severely limited, as in there is NO indoor public swimming pool locally. I am making inquiries, “anybody have an indoor pool where I can swim laps all winter?” There may be some options available. In any case, I don’t have to commit until January when sign-up for the event officially opens. It doesn’t hurt a girl to dream, and while I’m at it, I may as well dream big.
With renewed commitments to fitness, we have paid our gym fees and signed on for another course of action. During this new training session, my focus will be on improving our 5K race time, and getting ready for ski season.
10 minute elliptical
Jog 1/2 mile
Run 5K at the track as follows:
1 mile easy jog
1 mile race pace
1 lap easy
1 lap race pace
1 lap easy
1 lap race
1/2 lap easy
1/2 lap all out freaking sprint
100 1 1/4 squats
jog 1/2 mile back to gym
100 Leg Press x 150
100 Stiff Leg Deadlift x 30
100 Ass burners (each leg)
Kayak on the Okanogan
Tuesday morning’s workout was all about the legs. Lest my upper body get jealous and feel neglected, in the afternoon , we hopped into the kayak for a 10 mile paddle. We paddled five miles up river against the current and five back down river. I can scarcely believe that this is only my second year kayaking. I have come to really look forward to the active outdoor meditation. There is a special kind of peace and serenity of the river, and with the muscle fatigue that comes from thousands of paddle strokes, this is the perfect activity to help me escape from the worries of the day.
With the possibility of a triathlon on the horizon, I am really eager to begin ramping up my run distance. As I retired for the evening on Tuesday, I had visions of a long run and a new route dancing through my head. Unfortunately, I am constantly plagued with insomnia. After a rough night, when I was able to sleep in on Wednesday morning, I just went with it. I had been looking forward to a run which included a very long and hellaciously steep hill, but I decided to just get a bit more shut eye instead. The road will still be there later. It is not going anywhere anytime soon. Once I got up and greeted my day, a bit more sleep under my belt, I felt great! I got a bit of a late start, but I decided to head out for my run irregardless of the warming temperature outside. Once home, I realized that I had clocked a 7.5 mile run with significant hills, and other than dripping water like a faucet turned on high, I felt really good. With dreams of a multi sport event in my little head, in the afternoon, we headed for a local lake and a swim session. As I could always use work on my flutter kick, I opted to don my training fins. Kickboard in hand, I set out across the lake. Today, I used my longer fins. These fins slow down my kick speed quite a bit, but this is by design. Longer fins are used to focus on form, the slower kick speed lets me really focus on keeping my legs straight, kicking from the hips, and having a nice fluid motion. After being overheated on my run, the two miles I logged in the water saw my legs and feet cramping just a bit. Lucy….. we got some work to do!!!!
Warm up Elliptical 4 minute ladder
Superset x 5
10 Burpee Pushups
10 Cossack Bench Dips
10 Fitband Squat Rows
Sprint 100 yards, run stairs
Jog 100 yards, run stairs
Fit band partner resistance run x 100 yards
Jog back to gym
Superset x 3
Jumping pullups 21, 15, 9
Dumbell Thrusters 21, 15, 9
Superset x 3
Rear Deltoid Flye x 10
Alternating Dumbell Bicep Curl x 10
200 Meter Row
Reverse crunches x 30
In 2007, I had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a plica. While scoping my knee, the orthopedic surgeon discovered an impressive lack of cartilage. He performed microfracture surgery, which basically took a little awl and dug a bunch of grooves in the bone surfaces. The purpose of this was to generate scar tissue that would mimic cartilage. In addition, I had a series of shots of Synvisc or hyaluronan. I had one shot per week for 4 weeks. Apparently these shots have been shown to help reduce arthritis symptoms and delay the need for knee replacement surgery. However, I was told that the knee replacement was looming on my horizon.
So, here I am, six years later, relatively pain free, and I have to admit to having some fear regarding setting a goal that involves running. It is easy for me to say that, “well, I’ll just keep using my knees until they fail.” As I sit here, ramping up my daily running mileage, I worry that perhaps I am doing further damage, Will I regret the choices I am making now? It is a real concern for me.
That being said, I have gained back so much range of motion and pain free use of my joints through strength training. It is my belief that by strengthening the muscles that surround the impacted joints, I am minimizing the impact on the joint itself. I have to tell you, the proof is in the pudding. I never thought that I would be able to ski again, and yet, last ski season, I logged 71 days on the long boards!
I have seen so many people receive a diagnosis of severe arthritis and just give up. I’m not trying to say that joint damage is not real. I’m just trying to say that for me, until I am no longer able, I will fight. I will fight by facing my fear. I will fight by running, skiing, cycling, and swimming. I will not give in and seek the solace of the couch. So, yes, I have fear. While my fears might be based in reality, they are NOT reality. They are phantoms…. visions of what might be. Today, I will meet them head on, and it is my hope that perhaps my fears will be just a little bit afraid of me…
“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” Edward Vernon Rickenbacker