Weekly Update: The Story So Far

  • I finally purchased a bike.  2 weeks and $2,000+ later, I purchased a Scott CR-1 Team from Get A Grip Cycles.  I took the bike out for a few rides and had to get used to the clip pedals.  It takes pride to fall flat on my ass on Chicago Avenue in the middle of a busy street.   While it scared me initially and I stayed off the streets for awhile, I’ve learned to not fall, even though my courage to ride Chicago’s city streets on a bike isn’t up there yet.  Maybe I’ll get a steel frame bike for that.
  • I ran 57:08 at the Shamrock Shuffle 8k.  It was an unusually warm day compared to normal Chicago weather around March.  I had met up with my Chiropractor and received KTape on my left knee.  Also Pre-Race I got super stretched out by David Hardin and ran the race with no problems.  For a cold start and no training runs since last years Marathon, I felt fantastic and started looking forward to this years training season.
  • I nailed down the majority of my race schedule, which eliminated a few races and added others.  I have a full training plan up till my Rev3Tri Half-Ironman in September.  This is all thanks to Kimberly Shah at njoy Racing, whom I look forward to getting to know better as time goes on
  • I ran for redemption at the Race for Wrigley 5k.  Pulled out my best official 5k time to date at 31:26.   Even better? I capped my Heart Rate to 180 bpm and was able to sprint towards the finish.  Although my official time was about an hour because I started late, my runkeeper that day had me at about 41 minutes, which sounds about right.  I think I would have beat 27 minutes if I didn’t have to walk part of the race.   The race also seemed less staffed and very minimal camaraderie, but I digress.
  • Pulled an unofficial 35:10 the next week at the Sherryl Gaptka 5k in Lisle.  This was a new race and I wasn’t going for time, but I was able to yet again sprint at the end.  I had adjusted my run walk strategy to correspond with my heart rate.
  • My Triathlon Training Started (with nJoy) about three weeks ago, and while I’m trying to learn the ropes, I signed up with Chicago Endurance Sports half-ironman training.  This was so I have access to a coached swim, and I have options for workouts in case meetups with nJoy don’t work all that well.  That and Chicago Triathlon Club also has outings (I think mostly biking) as well.   The Triathlon Training has me working out 6 days a week.  Which is tougher than I thought.
  • Strength Training with David Hardin is the best decision I had ever made.  Not only does my body look fantastic after years of feeling ashamed, but it has improved all three sports as well.  I’m closer to the endurance-building phase with David, as the workouts are closer to not leaving me begging for mercy.  I puked for the first and hopefully only time in the Gym.  I’ve heard of this happening before, but experiencing it is quite different.
  • My first bike ride was fantastic. It was at Train Chicago Studios, found out that my Time Trial output is at 112 watts.  I was able to bike the entire time, only spinning for about a minute during the entire exercise, which shocked me.  I was also at 160 bpm as well after a stern warning from my coach.
  • My first swim however, was not so well.  I think that I have lost all memory of how to swim, because I distinctly remember being a fish, and finding excuses to be in the pool during the summers of my youth.  Heck, I remember diving to the bottom of the deep end of the pool to pick up weights, no problem.  However, all that has gone away and I can’t even move forward with a freestyle stroke.  So, this is the challenge before any of the other triathlons post Bigfoot.  At the Bigfoot Triathlon I can walk along the bottom so it’s not so bad, but I know that 70.3 will probably be in deeper water.

Doing things the right way – Part 1

*my spine, circa 2008.

What’s interesting to me is there is some semblance of a debate on health and nutrition when it comes to this sport.   In retrospect on my training, I really wish I had focused on this, because it would have saved my legs from the Chicago Marathon.  My thing is, there is a reason why science and medical advances exist.  There are experts out there who have done this before, so why not consult them?

There is also the notion of insurance, which is always tricky.  I’d prefer to have everything on record so that I don’t die prematurely.  But I digress, some have recommended to me to find a way to find out everything without involving an insurance company.  On top of this, I’m sure that most doctors far and wide will lean away from anyone participating in long distance sports, but I digress.

One of the main reasons why I keep up with my health is because I have a plethora of ailments to which I have to pay attention to.   Mind you however, the worst of all these symptoms (asthma, insomnia in particular) actually got better the more I trained.  I never felt better than I did in my life almost two weeks before the Chicago Marathon.

As part of my training this year, I recruited various members of the health and wellness community.    Their expressed purpose is for peak performance during my training and racing this year.  Thankfully, most of these people are my friends that I’ve developed relationships over the years, and I finally get to use their services.

To start, I met with Dr. Michael Rosen, who practices out of West Loop Chiropractic here in Chicago.   I attended the clinic before for a back issue, but I never got a chance to see him for any of my training.   I chalk it up to being extremely busy during the summer, but I should have made time.    After a short re-acquaintance, I mentioned that I did the marathon last year, and what ‘injuries’ I had sustained during so.

Thankfully, I made the right call.   For starters, I run with orthotics in my shoes, which I received last year from Dr. Rosen.  I attribute having them to keeping my gait neutral and my heels from not hurting like hell.   It always surprises me during informal gait analysis clinics how many runners have shoes to compensate for an imbalance someplace.    What I didn’t realize however was that while my gait is neutral, the rest of my body was compensating for an imbalance someplace else.

It was somewhat awkward discussing my eventual knee X-rays, but the bottom line is that I need to get an MRI.  Dr. Rosen stopped short of telling me that my endurance career is over before it started, but he did make some good remarks.  Along with one of my trainers, David Hardin, also mentioned the same hopeful good news.   I definitely have an ‘instability’ issue, and I have to focus on rehabbing (or pre-habbing in this case) my knees for the next 3 weeks or so.   I know that I’ve had tight hip flexors and quads, and regulary have IT band issues in the past.   From both Dr. Rosen and Dave, once I get in the swing of things, this will help all of that.

In the meantime, I have to put the brakes on my upcoming plans for the ING Miami Marathon and the Austin Half-Marathon.     Which sucks, but I’d prefer to come back stronger and ready to go.  In the meantime, I signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle, which I may later regret. . but I need to do something to jumpstart the sping.