Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bama Triathlon - Relay Time!

It's early season for triathlon. I have a lot of friends who are already racing this season. My first race is still 3 weeks away. But last weekend I decided to compete in the inaugural Bama a relay!!

A few months ago I talked to a couple of the good people that I've met since moving to Tuscaloosa, asked them if there is ever a triathlon that is close by if they would be interested in doing a relay with me! Charlie Wolbach rides with the Druid City Bike Club - he is a great cyclist. He has pulled me back up to the group on many rides when I've been dropped off the back. I have to work to stay on his wheel when he is riding hard. I thought he would be perfect for the relay.

Ann Besanceney and I worked together at Wagner's RunWalk. Ann is an amazing runner - an All American from Michigan State in Steeplechase. When Ann runs, think gazelle! She is also the first friend that I made in Tuscaloosa, she has a good heart, a kind heart.

This is a super sprint race, actually I would consider it a runner's race. Short 400 yard swim, 11 mile bike, and the run ended up being 3.6 miles. It's a pool swim.... ahem, if you've ever read any of my other posts about pool swim triathlons you'll know that I'm really not a fan. Sunday, we were really lucky that the timer sent us off at way more than the 10 seconds that was advertised. She let the person get to the end of the lane (25 yards) before she sent the next person off. If not the swim would have been a hot mess. 

On the registration they asked us to submit a 100 meter swim time. Initially, the race was going to be held in the 50 meter pool, but a swim meet was scheduled for the same weekend, bad race planning. Typically people submit a very "optimistic" swim time. I used a swim calculator conversion since I swim in a short course yard pool. Entered a 1:27 per 100 meter time. Now, I can swim one 100 meter freestyle way faster than that, but I was basing it on what I believed I would hold for the entire 400. Obviously I was one of the only ones who did this. Long story short, I was about the 15-16th person in line and had the 5th fastest swim split. The guy in front of me, Blake caught and passed the person in front of him, and I caught her about 10 yards from the swim finish. My friend Margaret caught two people who were seeded in front of her. She had the 3rd fastest overall swim! What did I tell you, hot mess!

My recommendation for next year for the race director - have people submit a 400 yard (or meter) time. 

T1 - Usually when there are relays they have them rack together. There are going to be two other people in transition, and having the relays somewhere so that we're not in the other athletes way is a good idea. There was a tiny rack, that would hold 4 bikes, and I asked the RD if that is where he wanted us to rack, but he said just to rack the bike anywhere. 

My recommendation for next year - if the racks are not assigned, still have the relays rack together out of the way of the other athletes, so they don't get in the way.

Before the race started we were given a piece of velcro to stick to our disposable neoprene ankle chip. It wouldn't stick. So I stapled one end of the velcro to the end of the neoprene, you could still get it off but the whole thing came apart when we tried to take it off to put on Charlie's ankle. We ended up just stuffing it in his back jersey pocket. I saw Dani (a friend doing another relay) running to her team carrying her timing strap, I think it had come off completely in the water - they duct taped it from then on. There has to be a better way for the timing chips for the relays.

There is a fast triathlete in Tuscaloosa named Wilson. When I told Wilson that I was doing a relay, he said "I won't catch you on the swim, but I'll just have to catch Charlie on the bike". Of course we couldn't let that happen! And Charlie delivered! Wilson out split him, but never caught him! Oh... and Charlie was on his road bike, not a time trial bike. He had a fantastic ride! 

My recommendation about the bike course - Move the Mount/Dismount line to the road as opposed to the edge of the parking lot so the athletes can see it. We saw one girl endo on her bike as she came in to T2 because she didn't see the line. A MOUNT/ DISMOUNT sign would be a good idea, and more volunteers on the bike course, too. Charlie missed a turn because no one was directing people at a corner.

We handed Ann the timing chip, and she headed out onto the run course. I was excited to see her run, so I'd told her I was going to try and head out onto the course to cheer her on to the finish. I saw her coming down Hackberry, the last long stretch before the turn to the finish. She was flying! I cut across a big parking lot diagonal to see her finish (think Pythagorean Theorem) and had to sprint as hard as I could and barely made it to see her go by! Man that woman can run!

We had a great day! Both Charlie and Ann were amazing! Would I do another relay? With friends like that, you bet! 

Oh... and yes, we beat Wilson. 

Next up for me, Lake Guntersville Tri! See you at the races!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why I Became A Swim Coach

Why did I become a swimming coach? That's an easy one, Coach Steve Panzram.

Coach Steve with his
Crawfish Aquatics Team.
I grew up swimming in our back yard pool in southern California, trying to imitate my Dad. He swam when he was in high school, back in 1944 or 1945. I remember seeing the 8mm film of us in the pool, my Dad swimming laps, breathing to the side, swimming breaststroke and backstroke. I wish I still had those films.

I joined a swim team way back in 1978 when I was a junior in high school. My school didn't have a year round team, but 11 miles away in Ocean Springs, MS there was a YMCA team - the OSY Sea Serpents. There was a co-worker of my Dad whose kids swam on the team, and we thought it would be something I might like. The team was on their 2 week break after State, so I went to the pool every day until practice started back. The coach told me to try and work up to swimming 20 lengths - a 500. I did that and remember very clearly my first practice, the coach told us to warm up with a 400 IM. That's a 400 individual medley - or 100 of each stroke - fly, backstroke, breastroke, and freestyle. I'd never done one stroke of butterfly in my life but I got in the lane and did my best.

Throughout the two years that I swam with the team the coach never once gave me any technique pointers, or told me what I was doing right, or wrong. I learned by watching the other swimmers in the lane next to me, and tried to copy the faster people. I made it to state my first year, swam on two relays and the 100 backstroke, and 100 breastroke, all by learning on my own.

When I got older and started racing triathlons I joined masters swim practices. In Jackson, it was just a group of us that would get together and swim. In Baton Rouge I joined Crawfish Masters, coached by Scott Rabalais. Still no one ever helped me. Just swimming what they said and trying to keep up.

I moved to Dallas and joined DAM, Dallas Aquatic Masters. This is Jim Montgomery's program. Here I finally had a coach tell me something. Bobby Patten told me, "Ginger, we don't swim looking forward anymore, look a the bottom of the pool and let the water hit you in the middle of the top of your head." And one of the other coaches told me... "When you take your first pull off the wall, use the hand that is on the bottom."

That's it. That was the extent of the coaching I received in 30 years of swimming.

Then in 2010 we moved to Hattiesburg, MS, and I started swimming with the HubFin Masters. I was told that I would like Coach Steve. I think it was either the first or second practise that he told me, "I'm going to completely change your freestyle." During the year or so that Steve coached me he did completely change my stroke, he focuses on technique. I went from 24 strokes per length to 17. Got much faster, and did it using a lot less energy, learned a ton of drills, and why they improve your swimming. I finally got to experience really being coached. Someone that wanted me to get better, get faster. A coach that cared.

Swimming in the Mississippi State Games.

A time came when he needed a new assistant coach, he asked if I would be interested. Of course! An opportunity to work with an amazing Head Coach, and learn from one of the best coaches out there. Unfortunately Steve left shortly after I joined the staff for Nevada, but I will never be able to thank him enough for the opportunity. To this day, I stay in contact with him, mostly to ask questions about swimming, he responds immediately.

Last Day with the HubFins

If you haven't noticed by now I have an incredible passion for swimming. When we moved from Hattiesburg to Shreveport, Steve reached out to Butch Jordan, the Head Coach of COSST - The City of Shreveport Swim Team.

At COSST I got to work with JV1 and JV2,  the 11 and unders. I had the best experience there, the kids soaked up the information I gave them. Every single one of them will never be forgotten. I have memories that will last a lifetime. I got to work with a coaching staff that all have the same goals, we were all on the same page, it was a dream job.

COSST Coaches
I've told others before that being a swim coach is the only part time job that feels like a serious career. As a swim coach, or any coach for that matter, you're not just helping them to athletes to be better in their sport, you have an opportunity to teach them so much more. Teach them about respect, and integrity. Teach them about hard work, and the pay off they get from their efforts. Teach them about teamwork, and about being a team.

I'm not coaching here in Tuscaloosa, it just didn't work out with the local team. I miss it daily. I miss the kids.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hot Water Swimming

The pool at UA has been closed for 10 days for Spring Break. I went to one of the Para pools in town on Monday to get in some yardage. It was a nice pool but super warm. There is a time clock on the wall but the second hand is missing... ugh. There is a regular little clock on the wall with a second hand so I squinted and used it to time the intervals.

I wasn't planning to go back, but then Mary Jo messaged me and asked if I was swimming on Wednesday, so I agreed to swim again at the same pool. This time the water was even hotter! We ended up getting in 2500 yards, mostly by a big set of 50's doing IM change, then a kick set so we could keep our faces out of the water.

It got me thinking about racing in the summer in the South. The temperature of the water we race in is sometimes in the upper 80's. It never occurred to me until that morning about my slower swim times in those races.... hello..... Anyone else ever thought about that? I have always contributed my slower times at some races to poor navigation. But now I have a real excuse! Haha!

I know there is a chart for running that I've seen that tells you how much your times suffer with different air and humidity temperatures. I wonder if there is something like this for open water racing?

At any rate, I didn't go back on Friday to cook myself in that pool. Tomorrow the pool at the Aquatic Center on campus is back open! 

The University of Alabama triathletes are putting on a tri on April 10th. The BAMA TRI. It's a 400 meter pool swim (bleh), 12.4 mile bike, 5K run. I recruited a couple people that I've met here in Tuscaloosa to do a relay with me! Charlie Wolbach, one of the guys who rides with the Druid City Bike Club is going to be the cyclist, he is an fast cyclist and will be using my ITU clip on aerobars. Ann Besanceney, who I used to work with at the running store will be running - Ann was an All-American runner from Michigan State. This should be fun! My first relay - will let you know how it goes!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Trail Running - Tashka

The Tuscaloosa area has some beautiful lakes! There was a flyer up at Wagner's for a trail race to be held at Lake Lurleen, so I decided to do my once a year trail run and sign up!

The Tashka Trail 50K & 25K was on January 16th. The official name was the Nicholas Wilson Memorial - this was the 7th year for the race. Initially the race started as a way to give back to the community, preserving the memory of Nicholas Wilson, a little boy who passed away in 2008. As the years have passed the race has raised over $35,000 for different children's needs. This years beneficiary is the Tuscaloosa Children's Theater, and Kid One Transport.

A couple weeks before, Bill and I drove up to the lake to see where it was located. Definitely a plus for race morning - to know where you are going. It was really foggy the morning of the race, but there was hardly anyone on the road so I got to the race much faster than I though I would. Parked the car facing the lake and sat and watched the sun come up.

The 50K, and 25K started at 7:00 am. It was pretty chilly out, people kept telling me that "last year it was much colder." Have you ever noticed that when we are at a loss for words talking to a stranger that the weather becomes a typical topic of conversation? Honestly I don't really care that it was colder or hotter in previous years. It has nothing to do with the race today. It is what it is.

Race tip: Check the weather, plan to dress accordingly.

I raced the 4 mile - it was an out and back to on the Lakeside Trail. I worried a bit about the return trip and congestion on the trail, but it was a needless worry. Failed to look at the application where it says they cap the 4 miler at 30 people. The race director announced that he had blown off the first mile of the trail of all the leaves, and pine needles, so that all the roots and rocks were exposed. Nice!

Oh, this is interesting, just before the race I saw one of the guys who works at Wagner's. He said one thing to me that really helped for this race. Just a small comment that I shouldn't have any problem at this race. Meaning he knew the women's competition that were there. Funny how one small thing like that can completely change your confidence level, as well as race plan. I was planning on running hard, but being new to the area, I have no idea of who is who. So it made me run even harder, hoping that maybe I could win this thing.

The race started, two men went off in front and I was behind them. For a little while I worried that it was going to be like The Trail Run that I did last year in Shreveport. I had some trouble there getting around a couple men in front of me. But the two at Tashka quickly sped up and I didn't see them again. I heard a woman talking behind me as we first started, and resisted the temptation to look back and see where she was until we made a sweeping turn and I could just look sideways to see who was behind. At that point there was no one that in sight. I raced hard to the turnaround - funny how in trail running, you feel like you are pushing so hard and going so fast, only to look at your Garmin and see 9:30 pace. Haha!

At about 2 miles my left calf started hurting, and then it moved up to my glute, so once I got a about a half mile from the finish, I backed off and ran easy. An interesting observation in the days after the race was just how sore my calves were. In thinking about it (yes, I analyze everything), it does make sense. The majority of time I was up on my toes, either climbing between rocks, and roots, or descending between them. You have to kind of pick your way around them, and most of the time there isn't room for a full foot plant. I can see where regular trail running would be so good for all those little muscles in your lower leg. It would add a lot of lateral strength - the foot is constantly adjusting for the imperfect ground. It was a great workout. I should really do more trail running. Maybe I can get Bill interested so he can go with me!

Back to the race - I didn't pass anyone, and didn't get passed by anyone. Finished 3rd Overall, and was the first woman. When I crossed the finish line the RD handed me my award and that was it. The 4 miler awarded only first male, and first female. So there were no results to tabulate. Got my award, walked back to the car, took a few photos, and a selfie and then drove home. Had to be at work at 11:00. A post race nap would have been nice, but not today.

Next up on my schedule is the Masters Swim Meet in Auburn on February 13th! I've been swimming a lot. This week 6 days. I'm pretty tired, hopefully when I back off the yardage a few days before the meet I'll snap back. But my birthday is just before the meet, and I want to do a Birthday Swim! I finally decided what I'm going to do, just haven't picked the exact day for it. Don't want to do it too close to the meet.

Birthday Swim 5500 yards = 55 x 100

10 x 100 @1:40 warm up
9 x 100  @ 1:40 pull
8 x 100  @ 1:45 25 stroke / 75 free IM order
7 x 100  @ 1:40 25 back / 75 free
6 x 100  @ 1:45 negative split
5 x 100  @ 1:40 25 breast / 75 free
4 x 100  @ 1:45 descend 1-4
3 x 100  @ 1:40 25 fly / 75 free
2 x 100  swim down
1 x 100 kick

And since I'll be swimming for the Crimson Tide Masters in the meet at Auburn, I got this! What do you think?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Birthday Swim

It's kind of a tradition to swim your age in yards on your birthday, skipped it the past couple years, need to get back into the habit. I'm turning 55 in February, so I think I'll do a 55 x 100 Birthday Swim to celebrate... celebrate? Punishment for some is fun for others!

Here is what I'm planning to do:

10 x 100 w.u. @1:45
20 x 100 @ 1:40
10 x 100 @ 1:35
10 x 100 pull @ 1:30
5 x 100 c.d. @ 1:45

Piece of cake, right! Unfortunately I don't think I can convince anyone else to swim this workout with me so I may be going solo. Any takers in Tuscaloosa??

There is a masters swim meet in February in Auburn, too! I think I'll go swim a few events. The plan so far is to swim the 1,650 free, 100 IM, 100 back, 50 fly, and hopefully the 200 Mixed Free Relay on Saturday. There are several other swimmers from the Crimson Tide Masters who are going and I think we can put together a relay. Not sure yet if I will go back and swim Sunday, too. If I do I'm thinking I'll swim the 500 free, 50 breast,  and maybe the 200 IM. There is the Mixed Medley Relay that day too, we shall see!

The last meet I swam was in 2012 when I was living in Hattiesburg. Here is a link to the post I wrote back then about the meet: Living The Tri Life - Hitting The Red Line.

Short post. Later gators!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tri Race Recap 2015

What a year...

Bunch of adventures this year. I had a pretty decent triathlon season. Seemed like a lot of 5th overall finishes. Here is a brief recap:

April - WikiWiki Man. 12th Overall Female, 1st AG. Totally sub-par performance in my first race of the season. I had a really bad upper respiratory infection and my training had been pretty pathetic. Even though the doc didn't test for it, I'm pretty sure it was walking pneumonia (Bill had it.) Oh well, brush it off and move on.

Wiki Wiki!

June - Indian Creek Tri. 5th Overall Female, 1st Grandmasters. Felt better at this race, it was supposed to be a trail run, but there had been so much rain in the days leading up to the race that it was changed back to the same run as prior years. Had a really good swim, 4th fastest female swim!

August - River Cities Tri. 11th Overall Female, 1st Grandmasters. My all time favorite race. Exactly the same overall place as the year before... This was the 35th anniversary for RC, and Dave Scott was in town for the race. I went to his clinic on Friday morning - all kinds of great information. One of the best parts for me was the swim portion of the clinic where I found out that what I teach/preach was pretty spot on with what he told us. Great little core session where I knew/discovered how out of shape I am in that respect. All of us that participated were sore for the race in our glutes, hamstrings, and abs, probably didn't hurt my race, but it may have.

River Cities.

August - Lake DeGray Tri. 5th Overall Female, 1st Masters. Talk about hilly! Bill and I went up for this race, brought the kayak. Bill cruised in the water during the swim and even helped out a couple swimmers that needed a little break. I had the 3rd fastest women's swim split, only being beat by a couple teenagers who were swimmers! Only two  men beat my swim time, too. During the summer months I swam with the COSST Varsity kids - it made a nice difference in my swim. The bike course was super hilly, and the run started up a hill. Definitely the most challenging course that I've done in a long time, maybe ever.

Uphill start, downhill finish at DeGray Lake.

September - Rose City Tri. 5th Overall Female, 1st Masters. My second time to do this race, it was good to know the bike course a little better than last year. Lots of quick up and downhills, and turns out of the hills. Decent race, nothing spectacular. My run wasn't anywhere near what I did last year. I could tell that this entire season just didn't have the snap as last year when I was prepping for Worlds. That's okay, I think this next year will be better. The best part of this race was that it is in Tyler, TX. Home of Cobb Cycling, and the Cobb Mobb. Lots of teammates out for this one, it makes a race so much better when you get to see people you know all over the course. We were out in force!

*So one funny thing that happened at this race... I was goofing around in the water before my wave started. Leaped up like a dolphin and lost my goggles... my wave started in just a couple minutes. Debated for a moment about just swimming without them, and then thought better of that. Raced out of the water, sprinted to my transition bag where I keep a spare pair of goggles (I always have one smoke pair, and one clear pair in my bag to use depending on the weather. Cloudy - clear. Sunny - smoke). People got out of the way quickly as I blew by them to my bag. So... tip of the post - keep spare goggles, just in case, in your transition bag. And put it at the edge of the transition area so you can access it even after the race has started!)

Bill captured this picture - the move that lost my goggles!

Cobb Mobb out in force at Rose City!

I had one more race scheduled for September, the Meat Pie Tri. Last year was the fiasco of not making a turn on the bike course, getting a flat, and having to hitch back to transition. I was hoping for a redemption race but something major came up.

Big time major. We moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the end of September. It's been quite a new transition. So far things are going okay. I joined the Druid City Bike Club and have been on a few of their rides. For the most part there are some nice people in the group, and I've been lucky enough to meet the "core" group, who are welcoming and friendly. I would like to get a new road bike, it is so hilly here!
First ride with the DRBC.

I've been swimming at the University, they have an amazing pool. I met one of the Masters Swim Coaches, Ed Reed. He's been really nice, and I've even done a few workouts with him when he happened to be at the pool at the same time. I'm going to join the Crimson Tide Masters, as a matter of fact, I'm going to my first practice with them tomorrow morning.

Started working at the local run specialty store, Wagner's RunWalk a couple weeks ago. It's a lot smaller than Sportspectrum, but the other employees have been really great, and it's good to continue working in this field. I really love helping the runners that come in for shoes. I do have to say, the training that I got working at Sportspectrum has made this transition really easy.

Ran a local Turkey Trot earlier in the month. Wagner's puts on 2 mile race in the same shopping center where the store is located. I won the women's division. Went out a too hard with the first mile at a 7:20, but managed to hold on for the win. That was definitely a fun way to start off the racing scene here. Your entry also paid for your annual Tuscaloosa Track Club membership - bonus!

1st Overall Female!

I've already signed up for 5 triathlons for next year! Need that carrot of motivation to keep me honest over the winter. Here is my 2016 Schedule so far:

May 7 - Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, AL. 
May 21 - Mountain Lakes Tri, Guntersville, AL.
June 11 - Buster Britton Tri, Pelham, AL.
July 9 - Sunfish Tri, Meridian, MS.
July 16 - Capital of Dreams Tri, Montgomery AL.
July 24 - Music City Tri, Nashville TN.
August 7 - River Cities Tri, Shreveport, AL.

Maybe I will see some of you at these new (for me) races! 

Prelim on USAT Rankings Triathlon 2015:
National:  132 / 1347 in AG. All American - just snuck into the bracket!  
Regional:  9th / 143 in AG. 
State:        2nd / 19 in AG. 

National:  20th / 103 in AG.
Regional:  2nd / 7 in AG.
State:        1st / 3 in AG.

Moving into a new age group next year,  55-59 - sheesh, I'm getting old!! 

Here are a few photos from the season!

Cobb Mobb Girls at Rose City.

Rose City coming into T2.

Rose City run start.

DeGray Lake run finish.

DeGray Lake bike finish.

DeGray Lake swim.

WikiWiki Cobb Mobb Goofy Pic!

River Cities. That's all folks!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Summer 5Ks

Okay, let's see if I can get through a quick post and get the ball rolling on keeping this blog a little more up to date!

It's fall, the time for running! Looking forward to finding some local races in Tuscaloosa.

I ran three 5k's this past summer. The New Balance Uptown Run, Mudbug Madness, and the Firecracker 5k. All three were Sportspectrum races, all three were great races. Sportspectrum never fails at putting on quality races, whether it be a local 5k, or the famous River Cities Triathlon!

I had a pretty bad upper respiratory infection in late spring and it took a long time to get over it. I raced the New Balance Uptown Run mostly for fun. Ran it in my Hoka One One shoes instead of the Saucony Kinvaras just to keep the speed more reasonable. Decent race, won my age group even running at a controlled somewhat easy pace. It was hilly. Finished in 23:54 / 7:43 pace. Here is a link for the Sky Pixel LA drone video! Very cool, take a few minutes to watch it!!!

Next up was the Mudbug Madness 5k. Now this one was fun! One of my swimmers was running it and I decided to run with Harrisen. He rode over from the pool with me to the race. His little sister Evangeline, and their mom were coming to the race a little later. What a fun experience, I will never forget how hard this little guy ran, and how much heart he put into the race. Let me tell you, he is 9 years old. Ran 25:55, an 8:22 pace! Yeah... lets see, when I was 9 I never would have dreamed of running 3 miles! H won his age group! I was 2nd in mine. Here is the link for the Sky Pixel LA video of this race! At one point you can see Evangeline holding up a sign that says Go Harrisen and Coach Ginger! Will never forget this one!


My last 5k of the summer was the Firecracker! Third time to run this one. Sportspectrum has been putting on this race for 31 years! So awesome! Firecracker doesn't do age group awards. It is a run for the MUG! The coveted, treasured Firecracker mug!! The top (if I remember correctly) 100 men and 75 women get a mug! I finished 50th among the women 23:50, nothing stellar but got my third Firecracker mug! Sky Pixel LA Firecracker video! What a great way to celebrate our nation!

Next blog post will be on the triathlons that I did this past summer. Slowly but surely I'll get caught up!

Want to close this post with this photo of Evangeline running her first 5k. Harrisen had already finished and went back out to run her in to the finish. Great kiddos! Is this not one of the best pictures?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Keep Me Posted!

I received a message on my last post from Kelly about my lack of attention to  my blog... I am guilty!
I've got a bunch of posts to write! Be on the lookout!

- Mudbug Madness 5K

- Indian Creek Tri Race Report

- Dave Scott Clinic

- River Cities Tri Race Report

- Lake DeGray Tri Race Report

- Rose City Tri Race Report

- Moving to Tuscaloosa!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Dreaded Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis - that ugly monster that rares it's head and makes your foot miserable. I can't tell you the number of people who come into Sportspectrum (running specialty store) where I work complaining about their foot pain.

"Plantar fasciitis (also known as plantar fasciopathy or jogger's heel) is a common painful disorder affecting the heel and underside of the foot. It is a disorder of the insertion site of ligament on the bone and is characterized by scarring, inflammation, or structural breakdown of the foot's plantar fascia. It is often caused by overuse injury of the plantar fascia, increases in exercise, weight, or age." - Wikipeida 

The thing that amazes me is just how long most of them have been suffering with PF and it's pain. "I've had this for 2 years, it's chronic". Some of them tell me that they have a custom orthotic from their podiatrist. Beyond that there are only a very few who are doing any thing else to recover from this injury. I don't know how they do it... living with that kind of pain for so long.

"If your first few steps out of bed in the morning cause severe pain in the heel of your foot, you may have plantar fasciitis (fashee-EYE-tiss), an overuse injury that affects the sole of the foot. A diagnosis of plantar fasciitis means you have inflamed the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes."

"You're more likely to develop the condition if you're female, overweight or have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces. You're also at risk if you walk or run for exercise, especially if you have tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles. People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis." - American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

I've had bouts of plantar fasciitis over the years. The quicker you do something about it the sooner you can get through it. The Internet is filled with great information and videos on self treatment of PF, "New Techniques for Treating Plantar Fasciitis" is just one of many good ones that I have found. It frustrates me that most of them have not taken the time to find out anything about what they can personally do to treat the pain, and most of them can't even pronounce it properly. I sit with them and explain that in order to recover from this they have to be pro-active. Wearing a "custom orthotic" is rarely going to fix the problem. Pretty much without fail after giving them a list of things to do and "not do" I get the wide eyed response of "I had no idea.......". Now, how many go home and actually put anything I've told them into action is another thing altogether. Sometimes it's easier to just complain about something than rather do something about it.

So just what do I tell them to do? Well here is a list:
  1. NEVER walk barefoot. You must keep support of the fascia all the time. This even means when you get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom you must put on some kind of supportive shoe or sandal. (This always gets me the look of are you kidding me?). 
  2. Stretch your calf muscle before taking one step out of bed. Put a hand towel by the side of your bed and stretch your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles prior to standing up. The gastrocnemius is stretched by pulling your toes back with the towel wrapped around the forefoot with your knee straight. The soleus is stretched with the knee slightly bent. Here is a great blog post that I found: "A Little Soleus Stretch Goes a Long Way!" by Allyson Sunderman, DPT.
  3. Body work on your lower leg. This may be by using a foam roller, or actually putting your hands on you leg and doing some deep tissue massage. Concentrate on the soleus muscle more than the gastrocnemius. The soleus is exposed below the gastroc, use cross fiber work on it to spread out the muscle and allow for increased blood flow into the muscle. You can also get to the belly of the soleus, you'll have to brace your fingers together, and work in between the heads of the gastrocnemius. In this picture I have weight on my foot (I had to prop up the camera), you will want to work on your leg with it non-weight bearing. Dig around and you will find a very tender spot, the trigger point, work on this in a cross fiber direction for 6-8 strokes in about a 1 inch size, then leave it alone and go back several times during the day and repeat. You will find that each time you go back and work on it there will be less tenderness. 
  4. Body work on your foot. Don't forget to do some work on the bottom of your foot itself. A simple way to do this is with a little hard rubber ball on the floor under your desk. Some people recommend a golf ball, but you want something with a little flex in it. 
  5. Taping. This is what I personally do immediately when I feel any hints of PF. I use Rock Tape H2O, I've tried several other brands but this one stays adhered much better and lasts longer. Taping you arch will hold the fascia up and allow it to heal and not get re-stretched with every step. Here is a Rock Tape video with instructions on taping for Plantar Fasciitis.
  6. Arch sleeves. There are products on the market that are compression arch sleeves, I know that Feetures makes one. I've used these before and had moderate success, you can't wear them in the shower, and I've found that it really doesn't do as good a job as the taping.
Catching this early and doing some self treatment will help you tremendously in your recovery of PF and not allow it to become a chronic problem. Waiting until you've been hobbling around for weeks "hoping" that with just a little rest and time off of training will make it go away is not going to work.

I hope this sheds some light on this common problem with runners and non-runners. Good luck and keep training! See you at the races!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wiki Wiki Man

Ugh Wiki Wiki Man....

I got sick back in February and missed a ton of workouts. It wasn't flu, it wasn't strep, but my husband came down with walking pneumonia about 3 weeks after I got sick. Our doc didn't test me for that but I have been coughing for over 2 months now.

I almost bailed on the race this weekend.

Bogey, our younger Golden had surgery on Thursday to remove a mass from his left front leg. When the doc did the initial aspiration he said there were all kinds of cells in there, some of which looked like mast cells. I wasn't sure if I wanted to leave him, but he's bounced back like he didn't have anything done. Now we just have to wait for the results from pathology.

My being sick and then The Bogue's surgery. It was a last minute decision to go race. And as it turns out, not a great one at that.

66 degree water, so I took the full sleeve wetsuit. No issues in warm up - they gave us a few minutes between the time the last wave of the Olympic distance race went off and ours to get in the water. I swam 4 times since February, so I took the swim easy. It wasn't a great feeling seeing so many pink caps out in front of me in the water. I swam really easy so I wouldn't have one of my wetsuit panic attacks.

This is the race that I did last year that has an Olympic distance bike even for the Sprint race. Last year a storm came in and the wind was horrible, today was much better with just about an 8 mile South wind, which meant the last 4 miles were tailwind. 20.47 mph average.

Got off the bike to run and felt like I was walking. I remember even groaning out loud as I climbed the first hill. 24:04 was my split - if the distance was right that is a 7:45 pace. I'll bet it was short because I sure didn't feel like I was running that fast.

Managed to pull of a first in my age group. Completely out of the Masters category. 7th overall female for the Age Group race. Even though it sounds pretty good, it was really a pretty bad race.

The Cobb Mobb was out in force. Everyone that raced this morning placed!

By far the best part of today was seeing so many people from Dallas! Susie and her husband used to be my clients when I worked at the North Dallas Athletic Club. I ran with her when she was trying to qualify for the 100th Boston. (And yes, she did qualify!) One of the things we talked about was the bombing at Boston. She said when she was listening to the news the time that the bomb went off sounded familiar, and she checked her time from when she ran it.... exactly the same. Scary. 

Got to catch up with Ann and Stephanie too. The only time I ever see these girls is at a few races each year. It was nice to have a chance to visit with them.

I also got to see Amanda Melo, she was the Massage Therapist at the North Dallas Athletic Club when I first started working there back in 1992. I hadn't seen her in years either. Wish I had snapped a picture with her too. 

I have the Tri Tyler Sprint in two weeks...... better get busy with the training.....