Category Archives: Triathlon

Back on Track?

After spending the better chunk of the past three months not doing anything aside from physical therapy, I am slowly getting back on track. Or on treadmill, as it were.

My PT has cautioned me that I probably “shouldn’t” be running, but my doctor is fine with it. His words were “well, you CAN, but you won’t like it.”

He is right. I CAN run, but I DO NOT LIKE IT. I was given the go-ahead to run on the treadmill (I KNOW!), with strict instructions to watch my form and footstrike and to stop immediately if my knee starts to give me pain. With those two things in mind, I went to the gym on Monday and got on the treadmill.

Initially, I had intended to walk and not run, just to get my body moving and get back into the swing of being sweaty. But after about 7 minutes I decided to give running a shot, so I increased the speed. At first, my left knee was a little stiff and resistant, which caused a strange, stompy limp shuffle, but I focused on form, and gradually brought it into line. The pain eventually subsided (or dulled or numbed or something – whatever it was, it wasn’t actively hurting).

The weird thing was that my boobs decided to go a COMPLETELY different direction than the rest of my body. Perhaps whatever weight I’d gained during my downtime went straight to the ladies, but I think it’s more that my bras are starting to stretch out. Either way, it was disconcerting and incredibly annoying until I figured out which direction my shoulders should be shimmying and then the ladies fell into a more manageable rhythm.

All those years I wished for bigger boobs? Now I’ve got ’em, and I don’t want ’em.

My run/walk pattern is this: 5-minute walk to warm up, then 2 minutes of jogging (I don’t think we can *quite* call it running just yet) followed by 3 minutes of walking. Later, rinse, repeat until 2 miles. NO MORE THAN 2 MILES, because I think that is juuuuuuust about the limit right now.

Monday’s run felt good. Great, even. I got home and immediately iced up both knees and threw back some Tylenol. Then I stretched. Then I stretched some more. Felt fine walking over to the school to pick Jillian up, then I stretched some more. Iced the knees later that evening, took more Tylenol before bed, and everything was just fine.

Tuesday morning I was feeling amazing, but that always happens. I wake up feeling loose and not sore at all, then as the day goes on I get more and more decrepit and creaky. I’m backwards like that. Knees felt fine-ish, and I’ve been babying them and icing them and stretching like a mofo.

Wednesday was a no-go, because there was a party up at the school. On the other hand, having two days off might be a good thing for the time being. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I can run EVERY day, but I definitely need to step it up to more than twice a week, eventually.

So yesterday was another gym day, and I pretty much did the same thing I did on Monday. Somewhere along the line, I messed up either food or hydration and was running on VERY heavy legs, which is not my favorite thing. Plus, I was feeling the Chub Rub and that was irritating me and taking me out of my good headspace. But I ran/walked my two miles and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

My knees were very unhappy this morning, but I’ve got the left one braced and will likely spend the afternoon iced up. I might even go a little crazy and throw some Ben-Gay on there, but I am out of the unscented kind and old dudes hit on me enough as it is – I don’t think I need to basically wave a geriatric-friendly flag at them. I did go out at 5 AM with the dog and felt okay, but I should probably rest more today than I have been.

Anyway, I feel like I’m eventually going to get there. I am essentially starting from scratch AGAIN, and I’m trying to keep that from getting me down, but it’s hard. I don’t think I am going to be quite ready for a triathlon in 2013, but I still have 2014 to go if I want to make my before-40 goal. That is a distant, hazy possibility, but it IS a possibility. Jillian will be in day camp for most of July, which means I will be able to take classes at the gym (like Pilates and Boot Camp and other core-work things), then come September, she’ll be in school all day, thus erasing all my excuses and reasons why not. I am looking forward to it.

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After a few false starts and a whole bunch of yelling about the insurance, I finally started physical therapy for my knee(s). The arthritis is a thing, yes, but the main issue is my lack of core strength, which is no surprise to me at all. I know full well I have a weak core!

I have a series of exercises I’m to do, twice a day in addition to whatever else I would normally do at the gym. I have carte blanche to hit the elliptical as much as I want, which is good news because without that, I don’t really have any cardio options.


I’m also not allowed to do squats or lunges (the PT said lunges are terrible for you) or anything that will put stress on my knees above and beyond a normal day of doing shit. I am also supposed to pay very close attention to how I stand when I’m just standing around somewhere. I have a terrible tendency to shift my weight to one side which is bad bad bad so I have to focus on keeping my weight square on both feet. IT FEELS SO WEIRD.

So that’s where we are. I am still going to put in my application for the NYC marathon, because I have 6 months to build up to it and even if I walk the whole fucking thing, I should be able to finish it well within the time frame of 8.5 hours. That’ll be fun.


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A Single Step

I went to the doctor last Monday to discuss my MRI results. As we figured, it’s arthritis under my patella, which means I have a few options.

Option 1: Physical Therapy. Not what I was hoping (I am notoriously bad at following through on such things), but it’s definitely the most reasonable option at the moment. I will likely start that after next week, which is Jillian’s spring break. I’m to do PT for a month and then head to the doctor again to see what’s happening there.

Option 2: Surgery. While my “fix it now” bones are tickled by this option, it’s not terribly practical, due to the recovery time and all that jazz. Also, if I’m going to do it, I might as well do both knees at once (but that will mean going through the whole x-ray/MRI process on my right knee as well). It’s also fairly expensive, and while insurance will likely pick up quite a bit of it, our insurance sucks ass and it will be quite the fight to get them to pay on time.

Option 3: Honestly, this is where I tuned out a bit because he said “injection” and my brain just refuses to even go there. Apparently, there is a procedure wherein they take some fat from your body and do some voodoo to it and inject it into the knee. Errrrr, um. No. It’s not covered by insurance and isn’t a long-term solution anyway.

So… physical therapy it is! The doctor thinks that some PT to work on getting my leg muscles to do what they’re supposed to do and some weight loss (WORKING ON IT, SHEESH) will help this problem of mine be more manageable. Because it’s not exactly going away.


So here we are at Zero. Starting from scratch, essentially, since I haven’t been allowed to run for nearly four months. It’s daunting, the thought of how much work I will have to do to reach these goals I’ve set for myself. Hell, the amount of work I will need to do to simply get withing SIGHT of the goals is a little overwhelming when I think about it.

I won’t think about it.

I will set tiny goals.

Tiny Goal #1: Go to physical therapy.

Tiny Goal #2: Continue with cardio training on the elliptical and spin bike.

Tiny Goal #3: [depending on PT restrictions] more weight training

Tiny Goal #4: Continue and improve eating habits. I’m not doing too badly at the moment but there is room for improvement.

Tiny Goal #5: End-of-May 5K.


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My next doctor appointment is March 26th. That is when he will say “yep, you have arthritis in both knees. Here’s what we can do about it.”

I really hope he doesn’t say “never run again” because that would mean a serious overhaul of my goals. And then I would be sad. My hope is that there will be a combination of drugs and physical therapy (if needed) and maybe a recommendation of new/different shoes that I can try to help minimize the pain and prevent further damage.

Granted, arthritis is what it is and it’s not going away, exactly, but if I can slow it down, I will be a happy lady.

So. Once that appointment is out of the way, I will put in for the NYC Marathon. There is no way in hell I will be in any kind of shape to RUN the stupid thing this November, but chances are I could walk it fairly successfully. IF I am cleared to start running, then the plan is to go extremely slow and increase time/distance at a ridiculously low rate. Sigh.

Still. I have to fit 140.6 miles into 17 hours. Swimming is coming along and will improve as soon as I get a coach (I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW), and then the only major thing left is to acquire a bike and start riding it. Which means I have to get myself to the bike shop and get measured so I can start shopping and working it into the budget. Even if I end up walking half of the marathon portion (looks likely), I think I can do it. If I can do the swim in under two hours (reasonable), then the bike in 6 or 6.5 (reasonable), I still have about 8-ish hours to drag my ass through a marathon.

Lucky for me, I’ve got time on my side. I have 3 years to go before I turn 40, so even if I don’t do an Ironman in 2013, there is still 2014 open to me. I have time. Better yet, in the fall, The Jillian will be in school full-time so even my “I don’t have enough non-kid time to train” excuse will be gone. That is an almost unheard-of luxury in this day and age and I am determined to take full advantage of it. I will have 7 full hours available to me, 5 days a week. If I don’t use that time for training, then someone needs to come over and smack me upside the head.

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I keep going.

I love you, elliptical machine!

It wasn’t always like this, mind you. Once upon a time, I was going to Be A Runner, Dammit. Uh, yeah. First my bad ankles decided they were against this plan. Then I got shinsplints. Then I got shinsplints again. AND THEN I got shinsplints SO BAD my doctor told me he would personally cripple me if I stepped on a treadmill again, ever.


I am/have been cleared to walk, but… walking? That’s like, old-lady shit. And while I have hearing aids, and knitting problem, and two different kinds of arthritis, I’m still only 36! And… I want to run. I actually have the urge and desire to RUN. It’s really scary.

But I can’t, not at the moment. Until we get this arthritis business under control, I’m only allowed to walk real fast and maybe jog in place (which for some very odd and strange fucked-up reason, does not hurt my knees AT ALL) and ride bikes (hahahahahaha balance issues, what?) and get on the elliptical machine.

Which I LOVE.


I remember the first couple tries on that stupid fucking thing. I hated it. I wanted to cry. I put it on the “weight-loss” setting because that’s intervals and yay intervals and I thought I was going to D.I.E. It was so hard. I was a sweaty jelly mess when that 31 minutes was up and it SUCKED. Balls. Also, my feet were numb. I haven’t completely solved that problem, but it’s not as bad as it was.

Then I did it again the next day. And as I was dripping grody sweat onto the Precor logo, I thought about the things and people who inspire me. Lance Armstrong, for one. Yeah, it’s overdone and he’s kind of a tool, but you cannot deny what that guy has overcome. He had something like 12 different kinds of cancer all over his body, yet he survived and won the Tour de France seven goddamn times. I don’t care who you are, that’s fucking badass and you cannot deny that.

(blahblah doping blahblah maybe he did and maybe he didn’t but I’d like to think that he knows full well the kind of spotlight he lives in and that he is clean also he’s hot and I would totally hit that)

Matt Long. Now, THIS GUY is some kind of ninja. He got his by A BUS and DRAGGED half a block or whatever and the doctors were all “um, you’ll never walk again” and his response to that was “fuck you people, I’m going to RUN again, and what’s more, I’m going to run a goddamned marathon.” Matt Long is a stud.

There are others, but those are the two that keep me moving. When I really just don’t even want to leave the house to go to the gym, I think of those guys and I go. When I get to the gym and think about HOW LONG 30 minutes is, I keep going. When I’m in the middle of it and thinking “ugh, this sucks hairy donkey balls” I turn up the resistance. I keep going. I keep going. I keep going.

I keep going.

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Ugh, I hate this fucking thing sometimes. Yes, blog. I’m ignoring you.

Anyway, I haven’t yet called the doctor to discuss my MRI results (because I owed them money that I just didn’t have until the US Government handed over the excess tax $$ I’ve been letting them hold onto), but the scribbles on the bottom of the “please call us” sheet point to arthritis in my knee.

It stands to reason that my other knee is in an earlier stage of the same thing because the pain there is similar though not quite so acute. Matter of time, though. Matter of time.

Getting old sucks balls.

I also have a touch of arthritis in the pinky finger of my left hand, but that’s something might be left over from the summer of 1992 and the Magical Mystery Disease I had back then. My hands have never again been quite right. I can ignore that for the most part, however.

The knee thing, though… I’m concerned about that. I am sure there are lots of fun things like drugs and physical therapy that will help me in the short term, but I’m looking at an Ironman here, and just thinking about the amount of work I will have to do is making my knees cry. I’m going to have to really plan and work closely with my doctor to get through this thing in one piece. Ack.

Right now I’m suffering from a motivation problem. At best I am managing to get to the gym 3 days a week, but it’s not enough. The weather has been up and down, so run/walking outside is more or less up to a coin toss, and even then, I have to be careful not to let my hands or feet get too cold because I am prone to frostbite even when it’s not super-cold out (thanks, marching band!). I AM A MESS.

I need new shoes. But I want to talk to the doctor about that first – if going to a minimal shoe will work for me, then I want to try that before I shell out for another pair of Asics Gel Nimbus, which have served me well. Maybe I need to change up my form – I already know that if I change it up so I’m landing more on my forefoot than on my heel things will improve, but THAT IS SO DAMN HARD TO DO. I feel like the fattest, slowest gazelle in the jungle when I try to run that way and it feels UNNATURAL which is going to be a problem over time, I think. I suppose I could get used to it eventually but I look like a goddamn loon when I’m doing it.

That doesn’t usually bother me, though. I could give a shit what I look like when I’m moving through space. As long as all my jiggly bits are decently covered and my underwear isn’t crawling up my ass, I am oblivious to the picture I paint as I run. It’s probably pretty hilarious, though.

I’m also a little worried about my support system. I don’t think Freddie is up to the challenge, to be quite honest. He *says* he is, and I’m sure he *thinks* he is, but he has NO IDEA what it takes to support a triathlete through training and racing. I DO. I’ve done it for three Ironman races and quite a few smaller races. It’s hard goddamned work, actually. Yes, yes, doing an Ironman isn’t exactly a leisurely stroll. I know that. But being the support crew… that’s something else again.

I’m curious as to how many triathletes have ever had to support a spouse or whatever during that person’s training. At one point, Freddie was under the impression that he’d train for an Ironman while I’m training for mine, and I just laughed because then what? We’d have to hire a nanny and a housekeeper and a cook because I will NOT be able to do it all every day. I will die of exhaustion first. So, I’m concerned. If he thinks he’s going to be able to work full-time AND train for his own race AND support ME in MY TRAINING, he is on some serious drugs.

I’m sure there are families out there who can do it, but I don’t think my family is one of them.

That’s not going to stop me, though. I am very good at putting my foot down and getting my way in this household. There are plenty of things that I compromise on or let go, but this isn’t going to be one of them.

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Uphill swim

I swam 500 meters today. An Ironman swim is roughly 3870 meters. I have so much work to do.

I’m trying. It’s hard to get out of this mindset of “I used to be able to do this easily” and remind myself that, yeah, TWENTY GODDAMN YEARS AGO, this was easy and I did it all the time. I also ate nothing but Little Debbie snack cakes and drank nothing but Diet Coke, so.

My mind has got to catch up to where my body is.

That will happen, eventually. Once I got over the horror of how LARGE my swimsuit is (per necessity – I could rock a string bikini with no problem, but not at the Y), I relaxed in the pool and was able to get it done.

One thing I forgot is just how ravenous swimming makes me. I was starving when I finished. That’s a good thing, though. A good feeling.

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Where’s Dorian Gray?

My MRI results have come back, and while I can’t decipher the handwriting completely, it appears that I have a bit of arthritis under my kneecap. It stands to reason that my right knee is having the same issue – the pain is similar but not nearly as acute as it is on the left side.


I had a feeling it would be something like this, because on the evening of my MRI, I was checking myself out in the mirror and I found my first grey hair (on my head, AHEM). I might have had it for years, but this is the first time in a LONG time that my natural hair color has grown out enough to make the grey ones stand out. Wheeeeeeeee! I’m already mostly deaf, and now there’s arthritis and grey hair! What’s next, a sudden urge for rice pudding?

I knew that there wouldn’t be any kind of panacea for this, but a cursory look around the internet tells me that there is not a whole lot that I CAN do. Most of what I read was “well, there are activities that will aggravate you knees. Stop doing them. They include walking, running, stairs, lunges, and squats.” ALL THINGS I NEED TO DO. I also read a lot of “lose some weight, fatty.”


So there’s that. I am only mostly disgruntled about it (instead of completely disgruntled) because I am about to turn 37 and shit starts falling off of people, you know? My knees have NEVER been good, so this is just the next step in my alarmingly rapid degeneration into an elderly woman. I already drink a lot of tea and am a shawl enthusiast, you see.

However. There are things that need to get done, namely this Ironman quest I have set for myself (just because I’m elderly doesn’t mean I’m SANE, you know). Which means I am going to have to learn to be best friends with painkillers and ice packs. JOY.

I haven’t been to the doctor yet to discuss my options. I’m guessing surgery is probably out, and I’m sure there will be things available like physical therapy and drugs, so we’ll see what happens there. In the meantime, I suppose I should locate my razor, address the yeti situation on my body, and hop in the pool.

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Oh, woe is me

I’ve said it before, but my life is pretty fucking awesome. So it stands to reason that my “problems” are tiny and small compared to some.

Today’s issue is a humblebrag. Actually, scratch that – I do brag, but I am not ever humble. It’s not in my nature and is a waste of time, actually. Today’s issue is more of a This Is A Thing That I Have Noticed.

And here it is. I have a long torso. I usually don’t mind, but it does cause some problems with shirts always being just a little too short (coupled with my long arms, it makes buying tops problematic). Because of all the working out I’ve been doing, I have a rather nice ass to show for it. Add those two things together and put low-rise pants on me, and I AM AN UNHAPPY CAMPER.

It’s my fault that I didn’t notice these particular workout pants were low-rise. I usually do pay better attention, but they were on sale! So now I’m all pissed at them because they’re comfortable except for the fact that I can’t pull them up nearly enough to not be indecent. Thank goodness for long-length t-shirts, eh?

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Two Days Later

I finally got around to googling a decent pedometer hack for Google maps and discovered that the distance from my front door to my turnaround point pretty much exactly 6 miles. So that means my pace was exactly 4 mi/hr, which is not too bad for a walking pace. I could probably do some race-walking and speed that up, but for sustainability, 4.0 isn’t a problem. I can do that all day. That’s very good news.

I’ve pointed out before that I am backwards when it comes to recovery. Most people wake up feeling sore and achy and get better as they go through their day. Not I, sweetiepie. I wake up feeling great and get worse as the day goes on, even if I am doing active rest and stretching. Magic, is what I am.

Yesterday followed that pattern pretty well. I woke up feeling pretty good, and even went so far as to put workout clothes on, but as the day progressed, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be walking anywhere. Sigh. Stretching was about the best I could do.

Today is shaping up to be a similar situation. Bleh. Normally, I would go out there and walk that route again but I can’t today because Jillian doesn’t have school and there’s no way she’s going to do six miles! So we will probably bust out Just Dance for the Wii. I have to keep myself moving or all the muscles will seize up and I won’t be able to do anything!

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