Saturday, August 20, 2005

Late Summer News

I want to start by noting that I seem to have some new readers. Cool! Welcome! I'm sorry my updates aren't more consistent, but I try to post at least once a week and more often when I have something to say above and beyond, "Went to the gym, went to the office, took a nap," etc. I figure no one really cares about what I had for breakfast, although I would be happy to email any fanatical readers with daily updates on that. (Hint: It usually involves yogurt, cereal and raisins.)

Tidbit also wants to say hello to all her new fans! She's been lazy lately, it being the dog days around here, but she has promised to pose for some new pictures this weekend. She sends a big hello to the friend who got in touch privately to inquire about her, although she's a little hesitant on the suggestion that she pose in a large soup kettle. I told her she could just think about it for now.

Work is hectic these days, since I'm trying to close the fiscal year. This week's big frustration was that I was given a quote for a huge furniture order on the last day to turn in such orders. I've wrangled us an extension, but I have reason to be concerned that the people who are supposed to sign off on this will have a lot of questions and issues that we won't resolve before I lose my window of opportunity. I can only hope my boss can secure the funds in the next fiscal year if that happens.

Even more frustrating, I had been asked to work on getting these quotes back in May. I had secured drawings and was on my way to getting quotes when the scope of the project was expanded and put under the direction of a guy who is becoming sort of a multi-department go-to guy for furniture and building projects. This suited me just fine because I have a lot of other things to do and it's always nice to put big projects into the hands of someone whose entire job is to handle such matters. But in spite of my repeated inquiries and entreaties, he managed to take all summer about getting us the information we needed to place the order. While I recognize that it wasn't entirely his fault, it is now entirely my problem and I'm not too happy about it.

Okay, sorry for the boring work stuff. On to the tri-related content!

It was a slow week, for the most part. I was tired, so I skipped a few morning workouts and an evening spin session. And I had to miss a morning swim workout because I didn't have an early person to open up the office. I got in a good interval session on the treadmill on Monday though, and I had a good spin session on Thursday. I have to remind myself sometimes that it's really okay to have a light training week. It really, really is!

In other tri-related news, I have new shoes! Okay, they're just a new pair of the same shoes I always wear-- Brooks Adrenaline size 8.5, but it was time for some new ones and it was fun to see all my friends at the running goods store. The last time I went in I saw no one I knew, but this time all my friends were there and I hung out for a good long while getting caught up.

On my way to pay for the shoes I noticed a display for Amino Vital and picked up a bottle just for the heck of it. I tried it on my run this morning (with a bit of added electrolytes) and I don't know if it was the new shoes, the new drink or a combination of the two, but I had a really good run, in spite of it feeling more hot and humid than recent mornings.

Well, at least it was a good run until my knee started giving me trouble.

But to back up a little...

I started my run on the bayou trail, which is my usual habit. My cottontail has been MIA for a few weeks but I saw a darker friend of his in the general vicinity. That was all I saw of wildlife, but as I neared the part where the trail passes under Memorial Drive, I noticed a sign near the foliage along the bayou. It announced that the area was an alligator habitat.

Uh... okay. Should I be concerned? I've never heard of any alligator problems in the area, although a couple years ago there was an incident where an alligator decided to hang out on a bike path closer to Memrial Park. I doubt the alligators around here are very big, but still... they are gators and they're probably radioactive mutant ones at that, given that they live in our nasty bayou.

So it would appear that I have some new wildlife to be on the lookout for!

I finished my little bayou loop without much incident. Then I decided to do a loop through River Oaks for the shade afforded by all the rich people's trees. I did six miles in River Oaks, which was where my right hip started cramping on me a bit. I didn't think much of it until I got back to the bayou trail and stopped for water. I tried to get moving again and found that the cramp in the hip had led to tightness in the IT band and nearby muscles. This was pulling on my knee in a very painful way. I hobbled to a nearby bench and tried to stretch it out, determined to finish this run because I was feeling so ridiculously good in every other way. I was able to trot along to Waugh Drive without too much pain, but as soon as I stopped to cross the street, the pain returned even worse than before. I tried again to stretch it out, but this time my body wasn't going for it.


I don't remember ever having to walk home injured from a long run, so I guess today was a first. Even walking was a struggle, so running was out of the question. Once I realized that the IT band and tendons around the knee weren't going to release just because I was now walking, I decided some creativity was in order. I always take a bandana with me on long runs because they're so useful. I can wipe sweat out of my eyes, wipe my nose, bandage a scraped and bloody knee-- all kinds of useful things! So now I fashioned it into a cho-pat strap by folding it into a narrow strip, tying it tightly at the level of my patellar tendon and inserting a small rock under the bandana, right on top of the tendon. This released the tension and allowed me to walk normally and almost without pain, otherwise I'd probably still be out there, dragging my stiff and painful leg the 1/4 mile home.

And of course you hard-core triathletes know what happened as soon as I had elminated the immediate pain with my little improvised strap.

Tri-Geek: Hey, this is great! Let's go finish that run!

Sensible Brain: Uh, no. We're walking home now.

Tri-Geek: Are you crazy? It's just three more miles!

Sensible Brain: And our body is being held together by a damp bandana and a rock. Forget it.

Tri-Geek: Wimp. When we get home we'll find our cho-pat strap, come back out and finish the run. Right?

Sensible Brain: (Looks at watch.) I don't think so. We might get injured and it'll probably take an hour to find the stupid cho-pat strap anyway, since the bedroom is organized by Packrat.

Tri-Geek: Well, how about tonight? We'll fix the hip and knee with some ice and massage, then go finish the run on the treadmill this evening. I can live with that.

Sensible Brain: Uh... how about we discuss that at home? Okay?

So I got home, iced, massaged, worked on some of the tight areas with my foam roller and a tennis ball and tonight I feel just fine except for the continuing nagging from my lower back and hips.

I was wondering what could be causing this when something from Shelley's blog made me slap my forehead in amazement at my own stupidity. You see, I have two pairs of bike shoes. I only use one regularly, the other pair I recently started using when I'm on the trainer. It was the "regular" shoes that I wore for my bike fitting. The cleats and clips were all positioned exactly for my needs. The newer shoes (duh) were never adjusted because I didn't think I liked them and I wasn't planning to use them. Then I changed my mind and started wearing them on the trainer, right around the time I had to start using the trainer for all my rides since I didn't have a ride partner. Hmm... using unadjsted shoes for a lot of intense sprint sessions on the bike. Gee, no potential for problems there, huh? It's kinda scary what dumb, obvious things we overlook sometimes while we're busy being so clever about everything else.

So tomorrow I'm going back to my other shoes on the bike until I can get in to see the bike fitter with my un-fitted shoes. Hopefully this will help with the hip and lower back problems. It sure won't hurt anything.

And that's about all for my workouts this week.

To the reader who inquired about my core workout, I have a lot of things I like, including:

* Basic crunches and reverse crunches
* Crunches on a stability ball
* Plank position-- one minute or longer at a time
* Cobra position (good for lower back)
* Pushups (surprisingly good for abs)
* Boxing moves with hand weights (upper cuts are especially good for abs)
* Various things with weights to work lats and back

I recommend Mark Verstegen's Core Performance, which includes a lot of the same things I do, plus others that I probably should be doing, but there are only so many hours in a day, you know.

Which leads me to the only other news around here. I've recently resumed working on a novel that I abandoned about a year ago. I've continued working on it in my head since then, but it seemed so hard to make the time to actually write anything down. Then on Monday I found out that there's at least one online novel that uses the same background setting I'm using. That can only mean that some print books will follow in a year or two and I need to quit dilly-dallying. It's so rare for me to have a fiction idea that has market potential that I'd really be screwing myself out of an opportunity if I didn't run with this. So I've committed to writing a page or two a day, no matter what. I found this to be good policy on my other two, wholly unmarketable, novels and I'm sure it will work this time, too.

And that's the news from around here.

Tid pix coming soon!

Recent Workouts
Last Sunday: 2.5 hour bike-- 30 min Cyclerobx video, 1 hour CTS Climbing video, 1 hour Spinervals 2.0 Time Trial Special
Monday: 45 minute core and upper body, 5 mile run-- ladder drills on treadmill
Tuesday: 1200 meter swim, 1 mile run (brick), lats and abs
Wednesday: 45 minute core and upper body, 45 minute elliptical
Thursday: 45 minute bike- Spinervals 4.0 Muscle Breakdown
Friday: Rest Day and way too much food
Saturday: 13 mile run, cut short from planned 16


Bearette24 said...

Thanks for the core advice! I already do plank, cobra and yoga pushups, but I've never held the plank pose for a minute or more ;) I have naturally strong legs - wish my core was the same. I like the idea of upper cuts.

Chris said...

Ugh. It always pains me to hear about people complaining about their IT band pains. I had issues with mine for months last off-season. I cringe at the thought of it flaring up again. :/ I'm glad that it was seemingly better the day after, though!

Bearette24 said...

I didn't know what an IT band was, so I did a search and found the following website.

They have a strap you can use...maybe you have one already...but worth checking out:

Wil said...

Wow, so many things to comment on!

First, yikes and ouch about the ITB - take care of that one. I've heard that those support straps actually work wonders.

Second, a book!? AWESOME! Details please!

Third, the core training - I have to check out your stuff, I really want to start hitting that hard. Starting with getting back to yoga, etc. but I need something to give it more kick.