Thursday, February 26, 2009

Facing the Facts

Sorry for the long delay, but I've been very very sick for the last two weeks or so. I had a sore throat for about two weeks, lost my voice entirely for 3 days, and took another 3 or 4 days to get something froggy back to "my" voice. I had a high fever for nearly a week - and was delirious to the point where I was trying to convince J to turn the heat on in the house because I could see the steam raising off my arms, and feel the steam raising under the blankets. I probably don't need to tell you that it was 75 degrees in the house, and there was no steam - though I clearly remember seeing it. I also woke up in the middle of the night after my first out of body experience - which I don't actually remember the out of body part, I just remember God slamming my soul back into my body with a ping pong paddle. None to gently, I might add. I'm fairly certain he's not a fan of mine. By the way, this story got out at my doctor's office, and was the big talk at the water cooler - the girl who's soul got slammed into her body with a ping pong paddle by God. Good stuff.

I'm sure my blog posts would have been very interesting during this sick period, but I decided to spare you the delusional talk. I haven't been to the gym since February 10th. I feel like a complete bum, and yet at the same time I still do not feel particularly well. This is part of a larger problem for me, so I'm going to pound it out here, and Maybe I'll have a better idea of what to do.

I've alluded to the fact that I'm not a particularly healthy person anymore. I did it to myself after I dieted excessively. I lifted and did cardio and didn't eat for about 6 months to the point of complete exhaustion and a severe case of mono that I've never really recovered from. I slept for 8 straight solid weeks - and I mean 23+ hours a day every day for 8 weeks. When I woke up after 8 weeks, the big challenge was to try to talk to the mailbox and back and taking less than a 3 hour recovery nap. It was bad.

When I started running, I immediately put the same intense (insane?) workout mentality towards my workouts - and immediately got sick, followed by injured, followed by sick, injured, sick, injured, etc. To this day, my 5K PR is from the Summer Series Race where I had a stress fracture in my leg, and ran the whole way. Some would call it determined, some would call it idiocy. I'm not sure which one I call it.

Once I finally admitted defeat to the stress fracture, I read "The Courage to Start" by John "the Pengiun" Bingham, and it really helped me reshape my attitude with regards to training. I should ENJOY what I'm doing - wow, novel concept. I should work towards goals for me, not based on what someone else can do. I should never ever ever ever ever do something today that is going to keep me from running tomorrow. These are the things that stuck with me.

AS I mentioned, 2008 was a real success for me. Although I made mistakes with my training (not running outside in the heat, not enough hill work, etc) I did not over-train, and I had an injury-free and healthy year, which I'm very proud of. I even trained for the 1/2, and had no injuries or issues - minus the nueroma in my toe, which is really not something that I did "wrong"- it's just the shape of my foot.

2009 has started out a completely different story.

I started with the taper for Chang's. I knew that my body needed recovery, but it just felt like a bad way to start out the year, you know? Everyone and their mom is starting healthy habits, and I'm actually stopping my healthy habits. Just seemed somehow wrong. If you asked me I would tell you that it was necessary, but deep down, I didn't like it.

I did the race. It was great! I couldn't have asked anything more of myself, and I'm super proud of it. I walked like John Wayne for the rest of the day, but after a massage I actually felt really well. The next day I went to NJ. I allotted 10 days for recovery, but I felt so well that after 7 I decided to start my Tri season. I went one day, and I got sick. Surprised? I actually was. I'm a moron.

Was it the fact that I had shocked my body with the 1/2, and should have taken more time off? Was it the sub-zero degree temps in NJ? Was it being in a germ infested center/airplane/airport? I have no idea. I immediately rested, and recovered pretty quickly.

I started Tri training Part 2. I felt REALLY good. Like I was bumping up the treadmill time because it just didn't feel right enough until I was up to 6.0+. This lasted for about 4 days before I went to Seattle, where it was snowy and very Snow Falling on Cedars like. I had plans to run in Seattle (the gym at the Embassy Suites there stinks) on my favorite trail, but we were putting in long days, and I decided not to push myself - especially with the weather thing, and oh by the way, my boss had been in the hospital with the cold he got from NJ, so I didn't want to lower immune tolerance with a run in the cold.

I came home from Seattle on Valentin'es Day and woke up with that same sore throat. I didn't go to the gym, but I did go to the gem and mineral show with my mom, in Tucson. By about noontime, I started feeling sick, then the fever came, and I spent the afternoon in the car. Fever, fever, fever, sore throat, dry hacking bloody cough, loss of voice, dr's appt, TB test negative, command to not speak for 24 hours, loss of voice, sore throat, cough, cough, cough, all of a sudden it's Wednesday of this week. I'm not kidding, that's how it felt.

So now I'm feeling "normal", but at night I'm still coughing up a lung, as well as whenever I try to talk for an extended period of time. But I want to go back to the gym, because Lilac has been working out this whole time without me and I feel like a bum friend. I've also been out of the gym for almost 3 weeks. I feel like I need to get my life back in order. At some point I have to be "over the cold". However, J and Lilac both vociferously protested my attempt to go to the gym on Wednesday (note: J has been sick twice with me during this period and continued to go to the gym the entire time). Their reasoning is that I am just "not healthy" and I need to take more time to recover. Like another week. Another week?! I basically missed the entire month of February. The entire month!!!

The thing is, I don't like people I love telling me that I'm just "not healthy". What do you mean I'm not healthy? I just ran a 1/2 marathon. I ran 22 races last year. I bike, I swim. I'm outdoorsy. Yes, I could eat better, but I'm afraid of eating "healthy" all the time, because I quickly fall into the trap of cutting cutting cutting until there's no calories left to eat! Plus I'm lactose intolerant, so except for the chocolate, I eat fairly well. Even the pretzels are because I am "required" to eat additional salt because of my low blood pressure. I have never smoked, done drugs, and I don't drink. I like M&M's for pete's sake. It's not like I eat more than a handful or two a day! I'm HEALTHY!!!

I feel like saying I'm not "healthy" is the same as saying I'm soft, or I'm overweight, or I'm not dedicated, or I'm a bum.
I'm not soft -I'm tough!
I am overweight, but really skinny only got me incredibly sick for the last... 4 years or so. If I had never tried to be skinny would I be struggling with my health so much now? I'm fairly certain I would not be. I was always robustly healthy.
I'm dedicated - but I'm fearful that with the travel I'm expected to do this year that I won't be able to stay healthy and train consistently.

What is the right answer? What is the question??! Should I have taken more time after the 1/2? Probably, but I really felt fine. Can I just not tell if I feel good? Am I capable of being healthy? Do I have to set my expectations lower? Do I need to take better care of myself?

Maybe this blog didn't help clarify anything for my right now, but maybe I'll be able to look back at it and there will be dawning comprehension. For now I'll just reiterate to myself that my first goal is to be healthy (whatever that means) and my second goal is to be consistent.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

First Week Back

So my official first week back has felt pretty good overall. I wonder now if I should have given myself the full 10 days recovery before I started back up and if that would have prevented me from getting sick, but since I was feeling poorly after just a short swim, I doubt it.

The nice thing about this first week is that it has been mentally manageable, and nothing that ached or hurt or seemed too tough. I need some of that while I build back up. I can conclusively say that my body came off of the 1/2 marathon in great working condition and without any noticeable injuries. For me, that is a huge accomplishment. It's actually more important to me to have remained healthy while training for a challenge than it is to complete the challenge. I KNOW I can finish something - no one can stop my bull-headedness, but can I be Smart? That's a little tougher. I can officially call the 1/2 a success and move on.

Tri for the Cure is my next focus. It's a 400m pool swim, 8 mile bike, and 2.25 mile run - which finishes at the track of Chandler High School, which is pretty interesting. My goal is to push hard on this one - and get in 1:20 or under. (10, 40, 30)

I signed up on Friday, so now I am officially in. I think the swim will be pretty easy - if only because it's 1 by 1, and it's in a pool. It will be the easiest swim of my season, I can say that. I'd really like to work on my speed for the bike a little. I don't think I'm going to be passing a lot of speed racers, especially on my mountain bike, but I would like to get the bike done in under 40 minutes. I think it's possible. Hopefully my new stationary sprint/stand up work will assist with this. The run is the run. I will continue to get outside once a week to run, and hopefully that makes the difference in my race comfort level.

The hardest thing is going to be maintaining my consistency because I see some heavy travel in my future. I need to be able to get some work done wherever I am, as long as it is smart work (like no running with only 4 hours of sleep) and not at the detriment of my health (I'm talking about you swollen legs and feet from flying).

And since I'm home today, I'm going to go run three easy loops of the Bike Park. Happy Weekend!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I've been sick since Wednesday. I finally got that cold that everyone's had for the last six months or so. My dad told me he just got over it, and he's had it since Christmas. It's February 1. I blame Cake, who is a person. When she and her hubby Tiger came out, she started talking about this tickle in her throat that she just couldn't get rid of. Since she's 6 mo pregnant, no one really paid any attention to it.

So Wednesday, exactly 10 days after my first 1/2 marathon I started my 2009 Tri training. I had given myself two weeks of recovery, but I really felt completely fine, and I was itching to get in the gym (and I had eaten so many desserts with Cake and Tiger came out - Tiger has a serious sweet tooth - that I was convinced that I was back in the 180's).

Ironically, my first practice was a pool swim. It's been quite awhile since I swam - like almost 2 full months. Don't let me fool you, I was more than a little scared that although I really needed the mental break, that I was going to get in the pool and forget how to swim altogether. Because of this, I had a plan. I was going to start with the Terry Laughlin drills. Backfloat, sweet spot, and sweet spot with my hand out front.

It felt pretty good. There were so many people in the pool that I had to go to the other indoor pool, which was fine, since I was just drilling. The secret is that the other pool is significantly warmer than the lane pool. I know this because halfway through my 30 min swim, everyone left, so I hopped into the lane pool. Regardless, I was pleased overall. It felt good to be in the water. No headaches, and I had actually only put on 2 lbs - which is nothing when you look at what I've been eating the last 10 days. 173 is a fairly good starting point for the season.

Wednesday night, I started feeling a tickle in my throat. Did I think it was Cake's tickle? No, didn't even cross my mind. I thought it was from the chlorine in the pool. Really I thought nothing of it, until J came home and told me he had a tickle in HIS throat. Oh no. J never ever ever gets sick, so when we have the same symptoms it's not good news. Still, I tried to ignore it.

Thursday morning, I was super excited because Lilac finally got her gym membership, and we were meeting to do our first brick workout. So I ignored the fact that my throat was really really sore. We got settled, we did 45 minutes at level 5, with a 30 second sprint/30 second heavy stand up on alternating 5's. I have to tell you, the standing up and peddling is not that easy. I can stand up, but I don't think I've ever tried to do anything but coast while I'm standing. I think it's going to do good things for me though.

We then went to the treadies to do 10 minutes of sprints and cool down. For someone who hasn't run for 10 days, my legs felt pretty weak sauce. 5.2 was a real struggle, and it shouldn't have been. I now know the answer. It was the cold.

After I left the gym, my health rapidly deteriorated. Unending snot. The cough started Friday morning, and it needs to be mentioned here that I had a final interview on Friday morning, so I couldn't take any cold medicine, which leaves me drooling and asleep, even if it's the daytime stuff. I cancelled on Lilac on Day 2. Sheesh. At 10, my 11:00 interview got moved to 3:30, and I started praying that I would make it to the interview.

I got the job! You're reading the blog of the new HQ CS Ops Strategy Manager. Go me! We were so thrilled that we decided to go out to dinner. I got in the shower, and as I was putting on my final touches, I called J and we decided to celebrate when we felt better. :)

Saturday morning, J goes to the gym and goes house shopping. I cancelled my biking date with Lilac and slept. I slept until about 11. Then I took a nap at 2. I did nothing by lay down all day, and I went to bed at 6.

I slept until 7 this morning, and I feel much better. I still see a nap in my future this morning, and I decided to give myself one more day before I go to the gym. It should be noted that J went to the gym again this morning, and he's still coughing up a lung. Meanwhile, he told me I should relax today because I "have a tendency to break down" 1+1=3.

Regardless, once I kick this cold, I'm looking forward to getting back to a regular routine!