Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just Noticed the Lack of Noticing

I woke up this morning earlier than normal, although I’m very likely to go back to sleep still before waking up for the day. This probably wouldn’t have happened except that I have a bit of an upset stomach and I thought that I’d be able to see the end of the eclipse. Unfortunately, my tummy still hurts and I can’t find the moon. Admittedly, not being able to find the moon is a key element of an eclipse but still.... Definitely going back to bed as soon as the kitty decides to come back in from playing outside.

On the good side, noticing the discomfort lead me to notice something else. And what I’ve noticed is what I’m not noticing. And what I’m not noticing is pain in my lower back. With some on and off, I’ve had pain in my lower back since I hurt it in late 2008. However, lately I haven’t noticed any lower back pain. Not even today after an eight-hour shift at REI. I’ve been working on core strength and glute strength as well as having regular chiropractic ART treatments and, most recently, adding monthly massage. I’ve been doing yoga and pilates for additional strength and flexibility. But I think the key factor in making this go away is my almost nightly usage of Compex Active Recovery on my back. Think of it as having a strong massage every day. And, through the use of the electrodes, being able to target that massage exactly on the point that hurts. Very exactly.

Can’t wait to see how the lack of pain benefits my training in the new season. Very excited!!

Now off to either find the moon or at least the cat.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Compex is Going to Help Me Survive the Holidays!

I just finished the 2nd day of a 5 day straight stretch at work and my legs feel as beat up as if I just finished a tough race! I know that 5 days straight doesn’t seems like much to those of you who have regular jobs but I work part-time in retail and usually don’t work more than 3 days in a week and hardly ever more than 2 days in a row. However, with the holiday shopping season, I’ve been picking up more hours and this week I was scheduled Thursday through Monday - 8-hours on my feet each day for 5 straight days. I’ve also gone back to biking to work most days. It’s not far in terms of distance but it’s at least a little something additional each day.

I didn’t think much of this until I was walking the dog this morning after just one day of work. I noticed that my legs were a little sore and a little tired. However, midway through my shift at work today, I noticed that my legs hurt from my ankles through my quads. It didn’t get any better as the day went on! Now I’m finally home and hooked up to Compex Active Recovery on my quads and planning to use it on my shins and calves as well if I can stay awake long enough. I’m sure that tomorrow I’ll feel much better and I’ll survive the next two weeks until the end of the holiday shopping season thanks to Compex. And I really hope that one of the gifts Santa brings me this year is that new job I’m looking for so that by this time next year, I won’t be working in retail anymore!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Santa Shuffle 5K

I ran my first stand-alone 5K in ages today and, wow - did it hurt! The Santa Shuffle 5K was a first time 5K organized by a local running store to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I was looking for a 5K time to help me set my training paces - I figured that I should start training based on my current overweight, out-of-shape body. Then as I get back in shape and to my racing weight, I can update my training paces and have a sense of accomplishment as I track my improvement.

My hope for today was to be under 24 minutes for the 5K. I know it’s not a fast time, but I didn’t think I could achieve a fast time with the condition I’m in right now. Unfortunately, race conditions weren’t even favorable for that. First, the weather this morning was in the low 30s, with a windchill down to the 20s. I can plan and bundle up for cold weather but I have asthma and sometimes when it gets that cold, my lungs just don’t want to cooperate. Next, of course after feeling great for days, my knee started to hurt today. I tried to loosen up my quad by warming up before the run and stretching but it just didn’t seem like enough - probably because it was so cold. This is where I messed up - I should have packed my Compex this morning and used the warm-up program but I didn’t think of it (possibly because it’s been a while since I’ve had to leave the house at 6:30 for a race and I’m out of practice!). Finally, the course had a pretty significant hill. The course started off with a small downhill, then a flat, then another downhill for almost the rest of the first mile. It was an out and back course which meant that most of the last mile was going to be uphill. Great fun when I knew I’d be tired and hurting by that point.

I met some interesting people before the race. One guy was trying to hit around 7 minute miles after hurting his leg at a half-marathon in September. A young girl running with her father was hoping to run at under a 9 minute pace for the first time ever. (I saw both after the race: She just hit her goal, he just missed.) A lot of people were in holiday themed costumes - I saw plenty of elves and reindeer along with milk and cookies, a wrapped present, and a whole pack of M&Ms. Made me sad that I didn’t wear my elf hat but I did have my Compex hat on.

I didn’t hit my goal - missed it by about a minute - so I definitely have a lot of work to do over the winter. But at least I have a pace to use in setting my training zones. I usually hang around after races to cheer for other finishers and socialize but it was so cold (and I had to get to work) so I changed into my dry clothes then went to Starbucks for a tea. Results weren’t posted yet so I didn’t bother sticking around to see results because I was sure that I was too slow for any of the awards. However, I just found them online and I was 2nd in my age group - and less than 15 seconds back from 1st. I guess everyone was a little slower than normal in the cold. I’m a little sad because the store usually gives out pretty good age group awards at their races but maybe this means that there is more for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Found A Great Challenge For Compex

I had a very quiet Thanksgiving and was able to spend a lot of time watching the endurance event marathon on Universal Sports. While I didn’t watch any event all the way through, I saw parts of the 2005 through 2009 Ironman World Championships and the 2010 Boston, London, and New York Marathons. Really inspiring!!

As a result, I spent some time looking at my calendar and my planned races and online race schedules and found and registered for an event that I think is going to be a great challenge for the recovery powers of Compex. It’s the Ultra Challenge at the Gasparilla Distance Classic at the end of February. The Ultra Challenge involves running a 15K Saturday at 7:05 am, a 5K Saturday at 9:30 am, a half-marathon Sunday at 6:00 am, and then an 8K Sunday at 9:00 am. I know that to make this happen, not only am I going to have to do some really strong training between now and then, I’m also going to really call upon the recovery powers of Compex between each event.

I’ve also been lucky - my running is still getting better. My knee hasn’t hurt while running all week so I tried my first hard effort in a while today. I went to the track so that it would be easy on my knee and did a 6 minute pacing effort. Definitely not the pace that I usually run at that level of effort but it gives me a baseline and I can only improve from here!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, that your Turkey Trots went well, your food was yummy, and your family time fun!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's Training Achievements

I began reading Touch the Top of the World by Eric Weihenmayer. I am only a few chapters in but I think it’s going to be a great motivational read. First of all, just the prologue was amazing. Second, his talk at the USAT coaching seminar in February was the best keynote I’ve ever heard and learning more about his attitude - and hopefully incorporating the positive characteristics in my own life should be a great help as I take on new challenges for the new season.

My own personal training achievements today included attending yoga this morning and replacing the battery in my Garmin heart rate monitor strap. The first is good both for what it does for me but also because it demonstrated my ability to return quickly to training after a short break and not get sucked into a downward spiral of non-training. The second is good because I’m trying to use the facts and figures that I can get from my training devices both to support my training and to keep me motivated. Now just hoping that I put the battery in correctly and that tomorrow morning I’ll be able to measure my resting heart rate again.

Tomorrow morning may be my first (isn’t that sad) mountain bike ride of the season. Probably joining some coworkers in the morning. Let’s see if the cats cooperate!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Unplanned Recovery Day

After yesterday’s great positives, a little bit of a setback today. Too busy with work to get out for the run that I had scheduled. But that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up. I know that tomorrow is another chance to get out and fit in some great training! Plus, today wasn’t a full loss - I spent plenty of time using my Compex, running various endurance programs. My back, my glutes, my hamstrings, etc. It’s nice to know that I can continue to support my training even when I have that bit of a setback.

Additionally, this may not have been as much of a negative as it could otherwise appear. The Garmin is a stern task master and yesterday I wasn’t able to hit the pace goals that I had set for myself. I felt great and was having a really good time running but at the one mile point, I was running too slowly. I checked again a bit later after trying to speed up and was still too slow. At that point, I decided to change my workout and instead of hitting my goal pace, transition to a slower, endurance focused workout. As a result, I did my longest run since the Half Full Triathlon and arrived back home still feeling good and without any knee pain. But this morning I woke up tired and I’ve continued to feel tired all day. So taking a day off to recover a little bit and get ready for another good workout tomorrow is probably worthwhile.

I did manage to pick up batteries for the Garmin’s Heart Rate Monitor while I was out today. I need to get those installed tonight so that I can record my resting heart rate in the morning and start tomorrow strong!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's Up Today

Some new developments on my training. First, after the entire summer and most of the fall, I’m finally ready to move onto Level 2 on my Compex. I’m using the endurance program on my quads right now. We’ll see if I survive!

Next, I signed up for another race. The Rotary Resolution 10K on January 1. So last night I began planning some key workouts to get me from where I am now through the 10K, to American Zofingen, and then to the Richmond Marathon. I’m planning to use the Pace Zone Index system developed by McGregor and Fitzgerald in designing and tracking my running plan. I’m really interested in how this will help me improve as well as how it will work with the idea of Training Stress to help me stay healthy and consistent in my training throughout the season.

Third, I just finished attending a great seminar on bike training with a power meter by Coggan and Allen and I’m looking forward to installing my power meter and using power to plan and analyze my bike training for the next season. I think that there is a lot that I can learn about my bike strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, knowing the challenges that I’ll face at American Zofingen - especially with my lack of hill climbing ability - I’m going to need to use the best techniques I can to conquer that race.

Finally, just in time for this new motivation, I did 7 straight days of training last week so I’ve hit the marker that I set for myself to return to organized training. I’ve learned a lot of this last year. In addition to reading the books above, I’ve also read Daniels’ Running Formula, and Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald and I have some new ideas and techniques that I want to include in my plans for next year. One of the things that I want to do first is a swim focused block. I think this will be a good way to start challenging myself and improving my skills while I continue to build my run and bike endurance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting Ready for Next Season

After having to miss last week’s race, I’ve been turning my focus more toward preparing for next season and I’m happy to report several positives. First, I have a promising diagnosis for my knee problem: I have a ganglion cyst on the knee cap which became irritated when I strained my quad. As long as I focus on stretching my VMO and my anterior tibialis and am careful about how I place my knee on the ground, I should be able to reduce and then avoid irritation. Thankfully, I’m able to use my Compex on my quad almost every day and so far, most of my runs and rides this week have been without pain. (A little bit of a backslide when I had to run on a treadmill this morning but not too bad.)

Second, I registered for two key races for next season both of which are taking care of some unfinished business. The first is the American Zofingen Long Course Duathlon in May. I tried to do this race a few years ago, got sick shortly before the race, and was pulled from the course with one lap to finish on the second run. Pretty disappointing after already running 15 miles and biking 84. With all that went wrong for me this summer, I decided that I needed something that I could count as a success so its time to go back, finish the race, and check this one off my list. The second is the Richmond Marathon. As I didn’t get to even start the race this year, I’ve decided that I want to do it next year and hopefully achieve that PR.

Third, right now I’m at what is proving to be a great clinic on training with a power meter. If getting healthy and registering for races wasn’t enough motivation, learning some new tools to focus my training for next season is certainly helping. I’m looking forward to getting back home, installing my power meter, and beginning to use this tool in my training.

So lots of very good things for me and I’m continuing to enjoy reading about all of your successes. Hope that the Arizona athletes did well today and best of luck to those of you doing Cozumel next week!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Cold That Killed My Race

I’m going to start by saying how frustrated I am right now. Over the last two weeks, a bunch of my coworkers have had a really bad cold but I, surprisingly, have been fine. Until Tuesday morning. I woke up with a really bad sore throat and my eyes felt more tired than they should have, plus a bit red and itchy. I kept drinking tea and thinking I just hadn’t slept enough. By mid-day, I had a horrible headache, my nose was congested, and I was starting to look a bit like a drunk after a weekend binge. At that time, I gave up on my denial and began taking cold medicine, drinking even more tea, eating lots of vitamin C, neti-potting like crazy, and sleeping (because my head hurt too much to do anything else).

My goal: somehow get over this cold by Thursday night so that I would wake up just fine this morning and be able to drive down to Richmond for my race tomorrow. Sadly, despite everything I tried, I woke up Friday morning still coughing, still red and itchy, and still far too tired (but thankfully no longer with the headache!) to run. Or really to even drive for 2 hours. I was probably even worse than I thought I was because when my mother called this morning, she wouldn’t stay on the phone with me because she said I sounded too bad too talk. And when my neighbor came by to see why I hadn’t left the house in 4 days, she took one look at me and offered to run out and get me medicine - and her husband just came home from the hospital.

So I’m frustrated. One more hurdle in my attempt to actually have some kind of race season this year. I guess it’s probably for the best, given the fact that my knee still isn’t at its best and I probably would have done something stupid at the race and hurt myself worse and mucked up next years race season too. Still, I’m really hoping that this is the end of my bad luck for a while. The next race I’m going to try is a local 5K on December 4. Hopefully, I’ll get and stay healthy over the next 3 weeks and this will be the start of a brand new and much more positive run of training for next year.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Here’s this week’s dilemma. I’m supposed to run the Richmond Marathon next weekend (the 13th). But while my knee is doing much, much better, it’s not 100%. However, while painful, it’s not throwing off my stride - at least not at the distances I’ve been doing. I’m not sure what it will do at mile 24. I have the option of dropping down to the 1/2 marathon distance rather than doing the full marathon. I’m sure either race will be fun but I haven’t decided what to do. In the past, I did drop out of one marathon when I’d been injured in training. I made it 16 miles before I started limping and decided to stop rather than hurt myself. But here, I don’t think I’ll hurt myself. It will just be slow and a longer time that expected on my feet.

Any opinions? My doctor doesn’t think there is anything actually wrong with my knee, that it’s just quad and possibly ITB tightness - both of which I can continue to work on over the next week with Compex and my foam roller. And running with either my knee sleeve or kinesiotape is making a big difference in how long I can go without pain. I don’t have anything else definite on my schedule for this year but might do a marathon in December, especially if I do the half marathon in Richmond.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Positive Progress

Good news to report from today's run. I made it almost two miles today without knee pain. An easy, slow pace but nonetheless a positive result. A little discomfort on the uphill incline but I'll take a little discomfort. Unfortunately, the Richmond marathon isn't going to happen. Three weeks isn't going to be enough to get from here to 26.2 miles. But I'm sure I can comfortably do the half marathon and I'm looking forward to that. Then I can find another race in December or January and set myself an achievable goal for that race.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good News and Bad News

I first posted this on the Team Compex blog but wanted to add it here also.

I want to start by thanking everyone for their tips and suggestions for next year’s race schedule. I’m working on finishing up the first draft of that - some things may change based on finances and my future job situation but I think having those goals to shoot for and knowing I might run into some Compex teammates will keep me really motivated over the next year.

I had some good news over the last week. First, my doctor thinks that my knee pain is resulting from straining my quad. And of course, once my knee started to hurt, I started to focus on strengthening my quad to support my knee, increasing the strain. So the last week has been lots of yoga, stretching, ART, and Compex Active Recovery to try to help my quad loosen up. Of course, it still hurts to run. In fact, it still hurts to walk but I’m being optimistic. Second, my biopsy results came back negative so I don’t have to worry about that any more!

Then some bad news. I was perfectly fine and healthy all last week. I was excited about doing the Army Ten Miler on Sunday - even with the sore knee. I picked up my number at the expo as soon as it opened on Friday. Then, right after dinner on Saturday, I started to feel nauseous. I thought maybe I was just tired - I’d worked at the bike shop the last 3 days. So I went to bed nice and early (at around 8:00) and set my alarm for the race the next morning. The alarm went off, I fed the cats and felt okay. Then I went out to walk the dog. And as we walked, I started to feel worse and worse. My tummy was not happy. I was really achy and then began to alternate between being really warm and really cold and realized that the race wasn’t going to happen for me. I double checked and I did have a fever, so back to bed. I never did feel good yesterday but by mid-day today I was feeling fine so now I’m going to look for something fun to do this weekend or next and keep working on my quad between now and then.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy News

Two bits of happy news today. First, I found out that my knee injury isn't really a knee injury. It was actually a quad strain that was causing pain around the knee. So of course, my focusing on strengthening the quad to support the injured knee was just making it worse. Instead, I need to focus on stretching the quad and relieving the strain. I know that I'll be using my Compex Active Recovery every day between now and the Army Ten Miler on Sunday. It's already feeling better and I'm looking forward to my next run.

Second, I received the results of my biopsy and confirmed that it's benign. So no need to worry about cancer and I can start planning some fun but challenging events for next season. Kinetic here I come! And the new Xterra wetsuit that is on it's way is going to be very much appreciated at such an early season race.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Planning For Next Season

I've been trying to post this on the Team Compex blog but haven't been able to. So it's here and I'll get it up there too. Sorry for the somewhat duplication from the last post.

Everyone has been so good about recommending late season marathons that I thought I’d solicit your help. As of Tuesday, I’ll know better about whether I’ll be able to race or not next year and I’m trying to put together a plan of races that are really going to excite me - either a great challenge or really fun or something else that sets them apart and is really motivating.

Some specific races that I’m currently tossing around include:

Short Course Duathlon Nationals in April (and then Worlds in the fall if I qualify)

Kinetic Half Ironman in May (this is a definite, I’m going to do with a friend)

American Zofingen Duathlon in May (a maybe, debating between sanity of the short course (5/29/5 or the insanity of the long course (5/84/15)

Rev 3 Quassy Half Ironman in June (this is for my family so this is a definite)

Half Full Triathlon in October (I’d like to go back when I’ve trained)

Some other ideas that I have but which I don’t have a lot of specificity on:

A trail ultra - Some friends are going to apply for the Leadville 100 MTB Ride which made me think maybe trying to get into that 100 Trail run but (a) my asthma probably isn’t going to support that altitude and (b) I should probably start with 50 miles (I’ve done 50k). I think a mountain bike race would be fun, but I’m not a good mountain bike rider so 100 miles is daunting enough that I don’t think Leadville MTB is for me. But which 50 or 100 should I try?

An Ironman - I’m going to do one at some point. Why not now when I need something really motivating to get me going? But if so, which one? I’m not good in heat. I’m not that good on hills. I’m actually not that good on flats either - rollers would be nice.

A marathon - I’ll learn more from my doctor on Monday but I don’t think my knee is going to support my marathon this fall so that is likely to become a half-marathon. Which means I should try a marathon again next year.

A mountain bike race - Why not? I won’t be good which means it will be just like by road bike and cylco-cross racing.

So I’d love ideas. Where do you think I should put Compex to work next year?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Next Season

I still have a lot of open questions about my life going forward but I'm starting to get excited about planning for next season, setting some goals and getting ready to move forward. The first question won't be settled for over a week so no decisions until then. However races I'm thinking of include:

Kinetic Half Ironman - this one is for Nick. As long as I can race, we're going to train and do this one together in early May. Because swimming in cold water is always my strength!

Rev3 Quassy - early June and this is for my parents. I told them I'd do this race this year after doing Eagleman last. Quassy is far closer to my parents than Eagleman and it will be nice to include a family visit with a race trip.

HalfFull Triathlon - this one is for me. I had a great time and I'd like to go back to this race when I've trained.

Some other races include Duathlon Nationals in April, maybe American Zofingen, hopefully Gihon, maybe an Ironman, maybe a 50m trail ultra, maybe a marathon. I need something exciting to get me going!

My first step: train 7 straight days. I'm at 3 as of today. Friday is going to be the biggest challenge. I need to be at the doctors at 7:15 and at work at 11. I'm not sure that's going to leave any time to fit in a workout. And as I can't lift anything heavy after the doctors, I'm not sure I could train anyway.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Half Full Triathlon

If there is any experience at any event that can prove how amazing the Compex Sport Elite is, I think that my experience during and after the Half Full Triathlon is that one. My results at this race are nothing to brag about but how I felt and how I recovered sure are!

To explain, as I’ve written before, I’ve had some difficult times this summer that have really impacted my training and I cancelled every race I was supposed to do between Eagleman in June and this race in October. I’ve done fairly well recently at keeping up with my yoga, pilates and core work and with doing some pull work on my swim bench. But I’ve been mostly unable to actually swim, run or bike due to some more emotional challenges. I didn’t realize just how bad this was until I went back and looked at my log after Sunday’s race. My last swim was an easy open water swim on June 16. My last run was an easy 35 minutes in early September. And my last bike ride was actually before that - and I don’t want to admit just how pathetically short that was.

On the good side, when I sit down at my desk to work, I have been using my Compex either on the endurance or the Active Recovery programs. Definitely not a substitute for training but I have been keeping to a structured program of using my Compex.

Last fall I had registered for the inaugural Half Full Triathlon this past Sunday. It’s a fundraising event for the Ulman Cancer Fund and there were going to be a ton of cancer survivors there as well as a large group from Team Fight. Even though I was by no means ready for this race, I thought that if they could get out there and race, I could at least get myself to the start line. From there, my goals were pretty simple: keep going until I crossed the finish line or I missed a time cutoff - with no training, I was a little worried about just how slow I would be.

I’m going to give you all the blow-by-blow boring details below but here’s the very pro-Compex summary. I used my Compex on the massage program on Saturday after heading up to the expo, racking my bike, and doing some brief core and swim bench work. Needed to get ready for the race! During the race, I never experienced muscle soreness. In fact, I only felt a bit of tiring/cramping in my quads going up one hill on the bike. I wasn’t setting any speed records but I wasn’t hurting either (admittedly, my knee was but that started a couple of weeks ago and I need to get in to the doctor for that). I finished and during my post-race massage, the therapist commented on how loose my muscles were and how great my flexibility was. He asked what I’d done and I told him about my secret weapon. I used the Compex Recovery Plus program when I got home and Monday morning woke up to absolutely no muscle soreness. Not a twinge. Not going downstairs. Not going upstairs. Not standing or sitting or anything. The only pain I had all day was in that knee when I had to wear heels.

So while I don’t advocate ever doing a half-ironman without training, I have to rave about how Compex protects me from my own stupidity. Thank you, thank you Compex!!

Now the details for anyone who is interested:

The day started with one of those comedy of errors types of situations. I woke up about 3 am to go to the bathroom. First thought, ‘yeah! I’m hydrated.’ Second thought, ‘my head and throat shouldn’t hurt like this. And I’m really thirsty. Oops.’ So some tylenol and a glass of water and back to bed until my alarm went off at 4:15. Alarm goes off and my head hurts even worse so I hit snooze and lay back down. Right after the cats get comfy on top of me, I bolt upright, throwing cats off the bed because I’ve remembered that I can’t oversleep. The entrance to the park closes at 6:30 and I need to leave the house by 5:15 to get there on time and I haven’t packed. Downstairs, two more tylenol, print my checklist and start the packing. At 5:15, I’ve got the basics but haven’t grabbed any nutrition for the race. Oh well I think, they’ll be something on the course and if I don’t leave now, it won’t matter how much nutrition I have as I won’t be able to get to the race.

On the drive up, I was so happy that it was early enough that the roads weren’t crowded. Not only was I making good time but tylenol makes me really sleepy and I’m not sure I was the safest driver. I managed to get to the race location at 6:20. But I was so tired by that point that I decided to nap in the car for 15 minutes before heading over to transition. Phone alarm goes off and I’m jogging across the field from my parking location to the transition area. I got there as they were announcing 18 minutes until transition closed. So more of my being completely unprepared for this race - and usually I’m so organized, I have a checklist that I double and triple check. I got my bike set to go, put the half bottle of water I’d brought for the drive and my empty bottles on the bike hoping there would be water on the course, found a packet of cytomax in my bag to put in one of the empty bottles, found my helmet, glasses, chip, shoes, socks and race belt. Then I grabbed my wetsuit and swim cap with 2 minutes to go, got body marked and ran down to the swim start. (BTW, despite the hurry, that nap - best idea ever!)

Down at the swim start, I realize I’m still wearing my rings and necklace and now I’m worried about losing them in the water. What to do? I decide to put the rings on the chain and tuck it into my jog bra. It will be under the wetsuit and hopefully safe. My new Xterra wetsuit won’t be here until next week and the zipper on my old suit stuck again but a nice woman waiting to swim helped me get that up all the way. In line for the start I was able to talk to some of the other women, including one doing her first half-ironman - and willing to swim in 65 degree water without a wetsuit!

The swim was a time-trial start. We were in waves but within our wave we stated in pairs at 5 second intervals. Love this! No banging, no crowds. The only time I got banged was going around the 2nd turn buoy - that’s a great pleasure compared to normal. I did have a problem when I first hit the water. All of a sudden, my wetsuit felt too tight and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t figure out why until I remembered the 65 degree water and that I have asthma. Once I realized it was just an asthma attack, I realized that I would warm up and it would go away so just kept swimming. After that, my only problem was that they told us to keep the buoys on our right and one of the turn buoys was so far to the left that I almost missed it and headed for the buoy to the right of it. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one - even a friend who is a good swimmer told me that she did the same thing. After that, my only issue is the standard swim one for me - I’m so slow that I get bored before I get out of the water. I was also a bit concerned about the swim cut off and glad when I realized I was at the swim exit before I even saw it coming up.

Ran out of the water, began taking off my wetsuit and noticed that my chain, the one I’d put my wedding band and engagement ring on was loose and hanging down the front of my tri-top. My first thought was that they were lost in the water. My second, that didn’t make sense, they would have been in the wetsuit so they were probably somewhere between the swim exit and my bike. My third, it didn’t really matter. I was going to have to take them off someday, wouldn’t this be a rather good karma way to make that happen. Kind of a breakthrough for me. So I grabbed the chain and threw it in my transition bag when I got to my spot. I thought my wedding band might have been tangled up in it but wasn’t sure and didn’t take the time to check.

Got transitioned and headed out on the bike. I knew the course would be hard, I’ve ridden Columbia before and this was hillier and some of the hills were on rough road surfaces. And I was slow - 4 hours on the bike, that’s an average of 14mph! But despite the knee pain, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I guess it’s hard to feel like climbing a hill is that hard when (a) it’s nothing compared to Killer Miller on the Savageman course and (b) the person next to you is wearing a jersey that says Team Fight or Survivor 2010. As one group’s kit said “F* Cancer!” with the Lance Armstrong quote: “Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.” On a more practical basis, I stopped at the first water stop confusing the volunteers who kept trying to hand me bottles as I rode by. I explained that I had to unscrew my bottles to fill them with water. I also found out that at least one of the volunteers was from the DC Tri Club!! Mixed up my Cytomax. Ate the one Hammer Gel I’d managed to grab and headed on. BTW, I should add - the volunteers here, at all of the intersections, and throughout the course were just great.

Filled with water, having some actual nutrition, I was ready to go. My only problem, on the next rough downhill, the yellow mesh thing that keeps the water in the aero bottle bounce right out and water started shooting all over me. I was really grateful that wasn’t the Cytomax but a little annoyed at the cold water on a cold day. Was passed by Elizabeth from DC Tri and the HIP program and she was looking good on the bike and ended up having a great day. Hit the second water stop and stopped to empty my aerobottle and took a gel. I don’t want to mention the name of the product but I’m not having that one again! The taste was horrible. In fact my reaction was so obvious that the two closest volunteers started laughing. After that it was out for the second loop which was pretty uneventful. My only concern, based on my pace, was that there would be some sort of bike cutoff that I wouldn’t make but eventually I was on the final section back into transition. That part cruelly has some climbs you don’t expect, right when you are ready to be off the bike. Thankfully, other than my knee, everything felt okay. No back pain, no muscle pain, not even a sore neck. And many kudos to Sugoi try shorts because no pain in any sensitive areas either.

Off the bike and into transition. Surprisingly, also able to run into transition and I didn’t have that bottom of the foot pain I’d had at Eagleman. Of course, there were a couple of challenges in transition. For example, I had to spend time digging through my transition bag looking for something I could eat on the run because I knew I wasn’t eating the race supplied product again. I found an opened packet of Clif Bloks, took a couple of Endurolytes and headed out to run. Shockingly, still able to run!

The run was fun. Again, there were great volunteers all over. I found some people to run with and talk to for a while. I knew I’d need to walk a bit so I used the strategy of walking for 1 minute after each mile marker at either the first hill or aid station I hit. That worked really well. Most of the time I maintained about a 10 minute mile pace, which felt really good. The course wasn’t as hilly as the Columbia tri course and very doable, especially with my hill walking rule. Sooner than I’d expected (but still really slowly), I was taking the turn to the finish - which, of course, was uphill. Just at the entry to the finish shoot, I heard my name and saw a friend cheering for me which was a great treat.

The finish was well done. A volunteer met me with a space blanket and a medal, offered to take off my chip, got me water, asked if I needed a chair, helped me get my finishers t-shirt and didn’t leave me until she knew I was fine and ready to head off for food. A yummy burrito sans tortilla, a really good massage, a brief race de-brief with Suzanne (the friend from the finish), a second burrito, and I was ready to check out lost and found. And shockingly, they’d found my engagement ring. Later, I found my wedding band - I had thrown it in my bag. So I did lose the pendent I’d had on the chain but nothing else.

Overall, a success. I did a race. I enjoyed it. I made a big emotional breakthrough. And I’ve been able to train this week and am beginning to get motivated to set some goals for next year. Waiting another week or two for the results of a medical test before making any commitments for next season but I think this is good.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ragnar and Yoga (Not at the Same Time)

Over this weekend, I was able to volunteer at the Washington DC Ragnar Relay. It was a great experience and it really motivated me to join a team for one of next year’s relays. I worked at Exchange 33 out of 36 so by the time the teams got to us they were tired and, with the temperatures in the 90s, really hot. But they were all still really enthusiastic and positive. It was great to see the teams with costumes - some memorable options include the banana costume, the man running in red ‘Flash’ underoos and compression socks, the team in short black shorts and bow ties. It was amazing to see the teams that were running competitively, especially the ultra teams. And motivating to see the teams of friend that were just out to have fun.

I brought my Compex to share with waiting teams but that didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. We were the first shift so we waited 2 and a half hours for the first team to come through but once they did, runners started coming through pretty consistently for the rest of my shift. I did share my Compex with some volunteers as we waited and a runner from one of the earlier teams. The runner had cramping calves and a brief experience with the recovery plus program (they didn’t have time for the full program) helped stop his cramps. The EMTs who came by to wait with us for a while also really liked the Compex unit, they spent quite a bit of time looking through the manual and guide. I have a couple of photos to share and the response from everyone was really positive.

On an unrelated note, I learned a new lesson about my own Compex use. I’ve been pretty consistent about using Active Recovery after my run and bike training (even if not as consistent with my training!). But I didn’t think about using it after my tough yoga/pilates class yesterday and boy did I suffer when I got out of bed this morning. My quads, my glutes and my abs all let me know that I’d asked a lot of them and hadn’t rewarded them for their hard work. I did some more yoga today and I made sure to follow up with my Compex. Sadly, there isn’t a recovery program for abs so I’ll just have to hope that they are a little less sore tomorrow than they were today.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some Fun Races Coming Up

I’m really looking forward to the next 3 weekends because I have some fun races and race-related activities coming up. I should be terrified because I haven’t been doing the training that I should but I really think that getting out and being around other athletes at races is going to be great inspiration for me. Plus, just seeing how bad I feel after racing while untrained should motivate me to do more regular training than I have been doing.

I’m really excited about this weekend’s event. I’m volunteering at one of the exchanges for the Ragnar Relay. I think being part of this environment and seeing everyone’s fun and excitement as they come through my exchange is going to be a great introduction to this event and I’m hoping to compete next year. I’m going to bring along my Compex, extra pads, and some cleansing wipes and plan to offer a Compex test to runners as they come through.

The next two weekends, I’ll be using Compex for myself. First, I’m doing the Half-Full Triathlon on October 3rd. It’s almost a half-ironman distance but with a shorter swim, so very good for me, especially with as little swimming as I have been dong since my last race in June. Then, I’ll need to recover to be ready for my first cyclo-cross race of the season on October 9. I’m really glad that I’ll have the Compex to use during the week between these two races to help my undertrained muscles recover from the first effort and get ready for the second.

I also started playing with my video camera and have a short clip of me using the Endurance program on my quads. I’ll try to make some more videos: maybe I can do a compilation of Ragnarians enjoying the treat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not My Half Marathon

This isn’t about me but about one of my friends/clients. He’s been borrowing my Compex on and off as he trains this summer. On Sunday, he ran his first half-marathon (2:07, very good and in line with what we expected). After the race he texted me with his results - and a question about coming over to borrow the Compex. He went home first, took an ice bath (and a shower!) then came over for an hour of Recovery Plus on his quads, hamstrings, and calves. (I was glad I had some unused pads to share!) He’s definitely thinking about whether he can afford to buy one for himself! Until then, I’m sure he’ll continue to stop by whenever he needs some Compex recovery.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I’ve been doing my best to return to regular training over the last couple of weeks - the fact that I have a marathon in two months should be enough to scare me but with everything else that’s been going on, it hasn’t quite gotten me there. But I did something, so I’m proud of myself for getting started. I’ve done yoga and pilates, an easy bike ride, and some easy short runs. I also used my Compex Sport Elite to do two endurance workouts each week for each of quads, traps, and hamstrings and to do some nice active recovery each evening. Oh, and I’ve been doing my key core exercises almost every day - between that and Compex, I should be able to avoid getting hurt.

One of the nice things that I can report is that I’m not feeling sore at all. Given that I also picked up extra hours at the bike shop - that is eight-hour days on my feet - I’m pretty happy. And while my runs aren’t phenomenal, I was pleasantly surprised by the pace that I was able to maintain with the level of effort that I was expending.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have even more good news and progress next week!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oversleeping, Readjusting and Thankful for Compex

This is kind of a three part posting. First things first. I actually slept straight through last weekend’s time trial. Which is amazing because I never oversleep. Never. Except for last Saturday so I guess I can no longer say never. I can’t take too much credit for this. I have three cats. Three very food-motivated cats. (I also have a dog. I wanted to throw that out there so that no one thinks that I’m just the crazy cat lady.) Every morning the cats wake me up to feed them. They are usually pretty good about waiting until the alarm goes off, although some days they start a few minutes before the alarm goes off. If I don’t get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, they start ‘eating’ me - probably as a warning about what will happen if I don’t get out of bed and feed them. Small kitty-cat nips on my nose, fingers, whatever they can reach are very effective at getting me out of bed. Once they are fed, I can go back to sleep if I want but usually I stay up and get my day started and, if I have somewhere to be, I definitely stay awake. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen last Saturday. My guess, they were probably just as tired as I was.

I had some really bad news earlier this summer and hadn’t been sleeping much at all over the last month. Finally, last week Monday, I had a full night’s sleep - eight entire hours without waking up. I felt so much better - and then my air conditioning broke. Even with the windows open all night and fans blowing, the house was in the 90s for much of the week and sleeping was really difficult. The air conditioning repair company couldn’t come until Friday morning so Friday was the first night that the house was cool enough to sleep well. Knowing how tired I was and that I had to leave the house by 7:30 to get to my race on time, I got everything ready on Friday night and went to bed at 10 with my alarm set for 6:00, a fairly normal time for me. And I woke up, surrounded by sleeping kitties, at 10:17 - way too late to get to my race. Obviously, the kitties were just as overtired from not sleeping as I was!

Now for the readjusting part. Due to the bad news, I had to pull out of two races that I planned for this season: the Lums Pond Duathlon two weekends ago and the Short Course Duathlon World Championships next weekend. Having to drop out of my goal race for the year combined with a lot of sadness and a lot of stress has really done a number on my motivation. Reading blog postings by the rest of the team has been really helpful and has gotten me out the door on several days when I’d rather have been curled up on the coach. And I do still have three upcoming races that I’m registered for and should be able to make: the HalfFull Triathlon, the Army 10-Miler, and the Richmond Marathon. But I’ve realized that I’m not going to have the level of performance that I wanted to have. So I’ve been readjusting my training. My mileage and endurance is far lower than it should be at this point but I’ve decided that I’m just going to accept it as it is, increase it gradually, not worry too much about the speed work I should have been doing, and do my best at what I can do. I’ve also realized that Compex is going to be essential to my succeeding with my adjusted plan. While I’m not going to stress myself about where I am compared to where I should be, I do realize that consistent training going forward is going to be essential to achieving my revised goals and Compex is going to be essential to my consistency.

Finally, this week has been far too busy and I haven’t had as much time as usual to sit at my desk and work. Lately, I’ve been done with each week’s work by Friday. This week, I’m going to need to work all weekend. But the real downside is that I only was able to fit in Compex sessions on two days. And boy did I feel that! I was really sore the last two days, including a weird back pain while I ran, and couldn’t figure out what I had done. Then I realized it wasn’t what I had done. It was what I hadn’t done. Without my daily Compex Endurance and Active Recovery sessions, my muscles were feeling far more fatigued and it was impacting the quality not only of my workouts but also of just walking. I’m going to try really hard not to make that mistake again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Time Trial Saturday

On Saturday, I’m doing my first stand alone time trial race. I don’t know if it’s going to be easier or harder than the bike leg of a triathlon. Obviously, I don’t have any excuse to not push as hard as I possibly can so I have a feeling that I’m going to be really hurting by the time I get off my bike.

I’m incorporating the Compex Sport Elite into my preparation. Today is a big work day - which for me is a lot of time laying on the couch on my computer and lots of time to run some Compex Endurance programs. I did my quads yesterday so today I plan to do at least my hamstrings and calves. I’ll follow that up with Active Recovery. Tomorrow, as the pre-race day, I’m planning on using the Massage program on everything I can. Thankfully it’s another busy work day so I should have plenty of time for that. My other preparation task is to bring my bike into the shop to change cassettes on my disk wheel and wheels on the bike. I haven’t race the disk before so I’m hoping for low wind and good handling.

My start time is 10:36 am so I have plenty of time to drive to the race site (about 2 hours) in the morning, do one or two pre-warmup routines (probably calves and quads), and warmup on the bike itself. Once I can breathe again after the race, I’m planning on using the Recovery Plus routines both at the race site and after the drive home so that I’m ready for a good brick workout on Sunday.

I’m really excited that the new pads arrived today as some friends are going to be in the same area to pre-ride the Chesapeakeman course that day and, if timing works out, we’re going to meet for lunch after our finishes. With the new pads, I can let them also enjoy some Compex recovery time while we refuel.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to Work

Happy to report that Compex Active Recovery doesn’t just work to help me recover from workouts but also to recover from work! I work part-time as a bike mechanic but hadn’t been scheduled since late June and yesterday was my first day back. I was somewhat dreading it - not being back to work but how I was going to feel at the end of the day or the next morning after standing up for 8-hours for the first time in six weeks. Usually, after even a week or two off, my legs are really tired at the end of the day and I’m sore the next morning. But I ran my Active Recovery programs when I got home yesterday, starting on my back and then my quads and I’m feeling great this morning. Another 8-hour shift today and I’m going to try to run an Endurance program before I head in so wish me luck. Hopefully I’ll still feel good tomorrow!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sharing My Compex

La Luz Trail
Sean using Compex

One of my friends and coaching clients, Sean, just completed the La Luz Trail Run near Albuquerque, New Mexico. http://www.laluztrailrun.org/ It took him 2:37 and he did it with his calves cramping on the uphills. He did this despite a knee issue (plica syndrome) that has really limited his training so I’m really proud of what he did.

During his training, we’d either meet at a coffee shop or he’d stop by my house, so that he could use my Compex Sport Elite on his tight calves. The day he returned from New Mexico, he texted to see if he could come over the next day and use my Compex for his quads which had really taken a beating on the downhill at about mile 6 of the run. He came by and spent about an hour and a half using the massage program on his quads and calves. I was pretty impressed that the first thing he did upon returning to town was to use the Compex!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Found a Pain Compex Doesn’t Resolve :-(

I am sad today because I have finally discovered that Compex can’t remove all of my pain. My piriformis pain: check, Compex removes. My ITB pain: check, Compex removes. My rotator cuff pain: check, Compex removes. My arthritis pain: sadly, Compex can’t do anything about. Now of course, I didn’t really expect Compex to be able to resolve joint pain but I had been so successful with everything else, I decided to give it a try.

Some history, I have had arthritis since I was 5 so I’m pretty used to managing it and usually it doesn’t impact what I can do. One thing that really helps is to keep active, stay in shape, and build strong muscles to support my joints and take the strain off of them. I don’t have to take any medicine except occasionally some Tylenol so I’m in much better shape than most people with arthritis.

Unfortunately, I have some things going on in my personal life right now that really threw me off last week. I wasn’t eating or sleeping well and I really couldn’t get motivated to get out and train as often as I should or usually do. The result is that by last night I was exhausted and really ready to sleep. However, the arthritis in my left wrist and elbow hurt so badly that I couldn’t fall asleep. This is the first time that I’ve had this happen since I received my Compex Sport Elite so rather than take Tylenol, I decided to try the massage program on my wrist and elbow. I put pads on both joints as well as on the muscle closest to the joint. It felt good as I was doing it (although watching my fingers twitch was interesting): however, when I finished, I still had the pain.

Not too surprising really. I know that Compex is designed for muscles, not joints. But I’ve been so happy with Compex and how well it’s worked every time I’ve tried it for every pain that I’ve had, I thought it might work for the arthritis also. In the end, I turned to my faithful Tylenol and managed to fall asleep. Still a little sore this morning but I’m sure it’ll pass and today’s ride will help it go away completely. In the meantime, I’m running the Compex endurance program on my traps while I work this morning and I know that is an area in which Compex will be successful!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PeasantMan: The Triathlon That Wasn’t

On Sunday I participated in PeasantMan, a swim/bike/run training event to benefit the High Cloud Foundation. http://www.highcloud.org/peasantman PeasantMan was a training event rather than a triathlon because of permits and agreements with the park service and local law enforcement. But this was okay because all along, PeasantMan was described as a fun day. If you knew the person who organized PeasantMan and read any of the emails that he sent out, you’d immediately pick up on how casual this day was.

However, it was also the most organized, un-organized training day ever. There were about 175 participants plus volunteers, sponsors, bike SAG support, and even a medical crew. Participants could chose between sprint distance or olympic distance courses, and could mix and match (for example 1500 meter swim, 18 mile bike, 10k run) or only do the portions they wanted. For your $5 donation plus $6 to enter the park, you got a fully supported training day, a barbecue (including Georgetown Cupcakes featured on the Discovery Channel show DC Cupcakes http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/dc-cupcakes/), and even medals. For another $5 you could get the most amazing, politically incorrect t-shirt that I’ve ever received at a DC-based event.

I’ve been going through some difficult times recently and this was a day that I really needed. It was nice to get out, get in some training, and relax with friends. Of course, as wonderful as the day was, it didn’t quite go as planned. First, as the heat index was over 100, the park service decided that we couldn’t do the run. Then, they decided that they park was going to be so crowded that they really needed all of the bikes off the park roads by 9:30 so the event became a bike first, then swim event. But given the heat, no one was really complaining about swimming later in the day.

So off we went on our bikes. I started with a client, Noelle, so was pretty slow at the beginning until we warmed up and she said she’d be okay on her own. Things went well until I hit the cobblestones in downtown Annapolis. My front wheel was bouncing a lot more than I expected and just didn’t feel right. It continued after the cobbles ended so I pulled over at the first opportunity to check. Thankfully, it turned out that the SAG van was right behind me. Before I even got off the bike, the mechanic got out of the car to ask what was wrong. I told him about the bouncing and he pointed out that I had a flat. Then he took a second look and said “You have tubulars, your day’s done.” Unfortunately, I’d been running late so hadn’t changed wheels and was riding my tubular race wheels. But I did have Vittoria PitStop with me, although I hadn’t used it before. He hadn’t used it either but first we found the problem - a large construction staple through my tire - and then went ahead. Sure enough, the PitStop worked, sealed the leak and inflated the tire. So I was off again with the mechanics keeping on the alert for me as we weren’t sure how long the seal would hold.

About another 6 miles on, the hole proved too large for the PitStop and exploded in a way that one of my friends described as a tire zit: a whole bunch of white sealant shot out. With this, my ride was definitely done. I found a safe place to pull over, another rider lent me a phone to call for a ride, and I waited for SAG. While waiting, I managed to help Noelle when she went past by giving her my water so I was glad about that.

When I got back to the beach, I found out that (a) the jellyfish were out in force and (b) I’d forgotten my goggles. As a result, I decided not to swim. So now, I’d only biked about 15 miles, I hadn’t run and I hadn’t swum. So I was feeling a little guilty about enjoying the barbecue. I was talking about this to some friends (while enjoying Salt and Cracked Pepper Potato Chips - no need to feel too guilty) when another friend mentioned that he needed to run if I was willing to go. He had a 2 hour training run planned and we were all set to do that. However, by the time we had our running shoes on and were ready to go, we’d cut that back to 1 hour because it was just so hot and that was about all the water we could carry. By the time we got out of the park, our plan was down to about 50 minutes. Eventually, we managed just over 40 minutes. However, that made me feel much less guilty about enjoying some more chips and burgers when I got back.

So while not the day I’d planned, it was a good time. I got a good break from the stress of the week, a bit of a workout, and some time to relax with friends. Next year High Cloud is going to try to plan a more organized PeasantMan race and I’m really looking forward to the fun.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Training Saved by Compex!

I just returned from 5 days away from home at a Convention in Phoenix. The Convention was fun and informative but time consuming. We started at 7:30 in the morning and went until 11 at night with very few breaks. Plus, I either spent most of those breaks talking to people or trying to get work done.

Additionally, it was hot, Hot, HOT in Phoenix while I was there. I ran on Wednesday afternoon when I first arrived in town. I had a 60 minute workout schedule and got directions for a nice out-and-back run along the canal from the hotel staff. When I first started, it felt great. It was flat, there was a bit of a breeze, and there were ducks playing in the canal. I’d pre-hydrated and was feeling pretty good. But I wasn’t at my smartest so I didn’t bring any water. I think I thought there’d be water like there is along the bike trail that I run and ride at home. By the first intersection, I was hot, starting to feel pretty thirsty, and had to go to the bathroom because of all the pre-hydration. By the second intersection, about 18 minutes in, I realized that I was just being stupid. I was so hot and thirsty that I was thinking about joining the ducks in the canal.

I switched sides of the canal to take advantage of the little bit of shade that existed and headed back, hoping to make it before I did something really stupid. There were several times I was tempted to walk but kept running, figuring that a nice, easy pace would get me back and to water before I got sick. In the end, I only ran about 35 minutes. When I made it back, one of the hotel staff who was a runner saw me. He was so worried, he took me into the staff room to get me ice water and ice cubes and didn’t let me go until he was reassured that I was okay. We had a nice talk about his running and running in Phoenix but I made the decision that running in mid-afternoon in Phoenix was not a good idea for the rest of Convention.

So late nights, early mornings, tight schedules, work to do, and no mid-afternoon runs. Thankfully, I had the Compex Sport Elite with me so in the brief breaks I did have, I was able to run either an abbreviated endurance program (no warm-up or cool down) or an Active Recovery program. My roommate enjoyed watching my legs rise without me doing anything. Although this wasn’t my best training week, I was saved by having Compex to do some type of training when otherwise I wouldn’t have done anything. And it paid off today with a stronger ride that I would have expected.

And just to add, ‘chapeau’ to those of you who live in Phoenix and manage to train through the summer. You are far stronger than I!

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 4th Deep Creek Training Weekend

I had a great time training with some friends in Deep Creek Maryland over the long July 4th weekend. I don’t know how many of you have heard of the Savageman Triathlon, but it was recently recognized by Triathlete Magazine with the #1 ranking in the World’s Hardest Triathlons category. http://www.savagemantri.org/ Our plan was to ride the Half-Ironman bike course on Saturday, the Olympic Distance course on Sunday, and run on Monday. And of course to barbecue on Saturday and Sunday and eat a great breakfast at Perkins on Monday!

I was really looking forward to the weekend but with some fear along with the anticipation. Last year on the same ride, we’d run into a bear in the middle of the road on a 40+mph downhill. After some pretty intense braking and screaming, the bear moved and we’d continued downhill. But braking like that had created so much heat on my rims that on the next corner, the rear tire blew off. I went down and the guy right behind me overshot the corner to avoid hitting me and ended up in a tree. We were both okay other than some major road rash but I’ve been pretty hesitant on downhills ever since. Added to that, I haven’t been riding enough lately and wasn’t sure I would be in shape for that bike course.

On the positive side, I was going to have the opportunity to share my Compex Sport Elite with my friends over the weekend giving them the opportunity to know what I was raving about.

Knowing how challenging the ride was going to be, I decided to try Hornet Juice for the first time before this ride. I was definitely going to need the promised benefits of burning more fat calories and having greater endurance! We met another group from our club for the start of the ride on Saturday morning so about 13 of us started the Half-Ironman course ride while another 3 did the Olympic Course. The first challenge was a long downhill on recently laid down chip/seal paving which until it’s been driven on a lot is like riding on loose gravel. I almost pulled over to the side of the road to stop and cry but my friend Mike talked me through it and we all made it safely down. After that, I was really not looking forward to the next downhill (the one I’d crashed on). But first, it was up the Westernport Wall (a 30% grade climb) and then the rest of the climb up Savage Mountain. Most of our group made it up Westernport Wall, a few fell over on the way up, and I was so trashed on the two block climb leading up to it that I didn’t even try, just walked up the wall. (My friend Mike rode it 3 times. I think he rode every climb 3 times.) Of course that’s only the beginning of the climb: 3 miles to go so up I went.

We started on the downhill which is listed on the cue sheet as a “3 mile dangerous downhill” and immediately encountered large, gravel filled potholes across almost the entire road - just what I needed on a descent I was already worried about. I took it conservatively as did my friend Kara who’d recently crashed. Saw the corner I’d fallen on last year - my friend Glenn had joked that he was going to stop and take pictures but he wasn’t waiting so on I rode. Finally made it to the bottom (to find Mike heading back up to make sure we were okay) and was extremely relieved that I hadn’t crashed or killed anyone. Of course, that’s not the end. 5 more categorized climbs, 5 more descents, some pretty sketchy. The second to last climb, known as Killer Miller is a 1.3 mile climb with an average grade of 8% and a max of 22%. I was going so slow on that climb that I fell over going uphill! And then it was still so steep that I had a hard time walking my bike until I could get to a level point where I could get back on! (And to add insult to injury, at this point one of the Olympic course riders texted to let me know she was done with the ride, and the dip in the lake, and the hot tub, and heading back to our rental house to shower and nap!). By the time we finished, I was tired of descending, tired of pedaling, and my feet hurt. I definitely was doubtful about my ability to get back on the bike the next day for the Olympic course ride.

But after returning to our place, I hooked up my Compex Sport Elite on Recovery Plus and ran as many programs as I could - quads, feet, calves, back, traps. After everyone else woke from their naps, I hooked one friend up for some Recovery Plus on her calves (she talked about how her toes tingled) and another for some Active Recovery on his quads and calves. He joked about me electrocuting him but also took some video of his muscles twitching (which I’ll attach if I can get a copy). Some good food on the grill, some champagne to celebrate our accomplishments, and some watching of the Tour de France for inspiration and we were off to bed, ready for the next day’s riding.

I felt good when I woke up in the morning, but still ran some of the Massage programs while I waited for everyone else to wake up. Then it was time to tackle the Olympic bike course! Some advantages to the Olympic course - it isn’t as hilly and the roads are wider and not as twisty. As a comparison, our max speed on the downhills on Saturday was 38 mph but it was 43 on Sunday on shorter, less steep hills. But most importantly, after a little bit of a warmup (didn’t think of using the Compex pre-warmup that morning!) my legs felt great. I wouldn’t say that I was flying up the hills but I felt strong and definitely wasn’t sore or tired. When we finished, I really felt like I could have ridden further and was even planning on running with one of my friends that afternoon. Unfortunately a few too many late nights working and a few too many miles of driving knocked me out and I fell asleep and didn’t wake when she tried to get me up to run. However, after another night of grilling, some local wine, and watching fireworks - and more Compex Active Recovery - I had a great run on Monday morning. Again no soreness, not tired - my only problem was the heat and humidity.

So a very successful weekend! No crashes on any descents, no sending any of my fellow riders into the trees, and we achieved our goal for Sunday - finishing a ride with no blood! Plus, I introduced my friends to the fun of “electrocuting” themselves with Compex. Looking forward to later this month when an even bigger group is going to go back to do it again!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eagleman 70.3 Triathlon: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

First of all, apologies for this being so late and so long. I’ve had some internet & computer problems along with a family emergency and am just getting caught up now. I think this became so long because I lost it a few times and by the end, I combined everything in every version into one incredibly long version. So here’s a summary:


  • Compex! Compex Endurance & Resistance when I’m too busy with work to run and bike and swim. Compex Active Recovery every night so that I can train the next day. Compex Massage the day before the race. Compex Pre-Warmup on race morning. Compext Recovery Plus after the race.
  • Friends, Tri-Club members, and members of my training program. It’s great seeing friendly faces on a tough day.
  • Eagleman volunteers and people in the Cambridge community. They made hard conditions fun to race in. This may have been my slowest race ever but it was the most fun I’ve ever had.


  • Swim courses that are too long.
  • Bike courses without a lot of variety in scenery.
  • Runs in 100+ degree heat!

Now here’s the long version:


Having not done a triathlon in 4 years, I was being a little more OCD about my preparation than usual. I was lucky to have gotten a hotel room for Friday and Saturday night from a friend who had to cancel his race when he got deployed so I was able to drive over and pick up my packet and check out the expo while most people were working. I worked for a few hours on Friday morning (running some Compex Endurance programs while I worked), then printed out my triathlon packing checklist, got all my things together, double- and triple-checked my list, and got into the car. Of course, I was so concerned about having everything that I needed, it’s a really good thing I have a big car. I had a transition bag for the race, a clothing bag for the weekend, a bag for race nutrition, a bag for weekend nutrition, a bag of bike maintenance supplies, a bag of work stuff, my regular bag, one bike, spare wheels, a work stand, and a wetsuit.

There were a few delays on the drive over but nothing substantial so I was able to get to the expo (which opened at 2) by 2:30. I picked up my packet, talked to some of the vendors, and spent some time at the Xterra booth to talk to some friends (plus, they’re giving me a free wetsuit (!) so I’ll be at their booth at a couple of upcoming expos). I finished there by around 3:00 and headed to the hotel to complete my work for the week. Settling in nice and comfortably in a chair in my hotel room, I ran a few more Compex Endurance programs while finishing my work. Then showered, dressed and, thanks to a good recommendation from the hotel staff, I headed out for a really tasty, filling, spicy dinner of Arroz con Pollo at a waterfront restaurant. Back to the hotel, I relaxed watching a movie, catching up on email, and using Compex for Active Recovery. As usual the first night in a hotel, I couldn’t fall asleep so was up until 1, but spent the time relaxing.


I was determined to sleep in late on Saturday morning but woke up at 6 am. I made myself go back to bed and slept until almost 9. The hotel has a nice breakfast buffet so I had some tea and oatmeal and grabbed a banana for later. Then I headed down to the race location for a pre-race swim. Swimming has always been my weakness - both because I’m slow and because I’ve had some confidence problems in the water - so I wanted to take advantage of the fact that the swim course would be set up and open for swimming. As I put on my wetsuit (which thankfully zipped!), I talked to people coming out of the water in just bathing suits. They told me that the water was more than warm enough for just a swimsuit but most were still planning on using a wetsuit at the race for the speed benefit.

I found the water to be just as warm as promised, just fine for a swim suit or sleeveless wet suit but not too hot for a long-sleeved wetsuit. There was a bit of a current and some chop after the first buoy but it was pretty mild compared to the last few open water swims I’d done for practice. I swam out to the 3rd buoy, taking about 10 minutes between each buoy, then turned around and swam back, taking about 6 minutes between each buoy. I felt good when I got out, did my own reporting to those on shore getting ready to go in themselves, then headed back to the hotel to shower and do a little more work.

I switched wheels and pads, lubed my chain, checked my bike (good thing - my derailleur hanger was bent and I needed to straighten it) and made sure that I was one of the first people to check my bike into transition. Was happy to find that my spot was near an aisle as it was a big transition area but did get a little concerned as I didn’t see either a bag check spot or a mechanics tent. The reason for my concern was that in the morning we had to park at a school about 1.5 miles away and take a shuttle bus to the start. Bikes weren’t allowed on the buses so to get back after the race, we had to bike back, carrying our transition bags. Additionally, transition would close at 6:45 and I didn’t start until 8:00. I wasn’t sure what I would do about pumping my tires (did I really want to carry a pump on the bike?) or what I’d do for over an hour while I was kicked out of transition.

Leaving the race site, I found a pub that was serving food and televising the USA/England game. It was a nice, quiet relaxing place and definitely not one that rushed diners - at least not during the soccer game. The game finished just in time for me to get to church (note: you know it’s going to be a different mass when the priest starts by saying “God is a triathlete” before doing the sign of the cross). After mass, I headed back to the race site to meet some friends who had just gotten in, including one of my clients who was going to share my hotel room. They were all heading out to dinner but having eaten a late lunch and preferring some rest, I decided to skip the meal (turned out to be a good decision, they had some service problems and were there really late).

As they headed out to dinner, I decided to head back to the expo to ask about bag check. Turns out there definitely wasn’t one - one member of the race crew was confused about why I’d want anything during that time as it would be too hot for sweats. But I ran into some other friends and found out that the tri club was going to have a tent set up at the race and I could leave stuff there. That concern relieved, I headed back to the hotel to relax and spend some time running massage programs on Compex. When my roomie finally made it back to the hotel after dinner, I spent some time showing her how the Compex worked, then we prepped for the morning (I used my checklist again) and tried to get a good night’s sleep.

Sunday: Race Day

Up at 4:30 with hopes of getting some tea before leaving and found that the hotel had set up it’s entire breakfast buffet 2 hours earlier than normal for the triathletes! Not that I was going to eat anything from the buffet but I did get my tea and took a banana for after the race. Put on my Compex tatoo, got everything into the car and headed off for the school parking lot and then the shuttle to the race. After a week of thunderstorm predictions, the sky was perfectly clear and cloudless which was nice to see.

Arrived at the race site with plenty of time to spare and heard the announcement - no wetsuits for the swim. Not even wetsuit optional. Just plain no wetsuits. Was I ever happy that I’d swum the day before and that thanks to the efforts of my swim coach Kirsten and friends Noelle & Tammy who’d been taking me into open water in surfable conditions, the smooth water I saw that day wasn’t that scary. Can’t say that others were feeling the same. There were several woman racked near me that were either doing a first tri ever, a first tri of this distance, or a first tri in several year. Later, I ran into a group from my club who were all standing around freaking out and spent some time trying to help them calm down.

I was able to borrow a pump for my tires then used my checklist to set up my transition area. I laid out every thing I needed in the order of my list but couldn’t find my spare Endurolytes for the run. I completely emptied my bag, looked through everything again, double-checked but never did find them (did find two packets of Wet-Ones which are the same color so I think I know what I did). After looking everywhere I could think to look, I gave up on the run Endurolytes and decided that the bike supply would have to do for the full race.

Left transition, dropped my stuff at the club tent and then got in the port-a-potty line which took far longer than expected. Then back to the club tent for some pre-warmup on my calves with my Compex Sport Elite. It felt great and was a great alternative to my standard warmup routine as I didn’t have access to my running shoes. I was able to explain the Compex unit to several of the club members - including one doctor who understood it right away. Finished and (after running back to take off the pads I forgot, oops!) got in line to start my swim wave.

The Swim:

The water was definitely warm enough to be comfortable without my wetsuit so that was nice. However, as we were waiting to start, the announcer lets us know that the current is moving the buoys off-course so just pay attention to the orange turn buoys and the swim finish and don’t worry about any of the other buoys out there. Great for those nervous swimmers - no wetsuit and a strong current. But I decided I wasn’t a nervous swimmer anymore and I was going to do well. Unfortunately, I was still doing a few strokes to get comfy and wasn’t quite in the right position when the gun went off. But I was able to start pretty well anyway. Had a little bit of banging in the beginning which triggered my nervousness but I stopped for a few breast stroke strokes and a mini-self-talk (“You’re doing this, so get going”) and off I went.

After that the swim was mostly uneventful. I felt relaxed, my endurance was good, and I even managed to get in a bit of a pack for a while. I’m slow enough that I’m usually caught by two waves and this was no exception. Of course, the timing was such that both waves caught me right at the turn buoys. A little bit more banging there including:

  1. one guy who knocked off my goggles. A quick roll onto my back to fix those and off I went. I understood that one.
  2. one guy who grabbed my left ankle and started pulling on my chip strap. Is this a new triathlon passing symbol I don’t know?
  3. one guy who put his hand on my bum and pushed down. Multiple times. My friends joked that he does triathlons just so that he can touch women’s bums.

But primarily, I felt like the swim was pretty easy and boring compared to the 10Ks I usually run at the start of a race. I did feel like I was fighting the current the entire way and not going anywhere at times - plus I never got that push into the finish that I expected from my Saturday swim. Total time 1:00 - no wonder I got bored! A personal worst by over 15 minutes.

T1: Pretty uneventful. Glad to be getting on the bike.

Bike: Early on in the bike, I learned from some others that the swim course was probably long. That made me feel a little better about my time. (Later found out the buoys had moved so much that it was closer to 1.6 miles than 1.2.) My legs felt good, nothing hurt, and my hydration and nutrition went well. The course is notorious for wind and has been pretty bad when I’ve gone out to pre-ride but it wasn’t this day. Then, I got to the 10 mile mark at about 30 minutes and, knowing how little effort I was putting in, I realized that that no wind I thought I’d had was going to turn into a pretty strong headwind on the return. The road’s pretty rough and I noticed a lot of road kill nutrition, water bottles, CO2 cartridges, even a bottle cage and a bagel. The last race I done, I’d seen a Garmin but was pushing too hard trying to qualify for worlds to stop so I told myself that if I saw one this race, I was stopping for it as I wasn’t trying to place or qualify for anything. Which is when I realized the main difference between this race and those I usually do. Usually, I’m pushing all out the entire way, as hard as I can go for as long as I can go. And usually I’m in pain the entire time - that good ‘you’re working hard pain’ but still pain. Because this race was just for fun, nothing hurt and I just had a good time on the bike.

That was pretty much how things continued until the last 10 miles. I’d taken a water bottle every 20 miles to refill my aero-bottle and still had that plus my original spare water bottle so I was fine still on hydration. But the bottoms of my feet had started to hurt - something I expected on the run but not on the bike. Previously, I’d stretched every turn on the course but now I started to stretch a little more often just to take the pressure off my feet. Then I took the turn that brought me into the wind for the first time (that I’d noticed!) all race. Plus, I was getting kind of bored. My hubby says I’m easily bored and a friend recently described me as being a little ADD but this course is completely flat with nothing to see besides fields and I was a little tired of it. I used all my Team Compex teammates as inspiration, telling myself that if you could run for 100 miles, I could bike for 56. However, this was my lowest point of the race. Then just after mile 50, I saw a woman on the side of the road leaning over her bike. I asked if she was alright and she said that she was dehydrated. As I still had my extra water bottle, I stopped, gave her my water and all of my Endurolytes. I made sure she was coherent, feeling better and then she told me I could go on, she didn’t need me to wait with her but her race was done. I got back on the bike and my feet had stopped hurting. I talked to a race official at the next turn and found out help had been sent and rode on in. Did notice a lot of people walking on the run (the course’s overlapped for a while) and was surprised. These people were all faster than me and I never walked on the run so why were they? Soon, I would find out for myself.

T2: As soon as I stepped off the bike, my feet were in incredible pain. So bad that I almost couldn’t put weight on them. I leaned on my bike and hobbled through transition. Forced myself to change shoes and took two Tylenol (which I always leave in transition just in case) then limped over to the water table and had two cups of water. Decided that I had to try running and headed out of transition. Slowest T2 ever!

Run: I had the most wonderful, fun time. I ran my slowest time ever. Happily, as soon as I started running, my feet stopped hurting. Saw lots of friends who were volunteering at the finish as I passed it on the way out - got cheers and high fives. I kept my pace pretty low and felt good. There was a water stop every mile and I hit the first at about 10 minutes. Because it was so hot, I had two cups of water and one of ice. Drank one, one on my head, than ice under my hat and off I went. By the second mile, I was at about a 12 minute pace plus I felt hotter. Two cups of water, two of ice. Drink, drink, hat, back. That became my plan - supplemented by a few chips for salt at the stops that had them. Then onto the third mile - which is when the shade ended. The heat index for the day was over 100. Direct sun, no wind (where did it go, it was around on the bike?). I started to think that next year, we need a white Team Compex hat. I started to want the thunderstorms that had been promised. Then I got so hot that my asthma kicked in and I couldn’t breathe. Slowed to a walk and could breathe again so created my plan. Walk each water stop until I finished my water, then run for as long as I could breathe before walking again again. But it was so fun. I was seeing friends, meeting new people, having a great time with the volunteers. The volunteers were so good that I think if I’d given them my chip and asked them to finish the run for me, they would have done it. I got a big hug from a friend at one point (she was flying!) and then from some random guy who saw us hug. Again, usually I hurt so badly during races that it’s hard to have fun but this time I didn’t hurt - I just couldn’t breathe enough to run.

Some time before the turnaround, I discovered the secret that changed my race. I’d ended up with two many cups to hold so temporarily put one cup of ice down my jog bra. As I went on, I realized that I wasn’t overheating - I was able to breathe! So now, I could run the majority of the time. I had to cut back on the water because I wasn’t walking as much but I still stopped to talk at least briefly to everyone that I knew. But when I was running, I was holding an 8 to 9 minute pace. Then, the second miracle of the race - proof that karma does work. I stopped to talk to one of the club members who wasn’t looking too good. He’d bonked at about mile 1 but said he didn’t need anything. He asked me how I was doing and I told him how I was missing my Endurolytes but otherwise okay. Turned out he had extra Endurolytes that he was able to give me some. From that point, I was set and didn’t have any problems the rest of the run. Finished strong although still an incredibly slow time - 2:33, about 40 minutes slower than usual.

The Aftermath:

Relaxed with some friends at the finish line - it was amazing how many of us all finished at about the same time. Got my massage, recovery nutrition, hung out with friends. Then packed up my stuff and rode back to the car; very surprised that I didn’t feel bad to get back on the bike. Then the 3 hour drive home in traffic, dinner and off to bed.

Woke up in the morning and the only thing that hurt when I got out of bed was the bottoms of my feet. Everything else was fine. Ran a number of the Compex Recovery Plus programs - feet, calves, back, quads, and traps. I had an ART appointment that morning and my doctor commented on the bruises on the bottom of my feet. (We think I need new bike shoes.) Other than that and some tightness he noticed in my traps, I was perfectly fine. Compex hadn’t just helped me get through a race I wasn’t prepared for without any pain or tiredness, it had helped me recover from that race without any lingering soreness or tightness.

The most interesting after effect was actually due to my Compex temporary tattoo. Because of the sun, I have a Compex suntan on my right calf and it’s become quite the discussion topic. A woman even stopped me in Starbucks to ask me about it. The guys at work took a picture a few days later so it doesn’t show up as well as originally but I’ve attached it anyway.