Friday, May 30, 2014

Beth's Guide To Being Injured

I *hope* you never need to put this advice to use, but should you find yourself injured, here are my tips for survival.

1)  Let yourself be sad.

I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, a sports injury isn't that big of a deal.  It's not cancer.  Nobody died.  The sun still rises every morning.  BUT for many of us, sport is a big part of our lives and when that part is missing, it's depressing.  Training and racing make me happy.  Without training and racing, I am sad.  No point in trying to pretend otherwise.  The trick though is, you can't wallow in your own sorrow forever.  Eventually you have to move on.

How fun is this guy?  He's orange!  But he does look sad.  And that's okay.

2)  "What-ifs" are toxic.  Don't let them win.

By "what-ifs" I mean the "what if I can't race X race because of this injury", "what if it doesn't heal and I lose all my fitness", "what if I disappoint my coach, my family, my sponsors", "what if I have to get surgery", "what if the surgery doesn't work" "what if I can't race this season at all", "what if I can NEVER race again", etc...  What-ifs can totally consume you and leave you in a pit of despair.  And really they are just a total waste of energy, emotion and time.  Why worry about something that has yet to happen?  When dealing with injuries, work only with the information you KNOW to be true.  And take it one day at a time.

3)  Don't be too proud to reach out for help.

And by help, I mean your friends/family/coach/teammates, but also, professional help.  More than any other time I've been injured, I did just this, this time around.  And it has made a huge difference.  These people all really want to help you.  Let them.

4)  Focus on what you CAN do.

I was definitely guilty of just the opposite when Ironman Texas rolled around.  I so desperately wanted to be in The Woodlands racing, that I really struggled to focus on anything else.  Bad news bears.  When you're injured there are plenty of things you can't do, sure, but there are also a lot of things you can do.  In my case, I couldn't bike or run but I sure could do a ton of all pull, one-legged, open turn swimming!  And so I did that with all my heart.  What else?  Get tons of sleep to help with healing (you will have the time, after all!), rehab with a passion (time to strengthen all those weaknesses!), focus on your nutrition, read, go to the movies, plot your comeback.  There are plenty of variables you can control, so control those and let the other stuff go.

5)  Don't take your anger and frustration out on your spouse/significant other/coach/friends/etc...

Easy to do (sorry Oscar and Tim!), but obviously not a good option.  It's not their fault you are hurt!  Store up all that frustration and anger for your next open water mass swim start.  All your pent up aggression will come in handy then!

6)  Realize that everyone goes through their ups and downs.

When pushing to their limits, very few people make it through without an injury or some sort of "down".  I personally just had to accept that it was my turn.  I ask a ton of my body and I pushed it very, very hard for a very, very long time.  It finally said "no more" and I had to respect that.  My body wanted a break and it got one - about a 6 week break to be exact!  As the saying goes though, the lows only make the highs that much better.

6)  Know that once you can train/race again, you will be so thankful, hungry and motivated that you are bound to see a jump in performance.  Plus your body will be refreshed!

Injuries force us to take the extended breaks that we probably need to take all the time.  I never really lack for motivation but now, after this down time, my mind and body are rearing to go, more than EVER before!

7)  And finally, once you are back to training/racing, DO NOT allow yourself to make comparisons.

Comparisons to others, comparisons to your former self, etc...  These are bad juju and only steal your joy!  I was so, so happy to start back into some training these past couple weeks.  But it wasn't long before I started fretting about how much fitness I had lost.  It's one thing to be out of shape in December but being out of shape is May/June is less than ideal!  BUT, but, you have to put on the blinders and focus on the process of getting back in shape on YOUR body's timeline.

See this racehorse?  He has blinders on so he only worries about himself!
Hope these tidbits will help someone at some point!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Update Or Two (Or Ten)

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats awaiting my updates, so here goes...

1) It's been 104 days since I've had a Diet Coke/Pepsi/pop.  At times I think I'd murder for a sip or two of the Good Stuff.  Other times I'm fine without it.  It's also possible that my Diet Coke addiction turned into a watermelon addiction, but as far as addictions go, I think I've upgraded.

I eat 'em one half at a time.

2) Guess who has a hot new Quintana Roo?  Yep, that's right, it's ME!  How about them apples?  I'm very excited to be a part of the QR team.  Awesome bikes aside, they really treat their athletes like family and that's something that's really important to me!  Roo (my new bike's name, duh) and I have been on quite a few rides at this point and we like each other.  A lot.  I've shown Roo a bunch of my favorite riding routes and some of my favorite climbs.  He has responded beautifully.  AND we're already setting new PRs.  Just last week we hit 43.6 mph (per my Garmin) descending on Saxonburg Blvd.  I've never gone that fast on two wheels!!  I guess when you feel totally comfortable on your bike, you can just let 'er rip!

World, meet Roo.
3) Speaking of sponsors that treat you like family, I have to give a shout out to my Coeur family who has cheered me on through the good times and the bad (sucky hip injuries).  I feel so thankful to be on their team.  It's pretty easy to represent a company when you not only believe that their product is tops but also when you have a truly great relationship with the PEOPLE that make up that company.  That, to me, is the perfect situation!  Now here is my tip for the week for any ladies reading this: go get yourself a pair of Coeur running shorts.  You will NOT be disappointed!

4) I resigned from my clinical nutrition job at Presbyterian Hospital.  Wait, you did what?  Yep, I sure did!  I've worked at Presby for the past 12 years.  And in fact, it was my first "real" job.  I had to google how to write a resignation letter because I've never resigned from anything before!  I will miss my co-workers and the challenges of working with very sick patients, but I'm also looking forward to new opportunities ahead!

Two of my fellow TPN writing teammates!  I miss them already!
5) And finally an injury update!  I believe when I last blogged, I had just gotten cortisone injected into my hip joint.  Following that, I was pretty restricted as to what I could do for two full weeks until I followed up with my doctor.  These two weeks involved very easy (50W) 40 min rides every day on the trainer (just to keep some blood flowing to that area), and swimming.  There was one caveat with the swimming though.  It had to be all pull.  With open turns.  Pushing off only with my "good" leg.  Yep, that's all pull, one-legged, open turned swimming, for about 25,000-30,000 yds/week.  Let me tell you about all pull, one-legged, open turned swimming.  It kind of makes you want to poke your eyes out.  It's slow as molasses.  And you kind of look like you can't swim at all.  BUT, it was better than nothing at all.  So each day (some times twice a day), I went to the pool and just did it.

After two weeks, I went back to my doctor who gave me the go-ahead to try and challenge my hip with some "real" training.  And that's what I've been up to for the past 2.5 weeks.  I'm back to kicking (and flip turns - yeah!) in the water and I've been able to increase my riding volume and intensity without pain.  This is exceptional news!  Running, as you can imagine, is progressing a bit slower.  There has been zero intensity in my running (although I almost never have intensity in my run training anyway).  Today I did my longest run of 60 minutes.  My hip, well, it doesn't feel perfect.  It's a bit sore and tight but has thankfully let me progress my runs without getting any worse.  Some days I feel supremely confident that it will be fine and my hip is going to (with time) let me get back to my previous run volume and paces.  Other days, I'm not so sure.  But only time (and patience) will tell.

In the mean time, I've signed up for a few races.  They might be ugly (at first) but then again, they might not!  I'm also working diligently on my rehab (Graston, anyone?) and thinking as positively as possible.  Because, as I've come to realize, where the head goes, the body will follow.

And now just a few more pictures before we part...

You know you are back to training when the dishwasher is filled solely with bottles.

These are SOOOOOOOO good.  You must try them, STAT!

I know how to do CPR now so if your heart stops, I can help!  And yes, that is bike grease underneath my fingernail!