Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What a pain in the neck

I haven’t been writing much lately because there hasn’t been much to write about. I haven’t been training a whole lot because my neck has been bothering me. By bothering me, I mean I feel stabbing pains in my neck and shoulders 24/7. Can’t say for sure what the cause was, I just know on the morning of Dec. 5, 2009 I woke up with a sore neck. I kept hoping it would go away thinking I just slept funny. Needless to say, it didn’t. I kept asking my husband, Lou – ‘Should I go to the doctor?’ Every time he said yes. I shoulda listened to him. I would have felt better - sooner.

I couldn’t swim because I couldn’t turn my head. It kept getting worse and worse. Sometimes the pain was so bad it nauseated me. Not fun. I couldn’t bike because of the position of my head while riding. I couldn’t run because the pounding hurt it even more. Strength training – forggedaboudit. I still did a little if I had a better day than others, but nowhere near what I wanted to do.

Anyway, it took me until Dec. 31st to see my primary care physician. He gave me a muscle relaxant and pain killers. That was not the route I wanted to take but he wouldn’t recommend me to a physical therapist until I tried the drugs for a few days. He said if the pain didn’t ease by the following Monday, to call him and he’d send me to PT. I said OK. The drugs helped a little bit but only a little. Also, I couldn’t have a drink on New Years Eve because of the drugs. Bummer.

I called him that Monday and I got the referral for PT. It took over a week for the first available appointment, but I took it. I had a few appointments and was very disappointed. The pain in my neck kept moving from place to place (top right – lower middle – top left – back to top right, etc.) with no relief in the intensity of the pain. It was a mystery where the pain was going to move to next. As much as I love a good mystery – this one sucked!

After talking with my husband and a couple friends, all whom had seen a chiropractor before, I came to the conclusion that I needed chiropractic help. My friends opinions ranged from “I will never go again” to “I go once a month” but they all said the same thing – they experienced relief from their pain after seeing one. My biggest problem was that I was terrified of going to a chiropractor.

I went to see one locally. I made an appointment for that day. They took a full history and some x-rays – something the doctor and PT had not done. I was told I had a straight neck and sublaxation. Whatever – I just needed by back cracked by a professional. The doctor then proceeded to crack my neck then my back. It sounded like a 1000 bubble wrap bubbles popping at the same time. AHHHHHHHHHH! Instant relief. I hadn’t felt this good in nearly 7 weeks. I went back a second time for more of the same. I’m still not 100% but I feel so much better.

I’m hoping to bet back into training soon.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Third Times a Charm

I kept plugging and chugging. I still felt that I could do better. So I tried a third sprint triathlon. It was about the same distance as the last. 400m swim, 14.3 mi bike and 5K run.

A couple things were different with this one however. I had nearly two months of open water swimming training and my friend Aimee loaned me her sweet Bianchi road bike. I rode the bike a couple times before this race to get used to its feel. It is a lot different than my mountain bike with road tires. Just in training I was able to chop off 4 min per 6.5 mile lap where I ride.

Since the race was in Lorain, Aimee and Eric invited me to spend the night at their house. That would save me the hour and a half commute to the race (Thanks guys!). Originally, I was going to get up super early and drive myself to the race and they were going to ride their bikes and meet me there before the race began. No such luck. We all still got up early, but it was cold and rainy and a bit windy. They decided to skip the bike ride and just drive. I kept thinking – ‘Great day for a swim in Lake Erie!’

There was a light drizzle pretty much all morning. At times it was a downpour and others it was tolerable. However, it was not enough to cancel the swim. The race got off to a bit of a late start and the men went in the first wave and the women in the second wave. The course was out to the Lorain break walls, swim across two sections of wall and then back in to shore. It was actually OK. My biggest problem was the swim was east to west and I can only breathe on my right side. The walls were to my left and the waves (which were slightly large that day because of the wind and rain) were to my right. I got smacked by a few waves as I was breathing. But it wasn’t horrible and I wasn’t last out of the water. It was my fastest swim time yet – 12 mins. Once out of the water it is about a ¼ mile run to the transition area.

I was like lightening on the bike. Those skinny tires just glide. I actually held back because of the rain. I was a little afraid since I wasn’t used to the bike. I know I could have gone faster. It was fantastic! My bike was 54:14.

I am always slow at running but I was still happy with the result. It was raining still and I was chilled a bit but I felt great. The course was an out and back run with a few small hills. Very nice. I finished in 43:34.

Woo Hoo! Yea for me! My finish time was 1:56:54!!! I broke the two hour barrier and it is a full hour faster than my first triathlon in Philadelphia.


Swim: 12 min
T1: 5:47 – including the ¼ mile run to the transition area
Bike: 54:14
T2: 1:19
Run: 43:34

Total: 1:56:54

After the race all I wanted to do was dry off, put on some warm clothes and head home. I did the first two, but as I was driving home, my family called me and said they were at the Waffle House near our house and wanted to know if I wanted to meet them there. I said yes and they ordered a pecan waffle for me. It was piping hot and just delivered as I walked thru the door. Delicious. It can’t get any better than this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tri Tri Again

Although I was thrilled beyond belief to finish, I knew I could do better than I did. My biggest limiter was obviously open water swimming. Luckily I live about 3 miles south of one of the best places to learn open water swimming – Lake Erie. It has all the largeness of an ocean, but none of the salt water.

I discovered the local Lake MetroPark System offered a class that was nothing but open water swimming in Lake Erie. It was in Fairport Harbor and every Tuesday morning at 7am I could swim or kayak with a large group and lots of lifeguards. I went every week except for one when I was out of town. We could swim a half mile out to the breakwall and a half mile back. At first I would kayak out to the wall and start the swim back. If I got too tired, the life guard would pull me up on his wave runner and ride me back to shore. Each week I could swim farther and farther. I also learned to relax more so I didn’t panic in open water. By the end of the summer, I was able to complete the entire distance in about an hour. It is still slow, but at least I know I can do it.

Right now the lake is iced over, but I plan on getting into the open water earlier in the season than I did last year.

All that extra swimming started to pay off.

I did my second sprint triathlon at the end of July. It was the Pirate Triathlon at Fairport Harbor – exactly where I’d been training. This one was a little shorter – 500 m (1/3 mile) swim, 20K bike (12.4 miles) and a 5K (3.1 miles).

Swim – 28:38 min
Bike – 1:00:56 including transition
Run - 40:21 including transition

My transitions were about 5 mins each.

Overall my time was 2:09:55.

Woo Hoo – I knocked 40+ minutes off my time.