Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Has it really been a year?

Back Story: I have a chronic issue with my left knee that requires ongoing treatment.  I could go into more detail, but essentially it's arthritis which is something I simply need to manage, there isn't a 'cure'.  The current treatment of choice is a series of three Euflexxa injections.  I've been getting them about every 10 months or so. Looking back just over the past few years, these are the time frames when I've had treatment:
  • November 2012
  • Jan 2012
  • March 2011
Typically, my knee starts bothering me a few months before I actually go one. I notice it first when running, but soon it is problematic even walking.  For example, I was having knee problems while running last August, while walking in September, and finally got treatment in early November.  

The 3 weeks treatment isn't all that fun, although it works, and afterwards I'm on restricted movement for about 6 weeks.  It ends up being at least 2 months rest/recovery each time I go through this.

Fast forward to earlier this year: After much research in addition to consulting with a new doctor, I decided to try make some other changes (already was taking glucosomine/condroiton) in an attempt to extend the time frame between treatment. Those things include:
  • supplement with type ii collagen
  • supplement with calcium fructoborate
  • supplement with systemic enzymes
  • avoid long runs (make 4 miles the "average" run, and never go over 8 miles)
  • avoid running on hard surfaces
  • avoid hills (walking and running)
  • embrace cycling
  • embrace walking
Taking supplements was an easy thing to embrace, but some of the behavioral things were much more difficult for me. However, something is working. I'm essentially a full year from my last treatment and I'm not having any knee issues. This is a huge improvement over what I've experienced in the past several years.  So I'm much more amenable to continuing this course of action.  Being pain-free is a good thing.

At this point, I feel like I'm experiencing bonus days for the year.  I'm considering scheduling treatment over the holidays just as a proactive measure, but haven't fully decided on whether to do that or not.  There is a part of me that wants to see just how long I can go without it.

Anyone else reading this who's dealing with a chronic issue or injury?  Have you had success managing it?  Any other suggestions for what I might try?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ride Report - More Pictures than Words

Pretty much all of the artwork involved with this event was pretty cool.  I liked the t-shirt, jersey, and even the event bib:

The Event t-shirt
The Optional Jersey
Participants Bib
I tried to get a photo of Husband & I at the start which didn't turn out well due to the position of the sun. My photo of other participants getting ready to start turned out okay though.

Photo bombed by the rising sun
Just about go time for the half-century and metric century.
He has the worst luck with flats.  We didn't even make it 10 miles before he needed to fix a rear flat.  I included a photo of my car tires just so you can see how bad the goat head thorns are this time of year.

Already stopped to fix a rear flat.  Stupid goat heads
For reference, my car tire loaded with goat heads.  These things are nasty on bike tires.
We ended up turning early, and completed 45.3 of the planned 64 miles.  I just wasn't ready for the full course this morning and didn't want to turn this into the "day of the dread."  It's all good.  I finished happy, still enjoying my bike.
At our final rest stop, happy about decision to turn early.  Also sporting snazzy new event jersey.
Racked at the finish
Will probably try for the same distance next year. Just need to start training for it in earnest a few weeks earlier.

[edited to add: We didn't participate in this event last year due to the recurring problem I have with my left knee.  I feel compelled to mention that so far this year, my knee is doing okay.  I expected to need to get treatment again at about this time, so I'm very grateful to be able to be doing stuff like this.  It kind of feels like I'm getting bonus pain-free days this year.  I certainly appreciate it!] 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekend Riding, part 2

(If you haven't done so, I would love it if you would read part 1 first. Please & thank you.)

So the plan for the next day, Saturday, was a ~44 mile ride with Husband.  I figured if I could survive 64 miles spread over two days back-to-back, I might just be able to do it all in one shot next weekend.

What I hadn't mentioned is that Husband had been out of the country for the past few weeks.  He just got home Friday afternoon. As it turns out, he wasn't feeling up for the ride Saturday morning.  We needed to postpone until Sunday.

While postponing certainly wasn't the end of the world, it brought with it a few challenges.  First, without splitting the ride across two days back-to-back, my confidence on doing the full metric century the next weekend was dwindling. Second, the route we intended to ride intersects with the DCM, which was occurring Sunday. I did some math, and figured if we left our house at 11am, by the time we got to the DCM area, most of the marathon runners would have cleared the course.

I didn't get very many photos from the first half of the ride.  I was right about the marathoners clearing the course.  But I had forgotten about the half marathon which started later!  For about 4 miles, we were sharing the trail with way more runners than I had hoped.  But we made it through that without incident.

Here are some photos from the ride:

Took a break under this tree
Mid-point stop: south of the city by a junkyard.  Yes, someone had tagged the bench. Niiiice. 
Coming back north.  If I'm riding alone, I don't go south of this point.  See photo above to understand.
I thought it was interesting that some of these trees had dropped their leaves already
Less than 5 miles from home and Husband gets a flat.  Perhaps I should have waited at the winery?
And for the record, I pulled two thorns out of my front tire while Husband was fixing his flat.  No big surprise, but this morning, my front tire is flat.

So while I did make it through the 44 mile ride, it was not easy.  My shoulder was bothering me before we started, and unfortunately it got progressively worse as we were riding. Not good.

I'm not sure what we are going to do next weekend, but there is a good chance we will plan to cut the ride short.  Disappointing, given that my original goals for the ride were simply "don't quit and don't hate the bike when it's over."  Guess if we have to choose one over the other, "don't had the bike when it's over" is going to win.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Riding, part 1

Got my 20 mile ride in on Friday (20.8 to be exact).  Yay!  I was off work, so I had lots of options about exactly when I would ride.  The weather forecast showed strong winds kicking in slighly before noon.  I knew I didn't want to be out riding in that.  So I opted to head out at 8:30am when it was a chilly 38 deg.

I felt comfortable, except the areas of my face that were exposed.
I have to admit to feeling pretty bad@ss for getting out there on a chilly morning. The thing that scared me most was getting a flat.  Not because flats scare me, but because fixing one would require taking my gloves off.  But I figured it would only be bad at the beginning of the ride, the temp was likely to go up by 10deg while I was out there. And it really wasn't THAT cold.  I just haven't acclimated to the fall temps quite yet.

The leaves are turning!  Beautiful :-)
I didn't see very many other cyclists out there.  Probably because it was a weekday.  I must say, it was nice having the trail mostly to myself.  And it really was a spectacular fall morning.

Rio Grande full of water.  It was scary low this summer, so this was nice to see.
When I was about a mile from home, I heard that noise that no cyclist likes to hear:  "Thuk, thuk, thuk, thuk, sssssssssss"  Darn it!  I'm fairly sure it was a goat head thorn stuck in my tire.  The "thuk" sound was it hitting the brake on each rotation and the "sssssssss" was the air coming out of my tire when the thorn finally dislodged from my tire.

Since I was so close to home, I made the executive decision to ride on it as far as I could, walk the bike the rest of the way if needed, so I could fix it in the comfort of my own home rather than on the side of the road. Surprisingly, the tire held up well enough for me to stay on the bike.  Seems like a bit of the thorn was still stuck in the tire, blocking the hole well enough to stay fairly well inflated until I was done.

All in all, planned ride #1 was a success. Would planned ride #2 go this well?  Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Plan B

Oh, it would be so easy for me to write out a 6 week training plan that I should have followed to get ready for the metric century, but it's a little late for that now.  And honestly, I need to remember that getting ready for that ride isn't my only goal for the month. I also want to achieve running 3x week and hitting 12K steps/day on average.

What I've done so far this week:  Sunday was a lazy day, but I got in short runs each day Mon, Tue, & Wed.  The distances were 1.8mi, 3.1mi, and 3.3mi.   I realize that I'm not running far enough to train for any serious races, but it's far enough to stay healthy, and that is the main goal.

Looking forward:  I hope to get one more 3 mile run done today. Tomorrow the plan is a 20 mile bike ride.  Then on Saturday, a 44 mile ride.  Between the two days I will have gone the full 64 that's coming the following weekend at Day of the Tread. Then I hope to run on Mon and Tues again.  I'll be travelling Wed-Sat and don't expect much more than walking as exercise, although I'll bring running stuff "just in case" I get a chance Thu or Fri.  That Sunday is the metric century.

So clearly this wouldn't have been my Plan A, but it's reasonable as a Plan B, right? RIGHT?!?!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Against my better judgement, we're in!

"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Finally bit the bullet and got Husband and I signed up for the Day of the Tread metric century despite the fact that I'll be going into this under-trained. The event is in less than 12 days. I have one weekend left for a long-ish bike ride.  Guess that just adds to the adventure. And yeah, I think this counts as one thing that scares me.  And if you saw my training log from the past 6 weeks, I think you'd be scared for me too!!

For an extra fee, event jerseys are available for purchase, and we decided to go ahead and get them this year. I'm excited about that.
We'll be getting the event jerseys this year, woohoo!!

A few words on the Day of the Tread event.  It's a fundraising event for Casa Esperenza, a home-style facility for families of cancer and critical medical patients.  The event offers a marathon, marathon relay, half-marathon, 10K walk or run, 5K walk or run, 1 mi run, Kids K, 100 mi century, 80 mi ride, 64 mi (metric century), 54 mi, 26 mil ride, 12 mi ride.  Whew!  That's a lot of different choices!  There is something for just about anyone who wants to participate.

A lot of folks will be showing up in costume. Overall, it really should be an enjoyable experience. Except for the riding a metric century under-trained part, of course. Hehehehe.

What are you doing lately that scares you??

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday morning thoughts

  • During the first week of October, I did pretty well with my cycling goals, but missed on running.
  • The second week was the reverse, did well on my running goals, but missed on cycling.
  • Third week's a charm? 
  • I'm doing well with the 10K steps challenge, my overall average last week was 12.7K.  Yay!
  • My weight is right where I want it to be. Wonder if this is the year that I am able to maintain it through the upcoming holiday season?
  • I'm getting the urge to do yoga again.  Haven't actually done it, just thinking about it.
  • They say a picture's worth a thousand words.  In that case, here's five thousand words worth:
One groggy doggy - poor guy has a spinal/back injury and the meds are making him sleepy
My other dog hates hot air balloons.  His anxiety is very high during  Balloon Fiesta. See why?
Self portrait post my one and only ride this week (20miles)
Another beautiful New Mexico sunrise.  I just love it when my day starts out like this.
Close encounters with Yellow Jacket balloon. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Solo Ride and Sept Tally

Scenes from a Solo Ride
  • Although I haven't signed us up for the metric century yet, I am training for it as described a few posts ago.  It's really hard for me to get motivated to ride solo, but I got out there yesterday.  It was chilly.  I actually had a false start...had to go back home and get a head sweats thing for under my helmet...then I was good to go.  Took a few photos to share:
    Rest stop.  Notice a little clump of leaves starting to turn (far upper left above trash can)
    All done and happy! Don't let the blue skies fool you, it was chilly
  • I need to mention that the modifications made to my bike recently (bike fit including raising bars and new saddle) have made a world of difference to my comfort.  So glad I bit the bullet and had that done.
  • Next weekend I need to ride solo again, and extend the distance by 10-15 miles.
Sept Numbers
  • 60.4 miles cycling
  • 25.5 miles running
  • 43.1 miles walking
  • 1 trip to OH to see mom
  • 1 cycling event 
  • too many excuses to count
  • Bleh.  Lost my motivation in Sept.  But I think it's back now.
  • Wear pedometer for 10,000 steps challenge at work; try to get to 12,000 steps on avg by end of challenge.
  • Train for and participate in metric century.
  • Run 3 times per week, min 2 mile distance per run.  
  • Short return trip to OH to accompany mom to important doctor appt

Friday, October 4, 2013

Making Progress

Short update on progress since my last post:

  • I did run on Wednesday as planned.  It was a solo run and only 2 miles, but that's good enough for me to count it as a run
  • I also got in a bike ride Thursday after work, 14.0 miles with a friend.  
  • Today should have been another run, but it's blustery (20mph winds), so I've decided to postpone until tomorrow.  I don't feel like being sandblasted.
  • Not sure when I will get my 25 mile bike ride done this weekend, but I have a route planned out to make it happen. 
  • And I continue to wear the pedometer...
Overall, I feel like I'm on the right track.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Month, New Plans, New Approach

Normally I do a tally at the end of each month.  I haven't done a Sept tally yet and I might skip it all together. Not that I have anything against a tally, but I'm really trying to look forward right now rather than look back.

Husband & I are leaning toward doing a metric century that will be 4 weeks from Saturday.  I haven't been riding much, so I need to figure out how to get from zero to 64 in 4 weekends.  Catch:  Husband will be out of town for the first two weekends, so I'll need to ride alone on my long rides.

Here's what I'm thinking.

  • Get in 2 mid-week rides.  Somewhere between 8 and 16 miles.  Don't sweat so much about how far, just be sure to get on the bike
  • Get in one weekend ride.  Aim for a progression:  25, 35, 45...yes the next one would be a big jump to 64, but that's okay!
Granted, this may not be the most sound approach, but it beats what I would otherwise be doing for sure:  sit on the couch until event day and attempt 64 miles with no training at all.  LOL.

In addition, I'm going to try to run 3 times a week.  It's okay if the runs are short and slow, I just need some consistency with my cardio base building.  It will help me get through the bike rides.  

One of the biggest hurdles is mental.  There is a part of me that doesn't believe I can do it.  That part is a liar!  I can do it.  I WILL do it!

How I'm doing so far:  Ran Monday: 4.0 slow miles.  Rode yesterday, 8.2 miles.  I'm calling that a successful start.  

Oh, and I'm still wearing the pedometer and trying to get to an average of 12K steps per day.  Running obviously increases step count and I get to add in cycling minutes to convert to step-equivalents so tracking the steps helps hold me accountable.  GAME ON!!