Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PMP, Injury, Training

So a lot's been going on the last week or so. I figured I'd write about it during my lunch today.

First, on Monday I passed my PMP exam. Thank God that's over with. Now I don't have to feel guilty every night I don't study...or trained to hard to study effectively. Very good news for me.

My shoulder is still a problem. I took a shot of cortisone in my back and it helped a little bit. The day-to-day pain is basically gone. I never even knew it hurt until the pain was gone. But it didn't help my shoulder specifically. If I work at my desk for extended periods or swim...I get the same burning pain. It is much more specific now however. So instead of the whole back of my shoulder burning I can feel it in my shoulder specifically and mostly in the armpit (sub-scapulara) area. I doubt I spelled that correctly.
So I have an appointment with the surgeon to discuss again tomorrow. I suspect I have a few choices...more cortisone in my back to help with a bulging disc...perhaps higher in my back where the nerve effecting this area is. A shot in my shoulder specifically...or surgery.

I've already resigned myself to the fact that I am going to need surgery on the shoulder. Realistically I've needed it for years. But I don't want to do it until the end of this season unless the doc tells me I will be causing real damage that can't be fixed by continuing to swim. I really doubt that's the case as its not like the swimming motion is that hard like throwing a baseball or football. My hope is that we can load the shoulder with drugs...make it through the season in reasonable shape...and then have surgery as soon is the season is done.

From what I hear, recovery from shoulder surgery isn't as bas as I thought. People are on their bikes (inside) after a week or so. Nothing hard, but still maintaining a little fitness. Swimming after a month or so and running is last because the impact. We'll see what he says.

The other injury was a bit of a surprise to me. My running (up until Saturday) had been going great. I don't think I had missed a single day since January. I was really happy with how things were going. On Saturday I had a 45 minute time trial at a local bike shop. I ran 50min in the morning, nothing hard. I got to the time trial, raced and did pretty well considering my lack of riding the previous 2 weeks...and was feeling great. I hung around for a while, went home and absolutely nothing out of the ordinary occured that I can remember.
I woke up on Sunday and my right foot was hurting...bottom of the foot near the base of the heel. Of course my first thoughts were "shit I have plantar faciitis again". I hate PF. But I seem to remember doing something somewhere...I can't remember any details...where I had my foot in an awkward position and it cramped up. But it never got bad because I can't rememeber it at all.
Anyway I did not run on Sunday. I studied that day and did not rehab it as much as I should...a little ice was all. Monday I took my exam and was gone quite a bit...but I did run 25 minutes. I could feel it the whole time and probably should not have run. But I wanted to try. I iced if immediately after.
Tuesday it wasn't any better...but not really worse. I swam in the morning and did some kicking sets. I like doing that for foot injuries because it really helps increase blood flow to the whole leg. In the afternoon I rode for 1:30 on the trainer and spent the rest of the evening alternating between stretching, icing, heating, contrast baths, and rolling my foot gently on a little ball to loosen things up. I have also been sleeping with the boot.
Thankfully today (Wednesday) I woke up and it was a LOT better. I'd say 95% better. And I can tell right now I got too lax on my calf stretching and trigger point rolling. It is sore from all the rolling I did last night. But the good news is that I must have loosened it up a bit and it is on the mend. I suspect I will simply take this week off from running to make sure it is all better as I don't want to be running with PF all season.
I know how to tape my foot if necessary and I put my orthotics back into my work shoes for the moment. Maybe I'll just have to run with them forever, but I'd like to not need them. So we'll see how things go when I remove them after a couple days. Hopefully this pain really was just caused by a foot cramp or bruise of sorts. I doubt it...but if I can get rid of the PF quickly then its all the same to me.

As for my training...nothing much to speak of the last couple weeks. I had been running well. I had done some harder rides, not too much. Swimming has been minimal at best.
I swam yesterday and today to test the shoulder. Yesterday wasn't bad. Today after a harder swim the shoulder was hurting pretty good. So I need to hear from the doctor on that one.

I have the quarq in the basement. Now that the PMP is over I can install it. But I don't have the garmin yet. I need the Garmin to read the I am not going to install it until then. Why put miles on the chainring when it isn't serving a purpose.

The next two weeks will be interesting. I had planned to really start hitting it hard so my early June races would be great. In fact that is still my plan with some slight modifications. I plan to bike VERY hard the next two months for sure. I can get outside and will still do some intervals indoors.
If all goes well, and it should, I'll start running again on Saturday or Sunday. I had originally planned to begin increasing mileage this week to 30:60:90. Once there I was going to add some threshold/interval work. Instead I am going to dial it back a notch and do 25:50:60 the first week and see how it goes. If that goes well I'll go back to 25:50:75 and then begin a slow increase to 30:60:90. To be safe I'll stay there for a couple weeks before beginning threshold work or adding longer runs.
I think this will work well for me simply because the added volume I've already done. So far this year I am in much better shape than I have ever been. Even last year with ironman training, I was nowhere near as fast as I am now. Once I start riding outside I'll have a much better idea of how fast I am on the bike.

As for is my strenght. Last season my workouts consisted of 1500-2000 yard swims...and almost all were closer to 1500 yards. Doing that I was still one of the top guys out of the water. I can certainly do that and continue to manage the pain I have through the season. I won't be as fast as I could be...but I would still be faster than most triathletes. However I am hopeful we can at least eliminate the pain for the season and fix it in the fall. We'll see.

So thankfully all my injuries at this point are all just minor setbacks. Nothing I can't work through.

Spring is approaching everyone, time to get outside.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nothing much

Not going to post too much today.
I got a cortisone shot in my spine Monday afternoon. I was told it would take a couple days and be gradual. But I am skeptical. Tuesday the shoulder felt ok. Today I have the same burning sensation in my armpit-ish area...and I didn't even swim.

I had my doubts about the bulging disc causing this. Hopefully the doctor is right. But I think they should have MRI'd the shoulder too. The burning seems to be all under the shoulder blade and down into the arm. Certainly not the same as the rotator cuff, but who knows. UGH.

My PMP exam is Monday. Once that is done I'll be picking up the mileage in running and biking.

Running is going great. Still doing 25:50:75. Will keep it there this week and then start increasing it next week. Once I hit 30:60:90 I'll stay there for quite a while. I'll probably start adding in some threshold work too.

Biking is coming along. Not getting in as much time as I'd like. But doing some solid interval work. Yesterday I did 30 minutes at 315 watts. That is supposed to be my FTP. I could have held it longer but I am not sure I could have held on 30 minutes more. Saturday is the 45 min time trial, assuming the trainer is calibrated properly I'm going to try to hit 315-320 watts.

I wanted to post the running program I'm doing. For any runners out there reading this, I suggest you read the links. They are great.

The Program Part 1;search_string=barryp;guest=82231354&t=search_engine#2611228

The Program Part 2

The Program Part 3;search_string=barryp;guest=82231354&t=search_engine#2564153

Train for the shape you are in:;search_string=barryp;guest=82231354&t=search_engine#2571241

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Quarq is here, my Quarq is here!!!

FINALLY. I ordered it back in November/December and it took this long. It's not actually here yet, but it is in transit. Hopefully I'll have it in hand today.

So the last couple weeks have been good and bad. We'll start with the bad:
I have to study for this stupid PMP exam. It's driving me crazy and causing my blood pressure to rise. I have no doubt I am making it out to be much worse than it actually is...but it does require a lot of study time and memorization. I am in a class all day saturday too. It really seems to screw up my entire training week. UGH. But I do have a plan.
This week is my last class. So at least that will be over. But in order to get the most out of the class I need to take the test as soon after the class as I can. So I will have to sacrifice a little training time to get this done. Here is my tentative schedule:
Final class - March 20. Sunday after class I will spend a couple hours taking the practice exam to see how I do, and where I need to concentrate more.
My plan is to take the test either the 29th or 30th. This will give me about one full week to do the final cramming. I know all the concepts, but need to do the memorization.
And the motivation for all this...I will not allow myself to hook up my quarq until that test is done and passed. (failing doesn't count).
PS - A Quarq is a power meter for the bike. I've discussed this in past blogs.

The second bad shoulder is still bothering me a lot. I saw the orthopedic surgeon and have some good news. The problem does not appear to be my rotator cuff, it looks like it is in my neck. Too much sitting at a desk in one position. It may be pinching a nerve which is what causes the muscle spasms and more tightness and the pain all over the back/shoulder/arm. If that is a correct diagnosis, I won't need surgery, I need stretching and rehab. I have already begun, but have not seen any appreciable difference. I get the MRI results in the next couple days and will need to focus on my neck for at least a month. I am still swimming 3 days per week, but it is very light and easy swimming. Even after that my shoulder burns quite a bit.
I don't doubt that part of the problem is in my neck as it is incredibly tight and does hurt now that i am working on it. I just don't know that it is causing all the problems. Time will tell.

More bad diet has SUCKED the last two weeks. I really let myself get into a funk and that is ending NOW. A co-worker has every kind of m&m in his office and I have to be in there for meetings all the time. It had been too much to resist. And when it comes to sugar I am like a shark. Just a little sniff and I go into an uncotrollable frenzy.
The nice thing about Mondays is it starts a new week for me. So while last week was bad, this week will be good.

Onto the good news.
My running is coming along really well. Still at 6 days per week. Right now I am doing 25:50:75 for this week and next. After that I'll beging bumping it up until I hit 30:60:90. I will stay at 30:60:90 for quite a while with some longer runs mixed in. I have a little tighness in my calves and the left side of each leg. Nothing the foam roller won't take care of. With all my PMP work, stretching is one of the things I've sacrificed. I need to make sure I workout a bit less and keep stretching. A shorter workout for a couple weeks is better than an overuse injury requiring multiple weeks off.

While I didn't do much biking last week, I haven't lost anything. I did a good 45-minute ride yesterday with 4x5 @ 300 watts dispersed throughout the workout. It wasn't much of a problem holding that, 300 is about 95% for me. I am confident I could have held that for 20 minutes or so. On Wednesday I plan to do some longer intervals to see what I can do at 95% or higher. The new power thresholds from my last test are pretty tough.

On a sad yet funny note...
Aimee and I got a new cat a month ago. She was in a home with dogs and terrorized. The guy was going to send her to the humane soceity...and with the dogs always after her we were concerned she'd fail the personality test and be put down. So we rescued her.
Well, she is not good with other animals...and we have two cats. Cassie, the older cat is what you'd call an alpha cat. Well Ziva (the new cat) is very afraid, but also an I'm not gonna take any shit alpha cat. We've been keeping them seperated, but cassie always sleeps with us and Ziva is too scared to go down stairs.
Anyway, Aimee slept in the spare room with cassie so she wouldn't get too upset about this whole situation.
Our house is a 2-story house, and near the stair case is a ledge (approx 5ftx4ft) over the entrance to our living room. The cats love it, we call it the cat walk as they are out there all the time. They also know big people can't get out there easily.
So this morning I get up at abot 4:30 to run. (yes, way too early if you ask me). I get ready and Ziva is out on the catwalk. She's typically out there in the later hours. I go get cassie from the guest room because I feed them in the morning.
well wouldn't you know it, cassie sees/smells ziva and b-lines it for the catwalk. I try to grab good.
So she gets right to the edge effectivelly trapping Ziva. Not liking that one bit Ziva gets on her haunces and lifts a front paw in the mock "I'm gonna bitch-slap you" pose and starts growling, hissing, and making all kinds of noise.
Cassie doesn't quite know how to react but being the alpha cat in the house is not to be out-done. Instead of taking the bitch slap pose, she actually smacks her. Fortunately both cats have been de-clawed.
remember...they are on a 4-foot wide, no railing, ledge on the 2nd story.
Next thing I know, all hell breaks loose. cats are screaming, growling, hissing. I'm yelling at them because I don't want one falling off, and frankly they are both pissing me off at this point.
It's like a rocky movie that unfolds over the course of 5 seconds. Cassie smacks Ziva, Ziva smacks her back, they hiss, scream, roll around...seperate...jump back in and do it all again.
Next thing I know Cassie smacks Ziva and Ziva goes sailing into the air. She flies out over the living room...and being a cat manages to land on her feet and disappear. We found her and she is fine. Cassie ran downstairs because I was yelling at her.
All that before 5am.
Ziva doesn't know how lucky she is. Had she gone flying off the other side she would have smashed into the staircase railings and either landed on the stairs which are uneven or she would have fallen onto a bench loaded with "stuff". Either one of those could have hurt her pretty badly. Thankfully she landed on nice soft carpeting.

So we don't know what to do. It's been about a month. While we really want to give them a chance, there are so many dangerous places for fighting cats that we don't want to take the chance. I suspece Cassie has fallen due to a fight as she'd been limping a bit. Aimee thinks it occured before we left the two alone together.

So...if anyone reading this wants a cat, let me know. Ziva is 9. She has the potential to be a really great cat. She's very skittish from her dog (and cassie) experience, but she's shown flashes of being a really cool cat. She loves to play and when we don't allow the other cats upstairs she sleeps with Aimee and puuuurrrrsss all night. But I really think she needs a nice quiet home with no young kids or other animals that don't reside in a cage or tank.