Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week Three: It's an A.R.T.

This week I started getting A.R.T. During my evaluation, we found lots of parts on my left side that hurt, more parts than I expected. Lots of runners get something called "IT Band Syndrome." I was convinced I didn't have it because I don't have the normal symptoms but my IT Band is really tender and I do get knee pain when I run; I thought it was from my calf injury, but maybe not. Apparently I need to foam roll more than I do. Blech, I hate to foam roll.

The secret life of the outdoor athlete

Before I started training for triathlons, my life was mostly lived indoors. I knew people did things outside and sometimes I'd catch glimpses of them as I went out my indoor life but I didn't really have any idea the extent to which there was this whole other life being lived all around me, but just out of view.

Once in a while I'd be driving somewhere and notice a parking lot full of bikes and wonder about it. Was it an enormous group ride? Or did everyone who biked somehow just know that this particular store was a good stopping place? But then I'd drive on and forget about it.

I also used to not care about the weather. I always dressed for 70 F because that's the temperature indoors and I wasn't outdoors enough for it to even matter. Sure I might be cold or wet or hot running to the car between home and work and back again. But it would be over quickly so I could effectively ignore that outdoors most of the time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scars at Two Years Out

I took this picture on my two-year anniversary but then forgot to post it.
As always with these scar pictures, my scars in real-life are slightly more noticeable. You can only really see the lower left (right in pictures) here but in real life you can see the lower right as well. The two at the top are hard to find unless you know what to look for and the 5th scar blended right into my gallbladder surgery scar a long time ago.

Two Year Check-up

I had my official two-year check-up with Dr. Awesome today. We went over my labs. He agreed they were great except for protein. He said I need to consume more and that even though I don't workout for 20 hours like many of my  long-course peers, that 10 hours is still a lot of time to workout and also that my 10 hours is probably on the intense side. I guess he has a point. It's true that anemia is an issue for female endurance athletes so I guess I better stop fighting this thing and just eat more damn protein!

He was okay with me adding in an iron supplement, but not convinced I really needed it. He also wants me to cut back to 50,000 IUs every other week instead of every other week so my Vitamin D doesn't go any higher.

This is a controversial issue in some circles. There are some people who are convinced that we altered-folk need our Vitamin D in the 80-100 range based on some studies. I have read those studies and I am not 100% convinced, but I am also not convinced that anything horrible will happen to me if my Vitamin D stays at 100. I also know from past experience that taking my Vitamin D every other week is not going to work as well in the winter. So I will probably wait until next spring to do that.

Finally, he pointed out that my weight has been within a narrow range for the past 1.5 years so he feels like he doesn't have to worry about me starting to regain at this point ... as long as I stay committed to my racing lifestyle, anyway. I told him I was going to do two Ironmans next year and he laughed.

These are my obligatory "Look I can fit into one leg of my old pants" photos, by the way. I think I might do a side-by-side of old and new pants too as I think that actually shows the difference better than these shots. But since they are obligatory, I had to take them ... or be drummed out of the Bariatric Bloggers corp or something.

Next official check-up: in six months.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week Four: Light at the end of the tunnel

I know I'm two days late on my "Countdown to IMAZ" post but it rained this weekend so I did my long ride yesterday. It went well in some ways, not so well in others.

My schedule continues to be very messed up. Doing a core/kettlebell workout on Monday nights, which use to be my rest day, doesn't help. This week, I also had a bariatric support group meeting on the day I normally swim. Though this happens every month, I still haven't worked out a good plan for how to deal with it. This week I went to the Masters class at my gym, only to find that it doesn't seem to actually be happening any more. I swam anyway, concentrating on my catch and doing some speed work, but I prefer to have someone telling me what drills to do as otherwise I tend to just swim straight distances and don't mix it up enough.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Racing with Chrissie

I just found out that Chrissie Wellington is going to be racing at IMAZ to make up for not being able to defend her World Championship title at Kona earlier in the month. So we'll be racing "together".

[insert girlie screams and squeals here]

Of course, this is going to shoot my goal of getting out on the run before the first finisher crosses the finish line all to heck because even if I modify it to first female finisher, there's a reasonable chance Chrissie will win the whole thing in my opinion. Then again, that was never a realistic goal anyway, more wishful thinking. I'll trade it for getting to be "caught" at the finish line by Chrissie in a heartbeat.

Speaking of the finish line, I've been getting so emotional about doing this Ironman lately. It reminds me a bit of when I had surgery - the planning, the anticipation, the daydreaming as to what it will be like, and the random tearing up for no reason thinking about it. It's caught me by surprise.

But now thinking that maybe Chrissie will be at the finish line greeting me as I cross as she has done at past races, and I'm getting even more emotional. Given that I don't think I'd even be in the position of doing this race, if it hadn't been for the advice and encouragement that Chrissie gave me when I met her last year, it's the perfect ending to my season.

Now, watch: I won't even see her the entire time I'm in Tempe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My GOTRIbal Weekend

I spent last weekend in San Diego. I went there for the Conference that I was supposed to attend last year but got canceled. Last time I took my daughter and we stayed with family, but she didn't want to go this time because she didn't want to miss school. I ended up staying with friends who were also attending the conference and racing the next day and that was a a lots of fun.

GOTRIbal, for those not familiar with it, is an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in endurance sports, for the goal of empowering wome. When I first got into triathlon, I was quite surprised at how the men outnumbered the women. I figured it was a sport where women can compete on the same playing field so the numbers would be more even, at least here in the US, where Title IX has encouraged so many more women to be active in sports.

I also think that women have a unique advantage in endurance sports because we tend to be mentally tough, yet not stupid tough-guy macho. Of course, this a complete generalization, but I still don't see any reason why women can't do as well as men in endurance sports and athletes like Chrissie Wellington -- who will probably outright win an Ironman some day -- are showing what women are capable of.

To get back to the conference though...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week Five: I'm a runner (again)

This week my workout schedule was still messed up and also I did quite a bit of strength training, more than I really intended to. I ended up rather sore at mid-week and ended up taking Thurs. and Friday off, both to get un-sore and to drive down to San Diego for a big triathlon-related weekend.

On Saturday I ended up doing two strength workouts, not really on purpose, but I went to the Boot Camp at the GOTRIbal Conference and Retreat first thing in the morning and then attended a "Strength Training at Home" talk at the conference that turned out to be more doing than listening.

I was a bit worried that between four strength training workouts in one week, plus the run and swim clinic, that I'd be too sore to race well on Sunday. I did have times during the bike when I asked my legs to give me more and they just couldn't. I still PRed the bike course though. In spite of both rain and wind. This was actually the most wind I've had in a race (though not in a workout) and the only time I raced in the rain.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More lab results

I've got the rest of my B vitamin results back and all my Bs look good. So does my zinc and my selenium and whatever else I haven't posted about. My B12, which can be a problem post-op for some partial gastrectomy patients, is actually up quite a bit over last year and my folate is up as well.

So it's just my protein that's low. Dr. Mom doesn't think it's anything to worry about because my other labs are great. She suggested more bariatric-friendly supplements. I won't see Dr. Awesome until next week, but I'd be surprised if he says anything different.

MacBoy is also talking about taking supplements (his diet is horrible and he's underweight) so I guess I better get off my duff and order that iron from VitaLady.

What I find interesting is that everything I read about female endurance athletes says that anemia is a common problem. I don't really have any signs of anemia - my hemotocrit and hemoglobin are excellent - but that could change if my iron keeps dropping. I wonder if iron has been the issue all along. It's not clear to me how iron and protein interact.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My uterus is funny!

Saw the OB/Gyn today. She said I don't need any follow-up on my polyp until it starts making me bleed more. (Assuming it does.) But then I said I wanted an IUD. So then I had to get a biopsy. It felt just like a pap smear though they did use some sort of local anesthesia spray so maybe it would be worse if I hadn't had that.

I need to wait 7 days for the results.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week Six: Swim, Run, Bike

I know it's supposed to be swim, bike, run, but it's been a crazy, mixed up week and that includes my workouts today.

Last week ended with me doing a hill interval workout on the bike that caused me to tweak my calf. I had iced it and was hoping for the best. Unfortunately, it looks like I had hurt it more than I wanted to admit.

Friday, October 8, 2010

More tests means more test results means more tests

They are still trickling in my lab results. I still haven't got all the Bs but I do have folate now. My folate is yummy:

Folate, RBC 668
Reference range: GREATER THAN 280
Unit: ng/mL

I'll take it.

As for my ultrasound, I do not have a fibroid after all. Or even two fibroids. I have (and I quote):
an echogenic lesion ovoid in configuration within the endometrial canal. This measures 1.6 x 0.5 cm. There is Doppler blood flow in a portion of this in appearance that looks like a feeding vessel.
Yeah, I have no idea what that means. Except that I have to have follow up tests. But it's probably not anything serious. The weird thing is that I actually have symptoms that go with fibroids. The only symptoms I have that are related to polyps (which is the term my doctor used) is weird uterine bleeding, which is one of those vague symptoms like headaches that millions of health issues share.

So time to make another appointment for another test... oh joy, oh joy....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More tests

I usually have a mammogram along with my annual physical and this time I had a pelvic ultrasound to with it. I am pretty sure I've had one of these before because I vaguely remember having to drink a boatload of water and then hold it in without peeing before.

This year it was much harder though. I finished my 40 oz.  at 2:13, two minutes early and then IMMEDIATELY had to pee. But my appointment wasn't until 3:15. I got there 20 min. early and hoped they'd take me early. I told the gal I had to pee and she acted like she understood. But apparently I wasn't clear as 10 min. later I was still in the lobby and REALLY had to pee. So I went back and told her again and it turns out she hadn't even let the technician know I was there.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Labs at 2 years out

I finally got my lab results. For the most part, they range from acceptable to awesome. But...

Yeah, you guessed it. My proteins is as bad as ever. It's 5.8 when the normal range is 6.4 to 8.2 and last time it was 6.3. Argh!

My other protein-related numbers are okay, but not spectacular. On the other hand, I have no signs of anemia. My iron numbers are good (though down slightly from last year) and my blood counts are excellent:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stitches & Cottage Cheese

I had this stupid cyst that sprung up a few years ago and just wouldn't go away. It got a lot smaller when I lost weight, but didn't entirely disappear. So I finally got around to having it removed. It was an easy procedure. The worst part was being shot up with lidocane. Of course, I now have two stitches in my side and that means I can't swim until Sunday. So I'll miss Podium on Wed. I just realized this means I can't do my water running on Tuesday, either. Shoot.

I hope I don't have another week of missed workouts and craziness. I want to dial back on the running this week but I also am dialing back on the biking now that it gets dark so early during the week. I can't dial back on everything. So I am going to have to come up with a Plan B.

On a completely unrelated note, I did the cottage cheese test and I can still only eat about 6.5 oz of cottage cheese, just as I could at one year out. It's interesting because it feels like I can eat more. But my stomach is clearly the same size. I am realizing that a lot of it is what I eat and also how I eat.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week Seven: Setbacks

This has not been a good week as far as IMAZ prep has been concerned. I missed workouts all week. Then I was stupid and tried to ride my bike two days in a row, both with hills. I hurt my calf again.

I actually feel a little better now than I did earlier today when I was having a hissy fit, slamming doors, and stomping around.

That's because I iced my calf and it seems fine now. I was afraid I had really hurt it this morning when I did some hill interval work. I should have known better than to do this kind of workout (a) at all given my injury and (b) after climbing Mount Hamilton the day before.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hey, I'm 49

Well, I was yesterday, anyway. My resting pulse rate when I woke up was 49. That's the first time I've cracked the 40s -- that I know about anyway, since I don't measure every day. Usually I'm in the low 50s, with occasional forays over 55 that correspond to days I'm scheduled to rest anyway.

I told my family and said I was approaching Lance Armstrong territory here. Then MacBoy decided to be a smart-aleck and said to watch out I didn't turn into Lance and soon I'd have no balls. I pointed out I already have no balls and he said: There you go.

I don't think it's that easy to be a world class cyclist.

Anyway, I'm off for my long bike ride of the week. I'm taking my car into servicing in Milpitas and then biking from there to part-way up Mount Hamilton. It's my attempt to duplicate the Ironman Arizona course, which is very flat with a small 500 ft. rise before you turn around. My rise is going to be more than 500 ft. but not as much as if I went all the way to the top.

If I do it right, I'm going to do the loop twice, going faster the second time. If I do it wrong, I'll run out of time and will only be able to do it once.