Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Running. Is. Hard. And people have drown in pools before.

Soooo my physiotherapist started me running again last Wednesday.  He told me not to let my heels smack the ground, that I should be running on the pads of my foot rather.  I guess biomechanically humans aren't meant to have their heels strike the ground!  So it's all calf muscle instead of pushing off with the heel- it increases your cadence and speeds you up, because there is no time spent stopping your momentum.  When your heel hits the ground when you are running not only is it bad because it absorbs all the shock and it reverberates up your leg, but it actually slows you down because you are braking yourself.  While running without using your heels, you absorb the shock in the muscle rather than in the bones and you go faster.  And less injuries.  Sounds like a dream come true right? Ha.  The first time I tried it (run one minute, walk one minute) X 3 I couldn't walk for three days I was so sore.  So now I am increasing my time by one minute everyday and yesterday was the first time I could try it again.  I'm looking forward to trying it again tomorrow though!  It's really hard again. But I did it once before, and I can do it again...  And the physiotherapist says this is the best and only way to prevent injuries for runners and that it's the ONLY way I'll be able to run the rest of my life if I don't want problems.  So I plug on...

Swimming today was good.  I skipped last Monday and paid for it on Wednesday because we learned those fancy turns that swimmers do when they hit the wall and want to turn around super fast in races.  So I had to learn it on Wednesday a day behind everyone else.  That sucked.  I almost drowned each time.  I am the girl who grew up holding her nose when she dived off the boards and when she jumped in the pool.  It STINGS to get water up there. Yeech. But I learned the gist of it and be damned if I'm not going to try it every time... I apparently am some sort of masochist.

Today we had a stand in coach for Lincoln and he gave us a lot of pointers on stroke technique.  So I didn't get the full 1600 000 000 000 000 metres in that Lincoln likes to push us to do each week but I learned a lot of new things.  In fact he wouldn't let us finish the lap fast, so we HAD to work on our technique and we got to use the flippers!  Those things are as addictive as crack.  We learned to keep our hands in line with our forearms and bring them at a right angle down under our elbows and out to the side.  We learned to drag our forearms back straight and slow and pull to the back quickly.  We learned to imagine our arms and hips were attached by a string and to rotate the body to slice through the water at an angle rather than straight on. We learned to keep out elbows out of the water as high as we could with only dragging our middle finger in the water.  That way we expand our chests as much as we can to get as maximum air in when we breathe.  And last but not least we learned to enter our arms back into the water by fingers first, then knuckles, then wrist, then elbow, then shoulder... and concentrate on each separate body part entering the water individually, but in order.  He said this would help us stop thrashing down the 50m like farm machinery.  I'm assuming he was talking about me... So he told us to concentrate on only one aspect of it and the rest should fall into place just as easily.  So I worked my brains out on keeping my elbow as high in the air as I could muster, which made a completely different swim... And as I was concentrating on it one of the men in the slower lane leaned over and said... wow you look like a real swimmer!  I didn't think he was talking to me so I looked around, but I was the only one at the end of the pool with him.  So I said "Pardon?" and he said "Yeah, you look like a real swimmer out there, like you know what you are doing- looks fantastic"... You would not believe how  happy that made me.  I was on cloud 9 the rest of the 10min of class and am sooo glad I went this week.  Every time I go, I'm soooo super glad I went.  It's ridiculous.  My ankle is a bit sore and swollen today, but I think that has more to do with the running than the flippers... I hope anyway... Lincoln is going to have to pry them off my feet soon I think.  But all in all, it wasn't the best cardio workout today, but the stroke technique was worth it's weight in Fort McMurray real estate and I learned a whole bunch today!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dairy IS actually kinda of scary...

Hoo RAH!!  The stitches are all scabbed up and I'm back swimming... it was a bit testy in the water on Monday- mostly because I thought I was going to be asked to race again- but I wasn't- so it was all good!  In fact, I have been moved up to the middle lane and out of the beginner lane!!  I've graduated to big girl swimming now!  Today Lincoln had us doing 200m without stopping three times in a row.. then we did 600m with one minute breaks and I thought for sure I was going to drown.  But instead, I passed someone!!  I'd never done it before so I'm not sure if saying "excuse me" in a half drowning sort of gurgly way is correct... but whatever... it's only my first season.  It was supposed to simulate racing because we weren't supposed to stop after every 100m and chat or adjust our goggles... it's amazing the excuses I can find and how nitpicky I can be when it means I get a rest break haha.  Also with passing someone, I realized getting kicked in the face could actually be a threat if I don't watch where I'm going.  The training program gets busier on some days and so there are a lot more people sometimes thrashing around out there.. and it made me wonder about the race.  I mean people are killer in races and what if someone kicks me in the head and knocks me out?  And because I'm so tired I just fall to the bottom of the deep end?  It crossed my mind tonight when I got tired that I could actually die because of some over zealous triathlete who might not want to stop if he/she kicks someone in the head because it will mean they lose time.  And what if the lifeguard doesn't see me go down because the pool will be so busy?  But I take comfort in the thought that everyone has goggles and there are lots of people in the pool and SOMEONE will notice a girl laying at the bottom.  I'm sure of it.

I've really gotten good at not swallowing half the pool while I swim.  I've discovered if I turn my head back really far and look at the roof then when I go to put my face back in the water, because I'm moving, I'm at an angle where the water glides over my face instead of straight into my gaping, gasping mouth.  I almost died the first week because I swallowed the equivalent of Slave Lake in water, chlorine, pee and old lady aquafit sweat. Shudder.  

I've also been on the treadmill for 8 miles a day... after my physiotherapist has me doing 16 minutes at the steepest incline after and 2 minutes on incline barefoot to work all the little muscles in my foot that hate me.  Good thing I don't work right now!  I've developed a bit of plantar fasciatis in my broken leg foot and it's kind of painful in physio and in the mornings but I'm working on some exercises he gave me to correct it so it shouldn't be around much longer.  As for running, not until I can get on my tipee toe on my right leg only, will I be able to run.  So I practice it all day long, rising up on both feet on my toes and then lifting my left leg in the air and coming down on my right leg slowly.  It's amazing how your muscles go to pot when you can't use them!   

I've also purchased a bike trainer for my mountain bike.  It's a hardcore fluid trainer, which translates into super expensive- but it's worth it for me to be able to train on my own bike for this race.  But I haven't used it yet because I'm waiting for the weather to turn sour... no point loading my bike unto it if I want to take it out the next day!  It needs a different tire with no tread so that it is quieter and doesn't destroy the tread!  So I haven't used it yet but I'm going to and I'm excited... My brother is interested in using it too so hopefully we can both use it and I can feel like I contributed to our home gym.  Because right now the yoga mat and the giant ball are the only things in there that are mine...

And last but not least nutrition... it's been going pretty good actually- I'm weening myself off dairy right now because I've read so much crap about it lately... when you think about it- it's pretty effing gross.  It's lactate.  From a cow.  Not even our own species.  It's for growing calves from tiny babies to big cows in as short of time as possible.  It's FULL of additional growth hormones humans thrown in too!  And I'm the girl who almost won the dairy challenge dammit!  I love milk, and ice cream, and yogourt, and cottage cheese... jeez.  It's pretty bad how dairy has become so integral to our western diet.  It makes me wonder if maybe that has something to do with our obesity endemic?  I'm also concerned about the growth hormones in all meat... I mean, how can we expect to not be huge when we eat animals that are plugged full of things to make them huge.  It all accumulates in us - it's common sense.  So I'm weening dairy, most meat and sugar from my diet.  I'm doing it slowly and allowing myself some things when I crave them because otherwise I'd end up having a breakdown and eating an entire carton of ice cream with a pound of bacon wrapped around some cheese for dessert.