Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Healing Process

So this is a picture of an open-spaced field hockey field.
Now picture, it half the size and with walls...now, imagine, Team B has no goalie and is defending the goal without pads. Girl A on Team A is hungry to score and sprinting with her elbow out, as she should, to carry the ball. Now, the defensive person (Girl B) does not want this ball in the cage...so she charges at Girl A to steal the ball. However, the elbow of Girl A collides with the ribs of Girl B (me) which then forces Girl B to slam against the wall and get the wind knocked out...
FYI - Girl B did get the ball and Team B did win!!!!

So, after last year's plantar fascitis (bad shoes - Newton's to be exact - but another topic for another day) followed by tendonitis in my thumb (field hockey) and this season's bursitis in my shoulder (possible hand paddles), a sprained ankle (running in the dark on a wet street) and now a bruised rib, I am hoping the injuries ceese at least for a while??
I think I have a pretty good disposition all things considered. I learned a lot, especially how to train differently and what to do while an injury has occurred. I am not one to sit around, I just end up watching too much TV and wasting my time. I am also by nature a researcher and must investigate what the problem is and how to solve it using multiple pieces of information, analyzing the information and developing conclusions and recommendations...for myself.

For example...
With the bruised ribs, you don't realize but this area is something that can inhibit you doing ANYTHING!!!

The ribs have two main jobs:
1. They protect the organs in your chest - i.e. your lungs and heart!
2. They help you breathe by keeping space open inside your chest while the muscles you use to breathe equeeze in, or contract. This leaves plenty of open space for your lungs to fill up with air.

The muscles used when you breathe pull on the ribs; hence the difficulty triathlon training - you know since it requires an increase heart rate and using this area of your body to swim, bike and run.

I just want to start off by saying there is limited information except a few forums on what you can/can't do. Doctors are not trained in this area which means most don't know what to tell you except "just rest...". GRRR...

Here is what I learned:
1. In the beginning (first 48 hours) the best thing to do is to apply ice and take Advil/Motrin as an anti-inflammatory. Moist heat is good after that.
2. If it is on one side of your body for example the left, you may initially think "I shouldn't sleep on that side, it is too much pressure." WRONG - if you sleep on that side it will let you take deeper breaths. Interesting...
3. Breathing exercises - take a deep breath, hold it, breathe out. Do this 10 times and then cough. This is an exercise for your lungs. Did you know if you don't do this and are using shallow breaths you do could end up getting pneumonia or a partial collapse of the lung tissue.
4. Day 1-6 is pretty much a wash in terms of physical activity. I found walking the dog for about 2 miles was the extent of it.
5. Day 7-9 things start feeling a "little" better, cycling on the trainer or cycling on the recumbent or upright bike works well. Keep your heart rate down if you can't breathe real deep yet.
6. Day 10-12 - I was at the point to get into proper position on my bike. This was good, I even got in my aero position. I was doing 40-50 minutes (1 TV progra)
7. Day 13 - I started out to do a slow 3 mile run. I ended up with a 10min/mile pace for 5 miles. The key was to be very consistent. Don't speed up when you see someone pass you even if that hurts more than the bruised rib. I kept my perceived exertion at a 6. I felt sooo good.
8. Day 16- Tried swimming, that may take some more time. So since I had some fins, I did 800 meters of kicking drills and some elementary backstroke.
9. Another learning came out of the running. I was surprised that I was able to have such an easy time running 5 miles when I haven't run in over a month and half due to the sprained ankle. I truly believe this was from the indoor bike training. During the last three injuries, I have developed a new appreciation for the indoor trainer as this was the one thing consistent in my life. I have learned, used properly, you can still maintain your physical fitness and resume "normal" activity.
10. Go to the doctors. Get an X-ray. They can't do anything whether it is bruised or broken, but at least you will have a general idea while planning your season. Bruises are 4-6 weeks to heal and broken ribs take about 6-8 weeks. Isn't it better to know how you are going to plan your season?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 - Will it be a good year??

This is my first post of the blog, so I will need to get you up to speed.. I started training for triathlons back in 2007. Until then I was a mediocre runner (some half marathons), gym rat and field hockey player. Tried two duathlon back in 2001 but only had a mountain bike and well that wasn't so much fun...

My inspiration came from my Aunt Noreen. Her and her husband did the Hawaii Ironman back in the early 90s. I mean, she told me that her first race, she was the last one out of the transition area because she wanted to do her hair! She later went on to do the Hawaii Ironman!

I was bored, I have a version of ADD (self-diagnosed) and was tired of just running and spin class...

It started with a drunkin' girlz night and some jager - next thing I knew I convinced Christine (ex-volleyball player) of the plan, and we were signing up for a sprint triathlon for Labor Day 2007.

Hurdle 1 - Swimming....
I went into work that week and here is how the conversation went at lunch.
Scene takes place in the cafeteria.

Heather - "So, I think I am doing a triathlon this year."
Person 1 - "That's awesome! When is it?"
Boss - "Heather, you swim? I knew you ran..."
Heather - "No, but I figure I have 5 months to figure it out."
Boss - "I hope you don't drown."
Heather - "Yeah, the husband said the same thing. Ahhh...details, details..."

So, how did I learn?
Well, first I thought the swim cap was supposed to keep your hair dry...Hmmm...
Then, I watched, looked at the internet, asked people at the pool.
Eventually, the new pool manager says to me he is offering lessons...

I did a couple lessons before the race. I was obsessed with planning so I had a plan for the sprint that Christine and I followed. I bought a road bike. Life was good!

I got in the water for the race, I am treading water with Christine and I freeze. I literally forgot what to do. So instead I knew I had to get across and just did literally every stroke (side stroke, breast stroke, freestyle) until I got to the end.

We finished!! I did 1 hour 21 minutes for my first one - not terrible!

Fast forward...
Since then, I have completed 5 more triathlons (including my first Olympic distance race!), 2 duathlons, 9 running races,

had 3 beerathlon victories,

suffered 4 injuries, and we started the Hot Girls Running Club (join us on facebook!).

Now for 2010. I got my first injury of the year, a bruised rib (from field hockey - took an elbow to the ribs but I got the ball!), after coming off of bursitis in my shoulder and a sprained ankle within the past 2 months. Details...details...

Races for 2010
1. Unite 1/2 Marathon at Rutger's University (4/18)
2. Broad Street 10 mile Run (5/2)
3. Parvin State Sprint Tri (6/19)
4. Philadelphia Women's Sprint Tri (7/11)
5. NJ State Olympic Distance Tri (7/25)
6. D&Q Marlton Lakes Sprint Tri (9/4)
7. Diamondman 1/2 Ironman - (9/12)

Goals for 2010
Run 9min miles or under at Broad Street 10 miler
Stop cramping from the bike to run
Run 8:30 miles for sprint distance races
Top 3 of age group at Marlton Lakes Tri
Break 6 hours for my first 1/2 Ironman

Now off to cycle on the trainer...can't do much on a bruised rib.
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