Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Get it done on your run!

I struggle with incorporating stretching and strength training into my workout regiment. As I have shared this struggle with others I have learned I am not alone. So I have been working on trying to find easy ways to make it work and incorporate it into my daily routine. Typically when I go out for a workout I only plan the time it takes to complete the workout and then I rush right back into my responsibilities. Here are some ways that help me get it done!
Get outside and get fit! No matter how slow, no matter how fast, no matter how short, no matter how long you can't go wrong!! Every little bit counts!!
If you have restrictions or limitations, check with your doctor to see what you can do. Getting outside in the fresh air and moving around does so much for not just your body but your mind. If you need to break it into small outings through the day do what you can. Starting small is better than not starting at all!!
Here, being restricted post surgery, I just did 3 wall sits for 10 seconds each on the way thru walking the trail and again on the way back. Nothing too challenging for me but letting myself do something. 
I love this multipurpose trail in my neighborhood that everyone uses for dog walking, walking, running, biking, and a fitness circuit. (Photo bombed by an unknown biker)
Ladder climbs - chances are you may not have this particular piece of equipment readily available to you. But you may pass a jungle gym, a slide, or other playground equipment. Find a way to challenge a muscle group or groups you may or may not be targeting for that workout. Try something fun and different to break up your run!
Use your resources!! I'm very fortunate that along the running path in our neighborhood there is a series of fitness equipment. But even if you don't have something like this you can use kid's playground equipment, a tree, a bench, a bridge railing, a curb, or just yourself. Do some lunges or squats. Drop and do some pushups. This is really good to do between running intervals!
Stretch during your workout or right after before you go inside. I stop along one of my favorite running paths for the view and some stretching.

Whatever you do get it done! Stretching and strength training not only make you stronger and enhance your performance, but it is vital for injury prevention!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When is Enough Enough?

"She stood in the storm, and when the winds didn't blow her way, she adjusted her sails." Or rather she tightened her pony tail and adjusted her game plan. 

5 weeks PostOp and rather than one more week of recovery the doctor said I need to wait three more weeks. When he did the exam I had some adhesions he had to pull apart (ouch) and I still have quite a bit of my stitches that have not yet healed. 
It also seems my tummy is having issues bouncing back from surgery. It swells up to as big as I was four months pregnant. I was given an antibiotic at my two week appointment and I need to take probiotics and hopefully it will resolve within a couple of weeks. 
It wasn't what I wanted to hear but everything happens for a reason. And I would find out that reason all too soon....
Not doing much while recovering from the hysterectomy, my hip and knee have still been bothering me from Ironman 70.3 TX. So I went to the orthopedist. I should have gone sooner, but I thought the rest post hysterectomy would do the trick. Two things are going on. I have ITB syndrome which is super frustrating but wasn't a huge surprise. It also turns out I had a hip fracture at some point (likely from one of my falls) that is giving me trouble. And it has healed abnormally. And it could possibly have caused a labrum tear. The treatment is physical therapy and dry needling for now. If it doesn't improve or gets worse with PT we'll look further into a tear.
In just the last 3 years I've had 4 stress fractures, a shattered collarbone and adhesive capsulitis in my shoulder, a uterus that fell out, 5 surgeries, and been diagnosed with RA and a slew of other autoimmune issues.
Sometimes I ask myself when is enough enough. When is it time to just call it quits?
The answer is NEVER! As broken and weak as I feel right now, I know my WILL won't be broken. I'm a fighter. Sometimes the fight gets a little exhausting, but I just need to take a deep breath and jump back into the ring.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Check Your Breasts!!

Today is National Pink Day!! And it just so happens I had my mammogram today!!

We talk about health and fitness every day. What we don't talk about every day is breast health.

Recommendations vary on when to begin getting mammograms. Some say 40 and some say 45. It may be recommended even earlier if there is a family history. See your doctor right away if you have any symptoms. 

Watch for any changes in the breast. Unusual changes could be:
- any breast swelling
- skin redness, irritation, or dimpling
- breast pain
- nipple pain, inverted nipples
- nipple discharge
- a lump in the armpit

Early detection is vital. It is estimated 1 in 8 women and 1 in 1000 men will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. 

There are risk factors you can't control such as age, gender, or family history. But here are some you can control to reduce your risks: 
- weight 
- diet
- exercise
- alcohol consumption 
- smoking
- exposure to estrogen
- oral contraceptives 

Remember it's never too early to do self checks! If you are unsure how to give yourself an exam check out for a step by step guide. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

4 Weeks Post Op

When life puts you in tough situations don't say "Why me?" just say "Try me."  - the Rock

4 weeks post op and things are moving along. I just finished the antibiotic for the infection I had that caused swelling of the abdomen and digestion issues. Digestion has improved, swelling has gone down, but my stomach is far from being back to normal unfortunately. It's a challenge seeing my body like this while I am unable to exercise. But I know it is a result of surgery, so I will be back to normal before I know it. 

Pain level is down to just uncomfortable. By the end of the day I tend to be most uncomfortable, I am sure from overdoing it. 

I am walking 3-6 miles when I can. On days that I have more chores around the house I end up opting out of a walk. 

There are days when I am dying to run. I am craving a release. There are days I am frustrated. But the only thing I can control is my attitude, so that is what I will do! Focus on getting well, moving forward, and planning for my future goals!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hydration Goals

It is summertime and it is HOT out there! One of my goals for this year is to improve my hydration. It is important to hydrate all day long. We tend to become more cognizant of our hydration during or after a workout. But it is important to drink fluid leading up to a workout as well so you aren't at risk for overhydrating during exercise. During exercise the amount of fluids you need to consume can vary based on each individual's needs. Some factors that can influence the amount of fluids you need can include the duration of your exercise, intensity of your workout, temperature and humidity, and most importantly your individual sweat rate. There are many sweat rate calculators available online you can use to calculate your sweat rate. Repeat this test in different climate conditions to be sure you are hydrating properly during each season.

To do sweat test manually:
1. Weigh yourself without any clothes on.
2. Run (exercise) for 1 hour.
3. Keep track of how many ounces of fluid you consume while exercising.
4. Get undressed and wipe the sweat off your body.
5. Weigh yourself again without any clothes on.
6. Subtract your post workout weight from your pre workout rate.
7. Convert your weight loss to ounces and add in the amount of ounces you consumed during exercise.
8. Divide this number by four and you will have the amount of ounces you need to be consuming every 15 minutes for the duration of your exercise.

For example, I weighed myself before my workout and weighed 104.8 pounds. I drank 16 ounces during my workout. After my workout and wiping down I weighed 103.6 pounds. I lost 1.2 pounds which converts to 18 ounces. Add in the 16 ounces and that comes to 34 ounces. Divide that number by 4. I should be consuming 8.5 ounces every 15 minutes while exercising.

After your workout you should focus on making up for any deficits by refueling with drinks and meals. Be sure to replace those electrolytes!

Once you get behind on your fluids it's really difficult to "catch up". I learned this the hard way during my first Olympic distance triathlon. I was anxious on the bike because of a prior bike accident and I didn't drink. Temps and humidity were extremely high. By time I got to the run I couldn't make it up and my run suffered. It was definitely a lesson learned. I am fortunate it didn't turn out worse given the conditions. Early signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue. Drink before you get thirsty! If you are not sweating or urinating you need to be concerned. You may begin to experience weakness or become dizzy and even confused. You may experience vomiting. And more serious symptoms like heart palpitations and fainting can occur. Please be cautious because these are very serious and severe dehydration can cause irreparable damage and even death. This is why hydration has become such an important goal for me.

I have never liked carrying fluids with me when I run. I don't love carrying a handheld and the belts move around on me and jostle and end up making me nauseous. But I knew on my long runs, especially trail runs or the ones where I venture far from home, I needed to do something! So I decided to try out a vest from Orange Mud. And it was just the answer I needed!!
I have the Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1. It is a single barrel vest meaning it carries one 25 ounce bottle. It also has two front pouches that are very convenient. The two pouches are large enough to carry my iPhone 6s, nutrition, and even my GoPro camera. I was concerned about chafing, but the vest fits snuggly and comfortably so that is not a problem at all. The single barrel is enough fluids for me right now, but I will be looking to invest in the double barrel once I get more into my Ironman training and increase my distance. And after Ironman I see Ultras in my future. My fitness journey began with trail running and that is where I most love to be.

Do you prefer a handheld, hydration/fuel belt, backpack hydration system, or vest for your hydration?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Surgery and Two Weeks Post Op

This girl just won't quit!!
After suffering a prolapse during a long run (more in previous post), I had to have a hysterectomy, an anterior/posterior repair, and a sling put in. The surgery went well. I was up and about after about 30 hours. I took a walk around the hospital floor. The nurses were all impressed with my tenacity. It was a lot easier to be tenacious on pain meds!! 😜 I got off those pretty quickly after going home because they make me nauseous. Ibuprofen as the only pain management is not the most ideal way to recover. But all in all I have done really well!
Five days post op I started going on short walks. This was when my bladder and bowels were trying to recover from the repairs and it was a horrible nightmare. Really awful. Still not 100% but so much better than the first week and a half. 
One week later I walked a mile!! Had to keep it really close to home so I did laps around my cul de sac. But as I started being more mobile I started to do a little more here and there like pick up a little around the house. And it was the last week of school, so there were a couple activities for the boys I couldn't miss. And it was all way too much. I ended up doing nothing at all for two days after all that and that helped. Being at home I see all the projects I neglected while 70.3 training. I started organizing my closet......yet another mistake. I have got to learn how to relax! This recovery business is tough!!!

At my two week follow up appt Dr. Syal said the tummy issues and swollen belly are not normal. He thinks one of two things happened. I can't take the typical antibiotics give during surgery because I am allergic. It could be from the antibiotics they gave me in the hospital. I did have some reaction while there where they had to give me a strong dose of benedryl. Or it could be I picked up some sort of infection. He gave me an antibiotic and I should see improvement within 5 days. Hopefully this will help improve my recovery.
"Endurance - the power to withstand pain or hardships; the ability or strength to continue despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions"

As triathletes and long distance runners, endurance is our thing. We push thru and endure conditions most will never understand. Thru this journey I have found the strength to overcome and endure more than I ever thought imaginable. I am incredibly grateful for all the hardships I have faced and everything I have learned and will learn from them.