Saturday, September 28, 2013

Breakthroughs and Setbacks

I've had lots of good intentions for posting the last few weeks. The problem is that every time I think to myself "oh that's a good one! I'll write about that when I get home," by the time I sit down to write, the feeling that I had has been replaced by a different one, sometimes good and sometimes bad. So today I just decided to write about this roller coaster that I've been on.

The month of September has been a good one for training, and the reason why might surprise you. Here's what happened. We were off work for Labor Day and Robert and I have been getting his Harley ready for me to ride with him (he's had the bike for years, and I've never had any desire to get on there with him, until Sons of Anarchy came along, don't judge me). So I have this adorable pink helmet and the motorcycle has a seat and pegs for me, and we just need a day to get out there and practice.

After a regular weekend of tri training, we hopped on the Harley on Labor Day and went for a successful ride for an hour an a half around all the roads that I usually ride my bicycle on. It was exhilarating (ok, at first it was terrifying and I almost didn't make it out of our neighborhood without throwing up from fear. But that's a whole other story). The problem is that about an hour into the ride, my same old hamstring was screaming at me just from sitting on the motorcycle, and when we returned home I could barely walk.

For almost a year, I've been figuring out ways to "work through" this hamstring issue without solving it. I've been telling myself that it doesn't hurt while I'm riding/running, so what's the big deal if it hurts all day at work? This summer, I was beginning to dread the running days because every time I ran, I knew I'd be in some pretty solid discomfort for the entire day afterwards. But it wasn't "affecting my life." Well, now it was. And I would be damned if I didn't get to ride around the hill country on the back of the motorcycle holding onto my very own Jax Teller because of a tri injury.

I asked Coachie what to do and she begged me to go and see Justin Martindale over at Promotion Physical Therapy. She has so much confidence in him and he really helped Shelly back in the fall before IMAZ, so I decided that even though physical therapy had not seemed to help that much before, that I needed to give this another try.

This experience has been far different from my PT experience in May. After 3 weeks of 3x a week at Promotion and following all the rules, I believe this is helping me to get better for real this time. The real benefit is coming from having my coach and physical therapist talking to each other about my progress. After a conversation with both of them, we determined that I needed to "push it" on a week's worth of workouts and "see what happened."

Here's where the roller coaster comes in. I followed their directions and started pushing it. And because I wasn't afraid to hurt myself, I broke through left and right in swimming, biking, and running, hitting intervals I've never hit, reaching speeds and heart rate zones that I've never been able to grasp and hold on to before. This happened consistently for 2 weeks and I know it was all because I put fear away. Even with harder workouts, my hamstring was feeling better too. Yesssssss!

Well then, after a particularly awesome weekend workout, I was doing a pretty benign swim on Tuesday and I felt sharp pain in my hip flexor. By the end of that day, I could barely walk. Luckily, I had a PT appointment. Justin couldn't figure out what I'd done, he tried to make my hip physically feel better, but mentally I was a mess. I went home and cried and felt like I was back at square one.

And then 2 days later, it feels better, the hamstring feels great, I'm probably one PT appointment away from "graduating," and I'm back to smashing workouts and feeling super strong.

Roller coaster. I hate roller coasters. I've made a decision to just hold on and go for this ride. Longhorn 70.3 is in exactly one month.