Saturday, January 12, 2013

LITTLE LESSONS FROM HTFU UNIVERSITY


Every year on January 1 after a few months of the off season, my training begins to have structure again. This year is no different and the first week of the New Year has been a busy one. My 'real' training doesn't begin for a few more weeks, so for now I've just been upping the ante on all things swim/bike/run.Since having Abby 4 months ago, I started back only 4 weeks postpartum. From then up until now has been interesting to say the least. I am a triathlete. Not just a swimmer, not just a runner, not just a cyclist. I have to do all three. I.m not a balanced individual if I just train or concentrate on one discipline. So for the last 4 months during everyone's so called off season, I've been in training mode. Training to get my fitness back. Training because it's what I love and part of who I am. It has definitely not been easy and that's why this year I've decided to take some hard core lessons from HTFU University.

LESSON ONE: SLEEP IS OVERRATED

Sleep is overrated. Or is it? For 9 months I didn't sleep. That's right. Pregnancy insomnia ruled my world for 9 months. It hurt. Like hell. Fast forward to having the baby. The sleepless nights really began once Abby came into this world. WOW! For over a year now I have yet to get a full nights sleep.  I have never EVER EVER EVER felt pain like the pain of sleep deprivation. It hurts. Especially when trying to train/exercise while going through it. For any of you who aren't parents and would care to see how that feels, stay up for 4 nights straight, nap for only 2 hours during each of those days, eliminate ALL caffeine in your diet, and then try to swim, bike or run or actually even thing think straight. Yea, not so easy. The sleep thing has taken it's toll on Rich as well. He had to completely end his season and will likely have a much later start that the norm for the 2013 season. So, with no sleep and taking care of my beautiful baby girl all day (which by no means is an easy job) plus breastfeeding every couple of hours, I still somehow manage to get it all done. This has not come easy and this was my first lesson in HTFU. I am still only averaging around 4 full hours sleep per night and sometimes that's even broken sleep. I don't piss and moan about it, I just HTFU and get it done!!

LESSON TWO: THE TRAILS SHOW NO MERCY

As always when the weather turns cool, I take to the trails. I love them, crave them, can't stay off them. I've had my fair share of spills and on the trails and also a few injuries to note. Just scroll past blog posts and you will see. This go round I've added some UMPH in my trail sessions. Now instead of driving to the trails, I ride the Rock Hopper 9 miles on the road to the trail head, then cycle the trails and then cycle back home (tough). Now, I not only run one trail when I go, now I'm running one and then some. All these things I love and really work my body. I am a much stronger mountain biker than road cyclist and I have always been pretty fearless on the trails which may or may not be a good thing. I've had many a wipe out and this past Friday was thrown for a complete loop when my bike hit a root on a decent caught another root and I lost control. It all happened so fast, I couldn't get unclipped, and the bike went completely up on the front tire, flipped to the side and slammed me onto the ground with a pretty good thump. I was in complete shock for a moment before the pain snapped back to reality.
Swollen &bruised a week later (disgusting) It's getting better now though. The purple is turning to yellow. This one is on the outside of my leg. The ground gave me this one.
 Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I was lying there under the bike, in the mud, crying little a baby calling Rich on the phone. The phone call leads me to HTFU lesson 3.

LESSON THREE: SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!

My husband didn't get to where he is by being a wimp and therefore he tries to instill those same values into my brain. Problem is when it hurts, I whine. A LOT. Note on lesson # two above. I call Rich whining that I'd just crashed the bike, broken my leg and couldn't move. This is the convo that ensued:

This one on the inside.The bike gave me this one.
Me: I can't move..sob sob sob. I've broken my leg, the bike. I heard something snap. Boo hoo hooo.
Rich: Shall I call an ambulance?
Me: sniffle sniffle...no.
Rich: Is the bike ok to ride home?
Me: I don't know. I am lying under it at the moment. 
Rich: Once you get up, see if the bikes okay. I'm sure you'll make it. (Abby crying in the background) Ok, love...gotta go.
Me: Whatever.
Rich: Oh and hun, that's what happens when you mountain bike. Crashes happen. See you soon. Love you.
Me: hmph.

Then I pick myself up. Legs throbbing and cycle the frigging 8 miles home with a broken bike and a broken leg. Well my legs wasn't really broken, but it felt like it ;)
Now don't get me wrong. My husband helps me out when I need it, but he knows that I'm a bit of a drama queen when it comes to pain. Just like on mile 18 on the 2011 Ironman Louisville run when I certain that I was near death. I see Rich on the sidewalk cheering me on and I call out to him...

Me: Babe...it hurts. Hurts bad. I am never doing this again. I'm hungry, tired, aching. I wanna go home now.
Rich: Carry on. You've got 8 more miles. If it were easy honey, then they'd call it Flowerman.
Me: hmph.

 See, my hubby is always trying to make me HTFU and the most recent bike crash and his response to it was just a lesson in this tough course.

LESSON FOUR: JUST DO IT

No not a NIKE ad. See above photo of injury. Knowing I have sessions to do and I'm hurting. Should I lay on the couch and boo hoo about an a bummed leg? Nope. It's time to HTFU and just get things done. So I did.  I ran 11 miles the day after I crashed my bike ( leg was SORE!)  but it's all about hardening up right? I went right back into my training bruises and all. No time to be a softy here and that's definitely a lesson in HTFU.


LESSON FIVE: MUSCLES HAVE NO MEMORY

Well, I already knew there was really no such thing as muscle memory. Age old myth I suppose. If it were as easy as muscles remembering what to do on the bike, then I'd be riding 112 milers for fun already. But it's just not happening... yet. Muscles unfortunately do not have memory. It's the brain that actually remembers what to do but the muscles have to be retrained to do what they've done it the past. Not matter what you are doing. A whole year off the bike in training and my quads sometimes feel like jelly rather than actual working muscle. Each time I hit the road or the trails, I am reminded when my quads are on fire that they have forgotten what to do and will eventually remember, but only after they've been retrained to do it. That takes training.The pain and fire in my legs reminds me that I have work to do to get back into good cycling shape and this to me is my HTFU lesson four.

LESSON 6: DILLY DALLYING DOES NOT EXIST

Time management. Gone are the days of lolly gagging during a training session. In fact, there is no lolly gagging at all in my life at the moment. Hell, it's taken me two weeks just to write this blog ha! There's no stopping along the way for a photo or to smell the roses in my training EVER. Every training session has to count. I've got a 2 to 3 hour window of opportunity to get things done with each session. When you have a baby at home and a hubby who also needs to train, time is of the essence. In the past, I was always free and flexible to do what the heck I wanted when I wanted. Nope, not anymore. I have to get out there and get my training done so that I can get right back home to little Abby. Since breast is best, I will continue to feed her from my body. I love it! She loves it. Anyway, she is still eating quite often, and if I'm not back when it's time for her to eat, things could get ugly for Rich! All in all, I am now learning to make the most of all of my sessions and get out there and get them done. It is quality over quantity these days and will remain that way throughout this season.

LESSON 7: RUNNING IS NOT THE ENEMY

As if the leg bruises from the crash were not enough, now it's time for another toenail to go. It's so black and ugly, I would never dream of posting a photo. Only 4 months after having my girl, all the running has taken it's toll on my nail. It's so black that even my dark polish doesn't hide it. It's the same nail that always goes too. Oh well...I gave up pedi's a long time ago when I took to endurance sport. Back to the running. I've been logging some great mileage on the road and on the trail. I've also been running on my new treadmill and doing some hilly runs with the Abby in the Bob jog stroller.

Between all the outdoor running, I use the treadmill for speed sessions and also for some incline sessions. Yep, with a treadmill that goes to a 15% incline, I am taking full advantage of that. Being a wimp when it comes to hills, this year I've decided to up the ante and tackle hills. The majority of my races this season are flat runs so this should be prove to be a training benefit. I've never been a fan of treadmill running but I'm already seeing more strength in my running that ever before. Just the other day I did an incline run for an hour then when outdoors that same day for a 5 miler. The 5 miler felt easy after that. Sessions like those hurt, but I know that they will help to make me a stronger better runner. Toenails and all.

Running at steep inclines are making me HTFU in my running





These are all just things that are currently toughening me up. Oh sure, I like to think I've been tough in the past, but these things make it all so much tougher. Having a new baby while training for my biggest and busiest triathlon/140.6 season yet, these HTFU lessons are going to be the most valuable things I will earn this go round. I'm definitely looking forward to a fun & busy 2013 season :)

2 comments:

Maggie said...

Okay, I definitely need to enroll in your HTFU Uni.... tons of great advice! Glad you were able to get back up after that crash - those bruises are epic, glad it wasn't worse.

haha - still laughing over "Flowerman"...

Tonya said...

hahahaha! It's a great Uni for me to be in that's for sure! I need all the hardening up I can get ;) Oh, and the bruise is actually pretty disgusting to look at now (not that it wasn't before) but def glad it wasn't worse.