Update

Where to even begin?!

Bruno and I clearly are terrible bloggers.

Here is what has happened in the past FIVE MONTHS:

  • Not one, not two, but THREE sprint triathlons
  • One half marathon
  • One Ragnar Relay in Pennsylvania

My feet are feeling great. I feel absolutely no pain anywhere, not even my knees as before the surgeries.

Today, I am a triathlete. — Almost exactly one year after my second bunion surgery, I crossed the finish line of my very first sprint triathlon. — 🏊🏼‍♀️400m swim: 9:00 T1: 2:10 🚴🏼‍♀️20k bike: 40:00 T2: 1:23 🏃🏼‍♀️5k run: 28:58 — I performed faster in all three sports than I thought I would. I had estimated my swim at 11 min, my bike at 45 min, and my run at 31-32 min. My transitions were ok but can be improved.. I struggled in T1 to get my left foot to clip on so I pedaled with one foot for a while and couldn't start the bike lap on my Garmin. My next goal is to figure out how to shave off at least five minutes 😏 — @swimbikebruno and I were in the newbie category, and both got first place! It was a sweet surprise. Thank you to my husband for being an amazing coach and training partner, especially on the hardest days. — All I can think about now is showering, taking a nap, and counting the days until the next one! — #swimbikerun #trigirl #triatleta #triathlon #triathlete #triathlontraining #trilife #swimming #cycling #running #roadtoironman #ironmantri #triathlonsprint #sprinttriathlon #girlswhotri #cyclelikeagirl #cyclinglife #runnergirl #runnerscommunity #runninggirl #fitfam #fitlife #fitchick #fitcouple #fitlifestyle #embracethespace #stravaproveit #milesandmiles #raceday #raceweekend

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We are in the middle of race season now and I feel very strong. I’ve got my first Olympic triathlon in 3 weeks, and then a 1.2 mile swim across Cayuga Lake in 4 weeks. Then I’ll shift focus to long distances again with a 106 mile bike ride and the Wineglass half marathon to finish the year. Oh and, I gotta squeeze some 5Ks and 10Ks in because I KNOW I can beat my old PRs.

Check out the events log for my times and current PRs!

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Let the training begin

Well, here we are. Week 1 of 37. THIRTY-SEVEN.

Bruno and I are going to be training for 8 events this year (he’s doing 9, actually), and the training starts now and won’t end until October. My list is below:

The way we handling this is by focusing on a couple events at once. Bruno created a training plan for me, and right now I’m focused on the Richmond Tri and the Buffalo Half.

Triathlon goals

I don’t have any grandiose goals for my first triathlon, other than to finish gracefully. Time-wise, this is what I am conservatively estimating:

Continue reading “Let the training begin”

Bunion Surgery – The Aftermath

Hello – it’s been a while!

I got tired of updating you about how I was not doing anything interesting, so I stopped until I was recovered enough to be active.

I am 9 months post-op on my left foot, and 14 months post-op on my right foot. The pictures below show the before and after.

Continue reading “Bunion Surgery – The Aftermath”

Hello again—2017 here we come!!

It’s been a while folks. A lot of things have happened since the last time I posted:

  • My wife had surgery on her second foot, recovered, and ran her first and second bunion-free 5ks!!
  • I finished my PhD, we both got new jobs and moved to Ithaca, NY. Ithaca is indeed gorges as they say.
  • Due to injury and work overload, I had to cancel my plans to run the Erie marathon in the fall. Instead, I ran a couple of half marathons and some 5ks. I PRed in both distances and I won my first race (sure, it was only 70 people running it and everybody was hangover from new year’s celebrations, but I am still counting it and crossing it off my bucket list).
  • Our cats are adorable as usual.

So, what next? We have two big goals for this year: Continue reading “Hello again—2017 here we come!!”

PGH Marathon training – Race Plan

This is it!! Just one week before the big day! Instead of describing my super boring taper-week workouts, I decided to write about my plan for race day. One of my 5 planned steps to try to improve my marathon time drastically was to run a smarter race. Last year I decided to improvise, I started too fast, and I ended up hitting the wall before mile 16. This tim I know the course, I have my experience, and I have a plan.

First,  I divided the course into 8 sections: the pack, the bridges, south side, the awful climb, rolling hills, the grind, back down, and the last stretch.  From my experience doing the full marathon last year and the half marathon two years ago, I sort of know what to expect from each section. So, I have several plans with target paces for each section. I made several plans so that I can make adjustments on race day. The most ambitious plan has me crossing the finish line in 3:01:33 and qualifying to Boston, the most conservative one in 3:33:27, two minutes slower than last year (I hope it doesn’t come down to that).

Race gear

Before describing the plan, I’m happy to report that my new hat arrived in the mail today. Now, my marathon outfit is complete, and I am very happy with it. I am concerned it is a bit too matchy-matchy, but my wife likes how it looks and that is good enough for me. What I really love about it is how light it is (except for my Fenix 3). I was more worried about overheating than about muscle fatigue. So, I decided to ditch the compression gear. Instead, I went with super-light breathable fabrics, short socks and short shorts, and a white tank and hat to protect me from the sunlight as much as possible.

OMG OMG OMG 🚨🚨 only 1 week to go for the Pittsburgh marathon!!! 🏁🏃🏻🏃🏻🎽🌇 #GameOnPGH #pghmarathon @pghmarathon —- It is going to be close. I have no doubt I can PR. I'm quite confident I'll make the 3:15 mark, probably 3:10, maybe even 3:05. I'm not so optimistic about making the cut for Boston, but I'm still going to try. If I get to mile 20 in under 2:30 and my legs haven't given up I'm gonna fly those last miles. #bqtraining 🐎🐎💨💨 — My new gorgeous Ciele hat arrived today. So now I have all my gear ready. Just need my bib and I'm good to go 😎🎽👍🏼#cieleathletics #newtonshoes #nikerunning #garminfenix3 — #hellobetter #marathontraining #runningfashion #gearcheck #runswag #happyrunner #marathonrunner #hellobetter #findyourfast #beatyesterday #roadtoironman #roadtoboston #pittsburghmarathon2016 #pittsburghmarathon #triathlete #trilife #swimbikerun #runnerofsteel #runnerscommunity #fitfam #prerace #momentoftruth

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I usually train with Newton Gravity shoes or Newton Distance IIIS. For race day, I like to run with Newton Distance III (without the S)  which are much lighter than the gravities, and a bit lighter than the IIIS. My hat had to be from Ciele,  I just love how well they fit, and how they manage to stay dry much better than other brands. For the socks I knew I wanted Nike elites. I love these socks but I usually find it hard to justify spending $18 on a pair of socks, a marathon seems like a good excuse. For the shorts and singlet I went with Nike, just because they are the only brand I could find that sold 2″ shorts that were not black or grey.

Continue reading to see my actual race plan…

Continue reading “PGH Marathon training – Race Plan”

Triathlon training – for real now

A lot has happened since I last posted! Since I started physical therapy for my foot, I have been progressing quickly. My goal was to get to bike and run as quickly and sensibly as possible.

I was nervous about standing on the bike, since there is a segment of each revolution during which one foot is bearing all the weight. First, I tried an upright stationary bike with programmable workouts (not a spinning bike) during PT. That didn’t go so well… I could not get the resistance to go up high enough to support a real standing climb. So, I took it upon myself to try it on a spinning bike at a local YMCA. I did 8 minutes, then 10, then 15, and tried standing for bits in between. I started with regular training shoes, then my cycling shoes with SPD cleats. This progression built my confidence enough to try riding outside for the first time!

The ride was 7.3 miles at 12.3 miles an hour. It was the windiest ride I’ve ever been on, so I was uncomfortable, cold, and nervous. I broke off from the route Bruno had planned and cut it short a bit. Close to the end, my body had relaxed a bit and I remembered that I really love cycling. I’m excited to try again tomorrow! I’m not quite (mentally) ready to get on my road bike and clip in, and I have a feeling my foot will be ready faster than my head will be 🙂

On the running front, I told my physical therapist early this week I was ready to start running. I have been doing some stuff on the elliptical and some fast walking, and I felt it’s time. She had me try the treadmill and run at a comfortable pace, and I discovered it was actually less painful than walking! So, we’ve been upping the speed and distance since, and today I completed my first outdoor run of 1.83 miles!! I’m feeling very accomplished.

Today's spinning and run combo was many post-surgery firsts: First brick workout, first outdoor run, first run in the snow, first #lesmillsrpm class, first run above 1 mile! 🏆 Thanks @beccarun for running with me, I would have stopped without you there. Nothing crazy, 45 minutes on a stationary bike and 1.83 miles at 11:17 pace… But my foot feels great and my heart is full. 💗 And of course, we celebrated with breakfast 🍳☕️ Day 6 of triathlon training complete! — #️⃣#tritraining #trilife #brickworkout #swimbikerun #triathlontraining #triathleteintraining #triathleteinthemaking #saturdaymorning #outsideisfree #wymtm #mileschangeyou #madebymiles #mizunorunning #mizunowave #workoutdone #runoutside #runner #runnerspace #snowyday #trigirl #runnergirl #weekendworkout #roadtoironman #irunthisbody

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These milestones got my triathlon training off to great start. My workouts this week were:

  • Monday: Strength training – leg day | Swim 550yd
  • Tuesday: Run 2 x 0.5 miles at 11:30 pace
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Strength training – upper body | Swim lesson 1 hr
  • Friday: Run 0.7 miles at 11:00 pace
  • Saturday: Brick Les Mills RPM™ + 1.83 miles at 11:17 pace
  • Sunday: 10 mile ride (planned)

I’m icing and elevating my foot for the rest of the afternoon, because I’ve found that I get better results with my recovering foot if I mind the rest as much as I mind the progress.

My next big milestone is getting on my road bike. Stay tuned for that!

 

Bunion Surgery Recovery: Week 13

Exactly 1 day after my last post, I received very good news in my 12 week post-op appointment. The doctor and nurses were very pleased and impressed with my healing progress, and said I did not have to go back for THREE MONTHS!

Three months? Wait. What am I supposed to do until then? Can I walk barefoot? Can I drive? Can I ride? Can I run?

The first great news: Yes, I can drive again! Regarding physical activity, the doctor said I should not increase by more than 10% each week, and that I should not start training for a marathon. Not knowing quite what that meant, I asked for a physical therapy (PT) referral and started sessions last week.

In week 1 of PT, I have been given the following exercises:

  • Toe curls (trying to scrunch up a towel), 2×10 twice a day
  • Seated heel raises, 2×10 twice a day
  • Ankle rotation front and back, 2×10 twice a day
  • Ankle rotation side to side, 2×10 twice a day

The first couple of days of trying to move my toes caused some discomfort that I was not used to. My foot has not hurt since the second week after surgery and now the exercises make my toes hurt a bit. However, I can already feel how these exercises are helping me walk normally by letting my foot roll onto the toes, and the ankle rotation feels wonderful.

The other great thing about PT is that my I can begin trying out new exercises. I have been pretty consistent with my upper body weight training, but since last week I have incorporated squats (body weight), and brief elliptical and recumbent bike cardio sessions.

Passed my 3 month post-op check-in with flying colors! Doctor does not need to see me for THREE MONTHS. She said I can begin increasing physical activity, but not by more than 10% each week… That means: elliptical! Felt super clumsy at first, but I did 10 minutes and my foot felt normal. I'll slowly start adding time and distance and hope to progress to walking/treadmill/running with the help of a physical therapist. Soon! 🚶🏽➡️🏃🏽 — #️⃣ #recovery #physicaltherapy #footsurgery #bunionsurgery #elliptical #cardioworkout #saturdaymorning #mizuno #mileschangeyou #workout #training #trainingday #getlean #tritraining #triathleteintraining #triathleteinthemaking #swimbikerun #learntorun #calfs #trainhard #trainsmart #nevernottraining #nevergivingup

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I’m incredibly pleased with my post-surgery state. I thought I would lose a lot more strength than I did. I think eating 40%+ protein has really helped maintain my muscle mass, despite the atrophy in my legs. I also started swim lessons and I love being able to work on my goal of becoming a triathlete even though my legs and feet are not ready yet.

In my next update, I hope to share stories about going back to group fitness and maybe/hopefully getting to try an upright stationary bike!