Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Build is on and surprisingly, I feel good!

The final Build process is now in full swing and I am hanging on and trying not to fall off. There are only about 60 days left in the process of transforming me into Ironman shape. Things are the same and things are different this time around. Last time for Arizona, the focus was volume. This time for Cozumel, the focus in intensity. I have not gotten down to my goal weight, instead I have put pounds on. Surprisingly, I have gotten faster. I am still the same on my swim speed, but my bike speed over long distances has gone up and my run speed is more consistent and I can run for longer periods of time without having to take a walking break. I have more tricks up my sleeve this time to make the entire time that I am out on the race course shorter than it was in Arizona.

Now if I can just stay healthy and avoid the flu for the next 65 days.

Saturday was a good brick. I drove over to the Greyhound compound and got my run gear set up for “transition” practice. We rode over to the pool and jumped in for a 30 minute swim. I was not happy about the temperature of the water, but once I got going, it was o.k. and I was not so cranky. I cracked out 1750 yards. I was happy with that. We hopped on the bikes and rode over to the neighborhood that has a 10 mile loop. After three loops, Greyhound was out of Carbo-Pro and my bladder was about to burst so we headed back to the house so I could start my run. I got about 38 miles of riding done in less than 2 hours. Sweet! The big break through for me was the run. It was now almost 10 a.m. and the sun came out from behind the clouds and the heat cranked up. I ran for the entire hour!!! No stopping to walk, no high heart rate, no caving or hitting the wall. That was a huge achievement for me. That workout was a confidence builder. I was rewarded with getting Sunday off!

Monday, it was back to the workouts. Mondays are big work days for me, so I was unable to get going until after Bud got home from school. I had a track workout and a swim to get in. Here was my track lovin’ workout:

200 m, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200 on a 5 seconds faster than regular 400m pace. Easy jog of 1 minute between each.

The 800’s and that 1000 meter run hurt. I felt like the goof ball gal in scary movies that is running in high heels trying to get away from the lumbering zombie wielding a machete. I felt like I was not getting anywhere and my breathing was getting all ragged. At least the clouds had rolled in and the wind had picked up to keep things comfortable. I probably felt slow because I was running into the wind. After seeing a flash of lightning and I knew I had to finish up and get out of that park.

Needless to say, it started pouring and that meant that there would be no Masters Swim since the pool is outdoors.

Tuesday brought the sun back! I started things out early on the trainer. Since the workout was all about distance I had to do some quick math in my head and realized that my intervals were going to be 9 minutes long. Big gears, fast legs, flat road, and pain. I had 5 of these special intervals. The first one was good, the second one was o.k. and the third one was hard. My arms were starting to get twitchy. I am not sure why that was happening. The last two were really hard to keep my legs from slowing down. I use a metronome to help me keep pace on the trainer and I wanted to hurl that thing across the room.

My legs felt toasted after that. My hip flexors were tight for some reason. I have never experienced that. Today my hamstrings are tight. After getting an oil change on the Element, it was time to head to the pool and swim. Here was the workout:

50 m swim, 50 kick, 50 pull. Repeat 4 times

4 x 75 m descending leaving every 2 minutes

50 m easy kick

Repeat set 5 times

100 m (10 second rest), 200 m, 300 m, 400 m, 500 m, 400 m, 300 m, 200 m, 100 m on long swim pace focusing on form.

100 easy cool down

I had to cut out the 500 m and one of the 400 m reps since I had to grab some lunch and go pick up Bud at school. Sorry Coach Anthony. Anyway, I got 4,050 meters in and a bit of sun burn on my butt where I forgot the sun block. Surprisingly, my shoulders and arms are not punked out today. Does that mean that I have gotten stronger??? I can only hope.

Today is another killer bike workout on the trainer after work and then I get to go do something FUN!!! Macy’s is doing a big promotion called Come + Together and they are raising money for local food banks. Tonight in Houston, the Macy’s next to the gym where I work at is hosting a Mexican Fiesta with master chef Rick Bayless. I am super pumped up!!!

I will be sure to take pictures! Later Gators,


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Yes, I would like to make a deposit. In my Ironman Cozumel account. Yes...yes, I don't need to withdraw anything today. No, I will pass on the sucker. Thanks anyways.


1 Interval workout on the bike trainer of 5 x 6 minutes at Zone 5a with 3 minute recoveries.

1 2-hour run in the 64 degree rainy Houston weather. Zone 2-3.

I got this message from my coach yesterday...

Hi Elizabeth
Your next twelve weeks is up.
This takes you through build, peak and taper (1wk) for IM and recovery
weeks after. The plan is not too high in endurance but it is
demanding. Please make sure you are eating enough in these weeks up to
IM to support your training program. You should be pretty fast going
into IM.
Let me know if you have any questions on the plan.
Hope all's well.

"The Push" is here. I have a feeling that I am going to be seeing more of Zone 5a on a regular basis. I am tired and sore all the time. This morning I talked to a friend of mine who is racing Arizona the week before Cozumel and he said he is tired and sore all the time as well. I better get used to this. Ok, I had breakfast one after the bike intervals and breakfast 2 after the run. It is now time for lunch. Hey, Coach said to eat.

Later Gators,


Monday, September 21, 2009

Ok, this is the weirdest picture to have over a bed...

Fill in your inappropriate joke here...

There are so many comments that could be made here. So many different meanings. Yes, the hotel was next to a golf course. Having a picture that talks about "Wood" above a bed...laugh inducing. The kid was trying to figure out why mom and dad were busting a gut when we walked in the room late at night on Thursday. After a 3 hour car ride, we just told him we were tired and loopy.

Well a quick recap of last week. I had two appointments with Dr. H and the first one was more percussive work on my skull and then percussive work on the area right below the xyphoid process in the fleshy area right below where the ribs meet in the middle. OMG that hurt!!! Dr. H said that I might have discomfort on the back of my pelvis at the Sacro-illio Joint. Well, when I went to run my track workout that night I had the most painful side stitch that I have had in years. It was hard to keep running and stand upright. I got slower and slower and my heart rate would not come up. It was painful and frustrating but I somehow finished the workout. I was back in to see Dr. H the next day and he nodded his head and said, "I wondered if that would happen." OUCH, why didn't he warn me about that? Anyway, he did more percussive work on my back and hips. Again after the Jedi Mind Tricks where he asks my body questions and my muscles respond by either being weak or strong, he sent me on my way to go and run out some kinks.

Just as the Flock of Seagulls song goes, "And I ran!" I ran for an hour on Thursday morning before going on errands and packing. I had a mild side stitch that showed up 20 minutes into the run and was gone by the end of it. It was a hot and humid morning and I had to get some running done before getting on that plane. Dr. H's voo-doo witch doctor magic seems to be working.

Since we got to South Dakota around midnight, I slept in and did not get running until 10 am on Friday. It was a refreshing 67 degrees! I have not had temps like that to run in since last March or April. While El Esposo and the kid went to pick up tuxedos, I ran for an hour and 45 minutes and found some great hike and bike trails in this little town. No side stitches and no leg heaviness, Yahoo! I ran towards the South Dakota and Nebraska state line and my intention was to take a picture at the state line, but the new bridge had no shoulder to run on and there were too many cars at lunch-time on this 4-lane bridge. Even the old bridge was blocked off.
Self photo at the South Dakota/Nebraska State Line.


We found a good Mexican restaurant to have lunch and then drove around the area to check out the fields of corn and to go to the Lewis and Clark Lake and recreational area. It did not seem too far, so I made up my mind to run to the dam the next morning. My bother-in-law said I was nutty enough to do it and he did not expect less. Here is the view of Lewis and Clark Lake from the point the Sacagawea pointed west for Lewis and Clark.
What a bunch of crazy Mexicans!

Signed Copy??? Sacagawea signed it???

Not long after that, it was time to load in the cars and drive to the tiny town where the wedding was going to be held. Basically, you cross the bridge to get to Nebraska, make the first left hand turn and follow the gravel road until it stops. The town population was recorded at 86 members in the last census. We had a nice time at the rehearsal and there was a traditional fried chicken diner in the Church hall afterwards. Since I was the only member of the family who had no part in the wedding, I got to sit and admire the Church. I have not been in a beautiful country Church like this since I was a kid and went to mid-central Missouri to my grandparent's ranch. Churches like these are not found in cities anymore.
I'm not lying about go to the end of the dirt road.
They were right, we were in the middle of Nowhere.

Holy Family Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

The next morning, I headed out for the Gavins Point Dam. I left the hotel at 8 am and the outdoor temp was 55 degrees. I had wanted to leave at 7 am, but I slept in a little bit. I am glad I did, because I would have been chilly in only a tank top. I ran out to the high school and then down to the local hospital and the small collage in town and jumped on the hike and bike path out to the dam. After a small uphill run this was my view...
The pictures lie about how big and steep this hill was.

The dam is out pas the last line of trees in this picture. It occurred to me that I would have to run back up this hill on the way back. Ugh! I got to the Gavins Point Dam and found a bathroom at the park and headed back. On the way back, I ran up the hill without having to stop to walk. That is huge for a girl from the flat Texas gulf coast.Here is the dam from the other side. Again, I was denied running to the Nebraska side due to the one lane road and no shoulder on part of the dam bridge.

The temperatures were great, but because of the low humidity, I was starting to chafe under one arm and on my upper leg where my shorts were rubbing. Dang, I don't experience that in Houston. I am always so sweaty that chaffing is rarely an issue. After 2 hours and 30 minutes setting out on my run, I made it back to the hotel. Everyone had left to go to the Church for photos at 11 am. I had to get cleaned up and find some food before meeting El Esposo's aunt and uncle to catch a ride to the wedding.

All I found was a left over Clif Kid's Z Bar and a Clif Kid's Twisted Fruit and the last two Shot Bloks from my run. Ok, I needed food. No breakfast and no lunch was not in my plans. Once we made it to the Church, I caught El Esposo walking back from the town corner "market" with a can of Lays Stackers, Peanut M&M's, and Gatorade. That was lunch. My mother-in-law found me a small turkey and cheese sandwich. That would have to hold me. My mother-in-law also came to the rescue with some hand cream that I had to use to keep the static cling from adhering my dress to the back of my legs. Again, this is rarely a problem that I am faced with in Houston.
My bother-in-law Oscar and new sister-in-law Sara.
The Nebraska Limo

The wedding was very beautiful and the bride and the groom, my new sister-in-law and my brother-in-law, looked very happy. After the wedding, the wedding party loaded into the Nebraska limo and headed around the corner to the Social Hall for the reception. I had my brush with Hollywood Fame at the wedding. Sara's cousin is Justin Bruening.
Photo and me and Justin is coming...El Esposo has it in his camera.

He was on All My Children and just recently, he was the new Knight Rider. He is married to Alexa Havins who stars on CSI: Miami. That means that there is 6 degrees of separation between me and David Caruso! I feel so lucky!!!

Well, I am back in H-town and back to the humidity and heat. I have lots of good workouts lined up this week as I start getting closer and closer to IMCZ. I put in a special order at the tri shop last week and it should be here in about a week. I can hardly wait!

Later Gators,


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jedi Mind Tricks

Thanks to all of you that sent me well wishes on my fixing my Dural Torque problem. The MRI came back with good pictures to show that I did not have any bulging disks however, there were some areas in the lower cervical spine where there was some twisting and impingement. The MRI was taken as I was supine on a table and my chin served as a midpoint of the scan. The scan showed that the vertebrae were twisted to the left causing muscular imbalances in my neck and shoulders. This could also be causing nerve impingement as well since I have been experiencing numbness in my thumbs when I run.

Dr. H will be doing his Jedi Mind Tricks and Voo Doo Witch Doctor Magic on me for two sessions a week for the next few weeks. My first session was to start to unlock some of the tension in my cranium and to see how my muscles were reacting to being in the position of the bike crash. I fell on the bike to the left and I had turned my torso and got my arms out to break the fall. Not a bright idea when I had no gloves on. I had hit both palms to the pavement pretty evenly so they both got an equal amount of abrasion and blood loss.

Dr. H put me in the position that I ended up in once I kissed the pavement and he proceeded to do some muscle testing. My muscles were cranked up and going nuts. He prodded areas in my calf muscle and they burned with pain. He proceeded to yank on my legs a few times and then he tested the muscles again and the pain was gone. WEIRD!!! He then checked out my hamstring flexibility and we noticed that I had less range of motion in my right leg. I have flexible hamstrings and can take my leg past a 90 degree angle while keeping my knee straight with the foot flexed on both legs, but I have quite a bit more flexibility on my left side. Dr. H then started checking the mobility of my jaw bone and the mobility of the cranium. I seemed to be locked up with very limited mobility. I had a percussive therapy session where a nifty massage tool with a big soft pad on it was put on my head. The tool taps in the same fashion as a jackhammer would work, but of course not as hard. The soft pad keeps the treatment from being painful. However, when the percussive tool is put to the head, it feels funny. I sounded like I was talking into a fan when I said anything and I felt like my eyes were bouncing around in their sockets but strangely, it felt pretty good. After having the percussion on the top of my head, the sides, and on two areas on the back of my head Dr. H said we needed to check on the jaw muscles.

I heard the snap of a latex glove on a hand and Dr. H said he was not going to make me cough. Ha! I hope not!!! I did have to open my mouth and in went the fingers looking for and finding sore and tender muscles along side of my upper teeth. Dr. H then started to stretch open my jaw and followed it by having me bite down for a few seconds and then back to stretching open my jaw wide enough that it felt like I was going to split at the corners of my mouth. OUCH! I had that wonderful experience a few more times and then Dr. H started jabbing those muscles up around my teeth and the pain was gone. Double Weird. He then proceeded to apply pressure to some areas in the roof of my mouth until he was somewhat satisfied with what he was feeling and then checked out my hamstring flexibility again. This time both of my legs were about even in their flexibility, but the flexibility level was astonishing. I had each leg brought back just a few inches above the front of my shoulder when we tested each side. FREAKY!!! I felt like Gumby.

Dr. H told me not to be surprised if I was really tired since we had started to do a "Control Alt Delete" and "Reset" on my body. Sure enough, when I got home and sat down on the sofa, I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I was in bed early that night and got a good 9 hours of sleep and I had to take a 90 minute nap after getting home from teaching my early morning cycling class before I could get started on my 2-hour run. The most painful part of the long run was that I did not get started until 10 a.m. and that there was 79% humidity at 79 degrees and the temperature only went up as the sun came out of the clouds on the second hour. I go back to see Dr. H tomorrow for another session.

I did notice that when I was on my bike this weekend that I had less pain than I had experienced in the past. There were still things that were hurting, but it was nothing like the last 72 mile bike ride. This time I had the power to kick it into overdrive when Greyhound told me we were on our last 10 mile loop of our 80 mile workout. Those last 10 miles I kept the speed up between 19.5 and 21 mph.

I will give more updates on my bizarre medical mystery and recovery as they come. For now, be rest assured that I am still training for IM Cozumel and getting ready for the big day.

Later Gators,


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Going for an MRI

Ok, if you were able to read the last post, you heard all my complaining about the pain that I was in on the bike. Well yesterday I went in to see Dr. H and we did all the muscle testing again like the last time. Again, I had muscle weakness in my left upper body that was made worse when my neck was in extension but was alleviated when my neck was in flexion. We also found out that in spine flexion (sitting on the floor and bending forward at the waist) and my neck in flexion as well, caused major tightness in my hamstrings. My hamstrings are normally pretty flexible. When we lifted my head up so that my neck was in neck extension, the hamstring tightness went away. Weird.

Dr. H asked me to run and ride my bike over the weekend and document all my aches and pains to see if he could find any patterns. What hurts when I run is different from what hurts on the bike. I start out good but as the workout progresses my power output drops off quite substantially on both the run and the bike and at the end I feel like I am slogging through it and doing it dragging cement blocks behind me. The soreness that follows is located in the muscles that were not hurting during the workout.

So what does this all mean????

It means that Dr. H believes that I have torqued my dural sheath. HUH??!!??

Dura Matter: Outer Grey Layer

Dura mater is an anatomical term with Latin origin that literally means “tough mother.” The dura mater, or pachymeninx, is the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord. The pia mater and arachnoid mater make up the remaining layers of the meninges, with the piamater being the innermost layer. The dura mater is comprised of two layers itself; a superficial layer and the deeperdura mater proper.

Ha! "tough mother" I love it. The tough mother has injured her "tough mother". Because the dura also covers the nerves that branch off of the spinal cord, any jarring of the dura will affect the entire nervous system. This can cause a mysterious muscular pains that have no pattern all over the body and have no pattern from one mode of activity to another. Dr. H also wants to rule out that I have a bulging disk at C7 in my neck. C7 is located low in the neck near the shoulders. I had a bulging disk in my lumbar spine 4 years ago and the pain I have now is nothing like I had 4 years again. It is totally different. But trust me, right now as I type this, my neck is sore and tight. Oh yeah, I am tired of the ocular migraines that cause hazy sparkly patches in my vision that move around my line of sight and come and go based on whether my hair is in a pony tail or not.

So Thursday at 10:30 a.m. I will have an MRI on my cervical spine. The results should get to Dr. H in 48 hours and since Monday is a holiday I will not find anything out until at least next Tuesday. I am going to hate waiting on that.

I hope I can get a nap in while I am inside that noisy MRI tube.

Later Gators,