Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sticking A Fork In It

As I mentioned in my last post, the countdown is on until my big race in Sweden. I've had this race on my calendar for over a year now, since I qualified at USAT Long Course Nationals in Grand Rapids last June. The days in between have since been filled with hours of staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool, biking around Hains Point (and on the trainer...oh the trainer), and running routes that confirm beyond a doubt why my neighborhood is called Hillcrest. But other than the fact it's almost June 27 and I'd better be ready, there are some other telltale signs.

  • I complain about the taper. After a long build of 15-18 hour weeks, dropping down to just 9 hours should feel like I'm on vacation. But yet I still find myself waking up at 4:30 for a 90 minute brick before work. What gives? (Granted, I don't also have a workout after work, but still...)
  • Phantom pains. Everywhere. Did my knee just pop? What's going on with my shoulder? Are these shoes giving me blisters? I know they aren't real but they still get me every. Single. Time. Luckily, I have a (not so) secret weapon...
  • Therapy. I don't mean a shrink and a couch. Before every race, I have an appointment at Rose Physical Therapy for Active Release Technique (ART). Unlike a massage, where you just lie there and the masseuse rubs oil on your back, ART works to identify and treat areas where the muscle tissue is impacting proper range of motion or causing pain--in other words, why my shoulders feel like they have pebbles in them. The therapist uses her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness, and (lack of) movement in my muscles, fascia, tendons, and ligaments. Then, we work together to get things running smoothly again. For example, the PT may put her fingers on my rotator cuff and ask me to stretch out my arm and give the thumbs up sign. Easy, right? And wow does it work! Because the therapists at Rose are also athletes (Holli and Sydney are triathletes, in fact), they know to target exactly where I need it. Plus, it's a great opportunity for me to spend an hour talking about the race and getting psyched up for it! 
  • Social Life! Well, somewhat. I try to use the extra time in my schedule to catch up with friends whom I don't always see during the long training weeks. Did you know that there's more to life than swimming, biking, running, and consuming enormous quantities of food? Plus, this serves as a nice distraction from the phantom taper pains. And speaking of distractions...
  • Voices in my head. Actually, this is a good thing. Starting with my first half Ironman in 2012, I've asked friends and family to keep me company during long races. This will be no exception. Please take a minute to fill out this form, in which you include your name, choose a mile of my race (trust me, there will be plenty), and give me a fun distraction or thought to share with you. I'll be happy to return the favor! 
So that's me. How do you know you're ready to race?

As always, thanks to Rose Physical Therapy and LUNA Bars for getting me race ready, as well as my family and friends for all the support. And beer. And ice cream. 

Ready to race!

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