When I heard about the Asheville Yoga Festival I couldn't pass up the opportunity to participate. Yoga + Asheville ---> what could be more fun?!? I had never been to Asheville and I thought this was a great excuse to take a weekend of training, learn more about Yoga, and visit Asheville. The weekend was a blast! Asheville definitely lived up to its reputation; it was absolutely beautiful and there were several fun breweries and cute shops.
Friday through Sunday was filled with 2-hour yoga sessions. There were several different classes available; it was definitely difficult to choose which ones we wanted to try! In most of the classes, the first hour was spent talking about the practice and then the second hour was the actual yoga class.
I definitely recommend attending! Here is the link if anyone is interested:
Lake Logan Oly
One week after the yoga festival, I drove back out to the Asheville area for my second triathlon of the summer at Lake Logan. This race is the most beautiful course I have been on. I stayed in an Airbnb hidden in the mountains; it was absolutely breathtaking!
I was happy to learn I finished third overall and second in my age group!
I definitely recommend this race: the course was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, the swim was wetsuit legal, and the race was very well organized. I hope to return again next year!
It has been awhile since I have posted, so I thought I might as well get back to it!
After dealing with a hamstring strain for most of the winter and spring, I decided to build my fitness back up with some olympic distance triathlons this summer. I have raced every distance except olympic, so I had no idea what to expect.
My first race was back at my Alma Mater, William and Mary for the Rev3 Williamsburg Oly.
I arrived a day early and picked up my registration packet. Everything was well organized and I was able to set my bike-up and get ready ahead of time. I spent the day touring campus, visiting old friends, and making some pit stops at my favorite places. I was lucky enough to stay at the home of a good friend, so it was great to catch up with her and have a relaxing evening.
The Peanut Shop, Aromas, and the Cheese Shop: 3 definite must-dos if you visit Williamsburg
How has it been 8 years since I walked through the Wren Building during graduation?!
I started out race morning in a little bit of a panic because I realized I forgot to get my timing chip during registration. Luckily, when I arrived I was able to pick up my chip from the late check-in station. Crisis averted!
My age group was last to start the swim, so there was plenty of time for my butterflies to build. The water was a nice temperature; definitely not cold enough for wet suites, but I not too hot either.
Overall, my swim was not great. There was a current, so my pace was faster than normal, but it wasn't a strong swim. First, I was talking with others while the gun went off ; next time I need to stop my gabbing and pay more attention! Second, I still vision myself as a weak swimmer, so I started in the very back; as a result, I ended up having to swim around a lot of swimmers. Third, the water was really shallow, especially at the end. During the last 1/4 of the swim I could have walked because my hand was actually brushing the sand under the water. At least everyone was swimming through the same conditions!
After the swim, I quickly made it to transition, took a salt pill, and then headed out onto the bike. The course was awesome! It was flat, well marked, and completely shaded by trees. It was a hot day - in low 90s - but it didn't feel terrible because there were large trees providing shade the entire course. I had no idea what to expect in terms of time, so I had a hard time pacing. Looking back, I could have pushed it a little more, but overall I was happy.
I headed into transition, grabbed my running shoes and gu, then headed out for the run. My legs felt surprisingly fresh! Similar to the bike course, the run was flat and shaded, so even in 90 degree heat it wasn't too bad (at least in comparison to Chattanooga last year!). There is an uncovered bridge you start and end with, so that was tough during the last mile, but overall it is a great course. I had no idea what to expect in terms of time, so I was pleasantly surprised by my leg turn over. I took it mile by mile and was able to finish feeling strong.
Always nice to see the finish line!
I was pleasantly surprised by my time and AG finish. I had no idea I could bike or run that fast! I was able to keep an even effort throughout the race and enjoy the beautiful course. Of course, as with every race, I learned a few valuable lessons:
I highly suggest the race! It is a flat and shaded course, well organized, and a fun place to visit.
This past year has been an ongoing cycle of injuries. I would strain a muscle (piriformis), ice, rest a few days (meaning replace running with more swimming and biking), do a few sessions of dry needling, get healthy enough to do another race, then strain something else (hamstring), and cycle through the same pattern. This method was working for awhile. I was able to do a half Ironman, a full Ironman, and a marathon; however, I approached all of these races with the attitude "let's see if I can get through this", rather than being healthy and prepared.
Finally, this winter my body started to tell me "I need a break". I tried to ignore it for a few months. I hired a coach, signed up for races, and set ambitious goals; however, the injuries only got worse. My hamstring strain turned into tendonitis and I could no longer walk without pain (yet, I still thought running was a good idea - not smart). After months of things only getting worse, I decided to take a step back and figure out what was wrong.
In case anyone else is dealing with a hamstring injury, I thought I would share what I have learned. over the past several months:
1. If it hurts to walk, don't run and if it hurts when you are running, stop (simple, but hard to do). I am not a fan of the treadmill, but it has been very helpful the past few months because I could stop the treadmill immediately when I felt the hamstring flare up, instead of worrying about having to limp all the way home.
2. If you take a week off running, you won't gain 10lbs (one of my stupid, but real worries).
3. There are other things to do than run
Against everyone's advice, I never took cross-training seriously. I would do a core routine, some strength, and foam roll 1-2 days a week, but that was it. In my mind, cross-training took time away from swimming, biking, and running. Well, this injury has forced me to turn my 4-5 days of running into 4-5 days of cross-training. At first I was hesitant, but I must admit, all of the cross-training has been a wonderful change. I have found a yoga studio I absolutely love, I have strengthened my butt, hips, and shoulders with Pure Barre (my shoulder pain when swimming is now gone). and I have improved my imbalances with PT-inspired strength workouts.
4. Don't stretch a strained muscle. I started out stretching my hamstring because it felt tight; however, I soon learned that is exactly what you are not supposed to do. Instead, stretch everything around it - IT band, hip flexors, quads - but avoid stretching the hamstring itself.
5. I followed this amazing article very closely. It was more helpful than any of my PT appointments and I highly recommend it!
Here is what has worked for me:
- I took 2-3 weeks totally off running. I mean absolutely no running at all.
- Then, once I could walk and very low speed jog without pain, I moved onto exercises that gradually increased hamstring lengthening (my self-created workout is below). I included supine bridge walk outs, one leg deadlifts without weights, and 2 legged hamstring curls with my feet on a Buso ball. In addition, I started going to Pure Barre and yoga a few times a week. I SLOWLY returned to running, but per the article I kept it at a "speed no more than 50% of (my) maximum speed" (I just kept it at a very easy zone 1 pace).
- Once I was able to do my hamstring exercises without pain I added resistance to my strength exercises. I added weights to my supine bridge walk outs and deadlifts, I used the TRX for hamstring curls, I increased the number of reps for all of my exercises, and made other similar adjustments.
Here is an example of my strength routine I created; I tried to do it about 2-3x per week:
1. Stair Climber 15-20min
2. 15 Single leg squats each direction
3. 15 Standing tricep pulls in TRX
4. 15 Curtsey lunges holding TRX
5. 15 standing push-ups in TRX
6. Repeat 2-5
7. 15 squats on buso ball
8. 15 single leg squats on buso ball
9. Repeat 7-8
10. 15 side plank lifts w/feet in TRX
11. 5 each arm push-ups w/feet in TRX
12. 15 side plank lifts w/feet in TRX
13. 10 push-ups w/feet inTRX
14. Repeat 10-13
15. 50 clam shells w/theraband
16. 50 supine glut bridges
17. 25 supine glut bridge, walk feet out
18. 50 clam shells other side w/theraband
19. 50 monster walk w/theraband
20. 3x15 standing leg lifts w/theraband around ankle - 15 front, 15 side, 15 back
21. 15 single leg dead lifts
22. 15 Lunge walk with trunk rotation opposite hand toe touch
23. Repeat 15-22
24. ADD IN AS HAMSTRING HEALS
a. Hamstring curls w/weight on hips
b. Single leg hamstring curls w/weight on hips
c. Single leg glut bridges w/weight on hips
d. Single leg deadlifts holding weights
5. Accept the fact that it will take time - A LONG time. I have had to accept the fact that my "long" runs are now 6-8 miles (they used to be 15-18) and all of my runs are at a pace ~2min/mi slower than before.
I am not going to lie, I (like most of you reading this blog) tend to dread the off-season; however, I think it's best to focus on the positives of taking some time off!
1. Holiday runs: These are always a blast! I am going to try to do at least 3 holiday-themed races this year and join in on some fun group runs.
2. New indoor workouts: Hot yoga, Orange Theory, Pure Barre, spin classes, on-line workout videos - there are so many options and now is the time to give them a try!
3. Rehab exercises: This is a great time embrace those PT and strength exercises in order to avoid injuries in 2017.
4. Trail Running: I am a huge fan of trail running. This is the perfect time of year to get out on the trails - explore new parks, challenge yourself with new courses, and enjoy the beautiful scenery!
5, Setting new goals for 2017
Marathon PR? Full and/or Half Ironman race(s)? Trail races? Maybe an ultra? So many fun choices! Now is a perfect time to figure out a fun race schedule for 2017.
6. Making time for all the recipes and crafts I have pinned on Pinterest, but never actually done
Now is the perfect time to discover new recipes, make race collages and medal signs (those race bibs have to go somewhere), bake holiday treats, and create gifts for family and friends.
7. Most importantly, enjoy the holidays and spend quality time with family and friends!
What a great day for a marathon! The Indy Monumental Marathon turned out to be one of my absolute favorite races.
I wasn't sure how to pace my run since my speed has been all over the place this summer with training for IM Chattanooga. I decided to start out conservatively behind the 3:45 pace group and see how I felt.
The first half of the race ended up flying by. I ran into a girl from Cincinnati, so we ran and chatted together for the first 13 miles.
After passing the 13 mile marker I decided to pick it up. Surprisingly, my leg started to feel good with the faster pace. I haven't run <8:00min/mi pace for several months, but somehow my legs started to pick up to a 7:40 pace. I was excited to feel good with the faster leg turnover.
Note: I forgot to start my watch so I missed the first 3 mile of the race (mile 10 on the pace chart is actually mile 13).
I was happy to end my 2016 season with a negative split 3:34:36. It wasn't my fastest marathon, but it was a fun race with wonderful friends and great memories.