Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

As most people know, I haven’t been running, cycling or being a real triathlete these last few weeks.  As a little update– my silly boot has stuck me in the pool almost every day for 14 days in a row!  NUTSO.  I swam 28,000 meters in about 8 days.  Obviously, this just isn’t sustainable.  And I’d know, I do sustainability professionally…. no wait… wrong one.

Anyway, my coach added something to my schedule that he called, “pool running.”  He seriously underestimate my capacity for this weird, new activity– as he instructed me to “just strap on the running belt and run the intervals.”  Oh, yes, just … strap on.. wait, what?! Strap something on in the pool? This former (past life) swimmer girl stopped in her tracks. It’s not that I’d never seen people doing this activity, it’s just that… I thought it was minimum age 60.  Oh how very wrong I was.  My first time aqua jogging was hilarious.  I had a set of 5 x 3 minutes with a nice long warm up and cool down.  I thought, “well, this will be easy, maybe too easy.”  HA.  Wrong yet again.  I worked my buns off… not literally (glutes have purpose, I swear!).  I don’t know much about my heart rate data, but I do know that I was working it– and doing my best to ignore how ridiculous I looked.  But at some point I couldn’t help thinking, “this isn’t running; hell, this isn’t even jogging.  This is awkward… yogging.”  A la Anchorman — yes that is an urban dictionary link.

Seeing as I have had NO clue how to do this… these have been my own self-developed ‘strategies’ for, well, trying to move forward:

1. Feet off the ground (thinking about nearly-missing the bottom); skip the shallow end.

2. Pull my knees up, keep up the cadence… (that’s clearly a relative metric).

3. Arm pump is ok, as long as it’s NATURAL.  This is not sculling practice!

The best way to show the “look” of this activity might be the “What people think I do” meme.  Yes, go see that link, the whole post will make more sense if you do 🙂  This is my best attempt:

When I say I’m “Aqua Jogging”:

What my friends think I’m doing:

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What my Coach thinks I’m doing (great form, so angular and tall…):

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What it feels like I’m doing (come on! I’m wearing a floating device!):

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What I’m actually doing (wait I’m supposed to be moving… forward?):

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Motioning a whole lot… and not. going. anywhere.

So far, This is my Awkward Yogging.  Clearly this is NOT a ‘how-to’ post– more of a “HOW DO YOU DO THIS?!” desperate plea for help 🙂  Any thoughts? Hints? Strategies? 

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Hi all (or some, or one… :)!

I’m just back from a quick trip home to Pittsburgh! I went pretty much for one reason– to swim a 1650 race with my mom at an Annual 1650 meet for Masters swimmers across the city.  It was a GREAT trip- full of visits with Carnegie Mellon professors/potential collaborators about my thesis, a dinner party (and cooking for it!) with my mom, a little carpentry work with my brother at a house he’s flipping (it’s AMAZING), and a quick visit with my Dad too!  Whirlwind. I will do a race report on the 1650 but I’m waiting to get some pics from a friend 🙂  Spoiler alert– it went well!

Today, however, I’m going to talk about… food. Noms. Fuel. Whatever you’d like to call it.  Recently, I’ve noticed whenever I post on the twitter about some dish I’ve barely scraped together (that shockingly turns out well) or suggestions I’ve made for friends, people tend to be interested!  Today, a friend of mine was trying to figure out his nutrition and in comparison to his very lackadaisical approach, I realized I could help… just a little.  He, like many of my friends, is fiercely athletic and would do just about anything to ensure that he gets a workout/athletic adventure every 24-hr period. He does not treat nutrition/fueling with the same kind of attention or rigor.  Though he might be an extreme example (as he was actually on the second season of America’s Worst Cooks), I thought I’d pull together a little of the advice I was giving him AND ask for your ideas!  I don’t cook NEARLY enough– I have cereal, prepared foods, soups from a can way too often.  So this is partly sharing, partly asking for advice!

Fundamentally, my “recipes” have a few requisites–

1. Must be easy, simple, not require fancy ingredients
2. Can be saved/reheated easily (fish is bad with this, but I usually try to cook fish in single portions)
3. Must taste decent enough for breakfast when I need to eat leftovers on the run (which is one of my favorite breakfasts)
4. For me, I am pretty much gluten and dairy free (though I do not suggest this approach for anyone who doesn’t have these allergies! This isn’t an athlete-diet idea, it’s that I get sick when I eat these). But in general, foods that are wholesome, not low calorie, just REAL!

So, without further ado, here have been a few of my quick ‘n’ easy dinner/leftovers-for-lunch ideas (please note: these aren’t brain surgery, just a way for me to collect my ideas and moreso- generate some from you in the comments section!!):

1. Stir Fry (obviously…):
Ingredients:

    • Rice/coucous
    • “Sauce”: 1/3 c. chopped onion, 1 clove garlic, crushed, 1/3 c. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. sesame or olive oil, 1 tbsp. honey
    • Frozen bag of “stir fry” or just mixed peppers
    • 2 lbs turkey/chicken tenderloins (cutlets, something cut small, convenience sake) or tofu!
Preparation:
  • Put on your rice/quinoa/couscous (cook according to package 🙂
  • Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. honey (coat pan) and add turkey or chicken.
  • Saute meat/tofu for 5-10 minutes per side (while you zap your bag o veggies for 30 seconds in the microwave to thaw)
  • Remove meat and saute veggies in the same pan
  • Add cooked couscous, cooked meat to veggie pan. Add sauces (love sesame dressing) or cheese, mix and serve!

2. Turkey Burgers!
Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons light gf teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Preparation

  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Combine the teriyaki sauce and water in a small bowl.
  • Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add the onion slices; cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is golden brown, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 tablespoon teriyaki mixture. Remove onion from pan, and keep warm. Add olive oil to pan. Add patties, and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons teriyaki mixture to pan. Carefully turn patties over, and cook for 3 minutes or until golden.
  • Note: You can freeze any uncooked turkey patties for up to 1 month. To freeze, separate the patties with wax paper; place them in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, remove excess air, seal, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator.

3. Garlic & lemon chicken recipe (tastes like a fancy meal, but is actually super quick and easy)
Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oil;
  • 8 chicken thighs, with bones and skin;
  • 3 cups onions, sliced thin;
  • 2/3 cup minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice;
  • 2 extra lemons, thickly sliced (remove seeds with the tip of a knife) (optional);
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (I keep bouillon cupbes in the pantry to make this super easy);
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Heat oil in hot (oven-friendly!) pan  and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. It will take about 6 minutes total. Set the chicken aside.
  • Cook the onions until soft, about 3 minutes, and make sure to scrape all the chicken bits off the pan while doing so.
  • Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper at this point.
  • Add the chicken stock, thyme and lemon juice and return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side up.
  • Bring to a simmer and put the pan, covered, in the hot oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the lemon slices (optional but delicious) and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.
  • Serve the chicken with the garlic and lemon sauce as well as with some of the lemon slices.

Ok! Your turn!  Thoughts? Recipe Suggestions?  What do you make that is quick and easy? Perhaps even healthy?

ROI- Return on Investment.  Today I’m asking… are you getting all that you could out of your training? Before you start with the typical athlete’s response here “NO! I need to do MORE!!”– take a moment to think.  A coach’s blog today asked this question with important follow-up questions, which I’m going to list here.  Read these and then consider this question again, before you start adding more STUFF to your training regimen, are you really getting everything out of the regimen you have?

According to this particular coach (and hey, just ask mine… and he’d say the same), popular requests include:
• Tips for better nutrition
• Faster/shorter/less recovery
• More strength & conditioning

Most athlete do not ask for …
• More recovery time
• More stretching
• Less training

Now, when an athlete pleads for more stuff to ADD to the schedule, he asks,

“Are you doing what it takes to get the most from your current training?”

For example
If you currently complete 10 hours of training per week and are thinking of gradually increasing the volume to 15 hours these are some questions you might want to ask yourself. (By the way if you are thinking of doing this you ought to have a better reason than just “because that’s what everyone else does” OR “I’m doing an Ironman so I need to do lots of volume”!)

1. Could you increase the amount of quality sleep you get each night
a) Do you get at least 7 hours sleep per night?
b) Is your sleep good quality restful sleep? Again, nope. Woke up at 1am, completely awake, and was up for an hour at least. And that was before my 4:45am alarm…

2. Could you get better quality recovery after each session –
a) Could you introduce power naps to get more rest? Ok, I actually do this. Not after a session, but I LOVE them before. 20 minutes and I’m GOLDEN.
b) Are you able to relax when you aren’t training or do you always find household tasks to do? I’m not bad at this actually. I can sit on a couch for a little longer than I’d like to admit.
c) Do you stretch regularly for at least 15 minutes per time? Working on this! Doing it more and more, it IS helping, it is not a waste of time!

3. Is your nutrition program 100% perfect and suitable for an athlete –
a) do you refuel within 30 minutes of each training session? Not usually. Need to work on this.
b) do you eat a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day? YES, easily.
c) Do you get enough carbs in during your long training sessions? During? Probably not, but I don’t do a lot of LONG workouts right now.
d) If you need to lose weight are you really doing what it takes to alter your nutrition? Not really aiming to lose weight per se, but shift my muscle/fat ratio (as usual).  And no, I’m definitely not doing as much as I could.

4. Are your warm ups effective in each session
a) do you get the full warm up? Almost never! I need to be more patient because a good warm up gives me a MUCH better workout!
b) Do you arrive at training sessions in good time? Usually I set my own schedule, I rarely feel rushed. To be totally honest, I’m more on time for training than I am for anything else 😕 oooops. Sorry friends, professors and collegues!

5. Are your cool downs effective?
a) do you do a cool down?  Cool down? What?  (could use some work :))
b) do you cool down for long enough or do you have to rush of to another commitment? Usually rushing off after…

6. Is your lifestyle conducive to your triathlon goals
a) do you have a lot of stress in your life? Not a lot per se, but I do keep pretty busy…
b) could you reduce your stress at all? Yes, I’m not sure exactly HOW but I know I could…
c) Does your time management allow you to do all of the elements listed above? It would appear not, but I’m not sure how flexible or realistic this whole stress-reduction idea is 🙂


 7. Do you invest much time in developing your mental skills
a) do you include visualisation into your training sessions? No, but I plan to start. I used to do this in swimming and I really liked it. HARD though, takes patience.
b) Are you able to be mentally present (this means being focussed on the task at hand rather than daydreaming) for 100% of the time in each training session? Not daydreaming, necessarily, but I’m usually thinking about the next workout, assignment, work deadline… planning, scheming… much too much. Need to take things 1 at a time.

There are probably many more questions that are pertinent.  How about you?? Any thoughts on these questions and/or answers? Are you doing what it takes to maximise the return on your current training investment??

Tag-ing up!  I know these tag things can be silly, or perhaps annoying if you have a LOT of blog friends dying to hear about, but alas, I don’t suffer from that affliction 🙂  Thus, I am joining the fun.  Mary from http://itsamarython.tumblr.com and Jamie from swimbikerunlive.com each tagged me, so my answers are below!  Then, I tag 11 people to get some nitty gritty details about them!

The Rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section like “you are tagged if you are reading this”. You (the blogger) legitimately have to tag 11 (or so) people.

11 Random Things About Me:

1.  I set my high school 100 breast stroke record my junior year. For a while, the scoreboard read: “100 BR: J. Ledewitz—-B. Ledewitz” because my brother and I held the same record.
2. I love dancing, all the time. It happens at very random times. You’d think I wouldn’t be dancing at my desk at the office? But that happens…
3. I was on the Junior National Kayak team for 2 years. I took a semester off from high school to train to make World Championships, but missed the team by just a few spots.
4. I love rain. Most rainy days make me smile no matter what else is going on in my life. A rainy day can make me run outside no matter what’s on my schedule or how tired I am.
5. My awesome, athletic, wicked smart brother lives in MD and rocks a serious mullet, not ironically. I know that’s not actually about me? But it makes me smile to think about.
6. I’ve been carded at Rated-R movies.  Something about being 5’1″ and rarely looking my age? Which is.. 25 by the way.
7. I love my job but have a hard time getting enough done. I work for MIT as the Sustainability Coordinator- which means I work on energy efficiency projects and LEED (green building) certification for our capital projects.

8. I’m named after… an architect? Yep, Julia Morgan.  Mom is an architect and she thought that’d be.. neato. It kind of is?
9.  I LOVE baking- but not really for myself… always looking for an excuse to make people treats.
10. I have very few fears in life, but unfortunately crashing out on my bike happens to be one of them. Totally useless fear for a triathlete.
11. I think I could be a good cook, but I don’t really cook because I live on my own and I’m single… so there’s not much point? Need to work on this (the cooking… well, maybe the single-ness too… meh) 🙂

And now… MY answers!

Mary’s questions:

1. Other sports you’ve played in your life, whether in high school, middle school, or college: Swimming, Water polo, Kayaking (sprint racing), Diving, Gymnastics… I think that’s it…
2. Best race ever: Hard one. Either Age Group Nationals for Triathlon in Burlington (for the experience) or Lobsterman in Maine (for the fun)!
3. How many times have you been in love?
ech. Twice? give or take.
4. Pen or pencil. And why? I use a pen more often (for practicality, but I’m specific about which type) but I genuinely enjoy using a pencil more, I love crafting and fixing.
5. Dream job:  Whoa. Dream? Environmental professor/teacher type or… a Vintner 🙂 Mmmm wine.
6. Complete this sentence: “I feel most comfortable while…”  …let’s keep this PG, kids.
Presenting. I love to discuss my work, my training, et cetera.  So teaching, coaching, leading groups? I love connecting with people– sharing what I know and learning what I don’t know.
7. Fav food: Salmon, Broccoli and Sweet potatoes…  sour patch kids and  chocolate covered gummy bears
8. Guilty pleasure:  Pick-your-own-candy shops. When I’m really craving something sweet, I know where to go to get just what I’d like 🙂
9. Biggest pet peeve: Shaving in locker room group showers. Ew.
10. If you could change ONE thing about yourself or your life, what would it be and why? Again, whoa. Just 1? Hm. Being more forthcoming. I can get really reserved about certain things and people… it’s rarely in my best interest, but the fear of getting hurt or disappointing myself and others can be overwhelming.
11. Pre-race ritual: “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle with it yeah….”  You can catch me dancing as a warm up, head phones in, craptastic pop music blaring.

Jamie’s Questions:

  1. What is your proudest accomplishment? Making the 2012 Triathlon Age Group World Championship Team and… landing my job at MIT.
  2. What is your biggest regret?  Don’t really have any to report right now… I feel like I make choices daily I probably shouldn’t… but in the broader picture, they’re not a big deal.
  3. What was your biggest fear as a child? Oddly, I had a fear that our house would be broken into and because I was a terrible sleeper, I thought I’d get ‘taken’ first by a robber. This caused me to keep my parents AWAKE for hours when I was going to bed… just to make sure someone else was awake after me. #terriblechild
  4. What is your biggest fear as an adult? I’m overwhelmingly afraid of failing. Whether it’s failing myself or others, it’s not a good approach for an athlete. Have to take risks, have to fail in order to learn how to really succeed and excel.
  5. Your most embarrassing triathlon story, using exactly 11 words. First Olympic tri:  stepped to starting line with wetsuit on backwards.
  6. What  is the one piece of advice you’d give the 10 year old version of yourself.  “Follow-through. You’ve got more potential than you let yourself think.”
  7. What is the best meal that you’ve ever made yourself?  Seared tuna with asparagus
  8. In or out? All in.
  9. What is your dream car? Something that isn’t a car and doesn’t run on fossil fuels.
  10. What is the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike? hahahaha.  Um. I have no idea.  I’d guess 45? I’m a bike WUSS.
  11. What is your least favorite part of triathlon training/racing?  Evening track workouts, on my own anyway.

Now– Questions for YOU 11 people I’m tagging!

1. Best race moment?

2. Ideal date (can be real or for future reference)?

3. Favorite Snack?

4. Favorite workout?

5. Best vacation?

6. Biggest disappointment?

7. Best part of college?

8. What are you doing on a typical Friday night? (or what do you LIKE to be doing)?

9. South Park or Family Guy?

10. Strangest racing superstition or quirk?

11. Nicest/best compliment you’ve received?

Now, if you’re one of the lucky 11 that I’m going to tag on Twitter, you will need to 1) post 11 random things about you and then 2) answer the above 11 questions I’m asking you and then 3) Read the rules above above to make sure you’re doing the right things and 4) send off to the interwebs for perusal + answering!

I’m tagging:

Kacie @Kacie_Tri_ing

Joshua @TriHollywood

Chloe@ChloeElfrin

Kellie @EatSleepSwimm

Julia @DoubleDAthlete 

Jean-Louis @RangerDutch

Peej @Peeeeeeeeej

Danielle @nell033

Shannon @tri2cook

Katrina eatdrinkandbeactive.com

Jessie @kissing_frogs

Have fun, peeps!!

Any thoughts on these matters from the peanut gallery??  🙂

My Inspirations

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Lifestyle, Training
Me with Mom!

My Inspirations: A dedication to Mom and Dad!

Me with Dad at Keuka Lake Swim in the Finger Lakes!

I  genuinely enjoy training. It feels pretty intrinsic to me  and I owe this ease with training to my upbringing- specifically my parents. I grew up doing any activity I could find — swimming, piano, gymnastics, diving, kayaking, violin, Irish step dancing, yeah… I seriously spanned the gamut.  Not only did my parents ALWAYS encourage me (never questioned my ability to try to compete or practice something) but they also lived a life full of activity as well.  My parents probably matched my level of activity- whenever I was doing something, they were too.  My mom and dad are both professors but are also incredibly active.  So when I was in swim practice, they were swimming with the Master’s team.  When I was at gymnastics practice, they were singing in the amazing Pittsburgh Bach Choir.  When I had meets, they would join me and get work done or they’d be dragonboating or running.  Granted, this means I never really got comfortable with ‘down time.’  That’s actually not such a great thing… but that’s for another post.

When I talk about my parents (especially to my athlete friends) a typical response is:  “OH. Well now you make sense.”  As in, I clearly have taken after the amazing patterns set by my parents.   They’re understanding when vacations include working out and often they just want me to join them!! It’s really really fun and I’m so grateful for it. This isn’t an exaggeration; my mom invited me home to Pittsburgh to swim the annual 1650 Master’s Meet in Pittsburgh!! And my dad and I run his GRUELING hill, 12 times, every time I’m home!    So, in this post– I let them speak for themselves through an interview I did with each of them!  The most important part might be that they each feel that they aren’t “athletes” per se.  That they are simply healthy adults who understand that fitness is VITAL for feeling great, staying young and keeping up their energy!

Mom:

1.  How old are ya?

Mom: 59
Dad: 59

2. Does it matter?
Mom: Well, in some ways—I’m almost old enough for those great senior citizen discounts and a free bus pass.  But we all experience aging differently, so what 59 feels like to me is probably different than to other people.  I remember my grandparents at this age were a lot older.
Dad: Not really, since ankle problems afflicted me in my thirties.  My physical situation hasn’t changed all that much since then.  I’m slower in swimming but not by much and could not run now even if my ankles had not already precluded it.

3. How’s the injury front?  Aches, pains?
Mom:  Fortunately no injuries or legacies from early injuries.  No aches and pains.  Flexibility is good and strength is better than thirty years ago
Dad: The ankles hurt, but as for the rest, as different parts of the body acted up—shoulder, knee etc.—a combination of yoga and physical therapy routines has kept aches under control.

4. What are your typical workouts these days?
Mom: Swimming 10K yards/week (3 practices: 3K, 3K, 4K), Dragon boat paddling 3 practices a week (1.5 hrs—half hr on erg, half hr weight training, half hr core exercise).  Thursdays are my day off.
Dad:M/T/Th, an hour with the masters swim team at Pitt.  W/F elliptical and treadmill for an hour at the YMCA (weights for 15 minutes first—what the physical therapy taught me).  Sat 3 one-mile trudges (9-10 minute/mile). Sunday the hill when it gets warm (I never jog outside in the cold) otherwise back to the Y.

(My parents are ROCKSTARS!!!)

5. When did you start working out and how did you start?
Mom:Always liked swimming, but didn’t do anything more than phys ed classes in school and after that didn’t have a regular exercise routine until you kids were doing competitive swimming.  I didn’t like being in the stands with the parents who were yelling at their kids while they were obviously totally out of shape themselves.  So I joined the masters’ swim group at the JCC.  That was a little before turning 40.
Dad: Fairly soon after coming to Pittsburgh (late 30’s), probably after my job at Duquesne gave us the extra income in 1980, with swimming at the JCC.
6.  Is it quantity or quality? Has that changed since you started investing in your fitness?
Mom: I think I mix it up.  I do like to get something out of the time, so I tend to push myself toward better quality even when I decide I’ll take it a little easier.  My workouts change as I learn more.  They changed a lot when I learned about interval training, then about a cyclic approach to training, cross-training, etc.  Sometimes I’ll read about a new research finding—like the value of sprint workouts.  Other times I’ll hear about better techniques or workout ideas from you guys or from friends.
Dad:  Quantity only.  Not much of my working out is peak (a few times the swimming/the hill is) and it doesn’t need to be.  The benefits come with the constant repetition of all of it.
7. What’s the point of keeping fit for you?
Mom: Feeling good, being healthier, taking good care of the gift of life and health.
Dad: I’m not actually sure.  It’s a habit by now, a part of a routine of life that is satisfying.  Walking to the Y and then busing to school is just fun.  The body does not become sedentary, so I don’t feel like I’m aging all that much.  It helps with weight, which creeps up anyway, however.
8. Any surprising benefits?
Mom: Finding that I can run up a couple flights of stairs or do a cartwheel.  Getting a nametag for a race that is labeled “athlete”, since I never thought of myself that way.  Getting selected for the US Dragon Boat Team for the World Cup races and getting to travel to Berlin and Sydney.  But the real surprising benefit is the friends that I’ve made working out together.  It’s a huge part of what I like about working out now.  Not only are the workouts a “given” (I never debate whether or not to go, since they’ll be expecting me.) but they’re more fun and without thinking about it, we push ourselves more.  We also go to movies, watch the super bowl, go hiking, and travel.
Dad:  Emotional and mental benefits.  I’m calmer and more focused during and after workouts.  Many of my best thinking is done in the locker room after a workout, sometimes in insights that just come to me.  All restlessness and, earlier, when this was an issue, insecurity, fade.
9. Any tips for someone just starting a fitness regimen?

Mom: Find a friend, a group, or a team to work out with.  Teams sound scarier to beginners than they really are (I was one of those who initially felt out of place in joining a “masters” team, but realized after the first day how silly that was.) Set a regular schedule and don’t give it up—as long as you’re not injured, go even if you don’t feel like it (just going is the hardest part).
Dad: Habit is key.  If you have to think about working out, non-athletes won’t do it.  Otherwise, the point is that the activity must be intrinsically enjoyable.  No one wants to suffer.  Starting easy helps limit early pain.  Other people favor the goal approach.  But for me, the goal is simply doing something.
10.  Favorite workout?
Mom: Anything that has variety.  I’m usually the one who comes up with workouts for our group, and I don’t think I’ve ever repeated one.
Dad:  Reading the New York Times Sunday book review on the treadmill.

11. Best accomplishment as an athlete?
Mom: My personal bests in the indoor rowing erg 2K races and the 1650 swimming event.
Dad: That I still do the hilly 5-K at school once a year faster than some of my students.  

Extra Comments?

Mom: I would add that I like feeling that physical fitness is just a part of my life and who I am.  I don’t see myself as an athlete and I much prefer working out to athletic competition.  I do like that “wow, I did it!” moment.  And I like experiencing that whole side of myself and life, and I feel very fortunate in being able to participate.  When I swam in the Senior Olympics, my favorite moment was watching the 85+ heat in the women’s 100 free, watching them dive and do flip turns.  And thinking, when I grow up, that’s what I want to do.

As a sort of summary– this is what I’ve learned from my parents more generally:

1. Who says you can’t just… start?  Neither of them grew up working out at all really… they had to learn how as adults! But when my older sister was signed up for swimming lessons, they just decided to try out the Master’s swim team!  They didn’t have to be fast, just had to try.  And that they did!

2. Make it a habit. They rarely have to think about working out,it’s just what they do.  Every day, they have a schedule and they follow it.  They don’t have some internal fight about whether or not to do it; it’s just part of the daily routine.

3. Too old? NOT a chance. Each of them really strives to get better every year.  That isn’t to say they’re always getting faster, but they do NOT subscribe to the philosophy of “older=slower.”  If you work for it consistently, you won’t slip out of shape!

4. Set goals.  Mom sets workout goals and Dad sets annual goals… and they make them fun!  My dad LOVES passing his students in his law school’s annual 5k, keeps him training hard year round.

So those are the ideas I’ve really taken to heart.  I can’t tell you how much I love talking to my parents after hard workouts, or hard weeks because they get it!  I also look forward to hearing about their workouts! In fact it motivates me to get in good quality workouts because I love discussing them with my awesome, inspirational parents! 🙂

How about you? Who inspires you?  What’s your motivation? Were you raised with athletics? Or not at all? Something you’ve come to later?

As a triathlete, I’ve mentioned you’ve got to play triage with your workouts.  Because, for the most part, you can’t do everything all the time. As much as you might like to.  An important part of training is learning to enjoy it! ALL of it. Even when you don’t foresee a workout being “fun”–  you have to find a way to ensure your plan’s sustainability; because as long as you’re not a pro, why do something you don’t enjoy?  So I’ve been taking some notes about the timing, type and dynamic of the workouts I really enjoy as opposed to those I really don’t.  I began paying attention to this a little bit last year when my coach asked me which workouts I enjoyed most?  He then explained that he would add those closer to my A-races, not because of ‘what’ they were- but more because of ‘how’ they made me feel. Confident, strong, healthy, speedy.  All those healthy mentalities that will help any athlete do his or her best during a competition.  Granted, he didn’t actually care WHAT these were.  That’s because it’s not going to replace my key workouts, or add too much effort where it shouldn’t be, but rather it would boost my schedule a few weeks out- maybe once a week.  So, I don’t know what yours are, but mine definitely include big intervals on the run (I love things like 6 x 5 minutes at quick pace, or on a hill), I also love a particular, fast (read: easy, flat) 1:30hr bike ride that I could do last summer basically by memory.  It wasn’t a hard ride by any means, but I really enjoyed doing it.  Anyway, there are certain reasons you might or might not like a workout.  During Sunday’s swim, I did what I always do… thought a lot.  And I thought about what I like about swim workouts- what makes them best for me and what I don’t particularly like…  Here goes.

A good swim has:

VARIETY (is the spice of the pool!): I love mixing up my workouts.  The best swim practice, in my mind, will always include- short, middle and long distance.  Let’s keep it honest here- I’m not a distance swimmer, so a set of 200’s is FINE by me for “distance.”  Even within a set of, let’s say, 4 x 200s, I like some variety.  A favorite way to deal with 200’s is: build, negative split, build, fast- for example.  Keeping the time loose enough so that you get about 10 seconds rest in between. Build (to me) is really about effort over pace, because- how well are you really going to know your pace when your head is in the water anyway?  So you have to learn to FEEL the increase in effort– I have a ridiculous inner monologue to try to do this– it’s something like this:

“Ok, first 50, this is the ‘easiest’ one. But that isn’t “easy” Jules, so let’s go.  But wait, not too hard, you should be at a pace you can keep up for 4 x 50s; is that where you are?” Then I react to my multi-personalitied-self and pick it up or slow it down.  On each additional 50, I think about making one part of my swim faster– pick up my turnover? quicken the turns? pick up the kick? (that last one is the best thing I could do.. but it’s… so.. hard… and I suck at it….).  Then the last 50 should be TOUGH!  “You only have to hold this for a 50, then you get to REST at the wall… Move your booooty!”  Yep, that’s how I talk to myself.  No one knows.  Well, until now.  It’s cool.

A various swim practice has a mix of:

Fast 100’s, consistent 200’s, 300’s that include drills, kicking, pulling. But I like to make other sets too- you CAN land at the other end of the pool (odd distance). It will be OK!  A personal favorite is this:

9 x 75: 3 x Moderate, Build, Fast (by 25); Build, Fast, Moderate; Fast, Moderate, Build

What do you think? Do you prefer variety or just consistency so you can compare your workouts more easily? What do you tend to do in the pool?

GOOD SCHEDULE: I’ve determined I like morning swimming.  In college, we swam at 4pm, which was fine I suppose… but I really, genuinely enjoy early workouts a whole lot more.  I get in the pool by 5:30am twice a week and the last workout is usually evening– which I just really hate going to.  I can’t really explain this- but 6pm on Sunday just doesn’t make me happy.  I think I need to move that practice just to increase my happiness factor (which in turns, increases the potential the workout gets done and gets done well!). In order to change the schedule, I will probably be practicing on my own (or with friends if I can convince them!!!).  I get a free visitor every time I swim in Somerville- who wants to join me around 8am or 12pm or Sundays??  Yes? I know you do…  I ask because my workouts also benefit from…

PEOPLE (but not too many):  No matter the pace, I really enjoy swimming WITH people.  This isn’t always the case for me- my athlete friends know.. I don’t always like working out with people.  Often I do- I have a weekly trainer ride with teammates who kick my BUTT; and weekly rides on the weekend with yet another group.  I also teach spinning to an awesome bunch of folks and I’d have much less fun on my own.  Yet, I’ll get on my trainer on my own & I’ll spin on my own too.   But I like running, especially intervals on my own.  Though a long run is generally much more enjoyable with friends.  Swimming, to me, is without doubt better with people.  I love making up workouts and in fact I like the challenge of tailoring them to different people at different speeds.  If you want a 1.5 hr workout and your base 100 pace is a 1:30, or 1:45 or 2 min. (or whatever), I’m your girl! But, asking me to make one up… just for myself…? Bo. Ring.  I just really enjoy going to practice with others, sometimes with a coach, or coaching others along with myself.  The flip side is– I hate crowded lanes.  Whether it’s strangers who have no idea how to circle swim (which creates the feeling of crowds) or just 10 people in my lane (yep, this happened yesterday and caused us to have to do ONLY a few 100s and mostly 50s. blech.).

Who wants to joiinnnnn me on Sundays?  Somerville/Medford? Any takers?

PACE: Lastly, this is a short one. I like to know my pace.  In fact, figuring out the numbers on the clock, determining how fast, slow, or consistent I am is sort of fun in a way.  It gives me something to think about during my sets, it also helps me concentrate on each set, rather than how slowly the real clock might be ticking by.  For the record– this is completely a mental game.  Sometimes, I “see”  my target pace, as Douglas Adams would say, “as it whooshes by me.”  Seriously, sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re not.  But it’s always helpful to know how you feel vs. what the clock says you’re doing.  If you can only push the effort and it’s not showing up in the pace– that is OK!  No need to worry about it.  But don’t let that translate into a 1- second rest becoming a 20 second rest into… “wait, what am I doing again?”  Because then you’ll look back at the real clock and it will be 4:35… when it feels like it should be the end of the workout.  keep focused on the little numbers per set, your pace, and your lack thereof and the workout will be done before you know it.  Or… that’s the game I play anyway.

Questions for you:

What was your hardest swim (or other practice)?  

Mine, without doubt, was 100 x 100s on Dec. 31.  I couldn’t BELIEVE I got that done!  It was incredibly hard mentally- much more so than it felt physically.  Once you get your pace down, you just. keep. swimming. But even with people to ‘chat’ with- it’s incredibly challenging to keep your focus and not let yourself coast more slowly, or forget to drink gatorade– no joke– I never take in calories when I swim because I NEVER swim long enough to need any… so at #62 I felt light headed and the coach saw me and said, “Julia, for the next 10- you need a sip of Gatorade at each rest.” And I took them. And I felt better. It was like magic.  But I was clearly totally unprepared… so, that was my hardest.

Pool Pet Peeves?  OMG yes. I have these.

1. Lane mates jumping in front/starting JUST as I’m about to flip turn (and therefore end up nose-diving into your kick… thanks)

2.  Lane mates stopping mid-length to turn around. Just. Why? Really didn’t want to finish that 25 yard length? Got somewhere to be THIS INSTANT?

3. Poor leading.  If you’re going to lead the lane, AWESOME! No, really thank you!  But, please keep your head about you.  Mis-counting sucks.  Ask if you’re not sure which # this is.. and if you’re not sure, do an extra! But don’t lost count and just stop… Also, be consistent?  Don’t KILL IT on the first 100 just to end up slacking and barely making the next 3.  Keep it consistent and if the person behind needs to pass you, it’s OK! You’re not a bad person! No one is judging you!

4. Shaving. Dude. seriously, it’s a public (ish) pool and locker rooms.  I don’t want to have to watch you shave… anything.  It’s just cruel and unusual punishment.

What are your little things that encourage or discourage you from working out?

Attention all Triathletes and Non-Triathletes!  Rev3 is doing something VERY cool for its Triathlons this year.  If you sign up for any of them, you can ALSO sign up for COACHING for the event!  That means, for MONTHS you get workouts, forums, access to EXPERTS (this is not an exaggeration, I can tell you from experience, you really get to tap experienced coaches whenever you have a question), help with race-day logistics, nutrition and lots more!  So if you’re even considering a triathlon this year… it’s a great deal.  One of the most popular already is our own local race– Quassy Olympic or Half in Quassy Connecticut on June 2, 2012.  Read the description below and if you have ANY questions at all, please let me know!  This is really a great way to *try a tri* for the first time? Or even if you just need a little accountability to get through a summer goal!

Check it out–

Rev3 Group Coaching Philosophy: At Rev3Tri, every athlete matters!  We’d like to build upon this concept to bring our “family feeling and support” to help get each athlete to the finish line.

What each program will include: * Monthly training program to include race specific guidance, equipment tips and nutrition suggestions. * Password protected forum available to each athlete in the program.  Rev3Tri Team, Rev3 Race Director and Rev3 Staff will all be available on the forum for continued support. * Advanced information given before the general public is told to include: course updates, course maps, race director tips, coach tips, race weekend schedules * On-course training days * Race weekend meet ups, racing tips, motivation & strategy, meeting Team Rev3 * Webinars and online chats on specific training topics

Cost of program: Initial $200 start-up fee which includes a Rev3Tri training kit (an $85 value!), $25 off Rev3 entry coupon, sponsor goodies, and your username & password for your schedule and forum access.  After the initial start-up fee, each additional month is $50. There is a 10% discount for paying for the full plan in advance. If you sign up later than the start date, the cost will be pro-rated to exclude the weeks you missed.

When will programs start?

Knoxville                      January 16 (16 week program for both Oly and Half)

Quassy                         January 16 (20 weeks)    February 13 (16 weeks)

Portland                      February 20 (20 weeks)   March 19  (16 weeks)

Wisconsin Dells        March 26 (20 weeks)        April 23 (16 weeks)

Maine                          April 9  (20 weeks)             May 7 (16 weeks)

Cedar Pt                      March 26  (24 weeks)      April 23 (20 weeks)

Anderson                    May 28 (20 weeks)           June 25 (16 weeks)

Florida                           June 11 (20 weeks)          July 9 (16 weeks)

Questions?  EMAIL me (jledewitz [at] gmail)! Or Comment below!

WINNERS!!

Results of my Bike and World Champsionship Fundraiser: Thank you to everyone for donating!  More than 65 donations were made, which totaled over $2500 towards a replacement bike (mine was stolen in the fall 😦 )!  I am incredibly grateful and humbled by everyone’s generosity!  Thank you thank you thank you! The bike will be purchased shortly.  I want to make sure I get the best bike possible for me (a short, new-to-tri, but still going to World champs … type) and so I am working with my local triathlon center and my tri teams to see what the best deals are.  I will be purchasing soon and, believe me, I will update you as soon as I do!

Thank you, additionally, to all of my incredible sponsors.  Wheelworks, Landry’s, VMPS Triathlon Center, TriGuyCoaching, Mina at Riverbend Massage, Nancy Clark, Tufts University, Mix1, FIRM Racing, UbiSoft Games and Everstride.

World Championships are not until NEXT October though so in the mean time I will probably host yet ANOTHER spin-fundraiser and continue to fundraise in general.  If you are interested in coming, or simply supporting, please let me know!  The next spin-fundraiser will likely be in March 2012.

I will be contacting our winners individually– but if for any reason a winner does not hear from me (by January 7), please get in touch! (jledewitz [at] gmail.com or just leave a comment below!)

The following donors have won these awesome items in the World Championships Fundraiser Raffle

Meg Reilly Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate (from Tufts University)
Adam Rosenberg Jules’ Baked Goods
Christopher Schaffner 1 hour Nutrition Counseling with http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/
Stephen Normadin Free 2012 FIRM Race Entry
David Meyers UbiSoft Video Games
Danielle Marquis 1 free 1BandID www.1bandid.com
Benjamin Berry EverStride Gift Pack
Emma Kosciak VMPS Triathlon Center Gift Certificate
Jessica Kraus Case of Mix1
Whitney Rauschenbach Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Flavia Chen Jules’ Baked Goods
Katie Bond Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Josh Flanagan VMPS Tri Gift Certificate
David Altman 1 Month coaching/training plan from http://triguycoaching.com/
Joe Vukson 1 hour Massage from http://riverbendmassage.weebly.com/
Jeffrey Longcor Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Michael Nislick Swim Lesson
Rod Azadan Landry’s Bicycles Gift Certificate
Allyson Huntington WheelWorks 90-Minute Bike Fitting
Ben Martens Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate (from Tufts University)
Charlie Ticotsky Jules’ Baked Goods
Thomas Rodrigues  Stefani Danes’ Homemade Quilt
Joanne & Ryan Kennedy Jules’ Baked Goods

2011 was, without doubt, the best year of my life.  I know it sounds cliché, or at least like immense hyperbole, but it’s not.  I don’t really need to dedicate an entire post to it, but as a triathlete, I tend to dwell a lot on the negatives– on the things I could improve– and rarely think about the things that went well.  However, I’ll fight the tendency to compare 2012 with 2011.  I don’t need to 1-up my year. It would be impossible actually.

This year highlighted some important things for myself: (I know this is a training blog so most of these are training related… but I can’t discount the other important stuff too)–

1. I might have the BEST friends, family, teammates that ANYONE could ask for.  It feels selfish in fact- I have the most loving and supportive network, without which I would completely crumble beneath the weight of my graduate work, professional work and triathlon training.  I love the people around me and feel so lucky to have them. I also do NOT do enough for them in return.

2. I have more energy than I give myself credit for.

3. You can train your butt off to cut 4 minutes in a 10k, but you can easily lose 3 minutes by being daft in your transitions.

4.  People are shocked by my enthusiasm for energy efficiency.  I have a really positive outlook on my potential to reduce our energy consumption at a pretty large scale and I’m excited about that.  People notice. Those in my field, in turn, tend to get excited too.  That’s the reason my academic and professional work are exceedingly satisfying.

5. I can manage to teach spinning without a ton of prep work– I wasn’t sure that was true– but I love coaching and it comes easily to me. This realization made it possible to teach nearly every monday of 2011 at 6am.

6. My athletic performance peaks when everything else in my life is balanced: fueling as an athlete (no dieting), sleeping (7 hours is primo, magic, amazing and rarely happens), work desk clean, work tasks accomplished instead of procrastinated, school work completed and finally- a clean room.

Half Marathon PR at Hyannis: 1:37

Switzer Fellow 2011: I was honored and humbled to be selected as a Switzer fellow for 2011.  This is a prestigious environmental award for academic work in the field.  The Switzer Foundation is helping me fund my Master’s degree at Tufts where I am working on a thesis about energy reduction improvements (monitoring-based commissioning, if you really want to know) on campuses throughout North America.

Joined Wheelworks Multisport: I joined this awesome Boston-based tri group in the spring.  THey are an incredible group of people and have been AMAZING supporters and teammates all year.  I’ve gotten to meet motivated, strong, incredible people who’ve all helped me become a better athlete in so many ways.

First time running a race actually for fun (pacing a friend): I ran a fun run half marathon on a whim; I decided I did not need to go all out and instead I just helped run with a friend and tried to get him to his own PR.  He didn’t quite hit it but came very close and we had a great time running together!

Hired Coach: My coach Alan is awesome. I hired him in April and we’ve since worked together, chatting at least weekly since.  He is incredibly intelligent and necessarily tough.  I have really enjoyed working with him and would not be where I am today without him.  If you have any interest in coaching– talk to me!

2nd overall female @ New England Season Opener Sprint Tri: ‘Nuf said. I’d never gotten an “overall” anything before.  That was a fun race; I was nerve wracked and still managed to tough it out.

2nd Olympic Tri EVER: I completed my 2nd Olympic distance Triathlon in June 2011. It was my 4th triathlon ever and only my 2nd being “clipped in” on my bike.  It was a tough, hilly race in Connecticut and actually- the swim was cut short (so my 1 advantage was decreased 🙂 ).  Nonetheless, I learned a lot during that race- such as- don’t forget your timing chip at your hotel.  It makes for a messy morning.

Overall WINNER @ Lowell Mill City Tri: Speaks for itself. I can’t believe I won an Olympic Tri.  Neato.

2011 National Championahips: HUGE race. Olypmic-distance PR.  This was my ‘A’ race of the season. I worked the whole summer to prep for it.  I think I did very well, but I would love to be faster. My transitions were quite poor, my bike split was a little slower than I’d like and I think I managed to mess up my taper with over thinking and undertraining.  I placed in the top 20 in my age group, which was awesome but I want to break that 2:20 mark. But I had the BEST cheering squad around!

World Team Selection: Then I got selected for the World Champ 2012 team in Auckland New Zealand.  WOWOWOWOWOWOW.  This was a secret pipe dream that I mentioned to NO ONE except my coach.  Can’t believe it happened! Now I have to earn that spot for in training.

Personal Record (PR) Half Marathon:  1:34. I had an awesome race in the fall that led to another Half marathon PR.  I love this distance– it’s also easy to have a 2-PR year when you’ve only raced the distance… 3 times.

Team Rev3 Selection: Lastly, this fall, I was selected for the incredible Rev3 Amateur Team.  It’s a fantastic organizaiton, putting on some of the BEST races around (most fun, most catered to athletes and very family-fun oriented).  I am psyched to be part of the new family and to have the immense resources of the collective experience of the team.  YAYYAYAYAYYAY.

10,000 x 3: On December 31, 2011 I complete a semi-crazy capstone to the year.  I swam 100 x 100’s (10,000 yards), I ran over a 10,000 meters (10k) and I biked 10,000 meters (10k).  It was an incredible personal experience that I did not even plan to do.  It felt incredibly empowering and really showed me that I’ve got a power and determination that could make almost anything possible.

Some pictures from the year:

I am not exactly sure what 2012 has in store.  My goals are:

1. Complete my Master’s Thesis

2. Complete my Master’s degree

3. Race my FIRST ever Half Ironman Distance (70.3!!!)

4. Get to World Championships with a bike

If I accomplish those, it will truly be a great year. Who could ask for more?

How about you? What are your goals this year? What will you accomplish?

Reacting to an Injury

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Injury, Lifestyle, Training, Winter

Although the title sounds a tiny bit negative… I’d like to think this might be a little motivating, thinking about and anticipating obstacles we might encounter in 2012.

I’m taking a minute to discuss the inevitable: injuries.  They happen.  In fact, according to the NCAA and the Collegiate Trainers’ Association, approximately 30% of college athletes suffer from an injury every year.  And those are just the ones that are reported… lest we all forget the likelihood of ACTUALLY reporting something to a trainer… is… minimal at best. That means, it’s likely you’ll be injured… at some point. If you’re training, you’re asking a lot of your body and while we are made for more than we typically ask of ourselves, we have our limits too.  But what we really excel at, when given the time, is recovery and resilience.  Granted, you need to TRAIN yourself for resilience, but you can do it.  Even mentally, we are prone to breaking down and getting depressed about an injury.  But what’s the use in worrying and dwelling?  How does it help?  I’d like to argue that our ONLY real option for injuries is to react like athletes react to any challenge– wo/man up. Figure out that while it sucks to be injured your only real choice is to make yourself better.  Don’t retreat into it and don’t dwell.

One important caveat– I’ve had several friends deal with very debilitating injuries and surgeries that left them out of training for weeks and months. Sometimes “get over it and do your exercises” isn’t what is appropriate.  But- my brother is a fantastic example of how even awful injuries are what you make out of them. Ben demolished his elbow– shattered it– in a whitewater paddling crash last spring.  After an excruciating 3 hour ride to the hospital, drugs galore, and immediate surgery, he was basically told he wouldn’t really recover from the injury– range of motion would be 50% at best.  For a paddler? That’s rather life-altering news.  But he didn’t let it stick- he was told that with exercises and strengthening, that maybe, maybe when the metal bolts holding the pieces of bone together were removed… he might get a little more back.  Well, if you know Ben, you know he’s generally up for a challenge.  We went to Italy that summer for a paddling race that.. of course… he could no longer do.  But he was there, positive-minded, steered the boat like a champ

Ben steering our Dragonboat in Italy. Ben "Hamburglar" Ledewitz.

(while drinking wine, no less)… and walked around EVERY day with a giant rock in his hand.  It was unnerving at first… but he explained that he was just strengthening all of the little internal ligaments.  He hung from a bar in our villa almost every day, he stretched and lifted weights with it- even when it felt like it was doing very little to aid the process. But by autumn, he got the bolts removed and he’s up to almost 80% of range of motion, if not more by now.  He’s back to paddling and in fact, if you want to see the 50′ drop he took– take a look here: http://www.whitewaterfreestyle.com/2011/california-whitewater-2011/.  (Yes my brother has the best mullet you’ve seen. No it’s not ironic… ).  It’s just a small testament to the idea that we are made to recover, you need only to ask your body to do it.

But, I have thus far (knock on SO MUCH WOOD (twss)), been pretty lucky injury-wise.  I am, however, dealing with one right now.  I have a theory about things like this though… “respect and recover.”  I know, this sounds like an odd injury mantra, but it’s worked pretty well so far.

My little injury report–

4 weeks ago I got a nagging, acute pain in my right hip while running on the treadmill.  I had had the pain before and I know it’s not great.  It’s not a huge problem, but enough to slow me down especially running.  Part of me thought, “well, this won’t last, not a big deal, let’s get on with life.”  Naturally, what athlete would say otherwise?  After I finished the run, I got on my trainer for a nice hard ride of long-ish intervals.  No crazy 30s pieces- just 3-4 minutes with hills here and there.  It felt GREAT! And by great I just mean, NOTHING in my hip at all.  beautiful!  The next day, I had my computraining endurance ride– 1h30m on the bike on the Coeur D’Alene Ironman course.  Something was a little… off.  I had a pull on my right side but this time, down closer to my knee.  Hip was ok, a little funny feeling, but ok.  I certainly wasn’t going to stop my ride- the pain was not bad.  if it had been… I would have stopped immediately– 2 injuries on the same side is the same injury (in my opinion) and if it had been bad, I wouldn’t have wanted to risk it.  But, I got off the bike stretched and FOAM ROLLED!! and felt much better.  By Sunday, I was feeling pretty good and met up with a teammate for an 8 miler.  Nothing fast, lots of hills.  It hurt. It hurt the whole time.  It was just nagging.  As soon as we finished, I knew something was wrong.  After the run, I chatted briefly with my coach and then left a message for my Dr.’s office and decided right then I would address it.  I didn’t have another run scheduled until the following Tuesday, so I waited it out a little bit.  Made the appointment for Thursday afternoon.  I ran the short workout on Tuesday with very little pain and all of my cycling was feeling ok.  Wednesday’s run was a little wonky, but not bad.  Thursday’s appointment was a little strange because I hadn’t felt the pain in a few days.  Luckily, I had really taken note of the problem: the where (hip and right lower quad), the how (acute + pointed in the hip, pulling in the quad), and when (running for the hip, cycling on the quad).  These helped my dr. immediately address the issue and help me come up with some strategies to address it.  The stretching, foam rolling and icing regimen were probably the most important but some key strength training moves have been super helpful as well.  Lastly, I talked to my coach again and let him know what was up.  He told me: “One week, no running.”  Um, what?! I don’t really know how to do that… how does one do that?  He encouraged me to give it a try, “just 1 week now is better than 2 months in March,”  he said.  Damn, that was a good point. (he’s awesome, if I haven’t mentioned. if you’re looking for a coach… you should ask me about him).

So that’s what I did.  One week.  I’m a lucky girl- I have some other options when it comes to staying in shape and challenging my body, so you better believe that’s exactly what my coach asked me to do.  In that one week I– cycled 5 times, I lifted twice, hiked once, went dancing, and (for the first time since July…) I swam twice.  There are so many more options though– I was just finishing finals so I didn’t have time to hit the slopes, or do yoga, get to a kickboxing class or rock climb– all of which are fantastic workouts.  But the point of all of that is that… I’m feeling a ton better! I’m not perfect and I recognize that I probably spurred this injury by running daily for 17 days… my hips are just not made for that action right now.  I need rest days between runs and that’s ok! Because there’s so much more to do… than run.  I also nursed the crap out of my IT band.  I foam rolled (and need to do MUCH more), and stretched it out!  Here are my favorite IT band stretches (yes, these are super awkward pictures because 1) didn’t want to use a random person from the interweb unbeknownst to them and 2)I don’t have any pictures of me doing these… for which you can thank me later):

Tree Pose. Letting the external knee relax out to the side (owwweeee in that good way)

Shoe pose? Not sure that's the official name- but it feels great. Ankle over opposing knee, and sit into 90 degree angle on 1 leg. Balance on wall/chair

Weird, awkward side posey thing. Feels awesome (wrap one leg tightly behind the other, stretches hip of the back leg)

Jules’ Injury Mantra laid out:

Respect

Respecting an injury means a few things:

1. Admit it- if something really feels ‘off,’ recognize it.  You know your body;  you are the only one who is going to help when you feel that eerie, uncomfortable feeling that is different than just being sore.  So, recognize. Then, DON’T be a rockstar (pretty and dumb) and go harder to “push through it.” Don’t ‘Web-MD’ yourself to death.  Do try to understand what is hurting, where and when you do what.  Is it a tightness? All over? or very Acute?  Does it happen running up hill or down? Are you feeling a temperature change in that spot– hot or cold? (no joke, I was just asked this– it’s indicative of bursitis, who knew?).  Take note!

2.Accept it- take a few days off immediate from the exercise bothering it most.  It’s OK, A-typers rolling their eyes at this, just DO IT!  Don’t prolong an injury for a month that might be fixed with a little rest!  If it hurts when running, then: cycle, swim and yoga to the rescue!  Ski! Snowboard! Do some fun stuff for a bit.

3. Address it- Still nagging? GO TO THE DOCTOR.  Don’t put it off, just go.  There is NO harm and it could actually help you immensely.

4. Adhere to the orders– When the Doctor says “do this exercise”– just do it!  You reserve no right to complain about the injury if you don’t try to take the steps to alleviate the pain. If it’s Physical Therapy- do it. If it’s an MRI- schedule it. But don’t sit around feeling sad about it because you’re only going to dwell on the pain, which will make you feel less and less like you can overcome it.  And let me tell ya, take a quick glance through any news today and you’ll see- we humans are MADE to recover.  You will. Whether you’re an athlete, or not, you’re physically capable- and the more you do to help yourself, the faster you will recover from the injury.

Recover

1. Actively recover- Again, sitting around thinking about an injury has probably never done anyone much good.  Even if you can’t run, walk a bit, do lunges, do anything that doesn’t actively hurt your injury.  The best thing you can do is to pump up the muscles around the injury that are helping you to recover.  So, find the parts of your body that you can work, and work em! If it’s challenging, or something you’ve never done before– all the better!  Fitness is all about how well your body can react to change and challenge.  When you demand that it tries, you improve your fitness.  Injuries are a great excuse to try something new.  And don’t be afraid.. if it hurts? Stop. Try something else.  Be patient with yourself and you could gain a whole new repertoire of exercise regimes.

2. Rest.  Eat well, sleep and drink.  No no, drink WATER, I mean.  But sure, drink fun stuff too, if you are out with friends- enjoy the time out.  Get happy! Don’t sulk inside… you’re not down for the count, you’re not BLOWING your season, you’re actually MAKING your season.  So, get after it!

Don’t half-ass it.  You wouldn’t half-ass a workout, or a work assignment, or school work (well…) I mean, no! Of course you wouldn’t. So don’t half ass your recovery, do it right. If you do it right the first time, you won’t have to do it 3 times.  You may have to do it again, but it’s HIGHLY likely, that if you respect the injury and recover effectively, the next time a similar pain creeps up, you’ll recover in less time.