Posts Tagged ‘swimming’


Things are just a little too hectic right now.  It’s very difficult to set aside time to write.  Hence, this quickie update.

I am slowly getting back into my routine with running, cycling, and swimming.  However, I am also keeping up with my weights workout on Tuesday and Thursday as well.  I do believe there is evidence that the strength training is improving my runs at least, if not other things.  Two weeks ago I put a four-miler on my Wednesday run (the longest since — ‘the injury’) and ran it with a 10:21 pace.  That’s really fast for me, folks.  My other 5K runs have seen similar improvements as well.

I have my swims back to mostly normal and up to thirty lengths (20 yds. each).  I am doing them slowly and leisurely, but still doing well.  I’ll stick at this distance for at least a couple weeks before moving forward.

It’s April and cycling is going.  I’ve signed up for the Ride for Heroes in Aledo, Tx again.  It’ll be my first ride this year.  I’ve also signed up for the Head for the Hills Rally in Cedar Hill again.  I like both of these rides for various reasons.  I’m going to take the Trek to Aledo, but I’m getting the new and improved Fuji prepared for Cedar Hill.

Work’s been very busy of late.  But, things are headed in a good direction.  I actually have a building to care for again, even if it’s not completely mine to care for.

Tomorrow, I’ll add a 5-miler on Wednesday.  I’m meticulously watching the increase by only 10% rule.  I’ve had a few more incidents with the knot swelling up on the foot and causing pain, but they are lessening in intensity.  So, I think things are slowly on the mend.  I apologize for the quick post, but it’ll have to do for now.  Hopefully, I’ll find better time to write soon.  Happy cycling!

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It’s been busy round here.  And, dealing with an injury that comes and goes makes things more fun.  My work has been busy.  It’s actually moving.  No. Really.  My job is moving its location.  I work for a church and we are moving soon.  Lots of things to do.

Yes, it’s true.  I do something besides just run, ride, and swim.  I have a life.  I have a family.  I even have grandkids.  Folks like us aren’t odd or different.  We are people just like everyone else.  Except, for some odd reason, we like to do things that “normal” people don’t even think of doing.  Or at least, it seems that way some times.

With all the things I do regularly, it often takes extra effort to stay motivated, stay patient and work out when I’m supposed to. Now, I have an injury that I’m not 100% where it came from and it doesn’t seem to match up exactly with anything known.  So, I’m working on figuring out how to manage both.  Or all three.

It seems that the one thing that doesn’t affect my foot is running.  I haven’t done any speedwork lately, but some of my runs have been at 11 minute/mile pace.  Even those don’t seem to be a problem.  I am slowly building miles and will add a 4-miler this week.  If I have had struggles in running, it has been things other than my foot.

Last week, I had one morning on the trainer that set my foot pain off.  But, now I recognize the onset and get my foot in some ice and wait for a while and the pain goes down.  I thought maybe that was the trigger, but I’ve been out on a bike and not have any pain.  Go figure.

I’m still only swimming a little, just 16 minutes at at time.  I’m doing roughly 300 meters at at time and most of that is breast stroke.  I’ll add some more freestyle this week and see if I get any changes.

My most recent bout of pain with the foot happened just like the one that sent me to the ER.  Sitting in my chair and move my foot just so (whatever that is) and there it goes.  The knot swells up on the top, near the ankle.  The pain is horrible.  I can’t put weight on the foot at all, but just get it in some ice, give it some time, and I’m fine again.

Yes, of course–I should see a doc.  And, I probably will eventually.  However, even that seems like a hit-n-miss situation.  I’ve had two docs look at is so far and several x-rays.  Nobody seems to know anything.  Since it appears and disappears, I need to be able to see the doc when it appears.  Not that I want to make that happen.  For now, if I manage the pressure on the foot, it seems to keep it at bay.

I’m going to build things slowly and continue to manage the pain when it appears.  Maybe, if I keep watch on it, I’ll find the actual trigger.  Then, I’ll have something for a doc to check.

So, for now, I’ll be patient and I’ll be thankful to God that I still get to work out.  I’ll stay busy with my family and my work and just watch out for the foot until I can put things together so that a doc can do something worthwhile.  You have to help them out, you know.  Happy swim, bike, and run!

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Yes, I think the jury might finally be in on the cause of my injury.  On my Thursday visit to the fitness center, I ran into a triathlete friend that is also swimming at Heritage.  He asked me where exactly I had pain from the injury.  He asked if it was right across the top of the ankle on the foot and I agreed.  He said his ankles are also having some pain issues in the same place.  Ah-Ha!

My friend is working on increasing his swim distance just like I am (only he’s a good bit ahead).  I had been in disbelief that swimming could CAUSE an injury.  I did some more research and found just what my friend and I are experiencing, though in different amounts.  Competitive and long distance swimmers can injure their foot/ankle in just the way I did.

It seems that the constant flexing of the foot during freestyle and breast stroke (my two) can lead to overuse injuries just as too much pounding can injure a runner.  I found information on LiveStrong and Lane’s Health Clinic.  So, I can reasonably rule out the stress fracture from this information and my experiences.  But, I still have to live with having a swimming injury.

In addition, it seems that I managed a new slight injury.  My ‘enthusiasm’ at strength training may have given me a muscle pull in my neck.  For a week and a half, I’ve had headaches during the afternoons when I get tired.  The most intense days have been…hold it…the day after a workout.  This past Thursday evening, I avoided any upper body strength training and just worked on legs and walking.

It does seem that walking is just fine right now.  I can walk all I want and not have any pain.  So, me and the treadmill at the fitness center have become friends.  It has also meant I got to go walk some with my sweetie as well.

I also got on the trainer today just for 15 minutes.  Everything was fine.  I kept the gears down so I didn’t push hard.  I could feel the stress just slightly in my foot and ankle during the ride, so I will have to keep the trainer to a minimum during my “rehab”.  But, at least I can get on the bike.

Next week, I ought to be able to get back to my regular schedule of workouts, even though the level of working out will still have to be quite low.  I am in what is probably the critical time.  My pain level is down and I will have to be patient.  I still get reminders from time to time.  My ankle will not allow much twisting to occur without a zinger of pain.  I am happy with improvement and will just have to make my workout job to keep from any further injury.  And, then to figure out how in the world I created a swimming injury.  Happy running!

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Yep, the big man is injured.  Really injured.  I am in my second week of not running.  I am not sure which it is, but I either have some torn ligaments in my foot, or possibly a stress fracture.  In either case, it is 6 to 8 weeks of not running.

I went the first week without doing anything.  I tried spinning on Friday, but that hurt after a while as well. I can walk fine.  I just can’t extend my foot or bend it backward much.  Any real side to side stress also hurts.  And, no I didn’t go to the doc.  I wasn’t bleeding profusely (well, not on the surface anyway), so I looked up the possibilities and their usual treatments.  It doesn’t matter which injury, both torn ligaments and stress fractures are treated most often with R.I.C.E.  That’s rest, ice, compression, and elevation.  I’m hitting well on three out of the four.

Of course, most of the literature says that any non-stress activities should be just fine; like swimming or cycling.  That’s not happening here. The injury occurred while swimming, so the movement of swimming creates the same motions as the injury and so does spinning.  Strike three!

Finally, this week, I figured at least I could do strength training on just the upper body and core.  Sweetie and I dropped in on the Senior Center to sign me up for a month of the fitness room.  I also thought maybe I could just do arms-only drills in the pool.  Those are where you hold a floatie or kick board between your legs and use just your arms to pull.  I might still get in some workouts anyway while I heal.

First night, this past Tuesday, Sweetie and I go to the fitness center.  She does her workouts on the dreadmill and the recumbent cycle while I move about the room and use my old weights routine from loooong ago.  Everything is going just fine.  I spy the elliptical and check it out.  It works!  The movements aren’t causing pain and the pedals keep my feet flat.  I make five minutes and stop just to not overdo it.  Then it’s off to the pool.

I forgot a bandana to tie my legs together, so I had to wrap my good foot around the injured ankle to hold the floating barbell.  It was working.  I could do a lap at a time then stop like when I first started.  At least it was swimming.  I made it 15 minutes and could start to feel the pain again. Uh-oh.

Yep, the pain was back.  OK, either I overdid it or the movements are still causing the pain.  That’s not good.  It hurt that night when I slept, but by morning things were getting back to normal.  I could still walk and the bruise on my foot was dissipating.  Today is Thursday and I’m fine again.

Ok, so just walking and upper body.  That’s all I can do for now.  Tonight is Thursday and Sweetie and I will go back to the fitness center again.  At least, I have a workout I can do.  I’ll just have to learn patience again.  But, you know I’m not good at that.

Cowtown half-marathon is out for me now.  Even if I could run by then, I wouldn’t be ready.  I’m just going to have to work on being cool until the time is up and then build back up again.  But, those are the breaks (maybe I don’t like that word so much now).  At least, I’m getting to sleep later since I can’t get up so early to run.  That’s pretty nice.  Happy running!

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This past Monday, I decided to restart my speedwork again as it groweth closer to Cowtown time again.  None of my speed workouts for my marathon training were pickups, so I had not done any for several months.  I thought it would be a good time to run some (not so) gentle pickups again.  And, as usual, I would run mine with my trusty Garmin and heart rate monitor.

Now, if you’ve read my original post on doing pickups by heart rate, you know that I set a heart rate alarm on the Garmin that is slightly under my max heart rate.  My max heart rate had been running about 180-182.  When I first started running with the Garmin, I calculated my max HR (220 – 50; my age) at 170, but I measured my heart rate going to 180 when running flat out.  For a couple years, I’ve been using an alarm setting of 172.  When my HR gets to 172, I hear the beeps and run out the pickup for as long as I can hold, then slow down.

As long as I have run, that formula has worked just fine.  Until last Monday when I took off on my first pickup and kept going and going and going.  No beeps.  No alarms.  I look down and the Garmin says, “162.”  Ok, so slow down, jog a while and try it again.  My HR drops back to 130 and I start off again.  Maybe I didn’t run the pickup out fast enough?  You’re only supposed to reach about 80% of top speed.  Maybe I am just out of practice.  So, I’ll make this one faster.

I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the beep.  None comes.  I’m going all out now and I look down, “164.”  What’s wrong?  Why won’t my HR go up?  I run the rest of my pickups by feel and just monitor the heart rate.  It never exceeded 167, and that was on the last one.  What has happened?  I know I’m fit.  Has something change?

Of course it has.  I’ve dropped 30 pounds!  And, I’m slightly older now.  OK, so my age only drops the max HR by 2 bpm, but when you go in with the idea that I’m now back to my calculated HR (220 – age), which is now 168, almost 167, you see the difference.  My extra weight artificially raised my max HR because of the extra stress.  Now, I need to figure out a new HR limit for pickups and try it again.

Of course, now, I’m not sure when that will be.  Tuesday evening I went for my regular swim.  Every time I tried to fully kick in the freestyle stroke, my left foot hurt.  I eased up on my kicking and could keep the pain under slight control, but at least once every lap, one strong kick would make me wince.

Just when I crossed 800 yds., it got worse.  Now it was throbbing and moving up the leg.  I stopped and made it back to the shallow end to see what was going on.  I could feel a large knot on top of my foot near the ankle.  It wasn’t hard and after a while, the know moved when pressing on it.  The pain was increasing.  My friend stopped to see how it was and I told him I was done for the night.

I hobbled home and put some ice on it.  I took some ibuprofen and wrapped it for the night.  It remained quite painful all night, but when I got up, the pain when down, the swelling went down, and I could walk.  I went two days at work with no real problems at all.  No problem walking.  I jogged a little coming home and didn’t feel anything either.  However, I got up this morning and could see a small bruise down near my toes.  That was odd.  I didn’t have any pain down there.

I thought I’d try spinning and see if that would be a problem.  For 52 minutes, it wasn’t.  Then it started again.  I got off and checked.  Sure enough, the swelling was back and the bruise had gotten larger.  Well, that bites.

Now, I am going to have to stick to my plan to do no workouts until Monday at least.  I can’t find any medical conditions exactly like it on the Internet.  The only one that is close sounds really bad.  I don’t think I’ve ripped a ligament or tendon.  That pain would remain…I think.

Well it happens.  You can’t get everything right.  I’ve gone a considerable length of time without an injury.  I guess you might say I’m overdue.  It’s just not a good time with a race coming up.  I’m going to be patient and wait until Monday.  Then, I’ll have to reassess whether this needs a doc or not.  I sure hope not.  They tend to go overboard when there is an injury.  And, my experience with a lot of docs is they aren’t all great diagnosticians.  But, we’ll just have to see.  Be careful and have fun running.

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I am really not sure why we humans tend to get all sappy and nostalgic at the end of each calendar year.  It seems to be a habit even if your year doesn’t end on December 31st.  However, reflection and remembrance is a part of human life.  Making resolutions also seems to be the wont of many people at this time of year as well.  I suppose all that reflection brings about regrets and memories of failures during the year.

My year has been topsy-turvy to say the least.  I have had significant changes in my work and career.  I am still trying to get used to some of the more recent changes.  I’m not one to dwell on failures so I don’t have a list of regrets.  Regrets also tend to be such a bad business anyway.  I guess the only significant foible this year on the athletic front was Hotter-n-Hell in August.  I had to DNF it because of a broken spoke.  That in itself doesn’t quite qualify as failure.  Yet, it did give me more initiative to learn how to overcome that problem through building (or rebuilding) my own wheel.  The proof in that pudding won’t show up until later in 2012, though.  I did have some sucesses as well.  I finally finished a ride that I had not completed in three years (Tour d’Italia – June).  I also completed my first triathlon and (ahem) my first marathon.  I’ve gotten to watch my kids grow up even more and learn how to deal with the world at large, and even to see my granddaughter at her school on grandparents day.  Yeah, I think there were plenty of good things happening in 2011.

I’m not sure when I decided to quit the whole ‘resolution’ thing, but I really don’t do those anymore.  I do prefer to set some goals for the year.  Resolutions are something you ‘resolve’ to do, but culturally and psychologically, they tend to be more judgmental and success/failure oriented than they should.  I also tend to think we set ourselves up with resolutions by making them unreachable then kicking ourselves for the failure.  Goals, on the other hand, don’t have to be that way.  Goals can be modified, adjusted, and reworked.  Goals can be delayed, if necessary.  One can measure efforts toward a goal as a percentage of success and then celebrate the percentage while making plans to continue.  I like goals.

I have finally gotten back to spending more time reading (grad school can really take that out of you).  I have several books lined up to read so far and I am going to try to keep at it.  I finally have back some of the desire to read more science fiction than I had in the past.  Hopefully, I’ll keep finding new works to read.  Spending more time reading is a good goal for 2012.

On the training front, I am already working on my eating habits.  I hope I can continue being diligent and will see my weight continue to drop.  I know that my speed in running and swimming has picked up because of weighing less.  I am also going to try and keep a longer long run going.  I am planning to do a 10, 12, 15-mile rotation beginning next month.  I had started doing 5-milers on Mondays.  I am not certain those will stay, but we’ll see.  I don’t plan on another marathon this year, but in 2013…we’ll see.  Running more miles with less weight is a good goal.

After ‘Santa’ brought me a Park Tension Meter for Christmas, I have succeeded in getting my Trek back together.  The rear wheel certainly feels solid and the statistics of the tension meter says I have a strong wheel.  Time will tell on that point.  It would be really nice to be able to ride my Trek all year, and my plans are to finish the 100-miler at Hotter-n-Hell again this year.  More riding is certainly a worthy goal for 2012.

I certainly enjoyed the triathlon I did this past September.  I am making it a goal to go back to that one come September 2012.  I am also going to work on the Olympic distance triathlon this year.  There is one in Waco in July that sounds good.  A 1500 meter swim in the Brazos river in July ought to be a hoot.  Two triathlons are good goals for 2012.

This next year, I will turn 52.  I do know that one of my goals for 2012 is to cease worrying about stuff.  If you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that is very hard for me to do.  But it’s a goal, nonetheless and one I am biblically commanded to do.  And, speaking of that general area, I am going to try and keep my mind open concerning theology this year.  I know that I am certainly becoming much more liberal in both theology and politics of late.  It’s rather refreshing sometimes, but it brings me into conflict also.  However, I think I am getting old enough I can just say to the…well, you know.

A new year is a time for us to reflect on the past year, and to prepare for the next.  I’m not quite sure why we do this just because it’s January 1, but it’s not a bad idea.  I do think it’s important for us to take our new year with a grain of salt.  Even with my plans to run, race, read, and worry less, I still have to factor in that I am not in control of all things.  God has designs that I don’t always know about, and it is important to be flexible.  He is the one that controls my steps and sometimes my plans run counter to His.  It’s always good to not let our goals take over everything.  Rigidity is not a pretty sight.  But, I look forward to seeing how 2012 will work out.  Some of it will be like I planned and some of it won’t.  In the end, I think I will look forward to the New Year.  How about you?

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Well, Christmas has come to an end for another year.  It happens all the time like this.  A big buildup to the grand day, and a sketchy period just after.  Its sketchy because it depends on how you deal with your ‘toys’.  I recently read an older article of John Bingham’s that he reposted on The Penguin Chronicles.  In it, he talked of how we, as adults, sometimes forget our need to enjoy and desire ‘toys’ and the ability to play with them.  It struck a chord within me that still stays with me after Christmas. (more…)

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Nope, that title does not mean I brought home any hardware other than a finisher’s medal, but that was good enough for the win column.  I finished my first triathlon September 17th in the Rose City Tri on Lake Tyler.  I had some trepidation about doing the swim portion despite having practiced at distances longer than the 650 meters of this sprint triathlon.  Plus, I had some bike problems in August and didn’t quite know how well that would go.  I was a real newb going into new territory, but East Texas Triathletes puts on a great triathlon that is well planned for beginners; yet, also attracts a good deal of real talent as well. (more…)

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Today is 6-mile Thursday.  Most of this blistering Summer of 2011, I have managed to maintain a 6-mile long run each Thursday.  I think it has become my most important run each week.  Partly it is due to the solitude and time I have when running a long run.  Partly it has been due to seeing if I can tolerate and adjust to whatever weather gets thrown at me each week.  This Summer, that has been rather one-dimensional; heat, more heat, and even more heat.  It’s a good thing I have a pair of tri-shorts to wear while running. (more…)

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This has been a Summer to remember…or forget.  Here in North Texas it has been hotter than most in recent memory.  Not as hot as the Summer of 1980, though I think there is still time (knock on wood that doesn’t happen).  The weatherman said late last week we  had been through 14 days straight of 100+ temperatures.  And, we haven’t had anything below that during the weekend.  That in itself is bad enough, but this is only July.  August is still yet to arrive. (more…)

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