Ski to Sea 2010

June 9, 2010

On May 30th I did the Ski to Sea Race in Bellingham, WA.  A total of 464 teams of 8 people (Thats just over 3,700 folks!) participated in the event.   Racers ranged from everday basically out of shape people (like me) to former Olympians!  

It was alot of fun.  It was also a good amount harder than I expected it to be.  It has been raining non-stop in Bellingham (WA) for weeks now (usually we have dry weather by now).  So, the mountain bike leg (which is really a cross-country course with some urban assault sections) was transformed into a “14 miles long mud wresting pit,” as one friend and fellow racer called it.  I had not trained as much as I would have liked (ah, the joys of working for a living) and my leg strength was just was not up to the task of slogging through all that mud with any speed whatsoever.  But, I finished,  I had some good laughs, and I wasn’t last.  I finished about 390 out of 464.  Oh, and I fell off my bike onto the only blackberry bush they had not cleared from the course.  Falling into the bush wasn’t so bad, but ripping myself out was not alot of fun. 

I really had to push myself in a couple of sections, and even though I was much slower than I would have liked to have been – I didn’t quit.  Although when I passed a bar about 1/2 way into the race I was very tempted to just pull over and go have a beer and watch everyone else slog by!

Below is the only picture of me on the course – coming into the finish line. I am the tired looking one behind the guy handing off the timing chip with “419” on his bike.

I will do it again next year, but I am going to have to get in better shape by then.  I have about a year.  I better start now.

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I didn’t think of my hip this week

March 7, 2010

For the first time in at least a year, I went a whole week without thinking about my hip.  I bounded (well, maybe hopped slightly) down stairs, got up out of chairs without groaning, and even jogged a couple of blocks when I was late for an event without pulling up in a limp.  It has been great!  Now, however, I have no excuses for my sorry lack of training.  Even my bad cold is gone.  So, I need to get in gear or I am going to be a sorry mess for this ride in June at about mile 20/71.

I borrowed a book from a friend — “The TimeCrunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week” by Chris Carmichael.  You know, Lance Armstrong’s coach.  I was hoping to find that this was the program Mr. Armstrong followed while achieving several of those Tour de France wins.   Sadly, that is not the case.  But, hopefully it will work for me so I don’t humiliate myself in June. 

The book lays out a 10 week workout schedule – and the event ride should be at week 10.  So, counting backwards from the Livestrong Challenge – I need to start that schedule on March 28th. (I’ll update my training plan this week.)  Until then, I need to actually get on a real bicycle and go for a ride.   I had been told to wait until the hip was stronger and I would not potentially pull something if I had to put a foot down to stop a fall or something like that.  But I have been rocking that stationary bike at the gym!

I will go for my first road ride today or tomorrow and write about how it goes.  I imagine the post will go something like this, “I got passed by a little old lady carting her yorkie in her handle bar basket…


Committed to the 71 miles

February 23, 2010

I have made a mental committment to complete those 71 miles for the Livestrong Challenge Seattle in June.  Hopefully the rest of me will follow along gracefully!  Check out my Livestrong Challenge Page.   Real training starts this week!


Back at it

February 11, 2010

I have started up my PT and biking (stationary) again.  It seems I didn’t have a muscle pull – I just have very weak hip flexors.  We figured this out because I can stand on one foot and hold on to something without pain.  I can even lean forward and to the side without pain, as long as I am holding on to something for balance.  But the minute I let go and try to balance on my own – the muscles in the front of my hip (and sometimes the back) start to burn almost immediately.  If I tense up everything – the burn diminishes. 

So, I am back to doing all my strengthening exercises as of yesterday.  I am also doing some of the simple ones (like balancing on one foot) throughout the day as I think about it.   I had started to limp (waddle) a bit again, so I am also trying very hard to walk with good posture.  I am going to  get back to my bike training routine, I am starting to doubt my ability to ride those 71 miles in June.  But, I am not ready to downgrade to 40 miles yet.


sitting this week out…

February 8, 2010

I have pulled my hip flexor (I think) and am going to have to take a break from PT, as well as bike training, for this week.   I am pretty annoyed about it, but I am trying to be patient and mature (virtues I am not known for in relation to my hip).  I was having some pain last week but kept working through it – which was a bad idea.  The muslcle pull was hurting quite badly on Saturday and I had to bring out the pain meds on Sunday, which annoyed me further.  I spent most of Sunday feeling sorry for myself, I am ashamed to admit. 

So, I have put myself on the shelf for this week.  Hopefully, the muscle will calm down by the end of the week and I can start back up agaain.  I may have to change some of the excercises I have been doing and add some stretches for that muscle.  It is so tight, that it does not appear to take much effort to pull it.  Sometimes I feel like I have taken one step forward only to go back five.  Although, if I think about it for a moment – the joint pain that was so severe before the surgery is gone.  The pain I have now appears to be all muscle related – and that isn’t as painful and hopefully can be worked through.


My last two easy weeks

January 25, 2010

This will be the last easy week until the ride in June.  That is, provided the hip doesn’t flare up along the way (note:  I am being overly optimistic here, again).  I have two more weeks in January after which I will have to switch my focus from Recovery to Training.  I am up to 10 miles on the stationary bike – which was my Feb 1 milestone.  So I feel I am doing well.  But it is a long way to go from 10 miles in the gym to 70 miles on the road.

I updated by training plan – It seems I skipped one of the weeks in January (this week) – so I gained a week in my schedule.  Yeah! 

As I mentioned above, I met my February 1 milestone early. But, I was pretty sore for several days afterwards which isn’t that encouraging.  I took a week off from the bike and the hip has settled down.  So, the plan for the next two weeks is to do 10 miles on the stationary bike (4 times this week) but to spin a very low gear.  Starting the week of Feb 7, if all goes well, I’ll start upping the resistance.  Hopefully this will allow the hip to gain some strength before I start asking it to climb.   Then the week of March 7 – I try all of this on a real bike. 

One of the lingering issues I have been having with the operated hip is stiffness when I first get up (out of a chair, etc.) and a pulling feeling in the front of the hip area in general.  While my overal range of motion is pretty good, I have lost some flexibility in my hip flexors.  This appears to be pretty common following a PAO.  (I think sitting in the lotus position a thing of the past for me.)  I discussed this with my PT, and she pointed out how much stuff is located at the front of a hip joint and how much it was probably impacted by the surgery.  Anatomy has never been my thing (I am squeamish – thus why I am an civil engineer) so I haven’t really ever looked at all the how a hip is held together.  Now I realize, there is a ton of stuff located in up there- most of it lying in the path of my incision.  Below are some pictures of where the muscles (first picture) and tendons (second picture) are located in the front of the hip joint.  After looking at these, the pain and tightness I am feeling make a lot of sense.  I do NOT want to know how my surgeon moved all this stuff around while completing the surgery!

My PT gave me a stretch that I can do which should, over time, reduce the tightness I am feeling in the hip flexors and help with the overall stiffness.  It is  hard to describe, so I have included a picture below.  Basically, you lay on back on the bed or sofa and let the operated leg hand off the side.  This seems like no big deal – but having done it a few times – it is not as relaxing as the picture would lead you to believe.  It should show the guy laying there with his eyes screwed shut and his fists clenched.  That said, it is helping – it just isn’t any fun.


Changes to PT – I over did it…

January 19, 2010

Well, between overdoing my resistance on the stationary bike (I increased it faster than my PT suggested – I blame this on my MP3 player) and walking the tow rope with my 6 year old two weekends in a row, I have inflamed the heck out of my right hip.  I am having some sharp pulling pains around the joint, mostly in the back of the hip down low.  Not constantly – but enough that it is troublesome.  I also have a good amount of muscle soreness all down the back of my right leg.  So, I am going to modify my PT routine this week to elimnate some of the weight bearing as follows:

  • No biking or walking (for exercise)
  • Lap swimming, 30 minutes, 3 x this week
  • Continue at home exercises- as long as I don’t have pain during the exerciseitself
  • Continue gym routine – but use very low weight – stop if it hurts

At least I was ahead on my bike training.  Hopefully, I can start that back up next week if I behave myself this week.