Friday, March 4, 2011

Tests & Time Trials

A couple of recent workouts included biking ITTs (indoor time trials) and an LT (lactate threshold) test.  The biking LT test was estimated (based off of heart rate not a blood test as an actual one would).  For this test, I started at 50 watts.  This lasted 2 minutes before the wattage was increased to 100 for another 2 minutes.  After that, every 2 minutes the wattage increased by 20 watts until I couldn’t sustain it any longer.  I was able to reach 240 watts.   Once I reached this point for about a minute, I couldn’t go on anymore.  My LT heart rate during this test was 188 BPM.  My max heart rate was 198 BPM. 

A few hours following that test, I took part in the Team Psycho ITT.  I’m not going to lie, watching the women’s only heat ahead of me was pretty intimidating.  My bike computer and trainer have not been working incredibly well lately so I had no idea what I would be able to put out for power and speed.  The top female ended up putting out something like 275 watts.  I just looked at Keith and said, “What did you get me into?!” (since he signed us up).  This was my first ITT and I really didn’t want to be embarrassed.  After showing up way too early and peeing too many times (maybe due to nerves?), we weighed ourselves (the TT was not well organized and there was no real check in or weigh in).  Since I was the last heat, I saw everyone else’s weight.  Turns out I was the smallest competitor.  “Well at least I won something today,” I told Keith.

After warming up a bit, it was go time.  The course was 9.3 miles with a couple hills.  I went as hard as I could and tried to ignore the guy grossly spitting and hacking up phlegm (I’ll admit I had to look up the spelling of that word) next to me as well as the other guy standing up and blocking my view of my stats.  I ended up finishing in 26:16 mins which put me in 8th place for females (out of 20).  I averaged 222 watts and 21.3 mph.  I definitely wasn’t expecting to be able to put out that much power.  The TT ended up being fun and I was able to see what I could do going all out for slightly over 26 minutes.

The BTT ITT was a whole other story.  It was the epitome of crash and burn or having dead legs.  I went into this TT coming off a rest week and all I can say is that my legs weren’t there…at all.  This one was only 8 miles but the course was definitely tougher than the Team Psycho one.  I finished in a painful 20:28 mins with an avg speed of 18.2 mph and power of 181.  This put me 14th in my division…ouch.  I’d prefer to completely forget about this TT which is probably the best thing I can do.  It was frustrating on so many levels but there’s nothing you can do when your legs just won’t go.  I also really wanted to show my new team what I could do and that really didn’t happen.

Keith on the other hand killed it!  He came in 4th in his division with a time of 16:15, avg speed 22.9 mph and power of 339.  It’s tough when one of us has a good day and the other doesn’t but I was so proud of him for kicking butt! 


Pain & suffering


Happy to be done with the torture


“Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.” ~Christopher Morley

Pain in the Neck!

Towards the beginning of December I woke up at my normal time of 5am to get to swim practice.  After changing into my bathing suit, I decided to “throw my hair up into a ponytail”.  BIG MISTAKE!  I felt an extremely sharp pain go down the right side of my neck and for the next day I could not move my neck even slightly without the intense pain.  We’re talking neck probably should have been in a collar type of pain. 

Needless to say I missed that swim practice (along with a whole week and a half of training unfortunately) as a result.  I actually debated going to the ER since I’ve never had this kind of pain ever before and having it in my neck was incredibly scary.  I decided to forgo the high cost of an ER visit and wait until my PCP opened.  Keith then had the fun task of taking me to the doctor’s.  This involved a ½ hour car ride of me holding my head and neck in a certain position and hoping Keith didn’t hit any potholes or make any sudden movements.  The Nurse Practitioner determined I had a strained neck and a spasm in my right upper trap.  This was definitely not the way I wanted my training to go.

After some prescription strength pain pills and muscle relaxers, my neck felt a tiny bit better the next day.  Finally after about a week or two, I was in less pain but still having some problems rotating my neck. 

I thought my neck problem was a freak / lame incident that would heal itself.  NO LUCK!  Since then my neck has gotten tight and has several knots.  After driving for a while, it gets really sore.  To top it off, my right shoulder blade area started to feel “crunchy” when I try to perform my swim stroke and other movements.  I even had some trouble sleeping due to the pain / stiffness / overall discomfort.

I've been having PT on this once a week, performing my I’s, T’s, and Y’s along with other exercises to try to loosen up these knots.  After about 2 months of treatment, I’m starting to finally feel like my neck and shoulder is getting better.  It’s still not 100% and I still get stiffness in my neck when I’m in the car too long but it’s come a long way since the end of December. This only helps solidify my career goal of being a physical therapist.  Physical therapy has helped not only my neck area but also my knee last year!   

The only plus to this incident is that it’s ironically made my swim stroke better since I’m constantly trying to keep my neck and upper shoulder area more relaxed.  My head faces down towards the bottom of the pool now and I definitely feel more streamline.  There’s my glass half full!
I’ve been trying to come up with a better story than putting my hair up but I’ve decided to stick to the truth so everyone knows about the hidden dangers of ponytails!

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”   ~Oscar Wilde