Thursday, March 29, 2012

What I know

Here are the things I know 9 days into my injury;

1. I'm a dumb ass
 - People told me not to do too much intense running and I didn't listen
 - My knees told me they needed ice and rest and I didn't listen
2. This is frustrating
 - and causes stress in other areas of my life
3. My injury was caused by one or a combination of the following
 - Too much volume
 - Too much intensity
 - Too many jump squats or burpees at fitness class
 - Pushing too hard on the bike
 - Pushing too hard on the run
 - Pushing too hard for my fitness level
 - Bike fit
 - Cleats worn out or needing adjusting
 - Weak hips

My knees have improved to a point.  I no longer have any sharp pain and I can walk without limping, but I do have a dull pain when I walk and when I push even a little on the bike.  I'll be out of town next week without access to my bike, so I'll add some light running and see if the situation changes.

What is my plan?
1. I started doing these hip exercises to strengthen my hips and glutes.  I've known they are weak because they get very fatigued just doing 50 yard kick drills.
2. I had been saving for an IPad, but never pulled the trigger.  I decided to spend the money on triathlon stuff instead.  I made an appointment for a two hour bike fit and will buy new pedals and shoes at the same time.  
3. I'm going to call the doc and schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to make sure I'm not doing an irreparable damage.  Do they give discounts for getting a double MRI?
4. I'm going to keep things in perspective.  This is just a hobby and four years ago I would go months without running.  It hasn't even been two weeks.
5. When I get back at it, I'm not going to worry about run speed until after my half iron race in July.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And the next injury is..............

Knees :-(.  My knees have been aching more and more the last few weeks and while the intentions to ice every night have been there, the follow through certainly hasn't been.  Saturday I had a great hour and forty minute run in the woods and felt great.  In fact, I was thinking of the words of a song "somethings gotta go wrong cuz I'm feelin' way too damn good".  So true....

Saturday I had an awesome 40 mile ride and my knees did ache quite a bit during the ride.  I was stupid and just kept pushing and held 20+ mph for a significant portion of the ride and even raced a guy (I won, I don't think he knew it was a race :-)).  Afterwards, no ice.  Monday night was another 15 mile ride during which I tried to hold 20+ mph as much as possible (and did).  Afterward? Yep, no ice.  Tuesday morning was a hard 12x400 at the track.  Yep, no ice afterward.  Wednesday morning at work I was walking down the hall and started having sharp pain in my right knee.  The pain was severe enough I was hobbling around and wincing the rest of the day.  Guess what?  I bought zip lock bags at lunch and started icing.  The sharp pain now comes and goes while walking seemingly at random times though the frequency is reducing.

The pain is just below my knee cap on both legs with the right being worse than the left (outside leg on the track) but they both ache all the time kind of like my shoulder's ache when I swim too much.  After some self diagnosis I have patellar tendinitis (jumper's knees).  So, I'm going to back off for a couple days then see what happens.

Set backs are bummers but when you are in your mid forties trying to be an endurance athlete, things happen.  I've been really happy with my training volume so far this year too.  Except for when I was traveling, my weekly time and mileage has been decent.

The dip the first week in March I was in China

Oh well.  This wasn't the first injury getting into triathlon's and probably won't be the last.  Kind of puts some  doubt in thoughts of trying to do a late season full IM.  We'll see.

Oh, anyone use straps below their knees? If so, is it for this symptom?

Saturday, March 17, 2012


After a week of productive meetings in China, another Chinese colleague and I headed to Beijing Friday afternoon.  We stayed at a hotel overlooking the site of the 2006 summer Olympics.  Very cool place to stay for sure.  The "bird's nest" (Olympic stadium) was closed for touring but the water cube was open.  Pretty cool that it's open to the public not just for touring but to swim!  The main pool is 9x50m lanes and people just like me were out there doing their laps.  There was also a 6x50m warm up pool open for lap swimming.  Very cool.

The view from my hotel.  

Pretty sure the smog was pollution.  I had a slight burn in my eyes and the back of my throat in Beijing and in Shanghai.

The bird's nest

The water cube

normal people doing laps

After walking around the Olympic park for a bit, we took a cab to Tiananmen Square .
We couldn't walk on the square because Congress was in session and it was roped off.

Tiananmen Square

Saturday morning, we took a cab to the Great Wall.  It was cold, 20F with 30 mph winds, but that kept the crowds down.

The Great Wall is 5,500 mile long!

Very steep sections

we bought stocking caps at a souvenir shop

Two shirts and two spring jackets, I was cold!
After the walk on the Great Wall, we headed to the airport where our flight left at 5 pm Saturday and after 13 hours of flying, landed in Chicago at 4 pm the same day.  Kind of Matrix like :-).

What a great trip!  Besides being productive for work, I was able to see two major cities in China.  Very cool.  I also used chop sticks for lunch and dinner all week and while not an expert by any means, I didn't starve :-).  I guess eating sushi with chop sticks a couple times a month actually turned in to something useful.

Monday, March 12, 2012


A week ago Saturday I went to China for business.  Our flight left Saturday morning at 6 am (ouch!) and we changed planes in Chicago then had a 14+ hour flight to Shanghai.  I was dreading the long flight but kind of looking forward to it in a weird way.  The thing is, I like to read, but rarely make time for it because it seems like there is always something better to do.  So 14 hours on a plane was kind of nice.  I read the first Hunger Games book and a third of the second one, and really enjoyed it.

I traveled with a colleague from work that was born in Shanghai so I had my own personal tour guide/translator!  I would have had trouble getting around and communicating with out her. Our hotel in Shanghai was right next to the TV Tower which was the tallest structure in China until 2007.  The second ball in the tower is a revolving restaurant overlooking The Bund.  The weather was overcast and dreary so my pictures don't do the area justice. The view from the TV Tower must be amazing when the weather is clear.

The TV Tower

Dreary day with low clouds made for bad pictures

Looking down at our hotel from the restaurant in the TV Tower

I was standing on a glass floor looking down about 500 feet

In the morning we took a tram under the river and walked around the Bund area.

Looking back across the river

Crappy day so it wasn't too crowded

Statute of an old mayor

After walking around The Bund, we went to Yu Garden and did some shopping.  We also ate at a famous bun restaurant.  Again, it was great having a colleague fluent in Chinese to show me around.  I'm not much of a shopper (hate it actually :-)), but had fun walking around seeing what goods were for sale.  One of the coolest things we did was sampled different Chinese teas at a little sampling table in one of the stores.  I bought some Jasmine tea and Oolong tea. I guess I need to start drinking tea now :-).

entrance to the shopping area

rainy day

can you spot the tired American?

Starbucks, KFC, Subway and McDonald's have a decent presence

restaurant we ate lunch in

my colleague at the tea table

Sunday evening we left for the city we had business meetings in.  Interesting that it's common not to have heat in Shanghai.  Many apartment building had lots of windows open even though it was 40 degrees and raining.  The company we did business with didn't have heat either.  The conference room we met in had one small space heater.  When I pulled out some wool socks during the meeting, they went and got more heaters :-).  I was freezing until they did that.

One the way back, we flew out through Beijing.  I'll save those pics for another post.