About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Flying Feather 4-Miler in Dublin, Ohio

With Iron-Buddies Meredith and Dave

How many people go home for the holidays and actively seek out a race to run?! Glad to say I'm one of the few and thanks to Dave and Meredith's genius suggestion, I signed up for the "Flying Feather 4 Miler" in Dublin on Thanksgiving morning! (This was my one exception to my "not running until the New Year" resolution). Plus, how can you turn down a technical shirt, hat, gloves and FREE bottle of wine for every finisher! Now that's something I'll give thanks for in a big way!!

I showed up in my rockin' capri pants looking more like a suburban Mom than a runner. Seriously, the only thing missing was the triplet baby stroller. I did sport the Ironman Coeur D'Alene running hat just to intimidate those around me. I'm sure it worked. Seriously, I could smell fear.

Meredith was my running buddy as I wasn't even wearing a watch. We had a great time starting slow, passing people, catching up on our lives, realizing how out of shape we both are, and then still finding energy to pick it up for a quick finish!

Yay!! We finished with negative splits!!

What a great way to start the Day!

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Let the gluttony begin!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for my friends and family who have lovely children so I don't have to. ;-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Biceps Might Not Be Bulging, But My Back Is!

Made quick contact with the Orthopaedic Surgeon's office today to see if they had the results of the MRI I took almost two weeks ago and to make a follow up appointment. It was going to be a huge pain in the ass to have the report emailed to me (something about signing release forms, etc), and I wouldn't understand what it says anyways. The only definitive thing she could tell me was that the MRI Report indicated a Disc Protrusion in my lower back. She didn't indicate the exact location or any other details or abnormalities because she wanted the Doc to discuss all specifics and treatment options.

After glancing on-line today, there are a lot of words and phrases thrown around and they seem to be used somewhat interchangeably...disc bulge, herniated disc, protruding disc, etc. My symptoms do seem to coincide quite nicely with a bulging disc resulting in possible sciatica (Power loss when running, numbness in leg, lower back pain extending through hips, leg and into feet). Aside from the occassional lower back pain and leg numbness, some of these symptoms are relatively new.
Stages of Disc Herniation
1. Disc Degeneration: chemical changes associated with aging causes discs to weaken, but without a herniation.

2. Prolapse: the form or position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal. Also called a bulge or protrusion.

3. Extrusion: the gel-like nucleus pulposus breaks through the tire-like wall (annulus fibrosus) but remains within the disc.

4. Sequestration or Sequestered Disc: the nucleus pulposus breaks through the annulus fibrosus and lies outside the disc in the spinal canal (HNP).

Again, I don't want to diagnosis myself, but let's hope some physical therapy and good drugs can alleviate some of the pain and discomfort! I have a nerve conduction study next week and my follow up with the Doc is December 9th!

And the fun just keeps coming!! God damn I sound like an old lady...I can't believe I've been discussing hip arthritis and protruding discs.

This Ironman is turning into aluminum foil!!!!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mood Swings!


I'm typing this quick update from my childhood bedroom in Columbus, Ohio. Long gone are the NKOTB and Debbie Gibson posters that used to adorn these walls. Nonetheless, it's hard not to get nostalgic when you come home for Thanksgiving to be with your family. I'm braving this one alone as hubster is working all weekend long. If you live in Austin, do me a favor and don't get sick this weekend. Hubby needs his rest as he is two weeks away from his (fingers crossed!) Boston Qualifying (for 2011) marathon at the California International Marathon on December 6th.

Last week, I was lying on the beach in Roatan snorkeling with dolphins and this week I'm witnessing the onslaught of the beginnings of a typical Midwestern Fall and Winter season. Dreary, cold, drizzly...the kind of chill that soaks the bones. I arrived today and my Dad and I went for a three mile walk at the nature park near their house. It was a great walk even though we both bitched about our back and leg aches and pains....Daddy's Little Girl, I tell ya!

Since my last post, I had an MRI scan done on my back at the request of the surgeon with whom I consulted before we left. I left for Roatan the very next day and expected there to be a message with some results when I returned home. Alas, there was no message so it's on my list of calls to make this week. I'm sure hoping that the back MRI shows something that relates to the loss of power on my right leg during extended activity...Sciatica, pinched nerve in my back, herniated disc...something... Bottom line, I went for a 25-Mile bike ride on a Friday and could barely lumber through a 6 mile run on Saturday morning before we left for our trip. Something is not right and it didn't feel related to the labral tear issue. One week I can churn out a 15 mile run and the next week I can barely move. Therefore, I've basically put myself on mandatory no running/riding until the end of the year. OK--there are a few exceptions as I'm signed up for a Thanksgiving Day run here in Columbus. Something about a free bottle of wine at the finish line...I couldn't resist. Plus, I can and will walk four miles for vino if I have to.

In the meantime, I'm focusing on my swimming , yoga, core and strength. I'll be hitting the Lifetime Fitness here in Columbus pretty much every day this week I'm sure! (for mental and emotional workouts, as well as physical) Speaking of swimming, I decided to go to Sunday's 8am Master's Workout on my one day in Austin and shared my lane with Booher--my long last CDA housemate! Because of his energy (or draft zone), I churned out some of my best times EVER in the pool. Again, it's all relative right?? I'm a famously average swimmer, but, I had a couple of 1:45 100s and hovered around the 1:50-1:52 range for a few sets while feeling relatively comfortable the entire time. I'm usually a 1:55-2:00 minute girl. I definitely feel like I'm developing a feel for the water. After four years of swim coaching, it's about freakin' time, right?! The coaches are great, but it's just such a difficult sport to improve upon if you don't do it frequently. Plus, if I swim by myself, I don't push myself nearly as hard. I actually brought a couple of master's workouts with me (plastic covering and all) to do this week at the pool. Hold me to it...

Yesterday was Ironman Arizona and it was so wonderful and inspiring to see so many of my Austin friends and Erin Baker's Tri Teammates rip that course to shreds. Some are Pros (Go Terra--6th place overall female!!!), some are top-level age group athletes, some are Ironman veterans who have officially caught the endurance bug, and still others were first time finishers who reminded me of the utter joy and elation of crossing that finish line for the first time. I took a break from packing and Shawn and I headed over to Opal Divines with about 20 other T3 teammates to watch the streaming video coverage of people crossing the Finish Line. Not only was it great to see everyone after what seems like an eternal hiatus, it was also inspiring to share that moment with people who "get it." We cheered like it was college game day when we spotted someone we knew cross the line. We laughed and gave virtual high-fives to Kevin and Chris from T3 who were caught on the streaming video! It was so hilarious to send them a text msg and watch them read it on camera letting them know they were visible to the virtual viewers. It's the little things, people. An evening full of pride and smiles.

I left with a renewed sense of inspiration and hope that I will get through whatever this setback happens to be. For the rest of the year, I will do just that...REST...in a sense that I will not pound my body through tough run or cycling workouts. I will get back on the bike for some easy spins (we just received the Ironman St. George Real Course Computrainer video!!), but that's it. It also officially puts my official training start date back by a month. You know what? It's ok. It still gives me over four months to train for my May 1st Ironman and I'm certainly not starting from scratch. Or maybe I am...But I'll be relying on muscle memory and determination to get me there!

Here's to the emotional and travel roller coaster of the next few weeks! I'm in Ohio this week, then to CA for a few days to watch my husband kick some marathon ASS. We head back to Austin for about three days and then go BACK to CA to hang with family. Then we head back to Ohio for Christmas. Wow...Let the fun begin. Life's too short!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Massage therapist called me a jock. C'mon! I was a jock as a kid. Can't I at least be considered a JILF or a JOUGAR???

Hippy Chick- Surgeon Appt #1

A proud Mama shows off her hip x-rays!

My hip/leg feels good. My hip/leg hurts. Lather Rinse Repeat.

Over the last several months, I've seen Chiropractors, Family Practitioners, Sports Med Docs and PTs, Airrosti treatment experts, ART experts, massage therapists, etc. I've taken anti-inflammatories and had an MRA scan which confirmed what was suspected. I have a small labral tear in my hip joint accompanied by a 4 mm cyst. I'll also be honest. The only thing I haven't done is COMPLETELY STOP exercising. With that being said, I have cut back on intensity and mileage opting for more low impact choices like swimming , yoga, pilates and a little bit of running and riding.

While a hip scope is definitely the primary surgical treatment, I don't want to rush into this solution for many reasons. The biggest reason is the lack of longevity and research that supports a full recovery. In fact, trimming off some of the cartilage (if repair is not possible) only compromises the hip further for future arthritis. Quite frankly, this surgery is just too new to have long term results. Needless to say, I've sat on making any moves for months. In the meantime, I've met and spoke with some wonderful Austinites who have also been diagnosed and have recently had or are contemplating surgery for the same diagnosis. Results have been mixed quite frankly and a few of their surgeries are too recent to assess any real results. Time, patience and physical therapy will tell. All seem relieved that they went ahead with surgery instead of prolonging their pain.

Yesterday, I met with my first Orthopedic Surgeon. I delayed the surgeon appointment because I could predict what they would say. "Of course you need surgery!" All I know is that I can work out to a limit, but speed work and cycling makes my right leg go numb.
The appointment presented some good news and some "hurry up and wait" news. First of all, they got me back to the exam room on time (surprise, surprise!). I was quickly assessed by a tech and then they scheduled more x-rays of my hips. I had x-rays done at another doctor's office, but didn't think to have those with me. All I brought were my MRI films and CD. When the surgeon first came in, he was rather abrupt and I understood why some people may be put off by his bedside manner. He definitely wasn't the "warm and fuzzy" sympathy type and proceeded instead to get down to business by asking basic questions such as, "When did this happen?", "When did you first start noticing symptoms?", "Where is the pain and describe how it feels," etc. At first, I was a little nervous (felt like it was a verbal test), but he was asking the proper questions and followed up appropriately. I described my pain as I've been having it mostly....1.) Deep stabbing pain in the hip flexor/groin area that gets agitated when I run fast causing my leg to go "dead." 2.) Lower back pain that extends around the glute, sciatic, IT Band and down into my lower leg (usually when cycling).

After looking at the MRA films, he did concur and confirm that there was a small tear that was probably causing the hip flexor irritation. He definitely didn't make a big deal of either the tear or the cyst, indicating that they were both relatively small. He also brought in the X-rays that they had taken and had nothing but positive things to say about those pictures. My femoral head is perfectly shaped (hell yeah), the S-Curve on the femur looks good, spacing between then femur and the socket cartilage looked healthy and proportionate, no osteo-arthritis, etc.
He very confidently said that he did not see any signs of FAI, confirming what the Radiologist reported. My heart actually leapt with joy on this one because an impingement can complicate surgery and recovery time.

Femoral head (ball) in good shape, good spacing between femoral head and
acetabular, no impingement noted

We spoke about the surgery itself and he didn't want to rush into anything until we know for sure that the tear is the root cause of all of the other pain. For instance, a numb sciatic nerve is not necessarily a common symptom of the tear. In any event, we kept coming back to this lower back pain and sciatic/leg numbness. Bottom line, before we do anything with the tear, he ordered a lumbar spine MRI as well as a nerve conduction study on my leg to rule out any bulging or compressed discs in my back which might be putting pressure in the same area.

I guess in one respect I'm happy to know that my hips overall are in great shape. I had an image in my mind of a shredded socket that was beyond repair. Range of motion is good and the x-rays showed an otherwise normal hip area. No osteo-arthritis in the hips was detected.

Spread 'Em!

So, at this point, he said I can proceed with normal activity and exercise, as long as I'm not in debilitating pain. He didn't think I'm causing any more damage as long as I keep my distance and speed comfortable until we know more details. He also didn't rule out a cortisone shot to see if that helps too.

In summary, I respected his "let's rule out everything else" attitude before scheduling surgery for the tear. He definitely wasn't "knife happy." He spoke briefly to the fact that this diagnosis is "the new thing" and seems to be treated with a lot of haste, which is why some people aren't satisfied with the results. With that said, he sounded very knowledgeable about debridement (shaving the loose parts of the labrum) vs. repair. I didn't ask other specific surgical questions at this point figuring it best to wait and cross that bridge if and when we get to it.

So, there is my report on appointment #1. I'm not at all excited about a nerve conduction study (needles in nerves), but if it helps alleviate some pain in the long run, I'll go through it. It can't be worse than childbirth (so I'm told!)

Someday I will have "The Amazing Hip!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I kid you not. I just left my Orthopaedic Surgeon appt. and Black Sabbath's "Ironman" was on radio. I'm taking it as a good sign bitches

Monday, November 09, 2009

Just Like Old Times!

For the first time in many MANY months, I ran with my running partner Amy this morning! "Sapp and Skud" made their return appearance to the trail this morning for a nice 6.5 mile run at a comfy 9:00 overall pace. It was wonderful catching up on literally months of our lives. Because of Ironman training the first half of the year, my running schedule changed and we just weren't able to hook up as much as we would've liked to. I was training with T3 as much as possible and she was running with other friends who weren't torturing themselves with Ironman training.

Between this morning and running into a bunch of old Gazelle friends at Coach G's "Run for the Water 10-Miler" yesterday, I find myself nostalgic for the "good old days" of running and training with Gazelles. Can my hip injury withstand Gazelle training again? We'll know soon enough because I have a surgery consultation this Thursday with one physician in town and another one at the beginning of December.

In the meantime, I will run to my abilities and I will smile...just like old times!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wenches on Wheels

Donned a "Hoffbrau Honey" costume and hightailed it down I-35 to New Braunfels with a group of girls for the Wurst Ride today. Now, we only did the 25 mile ride (would you want to ride 60 in a slutty beer costume?!), but it was a grand old time with old and new friends! Funny and wonderful comments from so many riders. Photo ops at every turn (which I never turn down!).

Most importantly--I had fun. On the Bike. It's been awhile.

Can I wear a costume in my next Ironman? I swear it will make the time pass quickly and effortlessly!

Here's to being able to ride outdoors in November and still get a sunburn!

My "Hoffbrau Honey" costume is on and I'm ready to be a part of Team "Wenches on Wheels" heading to New Braunfels today for the Wurst Ride. Lord help us.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Does This Qualify as Stalking?

Over the next two months, I'll be traveling a ton and trading bathing suits for parkas along the way. From Roatan, Honduras to Columbus, Ohio in November and then the Tour of California followed by another trip to Columbus in December for Christmas! We'll be in So Cal for almost a week between the California International Marathon and then a return visit to visit my brother-in-law before Christmas.

For those that don't know, I'm a huge fan of Ellen Degeneres and have been ever since the late 80s when she was a lowly stand-up comic making the circuit and frequenting HBO. I've always appreciated and respected her quirkiness and ability to be funny without resorting to the easy sex jokes (if only I could be that good). So, every day I check her website where I can request tickets to be in the audience when I'm in California sometime between Dec 10-16! Oh my god...Just sayin'...If I get to the Ellen show, Lord only knows what might happen. More than likely, I'll make a huge fool out of myself, but that is a regular routine for me anyways. No surprises there. She's just one of those celebrities I totally feel is doing it totally right.

If you or anyone you know has any ties to the Ellen show, let me know! Otherwise, I'll keep you posted on my "be in the Ellen audience" quest! For some reason, I think this goal may be a little more attainable than qualifying for Kona!!!