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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Body's Punch List

When hubster and I were building our house, the blue "punch list" tape was our best friend. In fact, after three years, I still find a piece of blue tape every now and then. Anywhere there was a paint mistake, scuff mark, carpenter error, or other blemish, we slapped a piece of blue tape next to it so that the appropriate worker would eventually fix the error.

My body has become a palette of blue tape recently.

I don't know if it works, but the blue "punch list" tape makes my leg feel better
God knows there are plenty of blemishes to fix on my little house. Dr. Brown at Austin Sports Therapy has been doing some serious ART on my legs, hips and back. As my friend Muna so eloquently pointed out (in a time when I needed it most), I'm still recovering from the actual procedure itself. The injury has been fixed and the aches and pains probably have more to do with the incisions, cameras, instruments and traction table that ripped and pulled a lot of my right leg out of it's hip socket. Pleasant thought, eh?
In any event, the blue kinesio/rock tape isn't just to make people feel sorry for me (although it works). It is there as a reminder that there are still things that are under construction and constantly need "touched up."

Still Some Repair Work to be Done on this Leg

Friday, July 23, 2010

Time Heals All Wounds...It Better

Remember the first time you had your heart broken? As in, ripped out, stomped on and left for dead?  You never thought you would recover. You never thought you would move past the darkness and depression. I remember it vividly. It still makes me shudder to look back at that shattered girl. Of course, I can also look back and say, "You'll be just fine and you'll be better and stronger than you've ever been before." Thank goodness for growth, humility and a daily dose of TIME. It truly does heal wounds.

My hip is not unlike that first boy that crushed me. Even now, eight weeks post-op, not a day goes by that I don't think about it first thing in the morning and revisit it right before I go to bed. Man, I've been having some good days, so DAMN good days. My mobility is good and my activity level is stellar (at least according to the professionals) for someone who is just two months post-op. I celebrated my first small treadmill runs this week. So, they were in one-minute increments, but I got more endorphins from those small runs than I have from any 20 miler previous to surgery. These are little steps forward out of darkness. They are teasers of normalcy and beacons of hope that I will regain strength and feel "normal" again soon.

But, like the damn ex-boyfriend, every now and again I'll be humbled right back to reality and forced to face the pain and frustration of an injury that just won't quit. I went into PT feeling great yesterday. I even told her my leg was basically feeling normal. Could this be the beginning of the light at the end of the tunnel? Is this the point where I don't wake up and think about it constantly? We had a great, but tough, hour-long session. I did my small treadmill run (this time at full weight), followed by some sliders and right leg "moon jumps" on the pilates reformer. Essentially, by the end of the hour, I had given that hip socket a beating and it paid me dearly for it. I headed directly to ART massage therapy where he worked the hell out of the muscles, tendons, fascia and everything else he does that hurts like a mother.

By the end of the day, my right leg went from feeling "normal" to feeling vengeful. Just like that jerk ex-boyfriend, the burning and stabbing pain in my groin progressed throughout the day reminding me of who is still in charge. Naturally, I went to bed last night lamenting about this endless loop of hope followed by frustration. The little victories followed by the kicks in the teeth.

I know this is all a part of the healing process. I work it hard and it hurts. Of course, that's natural like any healthy exercise regime. What scares me is some of the pain I'm experiencing is the exact pain I was feeling before surgery begging the question, "Did the surgery even fix the problem?" And, if not, "What the hell is going on?"  Why does my hamstring still get really tight? Why does my right foot go numb after a long swim session? Why is my hip clicking more than before? Is it possible to have a knife in my groin without me knowing it (because that's certainly what it feels like).

The other side says, "Of course this is natural." Scar tissue is forming and needs to be broken down, nerves are still pissed off from being in traction, muscles are tight, blah, blah, blah...It's only been two months! Take a chill pill and relax.

Experts suggest that it usually takes six months to get over any major loss. Until then, you have to wade through the good and bad days and realize it's all part of the growth and healing process. All I know is that on November 19th, I'm throwing a huge 6-month anniversary party and hoping that I wake up to a nice long training run!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happiness is...

As a rehabbing athlete, happiness is having your PT say the word, "Run."
As a writer, happiness is having an editor say, "It looks great!"
As a friend, happiness is having a girlfriend say, "Thanks for listening."
As a wife, happiness is having your husband say, "You Rock."
As a coach, happiness is having your athlete say, "Check out my bloody toe!!"

Hell yes!!  One of my athletes sent me before and after pictures of his jacked up toe last week :-) Woo Hoo!! I love it!  That means he's working hard and his reward will be an empty nail bed when that sucker falls off. Welcome to the Ironman club.

As a triathlete, happiness is going to a race and cheering for friends and hubster who were seriously kicking some tail!

Hubster leaving T2

Holly looking awesome after her race on her new Kestrel!

Me with Christopher and Noah. The future of Triathlon! 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Two Month Anniversary!!

On May 19th, 2010, I went in for a labral tear debridement and repair in my right hip. Two months later, I got to experience my first run! So, it was only for one minute increments at a whopping 10 min mile at only 26lbs of body weight, but it was RUNNING!!!

Excuse me while I do the "happy dance" and try not to re-injure myself. It's time to celebrate the little victories.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Swim Training for Got2Swim 4 Miles for Colin's Hope!

Seriously, the fact that I am about to blog about how much I love swimming lately is just plain weird and scary. I'm actually enjoying it more than I ever imagined. I've had such a wonderful time meeting and connecting with some amazing people as we all train for the Got2Swim 4-Mile Open Water Swim for Colin's Hope. I'm so fortunate and haven't laughed this hard with new friends in a long time. (Although, I suppose it's hard to belly laugh when you're running gut-wrenching 800m repeats on the track!) Selfishly and serendipitously, this event came at the perfect time for the sake of my life, recovery and physical/mental well-being. I guess I feel so blessed because not only are the workouts fulfilling and challenging, but the cause we are swimming for is so vitally important, and so often overlooked.

Last summer, a sweet four-year-old Austin boy named Colin drowned at a popular local health club pool. The details of what happened aren't mine to share, but what it did shine light on was the importance of water safety and security for children--especially in crowded pool areas where there are too many kiddos and sometimes not enough eyeballs to watch them. I didn't realize that drowning was the number one cause of death in children under the age of four. I do now. The money we are raising will go to these programs that aid in preventing children from drowning. Our 4 mile swim is just one of many fundraisers they do throughout the year to promote childhood water safety. Ironically, I know so many adults who are deathly afraid of water because they never learned how to learn to swim as a child. It's so vitally important.

Please consider donating even just a minimal amount to my personal pledge page. I thoroughly appreciate the thought and consideration!

Yesterday, several of us did a 2.4 Mile Open Water Swim sanctioned by Red Licorice Events. For most, it was the farthest they have ever gone. It certainly was the farthest I've gone since Ironman last year--and this one was wetsuit-free. It was certainly a proud moment for all of us!

Fox 7 News recently did a piece on the upcoming event.

Now--onto some of the recent stellar and breathtaking photography of our training swims shot by Lauren Lesley Photography.

Sharing a laugh before kicking off our training swim in Lake Austin

Our crew is flanked by water guardians in kayaks for safety and fuel

I'm not gonna lie...That's me in the pink cap drafting! This ain't my first swimming rodeo :-)

What a gorgeous sunrise over Lake Austin

Our 4 mile swim will start at the 360 Bridge and end at Hula Hut. Margaritas anyone?

Remembering why we're here. www.Colin'sHope.org

Thanks to Clif Bar and TYR for sponsoring this event!

Our fearless leader Alissa talks with the media before our training swim

And my personal fav...a little synchronized swimming practice to "kick" off the training swim.
(this one may or may not have been enhanced just a tad to increase the dramatic effect) :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

My LAVA Dream Gig

Sometimes, injuries truly are blessings. I'm honored and blessed to be able to officially announce my guest column on the all-new triathlon website and magazine, www.lavamagazine.com. I'll be posting regular pieces about what it's like being a Rookie Coach to athletes who are gunning for their first Half-Ironman this Fall. In my first column here, read how my recent hip surgery and obligatory recovery led to a serendipitous launch to my coaching business! As always, I hope to seek the humorous side of training, coaching, learning, failing and succeeding.  After all, this is supposed to fun, right?  In that case, the fun is just beginning. Congratulations to the staff at Lava Magazine and happy reading to all tri-geeks (present company included) who just simply can't get enough!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cruisin' in CB

Cruiser bikes are definitely the way to go in this town.

Swimming at 9000 ft

Thanks to a mix-up in our condo rental, we were granted access to the indoor pool at the Crested Butte club! Not too shabby...so, they keep the pool at a balmy 84 degrees. It's bad when you actually feel yourself sweating in the water. Oh, and did I mention that swimming at 9000 ft is like trying to blow up a titanic-sized raft? After my lungs stopped burning, I actually enjoyed a nice slow swim. A swim is a swim, after all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Day of Hiking in Paradise

Another day of hiking in heaven. This is on the way to the aptly-named "Oh Be Joyful" trailhead.

My Healing Hike

This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite spots in earth. It's called Chapel of the Spruces in the Cement Creek Region near Crested Butte. People leave crosses and other mementos. There's even a box with pen/paper to leave your prayer intentions. Fresh flowers adorn the altar and the creek flows behind it. Small benches surround the altar for prayer and meditation. This is a true religious experience.

Heaven on Earth

Sometimes Mother Nature just nails it spot-on

Friday, July 09, 2010

Heading for the Mountains

I can't believe I actually contemplated not going on my annual girl's trip to Colorado. My friend put the word out about three months ago and I almost declined thinking I wouldn't be able to walk or maneuver the hikes. I didn't want to be the perverbial "stick in the mud" who couldn't do anything because of my bad hip. Humorously, I'm the youngest of the group and the one who's had hip surgery. Ah...you gotta laugh at the irony of it all. I'm just so glad my inner voice talked some sense into me about this annual trek up to the mountains. It doesn't matter that I can't go out bounding like I used to do. This trip has become part of my therapy and rehab more than "training at altitude." My love and passion with trail running and hiking started in Colorado about six years ago with that first trip. While my girlfriends were in the condo reading their books or going on a walk, I took every spare moment to lace up the trail shoes and explore the paths around Crested Butte and Crested Butte South. It was my first trip to Colorado and I had never seen such beautiful scenery. I mean, I was and am emotionally, spiritually and physically blown away.

So, needless to say, I'm admittedly a little bummed at the thought that I'll be limited to shorter walks (dare I call them hikes?) on this trip. I won't have the pleasure of renting mountain bikes and crashing into a dirt pile (yep, I've done it).  Still though, I 'll take away from this trip what I always take away from it. Precious time with dear friends, precious time with nature and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I get to be the one to bask in all of it...even if I am sitting on a park bench with my walking stick.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Holy Crap, I'm Sue Sylvester

A few weeks ago, my neighbor and a couple of his buddies hired me to train them for the Longhorn 70.3 race in October. This week, I've met them on the bike, at the pool and on the track to do some baseline aerobic testing. It dawned on me this morning that I've become the politically incorrect and somewhat ambiguous Sue Sylvester from "Glee."

They've only seen me in some modified "coachy" outfit consisting of my usual Nike running shorts, Ironman emblazoned shirt and some baseball hat or visor brilliantly disguised to cover my bedhead and makeup-less face.

Pretty soon, I'll be busting out quotes like some of Sylvester's finest:

"I will no longer be carrying around photo ID. Know why? People should know who I am."

-or when I become an award winning coach-

"You know, for me trophies are like herpes. You can try to get rid of them but they just keep coming. Sue Sylvester has hourly flair ups of burning itchy highly contagious talent."

-or, if they complain about a workout being too difficult-

You think this hard. I'm passing a gallstone as we speak. That is hard!

Hang on, boys. You're being coached by a tough chick. And you'll like it. 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Super Freakin' Woman

Somehow, thanks to Blogger's new design templates, I've managed to totally screw up the formatting and I completely suck at any form of programming. That's ok though, because big changes are coming soon. In fact, so many wonderful things are on the horizon.  I. Can't.Wait.  I'm kinda feeling a little like Super Woman these days. No, seriously, I am...Well,  mainly because I had to do one-legged Super Woman poses this morning at physical therapy.

This exercise has progressed three times since I started it a week ago. At first, I was doing jack knives on the ground where I balanced on one leg and then lifted the other knee to my chest and then out to the side.  I felt like a rock star because I could actually stand and balance on one leg. It's the little things.

The pesky little balance board showed up in the next session proving that my rock star status is as fleeting as most rock star careers are. So, it was a little shaky at first, but I persevered at the risk of looking as shaky as Katherine Hepburn did in "On Golden Pond."

I showed up today with the apprehension of "what do these crazies have in store for me today" and, not to disappoint,  my evil PT professor had added the Superman balance poses to the routine. Stand on balance board (i.e. try not to break neck in front of everyone), lift knee to chest, lift it to the outside and then hinge from the waist and take off like Super Man.

Oh, I flew alright.  Flew liked the caped crusader that I am.

It had me thinking. Wouldn't running actually be easier on me at this point?!?!?

I can only imagine what they'll dream up next.