Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Monday, February 18, 2013

The week in (not) Training . . . February 10, 2013

 You can probably tell from the picture above that this post isn't going to highlight the workouts I had this past week or my return to a long run.  Unfortunately, training is on hold for a while, and even the slightest return to running seems to be weeks away.  This will of course have a huge impact on my training for an ultra, and while I'm not going to rule it out 100% at this point, I would guess that there's less than a 5% chance that I'll be going for 50 miles in May.  Even if I can maintain some semblance of an aerobic base, I just don't have a lot of confidence that I can get back to the level that I need by early spring.  At any rate, here's the story and a little about the training that I did do:
Probably not going to happen . . . this year.
Sunday, February 10th, 2013:  The family and I took a trip up to Denver overnight and since the Hyatt has a lap pool, I managed to get a decent swim in this morning.  The pool is only about 64 feet long, so it required 40 plus laps to equal a mile.  With about a half-an-hour to swim, I managed just under that (around 3/4 of a mile).  Still it felt good to swim having not done much of that this winter. 
The Gory Details described above

Monday, February 11th, 2013:  Initially I had planned a spin on the trainer after work, but with a flat tire on the bike,  I decided that a run sounded better.  I also decided not to mess with Heart Rate this afternoon and to run as fast or slow as I wanted.  I set off from the house feeling fantastic.  I was even pushing the pace a little and enjoying how easy that felt.   A little after a mile however, and I felt a slight twinge in my calf.  I thought to myself that maybe it was some residual soreness, but as I continued to run, it just got worse.  I did my best to ignore the pain and even worked some hills pretty hard, but when I got back to the house after 5 miles, the pain was significant.  Whatever recovery I thought I'd made by laying low the previous week was gone and I was right back where I'd started a week before, and maybe even a little worse.  The rest of the week found me walking with a noticeable limp.  By Wednesday, I called the doctor and made an appointment to get some professional advice.
What a little research and the doctor tell me:  It turns out I have a mild to moderate calf strain most likely resulting from a combination of poor flexibility, muscle fatigue, and wearing footwear that didn't provide sufficient support.  Essentially, one of my calf muscles has been stretched or partially torn and now needs to recover.  In severe cases of this injury, a complete rupture can occur which may require surgery to reattach the muscle.  Usually a symptom of a complete rupture is the inability to walk, which is not the case for me.  The good news is that I won't be needing surgery or anything quite as invasive as that.  On the down side, this is an injury that requires a fair amount of downtime to recover fully.  It is also prone to re-injury if one tries to come back too fast (essentially what happened to me after a week off). 
What's next:  They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, so that's what I'll try to do.  I won't kid you, it sucks to have spent the last few months training and slowly building my mileage, only to be derailed by injury.  I'm extremely disappointed.  That said, I also have to consider how lucky I've been.  For the most part I've been able to exercise without injury for much of the last 6 years.  That's a pretty long time, so I was probably due for a mishap sooner or later.  The injury I have is also manageable and something from which I can recover if I do things right and take it slow.  Very slow.  As much as I hate having to modify my early season calendar, there will be other events and more ultra races that I can look at in the future.
Hi I'm Arnold . . . your training partner!
A plan for recovery and prevention:  Right now I'm working on a plan that will allow me to fully recover and will also keep this from becoming a chronic injury.  There are no deadlines or milestones set to a calendar as this plan will be completely dependent on how my calf muscle responds.  I have to error on the side of caution because if I don't, I could get a couple of months into recovery only to have it re-injured and be right back where I started.  Part One-Rest:  Although, I'm chomping at the bit to at least do some swimming or cycling, I'm going to wait another week until I can walk without any hitch in my step or limp.  I seem to have made some progress over the weekend, so I'm hoping that this will be done in another couple of days.  Part Two-Develop and utilize a stretching/ flexibility regimen:  This is something that I will have to make part of my daily routine from here to eternity.  The bottom line is that I'm getting older, and while I'm in some of the best shape of my life, there are aspects of health that I have to worry about now.  Flexibility is something that decreases with age, and if I want to continue to demand more of my body, it's something that I'll have to work on with more dedication.  From here forward, I will be looking to add about 15 minutes of stretching and flexibility training each and every day.  Part Three- The gradual reintroduction of exercise:  It looks like swimming will be the "focus" of my exercise for the foreseeable future, so I figure I might as well use this time to get as good at swimming as I can.  My goal will be to get to the pool 3-4 times/ week for now.  I'll slowly build up to some longer swim workouts (I may even revisit the idea of doing a 2.4 mile swim race this summer).  This will help with maintaining aerobic and strength conditioning.  Time to start looking at new goggles, jammers, and other swimming "gear."  If I'm going to be stuck at the pool, I might as well get some new toys!  As time passes, I'll eventually introduce some walking into the routine, and then begin to mix in some easy, slow jogs.  I'll also look to add some easy spinning on the trainer at some point (this however also has the potential to re-injure the calf so it's on hold as well). Part Four- Core and Upper body strength and conditioning: I don't plan on becoming a body-builder or anything like that, but I'll use this time to build some strength that should help when I'm ready to get back to speed on the other elements of my training.
How much do you think I can bench?

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