Monday, January 30, 2012

Revised 2012 Race Schedule and other stuff

My original plan for 2012 was to seriously go after the Xterra series and get to Maui for the World Championships.  Due to the surgery, I won't be ready to compete on June 5th at the East regional championships for a qualifying spot.  I also won't be able to compete at the 2 local races at the end of May or middle of June either.  That said, I may be ready to compete at a race in Indian at the end of July.  The run portion is only 4 miles.  If I do well there I can get to Ogden, UT for the US Championships.  If do well there, I can qualify for Maui, but I don't think I would take the slot simply because I would be spending close to 700 dollars to fly my bike to 2 places and that is just ridiculous.  So I'm hoping to get to Ogden at least, and target Maui for 2013.

For 2012 I am really focusing on mountain bike racing.  I may throw in some road time trials or crits but my focus is turning to more offroad racing.  Don't get me wrong, I love endurance racing so many of my races are going to be long distance mountain bike races.  I have 2 6 hour races and 2 100 mile races scheduled, as well as a marathon which is about 60 miles.  In an Ironman I can get through the bike split in under 5 hours (as long as I don't have mechanical and it's Lake Placid :) ).  On a mountain bike it's going to be a bit different.  I'll be shooting for closer to 7.5-8 hours for the 100 mile race.  That's going to be grueling and I am looking forward to it.  I like the idea of the long distance biking but honestly, long distance running doesn't excite me.  I don't have the drive to do it anymore.  It was cool to do before because it was such a wow factor, but now I don't feel like I have anything to prove and I risk additional injuries and maybe even a 5th knee surgery which I am getting pretty sick of doing.  My last was just at the end of 2007.  Is this really worth it?  So I think Ironman and I are pretty much through.  I still love triathlon and despite what's said on Slowtwitch, you can be a triathlete without doing Ironman and that's my intention.   But this year is focused on recovery and long endurance mountain bike races.  I would love to race the Leadville 100 some day.  I've watched the video Race Across the Sky and think the whole experience looks really cool.

Here is my 2012 race schedule.  Some of the races could change based on where I am in my recovery.  The Xterra in July may very well end up being the first time I get to run again but we'll see.

Race Schedule 2012
March 24th - Barry Roubaix Gravel Road Race
April 22nd - Yankee Springs Mountain bike TT
May 6th – Fort Custer Augusta Michigan – Mountain bike race
May 12th - 6 hours of Stoney Creek
May 26th – Hanson Hills 100
June 16th – Lumberjack100
July 7th – Stony Creek MTB marathon
July 21 - Xterra Versailles Indiana (Hopefully I can run by then)
August 5th - Ruby Campground XC
August 19th – Island Lake Olympic
September 9th – Addison oaks Mtb
September 22nd - Xterra National Championships Ogden, UT
October 6th - 6 hours of Addison Oaks
November - Iceman ???

Thursday, January 26, 2012

First Follow Up After Surgery (Jellybeans?)

Today I had my first follow up with my doctor, Dr Prince. My progress is coming along quite well. We spoke more about what he had found in the knee since last time we spoke I was coming out of anesthesia. The loose bodies he found floating in my knee were roughly the size of a jellybean and I had multiples of them floating around. These pieces were particles from destroyed ACL and articular cartilage. No wonder my knee was hurting in multiple places, I had about 5 or 6 of these jellybeans floating around. Crazy to think I did a full Ironman with that crap floating in there. The worst part is that's not even what kept me from doing most of the run.

As for the progress, he said that is being more cautious on the front side thinking the back end of the recovery process will be shorter. His recovery process is not usually to have patients non weight bearing for a full 4 weeks but he is treating me different due to my athletic endeavors. He feels I recover very quickly and that my muscles have barely atrophied and by having me NWB for another couple weeks will help ensure a quicker recovery. So I'm not ruling out those Xterra's this year. No Louisville though, that's for sure. So now if I am getting dressed or putting shoes on I don't have to sit down to do it. I can stand on the leg fine and walk short distances with just leaning on one crutch but if I'm going longer distances walking I need both for at least another week.

As for training, I'm green lighted to go hard in the pool just nothing but freestyle. On the bike I can ride all I want just keep the power in recovery zone for now and next weekend I can start to bump it up. Then in 2 weeks or so I free to do anything I want. For running, he's leaving that up to my PT Clint. Clint is already planning on me running in the AlterG in a few weeks and we'll just go from there and see how it goes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Physical Therapy day one - Setting Expectations

Today was my first day with my physical therapist Clint.  He like my doctor was very impressed with the amount of strength in my quad.  He feels that its about 80% although he never saw it before the surgery so it's hard to tell.  He hooked me up to an electro stimulator and had me fire my quads when I felt the electro.  I was able to do it so hard that I pushed fluid to a suture and almost popped my leg open and sprayed blood and puss all over his wall.  It was actually sort of comical.  He told me about a friend that actually had that happen to him at his house.  Sprayed all over his living room.  Also, I have been riding on the trainer and he said for now this is good, just keep it really easy but in 2 weeks or so I should be back pushing pretty good.  This is good because the news as far as running is not good. 

The legions on my cartilage were about 3-4x the size of the one's he had.  We compared pictured and there is a noticeable difference.  His was about the size of a dime, mine the size of a matchbox.  At this point I will be able to run again.  Probably not really big mileage but I will be able to run again.  The big question is when.  His words to me were "I would just write off running for all of 2012".  Not exactly what I wanted to hear.  The problem is not that I will have pain but more like I will do damage and the benefits I would get from this procedure would be minimized.  He said that I could prove him wrong and that maybe doing some Xterra races or races with shorter runs would be fine but not to expect to train well or much at all for them.  So at this point I am not going to worry about much until June and see where I'm at.  He has an Alter-G treadmill at his office and he said he'll have me running on that in 6 weeks but probably at about 60% of my body weight.  Also, losing some pounds would help too.  But I only weigh 168 now and most of that is in my quads.  I don't want to lose the strength in my quads so I'm caught in a catch 22. 

Cycling and swimming will be large factors to my recovery and how well I recover from this.  So pretty much any mountain bike race that has 100 miles, 6 or 12 hours in the title I am going to be signing up for it.  I may even get out the road bike and do some crit races who knows.  Maybe this is God's way of telling me I really need to work on my bike split.  I guess a 4:42 IM bike split isn't good enough.

Don't worry, I'm not gonig to be doing a blog post after every PT session, but we covered so much today and set expections so I wanted to get them out there.  I'll keep everyone up to date on the key things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Surgery Update

As most of you know I was having work done on my right knee after injuring it last June. Today was the surgery and what I was hoping to be just a normal cleanup, has turned into much more. Basically the ACL that I had done in 2005 is torn. It's completely gone. Thank you to the donor of the Achilles tendon that served as an ACL for all this time unfortunately I ruined it. I also had some loose bodies floating around and some bone rubbing issues.

So in addition to the clean up, I also underwent micro fracture surgery of the lateral femoral condyle.  Basically my cartilage was very damaged and the lesions had to be removed.   Once removed, the doctor then drills smalls holes in the thigh bone.  The blood and bone then harden to become a cartilage like substance.  Luckily, mine was lateral (outside) and my recovery chances are higher that if I had medial.  Medial is weight bearing and is much more delicate.  Lateral is delicate to a point but the chances are greater for success. 

As for the ACL loss, the doc told me that my legs are incredibly strong. Usually they do manipulation movements in the office to check for your ACL and verify how strong it is. In my case I didn't show any issues with my ACL being there when he was doing these manipulation movements in the office. Generally once they have you under anesthetic they can manipulate your leg more. In my case even under anesthetic my leg still seemed very solid. This is good and may delay an ACL recon for a few years. At this point I am being starte on PT and were going to take it from there. He's not ruling out being able to do Ironman but likes the idea of off road and less running miles.

So I guess it's a good thing I bought that mountain bike and want to do Xterra races this year.

I'll keep everyone updates on the progress and see everyone out there soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 and Beyond (The verdict and the future) And my knee...

First of all let me apologize for the delay in getting this blog post out. I've honestly been thinking about this and where I want to go for 2012.  As much as I like Ironman, I don't think I'm going to make it the focus of my training any longer.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to race and I am planning on doing Louisville this year, but as for living just to train and race Ironman, I can't do it.  I don't want to say I've wasted the last 2 years with the focus on Lake Placid, but I feel like I missed out on some stuff because of it.  I like to race, alot, part of why I love triathlon so much is because of the competitiveness of the sport.  But focusing on training for an IM, especially at the time of the summer Lake Placid was, is just too difficult.  Right when all the racing starts is when I need to start building up for Lake Placid.  Racing during that time isn't all that great to me.  I have subpar results and I get more depressed and doubtful.  I need to focus on each race and take it one race at a time to be and feel successful.  Do I want to race Ironman?  Yes absolutly, but not at the cost missing out on the rest of the summer.  This is why Louisville works well for me.  It gives me an opportunity to do the spring races in May and June without jeopardizing my build.  I can perform well at the local races for the confidence booster and then do well at Louisville.  I did this in 2009 and felt I had a good race.  I went 9:59 at Louisville and that was my first race.  I later went 9:35 at IM Florida in November.  But not only that I did well at the local races and scored my USAT All American certificate.  Not that everyone thinks those are so great but I do, and I'm proud of that.  I want that again, and I want the feeling of knowing I am doing well at what I do.  Like I mentioned in part 1, it wasn't the time I did at Lake Placid that pissed me off so bad, it was the fact that I didn't feel like I got to race my race.

So what does all this mean for 2012?  Well I am breaking new grounds for 2012.  As you've probably already seen by all my annoying GoPro video's, I've spent alot of time mountain biking.  In October I bought a new Specialized Stumpy 29er Carbon.  The sucker is sweet!!! I've had more fun on this thing than I can remember for the last 2 years. 
You may or may not know but I started cycling as a mountain biker.  I didn't start off as a roady.  Back when I race motocross I used mountain biking as training during the week.  So in August I picked up my old Gary Fisher and started riding again.  Got so hooked on it I picked this sucker up.  Even though it's freezing cold and snowing outside, I've been riding it all winter.  It's just a blast and a great way to avoid the trainer.

For 2012 I am going to do more offroad racing.  Currently I'm signed up for 3 Xterra races and I am also planning on either doing the US Championships in Ogden, UT or the Worlds in Maui.  This is going to be based on qualifying at Richmond for Xterra Maui, or qualifying for Kona at Louisville.  I can't do both Maui and Kona.  I'm almost positive I won't qualify for both so that might work itself out.  In addition to Xterra racing, I'm also planning on doing some 6 hour and 100 mile mountain bike races.  I figure these will be good to get my racing fix as well as get the long bike rides in for Ironman.  In fact, at this point, I only have Ironman Louisville, a local sprint, and maybe a local Olympic on my schedule for road races.  The rest of my races are offroad based races.  Honestly, after doing 300+ mile weeks on the same roads, I could use a change and this will get me that.  Here is my schedule for 2012.

March 24th - Barry Roubaix Gravel Road race
April 22nd - Yankee Springs Mountain bike TT
May 6th – Fort Custer Augusta Michigan – Mountain bike race
May 12th - 6 hours of Stoney Creek
May 20th – Fort Custer Xterra
May 26th – Hanson Hills 100 mountain bike race
June 10 - Xterra East Championships
June 17th – Xterra Torn Shirt Brighton
July 7th – Stony Creek MTB marathon
August 19th – Island Lake Sprint
August 26th – Ironman Louisville (Depending on Knee status)
September 9th – Addison oaks Mtb
September 22nd – Xterra National Champs Ogden, UT
October ?????

One of the biggest possible impacts on my Ironman racing this year may come from my knee.  Back in June I was testing out using some shorter cranks on my bike.  I had adjusted my seat up the difference in the length of the crank but for some reason I went cranking up a hill and I hyperextended my knee that I've had a few surgeries on.  It was an immediate shocking pain.  I knew exactly what I had done. The pain had subsided that day but from that point on, during long runs, I could feel it.  It didn't bother me that bad, but I knew it wasn't 100%.  You can see in my running I have a little limp.  I haven't ran smooth in 7 months. Going into Placid I was hoping that it was tight muscles, but after Lake Placid and during my rest time, it actually got worse.  Since then I've had to put it off due to poor insurance that my doc didn't take.  So now with the new job (at the old place) I have better insurance.  I'm having surgery done on Tuesday to repair some meniscus and clean up scar tissue.  I don't forsee this as a show stopper for Ironman training but it will put some time into my training plan.  The last thing I want to do when I can run again to go out too strong and do too much at one time.  So that might impact my run training for Louisville but not for Xterra racing since those are only 6 miles at the most. 

So all that said, thanks for reading and I look forward to a new year in 2012.  Keep an out for more YouTube video's coming in 2012.  Might even be doing them in 3D (unless I sell my old GoPro).