Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Weeky Update: Weeks 7 & 8

The armpit lumps and elbow lumps did not go away. In fact, they got larger and more painful. Last Monday, I went to see my doctor again. I kind of (totally) broke down and cried in her office. I'd been feeling teary all weekend. I'd been stressed and overworked. I haven't had time to train, or the energy to train, and when I did get to train, it was crappy. My armpit hurt so badly that I couldn't stretch my arm overhead to swim. My running and biking was suffering from the overuse injuries, a result (I think) of a combination of too much training, not enough recovery, and too much time on my feet at both jobs. In short, training had not been pretty.

My doctor called me off of training. No exercise. None. I felt relieved, though; now I don't have to feel guilty about missing workouts, because I'm not allowed to do any.

I also had a sonogram, and I may have to have surgery to have the lump removed and biopsied, still, but they're pretty sure that it's cat scratch fever (stupid cat). I went back to the doctor today, and she told me to keep resting for the next two weeks. With this long lay-off in training, the lack of training before, and the lack of time after, I'm watching Ironman 70.3 Kansas slip away. It's just not going to happen. The best option is to focus either on a shorter race or one farther away, build base and lift weights until that one, then target the Rev3 Cedar Point Half hard in the fall. There's still a chance that I can make it to IM Zurich next July. This is just a hiccup along the way.

I feel much happier and much better this week. I haven't felt stressed or sick or weepy, like I did last weekend and last Monday. I've determined that it's best to quit my job with Dick's. It pays better than QuikTrip, but the commute is longer, and the working environment is way worse. I'll talk more about after I give my two weeks; I don't want to say too much now, while I still work there.

Maybe I can volunteer at IM 70.3 KS. If I do, I'll still see you there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stuff I'm Using: 2XU Compression Socks

I got the yellow and teal pair.
I got a pair of 2XU compression socks to try out from the 2XU rep who works with my Dick's Sporting Goods. They were free. I love my job more and more.

I've always been skeptical about the value of compression socks. Besides which, I thought they looked ridiculous on all the triathletes and long-distance runners who adopted them about four years ago.

I may be changing my mind, though.

I've only run in them once. It was a brief run, cut short by soreness in my calves (which I attribute more to a day spent on my feet than to the new socks). They didn't seem to help much, or make much difference.

But I've been wearing them to work, where I spend 8-12 hours at a time on my feet. And they make an incredible difference. I feel significantly less pain in my calves and feet when I'm wearing my compression socks. I can see how they would make a big difference in a long day. I don't know that a marathon--or even a 70.3--is long enough. But an iron-distance race? I could definitely get behind that.

I have a pair of the running socks, which differ from the recovery socks in positioning of support and compression. I gather that the recovery socks are better for walking and standing, where the running socks facilitate activities where more plantar flexion is involved. I may just go and buy myself a pair of recovery socks! I've worn the pair I got for free so much that they're starting to stink!

2XU has done a fantastic job over the past few years of widening their reach. They've moved from a niche brand marketed almost exclusively to triathletes to the kind of mainstream brand that you can find at a big-box retailer like Dick's.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Update: Weeks 6 & 7

After my first week of epic work schedules, I got terribly, horribly, awfully sick. I skipped every single workout of week 6. Every single one. And it was the right thing to do. I needed the recovery badly. I missed several days of work. The lumps in my armpit and elbow got much bigger and much more painful, so painful that they kept me awake at night. So I went to see a doctor last week, and she put me on antibiotics. She said it's most likely just an infection in the lymph glands; it happens sometimes; she's seen it before. It could also be something more serious, but she suggested that we try antibiotics first, and go from there.

So that was week 6. Stayed home from work, and did absolutely no exercise.

Week 7 brought recovery again, which was a good thing. My first day back after being ill, I meant to do a short hill interval session, but my body felt weak and tired after the warm-up, so I kept it to a 45-minute recovery ride. Got a swim in on Wednesday. The swim felt reasonably good, and my times were passable, but something felt a little off. I felt like my arms were weak, not from sickness, but from lack of strength training this winter. So I did a long pull set! My Wednesday night run didn't go well at all, though. It had been relatively warm during the day, so I didn't dress warmly enough for the icy wind and snow that began shortly before my run. It was my first run in the Brooks Ghosts, and my achilles tendinosis made itself known in the first quarter mile. I'm not blaming the Brooks; it could just as easily be lack of warm-up, or the fact that I'd spent the whole day on my feet.

Speaking of which, standing all day takes a toll on my body. Plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinosis, and a wicked case of piriformis syndrome that's shooting pain down my left leg. I'm not sure what to do about it, though. I've been rolling on a tennis ball and stretching. I don't want to prop up my aching body with insoles; that will just make it worse in the long run. I may just need to work in more therapeutic exercises.

My armpit lump is still swollen and painful. I swam today, and I can feel the lymph node stretching painfully every time I raise my arm overhead. I'm worried about it. My roommate thinks I need to take it easy with my training until the lumpy armpit resolves itself. I don't want to take a break, of course. After all, exercise is supposed to be good for you!

That's where I am right now. I'm disappointed with the lack of consistency in my training, and fearful of the prospect of missing even more. So we'll see how this week goes.