Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Changes and Updates

Well, today was the third to last day of school. I had multiple students mention how I haven't blogged since April.... which is so cool to me that they think I'm interesting/crazy enough to read my blog, but, uh, YIKES, I can't believe it's been so long since I've written here.

You'd think since I was injured and out of running for 5 weeks that I would have had time to blog, but the funny thing about injuries is that they actually make you MORE busy. Physical therapycross training, and trying to get in that extra sleep (healing time!) really just add up, and here it is already June 3rd. Well, I'm happy to report that things have finally been going well, so here are some quick updates!

Truth.

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL:
People use this phrase all the time (or maybe it's just a junior high thing...either way, I hear it all the time). I think one of the hardest parts about any injury is seeing someone close to you have the success that YOU were hoping to have. Ryan has just been DOMINATING the running and triathlon scene this year; because my big race was geared toward an OTQ at a marathon, it was really hard to see Ryan PR'ing left and right in running races. Obviously I am beyond proud of him, but at the same time it definitely made things harder since I wanted to be the one having that running success.

I think what helps in this situation (as I know a few others going through it) is to look back at times when you were successful as well. And, talk to someone about it. Talking to Ryan about how crappy I felt about myself when he would go and crush races helped me get my frustrations out.

I think something else that was really helpful was recognizing that since I couldn't run, it was just a sign that I needed to focus on my weaknesses (swimming and biking). I had so many people reach out to me during this hard time and tell me their struggle/comeback story and am incredibly appreciative of all of the support. It helped me stay positive and confident in my comeback and I hope I can do the same for someone else going through an injury as well.

Finally, a big thing that helped was focusing on what was positive in my life at the time. I am so lucky to have students who thing my running/triathlon journey is cool and some of them dressed up as me for "D: Dress Like a Teacher Day" for our ABC's End of School Year countdown. Seeing that they think my hobby is cool made me know that I need to take the healing process seriously so that I can come back and make them proud!

 Saucony clothes and shoes... I'd say they pegged me pretty accurately.
 My "School ID"
 I mean, how awesome are my students?
Ironman birthday card!! :)

HEALING THE INJURY:
The timing of my patella tendinitis was unfortunate as it happened right when track season began. Track practices were generally from 3-4:45pm Monday through Thursday, so getting in my physical therapy 2-3 times per week really exhausted me as I felt like my routine was just wakeup-workout-teach-coach-PT-workout-grade-bed and I could never catch up.

But, even with an overuse injury like patella tendinitis it is important to see a physical therapist as it really does speed up the recovery process. Plus, I revamped my strength training program with Earl at RMS Physical Therapy and have been feeling so much stronger lately. Even though they are just junior high students, I am absolutely going to be a stickler next year about incorporating a good strength program so that my athletes not only make it through the season without injury, but also develop good habits for whatever sport they may continue to participate in once they get to high school.

TRACK:
I have been coaching track ever since college and have been fortunate enough to coach at the high school and middle/junior high levels (two VERY different types of coaching!). Ever since I began teaching at my current school, I have been coaching the track team.

This year I seriously debated coaching or not because I knew I'd be into heavy training, but the excitement that I got from my students and last year's track athletes really convinced me to stick with it. And, boy, am I glad I did.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was honored to join 5 of my junior high track athletes at the IESA State Track Meet in East Peoria, IL. An 8th grade shot put boy qualified as did our 7th grade 4x100 team, of which two athletes also competed in individual events (the 200 and 400).

 You're right. I didn't teach him anything about shot...but I was darn good at cheering.
Oh. The 7th grade Boys 4x100 got THIRD in State! WHAT?! 

I had secretly told myself in my "comeback schedule" that I would race Soldier Field to see where I was at....and then my boys qualified for State. This past track season has been interesting to say the least, and there are a lot of changes I'll be making for next year, but I was not about to pass up an opportunity to see this group give it their all at the State meet (plus, they asked me daily throughout May to come with...I mean, how can you say no to something as cute as that?).

SOCIAL LIFE:
Not gonna lie...the social life? almost nonexistent when Ryan and I are hardcore Kona training. We love hanging out with friends and family, but as anyone training for an Ironman knows, it's no easy feat and is incredibly time consuming.

With being unable to run for 5 weeks, I was able to add more social events to my calendar: bridal showers, baby showers, family parties, and even a bachelorette party for a good friend. Shoot, I even went all fancy and got my nails done... yep, the not running thing definitely affected my head;).

Can't even wait for June 20th!!! :)
Is she not the most adorable bride-to-be ever?
I was also able to have a mid-week date night with this stud for my birthday :)


NEW DIRECTION:
I've alluded to it in posts before, but I am happy to actually write it in my blog: I am back training with Coach Bill Bishop. He was my first true triathlon coach when Ryan and I first qualified for Kona back in 2013. I took a few times to train for an Olympic Trials Qualifier for the marathon, so now that  the goal is Kona again, it only seemed right to return to the training that I knew and loved.

I learned a TON from Coaches Jen and Dave during my time with them, but it was really hard to not be doing the same training/be on the same training schedule as Ryan. My job is much more structured (i.e., I have to be at school from at least 7-3 daily, often staying until 4 or 5), so it's nice to have the same workouts to plug into the computrainer and have a little "date night" on the bikes with Ryan sometimes.

So romantic.

One of Bill's biggest concerns that we talked about was how I spread myself thin. Between teaching, coaching, getting my Master's (done with that), being the Run Coordinator at Life Time and training, Bill understandably was concerned for my sanity. This summer will obviously release many of the above responsibilities, but once school starts again I do plan on only teaching and training (and coaching track).

Kona 2014 was a horrible race for me with my giant mental breakdown on the bike, and that breakdown was caused by simply spreading myself too thin. So many triathletes are Type-A personalities, and we often put too much on our plates. I am very lucky to have people in my life to tell me that I'm doing too much,

BACK IN BUSINESS:
After testing the knee on a few different types of runs, Bill gave the go ahead to run in a 10k this past Sunday. I am SO excited to report that it went well. The goal was to run it at usual Olympic distance triathlon pace (about 37-38min for the 10k). I ran it in 38:20 with slowing down dramatically during the last half mile to play it safe (really, check out the Strava file).

First place! Course Records! #FindYourStrong

Since we know the knee is good, I'm ready to go for Leon's Triathlon this coming Sunday. Olympic distance do not suit me well at ALL since I'm a slow swimmer, mediocre biker, and strong runner. The distances (1500m swim, 24.9mile bike, 10k run) just don't make it a race that I can be good at with my current fitness levels, but honestly, I'm just doing the whole thing with a giant goofy grin on my face because I am so freaking happy to be able to race again. I'm going to give it my all, since I have learned to use my talents and race even above my potential since I never know when it could be taken away from me.

Look for another blog update post-Leon's Triathlon. Thanks to everyone who has supported me through these past few months of coming back. I am truly blessed to have such an incredible support system in my life and can't wait to show you how much I appreciate it through my racing!


3 comments:

Fa C Shus said...

You're such an inspiration to so many: students, athletes, other runners.
you have two things going for you: ability, drive, commitment, an awesome life partner, a great friend, a great training partner, youth, verve and better counting skills than do I.

Sarah Slater said...

Congrats on finding your groove again, and all of your successes! You are an inspiration in everything you do.

jacqui said...

Thank you so much! I'm already looking forward to recapping tomorrow's race (though the forecasted weather kind of scares me!). I really appreciate the support :)