Saturday, August 28, 2010

T minus 1 ... okay, now I'm REALLY nervous!

My day started with a swim in the beautiful Lake Okanagan.

Here is the beach where the Ironman mass swim start occurs:

I slipped on my wetsuit for the first time since early June 2008 when I did a sprint tri and then got into the water. Silly me, I hadn't trained at all with with my wetsuit this year and hoped that my injured shoulder would be able to manage the tightness of the neoprene. 45 minutes of swimming told me that I should be okay and then I got out of the water. So many other things to do today ...

But wait, where was my rental car? What?!?! I couldn't find it anywhere in the long row of parked cars by the beach ... GREAT, could this be happening to me?!? I started panicking. Could someone have stolen my car? How would I be able to get to check-in today with my bike and race bags and then the race the next morning? Oh no! How would I even be able to get back to Montreal?! My purse with my passport and all my ID, cards and money was inside the car, along with my cell phone!

I tried to calm myself down as I carefully combed the area, though inside, I felt horribly frantic ... Well, at least, I had my bike and everything else I needed for the race the next day back at the motel ... but really ... was this what I needed?


Okay folks, after wandering up and down the beach for 45 minutes in my half-stripped-off wetsuit, I was elated to discover my car parked MUCH farther down the beach than I remembered.


I went back to the hotel and cleaned up. I double-checked my bike and race bags, threw in last-minute clothing decisions, and then headed back into town for check-in. But first, lunch with MF and crew ... what a sweet but poignant meet-up. I was thrilled to finally meet Lyn's family but so saddened to know that she was no longer with us ... To Lyn's mom, CD, thank you for such a wonderful long hug! I looked into your eyes and saw my friend again ... Lyn, sweet and funny Lyn ... the reason behind my having signed up for this particular race.


This was it. The race suddenly felt imminently closer. I racked my bike and dropped off my transition bags, and then got the guided tour of the "transition route" from a kind volunteer.

I had a great spot for my bike, Row 50, 2nd bike in, easy to find ... as if that would make any difference, as I was sure the bike lot would be almost empty by the time I came out of the water, ha ha! Nevertheless ... :-)

Rows and rows of transition bags by the change tents ... kinda intimidating, don't cha think?

A calm and smiling me, but really nervous as all heck inside. I can't believe I'm doing this again ... why, why, WHY!?!

Later on that afternoon, I tried to drive the bike course. I completely failed (course map was not very detailed) and finally gave up after realising I'd driven the same huge circle three times, ending up in the same tranquil neighbourhood.

I think the Universe was trying to tell me something ... to go visit my fellow online tri-mate CB from Kickrunners, otherwise known as Slow'n'Steady. We'd managed to meet up at the bike store previously and she had invited me to drop in later for a visit ... so lo and behold, I was in her neighbourhood.

There's something magical about Ironman that bonds people, something about how difficult the training and racing is, and being able to make it to the Finish Line, that gives us an understanding into each others' psyches. Our "friendship" had existed only online previously and now CB and I were standing in the flesh in front of each other, chatting away as if we'd always known each other. Internet can be truly extraordinary ...

I love that CB and I are made up of the same goofy material. I felt like we were two peas in a pod, and colour-coordinated ones at that! :-)

I felt an instant connection with CB and her wonderful family ... I was so lucky to have met them! Her amazing girls did some chalk drawings outside where the marathon turn-around was. Now I finally felt ready to RACE!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Pre-race jitters!

Lots done today!

1) Got my bike assembled. Thanks MF!

2) Brought my bike for a tune-up to Bike Barn, official bike people for Ironman Canada. Though I'd just gotten it tuned up before shipping, my gears got out of whack with the transport :-(

3) Registered and picked up my race bags and ID bracelet. I played the good consumer and purchased a few Ironman souvenirs. I especially like IM mugs! It think it's becoming my Ironman tradition, collecting mugs from each race. Hope I can eventually collect 20 of them, heheheh :-)

4) Picked up my bike then did a brick workout! 25km ride followed by a 5km easy run. I don't remember this part of the race course being this hilly, hmmm. I passed two men running while on my way out on the bike and then again on my way in from my run. One gentleman was doing three, yes THREE, back-to-back Ironman triathlons, finishing with Ironman Canada two days later. He was raising money to help fund Haiti's microeconomy ... good for him!

5) After supper, I got my gear and special bags ready for drop-off the next day. It was hard to figure out what to wear since the forecast kept changing ... and it wasn't looking optimistic ... sigh. It would be too cold to wear the sexy new tri singlet that I'd bought. Guess I'll have to race next year!

Though I didn't make it to the Athlete's Welcome Banquet opting instead to train, I was happy to have a well-assembled, well-tuned bike that I was familiar with riding. I was also happy to have gotten in a final bike and run, especially since yesterday's travelling didn't allow time for this.

The race was getting nearer and I my nerves were starting to feel it!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting there ...

During my 4-hour stopover in Vancouver, I met an interesting family of five, a couple from Toronto travelling to Penticton as well with their three young children ranging in age from 3 months to five years old. It was the father's first Ironman, how exciting!

I was totally boggled by this man's ability to fit in training with full-time work and kids so young! Supposedly, he didn't need much sleep, only 4 hours/night, and trained mostly between 10pm - 7am when the kids were sleeping. Lots of hours on the bike trainer! I was totally impressed and felt humbled with regards to my own training ordeal ... or rather lack of one when compared to this gentleman's circumstances.

Mind you ... my work schedule was all over the place (as the film industry tends to be) and I was still dealing with a healing painful shoulder ;-)

A small plane took us to Penticton. Before take-off, I overheard the passenger behind me talking on his cell phone. His bike would not make the flight. I looked out the window and in fact, noticed that another 8 or so other bikes on the luggage rack would not make the flight either. At least his bike had good company.

I had already had my fair share of being scared about late bike delivery though ... the courier company missed the scheduled pick-up last Thursday and told me that they'd pick up Friday instead, to which I replied, "NO F*CKING WAY!" (well, at least that's what I was *thinking* in my head). Insistence made the courier company send out another truck that evening and off my bike went across Canada by ground ... only to be delayed out West. An email notice received last Tuesday stating "late train/possible postponement" sent me into a hairy conniption fit!

Without a bike, it is impossible to do Ironman!

I went through this "no bike" issue in 2008 before Ironman Louisville and did NOT want to repeat it!

But luckily, while waiting at the Vancouver airport, I received a "confirmation of delivery" email ... WHEW! My precious bike, Ingrid, was waiting for me at the hotel. Thank you Universe!!

By the way, Vancouver Airport is beautiful. Check out this beautiful tiled wall in the ladies' bathroom:

Arriving in Penticton, I checked into the 5000 Motel and finally got to meet the very helpful voice that I had dealt with when making my reservation months back. Jasmine was a delight! Very friendly and helpful, which turned out to be a godsend as I had come to the race without support. Amazingly, she knew every athlete by name, which made me feel like I was part of a special family and that she was mom to us all, well at least to me :-)

[Photo of Jasmine to come!]

I had been smart enough to book a suite. It was straight-forward, simply decorated, but very clean and comfortable. Quite spacious, it had a living room and full kitchen, meaning I could cook my own food. It was great having the extra space just to relax and be able to spread out. There's a lot of gear involved with Ironman!

Note to those planning to race Ironman Canada:

I highly recommend this place! Price is extremely reasonable, location is fantastic, service is wonderful and best of all, Jasmine will take good care of you! For sure, I'll be back ... Bookmark 5000 Motel's website now!

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Ready or not, here I come!

Well, I can't believe the time has come ... Ironman Canada is but a few days away and I feel far from ready.

To put it bluntly, training has been difficult. Two and a half months including taper is NOT LONG ENOUGH. Add into this equation super long work days and kids and it becomes impossible to get in enough quality training and rest.
To top it off, even my taper was dismal. All that sticks in my head training-wise is that I only managed to slip in a total of 20k of running during this official two-week taper period, and probably not much more biking or swimming comparatively. Hey, I couldn't even manage to update my training calendar!

And because of my super busy summer, I've unfortunately had to condense all my fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society through Operation Triumph into the short week before my departure ... the whole reason behind doing this Ironman!

So evening comes and I squeeze in a swim and a last physio appointment before my race to help me deal with my neck injury. Afterwards, I scramble to finish sending out my fundraising emails and then, late at night, I finally start packing. It's now early morning, I'm exhausted but I'm finally ready. Time to catch some short zzz's. I pray that I haven't forgotten anything important. The logistics of Ironman make packing precarious and stressful ... so much GEAR and SUPPLIES ... I've heard horror stories about people forgetting to pack bike shoes, goggles, etc.

Night night, my dear readers ... Later this morning, I'll be leaving on a jet plane!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ironman countdown!

Alright, I don't know how the others do it ...

How the other triathletes work, have families and train for Ironman all at the same time. Since my last post about training, I have been precariously juggling an intense IM training schedule with 12hr+ shoot days, auditions, kids, and also trying to get enough rest so I don't burn out.

And geez, I've even put my social life completely on the side! Very hard for a social butterfly to do, you know ;-)

I've never been good with schedules or anything that dictates that I have to do a particular something every day. I think the older I get, the more my artist spirit wants to rebel against anything that wants to pin me down or cage me in. It's not like I don't like training intensely, but I prefer to train in whatever way my mood suits me. And for sure, I do miss my other sports and activities, like swing dancing!

I haven't been particulary good about bedtimes or getting enough sleep all the time, though I've tried. Ironman training actually involves a fourth sport ... REST! It's really difficult though finishing a 16hr day at 1:15am, prepping for the next day, sleeping 2.5hrs, then getting to another film set at 7am to start another production. Alright, that was the extreme this summer, nonetheless, it was my reality, and hours like that mess up anyone's schedule!

Week #5

Swim: 2h 50min, 6550m
Bike: 8h 20min, 196k
Run: 2h 15min, 20k

TOTAL TRAINING = 13h 25min

I didn't quite fit in all my training but I did okay.

Week #6

Swim: 2h 30min, 6200m
Bike: 2h 45min, 56k
Run: 3h 57min, 23k + intervals


Three rest days ... I also started a 7-day straight shooting schedule after also having shot earlier in the week.

Week #7

3h 20min, 7450m
5h 34min, 128k
1h 53min, 18.5k

TOTAL TRAINING = 10h 47min

I finished the other four days of my 7-day shoot schedule. Monday, I slipped in a short 3.5k jaunt in the morning before a 13 hour day on set. Tuesday, I managed a half hour swim before a 16hr day. Wednesday was a day off from training thank God, but not shooting, and Thursday was thankfully a shorter day of work, so I got in 1h 45min of training that evening. I let myself sleep in Friday as long as my body wanted.

Whew! And this was a scheduled recuperation week!

Week #8

125 min = 2h 5min, 4150m
780 min = 13h, 319k
185 min = 3h 5min, 26k

TOTAL TRAINING = 18h 10min

It's surprising how I was able to fit in a week of home vacation with the kids, two auditions and a shoot date with my most intense week of training. Determination! Sunday's ride was not fun though ... it was very dark and cloudy outside and not wanting to be rained upon for hours, I opted to ride indoors on my trainer for 5.5 hours and watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy with the kids.

I don't ever plan to ride that long on my trainer again ... this was a true test of mental fortitude! My butt hurt so much! But at least there were Rice Krispie squares as snacks. And I got to take a lunch break with the kids ... freshly-baked warm country bread with tomato bocconcino salad! Yum!

Week #9

2h 23min, 5450m
5h 50min, 146k
3h 10min, 28.5k

TOTAL TRAINING = 11h 23min

I took an unscheduled rest day on Tuesday to nurse my sore knee, sigh. I also had a pimple in an undesirable spot for cycling. And I felt really TIRED this week ... My body was telling me it was on the verge of overtraining and I should take it easy. I felt demotivated and cut my Wednesday training by more than half. Thursday, I skipped my 1.5hr spin and just did my 2h 40min long run. I managed 23.5k. This will have to be my longest run distance ... I don't think my knee can handle more.

Sunday ended up being a big calamity! I had planned a 6 hour, 150k ride ... 125k on the road, and 25k on the trainer since it would be too dark outside. I got as far as 67k before I got a flat tire. I had no trouble changing the tire, but unfortunately the CO2 cartridge adapter was missing from my bike bag! So I could not pump up my tire and waited patiently for a friend to pick me up 50k from my house. Good thing I had brought my cell phone!

This was scheduled to be another peak training week, but I guess the Universe decided differently and turned it into a first week of tapering, and perhaps justly so due to the risk of overtraining and more injury.

Week #10

Official taper week.

I didn't keep track of what I did, but it wasn't much. I had a sore throat all week and when it finally subsided, I realised it wasn't my allergies but a small throat infection. I was also plagued by G.I. issues and a massive headache this week. Throw in auditions and shoot dates and even with the greatly reduced training, I was STILL very busy. I remember short runs, short swims, and also managing a 2h 10min ride on my trainer Sunday ... though it took all my willpower to do it!

I concentrated on getting rest but honestly, I'm really tired of training and can't wait until I can return to my other activites!

Week #11

More tapering. Trainer for an hour last night. Now I'm going to head for a hill ride. Tonight's a short swim and packing, lots of packing ... and more fundraising ...

I'm racing in memory of my mom and fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society through Operation Triumph. Please listen to or read my letter here. I would love to have your support with a donation!

Alright, gotta dash now, too much to do in too little time. Good thing I slept 10 hours last night since I don't know if I'll have time to sleep tonight or even if I'll be able to ...

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Monday, July 12, 2010

This Ironman training is killing me!

Let's just say ... it's been REAL TOUGH.

It's well-known that training for and finishing an Ironman takes mental fortitude.

That, I got.

I look at my training schedule and don't feel at all intimidated. In fact, my mind is now so warped and "used" to long-distance training that cycling 100k is really not that far and when I see only two hours marked in my schedule, I say, "Pfft, that's nothing."

It's ironic. Somehow in the "doing" part, meaning the actual training, there is a disconnect between my mind and my body ... Somehow my body doesn't react the same way my mind does to this training.

It screams out, "I'm so FRIKKIN' TIRED!!"

Lacking base fitness due to my broken shoulder (which is, by the way, STILL healing), it was probably not the smartest idea to jump right into the midst of the training program I used for Ironman Canada 2006.

First of all, I was sorely lacking any decent training in all three sports and really only started back up slowly, very slowly end of March/beginning of April.

Secondly, my weak attempt at rebuilding base became a truly dismal attempt for three weeks mid-May to early June because of too many 13hr days on a film set. Great for the wallet, it's always nice to know I will have food and rent, but real hard for getting back into shape!

Thirdly, the training program I used in 2006 was pretty intense. I had had a horrible car accident in February and could not train at all for two months. I then restarted training to regain my fitness base and by June, I started my three-month (13-week) program that my trainer, Dirk, had designed for me.

This time round, I've jumped right into Week #3 of that same intense program but with less base than in 2006!


Swim: 1h 50min
Bike: 10h 30min, Total = 247km
Run: 3h 18min

TOTAL TRAINING = 15h 38 min

I can't believe how exhausted yet exhilarated I feel that I'm doing it, I'm actually OFFICIALLY in Ironman training mode! My legs are heavy and sluggish ... sigh.


Swim: 1hr 50 min
Bike: 6h 45min, Total = 155km
Run: 1h 24min


A bum knee took me out by Thursday. I had injured myself slightly last week while running when I had stopped suddenly to avoid being run over by an inattentive cyclist on the sidewalk. So my 1h 40min scheduled run unexpectedly became 20 min. I figured it was wiser to play safe rather than sorry since there was a LOT MORE training to go. I also skipped the 45 min. spin planned for that day.

I lay low for the rest of the week, no more running and I decreased my swimming and cycling. I secretly revelled in this extra rest as I enjoyed down-time with my kids.

WEEK #3 (Recuperation week)

Swim: 1h 35min
Bike: 4h 15min, Total = 102k
Run: 1h


I am officially on vacation with my kids. Even doing a "light" training week has been difficult and I find I've been missing workouts. Oh well. The kids and I had fun :-)

I can't seem to get enough sleep.


Swim: 2h 48min
Bike: 8h 55min, Total = 212k
Run: 2h 45min

TOTAL TRAINING = 14h 28min

Alright, this week has gone a lot better, albeit the incredible heat wave. Sleeping was horrible and training felt even harder than the first week but I made it through with only one run of 1h 45min entirely deleted from my program. I'd gone out for supper and was still too full by the time midnight rolled around, when it would be cool enough to run. Yes, I am a night owl. And I don't relish running in the HOT sun when the humidex reads 41C/106F.

I finally started training on Ingrid, my Cervelo P2C tri-bike. She's still quite new and embarrasingly, only has slightly more than 500km on her (including today's ride, and IMKY in 2008). Can you tell I did not ride her much last year?

Today's evening ride, in cooler weather (only 29C/84F !) was incredible. Ingrid and I were on FIRE!

My legs felt tired for the first 30k but then they really warmed up and the rest of the ride was fantastic. Most powerful I've felt all year cycling, and by the time I got back after 100k, my legs didn't feel tired and in fact felt springy. MILESTONE! This means I am starting to adjust to harder training.

I also came back home with at least two dozen dead flies stuck to my bosom. They'd flown down my braless top. I made sure to take off my top in the bathtub to shake it out and a huge dead fly fell out along with remnants from the smaller ones. Ick ... real ICK.

Alright, this night owl has a 7am work day start tomorrow, I should try to get some sleep. But I really wanted to share my first month of IM training with you.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied :-) Today was the training I needed to feel that I could actually finish this race again. YAY!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sometimes a shout is ...

... better than a whistle or a bell!

Since my friend, Lyn, passed away, I've been even more careful about cycling for fear of being hit or something else happening to me. I usually try to take the cycling paths or quiet residential neighbourhoods, but even on the paths, there are enough stupidities that occur that make me shake my head in frustration ... like ...
  • a man cycling with his dog on a leash on one side of him, his son riding on the other side of him. Of course they're taking up the ENTIRE path.
  • couples/friends that insist on rollerblading together side-by-side
  • couples/friends that insist on cycling together side-by-side
  • adults that let their kids run freely onto or across the bike path
  • couples and groups of people that think bike paths are walkways
  • young teenagers who "park" (dump) their bikes in the middle of the path to take a look at something on the side
  • pedestrians who walk across bike paths and don't even bother looking at oncoming traffic. Would they do this onto a road full of cars?

Alright, enough venting, but I've had enough of sudden stops or slow-downs.

Good thing is ... I'm out there cycling more regularly now, and as of this week ...

I am OFFICIALLY in Ironman training mode!

Even made myself out a schedule, based on what I did for my Ironman Canada 2006 race. Mind you, I'm now jumping weeks ahead into the program and am praying to God that what I lack in aerobic base and strength, I will have in muscle memory and mental fortitude.

Yesterday, I rode 70k and swam 1700m (not as far as my schedule dictated, but it's the farthest I've been able to swim with my injured shoulder, and I'm feeling good!). The day before, I ran my first intervals, didn't push too hard, but nonetheles ...

Already, after just a few days of this more intensive training, I am feeling very tired and my legs are heavy and achy. Ooooh, I think this is going to be a long 11 weeks ...

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

A difficult good-bye: May you rest in peace, Lyn

On May 14, an Ironwoman friend of mine, Lyn Duhamel, cycling with her triathlon team, was killed by an inattentive driver. This careless and tragic accident left three cyclists dead and another three injured, physically and emotionally.

No words can describe the shock and grief that rippled through the cyclist and non-cyclist communities ... and also through my heart. This was an accident that should have never happened and that left only devastation and immense sadness in its wake ...

I miss you, Lyn, and I still think of you several times a day. It's strange to know that I will never see or hear from you again, nor will I be able to train with you, nor will I be racing with you at Ironman Canada in August this year, a race that you convinced me to sign up for.

She'd popped up on my Facebook chat with the link to online registration for Ironman Canada:

Lyn: I know you want to do it.

(then after a few minutes)

Lyn: What are you doing?

Sally: What do you think I'm doing? I'm signing up!

Geez, you'd even convinced me to buy the exercise program P90-X, which I still have to complete (once my shoulder heals completely).

In the years that I have known you, Lyn, since my first Ironman in 2006, I have admired your dedication, generosity, kindness, discipline, fiery spirit, and sense of humour. You were my idol and I wanted to become more like you, and welcomed your unwavering encouragement, support and steadfast belief in me as a fellow triathlete. I thank you for your friendship and for being such an incredible individual.

Lyn, you have touched the lives of many, including mine, and will be forever remembered. May you rest in peace ... xoxo

From her obituary:

Lyn was a passionate triathlon and Ironman athlete. Her many achievements were completing five Ironman triathlons, Boston Marathon (2x) and many other races. She was training for the next Penticton Ironman Canada, B.C. She loved her dog Kona and two cats, Shiraz and Charlotte. She was an avid traveler but especially cherished the island of Hawaii. Lyn was a fiery, energetic, spirited soul who inspired many with her encouraging, uplifting, positive words. She loved and lived life to its fullest. She was a generous, giving and caring nurse who helped many deal with grief; an angel to all of her patients. Her work ethics were to be admired. Lyn was a fit competitor who loved to help and train others in attaining their goals.


Today, after months of not being able to because of my broken shoulder, I am finally taking out my road bike.

I will ride for you, Lyn, because I know you'd want me to.

You'd want me to get back onto my bike and train properly, and make you proud when I will race Ironman Canada later this year ...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Go Habs Go!!

So, the NHL playoffs for the Stanley Cup has been occupying a lot of people's thoughts and time for the past month or so. Not mine of course, but tonight the Habs (Montreal Canadians) won Game #7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins! Woohoo!!

I've never been a hockey fan, 'cept when I was a little kid and used to collect hockey cards of Darryl Sittler and Guy Lafleur, but tonight, I was actually excited! I even honked my horn on the way home from the pool after their win, along with the other merry Montreal folk celebrating.

I was so excited for the Habs' 2-0 score after the first period, I almost nixed going to the pool at all to sit down and watch the rest of the game. After the end of the second period though, I MADE myself go ... heck, I have an Ironman to train for!

So on the way to the pool, I noticed there was no traffic. Of course, everyone's watching the game. And close to the pool, there was no parking, since everyone is either at home or in one of the many local bars watching the game.

At the YMCA counter, the radio was playing and the game was playing!

"They're playing it downstairs too in the pool."


Funny, I've lived in Montreal for over half my life and I've never ever had any interest in the Habs ... until tonight. I may even have to watch some of the finals ... (did I just write that?)

Okay, now to catch you up on today's training ...


Just a short 1000m. I've done more distance than this in other training sessions, up to 1300m, but I got to the pool late and it closed before I could do more.

We cheered in the pool when the Habs won!
5-2, advancing them to the Finals of the Eastern Conference!

My left shoulder still hurts when I swim even though I am working hard at physio to increase stability and strength. Though the bone is now "healed", the ligaments (rotator cuff) that attach to where the fracture was aren't. Such a long road to full recovery ... sigh. The good news is that I've almost regained full range of motion ... one more month maybe of stretches and I'll be good, I hope.


I actually ran my first 10k of the year, interrupted by three breaks due to an upset tummy ... Waah! But once I'd finished emptying myself out, I felt better and finished strong, though tired. My legs and hips are definitely not used to the pounding and I'm sure I'm going to feel tight and sore tomorrow.


I'll catch you up with this in the next post but it's going well! I'm still not 100% with my shoulder so I've only been riding my heavy mountain bike since the position is higher than my road and tri bikes. On top of that, I had a recent car accident involving a car driving the wrong way down a one-way street (and into me!) So now my neck and back hurt ... again ... WAAAH!

All in all, training is going as well as expected though with all my injuries and lack of base. It's so hard to rebuild again and feel like an athlete. Oh, the pressure! I'm going to have to start some sort of disciplined training schedule for Ironman real soon ... but let's think about that starting in June ;-)

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Baby steps ...

It's been almost 10 weeks since I broke my shoulder and about four weeks since I was allowed to remove my sling. My shoulder STILL hurts! I'm doing heavy duty physio these days, going twice a week and doing 1.5-2 hours/day of exercises at home. I still need to take painkillers from time to time and am anxious to finish healing.

My physiotherapist has purposely given me double the number of exercises as he would the average person because he knows I have an Ironman coming up. He also realizes that I am healing/progressing at double the speed :-) This is probably due to a combination of being in good shape previous to the accident as well as my stubborness/mental resolve. What got me through all my long distance races will also get me through this long and painful healing process!.

I've got another few weeks for the bone to get harder but was sure happy to get rid of that sling! Besides the obvious possibility of regaining mobility, I was THRILLED to say good-bye to the horrible rash caused by wearing the sling. It was constantly itchy and irritated, making it difficult to fall asleep and waking me often during the night, even bleeding and weeping from time to time because of all the scratching. It took a full two weeks to heal even after the sling came off.

Having one arm is no fun.

I couldn't do simple things easily, like preparing food, washing myself, getting dressed and undressed, putting my hair up in a ponytail, tying a garbage bag ... I relied on my friends to help me and even once on a stranger ,"Oh, please, could you put my hair up in a ponytail?" My hair was full of static electricity because of my winter hat, annoying as all heck, and I was waiting to get an x-ray done at the hospital. I knew she'd understand, as she herself had her hair in a ponytail :-)

I learned to do things creatively, like roll my hair up and put it into a clip with the help of the edge of the table and also to hang clothes with one hand. Not the smartest thing to do though, as this required balancing myself precariously on the edge of the bathtub. Try doing that when your centre of gravity is displaced because you've got an arm pinned up against your chest.

I quickly realised the first time I washed my hair after the accident that pouring shampoo directly on my head was not a good idea, as I poured out half the bottle. I learned that I had to put some shampoo on my leg, put down the bottle then scoop the shampoo quickly into my right hand. I also gave up on washing certain parts of my right arm and upper torso but I did learn to apply body lotion on certain parts of my body with my right thigh.

I even learned to wash my right armpit with my right hand. And then I learned to SHAVE my armpit too ... mind you, the first time was a little scary.

Good thing I have helpful friends. Good thing I have friends who cook. Good thing I have a freezer.

So, now that I'm finally doing strength exercises with light weights (2 & 3 lb. weights, and two different resistance bands), I've started training again, but ever so gently.


I started running again about 2 1/2 weeks ago with my arm pinned against the front of my chest as any shoulder movement was painful, and since the jarring motion also hurt the fracture, I had to run very slowly and smoothly. I started out carefully and built up ... 15 min, then 20, then 25, then 30! Then 5k!!

And now, because the physio exercises have increased the range of motion of my shoulder, I am able to run with my arm slightly away from my body. My present goal is to get back to my regular arm swing and increase my weekly mileage slowly. My shoulder's still quite sore so I haven't attempted more than 5k at a time.


Yay! I was thrilled when my physiotherapist gave me the go-ahead to swim two weeks ago. So this is what I've done since ... mind you, I have to be very careful since I can't yet extend to the end of my stroke because of the pain. But check out the progression of these workouts ... slow and steady!

1) 200yds = 8 x 25yds breaststroke

2) 400yds = 8 x 50yds breaststroke

3) 400m = 2 x 50m breaststroke + 1 x 100m breaststroke + 8 x 25m front crawl

4) 600m = 2 x 100m breaststroke + 4 x 50m front/back kick + 4 x 50m front crawl

5) 800m = 200m breaststroke + 6 x 100m front crawl

6) 700yds = 200yds breaststroke + 2 x 250yds front crawl

* I swam in two different pools, one measures 25yds, the other 25m.


Well, I've been cycling little bits since about two weeks after the accident, but I found it quite difficult at first sitting up completely straight on my racing bike and propping myself up with the aid of a chair beside me. I've been cycling anywhere from 20-40 min. each time, about twice a week, a real pain when I was in the sling 'cause my arm got hot and made me itch worse. And once out of the sling, the first few times were painful since I had nothing supporting my arm and shoulder.

Riding has recently gotten much better. My butt has now developed callouses and my left shoulder isn't as sore as it used to be. I've adapted to holding the chair and often ride holding nothing. I'm now slowly progressing to cycling in a bent-over position and holding my handlebars on the tops, but only a minute or two at a time. I can't yet put my full weight on my shoulder and don't want to risk it until the bone is 100% hard. Sure eels good to get stronger on my bike!

Today's weather was absolutely gorgeous with lots of sun and warm Spring-like temperatures ... a perfect time to ride outdoors. I was tempted to give my mountain bike a mini-tuneup to take her for a spin, but what would I do if I got a flat tire? Montreal is just starting to clean its streets and there's lots of glass and mean bits lying around that will slash bike tires. I know this from experience when I got a flat my first outdoor ride in 2008. With the lack of strength in my left arm and shoulder, I wouldn't stand a chance of being able to change a tire!

In fact, when my racing bike was set up on my trainer after my accident, the front tire valve tip snapped off when I removed the pump. I haven't pumped that tire up since because I know it'll go flat once I depress the valve, and I'll be unable to change my tire!

I still have a long road ahead of me to get my full strength and mobility back but it's nice to know I'm on my way.

It's almost ironic that a friend last year told me, "Oh, you should be able to do a really good Ironman next year. You've had enough bad things happen to impede your training, nothing can happen now!"

Yeah right ...

Car accident before Ironman Canada 2006.

Bike accident before Ironman Louisville 2008.

And now, broken shoulder before Ironman Canada 2010. Good thing that at least in my mind, I'll be able to finish it ;-)

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