Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Ways To Recover, Have You Tried Yoga?

Recovery should be part of the f training for a marathon or triathlon.  Many people simply focus on training and completely forget to do things to help them recover from all their hard work.  It is sad but true and ultimately it could lead to injury.  I have already talked about some ways that I recover such as massage and Epsom's salt baths.  Another thing I try and do once a week is Bikram Yoga.  There are many types of yoga but I prefer this yoga.  It seems to focus more on balance and stretching which is what I need many runners and triathletes could benefit from it too. It is 90 minutes and it is done in a hot and humid room.  Some people may not like that but that is exactly why I really enjoy about it.  The heat feels great and when I stretch I prefer to be in a hot room.  Some of the things I like about Bikram are:

  • You know what to expect it is always the same
  • Many of the stretches and postures are exactly what triathletes and runners need.  The stretches focus on lower back strength, back flexibly, stretching hips, hamstrings, quads and pecs. All of those can be very tight in athletes. 
  • Most places that offer Bikram Yoga keep their classes very structured and prevent people from leaving and coming in late which can  cause distractions.  Less distractions helps keep me focused on what I am doing.
  • I have a hard time staying focused and this helps me work on improving that.
If Bikram Yoga  is not for you there are many other types of yoga to try.  Many gyms also offer stretching classes that are also great.  If you are like me you need a structured class otherwise you will do it half ass.  I have tried setting a block of time to stretch on my own at home and do a structured routine but in the end I sit in front of the TV on my yoga mat and hang out with my dogs.  It never happens and I may do a few stretches and that is it.  A good 60-90 minute class once or twice a week will do you a lot of good.  Remember recovery is just as important as training itself!

Friday, December 5, 2014

One Of My Favorite Ways To Recover

Benefits of Massage

Proper recovery from any type of exercise is just as important as the exercise it self. There are many ways to recover and in this blog post I will talk about one of my favorites.  Massage has many benefits both mentally and physically.  I have been getting massage for over 20 years.  If I am training for an event I get it twice a month and weekly leading up to the event.   On a regular basis I try and do it at least once a month.  You need to find a schedule that works for you because it can get expensive to have it too often.  If a perfect world I would like to get it once a week! I love massage so much I became a massage therapist so that I could help others. Here are just a few of the benefits that massage can provide you:
  • Reduce stress - stress kills!  Many people do not realize how toxic stress is to your body.  When you are under stress your body produces more cortisol which is a bad hormone that can cause damage to your body.  Stress can lower  you immune system and cause problems with your sleep patterns.  Massage is one of the best ways to reduce stress and help you relax.  
  • Relaxation - this speaks for itself.  Everyone can benefit from some down time.
  • Lengthen tissue that is tightened - as you workout and train tissue can become tight and not always will stretching alone work.  Massage in combination with stretching is the best bet to help bring your body tissue back in balance. 
  • Relieve headaches - many people sit at computers all day and this can cause a lot of tension though the shoulders and neck area.  Massage can help relieve the tension that can sometimes be a cause of the headache.
  • Increase range of motion - tight tissue will limit mobility and range of motion.  Lengthening tissue will help improve ROM. 
  • Increase flexibility - Better flexibility will help you limit injuries and improve your performance.
  • Improve circulation - Improved circulation has many benefits.  Better circulations helps to maintain balance in your system and improved blood flow can also help with energy and increase endurance.
  • Improve lymph flow - this is great for increasing your immune system and eliminating toxins
  • Correct muscular imbalances - many cases imbalances are caused from tight tissue and massage can help lengthen this tissue.
  • Improve sleep - with reduced stress and more relaxation sleep can be improved.  Sleep may be improved because you may have less pain and feel better. 
  • Boost immunity - improved lymph flow will help improve your immune system and less stress  is also great for your immune system.
  • Reduce anxiety - massage can be very relaxing for many people which will help with anxiety.
  • Reduce risk of injury - injury can be caused from muscle imbalances and tightened tissue and massage can help with both of those. 
  • Relieve pain - pain can be caused from tightened tissue and massage can lengthen tissue. 
Massage can make you feel better.  Book your appointment today! 
Coach Cyndee, LMT

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cozumel Race Recap

The bike course!
I signed up for Ironman Cozumel and it would be my 10th Ironman. I signed up just a few months before the race because I was on a high after a good Ironman race at Maryland.  I was hoping to qualify for Kona since my previous race was a good one and I placed 5th in my age group at Ironman Maryland.  I had been having some issues with my foot but I figured since it didn’t bother me during my Maryland race I would just do a minimal amount of running leading up to Cozumel.  The plan was to give it some rest after Cozumel. 

I arrived in Cozumel Thanksgiving Day and the race was on Sunday.  I had plenty of time to adjust and get settled.  I went alone so I opted to travel with a company called Endurance Sports Travel. They are great to travel with when doing a race because you don’t have to worry about all the details.  They take and pick you up from the airport and races.   Going to Mexico for the first time and being alone I was thankful to have them. 

I arrived in Cancun and had to take a ferry to Cozumel, which is about a 45-minute ride.  The day I arrived there was a cold front and it was extremely windy.  The ferry trip was like a picture from a movie because it was a barf-fest.  So many people got seasick and were puking in these green bags the attendants were passing out.  About half of the passengers in the area I was in were a lovely shade of green, grey and white.  I felt bad for them because if this was your honeymoon, romantic vacation, or Ironman vacation this was probably not a good way to start it.  I didn’t get sick but I was definitely uncomfortable for most of the ride and very thankful when it was over.

Group Ride
Group Ride
Someone from EST was waiting for me when I got off the ferry and they took me to my hotel and I quickly settled in and went to pick up my race packet.  I was lucky because my room was not ready so they upgraded me to this amazing suite with a balcony overlooking the ocean.  The balcony was probably the size of the suite.  Too bad I was alone to enjoy the nice upgrade!  I put my bike together the next day and went for an organized bike ride with the EST group.  We rode an easy 20 miles on part of the race course.  It was still windy from the storm but not as bad as the previous day.  The weather on race day called for some wind but in Cozumel on the east side of the island it is apparently always windy. 

Saturday we went to the practice swim and the water was really beautiful, clear, and about 80 degrees.  It was perfect and we were supposed to have a current, which was going to make for a fast swim.  Ken from EST told us to swim about 100 yards to the right (outside) of the buoys for the best current.  The morning of the race the guys on the paddleboards said the current had changed and we should swim to the left of the buoys.  I did swim inside the buoys and ended with a swim in just under an hour, which was my fastest Ironman swim. 

On the bike!
I was on the bike and was hoping for a 5:15-5:30 bike time depending on the winds on the east coast.  We had about a 12- mile stretch along the ocean where the wind would most likely be coming at us from the front and side. The bike was three loops so we had to hit that windy stretch 3 times.   To say it was brutal was putting it lightly! Not only did each lap get worse but, the headwind started earlier so it ended up being about 20 miles instead of 12.  When we made the turn off the oceanfront road I thought there would be a tail wind making 25mph easy to do but we didn’t get one.  The wind then came from the side not a tail wind, and this was better then on the east coast but still tough.  Mentally I was breaking down each lap as my goal time was getting further and further from reality.  I ended with a 6-hour bike and coming off the bike I figured with a 6-hour bike I didn’t have any chance to qualify.  Since I had foot issues leading up to this race I thought to myself why should I run on my foot when I don’t have any chance to qualify.  Then I would think about this being my 10th Ironman and I would like to finish.  I figured I could at least run a 4:20-5 hour marathon and that would bring my finishing time around 11:30 or 12 hours.  That wouldn’t be my best time but it wouldn’t be too bad. I got off the bike and started running. I didn’t feel too great but was hoping things would work themselves out.  I was nauseated and it seemed like everything hurt.  I was gripping the bars too tight on the bike from the wind so my neck and shoulders were killing me.  My hips and foot hurt and my stomach hurt.  After a slow 4-5 mile run I started a walk/run and by this time I almost quit each time I saw a medical tent.  I still kept thinking why keep going I should just stop and call it a day.  Then I would think about what I would say to everyone and didn’t want to tell people I didn’t finish. Once I got to mile 14 I was too far in and figured I had to finish.  I am glad I did finish especially when one of my clients said that I was an inspiration to a lot of people who have quit before.  Many races are tough physically and your mind can put you through more pain and turmoil during a long race than you can imagine.  I have quit before but more often I have pushed through mental and physical barriers.  Being strong mentally is just as important as having physical strength.  I hope to keep getting stronger both mentally and physically. 

My balcony 
As it turns out I was 4th in my age group out of the water with my fastest Ironman swim.  I was actually 2nd in my age group on the bike.  Then on the run I fell to 22nd because of the run/walk.  The problem is I thought I was doing much worse on the bike but in reality I didn’t do that bad. If I had known that I was doing pretty good I may have been stronger mentally for the run to push through some of the issues I was having. I don’t think I could have had a good enough run to qualify but I think if I had known what place I was off the bike I may have done better. I let my mind get the best of me coming off the bike and onto the run but not enough to quit because I still finished so I guess I won! Cozumel is a great race and was ran very well. I would highly recommend it for a destination race just be prepared for a tough bike!