Babies, a Bum Foot and an Ironman!

08/30/2013

So it seems like an appropriate time to blog. A lot has been going on lately, most notably the fact that three of my very best friends have all given birth in the last 8 weeks!! The timing of ALL of my friends being pregnant simultaneously is pretty exciting / ironic / awesome / crazy / depressing, but there is truly nothing cooler than the birth of a brand new baby and seeing your friends so happy!! There is one more peanut on the way by the end of the year and two more early 2014! I’m starting to worry if I will get pregnant via osmosis. 😉

Welcome to the world Elena (6/26), Kamden (8/23) and Tucker (8/27)! Your Aunt Kim loves you…how could you not!!

Baby Elena Lynn

Baby Elena Lynn

Baby Kamden Vaughn

Baby Kamden Vaughn

Baby Tucker Barzee

Baby Tucker Barzee

So aside from the daily birth / pregnancy announcements, I have been very busy at work, jam-packed with coaching, attempting workouts of some nature every day, traveling, and doing my best to enjoy the downtime. The last report was that my foot was feeling good after the cortisone, but I was still taking it easy to see how long it might last. Well, despite taking it easy, I am in pain again. I am pretty much back to where I was pre-cortisone when I was more-or-less desperate for something to take the pain away. At this point, I’m at a loss. The orthopedic put cortisone in there as a “last-ditch” effort and I prayed it would be the final solution. He mentioned one other shock wave procedure available, but again, it’s not 100% guaranteed, it’s not covered by insurance, and after what I’ve spent on treatment, surgery, massage, more treatment, ARP, acupuncture, and even more treatment, I’m not jumping on the option to spend another ~$3,000, right now. So, I’m at a loss.

I have been doing as much activity as possible with what I am able to do, though there’s just something about being a runner that I’m starting to miss so very dearly. Right now, I’m a jogger, who sometimes needs walk breaks up hills, who runs like 20-30 min at a time. It’s humbling. I also haven’t had as much time to ride my bike these last few weeks because work is extremely busy and it’s hard to get out during the week and I’ve been traveling a bit on the weekends.

Speaking of travel, I had the opportunity to go to Louisville this past weekend to watch the Ironman! I knew ~10 people racing, but most importantly were my two wonderful friends Jim and Leigh-Ann. I’ve trained with Jim for several years now and Leigh-Ann was my coach and my #1 training buddy leading up to Cabo. The Ironman environment is always an incredible experience, whether you’re racing or just spectating, but being at this particular race was very bittersweet for me. I started this race in 2010 and DNF’d at mile ~24 of the run. It was heart-wrenching at the time and it’s probably safe to say it still haunts me to this day. I had literally trained my butt off for the race (in hindsight, probably overtrained), but I ended up vomiting for 80+ miles of the bike ride and attempted to run the marathon in 95 degrees with, essentially, zero calories left in my system. Determined to get to the finish, I managed a walk / run while cramping in every part of my body, but by mile 24, I was starting to black out, dizzy, and afraid I’d fall and crack my head on the concrete. So, I hopped in an ambulance and cruised straight to the med tent . I had friends fly in and surprise me for the race, my family there, my boyfriend at the time there, they had shirts made, the whole 9-yards…and I didn’t finish. I could practically SEE the finish line! I do comfort myself knowing that I did what was best for my safety at the time; I literally couldn’t go another step, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow to put your heart and mind into something for ~6-7 months and not do what you came to do.

That said, being there this weekend at a very interesting, challenging time in my life physically, and watching both friends and those I didn’t know complete such a grueling event was extremely inspirational. I’m so far removed from that level of fitness right now that I will admit, I also felt a little discouraged. For the last 5 years, for all intents and purposes, I could have completed an Ironman at almost any point by because my base fitness has been so huge for so long. 100 mile rides have been no big deal, 3k, 4k, 4.5k swim sets were typical, and 10, 11, 14 mile runs have been standard. Given the ongoing status of my foot, some days it feels like I may never be able to race again. Running ~4 miles right now, sadly, feels challenging, so many things hurt during, and my whole body hurts more after. Things hurt that have never hurt before, in addition to my foot. One thing I have learned is don’t ever stop moving if you don’t have to, your body truly thanks you!

Despite feeling discouraged about my own fitness, it was truly awesome to be there watching friends and familiar faces race. I had a great time tracking all the Charlotte people, maneuvering the course, cheering, and supporting. Watching Leigh-Ann cross the finish line after the year she’s had, was nothing short of amazing. She’s been through so much that the emotions were overwhelming. Seeing Jim earn his spot to the World Championships in Kona was truly awesome. He’s been so supportive and such a great friend to me for a while now and there’s no one who deserves it more. Watching Carrie win her (very competitive) age-group and qualifying for a 2nd year in a row, while making it look fun and easy was very, very cool!

There were tons of other Charlotte athletes who had great, good, and some less than stellar races, but regardless of each persons finishing time, there is nothing more amazing that completing an Ironman. This weekend reminded me that even if I may never race again, no one can ever take the three I’ve completed away from me or the countless other races I have completed. All I can wish for is that if racing can’t be a part of my future, that there is something equally as rewarding and fulfilling as triathlon has been for me to replace it. 🙂

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! Hope you enjoy some time off!


Moving in the Right Direction…and a Quazi Race Report!

08/06/2013

Well things are finally looking up! As of my last update, my foot was still quite painful and I was still unable to run, but I’m very happy to report that things seem to be improving! I had a cortisone injection on both sides of my foot about 3 weeks ago and literally woke up pain free the next day for the first time in a year! It is the most wonderful feeling to not hobble out of bed in the morning or to have to take “breaks” when walking for any period of time to rest my hurting foot! I realize that cortisone is not a prolonged treatment method and that there are still underlying “issues” with my foot, but it’s been a huge relief just to be out of pain, even if it is may only be temporary.

That said, I’ve been “cleared” to run so long as it doesn’t hurt! I’ve been very smart (yes, me!) and haven’t run more than 4 miles at a time (once), with most runs of just 2-3 miles. I’ve done some longer walk / jogs but have generally just kept on with my normal “injured” workout schedule. As much as I’d like to get back to racing and full-on training, I’m hesitant to do too much too soon until I see how this cortisone will do in the longer term vs. just a few weeks. Some people get one injection and never deal with the issue again…others have pain return as soon as the cortisone wears off. I’m praying I’m a “one and done” and if so, I’ll be kicking myself for years to come that I didn’t get the injection before Cabo. :-/ What do they say…”hindsight is always 20/20”.

“Training” wise, I’ve been doing a few longer rides on the weekends for fun with good groups of people and it’s been nice to see my fitness on the bike returning much faster than I anticipated. It has been great to just ride and go along with whatever everyone else is doing. I hate being the selfish one who has intervals and such to do as I was in the time leading up to Cabo. During the week, I’ve been sticking with some time on the spin bike, elliptical, stepmill, a swim here and there (not nearly enough), Body Pump / strength workouts, and have recently been back to some more intense workouts like athletic conditioning. All in all, I feel content with my current level of fitness and it’s been a nice break to step away from hard core training, the ups and downs of racing, and the intensity of that lifestyle, and just enjoy an active life!

A few athletes that I coach decided to do Lake Logan Olympic in Canton, NC this past weekend. This is a beautiful, “friendly” course, so I thought it’d be a fun first Olympic distance race for some of my less-experienced clients…including my sister! I had planned all along to go and spectate the event, but had been teetering for a few weeks on whether I wanted to participate in some fashion. I felt very strong last weekend on a ~90 mile ride and decided on Monday that I may as well register for the “Aquabike” event. If I was going to drive up there, get up at 4:30am to be at the race site, and be standing around for ~3+ hours, I might as well get a good workout in and still be done in time to cheer everyone on during the run! Obviously you can make any triathlon into a swim / bike event by just turning in your chip post bike ride, but if you know me, you know that would be really hard for me to do. This was actually a designated Aquabike event so I couldn’t pass it up.

Swim: 26:50 – 28th
Yep, confirmed, still slow but this was actually one of my best Olympic distance swims. Given I’ve swam about 8 times since March, I’m pretty pleased that I felt as good as I did. The water was cold, but actually refreshing and I was even able to do some drafting. I do wish someone could explain to me why I pull left so badly in the open water, but all in all, I did a really good job today of swimming straighter and sighting…my Garmin file didn’t make me cross-eyed and I actually swam up on people AND passed them! 🙂

T1: 1:53 – 4th
It was a pretty long run to T1 – given my lack of run fitness right now, this was probably the hardest part of the race 🙂 I didn’t do anything fancy with shoes or attempt any flying mounts…I just put my shoes and helmet on and ran out. Pretty basic.

Bike: 1:05 – 3rd
I felt very good on my bike, despite panting like a dog the entire ride. My legs had some good snap to them and it was pretty fun to basically ride as hard as I could knowing I didn’t have to run after. Fueling is much less important when you’re only riding 25 miles and don’t have to run so I basically just put my head down and hammered. I may have had a little more in the tank if I was actually competing for something but it’s kinda hard to really bury yourself when there’s really nothing on the line. I started in the last swim wave, so it was fun to pass a lot of people on my bike. It reminded me of racing age group, which I miss from that prospective. Racing “Open” is much more lonely for us weaker swimmers.

And then…my race was over.

Anticlimactic? Yes, very.
Anxious to tear out of transition and run? Yes, very.
Glad to at least be able to swim and ride? Yes, very!

Total time: 1:33 – 1st Aquabike girl or boy 🙂 At least I got a very nice transition mat.

Regardless, it was awesome to be out there and a really fun weekend with friends / clients / family!

The CK Multisport gang!

The CK Multisport gang!