The other big event recently was racing in the Rio Salado Triathlon this past Saturday, May 5th. I elected to do the sprint distance this time since it’s my first triathlon after ankle surgery. The distances were 750 meter swim, 12.6 mile bike, 5K (3.1 mile) run.
I have spent the past three months increasing my training volume to where I would train 12-13 days in a row before taking a rest day. I did as much as I could without injuring myself, and the training seemed to help as I was faster this triathlon than the “baby” tri that I competed in July 2011.
Swimming in Tempe Town Lake with no wetsuit had me a little nervous at first. It was my first open-water mass start, but we got to start in waves, so it wasn’t bad at all. Nobody gave me a black eye, knocked off my goggles, or elbowed me in the mouth. The buoys looked SO far away, despite only being half of my typical swim workout distance. But I hung in there and once I got in the groove, enjoyed every second of the swim. Before I knew it, I was getting pulled out of the lake onto the stairs to go transition.
The bike leg was so much fun that I half wanted to stay to the left and loop it again (which is what the Olympic distance riders did). I only averaged 14.5 miles on the bike, but hey, I’m a new rider. Maybe some aero bars and bigger quads would provide a little extra awesome next time. ;) The only mishap I had during the bike leg was that my Uncrustable strawberry peanut butter and jelly sandwich went bouncing out of my bento box when I crossed a bumpy brick road. There went my nutrition plan for mile 7! I just took two “Salt Stick” salt/electrolyte capsules instead and called it good.
I made it into T2 (bike to run transition) and racked my bike and prepared for the run. Here’s where I found out that my bite-valve bottles come in handy because they allowed me to suck down water with no hands while I tied my shoes. I downed most of a pack of Stingers (like gummi bears, only healthier) since I lost my PB&J sandwich, and headed out for the run.
The run is what it is… my weakest sport. It’s what I need to work on the most. I know I’ll get better / faster / stronger, I just have to keep working harder at it. I had the best day though — I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and especially the swim and the bike. I can’t wait until my next triathlon. I came in under my time goal of 2 hours at 1:51 and change. I know I’m still a back of the pack triathlete, but if I can just finish and I’m not DFL (dead flippin’ last), I’m a happy camper.
My next race goal is to compete at Nathan’s Olympic Triathlon at the end of September this year. I’m cool with the swim and bike distance already, but I will have to up my game to be able to hang for running six miles instead of just three miles. I can do it, but I want to be able to do it FASTER!
I’ll post pics and the video when I get them all edited into one loop. Let’s hope I manage to get to that before the weekend. ;)
I just realized that my last blog entry was on March 12th and it’s already May 7th. A world of events have happened during the past few months, so here’s the biggest news first:
On April 3rd, 2012, my brother Joshua Holley was attacked by a ten foot tiger shark while surfing. He felt pressure on his left foot and then saw the dorsal fin pop up and out of the water. The shark came back around towards his board and Josh pushed it with his left hand on the gills and started punching it in the face with his right hand. His quick thinking and clear head under pressure are what saved his life!
Some other surfers saw him yelling at the shark and came to his aid, as the tiger shark submerged back under the water and swam away. Josh kept his foot out of the water and on the board and with the help of some other surfers, they all paddled into shore where a lifeguard was able to call the ambulance.
Josh ended up having to have surgery two days later to reattach two of the tendons in his left foot that the shark severed, as well as 42 stitches to sew it all back up. He’s doing quite well now, but is still recovering and I know he’s eager to get back in the water.
He was a bit of an Internet sensation for awhile, making national and even international news stories, and has had several interviews played on television. Here are some of the MANY news stories:
I’m just glad he’s okay and that his quick actions saved his own life. I was glad to be able to go home to Hawaii for the surgery to support him and the rest of our family. Can’t wait for the book and movie rights, Josh! ;)
Last Wednesday was a milestone marking the end of my (very expensive even with copay) Physical Therapy sessions for my ankle. Last Thursday was my final doctor’s appointment where I was cleared to go back to all activities – yay! Only caveat is that if I’m doing quick lateral change sports (e.g. racquetball, hiking, trail running) I need to be sure to wear my ASO ankle brace for the next year.
Now I’m on my own for training again and can follow my own workout plan. I need to be cautious, I get a bit overzealous with triathlon & run training and then I get injured. I ran a fast tempo run on Friday, getting as fast as an 8:23 pace (very briefly) and then slowing down to a walk for a few seconds, and then getting back up to speeds that are faster than I’m used to running. Now it just feels like my lungs are holding me back instead of my foot, so that feels good. I can fix cardio. :)
Saturday I got out for a solo bike ride around the neighborhood and clocked an easy 7 miles. One of those training days where a bunch goes wrong, but it’s a good learning experience. I dropped my chain on a flat road coming to a four way stop and had to pull off the road and reset it. Then my Garmin decided it needed charging RIGHT THEN and died as well, haha. There was a decent amount of traffic on the streets, so I got in some good traffic skills and bike handling work. Sunday I swam a mile’s worth of laps in the pool and I’m continuing to get faster there as well, it makes me happy to see the numbers ticking lower.
Next races? A St. Patrick’s Day 4K is my first official “post-surgery” race. Just a fun race where I get to dress up and wear green, I’m looking forward to it. Then I’ll be doing the Rio Salado Sprint Triathlon the first weekend of May. That’s a 750 meter open water swim in Tempe Town Lake followed by a 12.6 mile bike ride, and then a 5K run at the end. I’m a little nervous about the bike leg – I’m a wobbly biker right now in clipless pedals, and having enough cardio for the run part scares me some too. But I think I can fix all that in the next month and a half!
If you’re tired of hearing the overused buzzword, “Innovation” bandied about the office too often, this book is worth the read. Scott Berkun discusses the different myths attributed to innovation through history, and why innovation itself is not the magical solution.
One of the great myths about innovation is that it should take the form of some brilliant idea hitting you on the head much like Isaac Newton’s Apple. Nope. Innovation comes from hard work, and there’s no magic bullet. I like what Scott Berkun has to say on page 13: “No grand innovation in history has escaped the long hours required to take an insight and work it into a form useful to the world.”
If you enjoy history, this is also a fun book to read, as Berkun talks about innovations such as Archimedes slipping and falling in the tub (Eureka!), Picasso turning an old bicycle into a sculpture of a bull, and Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. We have a tendency to glamorize these innovators and put them on a pedestal of genius when in fact, it was years of labor, research, mistakes, and elbow grease that got them to that point of “epiphany.”
This book was interesting to me because I love the process of programming as well as what it takes when designing an interface. I might spend hours tweaking a web layout to be pixel perfect, and then at the end find a flourish that brings the mockup together. Sometimes I don’t find that flourish at all. Linus Pauling says, “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” It’s a concept that is reiterated in this book that making lots of mistakes, continuing to persevere, and challenging your own ideas will help you in the execution of your goal.
I enjoyed this book mainly because of Scott’s sense of humor injected into the book, bringing both historical achievements and current business ventures into a relevant, interesting read. This book demonstrates the importance of moving past the hype of “innovation” and discusses a plan of action in the epilogue that states, “Forget innovation: focus on being good.” I recommend it for anyone who wants to better themselves or get motivated about a new project.
Wow, I can’t believe I went a whole month without posting, bad girl! Time to post an update on the ankle. It’s been a long, busy January, but I got out of the boot on January 12th and into an ankle brace and regular shoes. I’m now into my 4th week of physical therapy for the ankle.
In the four weeks of PT, my ankle has gone from pretty bad swelling those first few sessions, to a bit less of a “cankle”, to very little swelling now. Elevating my foot during work hours helped immensely. Before I started elevating it, I was going into PT at 5pm with a fat, swollen ankle. In PT they’ve had me doing leg presses and doing lots of stretching in all directions against a TheraBand. At the end of every session, my therapist would do some deep tissue work on the ankle, breaking up the scar tissue around the stitches and working the flexibility of the ankle. Then I’d hobble on out of there and drive home with a bag of ice on my foot.
PT is painful, but I’m also working incredibly hard at it because I want to improve as an athlete. Now I have progressed to where I’m balancing on my left ankle on an unstable, thick mat while throwing a ball at a trampoline that’s at an angle. Maybe by next week I’ll be balancing one-footed on a Bosu ball while they toss hula hoops at my head and give me fish for treats. ;-)
The scar isn’t too bad, it’s about two inches long and is still red, but I think when it heals all the way it’ll just be some shiny marks across my ankle bone. I’ve also been able to go back to swimming and cycling, which I’ve missed immensely. This Thursday is my last (?) doctor’s appointment where I’m guessing he’ll set me up with a few more weeks of PT and hopefully clear me to begin gently jogging. I can’t believe how much I’ve missed running.
In 8 weeks (my surgery was Dec 5th, 2011) I’ve gone from being completely unable to bear weight, to a candy cane cast, then a boot, then driving, and then to PT where I don’t even wear an ankle brace to work out! It’s nice to be making progress — it’s easy to get tunnel vision and feel like you’re going nowhere.
This year was WONDERFUL, and chock full of learning experiences. Here’s a little rundown of what I learned this year.
1) Beware of sleek CEO’s that might promise you the moon and stars. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
2) Jobwise, take some time to find out what you REALLY enjoy doing. Find that workplace that feels like home when you walk in the door. After all, you’ll practically end up spending more time with your co-workers than your spouse.
3) Limitations are only in your mind. Forget about them. Make a plan and go for it. I went from “running hater” to having the most incredible Disneyland Half-Marathon experience of my life. I went from walking the dog once a day as my only form of exercise to my first 5K, first half-marathon, first sprint triathlon and even a “Dirty 6 Mud Run” obstacle course race.
4) Listen to what your body is telling you. I split my peroneal brevis tendon in my ankle this past August. I ignored it and kept going, even ran the half-marathon with the split tendon. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret running that half. However, I should have listened to my body immediately afterward and not signed up for more races and harder training, thinking that tendon injury would heal itself.
5) Face your fears head-on. In January of 2011, I flew my solo in our hot air balloon for the first time. I was nervous and a little scared. I didn’t sleep much the night before. But I was ready, and I had a beautiful solo flight — another life experience I’ll never forget.
6) Appreciate the people around you. They’re the ones that help you create your life to be what it is, help you reach your goals, and are there to pick you up and take care of you when you fall down (or have ankle surgery). Respect, love, and appreciate your spouse, family and your friends.
There were so many firsts this year in 2011 — I can’t imagine what 2012 has in store for me but I know it’s gonna be great. Better. Faster. Stronger.
Well, I only got to wear my candy cane cast for one week, and then they put me in the evil Stormtrooper Moon Boot. I also had a wonderful knee scooter we rented for two weeks which helped immensely. After a week on crutches, my palms were bruised and my underarms were pretty unhappy with me. The knee scooter made it a LOT more possible to get around for running all the Christmas errands. US Airways is a fairly large building as well, so the scooter made it more possible for me to get around without having to crutch everywhere.
I’ve worn the Stormtrooper boot for nearly two weeks now, and today is the day they remove my Frankenstitches on the ankle. Hopefully I’ll also find out when I’m cleared to swim and stationary bike. The first day I was allowed any weight-bearing was on Monday the 26th. It didn’t go well — there was significant heel pain and I could hardly put any weight on it at all. Of course it was frustrating and a bit demoralizing.
Chuck ended up going out to crew for Dean & Kim’s balloon that same Monday, so I tagged along with the crutches anyway, otherwise I would’ve just been a couch potato. I ended up doing quite a bit of standing around on the crutches and as the day progressed, I was happily surprised to see that I could put just a teensy bit more weight on the foot.
Since Monday, every day has progressed a little bit more. Tuesday night, I hobbled around with mincing baby steps on the crutches. Wednesday at work I began using one crutch to “zombie shuffle” over to meetings. Today was more of a breakthrough — I actually ditched the crutches at my desk once and walked over to refill my water bottle solo. I took my time and was extra careful, but I was pretty excited to not have that crutch shoved up my armpit.
HOPING to get cleared to start swimming — it’s funny how perspective works. A month ago I was complaining about the outdoor heated pool and how there was no way I’d go swim laps in that thing because of the cold when I got out. Now I don’t care anymore — I WANT to hop in that heated pool and get a little workout. Cold means nothing now that I’ve been relegated to being a couch potato for a month and CAN’T swim.
My ankle stabilization surgery was on December 5th, and it went quite well. They were able to tighten the ligaments that I damaged from figure skating years ago, and were able to suture up the almost 1″ tear that I had on my peroneal brevis tendon. They even cleaned out a lot of the scar tissue from years of heavy use from figure skating.
This past week has been a little bit of foggy blur. I took off Monday and Tuesday, and then worked Wednesday and Thursday from home, which was nice. It allowed me to keep in touch and get tasks done but still knock out here and there when the pain meds kicked in. I’m happy to say that I’m almost completely off the pain meds now as well, except for maybe one on the mornings when the pain is worse than normal.
On Friday they finally replaced my “cankle” – this HUGE, heavy wrapping that my ankle was in since the surgery, and I managed to talk them into a candy cane colored cast. What I did not expect was the need to force my ankle into a 90 degree angle to be cast. That was pretty painful — maybe it’s good I didn’t know about that beforehand. But after much deep breathing (and pain), they were able to get it close to 90 degrees to apply the fiberglass cast.
The good news is that I only have to wear it for a week, and next Friday I go in for a boot (or a “CAM Walker” is the official term). Think Stormtrooper boots. The worst part about the surgery and the cast are the crutches. No weight bearing still for two more weeks. I find myself exhausted just getting up to move around, or going to the car and back, even when Chuck drops me off in the front of a restaurant. But, this too shall pass, and I’m hanging in there like a (storm) trooper.
Chuck has been amazing this past week, it’s a blessing to have someone that can take care of you when you’re feeling your worst, and even make you smile when you’re hurting. He brought me my medicine on schedule (one dose even included a cake pop), and kept me as comfortable as I could be. Dean & Kim sent me a BEAUTIFUL edible bouquet that cheered me up immensely. You can’t feel too sorry for yourself when you’re chomping down on chocolate-covered strawberries and pineapples, folks.
I’ll post progress here and there — I’m eager to get back to running, but the most important thing is that I want my ankle to heal as perfectly as possible, so I’m not pushing it like my usual hard-headed, two guns blazing fashion.
Finally had my diagnosis today, after x-rays and MRI’s. I guess my days of competitive figure skating have caught up with me. It looks like my ligaments in the ankle are no more. So the tendons took on the extra work, and by getting hot and stressed ended up getting a split in them. So it looks like surgery.
Ankle surgery in the next 6-8 weeks will repair the torn ligaments and split tendon that I have in my left ankle. It’s got me a little upset, but what am I gonna do? I’d rather they fix it and get me back to running. Until then, it’s “gentle” cycling and swimming. /sigh
After both the Disneyland Half-Marathon and the Dirty 6 Mud Run, I was having issues with my shins, ankle, and knee. I thought it was just tendons/ligaments that got strained and needed time to repair. So I’d take a week or two off here or there and go back to running.
Since my last post about training, and how I was going to work in long runs every other weekend, etc — there has been no running. It looks like there may be no running for another month or more. I took more than two weeks off and then trotted across the Fry’s parking lot to go grocery shopping. Instantly the “stabby ice pick” feeling started up again in the legs and the ankle.
So, I’m thinking there’s a problem. I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor next Friday, which probably means X-Rays or MRI soon as well. At present even the slightest jog or heavy pressure on one leg or another gives me the “stabby ice picks” in my legs. It’s got me a little down. Right now I’m not even biking or swimming. Think I need to start back up on at least cross training this weekend — maybe it’ll improve my outlook.
The Arizona PF Chang’s Rock & Roll Half-Marathon is on January 15th, 2012. I want to run it SOOOO much. But I want to run for a long time, and I guess if it means missing a race until I’m completely healed, that’s what I’ll have to do. :(
UI/UX Developer by day, a million other hobbies by night. Attracted to shiny objects that need recharging. Passion for life, love, and sushi. Trail running, hiking, books, gaming, sketching and travel are just a few of my interests. Multi-platform (Windows, OS X, Android, iOS) enthusiast.