Well, y’all, it appears that all I need to do from now on is complain about things — on the Internet, to my PT, to my mom over and over and over, thankfully she’s patient — and life will magically get better. I’ve had two appointments with (insurance-approved) PT #2, and I feel really good about the direction this whole knee debacle is headed. He basically said the same thing we’ve kinda suspected all along — tight quads = patella tracking a little bit off = tendonitis. Self diagnosis is always right. Anyway, I’ve been introduced to the magic that is ART — quick but ouch it hurts — and have had several good runs in the last few days with next to no pain or discomfort and now I’m ready and raring to go on this whole marathon training thing. I’ve only lost a week, and not even really that because I was still getting all my miles in the pool. While I’ll have to be cautious in stepping up the long runs right away, I’m no longer worried about not being able to train for Eugene. Like the rest of the universe, I ran in shorts and t-shirt last night and all is again right with the world.
On a related note, this whole mess has made me super religious about my recovery and prevention strategies. I’ve been icing multiple times a day for weeks now, stretching like it’s my job, practicing proper form with my squats, strength training/yoga-going/core-working, and, most recently, learning what it means to foam roll the shit out of my quads. I’m pretty used to working my calves, but GEEZ is the quad a different beast. To assist with this self-inflicted pain, I’m very seriously considering the purchase of one of these suckers:
The general Internet consensus is that it’s worth every penny (and it’s not even that expensive as designer foam rollers go). My current one is the cheap kind from City Sports, and while that’s fine for now, I think the GRID will last longer, work better/deeper, and be good for travel. No price is too high for for injury prevention, or something.
And related to that, I’m at the point — again — at which I have to decide what to do about my gym situation. I’ve been living off of LivingSocial or intro passes for months now (prior to which I didn’t really do any consistent strength training) and now that my last Washington Sports Club card is about to expire, I have to figure out how to maintain this excellent but pricey habit I’ve created. The reality is that once tri season (ie. spring/summer) rolls around, I’ll be pretty unmotivated to waste workouts in the gym when I need to be swimming/biking/running outside and can do core work at home, especially given that I’d be paying a decent amount per month to go once or *maybe* twice a week. I joined WSC when I first moved here primarily for the boot camp classes but quit after discovering I was halfway decent at triathlon.
So, I have several options. I can join Results for pretty cheap through my office. It’s convenient to work and home and has an underwater treadmill, which is kind of awesome. I can hope that Groupon or someone keeps coming up with passes, though serial gym switching is getting kind of old. Or I can start building my own little home gym with the minimal equipment I actually need to do my routine. I have a yoga mat, a pull-up bar, a trainer, a foam roller, and outdoor/rooftop space (abs at sunrise, anyone?), so at the get-go I’d only really need to invest in some free weights. I mean, I’d love to have a TRX set and a Bosu trainer, but, baby steps. The upside of this is that with an initial investment, I’d avoid paying gym fees forever and always. The downsides are the $$$ upfront, my teeny apartment, and the fact that I wouldn’t have access to classes. This is basically a non-issue except for yoga — in which case I’d rather have a pass to a studio anyway. So I think the solution is to get a yoga pass, part of which would be covered with a sweet work wellness benefit, and work on my personal equipment selection.
Which leads me to the real point — if you were building a home gym in a studio apartment and didn’t want to spend a lot, what would you add?
Still going with the related theme, I got back on my bike this morning for the first time in awhile. Yeah, it was on the trainer, but I did an actual workout and really enjoyed it. I understand that part of the deal with marathon training is that something’s gotta give, and since swimming is basically a recovery activity, that something is the bike. I hate this, mainly because 1) I just spent every last cent I don’t have on a new ride 2) the winter has been mild enough to basically avoid the trainer and 3) I worked really super hard last season to be a strong cyclist and I’m not into the idea that I’ll get to May and have to start over at zero. Even though I have a background in running and swimming and almost none in cycling, my bike split every. single. time. was my strongest relative to the rest of the field. I have to hope that by staying strong with consistent run/swim training and throwing the occasional trainer intervals or outdoor ride in there, I won’t totally fall apart when tri season rolls around. The slightly good news is that I won’t need to train to race more than 56 miles, and I killed that last May after only a few months of only half-consistent from less than zero thanks to, you guessed it, marathon training.
And lastly, this time on a not-really-related note, last night I made pasta for the first time since July. In all the GF stuff I basically gave it up (GF varieties are really expensive) in favor of quinoa supplemented by very occasional lasagna goodness. I also experimented with mung beans. Have you ever heard of those? No? Me neither. They’re a lot like lentils — I think — which means they’re pretty bland but delicious when combined with other ingredients. Right now I’m way into recipes from Ashley over at Edible Perspective, so I tried her Mexican Spiced Veggie Pasta using GF brown rice spirals. Other than cooking the beans a little bit too long, it turned out great, and now I have enough pasta in my fridge to feed an army. I also highly recommend using her recipe for homemade tomato sauce instead of buying it in a jar. Now to decide which recipe to try next…
Happy Thursday, all! The weekend is almost here!