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Monday, July 28, 2014

Research, cross training week #3, and arthroscopic partial meniscectomy-eve

This week was a mix of search committee meetings, research, the pool, the pool, and the pool.

I will wait until the search is over to say more about it, but it was a productive week for the Papua New Guinea project with Yana Rodgers. We are on our second draft after getting comments from the Asian Development Bank. There are some fascinating gender differentials, including the following:

Health expenditures include those for hospitalizations, other health care services, and medications. We look at household health expenditures by national household expenditure (proxy for household income) quintile. The population is split by urban status and gender of the head of household. The bars in each graph illustrate the mean health expenditure (measured in the local currency, kina) while the lines represent health expenditures as a share of total expenditures. In urban areas, male headed households spend more on health care, particularly in the upper quintile. Female headed households are more likely to have a single head of household and less likely to be living with an adult male and be employed for wages. Access to health care by rural households is particularly challenging due to deteriorating infrastructure. We plan to use more powerful statistical approaches to analyze the gender disparities further, but the summary statistics are compelling. What do you see when looking at the charts?

I have continued my cross training. The week looked like this:

Monday - aqua jog (AJ) 2 sets of 6 x 1:30 very hard, 30s rest, 2:00 between sets (46 minutes total); swim 3,000 yds :
300 pull 
10 x 50 odds kick, evens stroke (choice) on 1:00 
200 pull

6 x 50 free on 1:00 
100 back active recovery
200 paddle and buoy
4 x 50 free on 1:00
100 back active recovery
300 paddle and buoy
2 x 50 free on 1:00
100 back active recovery
400 paddle and buoy

100 free kick, 100 back 

Tuesday - AJ 2 sets of 5 x 2:30 very hard, 30s easy recovery, 2:00 between sets (52 minutes total); swim 2,000 yds:
500 easy
400 kick
300 pull
200 progressive
5x100 on 2:00 (hit 1:38-1:40 for each)
100 cool down

Wednesday - 50:00 straight swim (2800 yds.)

Thursday - 1:00 strength session with Coach Carl Blickle 

Friday - AJ ladder with Carmen Graves (1:16:00 total time)
3 sets (14 minute sets)
1 min easy
1 min easy
1 min easy
1 min easy
1 min VERY HARD 
1 min easy

2-3 minute float in between sets

Swim 3,300 yds:
400  (pull , kick)

3x300 (1 hard, 2 moderate, 3 hard)
3x150 active recovery (buoy, paddles)
3x200 (1 hard, 2 moderate, 3 hard)
3x100 active recovery (buoy, paddles)
3x100 (1 hard, 2 moderate, 3 hard)
1x150 active recovery (buoy, paddles)


Saturday - 50 minute yoga session

Sunday - AJ 4 x 5 minutes HARD, 1 min rest in between each, end with 5 x 45s all out with 45s easy (52 minutes total); swim 3,500 yds:

200 pull, 200 kick

500 DPS
3x200 descending
400 DPS
3x150 descending
300 DPS
3x100 descending
200 DPS
3 x 50 descending

200 yds

226 minutes aqua jogging
110 minutes strength, yoga
14,600 yards swimming

This is the last week before my procedure. I have a pre-op appointment on Monday and the procedure Wednesday afternoon. I plan to go to two Without Limits swim practices (my first swim practices since I was 18 years old!) early in the week. Who knows when I will be able to get into the pool after the procedure. I will keep you updated.

Your aqua-beast,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

MRI results and cross training week #2

Tuesday morning I had an MRI of my right knee and spoke with my orthopedic surgeon about the results the following morning. I have an oblique tear in the non-vascular (white zone) section of my right meniscus. We decided that given the tear will not heal on its own and it causes so much pain that I will be best served by having a meniscectomy. The procedure is scheduled for July 30th. The care that I have received thus far has been phenomenal so I am confident that the procedure will be a success. If recovery goes well I will be running again by October.

Image downloaded from 
Meanwhile I have continued my cross training in the pool. I am still really enjoying the training plan, so not being able to run has been bearable. For the aquajogging sessions I clip my ipod to a baseball cap for some tunes (idea from running buddy Christa Iammarino) and I purchased a waterproof mp3 player for longer swims. The FINIS product must be one of the greatest items EVER! I have been using it for a week and love it. No earplugs people...this little gem transmits the sound through your cheekbone.

My training week looked like this:
Monday - 54 minutes aquajog with warm up, 3 sets of 5 x 1:30 hard, :30 easy, 2:00 easy between sets, cool down; 3,000 yd swim (300 warmup before aquajog,(Aquajog), 300 pull, 400 kick, 300 pull, 4x200 on 4:00 (3:30 down to 3:19), 100 back drill,100 back swim, 6x25 back hard on :45, 350 paddles/buoy, 200 cool down)

Tuesday - 60 minutes aquajog with warm up, 3 sets of 4 x 2:30 with :30 easy, 2:00 easy between sets, cool down; 2000 yds easy swim (500 easy warmup, 400 kick, 300 pull, 200 free build, 5 x 100 free, 100 back cooldown)

Wednesday - 50 minute continuous swim (2800 yds.)

Thursday - 45 minutes of strength and stretch

Friday - 64 minutes aquajog (3 sets of 1:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 2:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 3:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 2:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 1:00 hard, 2 minutes recovery between sets); 3100 yds swim (250 free, 5x100 on 2:00, 250 recovery, 50 kick, 200 free, 4x100 on 2:00, 200 free recovery, 50 kick, 150 free, 3x100 on 2:00, 150 free recovery, 50 kick, 100 free, 2x100 on 2:00, 100 free recovery, 50 kick, 100 back cool down)

Saturday - 56 minutes aquajog (warm up, 4 x 5:00 hard with 1:00 easy between, 6 x :45 sec very hard with 1:15 easy between, cool down); 2000 yds (400 bouy, 400 kick, 300 paddle/buoy, 300 kick, 200 paddle/buoy, 200 kick, 200 paddle/buoy)

Sunday - stretch focus

The days that I am in the pool, I am working out for 2+ hours so I have started bringing nutrition with me. The best stuff has been Hammer Gel and Heed during the workout and Recoverite afterwards.

Another week down!

What is your favorite pool workout?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A new challenge

Given that I am almost 40 years old and have been running competitively for over half of my life, I am, in part, lucky to never have suffered a running injury...until now. Genetics and my marathon shuffle (low impact) likely played a part in my great "run" of being injury-free, but the streak is OVER.

I started having tightness/soreness on the inside of my right knee-area and directly under the knee cap in April. I originally thought that it was some form of tendinitis as the discomfort would disappear after I warmed up. I did a workout on winding trails in June. During the workout I did not feel a thing, but later that day the discomfort was worse than normal. I picked up my icing sessions, but the discomfort continued to worsen. By late June I realized that I needed to take time off.

I took two weeks of no running. The knee felt much better so I tried a run. I made it less than a mile. Uh-oh.

This week I went to an orthopedist. He took some X-rays and ruled out bone and arthritis issues. The most likely candidates now include a meniscus tear, which I will need an MRI to determine. I am hoping to get in next week for the imaging and back to the doctor for an analysis of the results.

I was initially very upset about being "for real" hurt, imagined every worst case scenario possible, and was absurdly weepy. This response was of course ridiculous and inefficient. Reason #100021 to have a good coach. Coach Clifford challenged me to embrace the forced time off as a time to work on my form and take a mental break from running. Additionally he gave me an aquatic plan that should allow me to maintain my fitness. Challenge taken.

I am about to complete my first week of cross training and I have no doubt that I will be an aqua-beast by the time I return to running. I was in France for the first few days of the week (without a pool), so the week looked like this:

Monday: 30 minutes stationary bike, 30 minutes strength and balance training; plenty of walking around France (shopping!!)

Tuesday: 30 minutes stationary bike, 30 minutes strength and balance training; travel back to the US

Wednesday: 2400 yds. (500 free warm up, 400 kick, 300 pull, 200 build, 5 x 100, 500 free cool down); got some stroke tips from Coach Tom

Thursday: 20 minutes stationary bike, 50 minutes strength and balance training (pool closed due to thunder); aquajog in the ICW (10 min. warm up, 2 sets of 5 x 1:30 hard with :30 rest (2-3 minutes between sets), 10 min. cool down)

Friday:  300 free warm up, aquajog workout (5 minutes warm up, 2 sets of 14 minutes (1 hard, 1 easy, 2 hard, 1 easy, 3 hard, 1 easy, then back down), 10 minute cool down), 300 pull, 2x50 on 1:00, 2x100 on 2:00, 2x150 on 3:00, 1x200 on 4:00, then back down, 200 back alternating kick and pull, 100 cool down for a total swim of 2500 yds.

Saturday: 500 free warm up, 400 kick, 300 pull, aquajog workout (3 minutes easy, 4 x 5:00 hard with 1:00 easy between, 3:00 easy, 5 x :45 very hard on 2:00, 10:00 cool down), 300 pull, 5x100 with paddles and alternating with buoy, 200 back alternating kick and swim, 4 x 50 free hard on 1:00, 100 cool down for a swim total of 2500 yds.

Sunday: A scheduled day off from the pool with 45:00 of yoga/stretching/balance/strength

Total swimming: 7,400 yards
Total aquajogging: 2:21:00
Total strength/balance: 2:35:00
Total bike: 1:20:00

Whew. Bring it on! My hopes are still alive for running Cal International Marathon in December.

Until next week,