Friday, February 24, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO

I find it mildly ironic that in my last post I commented on my anxiety having gotten better. That night I went off and had one of the worst panic attacks I have had in awhile. I don't know what had triggered it but it made that night relatively sleepless. It wasn't until about three in the morning I think I finally fell asleep. My day had gone great, nothing out of the ordinary but that night I felt my anxiety creeping in for no reason until it felt like I was having a heart attack. By now you think I would be able to remember that when I have a panic attack it feels like a heart attack and be able to calm down but that is quite opposite of what happens. It just compounds on itself making it worse and worse. I don't think it helped that the pillow I was using managed to bend my head in a way that made my tongue choke myself and jerk me awake. I managed to convince myself that it was me feeling me heart skip a beat or kick really hard until I realized what was really going on. Needless to say the past couple days I have had some pretty rough parts just with the anxiety creeping on out of nowhere. Today has seemed to be pretty good so far and I hope to keep it that way. I really could use a full night of sleep.

On to more enjoyable news, this week I got a couple days in a row of rest which was greatly needed. My body and mind started getting a little fried. It was also timely to give my chest a bit of rest. I went into sports med to get the chest pain I have been having looked at and they concluded it was costochondritis. Which doesn't surprise me its something I have had before. Pretty much what happens is the cartilage between the ribs and sternum becomes inflamed and can feel like a heart attack. This obviously didn't help my anxiety until I had someone with far greater knowledge reassure me that I was fine and just had to wait for the inflammation to go down. It makes training a little tricky when I start to breathe deeply it will become painful but I have mostly been able to manage through it.

I finally set up my mailbox the other week and wasn't expecting anything but had a feeling to check it the other day and was surprised to see a letter in it. I had gotten one from my aunt Jean. It really made me happy just to hear from someone from home. This afternoon I gave her a call and talked to her for a little bit. It was really nice hearing a familiar voice especially when it from someone as sweet as she is.

Today I was back at it training hard. The weather here has cooled off a substantial amount and forced training indoors. Not ideal but it got the job done and I suffered along side several other residents. Tomorrow looks to be mildly warmer if that and I would like to get outside for that workout. Hopefully mother nature smiles on me and at least makes it sunny.

I feel like I have made it a theme to post some photos along with my posts. I really haven't taken any note worthy photos since the last one. These are more for myself to remember everyone back home and I can't wait to see you all again, I love you.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO

Well updating this in a timely manner got away from me this time. Thankfully or not there hasn't been a lot to report on. I met with our nutritionist and sports psychologist this past week just to touch base and meet in person. Both are astoundingly nice individuals and I look forward to working with them more in the future. Today I also had a meeting with Simon my coach over coffee and that I found to be very productive. I haven't had the chance to really talk with him much one on one so it was nice being able to take an hour and go over a vast amount of information. Working with him has been going very well and so far I feel like the training he prescribes has been very good and is setting me up to have my best season to date.

The past couple weeks I have been dealing with a lot of chest and intercostal tightness which has been rocking me mildly. It has been making deep breathing difficult and I would get a pain in my ribs any time I would do a hard effort from breathing heavily. I brought this up to Ricky one of the interns in the gym and he gave me some exercises to try and loosen my pectoral muscles and that has really been beneficial but the one thing he suggested was diaphragmatic breathing. I have always been a chest breather and never really thought of breathing as a way to help performance. It took some time to get used to doing this but I really have noticed the benefits. My heart rate seems to have lowered slightly, I feel like I am getting deeper more fulfilling breaths in, and it has really helped with my anxiety. Any time I feel a panic attack coming on or my anxiety creeping in I calm down by focusing on breathing out of my belly. This technique alone has been a life saver. I was still having the rib pain and I brought it up to Anthony one day while I was in the gym and he took time out of his day to help me figure out what exactly was going on. From what I can tell it seem that one of the muscles in my abdomen is really tight and might be pulling on one of my ribs....I think? It makes sense to me because after palpating around we were able to find a very tender muscles on the left side of my abdomen. The past couple days I really have focused on stretching that muscles and trying to loosen it up. So far I haven't experienced any of the rib pain I had been having but the muscle is still tender.

I have always invested a lot of my effort to trying to improve on the bike. Now having dedicated time off the bike to work on strength and conditioning has really highlighted my lack of flexibility and mobility so every day I have put in an extra effort to go down to the gym and go through a foam rolling and stretching routine to work on my weaknesses. I don't know if I have really improved too much but more found how messed up my body has become in different areas. I am excited to see the improvements I make as I continue to work on theses areas of fitness and more excited to see how they benefit me on the bike.

The weather here is supposed to cool off for the next week but it could easily change. The weather seems to be a bit bipolar here. I am looking forward to the work outs these upcoming weeks and to putting more time on my TT bike in efforts to get ready for nationals.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Been back in the Spring for a week now, finally settling in. The weather has truly spoiled me with the ability to wear just a jersey and bibs. Earlier in the week we had a power test that I royally messed up. I had some sort of costal pain that was making breathing hard and the altitude was really rocking me. The power I put out was truly pathetic. I was actually pretty bummed by it but I just had to remind myself that I am no where near being acclimated and I had other discomfort that hindered my ability to produce sufficient power. Been training consistently here and the past two days I felt the power returning to my legs and the air starting to fill my lungs. The power is still not where I would expect it to be at sea level but I know with due time it will be back to where I need it to be for racing. Today's workout our gym trainer Anthony joined us. Solid guy to ride with and super easy to get along with. He knows his stuff and I really look forward to working with him more. He really has highlighted how inflexible I am and it's something that I really wanna work on. It seems like something so trivial but I am slightly embarrassed how tight I am and how I have neglected that portion of my performance and now really really want to improve it.

I am slowly starting to branch out of my comfort zone. I still don't really know anyone here outside of the people in the cycling program. I am starting to talk to other athletes but it will be a process. I think I need to become comfortable with the fact that this is my home and that it is everyone else's home too. I've been making baby steps at socializing. Thursday night I went to resident movie night with Ryan Boyle. He is another cyclist here and probably one of the most entertaining guys to hang out with. He is a legit guy who I enjoyed spending time with. Then Friday night I had some visitors from MN that Ryan and I got diner with. After dinner a handful of the residents here went over to Finishline which is a bar across the street. I had no interest in drinking but I did feel like it would behoove me to go be social with these people I am not too familiar with yet. Called it an early night just to make sure I was getting enough sleep. It was an interesting time, never been to a bar before and that place was interesting. The people watching was phenomenal and the atmosphere was loud. Not really my kind of place but it was good for me to see what else is outside of the OTC.

The weather tomorrow is only supposed to be a high of 40 degrees. It has me a little bummed but then again if I still lived in MN I would be chomping at the bit for that kinda temps in February.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Colorado Springs, Colorado

I am dreaming of more oxygen. Only being here for a week and then returning to sea level for two hasn't really given me the chance to acclimate to the thin air in COS. Saturday was my first day back and I was more gracious to be back than notice the thin air. I noticed how fresh the air felt versus the smog of LA.

The plan was to leave LA Saturday morning and get back on Sunday. Thursday night I got a call from him saying we were gonna leave a day early and I was so thankful. We drove 11 hours to Albuquerque to stay the night. I think I need to take over booking the places we stay at because the place we stayed at was about as sketchy as I have ever been. The stay was short and we hit the road promptly. We rolled into the Springs midway through one in the afternoon and shortly met up to go spin easy. It felt nice to move the legs and just soak in the fact we were home.

Sunday training resumed normally, Murphy and I went and road for 2 and a half hours and did plenty of climbing. The first climb I was eager and felt like I had some power in the legs. Once we hit the 2nd it was game over. I was gasping for air and overheating. Riding with Chris is good motivation, the guy is strong and I look forward to training more with him in the future. Later that night Chris and his girlfriend Kelly invited me and another resident athlete over to their house for dinner. I was wonderful talking with everyone casually and being in a relaxed setting. Didn't catch any of the game and I heard it was one not to miss.

Today I tried to keep the feet up as much as possible. Tomorrow we are doing a power test in the morning. I can't say I am ready for it. It's going to be a 30 min effort and the fact that I am not acclimated makes me a little nervous but it is what it is and I have to look at it in a positive manner. I had a meeting with our coach Simon today. I was really looking forward to sitting down and chatting with him. I had already really liked his style and what he was bringing to the table when I first met him but after getting to sit down and really look into training and a plan of attack and hearing what he has to say I have nothing but the utmost respect for the man. I think he is exactly what this program needs and I really look forward to working with him.

That's enough for tonight, I'm ready for bed and ready to get over the side effects of altitude. It has been rocking me and I have to remind myself it is only temporary.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Torrance California

This past weekend of racing felt like a flash. Everything was go go go and it didn't feel like I had much time to breath. Now that I am halfway through this week I have had time to reflect and be thankful for this great opportunity I have. Chris is still in Carson till Friday at a worlds prep camp. I am very happy that he did so well this weekend and made the cut. Since we traveled out here together I was fortunate enough that I have relatives in Torrance and they had an open room for me to stay at till Chris and I head back to Colorado.

On my ride yesterday I was climbing around Palos Verdes and had to take several deep breaths in and be thankful for this opportunity I have. Never did I think I would be living in Colorado in the situation I am in. The US Para program is to thank for investing in future and current athletes giving them the chance to train full time and reach their full potential.

Southern California isn't typically my cup of tea but the weather and riding has really been nice. The fact that all I have to worry about is kicking my legs up and training when it is warm has been really nice. I am ready to head back to Colorado and get back into a routine there. I have been in California longer than I have been in Colorado. I can't say that Colorado feels like home yet just because I haven't been there long enough but everyone at the OTC makes it easier. Everyone has a smile on their face and are as friendly as can be.

Looking forward to riding today in the sun.