Forth week with an injury. Checking out Cole Pain Therapy Group yielded much better results than the original nurse practitioner/GP route. I’m taped up, icing up, have exercises to do, and the doctor actually really talked to me and listened and explained things! Whoa. Unfortunately part of my instructions are complete rest until we know more. Current diagnosis is an ankle sprain with muscle tension, and something about my bones being too tight or something? It all makes sense when he says it, but then I have a hard time retelling it without sounding silly. If I understand correctly, there’s no swimming, biking, or running for the next two weeks, until we can see that there’s significant improvement and completely rule out a stress fracture.

My brother told me that being injured is part of competing, and it’s one way to know if you’re training hard enough. Not sure what I think about that.

I miss being active. I’m higher strung and worry more. Not being able to run is like not being about to hang out with a favorite friend. But at least I’m past the point of feeling sorry for myself, and I’ve accepted that this is what’s happening now.

I’m catching up on my magazines and getting a little more social time. I got to go cheer my fellow  Star Runners at the DragonFly Tri! They knocked my socks off.  So determined and calm.

Here’s what’s next, that I really hope I don’t miss:

LuvMud Island, a muddy obstacle course 5k to benefit Habitat for Hope. I’ll be (hopefullyfingerscrossed) doing it with a team of three. The current plan is to all dress as male Chippendales, ala Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze in this SNL sketch:

I feel that’s very topical with the upcoming release of Magic Mike.

Next triathlon is Mighty Mite (hopefullyfingerscrossedpleasegetbettersoonankle), at one of my favorite places to swim and camp, Village Creek State Park. The swim is 1/3rd of a mile in open water, very deep. Thirteen mile challenging bike with some rolling hills. Really going to have to practice my downhills to get ready! Finishing up is a three mile run ending in town square. It’s a point-to-point triathlon, which will be a fun challenge.

Y’all wish me luck and a speedy recovery!

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Did you hear me? Have I said it enough times?

My right foot and ankle have become the center of my universe and I’m so bored thinking about it and talking about it. But I can’t stop. It’s been 19 days since I injured myself during the Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon, and I’m still not ok.

Throw in a nearly pointless doctor visit and some kind of intense chest cold and my calories burned count is next to zero for the past couple weeks. This causes me a deep unrest and a surface-level sadness that I keep swatting at like a fly.

Really, deep down, I’ve never loved my life more than I do right now. And as frustrating as the sprained (?) ankle is, I know I’ll get better and continue to do the things I’ve recently learned to celebrate: swimming, biking, running.

Sans solid medical advice, I’ve hit up Dr. Google once again and found a couple exercises for strengthening a sprained ankle. I alternate a cold pack and a hot epsom salt soak with some difficulty, since we don’t actually have a bathtub. And somehow don’t seem to have any kind of bucket or pot that will accommodate my long, slender, aching foot. I’m taking either rx strength naproxen or ibuprofen. The nurse practitioner gave me a prescription for Mobic, but my face gets really hot and I feel weird after I take it, so I stopped.

A note on the nearly useless doctor visit: no clear instruction was given on how much to use or not use my ankle for training. I was told not to immobilize it, but after repeated questions, I was unable to elicit a direct answer on when and how to exercise. That’s why I’m, carefully, making it up as I go.

A swim early on proved to be extremely painful. But I have an additional lake and pool swim under my belt now and find that, ultimately, the motion in the water seems to be helpful, even though it stings in the moment.

A very brief, non-strenuous bike ride was about the same. The motion seemed like it may be helping, but it was pretty painful.

I ran two miles on Monday! God, I miss running so much it’s like missing a dear friend. Today is National Running Day, too! But since I’ve exercised four days in a row, I’m giving my ankle a rest today and may start back to using hand weights.

The run was really tough. I did a five minute walking warm-up, and just the shoe hitting that outside ankle bone was killer. I moved into running and tried not to hobble, relaxing into a more natural stride. The first mile was pretty great and I was glad to see that, in the cardiovascular sense, I’m probably not too far behind where I was for the tri. The humidity was excruciating and there was some nausea involved, but I was still SO happy to be out on the sun-baked pavement. I debated going through with the second mile or not. It seemed both like a dumb idea (since I was in pain) and like a great idea (because I miss running and want to stay fit). I ran through the second mile, maybe pushing myself a bit too hard. I switched immediately to a walk the second my runkeeper told me I hit the two mile mark. Oddly, walking felt worse, maybe because it was more drawn out.

That evening I felt like I made a huge mistake (Arrested Development style). I woke several times throughout the night in pain. But the next day, it seemed like the run had actually done some good. I swam that afternoon with the least pain I’d had experienced in weeks.

Upon further reading, I’ve learned that I should try alternating running with walking, and I’m using the strengthening exercises I found.

Dragonfly (three days away) is out. I decided to go ahead and ex out Gearhead, too, which is ten days away. The last thing I want to do is get to a point of partial recovery where I can at least be active again, and make things worse by racing hard with a body full of adrenaline. The nurse said that complete healing would probably take at least six weeks. With that in mind, I’ve got Mighty Mite in my sights at one of my favorite state parks, and am super excited about it. I’m looking forward to a few fun things in the meantime, including a canoe trip and LuvMud Island, which I’m running with a team. All this time on my ass better result in a great costume idea!

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I am feeling sorry for myself.

This may or may not have resulted in me eating seven servings of Honey Nut Chex Mix for lunch yesterday, having sangria for dinner the night before, telling myself I’m fat while looking at race pics, and watching nearly half an hour of The Bachelorette.

The combo of post-race blues and my stupid, swollen, slovenly, sprained ankle has done a little number on me. I haven’t done any training since the tri commenced, so it’s been three full days. That in itself is incredibly frustrating, and I am kind of in limbo about whether to “rest” my ankle, or “stretch” it to keep from getting too stiff.

Going to the doctor, paying a copay, and receiving instructions that are exactly identical to what you already know is not my favorite sequence of events. Money is super tight right now as I am about to buy a car, and I need access to another $100 if I’m ready to compete in the next event, The DragonFlyTri. (Also, I desperately need a haircut.) The Dragonfly is less than three weeks away, btw, and begins with a HALF MILE SWIM. Holy effballs. Point being, I am throwing a screaming baby fit and don’t want pay a $30 co-pay + additional money for stupid brace or whatever.

Attempting to ice my ankle at an extremely awkward angle from my work desk.

My plan to do Zoom Through the Zoo tomorrow to get a time to beat in the CY 4-miler is blown. I’m paranoid, at least, I think it’s paranoia, that if I miss a week of running I’ll lose all of the momentum I’ve built over the past couple months.

I really believed that a couple days of icing and elevating would yield a like-new ankle. This has not been the case and I don’t handle disappointment well. I’ve been fortunate enough not to sustain a single injury since beginning tri-training, and it is really messing with my head that I was mysteriously injured during the race. It’s such an in-between type of injury, too, because it’s not that bad and I don’t want to be overly dramatic about it.

So, what to do? Doctor? Hold off on running and try to bike and swim in the meantime? Super-cautious, super-careless, or somewhere in between? I’ve been hitting up Dr. Google (as my friend Karen would say) to get some answers, but as always, it’s all a matter of interpretation.

I actually do feel a little better today than I did yesterday, and I am consoling myself with some of the stats from Saturday’s race. The average finishing time for males was 1:42:09. The average finishing time for females was 1:43:29. That means I beat both average times by several minutes. Pretty excited about that!

And this will always get me to smile:

Star’s photo of my dad running me to the finish 🙂

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a triathlete is born: MIM Sprint 2012 conquered

These couple days following the event have been a bit surreal. I worked so hard and built up so much anticipation, the aftermath feels a little flat. I knew I could do it, and I did. Following is a fairly detailed account of what happened on race day, and yes, it’s super long!

Pre race:

As expected, I had a little trouble sleeping the night before. Upon waking at 4am on Saturday, I was fairly certain I wasn’t going back to sleep. I lied in bed for almost an hour, visualizing my perfect race. According to Star, visualization is an important component of a successful race. I have a great imagination, so I took my time picturing every aspect. At 5.30am I got up and spent some time in the bathroom, making sure I wouldn’t have any problems that required a stop during the race! I fixed my hair and applied sunscreen to my face. Summer, my roommate for the weekend, had said she wanted to wake up at the last possible moment, so I packed a bag with my mini bagel and peanut butter, and headed downstairs to check out the coffee situation. Fortunately not only was the coffee delicious, but the little kiosk had a toaster I was able to pop my bagel in! I had just started to eat my bagel around 6.15am  when Howell called saying he was already in the parking lot with our bikes. I put on my tri suit and we quickly went down to meet him. I tested out my bike in the parking lot since my computer had been on the fritz, and of course, Howell had fixed everything and my bike was ready to soar.

Setting up:

We went to transition to check in our bikes and get everything set up, and somehow I got one of the few officials who was actually checking helmets for some sort of safety approval sticker. Well, my helmet, a Trek, didn’t have the sticker, so she rather passively told me I couldn’t use it but directed me both to the expo to buy another, and to another official. I was pretty sure I could just use my helmet anyway, but would have hated for that to somehow result in a disqualification. Ladies and gentlemen, I almost had a meltdown. My emotions were already running pretty high, and excitement and happiness were rapidly turning to frustration. I knew that if I allowed myself to cry, I would really lose it, and that just wasn’t an option. After a few deep breaths and a plea to my fellow Star Runners, I had several helmet offers and we went back to the hotel to get Emily’s, who was doing the Olympic the following day instead of the Sprint. Phwew. What a doll. I brought her helmet down to transition and felt greatly relieved. I continued to drink water and my coffee, and ate half a pack of ShotBloks, too. Star did my body marking and I was ready to roll.

We took a big group photo and exchanged some last minute concerns and quips. I can’t say it enough; I LOVED being there as part of such a down to earth group. Everyone was nervous and excited, but if anybody pulled any prima dona moves, I didn’t notice. Howell hung out with us the whole time, and was super awesome in general, as usual.

Photo complements of Star Runners.


The start seemed chaotic until it all began to unfold. The announcer would call for groups of 100 at a time to line up. I found my age group and the women around me were very pleasant and had a good sense of humor. Kelly and Karen were just a few people away from me in the line up, so that was really nice. The line moved quickly as each athlete started three seconds apart. Before I knew it I was at the ramp, yelling for Kelly who was in front of me, and then jogging into the water. I had tested the water the day before and knew it would feel nice. A lot of folks are grossed out by lakes, but I’ve done so much canoeing, camping, and lake swimming that I much prefer fish and moss to pool chemicals.

What happened next is hard to explain. I never panicked, but I was completely overwhelmed throughout the swim. Karen was nearby and walking some, which I also started to do. We kept looking at each other and laughing. What else was there to do?! The movement of the lake, the murkiness of the water (it was green!) and the 500 other people in there were things we just couldn’t have practiced dealing with beforehand. I grabbed a lot of feet and had mine grabbed a bunch, but that never bothered me. I did a lot of dog paddling and breast stroke, but fewer freestyle strokes than I would’ve liked. I kept reminding myself that the swim was just the first part and not to exhaust my energy too quickly. There’s a crazy tight canal towards the end and once I got through I could see the finish! I was really excited until I got caught in a current or something and felt like I was literally moving backwards. I had to flip on my back for a minute because I couldn’t touch the bottom, which was disorienting, to say the least. I knew I wasn’t drowning, but that was the closest I got to feeling like I might. I worried that my cheering team would think I was in trouble, so with that thought, I forced myself to freestyle and gain some ground, er, water. That last stretch was so hard, as it appeared deceptively short, but was much longer. I made peace with the sense that I had been in the water for about 30 minutes and I had completely blown my total goal time plus my swim goal of 15 minutes. After a slight battle with a clinging branch, I was finally being pulled out at the finish.

Perceived swim time: 35[million] minutes.

Actual swim time: 14:37


I had a gel in my tri top, which I immediately ripped open and ate. I didn’t feel like I needed it, but I opted for over-fueling, rather than risking under-fueling. The jury’s still out on whether that was the right decision. I took my time in transition and sat down to put on my socks and shoes. I sucked down a bunch of water and headed out with my bike. Howell and friends yelled for me as I exited transition. I was beside myself with excitement for the next part.

TA1 time: 3:00

I’m in black, in between the two pink ladies.

Thanks to Karen, from whom I stole some pics, and thanks to Emily, who took the pics!


I climbed on my bike and topped the hill right in front of the casino. Behold, there were my parents and their dog standing smack dab in the middle of the median right in front of me! I wish I had a camera in my helmet; it was a beautiful and picturesque sight. There was a lot of traffic stopped right behind them and some asshole was laying on his horn. Then I saw people hanging out the doors of a stopped car and I realized, hey, those “assholes” are my friends! It wasn’t an angry commuter; I had four lovely ladies screaming their guts out for me right behind my parents. Let me tell you, seeing all those friendly faces made me feel like I suddenly had a jetpack on my back.

The bike was fast and flat, and a bit windy to boot. I love love loved riding on the road with police blocking traffic at every light. I played with my gears until I felt like my cadence was right and I was using the right amount of energy. And then I started passing people. Dozens of people. I made for damn sure that I didn’t dip below a 15 mph pace, but I was really aiming to stay closer to 17mph. I made a couple efforts to grab my water, but felt too nervous as I am awful fueling on the bike. Around mile five I knew I absolutely had to drink water. I considered stopping but didn’t dare lose my momentum, so I timidly grabbed for my water and drank and drank. I even passed someone while I was holding my bottle, because I had a few false starts trying to get it back in the cage.

Throughout the ride, I was uncertain about how hard I could really be pushing, because I didn’t want to blow out my legs for the run. Every time I noticed my speed dropping due to wind or a slight incline, I thought about my family, about how I’m a Korzekwa and I can do this. Around the 10 mile mark, I decided it was time to push, and brought my speed up to 19-20mph. I coasted downhill to the dismount line and again had a face full of friends and family screaming for me. It was beyond awesome and I felt amazing about my ride.

Bike time: 45:53

That’s me on the right.

Smooth dismount. Phwew!


I barely remember this transition. I racked my bike and swapped my helmet for a ball cap and took off for the run. I had also stowed a half pack of ShotBloks and some Honey Stinger chews in my top pockets. I kind of knew I wouldn’t eat all of that, and it got in my way later. I did take my larger handheld water bottle with me, too.

TA2 time: 1:31


The main thing I focused on initially was lowering my heart rate before I really started hauling ass on the run. My dad gave me a pep talk and some sound advice a few days before about nerves and adrenaline, and not working too hard with a super high heart rate. I was so jazzed from my final effort on the bike that it took some time to lower my heart rate. I don’t have a watch or heart rate monitor (yet!) so I just did it by feel. The beginning of the run was mostly uphill, taking on the long drive we came down to end the bike. I was just barely jogging due to my heart rate. People were whizzing past me, but I just couldn’t worry about that. I ate a couple ShotBlocks and washed them down with water. Mistake. I felt full and gassy, and couldn’t really relax until I’d burped a few times later on in the run. I got surprised by one more steep climb and commiserated with a fellow runner about it! That second incline was the only time on the run that I walked.

The run was by far the most social aspect of the tri. I chatted briefly with a few people, most of whom were passing me but wishing me luck. Since I didn’t have a watch, I couldn’t gauge my speed, but I guessed I was running at around an 11:30 pace. Not fast enough to beat my goal for the run. When a man without a foot blew by me, I knew I had to ignore any minor discomfort I was having if that guy could do it with a missing limb and look like such a pro. You can probably get an idea from the pictures, but the run was fairly flat and absolutely without shade. It really got to me that I could see so far ahead and the distance looked daunting, appearing much longer than three measly miles. I ran through the one sprinkler station and thanked god for a little cool down! Right around that time a very serious and crazy fast local runner and trainer passed me, and she told me I was a rock star. That was beyond nice of her and made me feel great. Kelly passed me and said she was going to vomit, so I screamed at her not to throw up and to get to the finish as fast as she could. So many of my competitors, mostly other women, told me in that last mile that I was doing a good job or that I was getting close.

Maybe they were just incredible supportive and perhaps they could also tell that by the beginning of mile three I was limp-running. I can’t say what happened, exactly. (That sounds familiar!) My best guess is that I must have turned my ankle on some gravel during the short off-road portions of the run. All I know for sure is that I started to notice pain shooting up my right ankle, and it wasn’t a cramp or passing discomfort. I figured out pretty quickly that I was actually hurt. I had planned for calf cramps or mild joint pain; I hadn’t prepared for a real injury. There wasn’t much of a decision to be made. I just kept going. I did have some horrifying and vivid thoughts about my ankle completely blowing out and having a violent fracture and subsequent fall in front of a bunch of people. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I was not sprinting the last half mile like I had planned either.

Until I saw my dad. There he was, right around the swim start, as I closed in on that last quarter mile. He was grinning from ear to ear and telling me how impressed and amazed he was.  I asked him to touch my hand to give me some extra energy, and he did me one better by running the rest of the race in the grass alongside me. I will never be able to explain how much that meant to me.

Run 33:06


I crossed the finish line to the announcer butchering my name not once but twice. I couldn’t have cared less and threw up my arms, letting out a wild whoop. The view from those last few yards was lined with friends holding signs, and Star and Keith and other Star Runners who had come down just to support the tri group. Volunteers that must have been sent straight from heaven handed me a cold cup of water and put an ice cold towel on my neck. I was completely overwhelmed as my dad grabbed me in a huge hug, and several loud sob/laugh hybrids escaped my throat. My mom was holding a spot for me in the shade and my friends were offering me mimosas. My ankle throbbed with pain and I was blown away by what I had just accomplished. I cheered on some other group members and friends who were still crossing the finish and hugged and thanked my loving and enthusiastic supporters.

Quite a bit of time went by before I even thought to go to the results tent and get my print out. I was really proud of myself for not sweating the time in favor of simply being happy I finished. I was even more thrilled when I saw my times and realized I beat my overall goal of 01:40:00.

Total time: 01:38:06.360

A post-it on my desk.

Above is a record of my gut-level prediction of how I would do on each event. I scribbled those numbers on a post-it the day before the event. I’m really pleased about how realistic I was about my performance. My swim was just under 15. I averaged my transition predictions at two minutes each, knowing that the first would probably take longer and the second would be shorter. They were 3 and 1.5 minutes. The bike was almost a minute over prediction and I was only six seconds off my run time! Even with a gimpy ankle I came in two minutes under my goal. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was hoping my total time would be nearer 1:30 than 1:40, but I learned a lot from the experience and know what I’ll do differently next time.

As for the ankle, I think it’s just a mild sprain. I’ve been icing, elevating, and taking anti-inflammatories, and it’s starting to feel better. And I did finish, and I didn’t die tri-ing!

My favorite sign! Even if some of the other spectators and competitors didn’t get it.

If I have one single regret, it is only that I wasn’t with it enough to take more pictures with my family and friends.

I have the most mind-bendingly wonderful friends.

That’s not to mention friends and family who were watching the finish line video or who were hugely supportive over the phone or online.  I am such a lucky lady and I can’t wait for my next tri!

Posted in community, cycle, fuel, gear, morale, obstacles, run, swim | 4 Comments

my rock

Tomorrow. Tomorrow at this time, 8.08am, I will be watching the first 250 or so racers to file into the water, 3 seconds at a time. My age group starts right in the middle; my guess is that I’ll be in the water by 8.20am at the latest.

I am truly excited and most of my nerves peaked a couple days ago. I hope!

This has been a pretty amazing first leg to a new adventure for me. (What can I say? Anticipation makes me really cheesy.) And I have had an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family, teammates, coach, and most of all, my partner. Howell listens every day to my workout rundowns and my fears. He’s dragged me on bike rides when I just wanted to lie in bed. And he has forced me to practice changing a flat when I completely resisted. Howell has never asked me to skip a workout or encouraged me to do anything that would hurt my training. He has shown the utmost support and respect for me and my wild decision to take on a triathlon from an almost non-existent fitness level.

Last night, before my last training ride, Howell changed my tire for me, and then he changed it again, twice, after the ride (long story). He’s bringing mine and Summer’s bikes up to transition tomorrow morning so we don’t have to deal with them tonight. I really could not be doing this without his support, and I’ll be so glad to know that he is nearby during the race.

Years before Howell joined the Bosco’s cycling team, he peddled on his own. On a trainer, outside, you name it. He is an incredible self-starter whereas I really need a group or peer encouragement. He is patient with me but doesn’t put up with too much of my shit. He has been tolerant of a rigorous training schedule. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

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my parents, my heroes

Y’all, my dad has WON a triathlon. Placed first in his age group. Where was I when that was going on? Probably being a self-absorbed teenager who didn’t know her ass from, well, you know. He can’t remember which year, but he did indeed win his age group in the Wolfpack Off-Road Triathlon. When he told me this today on the phone, I kept questioning him. “You did the swim, too?” “It was a triathlon and not a duathlon?” Yes and yes.


Two years ago, my mom rode 1000 miles over the course of the summer via the Ride: Well Bike Tour to raise money for the Blood Water Mission to bring clean water to African countries. One thousand miles. One thousand miles so people could have water to live.


Not to mention all of my brother’s success with cycling and his recent win.

Look at my family and how amazing they are. I think I’ve got this. Bring it, Memphis in May.

(an older pic, but you get the point 🙂 )

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That was my 400 meter swim time today. Perhaps the key phrase for calm confidence week is HELLZ YEZ.

Feeling extremely confident about beating my 15 minute goal time for the tri. Still a little freaked about the waves and the course, but nothing I can do except wait for Saturday morning. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a therapist, it’s that the only thing worry does for you is give you the illusion of control.

And calm confidence week rolls on!

(Don’t ask me about my freakout earlier today!)

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