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Chilling Out for Race Day

hypericeWhat is it about me and fall? The last two years, I’ve made big plans for my last tri of the year, and the last two years, I’ve ended up injured and not as well-trained as I’d planned. Last year, it was my back. This year, it was a mix of just not quite feeling the eye of the tiger, then screwing up my knee. Considering I’d had really high hopes for this year’s TriRock, saying I’m bummed is an understatement.

The one good thing about the knee injury is that I’m going into this year’s race smart. I’ve cut back on running as my knee healed, but have been diligent about doing the strength work and stretching I’ve learned in physical therapy. And, I’ve been icing like a boss, which got a lot easier when HyperIce sent me its knee compression sleeve.

I’d first seen the product at a beach volleyball tournament and was impressed on a couple of points. For one, the fit is such that you can actually move around while icing. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m way more likely to ice the way I’m supposed to if I can be at least semi-mobile. Also, the ice cell (basically, the bag where the ice goes) isn’t just compressed against my knee because of the neoprene sleeve, but also because it has a built-in air release valve, so I can get it super snug against my leg.

Since I got my own a couple of weeks ago, I also realized that the ice cell keeps the ice, well, icy for a long, long time. I’ve been actually icing both knees after workouts, and it stays completely cold the whole time, and even afterward when Jared steals it. (We’re already planning to order another one — just deciding whether we want the utility or back sleeve.)

hyperice back

HyperIce: Pretty cool solution for icing sore muscles without wanting to be stuck on the couch.

Anyway! So, I’m strengthening, I’m stretching, I’m icing, I’m keeping my training runs short and pain-free. And you know, I might not be where I wanted to be in a perfect world, but I feel pretty okay about it. I’ve gotten a few wetsuit swims under my belt since last year’s race, so between that and the extra swim training over the last month, I think that’s going to go fairly well. I’m much more comfortable on the bike now — last year at this time, 20 miles felt like a long ride, and this year, that’s right about where I warm up, so the 25-mile bike portion doesn’t worry me.

All that leaves is the run, and my big plan is to just be grateful for whatever my body allows on the run course. Maybe I’ll feel great and be able to hold a steady pace, but if I have to keep it at a run/walk the whole time, well, I’m still out there, right? I’ll still be at Clearwater Beach, racing with friends, and I’m sure I’ll still have some fun stories and a great recap for you guys after the fact. And that is certainly enough to keep me smiling.

Do you have any rehabilitation or recovery products that have really helped you? —Kristen

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