Lydia is a local physical therapist who has been practicing for about 2.5 years. She was one year ahead of me in school and was a clinician during one of my clinical affiliations.
She manages to fit in training for triathlons and mountain bike races while being married and working full-time as a clinician.
What was your training background like growing up?
I have always loved playing sports, and did so every chance I could get. My favorite sport growing up was gymnastics, and I spent most of my childhood at the gym. It was through gymnastics that I learned the valuable lessons of hard work, goal setting, teamwork, and dedication to fitness. Sports enabled me to appreciate physical therapy. Various injuries throughout the years threatened to keep me from being active, and physical therapy allowed me to continue doing what I love. Because of Physical Therapies profound effect on my life, I became a P.T. to help others remain active as well.
What kind(s) of exercise do you enjoy most now? What is your favorite thing about it?
I enjoy many forms of exercise, and I change it up depending on the day. Currently, I love mountain biking with my friends and husband. I love being outside on the trails, and mountain biking provides a fun, challenging, and engaging workout. I am also addicted to running, and enjoy running most days of the week after work or during my lunch break.
My favorite thing about running and mountain biking is knowing that my body is capable of doing things and attaining goals that I never thought possible. Before the last few years, I never considered myself an endurance athlete, I was more of a sprinter and a power athlete. Developing my fitness over the last few years to being capable of completing endurance events like the Augusta Half Ironman and The Knot Mountain Bike race is a dream come true for me. I simply love working hard at my goals, and it is gratifying to look back and see the progression from where I started.
What have been some of your biggest events or benchmarks in your training so far?
Due to extensive ankle injuries during my years as a gymnast, I have had to retrain my body to perform in endurance sports. I would say achieving that has been my biggest training benchmark. I am never satisfied, but I consider myself able to perform as a runner and biker and enjoy my time doing both.
In the past couple years my biggest events have been the Augusta half ironman in 2016 and several mountain bike races. I placed 1st in my first cross county mountain race in category 3 this past November, and 2nd in a cross-country mountain bike race last month. I also placed 3rd in a Super Downhill Mountain bike race, and 4th in an Enduro Mountain bike race this past November.
I became an ambassador for Honey Stinger for 2017, which means that I will be representing this nutritional line of waffles, bars and other racing fuels for any and all activities that I do this year. And recently, I was invited to be part of the Santa Cruz Grass Roots amateur mountain biking team for Juliana Cycling!
Do you have any specific races/events or goals for 2018?
I’m doing mostly mountain bike races now and have a few planned for the year. I’m still running for cross training.
I am also hoping to do the bike portion of the Augusta Half Ironman this year.
Have you experienced any new forms of injury with this new form of training? What are some of the methods you use to avoid injury in the first place?
I have had 3 ankle surgeries due to injuries from gymnastics so I constantly deal with pain and limitations with training. This past year I had an overuse injury in my knee, which put a stop to my training for a few months. I can’t stand not being active, so I am learning to listen to my body. I am trying to take rest days if I feel pain (this is definitely something I struggle with!), and let my body heal and improve through recovery days. Since running and biking are such repetitive sports, it creates muscles imbalances, which leads to injury. In order to avoid these types of injuries, I spend about 3 days a week in the gym doing strength training.
Do you have any advice for people struggling to train diligently while starting their career?
Find something that you love to do, and make it a priority! Schedule your training time like an appointment or an important meeting that you can’t miss. I have found that I have the most motivation for training, when I sign up for a race. Even if you don’t like to race, I encourage you to write down your goals because it will force you to clarify what you want and will motivate you to take action. Committing your goals to paper will enable you to see and celebrate your progress. I also know that I am the best version of myself as a wife, physical therapist, friend, etc. when I take time for myself to workout.