Sunday, April 27, 2008

Less than a week!

I am getting really excited as the Penticton trip is less than one week away. I am excited to get away, to simply focus on training and relaxing, and to not worry about anything here. Things have been a little better, weather-wise, this weekend. Today was beautiful, about 17C. Yesterday was a long day of training. I got up really early and did a swim workout at 7am (2400m). Luckily there were 3 other swimmers from my group that came and met me and we all did the same workout. One fast set included in there, 5 x 100 desc 1-5 on 1:35, which was hard so early in the morning. I descended from 1:20 to 1:15 on the last one.

My brick workout turned out longer than planned. I decided to just ride the trainer for 2 hours (scheduled 90min to 1hr 45), but I was feeling good and not having any seat issues, so I just kept going. It is rare when I actually feel like biking longer than I'm supposed to. After I finished biking I changed into running gear and felt like I was bonking, so I had a gel. I don't think I adjusted my nutrition intake for the longer ride, as all I had was one bottle of Gu sports drink, some water, and a gel. After a couple of minutes I set out for my 30 min run (20 hard, 10 ez). Went pretty hard and struggled a bit. But finished it off, unfortunately not without some stomach cramping and issues near the end.

Watched 'Juno' last night. I thought it was a really good movie and I enjoyed it. I was so hungry yesterday night after 3.5 hours of training that day, so Geoff and I made some popcorn and I had a bowlful or two of this delicious trifle I bought at Safeway when grocery shopping that evening (quite possible my favourite dessert of all-time). Had another bite of it at breakfast this morning, and finished off the rest of it after my run. Geoff had about one bowl of the whole thing. What can I say, it is so good and I can't help it!

The run today was pretty hard, ended up being 1hr 35 mins, although it was supposed to be 1 hr 40 min. I turned around at the halfway point at 50 mins, so went a bit faster on the way back (also shortened it by about 2 mins by taking a slightly different route, which still means it was faster on the trip back). There was a 40 min tempo during the run which I found hard. I had moments where I felt out of shape, and other moments where I felt close to good, but overally it was a better run than 2 weeks ago, where I died near the end and was wiped out for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I just have to get through this week and then I am out of here on Saturday morning! Hopefully the weather there is warm and sunny!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rewind

To me, it is January right now. If you look outside, that is what it looks like, and also feels like. Old Man Winter decided to take a huge dump on our city starting Saturday and it didn't end until yesterday. So I am just going to assume it is still January until the snow melts. Which maybe isn't the best idea, as that would mean I have almost 4 months till World's when really I actually only have just over a month. That is a scary thought.

I have pretty much put the negativity from the race this past weekend behind me. The whole experience was quite sour and I know I shouldn't get hung up on it as the conditions were crap but some people still managed to do well in it. I wouldn't say I was one of them (although on a side note, my time was actually 1:23.20, not 1:24 like I mentioned before, which is slightly better).

There is really not much time left to get into top shape for the race. I think I am in pretty good shape right now but not nearly good enough for where I need (and want) to be come June. Sometimes I worry that I'm not doing long enough/hard enough training and then other times I feel great. It is only just over a week until we leave for Penticton so that will be a chance to settle that for once and for all by doing an epic training week. I will probably end up doing the Bare Bones Duathlon on May 10, instead of the Cultus Lake Tri on May11, as the duathlon is right in Penticton and the tri is 3 hours away. We'll see how it goes - it will be a real challenge as my strength is removed from a duathlon!

Just finished biking for 90 minutes, legs felt a bit tired and some soreness still lingers from the 10 miler race. Nothing some stretching and a massage next Monday won't cure! Bye for now...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A blizzard, a lost contact lense, and a 10 mile 'race'

The 10 miler race this morning was run during a blizzard. The conditions were appalling, the wind was howling (35km/h winds with wind gusts up to 48km/h), the footing was terrible, the windchill was -19C (air temp of -10C) and it is nearly May. At least 10-15cm of the white stuff fell overnight. All time goals for the race were thrown out the window (and into the storm). I showed up to complete the race (along with 500-something other crazy people (out of the 700-something that registered for the race).

I did an easy 10 minute warm up around 9am (race start was 9:30am), and felt surprisingly good. I mean my legs and my fitness felt good. The wind was whipping into my face and it was snowing heavily and my feet were slipping out from under me. The race started and I had planned to go out comfortably but tried to stay with a couple of the girls in my group, which turned into an uncomfortably comfortable pace. We ran into a headwind for the first part (and as it turns out, vast majority) of the race, so the wind was biting into your face and the snow was whipping into your eyes. After about the first 2 miles, I tried to rub some of the icicles from my eye with my mitt, which resulted in (somehow) my contact lense rolling somewhere behind my eye (not sure how that happens?).

For the next few miles I kept trying to roll it back into place, and this coupled with the snow whipping into my face made for a difficult time seeing. Finally around mile 4 it just popped out of my eye onto my eyelash, so I just threw it away as there was no way I would be able to put it back in. So the rest of the race I only saw clearly out of one eye (I am pretty blind without contacts).

The weather conditions didn't let up at all. There was no stable footing, and not one step was made in that race on clear pavement. It was snow, snow, snow, and below that ice. So every step you took, you wasted extra energy having your foot slip out behind you. The last mile was the absolute worst, as you turned a corner and ran into the worst headwind of the day until the bitter end. A girl from my age group passed me at the last second, about 10m in front of the timing mat, and at that point I just didn't care. The times were ridiculously slow, and I passed the 9 mile marker at the approximate time I wanted to go for 10 miles - 1:14. My finish time was 1:24 something. I don't even know what my placing was and don't really care. Most peoples' times were about 10+ minutes slower than what they should have been. I am irritated as I felt I had a really good race in me had the conditions been favorable. I suppose I still did quite well, considering, but the experience was simply not enjoyable and I am glad that it is over. I am done with racing in winter weather!

Here is me before leaving my house this morning, which is where I probably should have stayed....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fuel in the tank

Finally I have started feeling more like myself again in the past few days. My run on Thursday went pretty awesome (apart from the crazy headwind I had to run back against). I tried out the racing flats for the last 15 mins and have now decided completely against wearing them in the 10 miler this weekend. I don't want to risk running into problems in the race. I think I will stick to wearing them only for 10k's or less. My legs all of a sudden felt really fresh and great, so hopefully this will translate into a good race on Sunday. I don't want to jinx it by saying that every time my legs feel this awesome before a race, the race goes really well, but it was true last summer (for a couple races).

My swim yesterday was also good, I seem to be getting some speed back and did some better times for a set of 8x100 desc 1-4 (1:20's down to 1:16 on the last one), compared to last week. Followed that with 3 x 300 pull pretty ez, for a total of 2600m. Today was a day off, and I got a 45 min pre-race massage, which helped my legs feel even better than they were before. All of the soreness, fatigue, and stiffness seems to have magically disappeared.

However, of course the weather has decided not to cooperate this weekend. It is REALLY crappy out, so I must be doing a race!! Same thing for the Hypothermic Half, the day before it turned really cold and was -28 with windchill race morning. The high on Sunday is -6 and the low Sat. night is -10! Oh well, I will embrace the pain and suffering and be tough! I plan to make it hurt and leave nothing out there! We'll see what happens...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

????

I meant to post an update sooner but of course again this week has been crazy and I have had little to no free time, especially at work.

I'll start with the weekend - on Sat. a.m. I swam from 8-9am (3km), then coached from 9-10am. Right now I can't remember what I did, I think it was 2 x 800 broken, with 4 x75 IM, 300 sw, 200 pull for the main set. On Sat. afternoon I did a brick, as 80 min easy/steady ride (indoors), and 30 min run as 15 hard/15 ez. Wore the Newton racers for the run and it went alright, although my calves began to tighten up during the short run. That decided it for me that I am not going to wear those in the 10miler race this weekend! Don't want to deal with calf problems during that distance.

Sunday I was feeling okay, got ready for my long run, and then looked at the temperature. It was 23C!! Yay! I wore a tank top and shorts, and headed out the door. I actually felt awesome for the first half of the run, going a good pace and smooth and efficient. It was so hot out, too! It actually felt a lot warmer than 23. After turning around at the halfway point, it was all downhill (in a bad way) from there. I was running into a headwind most of the way back, and started to struggle with aches and pains and occasional stomach cramps. It was tough! After 90 minutes I was really struggling, and pushed on for 15 more minutes. 1 hr 45 minutes done and done! And it has not felt that hard in a long time! I was completely dead for the rest of the afternoon, and even fell asleep before showering I was so trashed. For some reason that run took everything I had out of me and there was nothing left for the rest of the day.

I had to skip my planned 90 min ride (first nice day to get outside, too), opting for rest instead. Sometimes you just have to follow what your body is telling you. Monday I still felt completely dead (and also very sore legs). Did a 40 min trot on the tready, felt so bad for the first bit that I was going to stop at 30 mins, then started feeling better at 30 mins so decided to do 35mins, then thought why not just do 40 mins (which was the plan anyway), as I did feel progressively better.

I will post more in the next couple days, thoughts on the race this weekend and whatnot. Too tired to continue right now. Can't even think of a title for this post.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Running with ease

This week seemed like it went by really fast, like all the weeks lately. Spring is now here (maybe not for Calgary?) and the races are approaching fast! I can't believe it is already nearly the middle of April. Only a few more weeks (3, to be exact) until we leave for Penticton. I am very excited and plan to do some very good quality (and quantity) training.

This past week went like this: after my massage on Monday, I did some weights (upper body only), and core exercises). My abs still feel sore today from those exercises. Tuesday was a 50 min run, during which my stomach slosh slosh sloshed around the entire time. This was a very unsettling feeling, and I'm not sure why it occurred. I have never really had this happen and it was not an enjoyable feeling. I purposefully didn't eat anything for at least 2 hours before the start of my run (I am trying to get away from the digestive issues while running). Perhaps it had to do with drinking some water? I can't remember drinking copious amounts of fluid, though.

Anyway, I swam 2400m on Tues. night, main set was 3 x 400 pull/paddles. I can't remember the rest at this point. Wed. was a 90 min ride, with 4 x 12 min tempo riding. I was disappointed when I began watching ANTM, to discover that it was just a re-cap episode. How boring! I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I usually do when I get to watch a brand new episode. Yesterday was a 50 min run, with 6 strides at the end. I had a really good run (finally), and went down a dirt road that I have not run on since the fall. I made it much farther than I had back then in the same amount of time. Which must mean that I am running faster now and with more ease than before! My strides were really good, I finally felt good again during those and felt like I was flying and my feet were barely touching the ground. I felt like a real runner! My swim last night suffered as a result of my run I think. My main set was 1200m continuous, first 400 pull breathe every 3,5,7,9, next 400 was band only (=hard), and last 400 was just pull. I tried to do 4x100 swim desc 1 to 4 afterward, but my times were so slow I only did 3 and turned the last one into part of the cooldown. Also, a weird thing that I see sometimes at the pool I saw again yesterday - a lady who came into the change room after we got kicked out of the pool, with DRY hair! How (and why) do you come to the pool and not get your hair wet? What is the point?

Today is a day off. I went out for lunch with Bonnie and Robert to the Vietnamese cafe by my office, and it was delicious! I was full and tired and didn't really want to come back to work after, but here I am! After work, I was thinking of maybe throwing in an ez 30 min run (even on the treadmill), but may opt against it as I am still at work and have more to do. I have to run 1hr 50min on Sunday, which will be hard but great as it is supposed to be around 20C!! Bring on the warm weather!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Oww my legs

Well I started this post on Monday but got too busy and here it is Tuesday and I am now finishing it. My legs are certainly feeling better than they were yesterday, but still some residual soreness from the crazy run I did on Sunday.

Saturday I got up early and went swimming. Mike from STARRT came and swam with me and we did a sprint workout. 400 warm-up, then 6 x {100 pull on 1:45, 4 x 50 desc. 1-4 on 1:00. The 50's were hard! I descended down to 34's on the last 50 of all sets. On the very last set we did the last 50 from a dive, and pulled out a 32. I know I can actually go faster next time as my dive sucked and I false started.

My other workout on Sat. was a brick (bike 80, run 45). Did the run on the tready as I didn't want to brave the dump of snow we got. I guess you could say I am a fairweather runner. I am most definitely a fairweather biker and I really don't venture outside on my bike unless it is at least 10-12C outside.

I was so tired on Sat. night I fell asleep watching a movie with Geoff, and then slept in until 10:15am the next day! That is definitely a huge sleep-in for me compared to lately. I really must have needed the whole 10 hours. I did my run inside on the treadmill again on Sunday, which consisted of 15 min w.u., then 4 x 12 min tempo with 3 min ez b/w. This was a killer workout! You could say it was a breakthrough workout (breakthrough = pain). I started the first set apparently too fast, finishing the last 4 mins of 12 at 8.0mph - at the end of the first 12 min set I had to actually get off the treadmill for a few seconds as I felt nauseated and faint. Whoops, went a bit too hard there! Not quite there yet! I smartened up on the next few sets, going 6 min at 7.5 and 6 min at 7.6 (on the very last set I did the last 6 mins at 7.7).

After 80 mins of treadmill running with 48 mins of hard effort, I cooled down and was dead. This was the hardest (or top 2 hardest) workout of the year for me. The tie for this would be the workout I did in San Fran on my first day there, which consisted of intervals on the steep trails. Below is a picture of me after finishing the run in SF:
Definitely don't look too bad there, although there is somewhat of a pained look on my face; but if there was a picture of me after Sunday's run it would be looking a lot worse.

I did an easy 60 min bike, which was painful in a different way. I got a new seat (ISM Adamo racing saddle) and used it for the first time the day before. The good thing is - no chafing. The only thing is, my ischial tuberosities (think sit bones) felt almost bruised from the ride, as they're not used to that kind of pressure. This is apparently normal and the muscles there just need to get used to the new position. It was not fun to sit on them a second day in a row.
Yesterday, I got a massage from a new therapist, which turned out to be amazing and I am definitely going back to her. It is weird how it turned out, b/c the place where I had a massage scheduled at 6:15pm called at 5pm to cancel the massage, b/c "something came up". Geoff saved the day and scrambled to book this appointment with this new place I have never heard of, and look how it worked out. Funny how things work sometimes.
Anyway, I should really get back to work!

Friday, April 4, 2008

What a world - TGIF!

This past week has been crazy busy, and I struggled to fit in my workouts, let alone post on the blog! I am so happy it's Friday, although my weekend will again be filled with workouts and catching up on work reports.

I will start with the Coyote Run on Sunday. Alice and I were up at the crack of dawn (7am) on Sunday in preparation for the run at 8am. I had a quick bowl of oatmeal and some juice, and we headed over to the pool at about five to eight. The run turned out really well, and I was pleased with the workout. I did not race the 20km (well 19.8km to be exact) and ran at a good pace, faster than my normal long runs. I finished in 1:45, which I was impressed with as that translates to well under 2 hours for a half marathon. Good enough for a training run! My hips and knees became very sore after about an hour, and by the time I reached the big hill (at the end of course) I felt like an granny with old joints. Did some really good stretching and pigged out at the potluck and I was good to go from there!

It is definitely time for a new pair of running shoes, now every time I run my knees hurt. I bought this pair exactly 3 months ago, so must have done a lot of running during this time to wear them out!

Sunday afternoon I did an easy 90 min bike, which was uneventful. Monday was full-body weights and core exercises. On Tues. I was unfortunate enough to begin to get a migraine right when I arrived at work. I couldn't leave due to assessments booked in the afternoon, so I had to tough it out and suffer through feeling like crap for a couple of hours. It went away by noon, though, and I felt better. I get about 2 migraines a year, and they're nothing compared to what they used to be when I was in my teens. Back then it was excruciating pain and continous nausea - one time when I was 15 and by myself I remember just bringing my pillow into the bathroom and sleeping in there to be closer to the toilet, after throwing up about 12 times.

Anyway, a little off topic. I decided to skip my run session on Tues. after work as I still had a bit of a headache, remnants of the migraine. I did my swim after coaching, though. It consisted of a 500 w.u., 5x 100 kick, and a pyramid set totalling 1500m. I think I did about 2600m but can't remember right now.

Wednesday was a 75 min bike with some high cadence and big gear intervals. Yesterday I brought my run stuff to work and went straight to Goldbar park from work to do my run there. I really enjoy running on the trails there, it is very scenic and quiet and serene. I like to mix up the run route now and again, it makes things interesting instead of always doing the same old run route - BORING. My 50 min run went really well, and I seem to have gone way farther before turning around than I had previously in the fall when I ran there. I swam last night, too, 2400m consisting of 500 w.u., 5 x 100 IM on 1:45 and the main set as 2 {3 x200 desc. 1-3 on 3:00 and 3 x 50 fast on 1:00. Did both sets pull with paddles as I feel like I have lost some speed in the pool lately.

I will try and post more regular updates so that the post isn't so long! More later...