Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the trainer is fun...

My late off season has now ended and I am back at it, enjoying my last week of unstructured training before geoff throws down the hammer next week with scheduled training. I took a full week off after the marathon, doing absolutely no workouts or training. After that I eased myself back into activity, doing only what I pleased which actually wasn't a whole heckuva lot, except for a couple easy swims, a few short treadmill runs (it has been c-c-c-cold here!), and a core/strength session or two! And I tried my first hot yoga class last week (actually 3 classes), which I really like and plan to keep doing.

Christmas was great - and it came and went before you could blink, as usual. My family was invited to Geoff's parents for Christmas Eve dinner, where wonderful food, company, and lots of wine always await. I brought the camera but unfortunately didn't get around to taking any photos of the night. Christmas Day was spent at my Dad's with my sibs, Geoff, Maria (Alice's BFF), and Donald's friend Ben from Thailand. After dinner we ended up getting into the wine which turned into a debaucle, and at the end of the night (or midnite when Geoff decided to shuttle me home) it seems there were a shocking number of bottles consumed (no, not just by me, everyone participated)! We played Taboo, Cranium, and Balderdash, and the volume of the room continually escalated throughout the evening,

Found a couple random pics of the party (couldn't include most of the rest!)

Youngest brother Mark and I:
Half of Gucci's face:

Donald, Mark and I (from top); from the looks of it, this was probably later in the evening as everyone looks pretty jolly...

I'm definitely looking forward to 2010! I'm in a new job (since July), geoff and I have a new addition to the house (Wylie), and a few vacays are in the works (N. Ireland and Vegas again, this time not for a race!). Structured training starts next Monday with geoff, and there are many exciting things to come, including lots of racing (more running races!), a big focus on strength/core/yoga work, and better scheduled workouts overall. Lots of running and lots of biking! Not quite sure on the race schedule yet, but for sure I will be doing the St. Albert 10 miler in April, Great White North half in July, and possibly Soma half in October. The details will be worked out, in good time.

Yesterday geoff and I headed to the gym for a core/strength sesh and an indoor run. I think I probably overdid it on the strength stuff as today I am so sore I can barely move! My lower back, a$$, hips, upper back, shoulders, you name it - hurts. I kept waking up throughout the nite last night with throbbing in my lower back and hips. Yeah I definitely overdid it...

something funny about the monster puppy: Wylie loves to come down to our basement when anyone is biking or on the tready. Today while Geoff was biking I had to come down there a bunch of times to bring him back up, finally I just left him down there as he wanted to watch Geoff do his bike workout! What a weird little puppy!

that's all for now!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

wise words

"It doesn't help to visualize a perfect race. It's better to play out bad situations in your mind and figure out a way out of them so you'll be ready."
Bernard Legat (2008 National Champion at 1500 meters and 5000 meters)

This is exactly what I need to start doing!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vegas or .... bust

The Vegas trip was definitely fun overall, but the marathon didn't go as either Geoff or I'd have hoped. Does your first marathon ever go as planned?

We arrived early (Wed. night), and ate a LOT of good (and expensive!) food in the next few days. I was shocked at how much $$ we ended up spending on food, perhaps I wasn't entirely prepared for that. Things were very pricey in the fancy hotel in which we were staying (the Wynn Encore). Like $17 for a glass of wine expensive! Saw some cool sights, fabulous shows, and did some (lots) of shopping the next 3 days.

View from our 37th floor room:

Right before we saw Le Reve on Thursday night...
Inside the theatre prior to the start of the show (no cameras allowed once the show started). Le Reve was absolutely fabulous, and I was mesmerized for the duration. It was a mix of gymnastics, diving, dancing, acrobatics, synchro, and more. I would highly recommend it!

Unfortunately BFF Stephen got sidelined with H1N1 the day before he was supposed to arrive so he was forced to cancel his trip. Good news is that he is finally starting to feel better and the worst is behind him now :)

Package pick-up on Friday was actually a well organized process (I suppose it would have to be for 26,000 people). I was actually surprised to see a fairly long line of people in the 'not yet registered' queue. Wha-Huh? You're registering for a marathon the day before the race?

Hit up the aquarium in Mandalay Bay hotel after picking up our packages.
The sharks were spectacular but slightly scary!

On Saturday, we walked down the strip and did some shopping. We relaxed in the hotel room for the rest of the afternoon and planned to eat a light dinner around 5:30pm. In hindsight, should have skipped the restaurant and eaten much lighter than we did.

Since it was a 4am wake-up call, Geoff and I hit the sack around 10pm, and after that I literally got about 2 hours sleep. Geoff got less than IAround 11pm, our wonderful drunken neighbours proceeded to party in the hall/doorway of their room until about 2am. That's AWESOME. In the morning when we had to get up [actually 4am is still the middle of the night to me], I took the liberty of watching MTV as loud as possible and banging my things around the room, to Geoff's disapproving eye in the background. Our toast and juice arrived shortly thereafter through room service and we were soon on our way.

Coming out of the elevators was quite comical, as the casino and hotel lounges/bars were still in full swing at 5am with party-goers dressed to the nines and drinking and gambling their lives away.

Getting to the race site was a bit frustrating as the shuttles were leaving from the Wynn (next hotel over to ours), and there was a line up when we arrived. I knew it was going to be cold and windy but it still came as a shock to me, the temperature was hovering around zero (32-33F). We managed to get in the shuttle around 5:15-5:20am, and since the strip was closed for the race, it literally took almost half an hour to actually get to the race (which should have been a 5-10 min drive). There was a McDonald's right where we were dropped off so we headed in there to use the facilities, and stood in line for about 15 mins. By the time we got out of there and headed to the corrals, the race was supposed to start in about 5 mins for the 6:15am start! Geoff gave me his warm up clothes so I could check the bag, and he headed off to his corral as he was scheduled to start first. I wandered around for a few minutes unsuccessfully looking for the bag check. I ended up just giving the bag to someone who was heading over there who wasn't starting until corral 9 who offered to take it for me, so I guess it's a good thing we actually found the bag where it was supposed to be later on!

The race

Mile 1-2
The race started right after that, and although crowded, I didn't have any issues with dodging people or people getting in the way. I was slightly chilled (wearing Lulu shorts, a t-shirt, arm warmers, toque, and $0.99 gloves, and found I didn't really get warm for the duration of the race. I made sure to go out very easy, as I have a tendency to get caught up in the excitement at the beginning of a running race and go out too hard (pretty much every running race I've done this happens). Went through 2 miles in about 16:36, so a little off pace - which was fine as I wanted to go out easy!

Miles 3-10
Around mile 3 I started having a stomach issue and thought I may have to make a pit stop at a porta potty. However, each one I passed seemed to have at least a few people waiting in line. I was able to keep going as I really didn't want to have to waste time waiting around in the middle of a race. I started getting back on track for my pace through 5km (25:40), and 10km (50:14), and although I didn't feel amazing, I didn't feel horrible either. I began to notice my hips feeling sore after just an hour, and right hamstring very tight and nearly cramped, which didn't improve. I went through 10 miles in 1:20, which was right on my target. I remember feeling worried about how my legs were already feeling and wondering how I was going to keep pounding the pavement for 16 more miles!

I recall feeling very bored during the first 10 miles and thinking that the race was going by very slowly, something I don't think has ever crossed my mind during a race! The race definitely had a different vibe than any other race I have done, especially compared to triathlons.

Mile 12-15
Just before mile 12, I saw someone come out of a porta potty up ahead and nobody had gone back in by the time I got there, so I ducked in as I was still experiencing tummy trouble. I didn't realize till then but my fingers were completely frozen and I had a lot of difficulty unravelling the toilet paper. It didn't help that it was 1-ply and was breaking off 1 square at a time, either! Finally got out of there and got back in the race! I hit halfway about 1:46-something, which was just off my pace but I owed that to my pit stop. There was a gradual uphill around mile 14, which slowed me a bit somewhat but I figured I wasn't really that far off where I should be.

Mile 16 - Things Fall Apart
Not sure why but as soon as I hit Mile 16, my stomach became painful knots and cramps and I found it really hard to keep running, so I walked through an aid station. Darn! My hips at this point were so sore and tight and seemed to be pulling on my hamstrings, and my right hamstring and one of my calves were very close to cramping up. It was not a pretty sight!

Miles 17-22
Were a complete sufferfest, with tons of walking/shuffling along/stopping to stretch on the curb. There was a turn-around at Mile 19, and basically from about Mile 17 or 18 until the end of the race was a long out and back section. I watched helplessly as the 3:35, 3:40, and 3:45 pace groups proceeded to pass me by. I think I had stopped looking at my watch at this point and was definitely past the point of being concerned with my final time. At Mile 21 or 22 I had to duck into another porta potty.

Miles 23-26.2
I remember thinking at Mile 23 - it's only 5km to go now, you can do that! It still seemed so far, though. I had to keep stopping and walking, but each time I walked all I could think was that walking wasn't getting me anywhere and running (as painful as it was) was going to get me to the end sooner! Once I hit Mile 24, I thought - only 2 miles to go then this pain can end! The last mile was tough, and I forgot about the 0.2 that is tacked onto the end of 26 miles. My body was in so much pain, the hips and legs were screaming at me. That last 0.2 seemed to take a long time, and the course kept winding around so you couldn't see the finish line. Finally - there it was! I hobbled across the line in 3:52, about 20mins off my target goal time.

In all the chaos and being strapped for time before the start, Geoff and I made the mistake of not planning a rendezvous meeting spot after the race. There were so many people everywhere and after I finished I had to curl up on the pavement for about 10 mins as I felt very nauseated. After that I walked around for nearly an hour, not being able to access my warm clothes in the gear bag - as Geoff and I had the genius idea of putting all our stuff into one bag with his race # so he could collect the clothes when he was done before me. Finally I found him throwing up into a garbage can! He looked ashen and I found out he had unfortunately also had a terrible race.

We proceeded to get the hell out of there, and realized our biggest mistake of the weekend then was not staying at Mandalay Bay, the race hotel! Trying to get out of there was a logistical nightmare. There was a line up of about 100 people for taxi, and no shuttles that we could find. We waited in line for about 15 mins, with Geoff hovering over a garbage can, and the line barely moved. Suddenly one of the concierges called out 'anyone for shuttle to the airport?', and we decided to hop on that, and just get a cab from the airport. There was a lot of traffic and both trips took forever, but it was still better than waiting in the cab line up for hours!

We napped in the afternoon and ordered room service for lunch, which really hit the spot! I was limping around and my hips and legs were completely throbbing. Funnily enough, my legs were the sorest on the actual day of the race! Of course they were still sore the next few days, but the worst was on Sunday! Usually there is a delayed onset soreness that I get after every race but this time was different.

We hit the buffet up for dinner that night, but I found I was only able to eat one plate of food! Plus 3 desserts. Yum!

This is the temperatures we arrived home to in Edmonton very late Monday night (or Tues morning):

We were VERY lucky the car started as it was sitting at the airport for 5 days not plugged in. I hadn't realized that extreme cold was coming!

Considering how bad I felt the last 10 miles and how much walking was done, can't say I can really complain about my finish time. I was so happy to have finished and just to have completed the damn thing! It was sooo long! Of course I was disappointed; disappointed with how my body reacted and felt on the day, and disappointed as my result doesn't reflect my fitness and all the hard training I'd put in. But that was the hand I was dealt on the day and I'm proud to have simply gotten through it as those last 10 miles were excruciating! Geoff and I have done a post-mortem on our races and although the experience was not great, I have learned a lot from it.

No plans for another in the immediate future, though!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

the journey does not end here...

Can't believe Geoff and I are leaving in only a few days for Vegas! Where has the time gone? The past week I have been feeling off and on with each run: I'll have one good run, then one bad run, then one good run, then one bad run. The 'bad' runs are not necessarily terrible, they are just runs where I feel more fatigued than usual, and/or my legs feel stiff and sore. Today was about 9.5 miles, started out easy and tried to build it, with a 15 min tempo section near the end. It was a challenge as we receievd a bit of snow a couple weeks ago, and with some days recently above zero degrees the trails have turned into skating rinks. I ended up doing several runs on the tready this week as a result. But I certainly feel very fortunate for the weather we have lucked out with this fall; I did not have to do ANY long runs in poor conditions! Cheers to that.

I am now tapering down over the next week and hope the ol' body responds accordingly so I can feel great on Sunday! I have a massage scheduled tomorrow (and a day off training) so that can kick-start the process.

So Geoff got me thinking the other day about this marathon journey and big run focus. He emphasized that this specific focus to better my running does not just end after the marathon is over. We will continue targeting this area in order for me to keep progressing and improving. And big improvements don't just happen overnight, or even in a few months! The legs need to build up strength over months and months (years?) of consistent run training and volume. So this is all really a work in progress!

I can honestly say I have done all the training and hard work that I could over the past few months (but I guess if I think a little more deeply into it I suppose I should have got to the gym more often to do my core workouts!). But running-wise, I have followed Geoff's plan for me to a 'T' and have really not missed any runs. The long runs all got completed, as unpleasant as one or two of them may have been, and the consistency factor has definitely been present! I have done everything I could have, short of quitting my job and freeing up some hours! The time has come now to put this hard work to the test next Sunday and see what happens! Bring on Vegas!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Some days that you have it, other days you don't. Most of my runs in the past week and a half unfortunately fall into the latter category. I think that everything is sort of catching up to me all at once; those longer mileage weeks and being overly busy at work the past month or so. Things at work are starting to settle down a bit now, which is great as that will give me more chance to focus on running and RECOVERY these next 4 weeks. I can rest easy this weekend knowing that I did not have to bring work home with me - first time in quite a while! I can't rest completely as I have a LOT of housecleaning to get done... and Geoff, you get to help! Other than that, I will be spending time playing with the two monsters (actually the three monsters if you count Geoff).

On Sunday I am faced with the daunting challenge of a 20 mile run. I plan to do the 10 miler race route twice. It can't get any more convenient as the route actually passes by my house! The route is not easy, though, and includes several long and gradual hills; nothing I haven't been doing in my other long runs, however! I am up for it!
And - I will have some good company with Christina and Cindy joining me.

But first, I have a 60 min tready run on the schedule for tonight - with some speedwork in the form of 12x1min @ 5k pace.

The Vegas trip is now all organized and booked - and my BFF Stephen is now signed up for the 1/2 marathon, so it should be lots of fun! Only one month till race day! Where does the time go...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sh!t shoes

I'm in calgary for a few days at a Health & Safety conference/trade show... I get to go home tomorrow. Sunday was another 2:40 run, during which I struggled at times. What a beautiful day, though! I overdressed wearing tights and a long sleeve + vest, wishing I was in shorts or capris. Christina M. has been awesome throughout my long runs for marathon training - she has been my running buddy on these lengthy workouts and she is not even really training for anything! I am very grateful for the company and someone to push me through these workouts. Thanks Chris, you rock!

Just went to meet my brother Donald for a quick little run followed by dinner at the Keg (where we were both guilty of gluttony). We ran an easy 40 minutes, which was about all we could both manage! Donald has not run in over a month (he is not really a runner but does it more for fitness), and I was simply not feeling great. You know when you feel out of shape or something all of a sudden and find you're breathing harder than you should be? Yes? No? That was me today. Very likely b/c that was my 8th day of running in a row. Tomorrow is a day off!!!

After the run, I walked into his neighbour's yard to pet the 2 boxers, which were really friendly and cute. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I managed to step both feet in a pile(s) of crap and while wearing brand spanking new shoes nonetheless! I got my new pair of Nike Free's in the mail last week, and this was literally the 3rd or 4th run they have been on. Unfortunately these shoes have VERY deep grooves on the soles and this resulted in a very lengthy and extensive clean up process. Which is not complete - I think I will have to find a high-powered hose somewhere to finish off the job. UGH!

This week is a recovery week, so a shorter long run on Sunday - only 1:50. Funny how right now I consider running for 1hr 50 to be short! Well after running nearly an hour longer the past 2 weekends, that's what happens! Two 20 milers remain for November. I hope the weather holds :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Longest run ever and some doggy pics

I meant to write this sooner - in fact, I got as far as writing the title several days ago and am now just sitting down to write the actual post. Seems these days there really is no time for writing blogs and reading blogs and internet surfing. I try and check in when I can, but it's certainly not as often as it used to be.

It has been awesome having another puppy in the household. Wylie has fit in perfectly and is the sweetest thing ever! He's learning from Hugo and copies him a lot (the bad habits too unfortunately!) but has his own unique personality.

Running is going well. Sunday was my longest training run EVER, and my 3rd longest run ever if you count races (behind the 2004 leg 4 of the Death Race - 34km; and the 2006 IMCDA - a marathon of course - both of these races done on very insufficient training!). 8am start so I had a couple buddies to run with, which means I had to get up at like 7am. UGH! I had a REALLY good run, however, and ended up with 2 hr 40min, about 18.5 miles. I was actually only planning to do 2:30, but when my running partners cut off just before 2 hours, I headed in the other direction to complete a loop I thought was about 30 mins, but which turned out to be 45 mins. Let me tell you, those last 15 mins were killer! During that loooong run, I consumed one gel and a couple sips of water. I started getting hungry near the end so next time I will need 2 gels. I have become a less is more person when it comes to nutrition for long runs/races (and I'm not talking about Ironman here because that is different than a marathon or 1/2 ironman).

After I finished I was very happy with my accomplishment! Buuuut I was a lazy lug the whole rest of the day, and after re-hydrating, re-fueling, and stretching really well, all I did for the remainder of the day was watch t.v.! I really did not feel like doing anything else. At least I iced my legs while doing this so there was some multi-tasking involved. Actually I didn't watch t.v. ALL day, I had a couple visitors over and walked the dogs with Geoff. Christina brought her 3 kids to see the puppies, and then later Alice came by to see the new puppy.

Anyway, this weekend is another long 2:40 run - kinda scared but looking forward to it as well. Then I think there will be two 20 milers left and some shorter runs. I hope the weather holds out another month! We shall see...

I thought I had something more to talk about here but it seems to have escaped my mind and I need to haul @$$ to bed as I have to fit in a recovery run on the tready tomorrow a.m. Bye for now!

Monday, October 12, 2009

As promised...

Wylie, 5 months old, newest addition to our household. He is a dark brindle Boston Terrier, every bit as crazy and rambunctious as Hugo. SO CUTE! The two of them together is a little scary...

Great weekend... nice to have 3 days off of work. Not nice that my 3 days are almost up and Tuesday is already almost here and I have to go back to work. It was very exciting to watch Kona on Saturday, it is always very inspiring and motivating to follow the pro race. Had a solid long run yesterday morning, 2hr 20 min (about 26km). Was able to finish the last portion strong and with no knee problems at all. Yahoo! I will keep up my religious routine of icing and stretching, trigger point therapy ball and foam roller.

Fingers crossed for some warmer temperatures... it WILL happen!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A slight hiccup... and a sigh of relief

It's been a busy week for me. Flew to Calgary Sunday evening, met my brother Donald for a drink and some food at my hotel in Calgary, conference all day Monday in Calgary at the Fairmont, fly home, conference all day Tuesday in Edmonton at the Hotel MacDonald. The fun part of my job was Tuesday evening - we took some potential lawyer clients out to dinner at the Bar 100, and then to the Oilers game against Dallas.
We had some pretty cool seats... front row on the glass! It was a fun place to sit as you get a bird's eye view of all the action. It is certainly very loud whenever the puck hits the boards or the glass. I managed to get some pics on my phone of the action:

Blurry action shot!
Oilers celebrating the exciting win!

Last weekend I was worried as I thought for sure I was coming down with a knee injury. My hopes of continuing my consistent marathon training and racing the marathon were dashed. The left knee (lateral side) started hurting a bit during my interval run on the tready Friday evening, then during my run on Saturday it become progressively sorer throughout my easy 45 mins. I did my drills and skipped the strides. After my run, my knee was sore for the rest of the day, even to walk. No! I iced it that night, and went crazy with the foam roller.
My long run on Sunday was supposed to be 1:45 as it was a recovery week, and the knee was sore for the first half, but then felt better the last part. I was able to finish the run and still held a pretty decent pace (12 miles total). More icing, more foam roller. I took Monday and Tuesday completely off and did some more icing, took ibuprofen, and foam-rolled it when I got home from Calgary.
Apparently this did a WORLD of good as when I started running on Wednesday, it was fine! I didn't even feel so much as a twinge during the 75 minute run. Same on Thursday and Friday- my knee was fine. PHEW! I am very relieved. I have a very long run on the schedule for tomorrow (2:20-2:30), which I am starting very early (8am - call me crazy), as I'm running with a friend, Christina. What I am not relieved about is this bloody cold weather we are experiencing - BRRRRR! It's freezing right now, not even above zero, so I have had to get out the tights and toque this week, which I was hoping to leave in my closet until November. No such luck.
Stay tuned for some EXCITING news coming up on Monday....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back on the bike and a much needed recovery week

Yesterday was my first bike ride in 2 months, and I opted for the trainer as the wind was FIERCE! And it was a long and tedious 50 minutes, which was all I could manage as the motivation is still not there to do bike training.

I am very thankful this is a drop-back week for my running, as the past 2 weeks I have averaged 7 hours per week of running (7:15 the first week, 6:45 last week). WOW, that is a lot! Close to 80km both weeks. My long run at 8:30am on Sunday morning (sooo early!) was especially tough. About 25 km, 2hr 10min, and after only about 75 minutes my hips become sore and just start to ache! All that repetitive pounding and my joints start to feel like they are 80 years old and trapped in the body of a 29 year old. After completing that run, doubts crept into my head about how on earth am I going to run 20-22 miles in training, let alone run an entire marathon! I really need to keep those thoughts from creeping into my mind and instead be confident and continue to be consistent. There are still 2 months to go - and Geoff knows what he is doing with our training plans!

An excellent but painful massage today (it's Wednesday now - I apparently can no longer finish writing an update in one sitting) has done me wonders. Having the day off of running doesn't hurt, either! I was supposed to do some core/strength exercises but it is now 9:30pm and I still haven't done them. It's looking like I'm going to take a pass on doing any exercise today after all!

This week has been super-busy for me with work and it will only continue to get busier! I'm flying to Calgary Sunday night for a conference on Monday, then back to Edmonton for the same conference on Tuesday here. But I will not continue to talk about work here as I'm sure nobody really wants to hear about that! Enough already. Things are busy for me in all aspects what with coaching 3 swim practices a week again but I quite enjoy that and would not consider it work at all.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

a lotta lotta runnin'

This past week was my biggest week of run training to date. Crazy-big for me, anyway. Here are some of the numbers:

-Total time spent running was about 7 hours 15 minutes.
-Total approximate distance was about 78km (almost 50 miles).
-Longest run was 2 hours in very strong winds (yesterday).
-Shortest run was 40min very SLOW and EZ on the tready (twice).
-One interval session (6 x 3 min @ 10km pace).

My long run yesterday capped off my 9th day of running in a row! Thank goodness today is a day off. Surprisingly, my legs are feeling quite good (knock on wood). I have done lots of stretching, icing, and the wearing of compression calf sleeves to bed, which I find really helps. I swam twice this week and after taking a month off from the pool I am extremely slow in the water. I also did a strength workout at the gym.

The mileage and volume is going to continue to increase, there is still a long way to go! All this running better pay off... but I am really enjoying it nonetheless!

Geoff's 30th birthday was on Saturday so we hung out during the day and celebrated at night by going to dinner at Lazia with a few friends. We were home early and I was crashed out on the couch by 10:30pm. With this much running, going to bed early is a really good idea! Yesterday evening was a birthday dinner at Geoff's parents, with my family. Hugo got a new t-shirt which matches his fur - I'll have to get a picture up of it soon as it was so hilarious (done and done)! Good food and good times!

It says 'Digging my way to China' on the back....

And on the belly, it says 'Ni hao', which is apparently 'hi' in Chinese...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rotary Run - in support of suicide prevention

The Rotary Run in Stony Plain, Alberta, is an event that holds an important place in the heart of my family, and one that i will continue to participate in every year, no matter the circumstances. This was my 4th year in a row participating in this event. The first year, 2006, I was there for very different reasons than the following years. Little did I know that everything would change in 2007.

In 2006, I was ignorant as to the main cause of the event; I was really just there to do a 10km - it was not until during the race that I realized what this was about. There were people walking the 5km with pictures of loved ones pinned to their back, with the words, 'in memory of'. They had lost a loved one to suicide. There are also memory markers placed along the route, which are dedicated to those lost to suicide.

My family forever lost my 24 year old brother on May 24, 2007. On that day, we lost a son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin, a friend.

Which is why I will always give my support to the Rotary Run and its cause...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

back swimming again

Yesterday was my first day back coaching the evening group swim, after being off for the month of August. I also got myself back in the water following the practice, after a month hiatus from all things chlorine. Yes, it appears there is a coincidence here - I seem to swim when it is convenient! I do my swim workouts right after coaching the practice, as it is so simple to just jump in the pool after being on deck for an hour. No coaching, [apparently] no swimming. Of course, if I had a triathlon coming up to train for, it may have been a different story, but anyways....

It was very refreshing to dive into the water and swim an easy 2km with lots of drills, kick, and some pull. I plan to do 2 swims a week until the New Year, as swimming is at the very bottom of my priority list. It is inevitable that I will lose some speed during this time, but there is a lot more ground to be made for me in the run as compared to in the swim. The ceiling for improvement in my run is sky-high; the ceiling for improvement in my swim is much, much less.

Friday I have to make a quick, whirlwind trip to Vancouver for work, which means catch the 7:30am flight there, which means get up at some ungodly hour like 5am. Which means I will be requiring one of these:I have to fly home that evening, so there won't be any time for training. Friday will be my day off!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Old dogs, new kicks

When I arrived home from work on Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised to see that UPS had stopped by and my new shoes had been delivered that day! I immediately laced them up and took them out for an easy 40min run.

Nike Free 5.0

These shoes are great! They are literally light as a feather and feel like slippers. There's nothing to 'em, and they really do live up to the concept of barefoot running. They weigh less than my racing flats. My legs are feeling good so far, and I wore them again yesterday for a progressive/build run on the tready. With the shoes being slipper-like, though, my feet and toes are a bit beat-up with a few blisters. I'll take this over musculo-skeletal issues, though! My hips are already feeling better and my lower legs are not sore!

The real test will be trying them out for my long run tomorrow (12 miles planned), to see how the hips hold out. If they work out, I may plan to wear them in the marathon. I'll probably test them out in the 10km race next weekend. Which reminds me, I better get myself registered for that one...

Other exciting news: my BFF Jadeen has decided to re-schedule her wedding from the weekend of Great White North (first weekend in July), to the 3rd week in July! Which means Geoff and I get to race GWN again next year! I have only raced it twice now, but this is one of my top favorite races. So glad that I get to be a part of it for 2010! [Yikes, I will have just turned 30 at that point!]

See if you can spot the Hugo-monster, eating berries and enjoying the last bit of this wonderful end-of-summer heat wave...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Long run day

Just got back from my longest run in awhile - just under 12 miles. I got dragged out early by Deb, Kendall, Christina, and Colleen - left at 9am. It was great! Awesome to have my run completed before 11am on a Sunday! Usually I am lazy and like to sleep in a bit with Geoff, read the paper, eat breakfast, then leave around noon. Also, today is crazy-hot so it was good to get the run completed before it hits 29C!

Regarding the run, I seem to regularly experience problems with my hips after about 10 miles. They tighten up and start to become sore, so then my stride changes a bit to account for this. I will need to get this under wraps in the next few weeks before my really long runs start and before I actually do the 26.2 miles in December. Obviously my long run is going to continue to increase each week from here, so I want to make sure I am in top shape and health to handle it! I'm going to try out some ART to see if the hips can be loosened up, as I think they are just chronically tight. I stretch well, using the foam roller and the trigger point tools regularly, but I'm not sure how much this is helping. Hopefully I can get an appointment in the next week for this technique. My massage tomorrow will certainly help as well, since my legs are feeling all the running I've done this week (just under 60km I think)! My legs are actually feeling a lot better this weekend than I thought, after a hard track workout on Thursday (6x800).

See - I stretch!

Other than that, on tap for the rest of the day is a long walk with Hugo, some shopping, and dinner at Deb and Gord's (Geoff's parents), where I hear Deb is making her famous chocolate cake -layered with whipping cream - for dessert! I think I can justify that after my hard run today!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bad habits gotta go

With the marathon training just beginning, I think the time has come to attempt to make some changes to what I am eating. I'm not trying to lose weight or anything, but rather to be a bit healthier. For the most part, Geoff and I eat pretty healthy. But we are no strangers to regular take out food and delivery (Panago pizza, Wok Box, Bad Ass Jack's, Swiss Chalet, to name a few).

On days when we are actually cooking something, it is always quick easy stuff, because let's face it - we don't have the energy to spend hours preparing gourmet meals. How do people find the time or energy to do this? After a long day of work, followed by a hard workout, (and then coaching swimming at 8pm on Tues/Thurs), the last thing I want to do is spend an hour preparing a meal. I am hungry at that instant and I want something to eat right away! Typically we eat the following on a frequent basis: tortellini or other pasta, salads (the ones that come with the dressings and you just mix them up and they're ready), burritos, shrimp, bbq chicken (already made at Safeway - you just cut it up), and you get the general idea - these are all foods that can be prepared very quickly! And they're not unhealthy... when we go somewhere for take-out it is always something healthy, like wraps from Bad Ass Jack's or yummy asian dishes from Wok Box, not burgers and fries and shakes.

But I have constant cravings for salty snacks like chips, so it is a normal thing to see a bag of Kettle chips or Ms. Vickie's in the grocery cart. Which would be fine if the entire bag was not consumed in one sitting. Also candy like Swedish berries and those Juicy Squirts, the bag is finished off a short time after being opened. These types of candy go hand in hand with popcorn. The other day I had a pop tart for supper (don't know where Geoff was, perhaps golfing or something?), then later that night we got groceries and I polished off a (smallish) bag of Kettle chips. Not the best idea. And Monday was also a day I did no training sessions so there were no workouts to justify the junk. It's time to cut down on the frequency that these uber-unhealthy meals are occurring. While it's fine to indulge on a moderate basis, days like my Monday debacle should be avoided.

As the running mileage increases, I am sure I will be hungrier and hungrier so the idea will be to get the extra calories through healthy snacks and meals! However, the bags of Kettle chips will still show up in the grocery cart every now and then as I will need to replenish my depleted sodium stores...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

He's the... fastest...kid... alive...

Geoff and I had fun at the Run for the Brave/Tanks n Tags (10km) yesterday. The race is only about 15 minutes from our house, so we didn't have to leave until 8:30am for the 9:30am start. Such a reasonable race start time! It allows you to get up at a decent hour (i.e. 7:30am), instead of in the middle of the night like most triathlons. The marathon is going to be ridonculous as it starts at some crazy hour like 6:15am, so 4am wake-up call!

Anyway, back to the race/workout! There weren't too many that turned up to do the race (150 total including the walk and the kid's fun run, I think), so we organized ourselves right at the front of the start line and away we went (well, Geoff always starts at the front of the race as he is super-fast but this time I started right next to him). That was the last I saw of Geoff as he sprinted away right from the start with not even one runner in his vicinity! Luckily he had a guy on the lead bike for some company:) I ran with a really young girl at a very good pace and hilariously we soon found ourselves in the next 2 places behind Geoff! How about that? Unfortunately after about 2.5 miles she opened up a small gap and I was struggling slightly so couldn't stay with her, but I kept her in my sights the rest of the race. I'm not quite there yet, but soon I will be the one dropping people! I gave it my all for the rest of the race, feeling good technique-wise and felt like I was running really well. She ended up about 40 seconds ahead of me, and I was 3rd overall in 40:46! Geoff won the entire race by like 7 mins and went 33:10.

I will be the first to admit that the course was not quite 10km (I wish), but more likely something around 600-800m short. Which means that this would still be a PB of a couple minutes for me (my previous PB is 45:30 that I did last year)! Yeah! Geoff figures he ran about a 35-something if it had been 10km. He also made the evening news as they interviewed him after he finished which was pretty funny!

After the race yesterday, we took Hugo to the off-leash dog park with Michele and her two dogs, and it was a crazy time. Hugo sprints relentlessly around the park from one dog to the next, and won't stop even when he is completely tired and ready to drop. He is next to impossible to catch, especially when your legs are a bit tired after racing:) It was a warmer day as well, so he actually went right into the lake a couple times to cool himself off. He has never done that before and he actually had to dog paddle to get back to the side in order to get out! He spent the entire day today sleeping, evidence that he definitely overdid it yesterday!

Monday will be a day off running - maybe I'll take my bike out for an hour?! (It's been awhile.) I ran for about 90 minutes earlier today and my legs aren't feeling all that bad. Tuesday starts a bigger build week of running into the first part of marathon training. In 3 weeks' time there is another 10km race that has a very accurate course (this is where I ran the PB last year) - the Rotary Run. Looking forward to seeing what I can do there but it will be 3 hard weeks leading up to it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sunshine and lollipops

We have been due for some nice weather lately and now it is finally here! BEAUTIFUL! Cloudless sky, warm temperatures, perfect August weather. It is about time!

I have been running lots and feeling pretty great. Saturday is a low-key 10km race, so low-key in fact that there are like less than 50 people in it! Haha! Fun times...

Sadly, August is nearly over but I am very excited for fall running! I love running in the fall, especially a fall like we had last year where it was 25C for most of September and a warm October as well. Hope that happens again this year as there will be LOTS more running for me than ever this fall with marathon training! The bike is collecting dust sleeping in my dad's garage and my swim cap/goggles are still tucked away in my swim bag. Perhaps one of these days I will go for a swim and a bike ride! But it's a simple life only training for one sport at a time...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A New Goal

So, after feeling all 'triathloned-out' the past few weeks after my series of 4 early-season races, I decided yesterday that I won't be doing any more tri's this year. Running is going to be my main focus for the rest of 2009, with a 10km race next weekend, the Suicide Prevention 10km run on Sept. 13, and finally.......

Yes, that's right - I signed up for the Las Vegas marathon on Dec. 6!! I am very excited! I have never done a stand-alone marathon before. I ran a marathon at the end of Ironman Couer D'alene in 2006, but that is a lot different and this time the sole focus of training will be running, with minimal swim/bike mixed in. This race sounds pretty awesome since you run up and down the strip for the first 13 miles, then finish with another 13 mile loop. Very cool! Geoff has also signed up for the marathon, but may switch to the half marathon. I'm trying to talk BFF Stephen into signing up as well - how about it, Stephen!

There is a lot of hard run training ahead of me but I'm looking forward to it and have already seen some improvements in speed the last few weeks. Friday's track workout went very well under the watchful eye of Geoff, and consisted of 5 x 1km repeats, all run at 4:02-4:03, which is actually probably the fastest I have ever run a 1km! My 90min run today, which I'm just about to start, will be my 6th run workout this week! I'm getting stronger every day...

Last night was dinner at Lazia downtown with BFF Bonnie, her bro/sis, Geoff, and Susan and Nicole. Delicious food to celebrate Bonnie's upcoming 29th b-day on Aug. 18! We headed out to Halo after that, where we had a few cocktails and enjoyed the groovy house music. After that, we walked over to Play where you are always guaranteed to hear good music! I was the first to leave (surprise surprise!) just after midnite as I was super tired and my high-heeled sandals were killing my feet.

Me and the birthday girl. Good times!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Track Workout!

Yesterday I did a workout at the track, my first in about 2 years. I fear the track, as some of my most painful workouts have occurred here. There will likely be weekly track workouts scheduled for me by Geoff from now on. This is a good thing! I will look forward to the pain and suffering involved!

My workout consisted of 6 x 800 with 2mins easy between, after a warm up of about 20 mins, which included running to the track. I also had to run home after the workout, which turned out to be a slow shuffle. The goal for the workout was to hold 3:15 for each 800. I actually felt really strong and focused on a fast turnover and keeping it under control. I ended up achieving the goal: my splits were 3:12, 3:10, 3:15, 3:13, 3:14, 3:12. This is definitely faster than what I would have done the last time I did the track. Next week is probably going to be mile repeats. Yikes!

This made me laugh:
Someone had a brain-fart!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Since my races last weekend, I took a very easy week (read: little to no training). I felt like my body was telling me that it needed some time off. Best to listen to your body instead of slugging through meaningless training that is not really going to benefit you. I have only been on my bike once since the sprint tri, and that was for an easy 45 min ride! And my race wheels are actually still on the bike! This will change tonight as I plan to get out for a ride, although it looks like it may rain so I might have to postpone that idea.

As of now, I really have no upcoming races planned in stone. It is kind of a nice feeling, as I feel like I needed some time to myself after a string of races in May/June/July. Doing the 2 half ironmans only 4 weeks apart was definitely tough on me and I have been feeling the effects of this in the past couple weeks. Fatigue, low motivation, feeling run-down, blah. Finally I am starting to get some motivation and energy back and I have been starting again with some good running workouts. I may do a 10km running race on Aug. 22, but I have no triathlons planned for August. There is an Olympic distance tri on Sept. 13 that Geoff and I are humming and hawing over, but no decisions have been made as of yet. And then of course on Oct. 25 is the Soma half ironman in Arizona, which I am registered for (I received a free entry after the Mexico race in April as there some issues during that race and I complained about it :). The other REALLY important event I plan to do is the Sonic 1km run and beer gardens on Aug. 15. Basically it consists of a 1km sprint race and then there is a beer garden at the end! So, very important stuff.

I have made the decision to part ways with my coach (Mark Bates at 321 Coaching) as of the end of July. It was a fantastic 1.5 years training with him, but right now with no concrete races/plans on the horizon, it didn't really make sense to continue with the monthly plans and fees. I have made siginificant improvements in the 2 race seasons we were together, but now it is time to go out on my own and see what I can do. Well, not exactly on my own, here is my new coach:


He is going to do my training plans mainly for running and for some biking. I will continue to coach myself for the swim. I have to be accountable and on top of my workouts as I see him every day! Geoff is a super-fast runner (like a 1:15 half marathon) and I have lots to learn from him. So far he has me doing running drills/strides twice a week. I hope to become a REAL runner soon!

Other news: Geoff and I also made the decision to no longer coach the morning swims (3 a week, 6-7am; Geoff coached 2, I coached 1). It was wreaking havoc with our schedules during the past year, and I will be travelling more with my new job. Although I LOVE the group in the morning, I am looking forward to not getting up at 5:30am on Mondays! I will still coach the evening group as this commitment does not really interfere with my schedule. So down to coaching 3 practices from 6, which will be a lot easier.

That's all for now!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Double Race Weekend Fun!

Saturday morning I was up at the crack of dawn, arriving at Sylvan Lake around 7:30ish after the 1hr 45min drive. It was really laid back and none of us were the least bit nervous. We didn't have a whole lot of time before the 8:10am start, but then we didn't really need much time, either, as there was little preparation involved. Put on your swim cap, strap the timing chip to your wrist, and you're ready! There were very few people in the 5km event (11 female and 7 male, to be exact), so the floating water start was quite calm.

I swam at the tail end of a small group for the first 750m or so, at which point I decided that this was not a pace I wanted to attempt to maintain for the rest of the 5km. I ended up dropping off the back and swam the entire remainder of the race on my own. During the first lap, my left hip flexor muscles became very sore, and felt like they were going to cramp up. This continued for the rest of the swim. I had to stop a couple times each loop (the course was 4 x 1250m loops) to stretch it out and do a couple breaststroke kicks. Definitely wasn't too concerned with my time, as let's face it - I had not trained for this race! I settled into a very comfortable pace, and focused on going steady and finishing the race strong, rather than killing myself before the sprint tri the following day.

The second loop dragged on and on, and it seemed to take a very long time to hit the halfway point. My lower back muscles started getting really sore during this loop, as well as my right hip muscles. My third loop was the best by far. I felt strong, had a good mindset, and began to really enjoy myself! My arms weren't tired at all, and other than my hips and back, everything else felt OK! The water temperature was really quite nice, at 21.5C, which was perfect for a non-wetsuit swim. The fourth and final lap was a challenge, as my arms/shoulders began to tire slightly and my hips and lower back were killing me! I became extremely hungry during that last lap, and all I could think about was finishing and eating. I don't think I ate quite enough before the race. The last 500m was a struggle. Throwing my wrist over the timing mats on the dock for the finish was a great feeling!

I finished in 1:15.02, and ended up in 6th place for the females. There were some very speedy swimmers that showed up, and they were all very young (under 18). I was told that the female winner had just apparently returned home after racing at the swimming World champs! So I was pleased with my time considering I had not trained adequately for a 5km distance (generally throughout the year I swim 3 times a week, around 2500m per workout, which just doesn't cut it). The 2 longer swims I did in the week leading up to it were too little, too late! Nevertheless, my endurance was actually great; it was just the muscular soreness in my hips/lower back that was the issue. I really need to get myself back to the gym regularly for some core strength and weights!

Alice and Kendall both did awesome - they were in the same situation as me with the inadequate 5km swim training, as we all do pretty much the same workouts (they are in the group I coach and I swim the same workouts on my own as the group does). They are both strong swimmers and finished within a minute of each other, around 1:25, and were pleased with their performances. We talked about the possibility of entering a 10km race next summer in BC. This type of race would definitely require proper training, as you cannot just go in and 'wing it' for a 10km swim race!

Sunday morning, Alice and I were up early again for the St. Albert triathlon, but at a more decent hour of 6:30am. I woke up feeling muscle soreness in my upper back and some of my abdominal muscles, as well as my left hip flexor muscles. Our heat was not starting until 9:45am, but the transition closed at 7:30am so we had to head over and drop off our bikes. We found out that they were at least 30 mins behind schedule, so we headed back home for breakfast. These are the advantages of living less than 5 mins from the race - another reason I love this race!

Our race didn't end up starting until about 10:30am. Luckily I ended up with only 2 others in my lane. The swim was only 750m, so compared to the 5km the previous day, should be a piece of cake - right? Wrong. My swim actually went terribly. I felt awful from the start, and was unable to maintain anything that even resembled a fast pace. Basically I had to just back off and slug through the 750m. I was really glad to jump out of the water and run outside to my transition and grab my bike. I seem to be a MUCH better open water swimmer than pool swimmer. I don't think I have ever turned out a good pool swim in a triathlon!

The bike leg was fantastic. I went out hard from the start, and it is nice to be familiar with every inch of the out and back course. There was a headwind for most of the way out, so I just pushed a big gear and stayed in the aero bars the whole time. I felt a lot more powerful coming back, and kept it in pretty much my biggest gear the whole return trip (with the exception of the uphill).

I decided for this race that I was not going to wear a watch or use a bike computer, and I have to admit this was a great decision. I raced strictly on perceived effort alone, and didn't use cadence or speed on the bike, which is what I usually focus on. This ended up working pretty well, as I found out later that I had the fastest female bike split!

And the run went really well. I love running for only 5km! It hurts, but it is nice and short - although definitely not painless! I was able to push myself for the whole 5km, and felt like I was running quite fast (but not quite as fast as I thought!). My legs actually felt pretty good, and my hips didn't bother me at all. I had a lot of fun out there! The heat didn't bother me either (it only reached 26C).

Since I didn't wear a watch, I had no idea how I didat the end. However, the results were posted after several long delays. I finished 2nd female overall, in 1:08.22. Which is actually a best time for me by over a minute from my PB last year at this race! I can't complain about that. Especially after doing a race the day before...

Splits were:
Swim: 10:52
Bike: 35:04 (includes both transitions)
Run: 22:27

Alice also had an amazing race and took 3 minutes off her personal best sprint time, and got 6th in her age group out of 50! Way to go Alice!

Probably the most exciting thing about the race was that I won an awesome draw prize! A one piece 2XU tri-suit, which fits me perfectly! It looks really cool, with silver/grey material and green stitching. I have never owned a one-piece suit and wanted to get one, so now I don't have to go looking for it. That was a great way to end the big race weekend!

The St. Albert triathlon is still one of my all-time favorite races. It is well organized, there are so many familiar faces out there, the volunteers are amazing, and I love the course.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Riding into the sunset

I love the summers in Alberta. On a gorgeous day like today, you can start a nearly 90min bike workout at 8pm, and there is still daylight by the time you finish. It was a calm (for the most part) and beautiful evening and I really enjoyed my solo ride. This streak of nice weather is apparently here to stay for at least the next week, with the forecasted highs on Friday and Saturday up to 30C and 32C. Perfect for the open water swim on Saturday!

Since the swim starts so early at Sylvan Lake on Saturday, we have to be out the door by 5:30am in order to arrive by 7:15am at the latest. Yikes! That means a 5am wake-up call (I refuse to get up any earlier than that), which is a little early for me. I will be bringing a very large cup of coffee for the drive in hopes of waking up. I'm sure once I get in the water I will be fully awake, as I expect the water to be chilly for the non-wetsuit swim. Hopefully the warm weather we have been experiencing will increase the water temperature by a couple degrees. I am definitely excited for this race and have no expectations. I have completed 2 longer swim workouts in preparation for the 5km: 3500m on Sunday, and 4600m last night. Definitely does not sound like enough but it is more than I did 2 years ago for this race. I am heading there with big sis Alice, and Kendall from the swim group at St. Albert tri club.

For the sprint tri on Sunday, hopefully I can summon my dormant (non-existent?) fast twitch muscle fibers! With all the training for half ironman this year, there may have been a little neglect in this area. I am really looking forward to this super-fun race and my main goal will be to enjoy my day while putting out the hardest effort possible! I may be quite stiff and sore from the swim the day before, but who cares! I probably won't even notice as I will be having too much fun!

My dad is away now for a couple weeks visiting our relatives in N. Ireland, so Geoff and I are taking care of the house and the animals. Gucci (above) is a sweetheart and follows me around the house. His best friend is Hugo. Gucci now has his own Facebook page, complete with a list of friends, courtesy of my sister.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't open your mouth when you run...

Or you will swallow a bug. That's what happened to me yesterday while running.... ewwww. In addition to that incident, my run was tough and I felt a bit sluggish and sore. Geoff and I started a new core strengthening program in the gym the day before, so I was feeling the effects of that after not doing any strengthening work for months!

I have done something silly and signed up for 2 races in one weekend. The St. Albert triathlon (sprint) is on Sun. July 26, and I love this race. It is one of my favorites - a great local race where everyone has fun and people are not preoccupied with results. I had a lot of fun doing it last year.

After the Great White North, I felt a bit burnt out and run down, and had not planned to do a race for a while. I took the Monday-Friday after the race completely off, where all I did was take naps every day! I feel I really needed that down time to recover, relax, and do absolutely nothing! But now the motivation has returned and the itch to race again is out in full force! There is an open water swim race at Sylvan Lake on July 25, and I went ahead and signed up for it! Not anything close to the usual distance you might swim in a triathlon - 5km! The race is the AB Open Water Swim provincials. And it is complete with swimming rules, such as no wetsuits allowed! Hopefully the water is not too chilly - the rules state if the temperature drops below 16C, the event will be cancelled! I can't imagine it will be overly warm as the race starts at 8am! Since I have not swam over 2800m in a workout this year, I am heading to the pool this weekend for a 5km workout, just so I know I can actually complete the distance! I have convinced my sister Alice to come and do the 5km race with me, and the triathlon the next day. Good times!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

GWN Re-cap - Long Overdue...

It seems as though I have been neglecting my blog this past week but the truth is I had absolutely no access to internet while in Vancouver! Now that I am home I have a lot of catching up to do with reading and writing blogs. What on earth did we do before the internet?

The race last weekend was awesome! I had a really fantastic time and enjoyed myself all day long, save for a couple spots near the end of the run when I was struggling! I love this race because there are so many people I know that are in it, and seeing friends working their butt off during the race is always the best thing.

The 5am wake up call came after a good night's sleep, and we were pleasantly surprised to see clear skies and perfect weather. My sister stayed over to ensure a quick departure in the morning, and the four of us (Alice, Geoff, Stephen, and I) left the house at about 6am. Once we arrived at the race site, the usual business of putting air in the tires and setting up the transition followed. After that, I felt like I had an abundance of time to spare. Normally I do not get to races quite so early so it was a bit of a different situation.

In the transition I got to have a nice chat with Amber, whose bike happened to be racked only a few down from me! We talked while trying to squeeze into our wetsuits, then soon after it was time to say goodbye and head down to the water. I swam a couple strokes and let in a layer of water all throughout my wetsuit (which makes for easy removal later on, and keeps you warm if the water is super-cold). The water was actually a very pleasant temperature. I found Stephen, Alice, Geoff, and Mike all near the front and wished everyone a good race.

Then the horn sounded and the madness began! I have not been used to this type of aggressive swim start recently, as all my swim starts in the past few years have been very calm and tame (even Worlds' last year)! I think it had something to do with the fact that men were starting with the women?? The first couple hundred meters were quite rough, with a couple guys around me grabbing at my arms and legs and swimming into me, and trying to grab onto my feet! Now, that is completely unnecessary! I didn't get angry or frustrated and refused to waste any extra energy in fighting back, so I just kept on swimming as hard as I could and eventually dropped the buggers!
This swim felt WAY harder than my swim at Oliver! At Oliver I felt very comfortable and was in a good pace and rhythm without a huge effort. This time I felt like I was red-lining it the whole 2km and going at a pace that would normally be reserved for 200m repeats! Generally I go out hard and then settle into a nice, comfortable pace after about 200-300m, but this time I did not have the luxury of swimming comfortably, as there were a couple of fast girls around me preventing me from doing so, and there was a swim prime at this race! After 1 loop, I came out 3rd woman, then proceeded to pass the leader during the first half of the second loop. A gap of about 5-10 sec opened up to the other girl, which I was unable to close at the end. The leader ended up being DQ'd at the end for whatever reason, so I ended up with the women's swim prime! I came out in 26:50 (which was the EXACT same time I went at Oliver, to the second! But a world of difference in effort levels!), good for 5th place overall.

My transition was smooth and I was out onto the bike in good time. The first 15km flew by in some 24 minutes and I remember thinking to myself 'This is going by really fast - wow!' Didn't realize it at the time but there must have been a tailwind! I pedalled hard, and concentrated on pushing as big a gear as possible. Around 30km, I felt very happy to be doing something I really love to do and to be feeling strong and going fast! Shortly after, my hips started acting up a bit. This really weird thing happens where my hips feel like they are going numb, and then I start losing power. It is a strange sensation and I think that I need to get a proper bike fitting done, as this shouldn't be happening. Luckily in this race, I did not get the really sore lower back that I got in Oliver!

After turning around at 50km, we faced a headwind the whole way back. Not a super strong one, but an annoying one that was enough to slow you down below your average speed. I struggled on occasion during the last 30km, and started to lose focus and motivation at about the 70km mark. The last 10km I backed off a bit, in hopes of setting myself up for a good run. My bike computer split read 2:33, my split in the results is 2:36 (which includes transitions). I had hoped to break 2:30, and I was definitely pretty close despite feeling sub-par for half the ride! There is still improvement to be made here!

My bike to run transition was good and I was off to start the half marathon! I purposely started out easier and held myself back, as I have a tendency to go out too hard and pay for it dearly shortly after! So I ran very comfortably the first few km, surprisingly still under 5min/km pace. I was actually feeling awesome in the run in a half-ironman!! This was new territory to me, so I kept it smooth and comfortable with fast turnover and just kept it going! I kept a very positive mindset and cheered on all the people I saw that I knew, as well as people that I didn't know at all.
I was under pace to go a 1:45, through about 12-13km (this would equal my best road race half marathon time). Then my pace slowed a little bit and my breathing started to become more labored. I had to walk a couple transitions and for the last 5km my stomach was not happy! I definitely lost the positive mindset that had been with me up until about 15km, and struggled the last few kilometers. At some point during this challenging portion, I had tried to add up my splits in my head with a predicted run split in order to figure out my finishing time. I had worn a watch but I had not started it until the run. Don't ever try to do math while you are trying to run and in pain! The calculation I got was over 5hours, so when I rounded that last turn and saw well under 5 hours on the clock I was so happy! I finished strong and was ecstatic to be finished! Run split was 1:50, which is my best ever split in a half ironman by 3 mins, even with the struggles in the last bit.
Final time: 4:53.14
2nd place in age group; 8th female overall
This is my best-ever half-ironman and I am extremely happy with the result and know that there is still much more to improve on! Geoff and I figured out my problem in the run was likely caused by taking in a gel at about 5km when there was no need to (i.e. I was feeling fantastic at that point), which caused some GI issues. I think the 'less is more' approach is best for me in these longer races, and I will experiment more with this in my next one! I'm not sure at this point whether or not I will do Soma half iron in October. I took this past week completely off to recover and will start back to some easy training today.

Stephen, Geoff and Alice all had great races as well. Stephen went a PB overall with a super-fast bike split and Alice completed her first half-ironman ever! She got a flat tire 10km into the bike and only lost 12 mins, and despite this she still achieved her goal of breaking 6 hours! She would have been close to 5:45 without the flat tire issue. Geoff had some back issues on the bike/run which is likely due to his bike fit. We are going to try and get a professional bike fitting done somewhere at some point before next year!
The finish line was really fun and it was great to see so many people I knew there! I got to meet Naomi and her husband Greg who were there to cheer everyone on! My dad and brother Donald were there with Gucci (who ended up falling into the water dish for dogs), Geoff's dad was there taking pictures, and Stephen's parents were there. It is such a well-organized race with tons of amazing volunteers and I am sad to say I won't be there next year (my good friend Jadeen's wedding is in BC that same weekend and I am the maid of honor!)...