Sunday, March 29, 2009

2 weeks till AZ!

In less than 2 weeks I will be on my way south to Arizona for 10 days for some good training in the hot sun, with Geoff and his family. I am super excited for biking outside, running in shorts and tank top, and swimming outside. It will be the first time taking my brand new bike outside on the roads, which will be awesome! After a BIG week of training, we are going to head south across the border for the first triathlon of the year in Mexico on April 18!! Should be a fun and exciting race with an ocean swim and some hot temperatures for the run! The week leading up will also be filled with relaxing, eating, and shopping at the outlets! I am going to try and bring as few clothes as I can so I can fit all my new purchases in my suitcase coming home!

I am getting more motivated for training now that the race season is underway around the globe. It is exciting to see the results of the big races and see how well people are doing. Then I get excited about my upcoming races and get more motivated to do more training for them! Speaking of which, I am just about to head out the door for a 1hr 45min run. It has been very tough to run around here lately with all the ice, slush, and uneven ground so i will have to be careful. I have done quite a bit of running on the tready lately but I am so sick of it so I am going to avoid it wherever possible!

Yesterday morning I had an awesome swim workout, 2600m total, with the main set being 2 x {8x25, 4x50, 2x100, 1x200, all 1 fast, 1ez. I felt strong and I am definitely getting some speed back, my 100's were 1:14-15, and the 200's were 2:35 and 2:34 which I was happy with. I actually swam 4x this week which definitely helps boost the fitness. After my run and a 60 min bike later on today, it has been a great week of training for me!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Love to hurt

Because it looked like this outside this morning,

I opted for an indoor session on the tready (80 mins). I actually felt great during my run, and did a negative split run, so after 40mins I kept increasing the pace. I watched the last hour of Freaky Friday (I know, how dorkish), and then there was really nothing else good on after that. Typically after about 50-60 mins on the treadmill, I start to get really bored and keep checking the time to see how much is left. My general thoughts keep switching to "I want to get off this damn thing right freaking now!"

The power of music is very significant, and in cases like these the right tunes can have a profound effect on your mental state during a hard workout. I decided to turn the t.v. to mute, and then put on the Ipod. It is amazing how listening to certain upbeat music can make you forget about the time and about how you are feeling. I turned up the volume on the tunes and simultaneously kept turning up the speed as well! It made my negative thoughts about how tough it was disappear (maybe the music was so loud it drowned out all my thoughts?). I forgot about how much it hurt and about how long I had left to go. I added a half mile per hour to the speed for the last 5 mins and it didn't even really seem that hard! What a great workout!

Some of the choice songs today that made me kick my run into higher gear and change my attitude for the better:

  • Flypaper (K-OS)
  • Honest Mistake (The Bravery)
  • Gamma Ray (Beck)
  • Just Dance (Jamiroquai) - make sure you turn up the volume on the chorus!
  • What is Love (Haddaway) - cheesy I know but it does the trick
  • Cry for You (Various Artists mix)
  • Sorry (Madonna - Paul Oakenfold remix)
  • A-Punk (Vampire Weekend)

This was all I needed today as I only had about 30mins left when I put on the headphones.

My workouts yesterday were awesome: a swim in the morning, about 2400m, with some fast 50's on descending rest, finished with 4 x 50 on :40, last one was a :35. Then 1 x 50 all out - I went :33 from a push. I did a brick workout late in the afternoon, which included 75 min bike with race pace intervals, then a 30 min run off the bike, building the pace. I felt great!

Friday, March 20, 2009

No time for an update

I feel like I have been neglecting the land of blogs recently, and not by choice. Things are so busy with work that I have not had time to even go on the internet this week. I thought I would sneak in a quick post while I have about 5 mins to spare on a Friday night, in between working on 1 of the 4-5 reports I am now behind on at work! Another reason I can tell I am swamped right now is that my training log journal has been sitting untouched for the past 2 weeks. I better get on that!!

Training has been somewhat consistent but by no means has there been a lot of volume! I am getting in regular workouts, but nothing long or super-hard right now. Basically I am just maintaining right now, and most likely not making any huge fitness gains. I am feeling pretty good in the water and just need to do a couple of killer sessions to get back on track to where I need to be. After that COLD ocean water on Sunday, I certainly could not complain about the pool temperature during my Tues/Thurs swims this week! Biking is going well - I feel like I have finally gotten myself into a comfortable position which is also somewhat aero, through a long process of trial and error and many many adjustments. Although the process was long, it was definitely cheap as I didn't have to pay a professional bike fitter for it!!

I am off to Grande Prairie late Sunday night to perform an assessment there on Monday, and thank goodness I am flying! I don't think I could face a 5 hour drive (one way) right now, especially b/c the highways can be hit and miss this time of year, and snow is forecast for tomorrow. Hopefully I can squeeze in a swim while I am there, maybe a run, too!
Anyway, gotta get back to my work (yawn). I would rather be where Hugo is - he's got the right idea!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First open water swim of 2009 - BRRR!

Today Stephen and I headed to the Aquatic Park to brave a swim in the ocean. The water temperature was 52.7F (or 11.5C), which is not unlike an ice bath. It took a looong time to gather up enough courage to venture over to the edge of the water...
After about 15 minutes of wading into waist-deep water and subsequently trudging back out onto the beach to warm up the feet, which were throbbing with pain, we finally submerged ourselves in the water and managed to swim for about 15-20 minutes. Talk about PAINFUL! My hands were throbbing with pins and needles, my face and head felt like an ice cream headache, and my feet were completely numb and throbbing. However, after a short period of time I sort of got used to it and felt like I could swim somewhat normally. The taste of the salt water was so strong and pretty disgusting as well! The really shocking thing was - there were actually a few swimmers in the water with NO WETSUITS! That is madness!
Post-swim, we are definitely looking pretty happy to be out of the water!

The after-effects of the swim on my poor ankles and feet:

After the swim was done, we changed into our running gear and did a 45 minute negative-split run along the Fisherman's Wharf district. Many tourists in that area, and lots to see. It was a pretty fun run! We both felt great and there was even a nice little mist coming off the water with some drizzle to cool us off as we were going at a pretty good clip on the return trip!

I am heading home tomorrow and back to reality! Hopefully a lot of the snow has melted while I was away but I am not confident this will be the case!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunny San Fran

Don't worry we did some good training today (10 mile run in the morning and 2600m swim in the evening)!

Stephen's sweet-looking machine, race-ready for next weekend....

Just before the start of our 10 mile run (which we had not really anticipated to be that long), which was very hilly and windy and included going across the Golden Gate bridge and back):

Prior to getting in the water we managed to get 2 photos taken at the USF pool before the lifeguards advised there were NO CAMERAS ALLOWED!

After shopping for 2.5 hours at the Sport Basement in the afternoon, here is our loot (mine are the clothes on the left and Stephen's is all the supplements on the right):

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm in San Francisco!

It seems like it has been too long since I last posted anything and that is because I have no time these days to write or read blogs! Hopefully one of these days I can get caught up on what everyone is doing. The overwhelming amount of work I have looming over me is to blame.

This morning I worked a couple hours and then hopped on a plane to San Francisco to visit Stephen for the weekend! It is such a beautiful city and a nice change to see absolutely no snow! Right now we are making some dinner and in the process of deciding if we are going to head to the university pool for a swim. I guess we'll soon see! The decision might be tough as we bought some red wine and chips with our groceries!

Something funny happened after I got off the plane - while heading to the baggage claim I stopped and grabbed a sandwich at the food court which was right on the way, as I was completely starving (Air Canada didn't even give us a snack on the flight). I scarfed down half the sandwich, then made my way over to the baggage claim area. Couldn't find Edmonton arrival on the screen so I asked the lady at the counter and she told me carousel 4, which was stopped. It turns out the entire flight's baggage had already come out and the unclaimed bags had been removed even before I arrived! I eventually found my bag sitting with some other lonely looking bags on a shelf. I didn't think I had taken that long to get the sandwich - and apparently they are pretty efficient with the baggage claim in this airport!

More updates and pictures soon to come about my adventures in San Fran! Tomorrow we are planning to try a swim at Lake Anza (where Stephen has a race next weekend), and hopefully it won't be too chilly!

Here are some pictures from the shenanigans of last weekend (and yes there were more than a few beverages involved!):

My little brother Mark:

Alice's friend Crystal striking a pose: Alice and I in her apartment:
My good buddy Bonnie and I enjoying our night out!

Later on during the night with Bonnie and her brother Robert before things got really ugly:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New look

Yesterday I actually had some time to make some changes to my blog layout (as I made the executive decision to take the day off training after working until 7:15pm), which unfortunately resulted in all of my pictures getting deleted! So I have found some new pictures for my page to change things up!

Today my legs are finally starting to feel normal again, and I am not limping around anymore. As a result, I have not been able to run since the race. Likely I won't do a run until Saturday. Definitely did some damage to my calves this time around! Thankfully, the muscles are healing well with a good stretching and icing regimen (actually I only iced them once but they seemed to improve significantly after this one time!).

Nothing much exciting going on here. I am looking forward to the weekend and hopefully some warmer weather will be on its way! We had a storm overnight with strong winds, lots of snow, and snow drifts everywhere. After getting a taste of spring yesterday with warm temperatures of 5C and lots of melting occurring, this is sad to see!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Hypo Half, or OUCH

The race was a toughie yesterday, and did not result in a PR. Perhaps it was the lack of long runs (my longest was 90min and 10 miles), or having done a lot of the long runs on the tready, and not the packed snow/ice that was the race course. Who knows? At any rate it was a really hard long workout which will be beneficial for later!

I was 3 mins slower than my time from last year, which was a 1:45. I had no expectations going in, so how can you be disappointed if you have no expectations? While I'm not gonna lie and say I am happy with it, but I am certainly not going to be disappointed, either. As Geoff said, "It's better to be fast later in the season than right now", which is completely true! I am still building building building and have a lot more work to do!

The race was still fun overall. It was cold out but I felt pretty comfortable with what I was wearing. I went at a controlled pace. Unfortunately, with about 5-6km to go, both my calves seized up and tightened into huge knots, making each step a painful experience. I pressed on, not stopping or walking at all. I was definitely glad to be finished when I hit the finish line! The positive thing was that my endurance/stamina felt great and I could have kept going for another 5km at the finish line, if my legs had held up. So cardiovascular-wise, it was great, which is encouraging!

Today I am hobbling around as my calves are ridiculously sore! Since I can't flex my feet or lift my heels off the ground, my walk has turned into a shuffle. If you ask me to do a calf raise I will most likely have you arrested. I am going to attempt to bike tonight in hopes that I can loosen up my legs.

There is lots to look forward to as next weekend I am in San Fran and a few weeks after that is a trip to Arizona and a race in Mexico! Bring on the warm weather!