Monday, April 27, 2009

Simplicity

It was a great weekend of training for me - 6 hours in the bag (7 hours if you count my weights session yesterday). All of my workouts, with the exception of my Saturday morning swim, turned out amazing. My swim on Sat. a.m. was anything but, as I felt very fatigued overall and was so hungry I was close to bonking. It turns out that eating just a banana before swimming in the morning just doesn't cut it for calories! Saturday afternoon I did a 3 hour brick (bike 2:15 inside, run 45 min outside). The bike was a bit tedious but I had a fantastic run and felt fast and smooth!

Sunday morning I did a long 2 hour run with Larry, who is faster than me and is keeping me honest! We ran at a good clip, completing about 14 miles in the 2 hours, which turned out to be a walk in the park for Larry! My legs felt pretty good until nearly the end, when they started to become stiff and sore. The workout was a major challenge and I really pushed myself through it. It is important to continually raise the bar, not only in racing but in training every day. This run took a lot out of me and I feel a sense of accomplishment over the weekend's training.

After the run all I could do for most of the afternoon was lie on the couch with my compression calf sleeves on trying to recover my battered legs with Hugo on my lap, watching television. I managed to get to the gym with Mark to do a weights session in the evening (just upper body and core) after dinner at my Dad's.

I watched "Into the Wild" while crashing/recovering on the couch yesterday. This is a great movie. It is one of those movies that encourages you to think about what is really important in life. I always seem to feel bad about all that I have when watching movies such as this. It highlights the fact that possessions are trivial and we are living in a material world (and I am a material girl - just joking). We are all guilty of this in the sport of triathlon with our expensive gear, paying for ridiculously priced races, and having to have the latest gadgets and top of the line equipment. Our lives are meticulously planned, perpetually scheduled, and over-analyzed, and sometimes (all the time?) we forget to appreciate the simple pleasures in life and what's really important. Possessions are just "stuff". I need to remind myself more often about what "having it all" really means to me: Health and Happiness of those dear to me. That is what is most important, not how much money you make, the type of bike or car you have, or what your house looks like.

The best things in life aren't things...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why does it have to be so cold here?

It has been quite a shock to the system to go from 36C on Monday to a high of 1C today and yesterday. I hope the warm weather returns, ASAP! It actually snowed a bit last night! Luckily there is only a light dusting of snow on the ground and not a huge dump like Calgary received! Haha! I went from training in tank top, shorts, and visor in Arizona, to tights/vest/toque! Actually yesterday I wimped out and ran on the treadmill as I seem to have become a fairweather runner. But I had a good run and felt like my fitness was good. I focused on quick leg turnover (about 93-94 rpm) the whole 50 mins and imagined I was running like a super fast elite runner (even though I was not even close)! My legs did become a little sore and I keep getting this weird numb feeling on the bottom of my right foot a lot when I run. I am not sure exactly what this is but I hope to discover the cause soon so I can prevent it from occurring.

At the pool yesterday there was an "incident" while I was coaching. In the fitness pool some poor soul apparently had the 'runs' while in the pool so they had to clear out that entire pool while they "disinfected" it. Our pool was not affected by this rather unfortunate turn of events so the practice proceeded without disruption. I did my own swim after (2400m), mostly easy stuff as I felt too wiped out to swim anything fast.
Also yesterday I had a near-freak out situation at work when opening a container of sliced peaches at my desk. These containers are filled to the BRIM with syrop. I ripped off the lid and somehow managed to spill a bunch of the liquid on and near my laptop. Not wanting to wreck another computer, I sopped up the excess with the edges of napkins wedged between the keys and turned off the system right away. It must have dried okay as it is functioning normally. PHEW! Disaster averted. Technically, I could blame this on my company as I am forced to eat lunch at my desk everyday and work through my lunch as we are so busy! Hopefully Geoff is not reading right now as he is always telling me to BE CAREFUL when eating/drinking around laptops and he will say I told you so!


I am still working on my race schedule for May. There are a couple of possible races I can do that month: U of A sprint tri on May 10, Coronation tri on May 24, or a 10km running race. Not sure yet which one it will be. I am definitely racing the Oliver Half Iron on June 7 in BC, and then the Great White North Half iron on July 5, which will be a key race. The schedule is a bit up in the air for August races, but I do plan on racing the Soma Half iron in October again.

Here is my plan for the weekend:

-swim on Saturday morning with the group I coach (Geoff coaches and I swim on Saturdays). Nice to be able to have social interaction on occasion when I swim as all my other swims are done solo!
-long brick on Saturday with a 2.5 hour bike (I will be stuck on the trainer as the high on Sat. is 6C - blah), followed by a 45 min run.
-Sunday is a long run of 1hr 50 to 2 hours. Hopefully it is not too chilly but I will have some company as Larry from swimming is going to run with me!
-some quality time hanging out with Geoff and the Hugo-monster! I also have some catching up to do with friends (you know who you are - Bonnie!) which will happen in due time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stranded in the desert

On Monday morning, our last day in Arizona, Stephen and I headed out on our own for a long ride (planned for about 4 hours). Geoff decided not to go with us and did a shorter ride on his own, as he was still getting over the chest cold. Stephen and I left at about 8am, and it was already pretty hot out. The high on Monday was 97F!

We started off well, and stopped for a quick picture after about an hour.



After about 2 hours, Stephen ended up getting a flat tire! He rode over some type of prickly thorn, which ended up not only puncturing his tube, but his tire as well.

He made a quick change, he started filling up the tire with CO2, and after only a couple seconds, BANG! The entire tube shredded and blew to pieces. It was so loud, it sounded like a gunshot.

Unfortunately, Stephen was riding his 404's, which require a longer stem or valve adapter, and that was Stephen's only such tube. I had a spare tube, and Stephen also had another spare tube, but they were the regular stem length and were not compatible with the valve adapter.
So we were stuck out on the desert highway in the searing heat! We had to call someone to come and pick us up. Nobody answered! We left a voicemail and kept calling, and were finally able to get through after about 15 mins.


We decided to make good use of our time waiting on the side of the highway by taking some very useful pictures.
I realize now that this might look otherwise, but all I am doing here is crouching.




Our rescuer has arrived! Geoff saved the day by driving out 30+km to pick us up. Since we still had time before we had to leave for the airport, we headed to the pool and did an easy 2km swim.

I am back home now and back to the daily grind. The weather here sucks right now (high 9C today), and is supposed to stay crappy for a bit. I have some long workouts planned for this weekend, so hopefully it is nice enough to ride outside!
Not sure what my next race will be. I am thinking about the U of A sprint triathlon on May 3.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mexican Rocky Point Tri

The trip to Mexico was really fun and the race was also fun. Interesting, but fun. It was pretty hot out and very sunny at 84F. The water was completely beautiful and really there was no need for a wetsuit at 73F, but since everyone else wore one I did as well. The race was very low key and fun seemed to be the main object. There was some disorganization of the run course with nobody doing the correct distance and I ended up making a very silly error which cost me first place overall (I ended up 3rd overall). I am kicking myself a bit now but honestly it doesn't really matter in the main scheme of things. The important thing was that I had fun and it was a very hard workout!


My swim went well and it was pretty calm with not many waves. The mens' wave left 4 minutes before ours so I caught up to a lot of that wave but there was a lot of room to pass. I was out first and there was a long beach run, part of it uphill, to the transition area, which took a lot out of you. I didn't time my swim but the results show 20:57, including the run to transition. To foreshadow for you a bit - someone actually protested my swim time as it was 3 mins faster than the next woman! WTF!


The bike portion was good, it was 3 laps with a little hill in each lap and many turns and technical sections. I felt pretty strong and went as hard as I could. I was first off the bike and had a quick transition onto the very hot and very disorganized run course! I struggled on that run and it turned out to be a very hilly route through the golf course, which I was not expecting. I followed the route and found myself running toward the transition area at about 31 mins, when there would have been about 0.5km left to the finish line. I had not been passed by a single woman at this point. I thought that the race course could not possibly be this short, and I thought I was going to be DQ'd if I continued on to the finish line, so I asked a few people where the 10km race goes, and they told me I should have turned left back somewhere, so I turned around and ran all the way back to the first aid station. Nobody there knew what was going on, and some guy told me just to run back, so I turned around and ran all the way back to where I had just been, adding about 7 minutes on to my time!! I just kept going and ran to the finish line, very confused and a little angry that I had just run the extra out and back for nothing.


It turns out that the run course was marked improperly and everyone's times were very short. It turned out to be 7km or something silly like that. ARRGGHH!! I am angry that I turned around, thinking I had missed a section, but it seemed ludicrous to me to be nearly done when the time on my watch was like 31 mins or something! It also turns out that in my little course detour, 2 women finished ahead of me! It is frustrating as I never actually got passed by any women in the entire race, but I ended up 3rd. Another VERY frustrating and insulting thing happened during the awards, when I got called up to talk to the RD in the background about my times. I initially thought they were going to talk to me about the run times, but was very shocked when they questioned my swim time as it was nearly 3 mins faster than the next woman and there were reports of other Olympic distance athletes cutting into the sprint swim course! Excuse me? I felt it was inappropriate and unprofessional to be questioned about this, but it turns out someone had actually protested about my swim time being that fast and so the RD had to check it out. OH WELL, I know that I would have won the race had i just continued on to the finish with a ridiculously short run time! Silly mistake!


Anyway, the resort was beautiful, the water was amazing, and it was a fun trip overall. I am happy with the result (not my placing), as it came at the end of a nearly 20 hour training week! So I have to be happy with that!




I forgot to bring a race belt so Deborah kindly offered me her pajama bottom string, which ended up working very well and just happened to match my race uniform!



The water was very shallow so I swam as far as I possibly could, with my hands hitting the bottom, to avoid having to run through the water!







The last 400 metres or so were on soft sand and it was super hard to run on!












Shots of tequila were offered to the top 3 winners - cool but I am not a tequila drinker at all! Luckily it was a very small amount in the shot glass so I didn't hurl.
Deborah won her age category (50-54) . Here she is enjoying her tequila shot! Deborah's son Andrew finished 5th in the 20-24 category in his second or third triathlon ever with virtually no bike training!




Driving through the border town there were many sights to see and I couldn't resist taking a picture of a drug store, where apparently you can get pretty much anything you want without a prescription.


We kept seeing these weird sandstorms during the drive there, and one of them was forceful enough to knock off the lid on someone's roof rack carrier, throwing some of their luggage to the middle of the highway!


The water looks so beautiful and is also amazing to swim in. I did a couple of swims with Stephen and Geoff and there was no need for a wetsuit. In the race, there were no rules regarding wetsuits so everyone wore one, me included.








Stephen and I with our prizes - they had really cool and interesting awards compared to the typical medals you get. Stephen won his age group in the sprint (30-34) and finished 2nd overall in the sprint race!




On the way home we were stopped at the border for 2 whole hours, waiting in a long line of cars. There were many townsfolk preying on the line of stopped vehicles, peddling their goods.



I bought these little knick knacks as I wanted to help the people out. The little piggies are actually salt and pepper shakers!



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Long ride in the wind!

Yesterday I rode for just under 100km on a super-windy day. Not exactly warm, either, as I had to break out the arm warmers and kept them on for almost the entire ride. What a fluke that I even brought arm warmers on this trip! Usually when I come here it is always in the 30's (Celsius) and we have to start our workouts at like 7am to avoid the intense heat. Not this time! We have been experiencing much cooler than normal weather, which of course I can't really complain about as it is still MUCH nicer than in Edmonton!

The ride was great yesterday, there was a group of 6 of us. I felt strong the whole way, and time trialled it on my own the whole way, either a bit behind the group or pulling the group a bit on the way back. I never draft or pack ride in training. And now that I am riding a time trial bike and not my road bike, this is even more applicable. My motto is, you're not training to draft, so why would you draft in training! I prefer to go it alone and put the work in all myself! Here I am after getting back from the ride, I rolled my arm warmers down only during the last 20km!

I feel really comfortable on my bike, and my legs are definitely feeling strong. Fatigued, but strong! The only thing is I get a sore neck on those longer rides, which I used to get on my road bike. I'm not sure if there is any way to avoid this? If anyone has any tips/suggestions, I am all ears!

For the rest of the day yesterday I pretty much just relaxed, oh and I had a nap! Poor Geoff has picked up some kind of sickness while we are here (sore throat, fever, chills, cough, headache), so he didn't ride yesterday and he may not be able to race on Saturday. We watched this Swedish vampire movie with subtitles. I can't remember what it is called right now but it was pretty good! Pretty weird, too!

Today will be an easy bike, a shorter recovery run, and a swim. My friend Stephen is arriving today so hopefully he wants to go for an easy bike ride! We are all leaving tomorrow morning for the Rocky Point resort in Puerto Penasco, Mexico! I am very excited as I have never been there before. It should be quite warm on Saturday (in the 90's) and the race doesn't start until 9am, so by the time we get to the run it will be HOT!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ride to Verrado (and back)

The sky looked pretty ominous on Saturday - it was the worst weather ever seen in April here!

Deborah has been cooking up wonderful food for all of us and there are always leftovers in the fridge!

Just before our 10.6 mile run yesterday - notice the bright blue sky in the background!

Post-run, we are all shiny and happy to be done our workout! We went swimming pretty much right after, an easy 2km in the outdoor pool.

The view from Kendall's parent's house - overlooking the golf course. If you look really closely you can see the mountains in the far background.


While Geoff went for a swim later in the day, I lounged in my bikini and sunbathed, making myself useful by taking some pictures and video of Geoff swimming.


His technique looks pretty good - I better watch out!


There are thousands of little bunnies everywhere, especially in the golf courses. They just continually multiply!

Everyone around here owns a golf cart and we cruise around in it when going to the pool. Here is Geoff while parked at Blockbuster.

The aftermath yesterday evening - apparently I do not know how to apply sunscreen. Notice the big white strip and then the red on either side!

We just got back from a nearly 4 hour brick, with just under 100km of biking and a 30min run off the bike. I had an awesome workout and actually felt pretty good on the run! It was super hot by the run (around 27-28C) and I started getting a headache near the end, probably due to a bit of dehydration. My bike feels great and I am now pretty used to the time trial bike. I feel very comfortable on it and notice the biggest difference between it and my old bike when I go up a hill!
Our race is on Saturday at the beautiful Rocky Point resort in Mexico. We are driving there on Friday and staying till Sunday. Stephen is going to be driving from San Francisco and should arrive here in Arizona on Wed. or Thurs. and will be coming to Mexico with us! The start/finish is right on the beach and there is a party after with all-you-can-drink Corona's! The race will be super-fun and will be the first triathlon of the year. After this big week of training, my main goal is to HAVE FUN!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It rains in Arizona?

It started raining on Thursday night and then it rained continuously all day yesterday, which is very uncommon for this area. It's the desert!! I think the temperature was actually quite similar to what we left in Edmonton (55 or something?)!! We fit in an early swim in the outdoor pool and nixed the 100km bike ride idea. The rain stopped later on, so Deborah and I jumped on the opportunity to get out for a little 95min ride around 4:30pm. Except the roads were still soaking wet so my brand new bike is now filthy! The first time it gets outside it had to be raining that day. Deborah and I did some shopping yesterday (okay, lots of shopping!) while Geoff and his dad went to see a Diamondbacks game (baseball). I bought a bunch of clothes and found some really good deals.

We awoke today to typical Arizona weather - blue skies, sunshine, and the high is about 80F. Now that's more like it! I am just about to head out for a long run in the sun (about 1:45) in shorts and a tank top, and of course sunscreen and sunglasses! Nothing major planned for the rest of the day, maybe we'll get out on our bikes and/or go to the pool again for a swim workout. Tomorrow morning will be a long group ride (100km) with some of the locals here that Deborah rides with. Should be fun! And the high tomorrow is 87F!! Bring on the heat!

I will try and put up some pics later on (actually I will first have to take some pictures!! Gotta get camera happy!), and more regular updates.

An update on Hugo - he is completely back to his normal crazy self, going out on his 2 walks a day, eating up a storm, and chasing everything. My brother Mark is baby-sitting Hugo while we are away, and my sister Alice will also be staying for a few days to take care of him. Hugo loves his Mark and Alice!

Anyway, off for a long run!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back on Track

Training has been going quite well for me the past couple weeks. I have been very consistent and getting in all my scheduled workouts, and even nailing a few killer sessions. My swim is definitely back on track after some super hard workouts this week and last, including my best ever "double up" set on Tues. night (50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400 all holding well under 40sec per 50 throughout), and a crazy hard swim this morning (main set was 15 x 100 on 1:35 holding 1:15-1:16 for all). I was pretty worn out after the swim workout today and required a large double double and breakfast bagel from Tim Hortons!

This weekend is a big weekend of training for me, as I am preparing for some big volume training in Arizona so it is not a complete shock to the system! After the swim today I did some shopping at the Bay and then biked on the trainer for 1.5 hours. Tomorrow is a very long brick, with 2.5 hours on the trainer followed by a 1 hour run. My running volume and frequency has definitely decreased (down to 3 runs a week, sometimes 4), but the strange thing is I actually feel a lot better lately when I run! Last Sunday I had an awesome 1hr 50 min run and felt really strong.

Poor Hugo has not been feeling well the past few days. He has been lethargic and was not eating much up until today. He seems to have his appetite back today, though, as he ate all his food plus some extra food. We took him to the vet this morning and she wasn't able to find anything wrong, she thought maybe he just picked something up and was feeling nauseated. He's doing better this evening and acting like his usual self, chasing stuff and eating his bone! Geoff will probably take him to the vet again on Monday if he doesn't improve more. Hopefully he will be better tomorrow...