Sunday, May 31, 2009

On the open road...

The wind can become incredibly relentless and challenging. During my 70km bike yesterday, there was wind in every direction I pedalled, and none of it happened to be a tail wind. How does that work exactly? As a result, it was a very slow ride and extremely frustrating at times, especially during the cross winds that nearly push you over. I ended up skipping my planned run off the bike in favour of a meal, as I was completely starving and would have most certainly bonked had I attempted a run.

I wasn't too worried about missing the run, as my run on Friday more than made up for it: 1 hr 7min total, 8 miles, with the fartlek set being 3 x {5 min tempo, 2.5 ez, 4 min tempo, 2 min ez, 3 min tempo, 1.5 ez}. Turned out to be a fantastic workout and amazingly I seemed to get stronger and faster as the workout progressed. Now if only that could happen during the run in a race....

Something funny happened yesterday, I discovered that I have inadvertently made it into the 2009 ITU Calendar for the month of March!

There I am on the right below, during the run portion of the ITU World Age Group Championships in Vancouver last year. I am fairly certain that the main focus of the picture is supposed to be the guy in the centre, but so what? It is pretty cool to have made it into the picture if even by accident!

And since no blog post is complete without a picture of Hugo....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Some pictures - update to come

Here are some pictures from the Coronation Triathlon last sunday in Edmonton. I was a spectator and not racing. It was a gorgeous day and perfect for racing. My sister Alice did awesome and was pleased with her race. Here she is, near the finish and looking very strong!

Alice and Deborah after the race. Deborah had a great race as well.

Can't seem to get this picture below rotated properly, even though I rotated it right side up in my saved picture folder :)

The coolest thing about this race was a wildlife/zoo section with lots of fun creatures! There was a huge snake but I missed getting pictures of him - but I'm not too disappointed as I am not a big fan of snakes!

This is Peter the Duck. He was very tame and friendly - a real crowd-pleaser. He just waddled around and let everyone pet him. All of the kids were thrilled with him.

The cutest thing was this little armadillo!! She was very friendly and the kids loved her. Her shell was very hard and she can roll herself into a little ball with her head tucked in, for protection against her enemies.

The armadillo's little legs were shaking while she was being held and the lady holding her said that she was having a temper tantrum because she wanted to get down to roam around on the grass!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

No excuses

The other day I went out and bought myself one of those slick looking aero helmets. Now that I am all geeked out this year with a carbon frame TT bike and a 'fast' helmet, there are no excuses for slowness!

It was a great day of training today in the beautiful sun. Yes, summer is now back on! I swam this morning, an easier 2500m workout. This afternoon Geoff and I went biking and it turned out to be a perfect day for this activity! It was a fast workout - 88.6km in 2hr 45 min (av. 32km/hr), and my legs actually felt really good! No soreness or major fatigue, which was nice for once. We each did our own 30min run off the bike and I felt like I was floating through it with apparent ease. It was about 21C and very sunny, so I was sweating up a storm!

Last weekend we brought Gucci over for a sleep-over just to make sure the two dogs were okay together all night. They are both coming to Oliver so we needed to ensure there will be no problems! However, they were really great together and both slept through the night. Gucci got up out of his bed at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30, but he went right back to bed after I told him to. Good boy!

After this weekend my training is going to wind down a little going into Oliver. It won't be a complete and full taper, but I will be resting nonetheless. Hopefully the great way I have been feeling in training lately will translate into a solid race. It's only 2 weeks away from tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Attention everyone - Summer has been cancelled this year

Satellite image

For some reason we are getting blasted with cold Arctic conditions this week and it is nearly the end of May! What could us prairie-dwellers have done to deserve this horrible weather?! Right now the temperature is 2C and there is a chance of snow today. What? I guess my bike workout will sadly be done indoors today. Yesterday I ran wearing a togue, gloves, vest, and since I refused to dig out the tights again - capris.

Hopefully it warms up soon as I cannot handle any more crappy weather after the atrocious winter we have just endured. Bring on the sun, heat, and blue sky! I am ready for you!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Be afraid, very afraid

I have been thinking about my run workout all day and I am feeling a mixture of dread and eager anticipation. Mostly dread, but might as well be positive! It is a 60 minute run (and should have been done yesterday but I was unable to fit it in, so I am doing it on my day off), consisting of 3 x 10min tempo sections with 2min ez between. I am afraid of it because I want to do a really good job on it, not half-a$$ed, and I know it will hurt! I will give it my best and see what happens. Hopefully I don't look like this...

At least the sun has come out today and it is looking a little more like spring outside. This is my absolute favourite time of year, with the trees just beginning to bloom, the days (ever so slowly) getting warm, and staying light out until later and later in the evening. I love it!

My swim last night was pretty solid, I wanted to put in a really good effort after not getting in my run :)

Main set was 4x100, 3x100, 2x100, 1x100, all hard, on 1:35, followed by a 400 strong. I held 1:15-16 for the 100's and was really working hard to hold those times! I need to gain a bit of endurance back I think, as it shouldn't feel quite so hard for me at that pace! My 400 was basically 'hold on as long as you can', aiming for a 1:20 pace. Good workout and I was happy with how it turned out. I need to do a few more breakthrough swim workouts before the next race, which is coming up 3 weeks from Sunday!!
Have a great long weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's always better on the way back

The exception to this motto was the Mother's Day 10km race today. All I can say is BRUTAL! There were a lot of downhills in the first 5km. I made my silly typical error of going out too hard and paying for it! I need to learn to hold myself back at the beginning when everyone is flying away and I try and keep up, to no avail. First mile was probably under 7mins. 5km split was about 22:03. Then came the hills...
There was one big uphill at about 2.5 miles or so, but the bulk of the uphills were in the second half. Ouch! I was one hurtin' unit during that race. It was quite painful. I'm not sure why, but most of the time in running races (and triathlons for that matter), I get these really sharp, stabbing cramps/stitches situated in my upper ribs and in my upper trapezius muscles, and they always interfere with my performance. My pace slows, and it is super hard to get a deep breath in, so my breathing becomes quite labored. I'm not exactly sure what the scientific explanation is behind this, but I am thinking it might have something to do with salt depletion. Today it was sunny, but the temp during the race was probably only about 10-12C. Sweat was just pouring off my face, and I was wearing shorts and a tank.

My second 5km was much slower than the first and it was all I could do not to walk up the last couple hills! Everything seems to just burn when you're slogging up a steep hill. I wanted to give up and just start walking up them but I somehow was able to dig deeper and find that extra ounce of motivation and strength to avoid doing this. I finished in 47.16 (10th place/83 in the 20-29 age group), which is certainly not a PB but I'll take it today!

There were many positives about this gruelling race - even though I was struggling after the first couple miles, my legs actually felt pretty great. Surprising, considering the following: I did not have a day off of training this week; I had a 4-hr training day yesterday, consisting of a 2800m swim, and 3 hours on the bike; and I have not done a whole lot of interval/speed training. So it is really not too bad of a result at the end of a 12 hour training week! Next up is the Oliver Half iron on June 7.

Geoff had an awesome first race back and ran 37.10 or something, for 9th place overall. A few minutes off his best, but with no speed work or hill training, that is a good result for him and he was happy about how it turned out. Without the hills, I think we all would have been at least 2 mins faster! My sister Alice had a great race too and finished with a 51-something. It was a fun event with a lot of us from St. Albert there.

The day did not stop there, as Geoff, Larry and I went out for a 1hr 40 bike (50km) in the afternoon down Villeneuve Road. The crosswinds were out in full force today and this zapped what was left in my legs. It was slow going out but there were some good tailwinds coming back, which always makes you feel like a superstar.

Just before the bike workout, I took Hugo for a little walk and unintentionally ended up doing a little 15-20 min jog as we got lost! I'm not sure how you can get lost in St. AlbertAdd Image after having lived here for 10 years, but today I proved that it's possible! We ended up out there for about 45mins and Hugo certainly enjoyed it! He has begun to run just this week with Geoff (for short 20 min runs) and he absolutely loves it! He has an endless supply of energy and this is a good way to try and burn off some of it. Oh yeah, and Hugo turned 1 yesterday! Happy birthday to him!

Hugo and his best bud Gucci

Relaxing in the sun:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hellish Hills and Getting to Know You

Had a good run yesterday after work - 1 hour including 20mins of hill repeats. I picked the steepest hill I could find and really worked it! I made it up and down 6 or 7 times, so the uphill part was about 1.5 minutes (or just over), and the grade was very steep (not sure what the % is but it's gotta be high!). Each time I pushed myself up the hill, my legs were alternating between that burning feeling and that numb feeling of exertion, my HR felt like it was skyrocketing, and my breathing became very shallow. Then I got to turn around and run as carefully as I could down the steep winding trail without taking a tumble. It was a challenging workout and today my quads and hips are reminding me of how tough it was!

[I wore my new shoes during my run (the very lightweight trainer Nike Skylon - weighs only 7.6 ounces!) and they were awesome. I will likely wear these shoes in my half ironman races this year. ]

Took a peek at the workouts my coach has scheduled for me this upcoming weekend and I am afraid. Long brick again on Saturday (bike 3 hours, run 30), and a 2hr 10min run on Sunday, as well as a swim. Yikes! At least it will be nice outside so that I can bike outside tomorrow!

I have been tagged to participate in this game thingy by AD. I will give it a shot - here goes:

The rules are:
1. Fill it out
2. Change one question with one of your own
3. Add an additional question
4. Tag 3 other people to do the same

1. What are your current obsessions?
Becoming a fast runner....

2. What are you wearing right now? (This is the question I changed)
Pinstripe pencil skirt, black satiny sleeveless collar top, and black pumps (I am at work - I guess I probably should not be doing this at work)

3. Last thing you bought for yourself?
Nike Skylon running shoes (see above for details); also ordered 5 pairs of Speedo Competition goggles (with foam) online as I can't find them anywhere here - apparently no one wears goggles with foam anymore!

4. What’s for breakfast?
Toasted bagel with margarine, glass of milk , glass of juice.

5. Say something to the person who tagged you:
I met Amber through blogland and she is very charming and creative - I always look forward to reading her blog entries and hopefully will meet her in person soon!

6. What is one item you could not live without?
Although not items, I would say my Geoff and my Hugo (2 things!)

7. Vacation spots you must visit before you die?
I would love to go to Italy, Greece, and Argentina. And Brazil.

8. What is your most immediate short term goal:
Nail my weekend workouts and get together with Bonnie.

9. What are you reading right now?
"The Homecoming", by Belva Plain (fiction). Just finished reading a biography called "The man who swam the Amazon" - interesting read!

10. What is the last movie you saw and enjoyed?
Last movie I saw was "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" - I enjoyed it mainly because it was short!

11. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I love red wine and have been known to polish off an entire bottle on my own on occasion.

12. What’s your favorite smell?
Rain; chlorine; lavender fields; baking.

13. Whats something you look forward to?
The upcoming summer - warm, sunny weather; outdoor training; and racing!

14. Favorite Quote?
Many favorite quotes, but right now I like: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." -Michelangelo

16. What's one thing you can't go a day with out doing?
Playing with Hugo.

17. What do you have an addiction to?
Biting my nails - have been doing it since about age 7 and cannot stop. Also a recent new addiction of mine is the London Fog latte at Starbucks.

18. Whats your favorite holiday?
Any long weekend in the summer which gives me a day off work!

19. How many pairs of shoes (not just running) do you have??
I would venture to guess about 20. No, 30. No, 40. Too many to count...

20. Tell us one random thing about you.
I have ultra-flexible shoulders and they pop and crack every day. I was very gangly, lanky and awkward as a teenager and apparently still am!

21. Why did you start your blog?
I wanted to document my journey in not only triathlon, but life as well, for myself and those close to me. It will be neat to reflect back on what I have written later to recall details during this time and to have the memories preserved.

22. What is your silliest/ most embarrassing triathlete rookie story?
This occurred during my first triathlon ever (sprint in 2002). Leading up to the race, I had done little to no biking, and very little running. My bike was a $250, 15-20 year old Araya, with gear shift on the frame and foot cages instead of clips (I actually had this bike for 2 years and it ended up doing pretty well the second year!). Halfway through the bike, my shoelaces untied themselves and became entangled in the chain, so I had to stop. While stopped on the side of the highway trying to disentangle my laces from my chain, some random guy passing by yelled at me to "get the hell out the way!". Luckily, this didn't scare me away from triathlon.

23. What is under your bed? (I added this question, but I'm not sure why)
Sometimes Hugo hides under the bed, and sometimes there are random things that he has dragged under there such as socks, hats, and the odd shoe on occasion.

Tag! You're it.. (I didn't have too many bloggers to choose from as not too many people read this thing! I added 5 but Geoff probably won't do it!)

Tri-Chickie- Leslie
Eileen Swanson
Jen in Tampa, Florida
Grizzly Geiger - Chad
My Geoff