Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 re-cap

This is a re-cap of my 2010 - a year that included happenings that were good, great, and some downright ugly. If you've already been reading along, this is old news!

It was cold, snowy, with a chance of miserable, as January frequently is in Alberta! That month I focused mainly on consistent training, increasing my long runs and also started increasing my biking to 2-3 workouts a week, as well as more intensity in the pool. January is always tough if you live here, as we are in the middle of winter and generally have at least 2 months more of the cold to look forward to. The dogs HATE winter as they have super short coats and get cold very easily, but Geoff and I try to get them out as much as possible...

More consistent training this month, and the highlight of the month was a weekend trip to Vegas! Also an engagement - it was sometime at the end of February that Geoff and I decided to get engaged!
My new friend from Newfoundland:
A month filled with some grim news, lots of swim/bike/run, and my first race of 2010. My dad and I had a trip booked to N. Ireland, but several weeks prior he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We cancelled our trip as he waited to find out when he would be scheduled for surgery [surgery ended up being booked the following month and was successful, and everything is going just fine now:)]. I don't think I blogged about it as I like to try and keep things as positive as possible on here. Anyways... Earlier in the month Alice and I drove down to Calgary and raced the St. Patrick's Day 10km in mid-March; it was a chilly day and although I felt strong, my time did not show it! I think it was 45-something, which wasn't a PB. I was expecting to run a PB as my training had been going well, but you can't win em all! Sorry, no pics this month :(

This month it warmed up to beautiful temperatures for about one week (mid-20'sC), which happened to be during the weekend that I raced the 10 Miler in St. Albert. I had an excellent race, holding 7:30 pace for every mile, ending with a 1:15 which was a huge PB. Yay progress! It was sort of a 'breakthrough' race where I went completely by feel (no watch), going comfortably hard, maintaining the same pace throughout the whole 10 miles, and was completely happy with my result!

Alice and I at the awards (she volunteered for this one)

I think Edmonton had probably the worst May weather on record, as we were hit with a couple blizzards and no warm temperatures. The day before my first triathlon of 2010, it started snowing, and looked like this in the morning:
Pretty hilarious! The triathlon was subsequently turned into a duathlon (1km swim, 8km run) as it was too dangerous to bike in those conditions. Despite the cold and snow, I had a great race and finished 2nd overall, but 1st in my new age group (30-39), although I was still 29 at the time. I had an excellent run as well, which is always encouraging as I am continually working on becoming a better runner.

Summer finally arrived! Or did it? I raced 2 Olympic triathlons this month: the first was in Hinton, a week after Coronation, which included a pool swim (always challenging to do a 1500m pool swim!). The weather was not warm but at least the sun was shining. I had a fantastic time at this race, as it is a 'local' kind of race, with a small number of entrants and lovely volunteers. I ended up 2nd overall (1st in 30-39, again I was still 29) with a 2:20, which included an extremely poor 10km run. I was feeling terrible during this leg and it didn't help that the run course is among the most challenging I have ever seen! Anyway, they had fabulous prizes at the race- a bottle of wine for 1st place - love it when wine is the prize!
My second race in June was the Chinook Olympic triathlon in Calgary, a beautiful race course and I really enjoyed myself here. I was leading the race until the last 500m or so, and couldn't hold on, ending up 2nd overall (again!) by about 20sec. Final time was 2:19, which was a PB for me! My run was okay, but nothing too stellar (47-something). Time to get back to business and put in more work!
Only one race this month - Great White North 1/2 Iron at the start of July. This race is always amazing, no matter what happens! So many friends and familiar faces at this race, it is a great atmosphere! I had a superb swim (10-20 seconds slower than 2009 but won the swim prime and was 2nd overall out of the water) and pretty stellar bike (3 minutes faster than 2009), but my run fell by the wayside and I struggled during most of the 1/2 marathon, having to walk quite a bit. I think the problem may have been in part due to too much sodium on the bike - with the cooler temperatures, I didn't adjust my sodium intake. Live and learn. Final time was 4:52, which was actually a PB by about a minute!
BFF Stephen came down from San Francisco to race GWN! We had fun times, as always.

Also in July, another trip to Vegas for BFF Jadeen's wedding! 2 trips to Vegas in one year (actually 3 if you count the marathon in December '09), yes, me likes the Vegas! This time it was HOT, with temperatures in the low 40's C! I actually love the heat! What a freakin' fun trip this was...

Included a fun little trip to Toronto for work, complete with a Blue Jays' game, a trip to Calgary for Mike K's wedding, and the St. Albert sprint triathlon. The trips were fun and the triathlon was great! I came away with the overall win, in a PB of 1:07 with my fastest 5km run ever! Alice was the race director and the whole thing was incredibly organized and went off without a hitch. Kudos to Alice!

I raced the Banff Olympic tri near the beginning of the month, and it was FREEZING! The water temp was a balmy 12C, so they shortened the swim to 750m. The day brought pouring rain and temps around 7-10C, so it was a day to put on extra clothes in transition! Despite being completely frozen on the bike and barely being able to put on my run shoes in T2, I ended up having a stellar race with a breakthrough run! I was 4th overall (2nd in my age group), with the top 2 females being elites. Nothing wrong with that! I ran an overall PB for the 10km, even in a stand-alone 10km (45.06) and was stoked about that. Overall time was 2:06, with the shortened swim.
Also in September I participated in a research study at the U of A, which included a VO2 Max, a 10km time trial on the track, and a 10km race simulation on the treadmill, all completed in a week. It was freakin' hard! BTW, I'm STILL waiting for my final results/digital video...

This was a fun month, with a trip to Banff/Lake Louise with the family the very first weekend, staying at the Rimrock resort hotel. My lovely aunt Helen from Belfast joined us:

The next weekend was the weekend wedding extravaganza! We kicked it off with the first-ever Beer Mile with some of the swim group I coach. So much fun! Stephen won the whole thing outright - he is a machine! The next night was a big dinner at Geoff's parents for all of the guests. Then the actual wedding on Saturday was fabulous, and I enjoyed myself immensely, dancing up a storm with all my besties and drinking lots of wine. It was so unbelievably amazing to have all my friends and many of my family members together at the same time, and I will treasure those memories always.

Next up in October was Halloween! I actually put some effort this year into a costume! Fun times with BFF Bonnie:
Hugo and Wylie love Halloween! Actually they love any holiday, or any day for that matter!
I really cannot recall anything noteworthy happening this month. All I remember is that it got cold about halfway through, and has been that way ever since! On to December...

Great month so far, with the Christmas break and having Alice, Donald and Mark all home. Lots of dinners with the Ulrich's and the Graham's, and lots of wine consumed. But no buffoonery this year! Everyone was surprisingly on their best behavior. I have been training quite a bit and certainly not missing any workouts due to the holidays! Alice and I went for a 45 min run on X-mas day!

Christmas Eve at the Ulrich's:Add Image
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Christmas Day at the Graham's:

Well that about wraps it up! 2010 has been a good year but I'm very excited for 2011 and all it has to offer. Onwards and upwards! Lot of exciting stuff coming up for 2011...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

T'is the season for a fun swim workout

Since this morning was the last swim workout for my group until Jan. 4, I had them do a 'fun' Christmas practice. With this one, you still get in a decent workout, with some fun added to the mix as well - can't go wrong with that! Now, we are limited in that we only have an hour for practice, so this set can be modified to be longer/shorter, depending on how much time you have for your workout. This is what my group did this morning:

"12 Days of Christmas"
12 x 50 on :10R (odd: swim, even: drill/swim)
11 x flip turns (from middle of pool)
10 x 75 with fins on :15R (odd: IM, even: 50 side kick/25 swim)
9 x 25 as 1/2 length scull, 1/2 length swim - with pullboy
8 x 50 pull on :15R (as 25 hard/25 easy)
7 x 'High 5's' with your lane mates (or yourself? if you are on your own)
6 x 50 swim (descend 1-3) on :15R
5 x streamline wall push off, with 2-3 strokes
4 x 25 IM on :10R
3 x 100 as 50 kick/50 swim on :15R
2 x 150 - build each 50 on :15R
1 x 100 easy cooldown

This set can easily be modified however you want - the above workout is right around 3km.

Anyway, it's a good way to get in your swim and the time goes by quickly. I'll probably do this workout over Christmas, similar to the one above; actually I will probably cut it down a bit as I haven't done any swims over 2300m lately! I've been getting in 2 swims a week, and the fitness/strength are definitely coming along, but come January I'll be kicking it up a notch with 3 swims per week and a helluva lot more intensity!

Time for me to go, I have to get ready for a 2 hour brick (90min bike, 30 min run in the snow); I will be sweating away on the trainer while watching the Ironman Hawaii broadcast and wishing I was somewhere warmer :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

when's winter over?

I've been rolling along the past few weeks, getting in some awesome workouts and building up my run fitness, thinking of the 1/2 marathon that's coming up in 2 months. Long runs on Sundays have been going really well, as I've had a great run partner to keep me company (Christina), and I have done every single one of them outside. And it hasn't exactly been warm here! Last weekend I did 1:50, the weekend before was 1:45, and yesterday was only 90 min, as this was a drop-back/recovery week. I was on my own yesterday, though, so I cranked up the tunes on my i-pod and ended up having a great run, despite the -21C windchill.

Last week I ordered a new pair of shoes (Saucony Kinvara), which arrived at my doorstep on Wednesday, just in time for an ez run on the tready. I wore them again for a hard interval set on Friday (10 x 1 min), and then again on Sunday for my long run. They are great shoes! I have not really tried any brands other than Nike in the past 4-5 years, but I must say these are a hit! They are super light shoes ('minimalist') and I felt fast and floaty yesterday, even in the snow.
Other than training, I have really not been up to much (well except for an overnight work trip to Vancouver last week for a Christmas party)... however, that will soon change as I have the entire next week off of work (hells ya!), and my sister and brothers arrive here this Friday and Saturday for a couple weeks! There will be some shopping (on Christmas Eve of course - it's a tradition with my siblings), plenty of dinners, and of course lots of partying! We have been known to be a rowdy bunch at X-mas and New Years! But I do plan to get in lots of quality workout sessions over the holidays! Geoff and I were also toying with the idea of heading to Jasper next Sunday for a couple nights, with a day of skiing on Monday, but I'm not sure if that will actually pan out at this point. We'll see!

And here's some doggy pics for those fellow dog-lovers out there....

2 Boston terriers squeezed into 1 tiny bed on a cold winter's day:

Wylie lying in his toybox, soaking up the last ounce of sunshine left in the day:
Wylie likes to sleep on the very top of a couch, just like a cat: