Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wait, not so fast

This evening I had one of those runs where I fully realized the importance of going slow when you are supposed to.  Geoff had on the schedule an easy 50 minute run, and I really forced myself to go slow and easy the entire run, which I find sometimes (most of the time) can be tough.  I always seem to want to just run faster and harder for some reason.  Starting out easy is something that I have struggled with in running races, and also triathlons, by going out too hard and then dying.  I'm slowly learning about this, and have discovered that it takes a lot of willpower to just hold back at the beginning of a race, or to just go slow and easy when I am supposed to!  I think I'm getting better at pacing, though, and will continue to improve at this. 

After my weekend workouts, there still has been no rest for the legs.  Monday I had a strength/power session with Christian that was scheduled before I left for my trip, and it was too late to change it when I discovered Geoff had a run interval workout scheduled on the same day.  So strength from 6-7pm (hard freakin' session with lots of plyo work!), came home, rested for about an hour, then hit the tready for a run interval session (50 minutes total including 6 x 2 min hard).  After that I could definitely feel that my whole body was going to be sore the next day, and sure enough - it was, and still is!  

However, the easy run today (which I figure was slower than about 9min/mile pace) feels like it did wonders for my legs, as they are feeling much better now.  See, those easy recovery runs (if done right) can be very useful indeed.  Imagine that!

I am now in the midst of a run focus this week and next, which will be followed by a bike focus for a couple weeks.  Also, it's about high time i got myself in proper swimming shape, so I'm going to be swimming hard in my swim workouts for at least the next few weeks, which started last night with a good session in the pool.  Although I swam frequently in AZ, all the swims I did there were easy, about 2200yards.  It really was not possible to do anything fast as the pools were 87F which is like bathwater!

Happy training!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

back to the daily grind

So my AZ trip came to an end on Friday and it will be business as usual tomorrow as I have to return to work.  I got in more swimbikerun my last few days there, and ended up logging just over 20 hours during my time there, which is a LOT for me!  On Thursday morning we discovered that the Splash n Dash scheduled for that evening at 6pm was cancelled due to water quality (pH in Tempe lake was above 9.0 - yikes), so Deborah and I had to re-group and make up our own workout instead.  We decided on a 45 min run at noon, with a warm up and then 2 x 10 min tempo (10k pace), by which time it was already 30C!  Tough but great workout - the quote of the day was near the end of the first one when Deb said "If you don't feel like you're going to puke, then you're just not going hard enough!"  That evening I did an easy 1500m swim, so the run/swim workouts more than made up for the cancelled Splash n Dash.

Friday morning Deborah and I rode out to the White Tank mountains and right through into the park (they charged $2 per bike!), it was a beautiful ride and we found some hills in there, and kept our eyes peeled for rattlesnakes!  Round trip ride time was about 2.5hrs (72km), and I changed into my run gear as soon as we arrived back at the house and headed out for a 30min transition run in the lovely heat.  My flight home left phoenix at 7pm that evening so the afternoon was spent eating, organizing, and packing the bike away. 

I really enjoyed my holiday/'lisa training camp', but I'm also glad to be home!  Hugo and Wylie were also very excited to be picked up at the kennel and come home - and they've been super tired all weekend so they definitely had a lot of exercise and activity there.  It was a quiet weekend without Geoff here, but I feel like I got a lot accomplished.  I decided to stretch my training camp into a 10-day block of training, with a 1:40 long run yesterday afternoon at a very easy pace during which my legs felt really good, even at the end.  Today I decided I would do a ride outside, as it was a beautiful sunny day!  Which meant I had to assemble my bike first...

Okay, time to stop procrastinating - that bike ain't gonna build itself!

Surprisingly I was able to build my bike pretty quickly today, as well as change out the rear tube since I had broken the valve stem just before the Friday ride.  All on my own!  I headed out for a solo 2 hour ride early this afternoon, and had pictures flashing through my mind of screws coming loose or something on the frame falling apart while I was riding down hills, but luckily nothing crazy like that happened and everything seemed to be in order, so it was adequately assembled! 

Reality check - Hawaii is now less than 6 weeks away so there is work to be done!  I need to get in a lot of riding between now and then, keep up with consistent running workouts, and kick my own @$$ in the pool.  Not sure yet if I'll just train right through or sneak in a 10km run race on May 8 or 15, we'll see how things go!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kick off to my 2011 tri season

Saturday I raced the Phoenix Triathlon, and it proved to be an extremely challenging, scorcher of a day!  Race morning arrived bright (well still dark when we left the house at 5:30am) and early.  Deb and I made it to Lake Pleasant by 6:15am, picked up our race packets and organized our transition areas.  I was suprised to find out that the race was actually pretty small, as I had anticipated for some reason there would be a big turnout.  It had that 'local' feel about it, which is great!

It was incredibly windy, making the lake look very choppy!  I got into my wetsuit and made my way on into the lake, which was about 60 degrees or so.  I paddled around a bit, getting used to my wetsuit, and got ready for the start - men at 7am, women at 7:01am (why do they do that, separating the waves by a minute?!). 

Swim  - 2km
It was a floating start, which I like.  The swim course was 2 x 1000m loops, and the lake was super wavy, so I got thrown around a bit and swallowed a lot of lake water.  Definitely one of the waviest swims I've ever done!  I felt pretty good in the water and focused on swimming through as many men as possible.  I think I caught most of them, but not all, as they had a 1 minute lead start!  My swim was fairly comfortable but after completing the first 1km, my lower back became really sore.  That was weird, maybe it's just because I haven't swam in my wetsuit in 7 months?   Anyway, I exited the water first female and ran along the sharp/rocky pavement (ouch, my poor feet!) to the transition area.  They didn't use chips in this race, which was a little unusual, and I didn't wear a watch, so not sure what my time was.

Bike - 20 miles
As soon as I got on my bike and started pedaling, I realized I'd forgotten my legs back at the house in Surprise.  I had that dead legs, fatigued, lactic acid feeling.  And the bike course was super hilly, with those long, winding, fairly steep kind of hills.  I went as hard as I could with the legs I had with me, going simply by feel (computer not working).  It was tough, especially being my second ride outside in >6months, as I forgot it takes a bit of time to 'get used' to your bike after being indoors for that long.  Climbing hills, descending, navigating corners, wind, and u-turns is not something that you get to practice inside on the trainer!  I think I did alright though, and was passed by 1 girl during the ride.  It warmed up a lot while we were out biking, so by the time I finished the bike it was already above 30C! 

Run - 8km shuffle
Starting the run, I tried to go out a little easier in hopes of perhaps being able to finish the second half strong.  After less than 1km, the hills began.  And didn't end!  The entire out and back course was either uphill or downhill, and for some strange reason it seemed like there were more uphills than downhills!  I wasn't expecting it to be that tough - and coupled with the heat this made it even more challenging!  I actually felt good for 1 mile (between mile 1-2), and was hopeful that this feeling would continue and that I could have a decent run, but then the wheels fell completely off.  I was in a hurtin' place during that darn run!  Two other girls passed me during the run, one just before the finish line, but in the state I was, I was unable to do anything more than watch them go.  I think I did the best I could during that run, which wasn't too stellar, but it was overall a perfect race for my training and will prepare me for my other races this season, especially Hawaii as the conditions will be similar. 

Finish - so glad to be nearly done!

Deb and I after our races - Deb placed 3rd in her age group!

After the race, Deb and I literally jumped in the lake for a mini-ice bath and to get semi-cleaned up (Deb even had one of those mini travel packets of body wash!), then changed and got ready for some shopping!  We headed to the Anthem outlets, first stopping at a Mexican restaurant for some delicious fish tacos and refried beans, then Starbucks for an iced latte, and we shopped for a few hours.  That evening we celebrated Donald's birthday with a lovely dinner, some wine, and a movie - 'Hannah' - it was actually a great movie!

Enjoying my glass of wine before dinner...think I deserved it...

Sunday I had a long run planned in the morning, then a swim.  The run was supposed to be 90 minutes, but due to Deb causing us to take a wrong turn near the end, it ended up being 100minutes.  Definitely you don't want to be taking wrong turns in those temperatures!  My legs were sore at the start and it was again incredibly hot already in the morning but I actually felt pretty good during that run.  The swim was great and seemed to help stretch out my muscles a bit.  Geoff arrived in AZ that evening so it was nice to see him after several days!

Monday was long ride day with the group, and another hot one!  I had forgotten to bring Carbo-pro with me on this trip, so Geoff brought it with him when he came, so I mixed that into my bottles and it really made a difference in my ride.  The ride ended up being 105km, around 3:40 of ride time (with one stop), and I felt great at the end.  I'm really loving this heat!  In the afternoon, Geoff went for a run in the sun and Donald and I hit up the gym for 45 minutes of strength work.  So a solid day of training overall!  This morning I ran the 12km loop with Deb in 1:05 plus a couple extra minutes to run home.  My legs were actually quite sore from the gym yesterday but I kept a steady pace the whole run and still felt strong at the end.  This afternoon was another easy swim - and there's no other option than to go easy in these outdoor pools, as the water temperature is like 87 degrees! 

My feast after finishing the run workout late this morning:

Tomorrow is another long ride day, somewhere between 100-110km and apparently there are some hills involved.  Looking forward to it!   Unfortunately I only have a few more days here then have to head back north to cold Edmonton on Friday evening.  I will still be able to fit in a good ride on Friday morning, possibly with a run off the bike.  Thursday's training will be a fun race, the Splash n Dash at Tempe Lake - which is 750m swim and a 4km run.  I love those distances! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

watch out for Gila monsters...

The timing for this AZ trip seriously couldn't have been better.  In the midst of the April blizzard that descended upon Alberta yesterday, I stepped onto a plane bound for Phoenix.  I found myself not even really caring about the snow during the day yesterday, as I knew I would be escaping it as of 4pm (well 5pm as the flight was delayed for an hour due to said snow).  It was a lucky day for me as the Westjet lady kindly charged me only the extra bag fee ($21) for my bike box, instead of the usual oversized bike box fee, so I saved some $$.  As far as I know, the usual bike fee is now up to about $75 on WJ, and $100-$200 on all other airlines.  Sweet! 
Deborah (my mother in law) and I flew together and we landed at 7:15pm, and my brother Donald arrived in Phoenix from Calgary at the exact same time as us. Geoff will be arriving on Sunday evening, we sort of staggered our trip so the pups H & W don't have to be in the kennel as long - boy are they pampered! Anyway, Deb and I decided to get dropped off at the pool on the way home from the airport for a little 'shake out' swim. By the time we arrived it was already 9:15pm and the pool closed at 10pm, so I did an easy 1000yard and hit the giant hot tub. It was fabulous to be in an outdoor pool- I tried to do as much backstroke so I could look up at the moon. This was actually quite a late swim as we were still on Alberta time - so technically we were swimming till nearly 11pm!

Everyone was up bright and early this morning for various sporting activities, which included golf and cycling. Deb and I were out the door at 8:30am, and met up with her usual cycling buddies, a group of about 5-6 men in their 50's/60's who are all in great shape. We ended up riding 80km at a leisurely pace, and it felt absolutely amazing to be outside on my bike in the sunshine! It was my first ride outdoors since September.  I brought my bike to Element earlier this week for some lovin', and Cam did a fantastic job with the tune-up, which included new tires, new chain, and a good cleaning (and he then took it apart and packed it up all nice in the bike box I rented from them as well). My bike was riding like a dream today!  Here it is all ready for my race tomorrow (sans race wheels, as I couldn't bring 2 sets with me!):

We will be leaving the house tomorrow at 5:30am for the Phoenix Triathlon - race starts at 7am!  A little earlier than I'm used to, but a necessary evil due to the heat.  The high tomorrow here is 34C - eek!   I love the heat, though - no complaints from me about it being too hot!  The race distance is very close to an Olympic with a 2km swim, 20 mile bike, and 8km run.  Longer swim and shorter run?  Didn't have to ask me twice!  I'm just really looking forward to getting out there and racing.  I haven't worn my wetsuit since the Banff race in September, so I'm thinking I may be quite sore after a 2km swim in it!  And the cycling portion will be my second ride outside in 7 months!  Regardless, the race will be great practice and a good hard training day!  After the race, Deb and I are planning on hitting the shops, as well as a Mexican restaurant!

I will try and get more pictures for next update - must take camera with me more often.  I always forget.  But mostly I just don't want to carry anything extra in my jersey pockets on my rides!

View from the patio during dinner - the house backs onto a golf course so you have to be on the lookout for wayward golf balls. 

The lovely sunset here in Surprise, at exactly 6:55pm local time!  The sun certainly sets really early here...

Here's one of those Gila monsters, the deadliest creature in the desert according to Deb... He doesn't look so deadly to me though...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

can't hardly wait

For spring and warm weather! As I write this I'm watching 'blue crush' and eating a popsicle. How's that for wishful thinking? Well it almost seems like spring has arrived. We had a really nice week here, it was sunny and above zero every day, so the snow has finally started melting! Unfortunately we have a looong way to go here, it will probably be another 3-4 weeks before it's all gone, based on the amount that is still around:

We've definitely made some progress.  It may look like a lot but this is nothing compared to what it was before:

But, in less than 2 weeks I will be here:

I'm sooo looking forward to my trip to sunny Arizona... I honestly feel like I've never needed a vacation more than I do right now!  I'm going to do a whole lot of swim/bike/run while there and just enjoy my time off work.  There's also a race on April 16, a couple days after I arrive (Phoenix Triathlon - at Lake Pleasant), which will be a great season-starter, and also the first time my bike will have been ridden outside since September!  Well, second, as I will definitely be going out for a long ride the day before! 

This weekend was a superb weekend of training for me.  Friday evening after work I got outside for a lovely run in the setting sun, which ended up being about an hour with some hill repeats in the middle.  Lots of puddles and melting snow/ice everywhere so my feet got wet but no complaints here as it's much better than dealing with frozen toes from artic temperatures!   Yesterday I swam early before coaching, did about 2500m mostly aerobic stuff, and stopped on the way home to pick up Starbucks lattes and breakfast - yum!  In the afternoon I had a long brick to do, which consisted of 2:05 trainer ride (with lots of big gear and some standing intervals), then a 30 min run in the sun.  It was a good workout, although I felt kind of bonky during the last 5 mins of the run.  I haven't had any Carbo-pro for a while, and so I've been doing these long bricks without any... but I think I really need those extra carbohydrates and calories.  I ordered some yesterday so hopefully it arrives in the mail before next Saturday's brick. 

This morning was the Coyote Run, which is an annual group run STARRT puts on, but really more of a social thing more than a race.  Actually it's not a race in the least, it's just a really good long run followed by a potluck where everyone brings a dish.  There's a shorter route and a long route, and I opted for the long one, which ended up being around 23 km (about 1:56).  I must say I felt great this morning!  It's really nice to be able to wear capri's instead of tights!  After the run we re-fueled, chatted, and enjoyed a cup of coffee, then I had to bail to get home and ready for my next session - 60min strength session with geoff at Body Architects!  Christian worked us hard today - lots of core/strength/balance/some power stuff and a great workout to end my big weekend of training (6.5 hours - which is a lot for me).   The focused strength training workouts have really made a difference so far, as i'm feeling stronger than ever and my hips and joints no longer get sore on long runs.  Yay!  My legs and body felt great the entire nearly 2 hours this morning! 

I spent the afternoon/evening working on the computer and wearing zensah calf compression sleeves, necessary after this morning's workouts:

In other news, geoff and I discovered it's probably not a good idea to leave hugo and wylie free to roam in the house when we're not there.  I came home from work one day last week and found this:

Destructive little Wylie had decided to tear up some books!  He's certainly looking pretty proud of himself isn't he... 

Happy training!