Monday, May 23, 2011

Make.It.Happen

It's hard to believe there's less than 2 weeks now till Hawaii 70.3!  Wow.  I'm getting sooo excited!  My training has been very consistent and I've been getting in some key sessions in the pool, on the bike, and in the run.  These last 2 weeks the volume will be decreasing and Geoff has scheduled some higher intensity sessions which will help dial in the fitness.  The bulk of the work is done, it's now all about sharpening up and letting the body absorb the training so that it is ready come race day! 

Last Saturday I had a 3 hr ride/30 min run to do in possibly some of the strongest winds I have ever biked in!  After arriving home from Calgary around 12:30pm [was there for a couple nights for some work meetings and also my brother Donald's convocation/grad from medical school - woot! My dad, Geoff, and brother Mark were all there as well so it was a super fun time], I recruited Larry from our swim group to leave around 2:30pm for a windy 3hrs on the bike.  Man was it ever windy - but we took a route where it was either a very strong tailwind or a ridiculous headwind, rather than opting for a route with crosswinds.  The winds were 50km/hr, with gusts up to 65km/hr, which I found to be so challenging, as I don't think I've ever biked for that long in winds like that.  All I kept thinking was - embrace the challenge and get used to it, as it's probably going to be just like this (or worse) in Hawaii!  Good practice!  Our ride ended up being 3hr10min due to the slowness coming back through the crazy headwind, where we couldn't have been going much faster than about 10-15km/hr at times!  Neither of us had a computer but that's how slow we figured we were going.  I got my run off the bike done and the workout was done and done by 6:30 - it was a late one! 

This was from an easy ride on my own later in the week, NOT from the windy ride - I was holding on with both hands the whole time during that one!


On Tuesday I had my first track session of the year.  I always find track workouts not only incredibly physically challenging, but mentally tough as well, and this was no different on Tuesday!  It was a gorgeous day outside, sunny and around 22C, although also extremely windy.  After work, I packed up my swim stuff, a recovery drink and some food (sandwich, yogurt) for after, and headed to the track around 6:30pm, which left me plenty of time for the hour workout and to head to the pool right after to coach at 8pm, then do my own swim after.  My workout was to be 6 x 1km at 10km pace, with about 90 sec recovery.  The first 3 didn't feel very smooth or fast, and the times showed it!  The effort level was also very high, and it seemed like I should be going faster than I was.  During the first half of the set, I let myself spiral into a negative headspace, and couldn't help but think, 'how could I run a 5km off a bike in a triathlon holding these same splits and can barely go faster for 1km at a time on the track'...

However, during my 4th interval, I consciously decided to work on some mental toughness training and dig myself out of that negative headspace, and it worked!  I kept repeating to myself, 'Turn off the brain....race with heart... it's all in your head... push through the pain...' etc, and the 4th interval ended up being 5 sec faster than the first 3, and my last 2 intervals were 4 sec faster.  That just illustrates to me how important the mental aspect is.  It is definitely something I struggle with, and continually need to improve upon.  Hawaii for me is going to be an excellent test in that regard.  As Geoff put it, it will be a race of attrition due to the conditions, it's not going to be PB course or a fast course, it's going to be windy, hilly, hot, and humid.  My main goal will be to keep pushing through it, no matter how much it hurts or how badly I feel, and to mentally stay strong so I can give my best possible effort to have the best race possible.  It's going to take a lot of focus and discipline to push the hurt and pain aside on the run, but I plan to do so and to race with heart!

It's all about confidence: Believe in yourself and your dreams will come true...

BFF Stephen made this sign for me a few years back for a local race I was in (Summerside Triathlon), where he would be spectating and not racing.  Back when I was around 14 and still in competitive swimming, for some reason my coach started saying 'Yeehaw, Lisa', and so whenever I was on the starting blocks just about to race, my whole team would chant that out - it always put a smile on my face and got me fired up.  Stephen and I started triathlon together many many years ago (2002 was our first race), and we have been through so much together through the years, including leaps and bounds of improvements, lots of mistakes, lots of fun, and of course so many awesome memories.  Love it!

This picture was from the convocation...Here's the new med school grad, along with my dad and other brother Mark. So proud of him! 

Here's some pics from the grad dinner and banquet.  Some of Donald's fellow med school grads (Donald is 3rd from left), my dad, Geoff and I:

Geoff and I at the grad dinner:

That's it for now - will post again soon to update on how the taper etc is going.  Less than 2 weeks to go till race day, and only a week and a half till we leave for Kona!  Yay!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

crunch time

This week was filled with lots of good training to add to the bank.  On Friday after an easy treadmill recovery run in the morning, I drove to Kananaskis for a conference/trade show at the Delta Lodge.  The conference was also on Saturday, so an overnight affair.  As soon as the last session wrapped up just after 1pm on Saturday, I packed everything up and hightailed it out of there, as I had a long run to do!  I parked at the first scenic trail entrance I came across, quickly changed into my running gear, and was ready to start my 90 min run by 1:30! 

I ended up running along the very scenic and very hilly highway, enjoying every minute of the mountain views.  Early on, I decided to veer off on one of the trail routes, but this lasted only about 10 minutes as the terrain became too rocky, and my imagination began to run wild, eventually getting the better of me.  I couldn't help but picture in my mind being attacked by a cougar or grizzly while i was running, and there were like no people around and I didn't have a cellphone on me (who runs with a cellphone), so I decided to turn around and go back to the highway, where it felt safer! 


Start of my run in K-Country (yes there was surprisingly still some snow around but it was still warm enough for shorts!)

The run ended up being a good one, although I felt like my throat was burning a bit.  Must be from the altitude?  I did a quick stretch after my run, changed, and got back in the car for the 4hr jaunt back to St. Albert.  Which was not fun.  But I must say, chocolate milk always works as a great recovery fuel when there is nothing else available! 

I was pretty exhausted when I arrived home last night, and needed a nice lie-in this morning to recharge the batteries! [Also a few cups of coffee didn't hurt either!]  Geoff had a pretty big day of training on tap for me, and unfortunately I was all on my own for it as my usual partners in crime had all done their rides on Saturday :(  Luckily, the sun was out and there was no chance of rain! 

(on a side note, I finally bought a new helmet... my other one was from 2003 and had seen better days, not to mention it probably would not pass inspection at a race and I am not wearing an aero helmet in Hawaii!  So it was definitely time for a new one!)


So the workout today was a 3.5 hr ride/30 min run.  The ride was challenging, and part of that was due to being all on my own!  I had music with me (in one ear only and volume not loud), but the wind was blowing so loudly that I could barely even hear it!   The wind kinda sucked, but I kept telling myself "This is great practice for Hawaii, this is great practice for Hawaii", and that helped me to get through it.  In reality, it is likely going to be a whole lot worse in Hawaii, but whatever, at least it's windy here most of the time and that is still good training. 

I feel like my running and swimming are coming along pretty nicely right now, but I feel like my cycling is not anywhere close to where it needs to be.  So this week and next will be more focused cycling weeks, in order to try and boost the biking fitness and hopefully get it where it needs to be!  I've been consistently training about 12-13 hrs/week, and perhaps biking hasn't taken up enough of those hours.  Oh well, you can only do so much, and I'm not prepared to train more than 15 hours a week right now.  Even 15 hours is really pushing it for me, as it makes me so exhausted for my job, and general life activities!  I've gotta keep some balance in my life, as I don't want to just eat sleep and breathe triathlon 24/7.  Don't get me wrong, I love this sport and the training and the lifestyle, but there are also many other important things where I like to focus my time and energy, including family, friends, and work (I actually love my job)!  Triathlon is just a small section of the whole pie; an important piece, but not the biggest one. 

Anyway, I'm getting off topic here...back to the long workout - the 3.5hr solo bike workout was tough, not just physically but also mentally!  I ended up riding somewhere over 100km, maybe 103-105km (not sure on the exact numbers as I have no working computer, it's all by feel and time until I figure out how to fix it!).   Then it was time for a 30 min run, with the first 20 min at tempo pace.  After I changed into my run clothes, I had to sit down on the couch for a minute or two to collect myself and get psyched up to get out that door!  That ride took a lot out of me...  But the run turned out great.  I left the i-pod at home and enjoyed the sunshine!

With the 4 hour workout completed, i headed to Geoff's parents house (sans Geoff),  for dinner - steak, potatoes, salad, and cake - yum!  I wanted nothing more than to head back home after that and park myself on the couch for the rest of the evening, but i still had a swim to do (must.swim.3x.perweek!), so I drove my butt over to the pool and swam an easy 2200m mixer.  I was really regretting during my swim the fact that I had 2 pieces of cake at dinner, but I slogged through the swim and got'er done and done, just in time for the pool to close at 8:30pm!

For the rest of May, I have to be in Calgary every single week for work, so it's going to be busy busy busy!  I'll be heading there May 12-14 for some meetings and this trip also coincides with Donald's grad from med school!.  I will have to shuffle my workouts around these trips and will be aiming not to miss any, as the time is getting near for Hawaii 70.3 - it's less than 4 weeks away!