Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ready to Race

So it's less than 24 hours to go now before Ironman Canada starts tomorrow - wow!  We arrived in Penticton late Thursday afternoon (Geoff, my bestie Bonnie, and I), then drove 30 minutes up the crazy-steep, winding Green Mountain Road that leads to Apex mountain, where our quaint little condo is.  It is so quiet and deserted up here, and very nice to be away from all the chaos and gong show that goes on around the race site!  Here is the view from our window:

There's a bunch of cows that seem to just wander around freely up here, kinda funny as we see them walking by every morning, just grazing on grass. 

 Bonnie and I before heading down to the race site this morning to drop gear/bike off.  Bonnie and Geoff have been great support and will be my cheering squad tomorrow! 

 My race machine, all ready to go (sans working computer - unfortunately my bike computer stopped working the other day and despite changing the batteries and fiddling around a bit, can't seem to get it working.  Will have no speed/cadence/distance, but oh well...).

Organizing all the gear bags is like a sport all on its own!  Swim to bike bag, bike to run bag, bike special needs bag, etc, etc, etc!  Think I got everything...

Anyway, I'm number 2471, and racing in W30-34 category if you are tracking online at http://www.ironman.com/ .
Good luck to all my friends and blog/twitter peeps racing tomorrow! 

Feeling great, and ready to tackle the challenge tomorrow of 3.8km swim/180km bike/42.2km run in the heat of the Okanagan.  Bring it on!! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who stole my tailwind?

It's hard to believe that IMC is only 1 week away!  The time has really flown by since I signed up for the race; of course, it has only been about 7 weeks, but still!  Today was my last 'long' ride, which ended up being around 80km, with a short 20 min run off the bike.  Funny that 80km is not considered a long ride anymore - but it certainly was before for me! 

I didn't want to jinx it by saying something earlier, but now that all the long biking is done I can say it - the weather has been gorgeous for all my long rides on the weekends!  There was only 1 day that I had to do a long ride on the trainer (3 hours), and that was the very first weekend of my IM training in July.  All the other days have been warm and sunny, and I feel very fortunate and lucky for that, as you never know what you're gonna get here in Alberta in the summer. 

Today's ride ended up being on the most beautiful day this summer has seen - we reached 30C today for the first time since May 2010!  Today was so spectacular it nearly makes up for all those rainy and mosquito-infested days we have endured this spring/summer!  It was not without its wind, though, as the first 40km of my ride ended up being in a wicked tailwind, which meant the whole 40km back was a fierce headwind!  It was very challenging with the wind and heat, but another good opportunity to toughen up!  All my usual riding buddies were either away or racing today (as well as last weekend) so I was on my own today, just me and my I-pod!

This is one of my favorite roads for cycling: basically a 14km stretch of quiet road, where you normally only see a couple of cars go by.  It takes about 30km to get to this road, but it's worth it...


Enjoying the sunshine and heat on my solo ride!

Overall I've been feeling pretty good mentally and physically, but occasionally a thought will creep into my mind, like 'How am I going to get through 180km on the bike and THEN run a marathon', but I just push those thoughts away and be confident in my preparations.  Doubt and worry - the party's over, there's no room for you here!  It's undoubtedly going to be a long, tough day out there but I plan to enjoy the day and the experience and give it all that I have.  Anything can happen on the day so you have to be prepared to adapt to and deal with whatever obstacles arise, and just keep pressing on. 

Leaving on Wednesday...will update from Penticton!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What are u gonna do when it starts to get hard?

In terms of long course racing, the question is not 'What if it gets hard', but rather 'What are you gonna do WHEN it gets hard', because it undoubtedly will at some point.  We have to prepare ourselves physically and mentally for that point when the pain really shows up and how best to deal with it.  When the pain comes knocking, what are you going to do?  I'm going to open the door, shake his hand, and invite him in for a drink.  Last weekend, I got a good lesson in dealing with managing pain and fatigue during my brick on Saturday, where I had one really tough workout. 

I struggled through the whole 110km bike ride, and was uncomfortable even from the beginning.  I was experiencing major discomfort with my saddle, my legs felt like they had nothing, and it was just tough overall.  Probably the fact that I swam 4400m that morning before the ride may have also contributed to my fatigued state out on the bike.  Luckily, it was a perfectly gorgeous day and I had company for 90km in the form of Larry from my swim group and we rode a beautiful route, which helped a lot!  But it was one of those workouts where you struggle to turn over the pedals and the legs feel completely fatigued/lactic acidy, and everything else hurts.  It was good practice for the mental game, as I focused on trying to keep a positive mindset and kept telling myself that the race isn't going to be easy and that this will toughen me up.  I was supposed to run 40 min off the bike but Geoff was home when I got back and instructed me to just do 20 min.  The first 15 were a struggle, but in the last 5 mins my legs magically appeared and I started feeling great!  Funny how that can happen. 

Those tough training days where you really struggle can challenge you mentally but they serve a really great purpose - they toughen me the F#$K up!  There's no place for whining or complaining, and I find it really helps to keep telling myself to 'just deal with it, you will get through it'.  There are going to be rough patches and there are going to be good patches, it's all about how you're going to manage those rough patches and not let them get to you mentally. 

My 2:15 long run the day after that challenging brick went surprisingly well, as my legs came around and didn't feel fatigued at all.  And this past week of training was also good, although as of right now (Sunday evening), I'm pretty smashed!  Here were the highlights of the week's training: Wednesday evening I had some hill repeats to do on the bike, 5x up the Villeneuve hill (about 2km long), so my solo ride totalled 60km/2 hrs. 

I was able to grab a pic of the sun going down after my last hill interval - it was a perfect evening with a near cloudless sky:


 Yesterday was a big training day, consisting of a 152km ride and 30min t-run, which turned out to be about a 5hr20min workout.  Here is some of the nutrition that I brought along (in addition to my bottles of fluids):


Larry again provided me company for 100km of that ride, which was great!  It was a super windy day yesterday, but the sun came out just before I started my workout, and stayed out for the entire ride/run!  I rode out to Morinville (about 20km), where I met Larry, and then we rode the Tour D'Alberta 100km route - which is an awesome route.  Who knew there were all these great roads north of St. Albert?  I'm totally enjoying discovering new roads by bike this year!  We stopped for a bathroom break in Legal (about 70km in for me), which is a cute little French community:



And then we stopped again in Gibbons at the Mac's (about 95km in), where I knocked back a Coke and some peanut butter M&M's, and grabbed a new water into which I threw a Nuun tablet.  Maybe that wasn't the best idea (too much Coke for me?), as I went through a bit of a stomach-ache shortly after that and then around 125km I had some weird major stomach cramping issues that lasted for like 10-15km.  I probably should have also not added the Nuun to the water, and just drank plain water instead.  But it was just a rough patch, as I was able to get through it and make it back home okay and didn't have those kind of problems in the run.  In fact, my entire 30min run felt awesome!  Somehow my legs felt fresh and light and I was able to finish that run feeling strong. 

Which was a bit of a different story from this morning.  It was already 5:30pm yesterday by the time I finished my brick, so I probably didn't leave quite enough recovery time in between that and the long run today, which I started at 10am.  My legs were really fatigued and my quads/hips were quite sore even at the beginning, and worse by the time Kendall and I made it through 2 hours.  And now they're really sore!  I was so tired this afternoon that I had to lie down and have a 30min nap (I rarely nap), with a long swim still on the schedule.  Alice came with me though and we swam 3800m (long course), nothing fast at all - just easy/steady pace.  I am so glad for a recovery day tomorrow (will just do some core/strength), and a drop-down week!  The legs and body definitely need that right now. 

Only 3 weeks to go till race day!