Friday, July 20, 2012

Crushing PB's and more pics from ITU

Last Sunday I decided to jump into a local 10k race with Deborah, United Cycle's 'Lap the Track', which took place at the Indy race track.  The course was 3 laps, super flat, and awesome! It just so happened to be a downpour on Sunday, so everything about the race was sopping wet.  It was a super small field, as United Cycle wanted to use this inaugural year as a test event.  The course was a certified course by Athletics Alberta, and one of the Timex National Road Race Series, so it was dead accurate.  I loved the course! 

I was really hoping to run a decent time, but the race was at the end of a nearly 15hr training week for me, and my legs were super fried from ~9hrs of biking that week.  However, my race was superb!  I ran as hard as I could, and it was kind of refreshing to run in the rain, although my shorts and singlet were dripping wet by the 2nd lap and my shoes were completely drenched as there were huge puddles all over the course.  During the last lap I had some tummy trouble but was able to keep pressing on.  I didn't look at my watch until the very last turn, when there was about 500m to go, and I was shocked to see 41-high on my watch.  This gave me an added boost to the finish line - and I ended up running a 43:36 which is a nearly 90sec PB for me [my previous PB was 44:59 in Sept 2011]!  Also, I placed 3rd female overall so I scooped up some prize money!  Not to mention the Timex watch I won as a draw prize at the end - this race rocks!  I definitely plan to be back next year.  

This is a huge PB for me and gives me lots of confidence heading into my next race, as I wasn't rested or tapered in the least.  Finally, a big chunk of change off my 10k personal best, that's what I like to see!  Here's to crushing more PB's in the near future...

Here are some cool pics from the ITU race a few weeks ago, courtesy of Mike Gerencser. Thanks Mike, these turned out great! 

Just finished the swim in the duck poop lake

 Starting the looong run to transition

 Finishing a lap and ready to start another

Finishing up another lap

 proof of my dumb-@$$-ness, there is the dismount line!

 Serving my 'stop & go' penalty, otherwise known as the 'dum-dum penalty' 

 Finished it off!

Ouch, that hurt!

 Happy to be done! 

This Sunday is the Tour D'Alberta and I'm riding the 100km route with a bunch of STARRT peeps.  I plan to go at a fairly leisurely pace, as I don't want to kill the legs a week before a 70.3!  Then it will be a week of tapering down and Alice and I will be heading to Calgary.  My race schedule after that is sort of up in the air but there are some exciting possibilities in the works!  Stay tuned....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Edmonton ITU triathlon - age group Nats

Now that it's nearly a week after the fact and the race is old news, here are the deets:

Edmonton enjoyed absolutely glorious weather leading into this race - sunny and 30C.  I love this kind of heat!  While it makes for a tougher run, it certainly makes things more enjoyable race morning, during the swim/bike, and after the race finishes.  Race morning dawned with blue sky, sun, and a forecast high of 32C! My wave wasn't scheduled to start until 9:55am, which was kind of nice as I had loads of time to get things organized in transition (how long does that really take anyway- 5 minutes?) and to get in a little pre-race joggy jog with Christina. 

 Gary, Christina and I - STARRT peeps!

I went into this race unrested, untapered and overall kinda tired! My workouts from the previous weekend took a lot out of me and I did my best to recover during the early part of the week.  With Calgary 70.3 only 3 weeks after this race, there really was no time to taper.  I backed it off a bit in the week leading up and felt pretty decent race morning.  Also, the night before I ate a bunch of Swedish fish and polished off nearly a whole bag of chips so was totally all carbed up.

 All racked and ready to go

For some reason the start of my wave was delayed so I don't think we got started until around 10:15am - I think that's almost the latest I've ever started.  The swim was no wetsuits allowed, since the lake temperature was above the 22C cut-off.  Nice to see that some triathlon corporations actually enforce the rules, instead of babying the athletes like others do and shortening/cancelling races because it's raining and the water is wavy!  But I wasn't as overly enthusiastic as I normally would be, as I would have preferred to have more of my skin protected from the duck poop lake water! 

They didn't let anyone in the water prior to your wave start, not even to wade in and get wet - thank goodness for that, as I happened to see mini-leeches slithering around in the water as I was on the start line.  Ewwww.  Women and men 30-39 all started together and I was just hoping that the punching/kicking/aggressive *guy type* behavior would be kept to a minimum.  Luckily it was, and the start was clean and I had clear water immediately.  I swam with 2-3 guys for the 2 loop swim, with one of the guys near my feet and swimming into me every few strokes, as apparently swimming straight was not in his vocabulary.  

I felt good in the water and ended up around 20:30 for the 1500m.  Last time I did this race I think I was 19:52, but then again that was with a wetsuit.  I wanted to be sub-20 but it wasn't to be on this day.  The long run from the lake to the transition is always killer, and mine certainly could be better as my T1 was over 2 minutes.  Onto the bike!

I rode as hard as I could during the 4 loops, and got passed by some crazy fast men who blitzed the course, but no women.  I think I may have fallen asleep out there in the middle of it, as at one point I looked up and said to myself, 'You're not even tired right now, get going!'.  I seemed to really lose focus and concentration and slowed down as a result.  It's time to invest in a bike computer.  I need to have some feedback on how I'm doing.  And with all the different waves starting at different times, I felt like I wasn't 'racing' anybody, as everyone is on different laps, etc.  

During the 4th lap while trying to switch into my hardest gear on Saskatchewan Dr, my chain fell off.  D'OH! It seems that this happens to me in at least one race every summer.  I had to stop, get it back on, then switch gears into a smaller gear before getting back on, because it's next to impossible to start from a standstill in your hardest gear.  So I lost some time, and not to mention momentum, for this incident.  

The other incident occurred as I was coming up to the dismount line, and apparently left my brain somewhere out on the bike course.  I started running off the bike and the marshal yelled 'You crossed the line, that's a stop and go penalty!'.  So I had to stop right there and serve my penalty, which was only about 10 seconds, but still - it was 10 seconds.  As I was coming off my bike for some reason I had it in my head that I needed to dismount after the line (no, dumb @$$ - that's the mount line!), so it was completely my fault.  My bike time of 1:08.31 reflects my lack of concentration and errors.  I know I can and should be a lot faster than that.  

My T2 was pretty quick and I headed out onto the new 4 lap run course.  I felt like crap the first 1-2km and worried I would feel like that for the entire 10km, but things came around and I started feeling better.  The course changed this year so a little under half the 2.5km loop is on the dirt trail, with some rolling hills and branches sticking out of the ground to dodge, and then the remainder is in the park on the pavement.  Again, I felt like I was racing myself on the run as you have no idea which lap anyone else is on and what age group they were in.  I really enjoyed this course, though - the change was an excellent idea!  I think I held it together alright and was able to finish strong.  My 47:50 run time was at least a few minutes slower than it should be, but it seemed that everyone's run times were slow.  I suppose it's the heat/humidity's fault!

Running to the finish!

I was happy to be crowned W30-34 national age group champ in 2:20.00.  I really really wanted to be sub-2:20 and was so close! The daft stuff that happened on the bike would have put me well under that time.  So I have a lot to improve for next time!  Overall, I placed 7th female, which I am not ecstatic about, but again there's much work to be done and a lot of improvements to be made!    

Post-race it was fun to hang out with my bud Christina, refuel with complimentary burgers/salad/beer, bake in the sun, and catch the Elite World Cup sprint race, which is always exciting.  Overall, the race organization was a success and the volunteers were fantastic! 

Post-race, all cleaned up and ready for our burger and beer!

Only two weeks to go till my next race - until then, there's lots more training to be done!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

the wind was no match for me

My last couple days of workouts seem to have launched me into the hurt locker!  Friday evening was my first track workout of the year.  The track is my nemesis - no matter what the distance of the interval, it is always guaranteed to be one of those 'redlining-from-the-start-feel-like-you're-going-to-puke-your-guts-out' kind of workout.  And Friday's session proved no different!

The workout: 60 minutes total, including 20 minute warm up, 4 x 1 mile with ~2 minute recovery (i.e. walk/jog/nearly puke).  Last time I did mile repeats, my splits were 6:52-6:55, so my goal was to be faster than that.  And I was! My mile splits on Friday were: 6:36, 6:45, 6:40, 6:43.  Yay for progress!  I may or may not have gone out a bit fast on the first one, then had some trouble during the second one (hence the slower time), and was pretty close to puking after that one!

Saturday's sessions included a 2400m swim in the morning with some fast 200's, and then I was all on my own for a bike ride (waah).  All my usual riding partners were racing GWN, so nobody was up for a 3+ hour ride. Go figure!  I planned to get out and do 90-100km on my own, but I sort of miscalculated how far/long a new loop that I took was, and it ended up being 110k!  And of course the last 50k was into a headwind - booyah!  The 3:30 ride was so HARD that I ended up having to abort my planned 30min transition run, instead opting to be a crumpled pile on the living room floor for that duration.

With challenging workouts like these, recovering optimally so you can bounce back for the next workout is extremely important.  A few months back, I got hooked on Vega Sport recovery products. These are awesome!  They are plant-based, gluten-free and soy-free, and happen to be delicious as well (read: none of that gross synthetic-y crap taste).

I use the Recovery Accelerator after 'easier' workouts - just mix one scoop with some water, shake it up, and you're good to go! 

I mix the protein powder into a smoothie after grueling, harder workouts.  For a quick and easy shake:

1 cup of frozen fruit (approximate - I don't measure it out), I like frozen berries/peaches combo
1/2 cup of orange juice
1cup of water
1/2 banana
1 scoop of Vega performance protein powder
*mix it all in your blender and you have yourself a very tasty/healthy recovery smoothie


Bye for now!