Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mid-Vacation Update

I'm home alone for the evening and have nothing (much) to do so I thought I'd ramble here.

First off, the camping trip has been wonderful so far. The weather has been hot but not stifling, although this afternoon was cloudy and relatively cooler (low 80's). I went for a short swim on our first day just to get the 'feel' of the lake. It is much murkier than Okanagan Lake and there are more weeds. I spent most of my time getting used to it and I haven't done any significant swimming as of yet.

Erik's 140km ride from Kelowna to Osoyoos went well and he made great time (5:15 hrs). Because he thought he'd be a bit tired, we decided not to do any climbing on Monday morning, so we rode to Oliver for breakfast (about 25km each way). My legs were still tired from my brick two days ago and I tried to go for an easy run in the morning before we rode, but my legs were not into it. I ran a little over 2km and then walked back. Our ride to Oliver took us 50:30 minutes, avg speed 28.8 kmh. On the way back, I led and I rode as hard as I could the whole way. My heart rate was 168 (LT more or less for me), average speed at 30.5 kmh and time was 47:57 - Yahoo!

I've been working hard on the tummy tan challenge and made some serious headway yesterday. To celebrate, I went out a bought an actual bikini - yikes - and actually wore it on the beach - double yikes! I have to be careful how I move or sit in it (LOL) but it's fun to wear when I'm not in my own town.

While we were shopping in Osoyoos, we stopped in to "Fast Photo" and visited with the owner and my internet buddy, Paul. He is the triathlete we watched in the Peachland tri a few weeks ago. (If you are in the area, be sure to stop in for all your photo needs! :)

This morning, we rode up to Anarchist. As always seems to be the case, I didn't sleep well last night and wasn't feeling 100% before we left. I contemplated bailing but couldn't bring myself to do it. My legs were still tired but I made good time and beat my last best time by about 3 minutes.

Overall time from the campsite office to lookout was 45:04 and my time from the windmill to the lookout was 33:54. (Last year it was 48:30 and 36:15). Erik beat me to the top by a little over two minutes I think.

Yogi and another friend on a hybrid also came up with us but Yogi stayed with the friend so he didn't have to ride alone and we waited for them at the top.

Here's all four of us at the lookout.

Maybe I should use the picture as my new blog banner?

Update: Trying out the new banner. At first the words went right over my face but I added a little html coding and I think its ok now. I'll keep it this way for awhile and see how I like it. If anyone knows how to centre the picture on the banner background, let me know. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vacation Time!

I spent the last 2 days packing and getting my stuff organized to camp in Osoyoos for a week. I use the word "camping" loosely since we'll be staying in a private campground with flush toilets, hot showers, electricity, and even a fridge at every site. True, I'll be sleeping in a tent, but it is 10X12 and has enough headroom my 6'1" hubby to stand up in. Not what I would have called "camping" when I was a kid, that's for sure.

I'm looking forward to spending the week with my son, and with Erik's brother and his wife, and just hanging out on the beach. I do plan to follow my training plan fairly closely since this is my last week of hard training and I look forward to an opportunity to get in the water every day and to swim in new surroundings.

Lucky Erik gets to head out tomorrow morning on his bike at 7am and will take about 6 hours to ride the ~120km to Osoyoos. I will leave around 9am, pick up my 10 year old son from his Dad's, drop off the dogs at the kennel, and pass Erik somewhere along the 2 hour drive to the campground. I'd love to do that ride too, but I wouldn't want to do it alone, and SOMEBODY has to get all our our stuff there. (The van is packed to the gills.)

This week I hope to climb to the lookout on Anarchist Mountain a couple of times (see the picture at the top of my blog) and beat my previous time of 48:30 from the campsite (36:15 from the windmill - on my old bike, and hungover I might add.) We also plan to ride up to the top of Richter Pass which is the first big climb in Ironman Canada as well as do a few other easier rides around the area. I figure I'll get in one 5-6 km run and swim every day. I've also got to fit in my pushups challenge on M, W, F and do my physio and core work on Sun, Tues, Thurs.

Naturally, I'll also be working on my tummy tan challenge every day as well as building up my tolerance for Sangria and Margaritas...

The only blip in an otherwise perfect week is an incredibly irritating but I suppose necessary 'procedure' I must have at Kelowna General Hospital on Wednesday morning. I hesitate to bring up this rather delicate subject in my blog, but since other runners read this, I think it could be relevant. After my last two long runs (8-9km), I've had some rather unpleasant GI side effects. How to put it tastefully? I suppose just keep it in medical terminology - blood in my stool. Enough to concern me. I googled it and learned that although this can occur in long distance runners, I really should have all the serious stuff ruled out before I toss it off as minor. (Found this link to a similar problem which led me to this link for an interesting response.)

Naturally, when I mentioned it to my doctor, she was concerned and anxious to get me in for a sigmoidoscopy asap. Geez Louise. I am going camping for a week! Not in the middle of my camping trip! But then I realized that it could have been worse, it could have been the day before my triathlon! So I'll keep the appointment.

So on Tuesday afternoon, I am going to drive 2 hours back to Kelowna my myself, drink 150 ml of citromag, skip dinner (aaack!!), try to get some sleep, endure two even less exciting preparations in the morning, and be at KGH for my 'procedure' at 9:15 am. Hopefully, I'll be on the road by 10 and back at the campsite by noon, none the worse for wear. Now I know this is all for naught because I have zero other symptoms of colo-rectal cancer. But ya know, it would be so incredibly stupid to ignore what can be a fairly serious symptom. How many times have you heard the line - "if only they had caught it in time!"? We'll I'm never gonna be one of those people. This trip will definitely be one of those wasted evenings, but it'll be worth it to be certain that nothing serious is wrong with me.

Now if they actually find something and want to do surgery before my triathlon forget it! I do have my priorities!! LOL...

Anyhoo, back to our regularly schedule training spiel.

This week has been awesome. I have been out in the lake a couple of times and tried skipping my usual swim/stop/swim/stop warmup and just swimming slowly for 200m then continuing on to do 750m without stopping and it worked fine! I didn't have to stop to catch my breath at all. My overall time slows down a little (19:30) because it takes me about 7 minutes to swim the first 250m but I can work on that I think. I figure even if it takes me 19 minutes to do the whole swim, it'll be worth it if it's less stressful.

My second accomplishment was an excellent brick workout yesterday. Erik and I rode 13km down to the tri route and I rode one 10km lap really hard. I did my best time climbing Knox in 2 minutes, which is 20 seconds faster than my previous times. Erik was tired from a long ride the day before and couldn't keep up with me (W00T!!). I had to stop at two lights, slow down for 5 stop signs, and stop and wait for a bus that pulled out in front of me, but my overall time was the same as last time - 20:50, 28.7 kmh. I'm sure I can go faster if I don't have all those stops. I think 30 kmh avg is do-able.

After my ride, we stopped in the transition area and I changed into my runners and hat (Erik was carrying them in a back pack for me, the sweetheart) and I ran a shortened route of the tri run route while he babysat my bike. It turned out to be exactly 3km and I felt super fast (considering I was running after the bike.) I'm sure I could run faster if I was in a race too. I did the 3km in 17:11, which was 20 seconds faster than last time. My first km was 5:34 (saw that and slowed down, yikes!), second two km were 5:48 and 5:49 which is about what I was aiming for. I think I'll aim for 5:30-5:40 in the race but who knows? Maybe I could actually do a 5k time of 26:30? That would be cool.

We sat around and I rested for a bit, then we rode home fairly slowly. I started the inevitable coughing and was fairly hoarse for about an hour afterward. Next time, I'll try my ventolin between the bike and run as well.

I'll be offline for the rest of the week but will add a note to my blog on Tuesday night if there's anything interesting (imho) to report.

We won't know the results of the flex sig until after the August long weeknd I assume.

Only 22 more days - OMG!!!!!! I get nauseous just thinking about it now...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Facing My Fears

I'm realizing now that doing this triathlon is all about facing my fears and testing my limits. Some of my fears have been easily overcome while others are taking a greater measure of determination. It'll come as no surprise that the open water swim is my biggest challenge and clearly not one easily managed. Even though I've been out in the lake 5-6 times now, and I've swum around the buoys once, I am still uncomfortable in the water a lot of the time. The littlest thing startles me. A weed drifts past my face, a fish swims under me, a rolling wave surprises me when I take a breath, even a person swimming by can frighten me. It makes me so mad. It's all in my stupid head. I can swim, and I can float if I get tired. Rocks and weeds and weird crap on the bottom of the lake, and fish, and even deep water can't hurt me. So stop fretting about it already! Nevertheless, I continue to obsess about it and I try to manage and control every aspect. This is also stupid, I know. I won't be able to control things on race day other than to feel as confident as I can, stay to the back and one side, and just keep moving forward. Go slow, stay calm, move forward. Don't try to swim too fast because the physical feelings from exertion mimic the feelings of panic. I need to keep my mind off panic.

So why does a person like me even bother to do try to do a race like this when it causes such obvious discomfort? I'm actually not too sure about that. Maybe I figure that if I just did it, I would prove to myself that I can. I think that the greater the challenge, the greater the reward. It's easy to do something that doesn't frighten you. It's much more satisfying to conquer something that was hard work. I've quoted Randy Pausch before - "Roadblocks are there to test your commitment to your goals." (Note: Just learned that Randy passed away today, Friday, July 25, 2008. So sad. Here's a link to his famous lecture. )

Right now my biggest fear is that I'll panic in the swim and end up quitting before I start. I mean, I won't really quit, but if I go into full panic attack mode, they might drag me out. And oh how depressing that would be to have done all this work and never even get past the first event. And of course, thinking about panicking can cause you to panic. It can be a vicious circle. So I won't do it. I think I've learned enough coping mechanisms to talk myself out of the panic feeling in many other situations. I need to be confident that they will apply in the swim as well. And for anyone reading this and just shaking their head, I realize that there is no logic in it.

So - here's what I've been doing to attack this fear head on.

1. Get in the lake as often as possible. Every day if I can, swim along shore if I'm alone. The more frequently I do it, the easier it gets.

2. Take every opportunity to swim out over my head with Carmelle or anyone else who offers to come with me.

3. Swim in as many different venues as I can so I can get used to strange surroundings. I will swim at Tugboat Beach this week, in Osoyoos Lake next week, in Kalamalka lake the week after.

4. Focus on my breath and repeat positive affirmations while I swim. I do bilateral breathing so my strokes are usually in 3's. I was trying this out the other day and although it was kind of stupid, it kept me focussed and positive. "Weeds are just plants", "Keep on moving", "Rocks can't hurt me", "Fish are cute", "I can do this", "Keep on moving", "This is fun", "I'm doing great". LOL, ok so maybe you need to have a couple of beer to appreciate my positive focus because it looks pretty stupid when it's all written down. Too bad I can't take a microphone under water, it'd make a funny podcast don't you think? Anyway, it's working for me so I'll keep doing it.

5. WARM UP FIRST!!!! I find I need to swim at least 200m before I can get into a steady swimming rhythm, but once I have swum about 300-400m, I feel like I could just keep going without stopping at all. But if I go straight into the water and expect to swim 750m right away, I get bagged, start gasping for breath, and need to stop with my feet touching bottom a few times. I am hoping to be able to get in at least 100m of swimming before the race but in case that doesn't work out for me, I need to have a back up plan. The next couple of times I go swimming, I'm going to try swimming really slowly for the first 200m and see if I can incorporate my warm up into my swim so I don't feel the need to touch down with my feet. Then hopefully, I can build up speed as I go. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to swim fast the last 200m or so. And look at the positives - there will be more space at the bike racks when I get there! :)

Mid-July Training Update

All in all, I think my summer training is going well and according to plan. I'm actually doing a little more than I had planned mainly because I bike additional easy rides with Erik sometimes, and I throw in an extra swim whenever I can so I can get over my lake swimming fear. I don't swim hard so I figure if I can get out in the lake every day, I should. It's still like a rest/recovery day.

The Shins (And I don't mean the band)

Ongoing issues, good days and bad. Recovery from the 8k race was slow and inconsistent. One day they felt fine, the next day, they hurt. I went for physio last Monday and he stripped them and then did IMS acupuncture, which was fairly painful. My shins were tender for the next couple of days so I took a rest day on Tuesday, then did bike hill repeats on Wednesday. I felt good and strong on the bike and even had a PR on Gordon Hill on the way home, even after climbing Knox 4 times! Thursday, I swam with Carmelle, which was more or less a rest day I guess. Friday, I did a hard brick and felt awesome! I ran 3km after a 15km hilly ride and tried running faster. Did 5:45 min per km which was excellent for me! Saturday and Sunday my shins were tender again. I was supposed to do an easy run on Sunday but postponed it because of tenderness. Saturday I swam and did a really easy ride and on Sunday we did a long medium intensity ride. Today I did my long run, 9k, my longest to date, and felt great. It was pretty hot because I wanted to sleep in and didn't start running until 10:30am, but I coped pretty well with the heat. This afternoon, I was back for physio and he stripped my shins again, did more acupuncture, and he expressed concern with my low back hip which has always given me grief. Not surprisingly, he thinks there is a connection between my right hip pain and my shin pain, so I have some core work to do before I go back in two weeks.

I've been looking into trying out the Zensah Calf Sleeve which is a compression sleeve made especially for calf pain and/or shin splints. You can wear them during a run, or for recovery. The PT was interested in them as well although they are not available in Canada. I did track down a few websites that sell them online but the shipping is as as much as the sleeve ($20 each). Anyway, I'm going to see if I can possibly find a friend in Washington State who could buy them and mail them to me. We'll see.

The Hundred Pushup Challenge and the lesser known, but equally important, Tummy Tan Challenge.

Did I mention Erik and I have joined the Hundred Pushup Challenge? It's a kind of fun way to get some sadly lacking upper body work happening. I'm into week 2 now and hope I can keep it up. One of my buddies on twitter showed us the link and now quite a few people have joined in the challenge.

The Tummy Tan Challenge is not a public challenge. :) I FINALLY bought a two-piece swim suit and found that although I think I can get away with wearing it in public, my poor midriff is sadly lacking in the tan department. In fact, it has not seen the sun for over 25 years. Seeing as how I hate lying in the sun, doing nothing, I needed some way to force myself to get the job done. So my goal is lie in the sun for 15 minutes each side, over the noon hour every day, until my midriff is as brown as my back and shoulders. I know can do it!

Diet - my eating has been good. Not too worried about trying to lose weight but mostly trying to eat healthfully. Whole grain bread, lean chicken (and beef once in awhile), more fish, TONS of veggies, 4-5 pieces of fruit every day, a handful of nuts every day, red wine, and dark chocolate. I'm actually down to 119 lbs now. Yee haw!

Tri Wear

I still don't know what I'm going to wear for the triathlon yet. I tried biking sockless last week and had no problem, but I got blisters on both feet when I ran sockless. So, forget that idea. Carmelle says to wear my swim suit and pull on tri shorts over top after the swim. I've been in to try on tri outfits several times but always leave in frustration. The shorts are too short and the tops are too tight. Both accentuate the few little rolls I still have left and make me look fatter than I really am. I guess I am too vain, lol...
Yesterday I tried wearing a comfortable biking tank top and my oldest biking shorts which have a thinner chamois and that felt pretty good, even when wet. Someday this week, I'll wear my swimsuit to the LBS and try on some tri shorts to see how that feels. I wore my swim suit under my capris once on my way to the pool and swore never to do that again because the elastic chafed so bad. I'm not sure how Carmelle gets around that one. I don't think Body Glide would help.

Oh and my transitions times are pretty fast. I can run up to the beach, get my wetsuit off and my shoes, helmet, and glasses on in less than 1 minute. I'll have further to run at the Apple though so I figure on 2 full minutes for T1. My T2 time is less than 1 minute.

So that's my ever-so-wordy train of thought for the evening. Thanks for reading if you got this far!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Hero, My Husband

This is my wonderful hubby, and best friend, Erik. If it weren't for him, I would not be doing ANY of this, so I would like to take a moment and acknowledge the many things he's done for me.

Erik and I have been together since December 2004, although we've known each other much longer and have worked together for about 5-6 years. When we both became single again in 2004, we attended the staff Christmas party together for a lark, and the rest, as they say, is history. We were married last year, on March 19, 2007, and will always consider ourselves 'newlyweds'.

Erik was a cyclist before I met him. At that time, he mostly rode his mountain bike and had done some racing. He had recently bought a road bike and was beginning to make the move to road riding. I had an old mountain bike so when we went away in the spring of 2005, we took our bikes and I about near died trying to climb a little hill. I arrived at the top gasping for breath and was not at all pleased that he took my picture. However, he waited patiently for me and encouraged me all the way, despite the fact that I was extremely out of shape, even on the flats.

I put away my bike when we got home from that trip and he continued to ride alone and with his friends in the hills behind our house. The following spring, in March 2006, I was unhappy with the weight I had slowly put on since the birth of my last child, and since my gym membership had expired, I decided to start riding my bike for cardio. Since we live at the top of a hill that I still to this day hate to climb, I put my bike in the car, drove down to the flats, and rode a little 10 km loop that I had mapped out in the car. Erik came along with me, crawling along at an amazing 20 km/h, waiting for me at the halfway point while I stopped to catch my breath and have a drink, and all the while, telling me how awesome I was. I believed him. I was so proud and excited that I could ride 10km in 30 minutes!

As Erik rode along with me, he pointed out my speed on his bike computer and I was curious. Then he encouraged me to get a computer for my bike so I could keep track of my speed and distance. Within a few days, we had one installed on my new mountain bike and began to record the dates, miles, and distances I had travelled. Within a week or two, I had bumped my ride to 12km, then 15, then 20km. Often we would sit up on the deck and analyze how I'd done, and how much improvement we were seeing and he never failed to encourage me with positive comments. Every now and again, he'd be chomping at the bit to do some real riding and would talk me into heading into the hills, but I wasn't physically or mentally ready for climbing and was often in tears, although I'm not sure he knew that. He did know I was 'cranky" and wisely chose not to talk to me too much during those times. LOL...

By June, I was craving speed and kept looking longingly at the road bikes at the local bike store. By this time, I had logged 1200 kms on my bike and we had our longest ride on June 25, 2006 - a hilly 100km in the 35 degree heat!

The next day, I bought my first road bike, a Giant OCR1. Now I had the speed I was craving. That summer, we logged a lot of miles and I learned to climb. It was hot and hard but Erik waited patiently for me and continued to tell me how great I was doing. It is only now that I can look back now and realize how much of a couch-potato newbie I was and how hard it must have been for him to hide his impatience with me at times. Every night, we continued to sit out on the deck and talk about our rides and point out the strengths I had, and the ways I had grown in the past 6 months.

By the end of 2006, I had ridden 2775 km over 100 rides, all of which are recorded on bikejournal.com, had lost over 20 lbs, and had set several PR's for speed and distance. And I truly don't think I could have done any of it, without Erik's support and encouragement.
In 2007, we continued to ride a lot, and set many new PR's. Erik's own riding skills were also improving and he was becoming stronger and faster as well, much to my chagrin. Just as my fitness level was improving enough to be able to keep up with him on the bike, he got stronger. LOL... Ah well, it only served to make me a stronger rider. I was always racing to try to keep up with him and every ride was an intensity ride. Perhaps it's not the best way to train, but it worked!

That year, I began to think about running. I started to wonder if my improved fitness level would allow me to run. In the past, I couldn't run a block without gasping for breath, maybe now it would be different? So slowly, I began running - a walk/run at first, slowly working my way up to 5km by late spring. I did my first 5km race in June 2007 and was amazed with my time - 26:17! My previous best 5k times had never been faster than 29 minutes. And Erik was there, taking picture, carrying my stuff, cheering me on. Would I have gone alone? Nope, not a chance. Again, I couldn't have done it without him.

Unfortunately, shin splits from poor training and no stretching put the kibosh on any further running that summer. Instead, Erik and I spent an idyllic 3 week honeymoon in Europe, ten days of which was spent on a self-supported cycling trip in Provence. We did not want that trip to end - we could have ridden for a month I'm sure. It was an amazing trip that I'll always remember and I know that it won't be long before we're back cycling again in Provence and hopefully, Italy.

At the end of the summer, we went down to Penticton to watch a few friends compete in the Ironman. As I watched, I wondered if I could ever do an IM. When I saw Sister Buder, a 78 year old nun, and heard her story, I thought to myself - if she can do it, so can I! But I first I have to learn how to swim. Hmmm, can I do that?

I tried to run again in the fall but continued to have shin/ITB problems. I finally got fitted for orthotics in January 2008 and started back on a walk/run program once again. I also began to swim 2-3 times a week at the local pool and built up my endurance. Maybe I wouldn't do the IMC, but I could perhaps consider the Try-A-Tri or maybe even the Sprint Tri in August.

As usual, Erik was there supporting me and bragging about my minor accomplishments to anyone who would listen. This past spring, 2008, we both bought new carbon road bikes - Trek Madones - and Erik began ride a lot more. With my triathlon training, I am too busy to ride every day so he does hard rides on his own which is nice because he can really hammer without having to worry about me, and we do medium and easy rides together. He has a serious mileage goal for this year, and is now logging his miles on bikejournal as well. I think he may eventually be interested in competing in a few time trials, but his greatest interest is in long distance endurance rides. Last August (2007), we rode around Okanagan Lake, a total of 170 kms, and his longest ride to date was riding 300 km from Banff to Jasper in one day, along the Icefields Parkway with his brother about 8 years ago. He really wants to do that ride again but because improving on his previous ride time is important to him, I don't think I'll be able to go with him - I'll just slow him down. I would like to do the ride over 2-3 days though. Anyway, with all this hard riding he's doing, he's getting very strong and I doubt I'll ever be able to catch up with him. But I do enjoy now being able to stay ahead him on climbs that we do the day after one his hard rides - lol...

In addition to his cycling talents, he is a truly caring and loving man. He's an excellent teacher and is wonderful with kids, always patient yet firm. He sings, writes music, and plays guitar! He brings me coffee every morning and rubs my back every night. What more could a girl ask for?

Erik has been an amazing influence in my life. He's changed the way I see myself, and how I feel about myself. I have never felt so loved, so happy, so beautiful and so confident. Without his support, I couldn't have become the person I am today. I know that it's me who has done the hard work to get where I am, but he gave me the will and belief in myself to do that work, and for that, I'll always be grateful. And as for having to draft behind him my entire cycling career? It's not so bad. I get to go fast, and it's a nice view! :)

Thanks, honey - I love ya! Let's go for a ride!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Swimming at Gyro

This is the 900m loop at Gyro beach. This time I started by swimming the straight line across the beach width, which is about 275m, (Erik measured it with the Garmin). I swam back and forth four times, at about 6 minutes each length, which is about my speed in the pool. I wasn't going hard because I just wanted to focus on my form today, and as always, on keeping calm.

When I got out of the lake, to get ready to go home, a older woman from the masters swim club came along and she was looking for someone to swim with. I told her I was pretty new and hadn't even been out over my head and we talked a bit. Then I decided I would just swim with her straight out from the beach until I was over my head, and then swim back alone while I had the chance. Interestingly enough, we got to buoy fairly quickly and I was still alive! It was only about 6-7 feet deep and the water was clear and the bottom was sandy. I felt very comfortable so we decided to swim straight across to another buoy (but not out any further). I was a bit tired so my throat was starting to fill up with crap as usual and I had to stop to cough some of it out a few times but she kept an eye on me and swam slow enough to me to keep up. How nice of her! When we got to the buoy on the far side, we turned and swam towards shore and soon enough we were back in shallow water, then we swam back across to where we had started. By this time, I was pretty bagged. I figure I did at least 1600m that morning, probably more, and with my stress level fairly high, it seemed like a harder workout. LOL. But I was SO happy to have finally have made that final step!

When I got home, I found Gyro beach on Google Earth and mapped out the 900m loop that the triathletes swim. One of these mornings, I will go down early and swim with them, or maybe I'll call my friend Carmelle, and swim with her. On the map, I can clearly see where the drop offs are so that one section that is a bit further out than I've been will be a bit scary, but I'm sure I can do it. One thing I have to remember is that when I'm in my wet suit, it is very little work to float or tread water and I can easily be calm.

I am contemplating doing the "Across the Lake Swim" next Saturday but I'm not sure if I'm ready. If only I had a few more days of practice. If I did it successfully, it would do a lot of raise my confidence but if I had any scares, it could set me back. I am going to try to get out for a swim every second day this week and then make my decision on Thursday or Friday. We do have access to the canoe so Erik can stay with me the whole way. I just don't know...

Finally - to celebrate reaching my final mental challenge of swimming out over my head I actually REGISTERED for the Kelowna Apple Triathlon!!! Whoo hoo! I think I'm gonna puke. LOL...

So yesterday was supposed to be Day Two of my training schedule, a long easy swim, and that was done. When I got home, my body felt really tired, but it was 21C and a gorgeous sunny day, and Erik was on his way out for a bike ride. I told him to go do an hour of hard stuff and then I would join him for an easy ride. An hour later, I was feeling rejuvenated and I rode down to meet him at the school. We mostly stuck to the flats and rode out to the airport (I went easy on the TT route hills). I was fairly dehydrated so I had finished my only water bottle by then so we stopped at the store at the end and I bought a Gatorade and a nut and fruit bar. I tolerated the Gatorade well so I may drink that on the bike during the tri instead of plain water. My recovery ride ended up being 57km over 2:15 hours - oopsie. But what a beautiful day to ride! It didn't get over 25C before we got home.

Today - Day Three - easy run, which I plan to do this morning. I am HOPING my shins feel ok. Please!!!! (Noon update: My shins hurt like crap when I ran today. Only went 3km in 21 minutes, then stuck them in a bucket of ice water and did ice massage. They feel a little better now. I see the PT on Monday....)

Tomorrow, Day 4, I'm supposed to do my long, higher intensity ride. We have a brunch to attend at 11 am so I'm thinking I might get up early and be on the bike by 8 am. I'll ride 12km downtown as a warmup, then ride the tri loop twice at medium intensity, then ride home. That'll give me a 45 km ride before 10 am.

Here's a picture of Tugboat Bay, with my best guess on the triathlon swim route. 750m. Looks like it's quite a bit deeper here than at Gyro Beach.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Training Plan

Well now that school's out and my time is my own, I needed to think through how I am going to train these last few weeks. I conferred online with my good friend and tri guru, Coach Wahine, and we came up with the following plan. Because I don't need to follow a 7 day week plan, I may throw in a rest day of two here and there as needed. Workouts in bold are high intensity and I need to recover from them.

Day 1 - brick 10K hard bike, 10-20 min hard run

Day 2 - long easy swim

Day 3 - easy run (3-5k)

Day 4 - long bike 30-40+ km, include tri route, but don't go all out.

- extra rest day here if needed

Day 5 - long run 7-10k, easy swim

- extra rest day here if needed

Day 6 - hill repeats - climb first section of Knox a number of times

Day 7 - swim - work on pacing

General Training Update

I had another good lake swim on Monday morning. I went down to Gyro beach this time and went out to about chest depth. Because the water was fairly calm, I had no trouble swimming at all, and felt quite comfortable right away. I swam the width of the beach and back twice, about 800m I'm guessing, but I'll admit I didn't go out over my head. I hope I can gather up the courage to do that next time. If I can convince Erik to come out with me for awhile, on the air mattress or something, then I'll probably be ok. He's just not too interested in going out into the water early in the morning. Maybe I should buy him a wet suit, lol...

I headed out to gyro again this afternoon, mostly to take Jesse swimming, but the wind was so strong that the waves were huge and I didn't even bother to venture into the water. If I don't get out tomorrow, then I will for sure on Friday.

My shins and lower legs are still hurting from the race on Saturday. I've been icing them every night, and stretching lots but they're still tender. I don't see the PT until Monday - can't wait to get this shin thing resolved. Argh. I really hope they feel better tomorrow because I want to do a brick workout. If not, I'll do a really short easy run 1-2km, and see how it goes, and maybe a longer bike ride.

I've spent more hours in yard work 'cross training' than anything else this week but we've managed to haul away 20+ full garden bags to the dump. The back looks awesome now! Well that's all for now.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mid-Summer 8k Race Report and more

The Lead Up

There's always a story behind every race I think - the lead up to the event that you think may affect the outcome. This time, I'm going to start with my bike ride yesterday (Saturday).

I planned my 8k race to be a training run, to get me used to being nervous in race situations. I had never run 8k before - my longest run had been 7k about 2 weeks ago - and my goal was a 6min/km if I felt strong. With that in mind, I felt ok doing a long bike ride the day before, but didn't think things thru enough to realize that it might not be a good idea to go too hard on the bike. Ooops.

So Saturday morning, we got up early-ish and headed out on the bikes by 9am before it started to get too hot. We rode downtown, a nice half hour warm up, and headed for
the triathlon bike route which is a double 10km route starting at the Dolphins. The challenge of this bike route is that at the 1.5km mark, you have to climb the first segment of Knox Mountain. It's about a 600m climb with a fairly steep grade that climbs up 50m in height. In the past, on my old bike, I managed to stay at around the 10-12 km/h most of the way. Anyway, we set out at a nice steady pace and when I hit the climb, I really went hard, maintaining about 14-15km/h. Erik was tired from a long bike ride the day before and I was able to stay ahead and even pull away from him. The rest of the route was mostly rolling and then a long gentle downhill that allows some good speed while still peddling hard. The downside is that there are about 8 stop signs or sets of lights to contend with when the road is not closed for a race. Erik rode ahead of me and tried to let me know if the road was clear so I didn't always have to slow down too much. I have no doubt my race day time will be faster.

My best previous time for the 10k was 22:00, my first lap this time was 20:48 so I was happy. Lap two - I got to the hill faster this time but found the climb much harder since my heart rate was already quite high going into it. I was seeing stars on the first climb, and left a bit tingly, so I don't think I was getting enough oxygen. The second climb was even worse and I started to feel so light headed that I decided to slow down a bit in case I fainted. My lungs were starting to fill up too and I wished I had used my puffer before I left. Live and learn.

My second lap time was 21:12 which was still enough to make me happy. Overall time was 42:00 even, avg speed 28.6 kmh. Yay! We found a shady tree and stopped to have a rest. I was exhausted and starting to cough a lot - more a pursuiter's cough than EI I think though. My heart rate was really high the whole race and reached 182 at the max, which isn't much less than my estimated max HR of 185.

After a 15 minutes rest, we were back on the bikes and rode a fairly leisurely 35kms the long way home (for a 70km total), avoiding any more tough climbs and generally taking it easy. By the time we got home, my legs were very sore and I had trouble squatting down and climbing stairs. I stretched, iced, rolled them with the rolling pin, and massaged them, worrying all the time that I wouldn't be able to run worth a darn in the morning, but lo and behold, they felt pretty darn good by Sunday morning! I count myself lucky - lesson learned.

Race Day

We got up at 6am to a partly cloudy morning, about 16C. Perfect running conditions! I had coffee and my usual breakfast of yogurt mixed with fruit and oatmeal. Got my stuff ready and headed down to the race at about 7:30, which was conveniently only 5 minutes away. I ran into a couple of people I knew and chatted and walked and stretched while waiting for the start. My legs felt good and I figured I wouldn't have too much trouble holding a 6 min/km pace for 8k this morning. The route is flat the whole way so I didn't expect any problems but most of the 265 people there were pretty serious racers and I knew I'd be at the back of the pack. No problemo.

I ran pretty steady the whole way - my goal was to do the second half faster than the first and I was successful in that.

1km - 5:47
2km - 5:57
3km - 5:57
4km - 5:50

First half total: 23:31

5km - 5:37
6km - 5:39
7km - 5:39
8km - 5:57

2nd half total: 22:52

Total time: 46:17, pace 5:47 per km


13/21 in my age group (45-49)
72/128 women
190/265 men/women
Age graded points - 11

At the 6km mark, I screwed up. For some reason, thought I had only 1 km to go when I reached the 6k marker. Don't know why. I was feeling good so I decided to speed up and finish fast. About 3/4 of the way thru that km, I realized my error and slowed down again because I knew I couldn't hold that pace for 2km. Dumb girl. My last km was more uncomfortable because I had timed it wrong. Oh well, overall I was happy with my time, which has not yet been confirmed. I will post the correct time once the times are up.

As usual, Erik was there as my support crew, carrying my stuff and taking lots of pictures! What a great guy! Here are a few pics.

Heading Out

Coming in - still smiling!

I made it!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

My First OWS!!!

That's Open Water Swim - for anyone not tri-lingual. :)

So after much procrastinating, the stars finally aligned and I went down to Sarsons Beach to try swimming IN the lake, IN my wetsuit, for the first time IN MY LIFE. Yikes - what a mental challenge to overcome. First off - I hate getting wet and I hate being cold so I waited until the air temp was 30C and the lake had begun to warm up for summer before I even ventured down to the beach. Second of all, I have an unreasonable fear of 'stuff' under water - of seeing 'stuff', stepping on 'stuff, or feeling 'stuff'. I freak out when I can see the bottom, and I freak out when I can't see the bottom, and I especially freak out when I notice that the bottom is dropping off. Finally, I am fairly self-conscious so I was feeling uncomfortable with the idea of heading down to the beach in 30C weather, with the sunbathers in their swim suits, and me all duded up in a wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap.

At any rate, I could put it off no longer - there were no more excuses available - so I waited until Erik was home from his ride and I got him to come down to the beach with me to document this momentous occasion, and perhaps save me from drowning if need be.
I put my wetsuit on halfway before I left the house so I wouldn't have to do that tough, pulling-up-tight-nylons extravaganza in public. At the last moment, I decided to bring my water shoes so at least I wouldn't have to worry about the rocky shore or the additional freaked-out feeling of stepping on slimy rocks, or worse. Erik brought the camera and lots of encouragement, I had my towel, goggles, swim cap, and watch.

I chose Sarsons Beach because it's close to home and is much less populated than Gyro where most of the triathletes practice. I really didn't want an audience, but as it turned out, most people didn't pay much attention to me other than to sympathize with having to wear a black wetsuit in 30 degree temps.

We got down to the beach and I finished dressing, put on my watch, and headed to the water. I was already so hot that I didn't even noticed the water temp so that hurdle was easy to get over. The first time I put my face in the water and took a stroke, I seemed to have forget how to breathe and immediately inhaled a mouth and nose full of water. A little coughing, get the heart rate down, and try again. It took about 3-4 tries before I could put my face in the water and take 3-4 strokes and breathe somewhat normally. No thought was put into my form - I just wanted to survive at this point.

I was out to about chest depth and was attempting to swim parallel to the shore. Erik wasn't ready for me to go out over my head because I'm a better swimmer than he is and he didn't have a nice warm wet suit to keep him cozy.
Unfortunately, it was fairly windy and there were some pretty decent-sized waves which made the going a bit tough at first. I have never swum in a lake before, and there aren't many waves at the YMCA so that was my first challenge. If I breathed on the shore side, I could take in air normally, but when I tried to breathe on the lake side, I kept getting a wave in the face instead. Of course, then I'd have to stand up and hack up another lungful of water.

I was starting to get frustrated and was EXTREMELY glad that I wasn't doing my first OWS at the triathlon like I know some people do. After several attempts, I finally managed to swim a steady 50-100m without stopping by breathing every second stroke so I wasn't breathing into the waves.

I felt buoyant and comfortable and relatively safe although I was still panicky looking at the bottom of the lake and was scared at the thought of going out over my head. That will be for another day when the water is calm I think.

I practiced coming out and going into the water a few times, trying to figure out at what depth I should stop swimming and start running. It was difficult to know how well I was swimming because there was no way to gauge how far or how fast I was going, especially with the waves pushing me around, but Erik said I looked pretty good and seemed to going fairly fast.

After about 20 minutes, I was ready to pack it in for the day. I ran out of the water to practice transition, got one arm out of the wetsuit, but had trouble with the 2nd arm. Oh wait, I still had the stupid watch on. I will definitely have to remember to take my watch off first, or wear it under the sleeve, or skip it entirely.

My first swim was behind me and I felt like I was relatively successful. Next time, I will go out when the water is calm and Erik said he'd come along in the boat or on an air mattress the first time I swim out over my head, just in case I freak out. I'm pretty sure that once I do it a few times, I will be able to keep calm and just swim. I've been able to overcome the rest of my fears so this one will be no different, right?

There's an "Across the Lake Swim" on July 19th which I have contemplated doing. I know that after a warmup, I can swim for a long time without getting tired, as long as I'm not sprinting, so theoretically I think I could swim 2km. My longest pool swim to date is 1500m. It would do a LOT for me mentally to successfully swim across the lake though, so that would be the most important reason to do it. I'll see how my next couple of lake swims go before I decide though.

Other Stuff

As an aside, I took a look at the current registrants for the triathlon and the woman who came in 5th overall last year, with a time of 1:21, has just moved up into my age bracket. I don't have a HOPE of beating her, that's for sure. And with my current running after biking times, I'm not likely going to be able to place anyway so maybe with that pressure off, I can just keep plugging away.

Still haven't created a 4 week training plan. More later. Oh and I ran 5.4 km this morning. Felt good after the first 1-2km.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer's Here!

Well I'm back from Edmonton, home to a pretty hot, muggy (for Kelowna) day. We have to unpack, then go pick up the dogs from the kennel, and get some groceries. There is a thunderstorm warning right now so I won't be able to go down to the lake, but I will for sure tomorrow.

I did a 4.6 km run on Saturday morning before I left Kelowna and went for a couple of good rides in Edmonton, one of which was my first serious brick. The first day I rode with the boys (Erik, Yogi, and his son Paul). Although it's mostly flat around Spruce Grove, Yogi took us on a nice 50 km ride that had a long section of rolling hills. Naturally, I had to work hard to keep up with the men but Yogi was working hard too, mainly because our new carbon bikes are faster. It was fairly humid and I found my breathing was laboured and wished I had brought my puffer. After awhile, I felt better and was able to hammer with the best of them. :) (Here's a picture of Yogi and I riding near Spruce Grove)

The next day we were planning to ride with Yogi and Paul again but it was going to be later in the day so I decided to do a one hour ride followed by a 20-30 minute run early in the day before it got too hot. Erik agreed to come along for the ride and we kept a fairly good pace (about 28kmh) for most of the 30km. I got back, had my runners and hat on in about 30 seconds, and heading out to run. My legs didn't feel as heavy as they have before and I had made sure my heart rate was down by the time I finished the bike so I didn't start with it racing. Overall, I did ok. I managed 4.6 km in 31 minutes which was slower than I'd hoped, but still ok for my first brick. I had some pain in the lower front of my left shin which I tried to walk out a couple of times, but after the first 2.5 km, it stopped hurting and I didn't seen to suffer any pain the next day.

By the time the boys were ready to ride later that day, it was 4:30pm so I let them go be boys and skipped the second ride. Erik and Yogi switched bikes this time (Erik on the Specialized Allez and Yogi on the Madone) and they found out how much faster the Madone is. This time, Yogi was ahead, and Erik had to work his butt off to keep up. Yogi is now convinced he needs a new bike. :)

I've been travelling for the past two days so haven't done any other training, but now that I'm home for 3 weeks straight, I'll be able to get in some really serious work. I'll be camping in Osoyoos during the last week of July and will still be able to swim, bike, and run while I'm there. We will also have to stop in and meet my buddy Peby (Paul) when we're down there, and of course there will be the mandatory trips up to the Anarchist lookout. (See the picture in my banner above.) My best time year was 48:30 from the campsite office to the lookout. I wish I could remember what my time was going from the windmill though. I guess I will have to track that info down somewhere. It'll be interesting to see how well I can do with my new bike, and when I'm not hungover. LOL...

Well, I have to go unpack. More in a few days, or whenever I have a 4 week training plan figured out.