Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Training Totals

Beginner Triathlete gives a nice summary of your training along the left hand side of the screen. The downside is that it only shows this year and the previous year so the info chart from the years before is no longer available. You can go in and do a search to get subtotals but I like the chart they have alongside better.

2010 Totals

Bike:

100h 50m 17s

2366.49 KM

Run:

88h 00m 43s

690.33 KM

Swim:

45h 37m 53s

96600 M

Strength:

6h 05m

Core Training:

1h 30m

Elliptical Training:

8h 50m

Hiking:

2h 15m

Massage:

2h 00m

Rowing:

1h 10m

Skate Skiing:

7h 45m

Stretching:

20m

Volleyball:

1h 30m

Walking:

55m

Yoga:

7h 50m

2009 Totals

Bike:

102h 06m 13s

2152.08 KM

Run:

65h 42m 47s

502.33 KM

Swim:

20h 10m

41250 M

Strength:

9h 52m

Core Training:

30m

Dancing:

2h 20m

Elliptical Training:

4h 03m

Golf:

2h 00m

Hiking:

2h 25m 29s

Misc.:

20m

Plyometrics:

15m

Rowing:

1h 42m

Stationary Biking :

45m

Stretching:

1h 15m

Walking:

30m

Yoga:

5h 50m

2008 Totals

Bike:

117h 51m 59s

2743.65 KM

Run:

62h 18m 13s

508.07 KM

Swim:

36h 38m 01s

64450.00 M

Strength:

26h 35m

Sports:

24h 05m

2007 Totals

Bike:

155h 13m 29s

3472.71 KM

Run:

18h 04m 02s

156.36 KM

Swim:

none

Strength:

3h 00m

Sports:

3h 35m

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tagged!

I was tagged by Stuart of the Quadrathon Blog and Podcast. If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged and leave a comment below, with a link to your blog post.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

1. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

I know a lot of people might think that I should be proudest of finishing my first half iron in June, but although that was an accomplishment, I'm never really content or proud of simply "finishing" a race. I don't like going into a race simply to survive it - I much prefer to do my best training and come close to a reasonable goal time. I'm really not so concerned about where I place in my age group as I am about meeting goal times that are possible for me.

So that being said, I guess my proudest moment this year is the Oliver Sprint Tri last May. It was the first time I had a good swim, bike, AND run in the same race. It was my fastest triathlon run and as a bonus, it was the first time I actually 'podiumed' in a race.

A very close second is my first half marathon in October - although I again had some ITB issues, I was able to overcome the pain and finish in a reasonable-for-me time.

I should probably mention I'm also pretty proud of swimming across the lake this summer. It was more of a mental accomplishment than a physical one. :)

2. What are your running goals for 2011?

My first goal is to do a decent half iron in Oliver in June 2011. That means I'd be happy to have the same swim and bike time as last year but knock at least 30 minutes off my run - in other words, actually run the whole thing. :)

My second goal is to run a full marathon in October 2011. This one is kind of a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) because I don't know if I can actually accomplish that goal this year but I'll give it a good shot. OK, I know, yes, I can run a marathon next fall - but as I mentioned above, I'm not interested in simply surviving a race - I'm not going out with the intention of running a 5:30-6:00+ marathon. I think a reasonable goal would be 4:30-5:00 and if I can't even come close to that, then I'd prefer to keep plugging away at my running and wait another year.

3. What is your favorite race?

My favourite race is actually the Oliver Sprint Tri - it's fun, it's not too big, and it's early enough in the season that I haven't had summer vacation get into the way of my training. Plus you win a wine glass - I need a second place glass next year to complete my set. ;)

4. What is your most embarrassing running moment?

I've been thinking about this one a lot - trying hard to think of a time when I've been embarrassed during a run. For most people it's a bathroom break issue but I guess I've been lucky in that regard. I supposed my most embarrassing moment running was when I tripped and rolled through a deep mud puddle when was running along the highway down in Osoyoos last summer. It was embarrassing mainly because the trucker driving by, must have seen me go down. It happened so fast, I just suddenly found myself sitting hip deep in the middle of a puddle. I was a little scraped but the worst of it was the drowning of my ipod.

My most embarrassing cycling moment was running into the back of a parked truck after doing hill repeats on Steel one afternoon. Lesson learned - don't hang your head down even for a moment when you are tired. Luckily I wasn't going very fast.... ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lessons Learned

I wouldn't run or ride my bike for 2 1/2 hours on my first day out - why would I think it was ok to skate ski for 2 1/2 hours on my first day? LOL...

Actually, my legs felt pretty good over the next couple of days after my first ski, but my inner thighs/groin? Not so much. I've got old scar tissue at the attachment of my psoas or sartorious that has been there for about 4 years. The only time I can feel pain is when I pull my left knee towards my chest but it doesn't bother me when I swim, bike, or run. However, in the act of skate skiing, there is a lot of lateral movement, and this exacerbated my old injury. I didn't feel it at the time, but the next day, when I bent down to pick something up off the floor, the tendon "slipped" and hurt like crazy for about 2 minutes. I was literally lying on the floor, with tears in my eyes waiting for the pain to stop. Once the spasm stopped, I was able to get up and cautiously move around. Once I knew it could happen, I moved very carefully for the next few days. It seemed the most likely way to make it slip was to turn my knee outward.

Four days later, on Wednesday night, I had a repeat- only this time with the other leg. I had just got into the car and I shifted my hips to adjust my position so I could drive home. Something slipped in my right hip and I had severe pain on both the inner and outer thigh. I couldn't lift my knee without pain, and had to use my left foot to brake the car. Luckily I was only 10 minutes from home and once I got home, it began to relax and in about an hour or so, it was back to normal.

I was supposed to have my first actual ski lesson the very next day and I highly suspected I wouldn't be able to participate. I was afraid that the movement of my leg in the skating motion would trigger the same severe groin pain. However, I went to the lesson anyway and told the instructor what was up and that I was going to be careful and see how things went. I found I was able to do most of the ski lesson with no trouble and I was just extra careful not to fall because I think the main thing that hurt me in the first place was forcing myself to get up without help after falling (before I had been taught how to do so properly).

Two days later, we went up to Telemark again and practiced everything we had learned at our lesson. I really felt like I was getting the hang of it - I even skated the short easy trails with Jesse and Erik. I was still afraid of going too fast downhill, mainly because I was afraid of falling and tearing one of those sore groin muscles, so I went over to a gentle hill, and did hill repeats. I went 1/4 way and skied down. Then I went 1/2 way and skied back down. And so on all the way up the hill until I had skied down it 3 times without feeling too nervous.

Our next lesson is this coming Thursday night so I think I will stretch and rest until then instead of going out again. I have a cold right now anyway so it might be best to get healthy and feel good on Thursday.

I posted a video of me "skiing" on my Posterous blog. Click here to take a look.

OK back to cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, sniffling, coughing, and whining...

PS Here's a great shot Erik took of the lunar eclipse. He actually held the camera up to the binoculars - amazing!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A New Level of Incompetence?

If you thought I was bad at mountain biking, you should have seen me skate skiing today. I tried so hard and I was SO uncoordinated. Erik was off hitting the trails within a short time and managed to skate twice the distance I did during our 2 1/2 hours up at Telemark, while I plugged away, "skating" back and forth on the flat "Stadium" where the kids take their lessons. I watched all those videos that made it look so easy before I left and had tips and ideas written down on a paper that I carried with me, but holy moly, was it ever hard! Balance, strength, body awareness, control - all so important. I can really see how skate skiing is an excellent cross training sport for triathletes and I hope to get out and do it regularly this winter.

For those of you who don't know what skate skiing is, I've inserted a couple of YouTube videos below, but in short, you don't follow a straight track, you move your legs as if you are ice skating. The skis are narrower and a little shorter, and they are waxed differently so that they are slick all the way down and have no grip on them so you can glide and push off from side to side. The poles are longer than XC ski poles.

There are several styles of skate skiing, all involve different ways to use your poles.
This was the style I was trying to do.




Erik bought himself a nice pair of skate skis last spring but I decided to try it a few times first before I spend any money. Luckily, my friend Carmelle just got a new pair of skis and boots so she lent me her old ones to use for awhile. The boots fit me well but the skis are a little bit long for me because she is taller, and I had to use my XC ski poles which are about 10 cm (4") too short - but overall, the fit was good enough to be able to get out there and have a good day trying it out.

Today, the conditions were quite good, with groomed packed snow, not too soft, not icey. Air temperature was perfect, only -3C (26F) so my winter running clothes worked well. I did put a pair of lined nylon track pants on over top of my Sugoi Sub Zero running tights, and I wore long sleeved base layer, Mid Zero jersey, and my windbreaker up top. The only clothing issue was my gloves. I don't have a good pair of mitts for skiing so I had to wear gloves and my fingers got quite cold a few times.

For the first 45-60 minutes we just went back and for trying to get our legs and arms moving in some coordinated kind of way. Soon, Erik was able to skate ski across the stadium with relative competence. I decided to toss my poles and try freestyle skate skiing. It was a little harder to keep my balance without my poles but I was also unable to rely on them so I started to get the feeling much more quickly. Soon I was able to skate, albeit slowly, across the stadium. I did that a few times then I got my poles and tried again. Now that I had a better feel for it, I was able to do much better. Erik said he was going to try an easy trail again so I decided to join him this time. I did ok on the flats, but I really struggled on the few gentle inclines and declines. Back to stadium for me.

Again I tossed the poles and practiced without them and again I found it much easier when I picked up the poles again. This was definitely a good strategy. We were up there for about 2 1/2 hours plus a short snack and bathroom break and by the very, very end, I was kind of getting the feel and could skate ski across the stadium ad back a few times without too much trouble.

This is a video of free skating, without poles,
which I found really helpful in getting the feel for skating.




Before I started, I was mostly worried about how to stop, but a much bigger issue turned out to be how to get up once you've fallen. I didn't seem to be able to unclip my boots from my skis when I was on the ground so I had to find a way to use my poles to push me up. It was NOT easy and I struggled quite a bit the 3-4 times I fell. I was worried about pulling a groin or twisting my knee when I fell because you feel like you are quite locked in with those boots. I guess I need to learn more about that before I go out next time.

Anyway, in 2 1/2 hours, I skied just under 6 km. I was wearing my Garmin but I had it set to stay on continuously, even when I was stopped.

So there you have it - I need shorter skis, longer poles, better mitts, and more coordination.

Can't wait until next time!



Here's a little snowman I painted today. I think he's probably a better skier too. ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9

I went to a funeral this afternoon - for a man whose life was stolen by alzheimer's. We have another friend who is now in the early stages - such an awful disease.

Training


I've been out running - short and easy - only 30 minutes on Tuesday because I had to get back in time to take the boy to guitar lessons. I figured a 30 minute run was better than nothing. Shins are still dicey but ok.

Today I did the "Leg and Core" workout at home. I've been able to adapt most of the exercises and do them using the exercise ball and the therapy bands. I haven't been as consistent as I'd like, but I think I'm getting back on track now. Maybe blogging will help.

Meat

Today is the third day in a row I've not eaten meat. I wasn't planning to go vegetarian, in fact I'm still not, but it is interesting. It's not that hard to go meatless for breakfast and lunch - I do that most days - but it is a bigger challenge to not eat meat at dinner time. It's not so much that I love meat - I could probably live without it most of the time - but it's such a pain in the ass making two different meals - one for the boys and one for me. Some things are simple to make meatless, but others are not.

Last night we had burgers and I realized that I usually only eat half the meat in mine anyway, so I decided to make a big pile of fried mushrooms and build myself a mushroom, cheese, and veggie burger. It was delish! I liked it MUCH better than hamburger.

Today, I made chili and I bought a package of that fake Ground Round from the soy department. I didn't tell the boys, and I put a lot more veggies in that I usually do. The chili was great and although they did eventually notice the meat was a bit "different", they said it tasted great and agreed I could make it again.

So now that I have had 3 days of no meat, how many can I go? My only concern is how to get enough protein - I believe I need at least 60-70 grams of protein per day and I don't know how I can get that much without eating meat once in awhile. I do still eat dairy products (plain unflavoured yogurt in the morning, 1 % cottage cheese for lunch), but I need to do some calculating and figure out how much protein I would get if I cut out meat.

Undiscovered Talents

On Wednesday, I went to a water colour painting workshop to teach us how to teach kids. Of course, in order to teach painting, we need to experiment ourselves. I was so frustrated at first - I couldn't make the brush do what I wanted but after a bit of playing around, I started to have some success and I managed to make a couple of Christmas cards. I left wanting to head to the art store to buy paint and brushes and watercolour paper. I don't have that natural artistic ability that my super artsy kids have - they can pick up a pencil and scribble and suddenly an image blossoms on the page. Me - I can only copy other people's work - I don't seem to have that creative vision. However, I had a lot of fun and I think it would be great to sit down for a few hours every now and again and play with paint..

Here's my favourite - Merry Christmas!




Sunday, December 5, 2010

Regeneration

It's funny - when I don't blog every day or so and let too much time pass, it's so hard to get started again. I don't seem to know where to start and so I don't.

Anyway, I'm going to start again and I think I'm going to do what I did at this time last year - blog a short post every day, writing what I've done for a work out. That will make me more accountable to get it done. I have big goals for next year but somehow, I don't seem to have the wherewithal to get it done right now. I procrastinate when I get home from work, and the next thing you know, I'm tired and it's too late to work out.

That's not to say I've been doing nothing - I have been running. Funny how I love running so much that it's never something I have to get up the motivation to do. I don't know why I love it - by all estimations, I should hate it - I'm not even any good at it - but still I persevere.

Fall and Early Winter

Going back to school signals the end of the triathlon season for me. This year, it was extended long enough for me to do the Victoria Half Marathon, however marginally, and with any luck next year, I will do the Okanagan Marathon in the same October weekend. But other than that, I seem to lose interest in triathlon training in the fall as my life shifts back to a focus on school and my body decides it needs a break. I don't want my body to take a break - I want to keep on doing some form of exercise at least five days a week, even if it's something completely different from swim/bike/run, but it just doesn't seem to happen. I don't seem to be able to figure out how to equalize my training enthusiasm so that it stays steady for a whole year. I know it's normal to need a few weeks off now and again but I find that once I take a break, I have a hard time getting back into serious training. Right now, it just seems like a relief that I don't have to swim, and the thought of heading down to the "Triathlon" room to ride the trainer seems daunting. And so I run.

Physiotherapist

After the season was over, I met my physio therapist at the gym and he tested my strengths and weaknesses. Not surprisingly, my quads and calves are strong and my glutes and hamstrings are weak. In addition, I need to strengthen my core and abs so I don't have lower back pain caused by my spondylolisthesis. Roy created a strength workout with a focus on legs and core and suggested I do it twice a week. I'm able to do the workout at the gym using machines, and at home using my ball and bands and I've tried (but not hard enough) to do it twice a week as he suggested. My goal for December is to stick to that plan.

At first, the lunges and steps were killing my legs and I could barely walk for 1-2 days after the workout so that was affecting my running. I went back to doing the workout with body weight only and that helped a lot. I think I'm ready to add back the hand weights so today I used small 3 lb weights. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. I've decided to go on a 3 day schedule and repeat it - run, weights, trainer ride. That will give me a day's rest after my weight training so it doesn't affect my run.

Diet and Weight

I am not eating as well as I could. I'm not doing badly - my breakfast, lunch and daytime snacks are good and I am drinking lots of water. I've been making regular dinners for the boys and eating smaller portions of dinner but I have also freely been eating junk when it's there. Someone brings treats to work, I eat some. If there are cookies or chips in the house, I indulge. This adds something in the neighbourhood of 300-500 extra calories per day that I do not need. Couple that with less training and you can see where this is leading.

I have gained five lbs since the summer. Well actually, I gained two pounds during the summer and another three this fall. If I eat what I feel like, I could easily gain twenty pounds in a year. It's a constant battle. Normally I don't let myself gain more than three pounds before I cut back calories but this time I managed to let five pounds slip on before I noticed. And now I have Christmas staring me in the face. My goal will have to be to maintain my current weight for the month of December and then get back on track in January. It'll take me 3-4 months to lose the weight that I could easily gain in a month. Being female sucks sometimes.

Dad

My dad died 35 years ago today, December 5, 1975. He was killed when a rotten log broke off and hit him where he was running the saw at Eburne Sawmill in Vancouver, BC. I am still sad when I think about it. Sad and angry. He went to work one day and just never came home. I was 15.

I did talk to him on the phone that afternoon. I was learning to play guitar and I had learned a new song. My Dad called home to chat with my Mom while he was on his dinner break and I insisted that she hold the phone to my guitar so I could play the song for him over the phone. I knew that it couldn't wait until the next day.

That night I was cheerleading at a basketball game at school. Near the end of the game, my best friend saw my Dad standing across the gym watching the game and pointed him out. He was wearing his blue work clothes and carrying his lunch kit. I figured the mill had broken down and he had come home early, stopping by the school on his way home. Our team scored a point and we jumped back into action and when I looked back, he was gone. My friend and I were both surprised that he wasn't there any more but we decided that it must have been someone else.

An hour later, back at home, the police came to tell us that Dad had been killed. The time of the accident was about the same time that we had seen him at the school. I don't know what I believe, but maybe he came to say goodbye. I think Dad hung around for a few weeks after he died. There were several other strange happenings. Yes, I suppose they are just weird coincidences but it helped my 15 year old mind to think he was close by.

Losing my Dad at that age really screwed me up for a few years. I made a lot of bad decisions, I made my mom's life harder than it already was. She had four teenagers and I was doing nothing to set a good example for my younger siblings. Somehow, I managed to turn my life around and do some good but it was a hard struggle.

Anyway, I guess I just want to say that if you have kids - take care of yourself. Be safe. Don't take risks. Be healthy. Your kids need you.

I still miss you Dad and I love you very much. I hope you are proud of the way I turned out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon Race Report

My first half marathon race: 2:24:04


I had a BLAST today - I enjoyed every moment of the day. First off, I decided that the most important part of today is not how fast I run, but rather a celebration of the fact that I am healthy and fit enough to do a half marathon! I was amazed at how much simpler it was to pack and prepare for a running race, than a triathlon and how "un-nervous" I was feeling. in fact, I never really got nervous at all until I was actually standing in the road, waiting for the gun to sound.

There were 6800 people registered in the Half Marathon so the street was packed. Erik's 8km race started at 7:15 and by the time we parked and got to the race area, it was already 7:00 and we didn't have much time to go check our bags. I had really wanted to watch Erik set off on his run but I still had to go to the bathroom (long lines) so I wished him good luck and he headed off on his own while I got in line for the porto-potties and then took the bag back to the car. I was at my race start at 7:25, ready to run.

I stood about 20 metres back from the 2:15 pace sign. I was supposed to meet from internet friends beside the 2:30 sign but there was no such sign and the area was SO packed with people that I didn't even bother to try to find anyone.

The plan was to try to stick as close to a 10:45 mile as possible which is about a 6:40-6:45/km. I had a hard time keeping my pace that slow for the first 4 km but eventually was able to settle in once the rolling hills started. Here are my splits for the first 7km.

1 km 6:24
2 km 6:22
3 km 6:30
4 km 6:25
5 km 6:42
6 km 6:47
7 km 7:03

Around the 6 km mark, I started to get that familiar tightness in my left knee. "NO" my brain screamed, and I tried to relax and run loose and continue to use good form. "I am feeling GREAT, do NOT let my ITB tighten up right now. I haven't had a SINGLE ITB issue since Oliver, please don't let it happen now."

But tighten it did, so I quickly pulled over and did two 30 second stretches to loosen it up, and got back on the road. It felt better. I ran for a little while and then it began to tighten again. I tried to switching up my pace, lifting my heels up a little more, trying not to land too hard etc etc. But no - it was getting painful and starting to lock up. I kept on running but I was starting to slow down a little. Over the next 7 km, I had to stop and stretch my ITB about 5-6 times, each time losing about a minute of time. When I ran, I was able to keep a good pace but overall, I was slowing down. Several times, my knee locked to the point that I had sharp stabbing pain and/or it would buckle when I put weight on it. For awhile I opted to do a Terry Fox kind of hop thing and put a lot of weight on my right leg so I could swing my left leg without bending it very much and take the pressure off my knee. However, I could only do that for awhile before my right quad started to cramp up with all the extra work it was doing. Argh.... Here are my splits for the next 7 km

8 km 6:42
9 km 6:54
10 km 7:32
11 km 7:11
12 km 6:54
13 km 7:57
14 km 6:51

You can easily see the places where I stopped to stretch. Luckily, because I had gone out a little fast for my first 4 km, my overall avg pace was still around 6:50 which wasn't too far off my goal.

Then suddenly, around the 15th km, my knee finally settled down and let me run. I worked hard at my form and staying loose, and I don't know if it just went numb by that time or what, but I was happy. I started running a little faster, knowing that I wasn't far from meeting up with Carlos at the 4km and finishing up.

15 km 6:44
16 km 6:40
17 km 6:55 (one last stretch after a hill)
18 km 6:40
19 km 6:19 (kicked it up now)
20 km 6:16
21.2 km 6:01

By the last 3 km, I was feeling great and felt like I could really push to the end. Don't get me wrong, my knee still hurt and both hips are stiff and sore, but this was pain I could live with. I was SO happy that I could have enough in the engine to run hard at the end, I was grinning as I crossed the finish line, and other than my stupid knee, I felt like I could have run a marathon today. It was great to see Erik there at the finish, huge smile on his face! He had good news for his race too.

Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes and support through my running struggles. I loved this race SO much today. It felt so much less stressful than doing a tri - maybe I should change my name to Kelownagurl Runs? lol, just kidding...

In the meantime, here's some video that Carlos, the Jackal, recorded when he ran with me today. Thanks Carlos!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iWNZ3z5-iA&feature=sub

So - my overall time was only about 2 minutes slower than my goal and I figure if I hadn't had to stop to stretch, I could easily have come in 2:15. Next time. :)

After the race, they gave me a plastic sheet to wrap around my shoulders and I got in line for the food. After a few minutes, I realized it would be a long time before I would reach the tables, so I decided to by pass and go meet up with Erik and Carlos. We took a few pictures and I started to get chilled. I was shivering uncontrollably and needed to get some food and into a warm bath so Carlos headed home and we walked back to the car. We stopped at Starbucks to get a coffee and I bought a snack and then we headed back to the B&B. My legs were really starting to stiffen up by the time we got back and I could barely get up the stairs to our room. I iced my knee for a little while and then had a hot epsom salts bath and ate some crackers and cheese. Later, we went out for a walk and wandered over to the Penny Farthing Pub in Oak Bay where we sat drinking beer and wine with a few internet friends for the next few hours.

I was high on endorphins for the rest of the day for sure! I LOVED this race. LOVED it! I can't imagine how cool it must be to actually run a race without having some sort of injury issue - it must be awesome and I can't wait until my next one. :)

Other stats and gear:

Temp: 13C 55F
Weather: mostly overcast, strong headwind along the water on the last 5 km.
Clothing/gear:
* Sugoi Fizz tank
* Long sleeved tech shirt (Yellow Club Fat Ass shirt ;)
* Tri shorts
* Socks
* Newton Motion Performance Trainer
* Sugoi Zap vest that I took off and rolled up onto my pack after the first 3 k
* Oliver Half Iron running cap
* North Face Women's Hydration Pack with 2 litres of water, 3 scoops of Carbo Pro (336 cals),
and 3 Citrus Nuun tablets.

Gun time: 2:27:53
Chip time: 2:24:04
I was 208/384 women in my age group.


Erik's Stats

Goal time: 42:00 minutes

Race time: 42:08!

11/53 in his age group which I think is AWESOME!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If you haven't got anything nice to say....

...don't say anything at all?

That's what my dear departed daddy always used to say.

OK, it's not like my life has sucked for the last 6 weeks since the Apple triathlon - far from it. I'm back to school, have a great class, and good friends, I'm enjoying Erik's retirement as much as he is, and the fall weather has been gorgeous - what's not to like?

It's just that this blog mainly focuses on my training, and whenever I'm in a training funk and/or struggling with injuries, which tends to be a lot of the time, I find it harder to blog without sounding like a big freaking whiner.

And how many times do you REALLY need to read about my shins? I mean seriously? You all post and comment and say super nice supportive things when they are messed up, and then you get all excited and happy and "yay, it's finally over" when they're good, and then they get effed up again. I'm sure you are running out of things to say. I don't blame you.

And so I haven't blogged.

At any rate, here's the update and my race plan, for what it's worth.


Update since August 23

As usual, after my last race (Apple Triathlon), my shins hurt. It happens after every race, and quite often, after any run faster than a 10 min mile. So I did a test run about 4 days after the race, and they hurt enough that coach benched me for 10-14 days and said I had to pool run or do the elliptical. I opted for the elliptical because I actually enjoy doing it, as opposed to pool running, which you know I despise.

I hit the gym about 3 times a week for longer and longer elliptical sessions for two weeks until I was totally sick to death of the elliptical. 1:45 is bordering on cruel and unusual punishment, but it was integral to keep my fitness level up and do SOMETHING that simulated running without the pounding. I usually did intervals which helped to make the time go faster.

Two weeks later, in mid September, I got to try a gentle run. It felt ok. So I tried a longer run (1:30 on the weekend) and all went well. For the next two weeks, I had to really baby my shins, as they were always on the verge of trouble. If I ran long, I had to take 3 days off before I ran again. If I ran faster than an 11 min mile, I had to rest for several days. I was able to get two 90 minute long runs in during that time and then suddenly, it was already time to taper for the half marathon.

Tapering with almost no training in a month. Interesting. I feel like my endurance is suffering because at the end of the "long" runs, I am slowing down and I'm not sure if I'd be able to run for another hour if I had to. And so, once again, I am entering a race with a big question mark over my head.

Ya know, for once, I'd like to do the training and not be quasi-injured, and actually be able to race in top form. That has not happened since my very first triathlon, 3 years ago.

So - Victoria. We have our B&B booked for Saturday and Sunday night. We have reservations for the ferry, and a house sitter booked. We should arrived in Victoria just in time to be able to pick up our race package before 6pm. We will likely hook up with our ultra runner friend Carlos, the Jackal, and we'll drive the race course, check into our B&B, and get a light dinner.

Erik's 8k race starts at 7:15 am Sunday, and mine, 2 blocks away at 7:30. I am hoping to see him off but nobody will be there to take photos of us so, oh well...

Pacing plan: Coach and I talked on Skype tonight about how I should approach this race. In a perfect world, I could maintain a 6:15/km pace (10 min mile) for the entire race and come in around 2:15. However, the course is rolling and I haven't run a lot of hills. It could be raining, and I haven't run in the rain. It could be cold. I have no idea what to expect. But we've decided that I'll start out at a 6:45 pace, which is about a 10:40 mile, and hold that for about 10 miles if I can. And then, if I'm feeling good, I'll push the last 5 km. I have absolutely no idea if I can do that, but I sure want to.

The interesting thing is this - my shins will not likely be a problem DURING the run if I rest this week. And since I haven't had any problems (KNOCK ON WOOD) with my ITB for the past month and I'm now beginning to think that's because I haven't been riding my bike. (Interesting aside, I've always thought running caused my ITB problems but now I'm starting to think that's not the case). It was my ITB that caused my slow 2:58 run at the Oliver Half Iron last June. So - if I can run the half without shin or ITB pain, and I tape up my PTT nicely, the only thing to slow me down would be fatigue. That's a serious possibility since I haven't trained long for awhile, but it's a problem that could be overcome mentally.

So Sunday may become a test of my mental endurance. And that sounds more painful than shin splints. LOL...

Bring it on - I'm ready. :)

For those of you who are curious, the Good Life Victoria Marathon (formerly the Royal Victoria Marathon) will be streaming live finish line video for the first time this year. If it works, you can find the video here or here.

And I will attempt to embed it here.




The earliest I could finish would be in 2:15 - about 9:45 am, but I won't be starting near the front so it could take me 5 mins to reach the starting line (me and 6800 of my closest friends). More likely, I'll be crossing the finish line between 10:00 and 10:15 am and maybe even as late as 10:30. But who the hell knows. :)

Erik, by the way, should be done his 8km race in close to 42 minutes, putting his finish line time just after 7:55. I don't know what time they start the video, but check it out if you are up and about early Sunday morning. :)

Oh, by the way, Erik's bib #13641 and mine is #6292

Race Results can be found here.

See you on the other side!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kelowna Apple Triathlon Race Report

Well another great race in the bag - what a day! I was SO pumped full of endorphins all afternoon I couldn't stop moving or talking. LOL. Probably drove my poor husband crazy. :)

I went to bed around 10pm Saturday night, all packed up and ready to go, but took awhile to fall asleep. I did my usual wake-up-every-few-hours thing and then woke up for good at 3:50 despite having the alarm set for 4:30, so I decided to just do some positive race visualization as I lay there in the dark. 5 hours of sleep before a race - no problem. :)

(Kind of funny "posing" picture of me after the race. Hahaha...)

I actually got out of bed at 4:30, showered, drank a little coffee, ate a little yogurt, and drank some water then headed out of the house at 5:35. Last year, I left at 5:40, took awhile to find a parking spot, waited in a long line for body marking etc so I hoped the extra 5 minutes would give me a bit more time. Erik dropped me off right at Prospera Place and went to park the car and I was surprised to see NO lineups for body marking, so by the time he arrived over at the fence by transition, I was all set up. He gave me the pump and I carefully pumped up my tires (I'm always terrified I will break the stem because I find it hard to attach the pump thingy and keep it straight.)

My new Zoot Tri bag was awesome! It was so nice to have all my stuff in a single back pack, easy to access and know I hadn't forgotten anything. Once I was ready, I took the backpack and pump to Erik and he put them in the car while I hung around and chatted with my fellow age groupers. I'm in a new age group this year (50-54) and I didn't know the women but they all seemed to know each other. I was able to answer a few questions for some first-timers which was nice. Some of these ladies looked like serious triathletes, one had her name on her tri suit, and with 16 women in our division (only 6 last year), I knew I'd have some serious competition. It sounded like quite a few of them were strong swimmers so I figured if they were also strong cyclists, I may not even see them on the course.

The morning was cloudy, and very windy, which did not bode well for a bike PR, and would make for choppy water on the swim. There were showers in the forecast but it looked like they would hold off until later in the morning. This picture shows the wind on the beach, and although the water doesn't look too rough here, it was 'rollier' further out. Rough water doesn't scare me much but it does slow me down a bit. Although the air temp was warmer than expected, the wind made it feel quite chilly so I put my jersey out to wear on the bike and I left my shoes in large ziplock bags in case it rained while I was on the course.

I was able to make two trips to the bathroom before I put on my wetsuit and I could see that there were now LONG lineups for body marking etc so I was really glad I had come early. I finally put on my wetsuit around 6:45 and headed down to the beach. The lake water actually felt warmer than the air temp but I held off going in for a bit so I didn't have to hang around wet. Soon enough it was time to assemble on the beach and I kept to the left (on the buoy side) and in the front. When the horn went off, I ran into the water and started swimming. I felt good and swam about 20 feet or so before I realized I wasn't breathing out under water. LOL. Got into a good stride and just swam steady and as fast and I could without getting too out of breath. The waves were pretty rolling but the chop only hit me in the face if I looked up to sight so it wasn't too bad. I was about 1/3 way back from my group which was all sprint women, 40 and up. There were about 75 women, plus some Olympic relay racers.


I got out of the water and ran as fast as I could up to my bike. There is a long run and it hurt the ball of my right foot a bit on the cement but overall I was ok. Erik was there on the beach cheering and taking pics.



Swim Time: 16:21 ~ 205/378 overall ~ 97/202 women ~ 7/16 in age group

(2008 - 17:30, 2009 - 16:27)

T1 - I really tried to hurry as fast as I could in T1 because my time is always slow for some reason. Some women weren't wearing wetsuits and were on their bikes more quickly of course, but I got mine off fast, bike shoes on no sox, helmet, sunglasses, and I was off.


T1 Time: 3:01 ~ 197/378 overall ~ 100/202 women ~ 5/16 in age group


(2008 -
3:01 no wetsuit, 2009- 3:34 wetsuit)


The Bike


Overall the bike portion was uneventful. I tried to ride as fast, and as aggressively as I could. It's always fun going up Knox the first time and passing everyone that I can. I'm not the best cyclist, but I can hold my own on the hill and it's not too hard to pass people who are fast swimmers because their strength is often on the swim. :) It was windy in sections and that slowed me down a bit and when I finished the first lap in just over 20 minutes, I knew I wouldn't be breaking my best course time of 38 minutes. I went harder on the second lap and managed to have a negative split which made me happy. I passed lots of people and played leap frog with a few more.

Bike Time: 40:53 ~ 155/378 overall ~ 50/202 women ~ 4/16 in age group

(2008 - 38:18 no wind, 2009 - 40:12 windy)

T2 - again tried to speed up in transition. I always put my sox on here so that slow me down a put but I did manage to shave some time off the last two years. Change shoes, helmet off, cap and race belt on and we're off!

T2 Time: 1:26 ~ 219/378 overall ~ ?/202 women ~ 4/16 in age group

(2008 - 1:49, 2009 - 1:53)


The Run

Right away, my legs felt good. Nothing was stiff or heavy and I knew I was going to have a good run if my ITB didn't act up. I went out at a steady pace and tried to keep it steady for the whole run. My heart rate was pretty high and my legs felt good so I kept plugging away and tried to keep loose. It was a more a mental battle than a physical one - my brain kept saying it was time to slow down but I wouldn't let myself do that. The last km was the hardest and I was SO happy to see the finish line with Erik waiting at the end taking pictures, that I ran straight over to him and kissed him once I crossed the finish line!

Here are my splits: (5:30/km is about 8:50 mile)

5:22, 5:25, 5:30, 5:35, 5:25

Run Time: 27:39 ~ 236/378 overall ~ 105/202 women ~ 5/16 in age group

(2008 - 29:45, 2009 - 31:01, Oliver 2010 - 27:31)

Whoo hoo! I was SO happy!!!!


Overall stats:

Time: 1:29:18 ~ 190/378 overall ~ 82/202 women ~ 4/16 in age group

(2008 (perfect weather) - 1:30:04, 2009 (windy, sore itb) - 1:33:11)


I am very happy - the ladies who "podiumed" were pretty far ahead of me so any small improvements wouldn't really help my chances and obviously better weather would have helped all of us.

Here are their times:
1st - 1:23:26
2nd - 1:24:48
3rd - 1:25:30 - (she was 2 min faster swim, 1 min faster T1, and 30 seconds faster run.)

Thank you so much to everyone who tweeted, emailed, DMed, and FBed good wishes. I brought all of you with me and kept your thoughts in my head to keep me going. I appreciate it all!

And of course, as always, thanks to my darling husband who got up early, followed me around carrying my stuff, lent me his brand new goggles, took pictures, and cheered me on before, during and after my race, and drank wine with me last night. I love you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pre-Race Jitters

So tell me, those of you who have raced for years - does that feeling ever go away? This will be my 6th triathlon, and it's *only* a sprint (ooh, there now *I'm* saying only a sprint - ugh.) Anyway, I don't have any big time goals so why am I nervous? I'm not afraid of the swim anymore. I know I can do the bike. Even if my shins and/or ITB hurt, I know I'll still finish the run. So why be nervous? What a waste of energy....

Haven't given a training update on the blog lately so here goes.

Last week I swam twice and then afterwards, instead of running, I hiked up in the hills behind my house for an hour. I also did 2 one hour rides - one hill reps and one force reps. Then last Saturday, I did a brick with a 2:15 bike and an easy 15 min run. It was the first time I'd run in over 10 days and I was supposed to stay in HR zone 1-2 but I just couldn't force myself to go slow. I felt ok and I pushed it a little to see how things were feeling, ready to pull back if ANYTHING twinged. Nothing did so I was happy.

My shins were a little achey for the next day or so and then yesterday, I went for a 30 minute taper run. I kept the pace moderate and did 5 km in 30 minutes. Again, all felt fine. Today my quads are sore-ish but nothing feels injured. I'm supposed to do a short brick on Saturday but I've decided to play it safe and skip it. I think my legs feel ready to race on Sunday and I'm not gonna jinx it now.

I did an OWS at Gyro yesterday afternoon, mainly to make sure I can swim in my tri shorts and tank top that I'm planning to wear at the race. At the moment, the lake temperature is 23C, one full degree above the cutoff temp so that means probably no wetsuit, again. Boo. However, it's supposed to cool off Friday and Saturday so it could quite possibly drop a degree by Sunday morning.

The temps have been in the mid 30's for the past week (about 94-100 degrees) but today it was a tiny bit cooler (30C, 86F), tomorrow - cooler, yet, and Saturday/Sunday have predicted highs of only 21C, 70F with a 40% chance of showers so it's quite possible the lake will cool down enough to allow wetsuits. It also means I should probably throw a jersey into my kit bag in case it's cool when I get out of the water.

I picked up my race packet today - always so exciting! My race number is #611 (when I first saw it, I thought it said #911 and thought that was a little ominous.) I registered ONE day too late to get a tech shirt. If I want one, I have to line up at 8pm on Saturday night to get one. Not sure I care all that much though.

Goals

* have fun!
* finish without injury
* try to meet or beat my 2008 race time (1:30:04)
* go harder on the swim (whether I'm faster or not)
* try to match my 2008 bike avg speed if it's not windy (31.3 kmh), or my 2009 speed if it *is* windy (29.8 kmh)
* run 5k in under 30 minutes, preferably beating my 2008 time of 29:45. My run has always sucked until last May when I ran 27:30 in a sprint but since I've been injured for the last two weeks, I'm not going to hope for that pace again. I'd still like to beat 30 minutes though. :)

If you are interested, here are my previous race reports for the Apple Triathlon:

2008 Apple Sprint Triathlon Race Report

2009 Apple Sprint Triathlon Race Report

So that's it - holy cow, I'm doing it again!! Cue stressed out feeling. Gahhh...........

Friday, August 13, 2010

Zoot Triathlon Bag Review

A few months ago, I picked up a Zoot Triathlon Bag at my local tri shop (Fresh Air Concept). It was a bit pricey at $159.99, but I really wanted something that would carry ALL my gear to and from a race. This bag does all that, and more. It is exceptionally well built with high quality zippers and pulls, the backpack harness is adjustable and feels very supportive if you actually have to walk around with it for any length of time, and it tons of storage spaces.

The back of the case has "ribs" sewn in for extra strength and support, and the lumbar strap at the waist is attached by velcro and can be easily adjusted. It opens in half like a suitcase, and it has several pockets that open on the outside as well as inside. There is even a removable wetsuit / wet gear bag inside.

I am able to fit everything I need for a triathlon in this bag and still have room to spare. On the right, you can see one shot of the bag without anything in it.

Below is all the stuff I need for a race that can easily fit into the bag. Fully packed with this gear, the bag weighs about 14 lbs. There is still room to tuck in additional items such as extra clothing.

See below each picture for comments. You can click each picture for a larger view.


I am missing my Body Glide in this shot. :)



The wetsuit slides into this removable water proof zippered bag. Here's my wetsuit partway in. I usually throw my goggles on top of the bag, once it's zipped up.



Once closed, this section will keep your wet stuff separated from your dry stuff.



The wetsuit section is under the silver on the right. You can see three zippered net pouches on the two sides. I keep a variety of items in these and as you can see, there is room for more.



The left side has an upper and lower zippered section handy for keeping shoes and clothing. I'm not too big so I can fit both running and biking shoes in there.



In the upper section, I have my towel and my tri top, socks, and shorts. I could easily fit more clothing in here such as extra socks, a jersey and a vest



Once the bag is zipped closed, there is access to the other compartments - this form-fitting section holds my bike helmet (and anything that might fit inside the helmet.) The top section has a space for ID, papers, wallet or ? and has a built in "gear" list printed right on the flap.



In addition to a zipper, there are straps that click shut and hold the two halves together, and you can always hang stuff from these straps as well. A water bottle holder is on one side, and a small flat pocket for papers etc is on the other side. There is a pouch on the waist band and an ipod earbud cord hole in the top the bag.




Overall, I think think this is really good bang for your buck if you are looking for a well-made, roomy, versatile travel bag.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Aspect of Mental Stamina

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

*****************

When I think about the concept of mental stamina in endurance sports, I often conjure up images of "toughing out" a difficult race, or perhaps, forcing myself to head out for a training session despite not being "in the mood". However, lately I've been thinking a lot about another aspect of mental stamina - the issue of how we deal with setbacks, frustrations, or injuries, and often, the subsequent change of plans or goals we've previously set.

If there's been a consistent thread throughout my three year "Triathlon Lifestyle Journey", it's been that nothing is consistent. It seems that any time things seem to going well, something else crops up to mess with my body and my head. It could be pressure from work, an unexpected injury, a too-busy life schedule that negatively affects my ability to prepare for a race in the way I had wanted. All of these things are challenges that every athlete must face from time to time, and perhaps even more so, for the new, or older, athlete. We want it all, too soon, and when things go wrong, we get can get frustrated and often, we quit.

The ability to persevere in the face of these normal and ongoing challenges is an important quality of a successful endurance athlete. To be able to stop when a roadblock is thrown in your path, reassess the situation, and then continue on, is a critical feature.

For me, it follows a common pattern. Things are going well, I am feeling good, my training is working well, everything is going according to plan, and then BAM, I have another minor injury - shins, ITB, hip, pain in the ball of foot, you name it, I've had it. Suddenly, I can't do what I was planning to do, in the way I was planning to do it.

I seem to have to go through several stages - often, my gut reaction is somewhat childish and I usually have to rant or whine for a short while. I need to get mad and get it off my chest. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself, but usually, I'm just frustrated and angry. I think these are all pretty normal reactions. But the difference between a "regular" person and an endurance athlete, is mental stamina - the ability to "deal with it" and move on and not just give up when the first problem occurs.

I am constantly reminded of Randy Pausch's statement in his presentation called "The Last Lecture" when he said, and I paraphrase,

"Roadblocks are there to test your commitment to your goals".

I see this ability to persevere through adversity as a form of mental stamina. An endurance athlete must be able to get over the frustration/feel-sorry-for-yourself stage of a new problem quickly, and then move on. Deal with it or accept it, and move on.

On Sunday, April 25, 2010, I went for a run. It was a perfect long run ~ 18.2 km in 2 hours. I felt wonderful throughout the run and had a huge burst for speed at the end - in fact, at that moment, I felt as if I could have just kept on running forever. I hold that day clearly in my mind ~ I can see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, and taste it ~ it was a peek into my potential. And now, whenever I feel frustrated with my running, I reflect upon that day and know that I can, and will, do it again.

*****************

Once again, I find myself waylaid by shin splints. How and why isn't really important but I suspect it is from running a little too fast and too long a few weeks ago. Who knows. At any rate, they hurt constantly on my last run a week ago, and it was clear to me and my coach that I was going to have to take some time off running again. Although it was supposed to be a big training week, only 2 weeks out from my race, I wasn't going to be able to run. Suddenly, I was torn - should I do the race or should I skip it this year? This race is huge to me but I've been plagued with nagging injuries all summer and my training and fitness level are not where they should be.

After my successful sprint last May, I had big dreams of PRing the race in August. Later, as my ITB acted up for a month after the Half Iron, I readjusted those dreams and changed my goal to completing my first Olympic distance triathlon. Now I find myself having to change my plan yet again, only 10 days out from my race. There's nothing I can do about my shins, so it's time to reassess my goals and move on.

However, I've decided that I won't let this setback cancel my race plans. I will focus on my successes earlier this season and know that I can be proud of my season - I had a great sprint tri in May, and I survived my first half iron and ran a PR 5k race in June.

So on Sunday, August 22, I am going to compete in the Apple Sprint Triathlon. I probably won't be hitting any PR's or experiencing a new challenge (the olympic distance), or placing in my division, but I've decided I'm just going to go out there and have fun. That's what this is all about isn't it? Being fit, enjoying life, getting out there and doing our best with whatever set circumstances we have to deal with? Definitely.

I won't be running all this week. I will pool run on Saturday. If all goes well, I may do one easy run next week but probably no bricks. And then on the following Sunday, I will do my best because I choose to find success in life and in my training and I'm choose to beat the mind game.