Sunday, August 10, 2008

Life After Ironman

It's been almost 1 month since Ironman - where has the time gone? I took the week after Ironman off but then resumed some workouts the week we got back. As expected, I didn't feel great. But, I persevered. I wanted to get *some* workouts in before I had surgery as I didn't know how long I'd be off. The surgery went well and I took the week off after the surgery (didn't have a choice as I was in a lot of pain) but I started to get restless earlier on this week when I started to feel better. I wanted to *do* something but I couldn't. Gary didn't want me to push it even though I was feeling better. So, I waited. Tomorrow I will ride my bike for the first time since July 27th. It's funny how much I actually missed being able to just go for a run or get on my bike and ride when I wanted to. I think it's going to be hard to get up tomorrow but I'm actually looking forward to it. I've got a full week of workouts scheduled this week but I will listen to my body to see how I manage. Any pain and I'll stop. I've got to start somewhere and "easy" is the best place at this point.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Racing in the Land of Cheese & Chocolate-IM Switzerland 08

Race: IM Switzerland

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Distance: 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run

Date: Sunday July 13th, 2008


My goal for this Ironman was to better by Lake Placid Ironman time of 13:15 by 1 hour. I figured that would be manageable if everything went well. If I had a REALLY good day, I might even come in around 12 hours. If I had a really bad day anything was possible.

We landed in Zurich on Saturday morning one week and a day before the race so we had some time to get acclimatized. I had serious jet lag for the first day but by the second day I was fine. On the Sunday we rode most of the course. It was absolutely beautiful. We rode along the water for 30km and then we started to climb. There are 3 climbs on the course, 2 of them are decent. The first one is called “The Beast” and it is a 3km grinder that averages about 7% grade. The view from this climb was stunning; all you could see were farmers fields, houses and the backdrop of the mountains. It was breathtaking. The descents were insane! There were a couple that they wouldn’t allow you to go into your aerobars. Good thing it rained when we did that ride so I knew what it was like to go 60km an hour on a soaking wet twisty downhill (and that was with me riding my brakes!).

Midweek, we rode the infamous “Heartbreak Hill”. It is a shorter, steep climb that you it at the end of each loop. The climb is aabout 500-600m with an average grade of about 10%. On race day it was supposed to be jammed with spectators like the climbs in the Tour de France. It was a tough little climb and I figured by the second loop my legs would be screaming at me going up this.

We spent the rest of the week doing our workouts and touring around Zurich. We spent a night on a Mount Pilatus, just outside Luzern. It is the highest peak in Luzern at 7000 feet. What an amazing experience that was. We watched the Ironman village come together over the course of the week. On Thursday we picked up our race kit. It was a very efficient process to say the least, we were in and out in 2 minutes. The set up of this race was very different from Lake Placid. First of all, we didn’t have transition bags, this was set up just like a “regular” triathlon. Everything was set up beside your bike. Secondly there were no wetsuit strippers, you had to get out of our suit on your own. Thirdly, there was no body marking! Very strange. Nothing major, just different. Friday night was the pre-race party. It was held in this awesome old tavern / hall that was right beside a shooting range. They showed last year’s race video and we were treated to a perfomance by this crazy “yo-yo artist”, which was kind of cheezy but still pretty entertaining. If German was my first languange, I’m sure I would have found the evening a lot more emotional but since it is not, it just seemed to lack that emotion and inspiration that I remember feeling at Lake Placid’s dinner.

The weather leading up to the race was really nice. The Friday before the race was baking hot. A little too hot for my liking but that didn’t matter because the forecast was calling for rain all day on Saturday and Sunday. Awesome. I wasn’t happy to hear that but what can you do. Sure enough, when we got up on Saturday, it was pouring. I had to check my bike in at 4:00 pm so we swam in the morning and then did some running around before we headed back to the Ironman Village. The volunteer that checked me in was a bit surly because I forgot my race bib- I didn’t know we were supposed to have it-they didn’t mention it at the athlete’s meeting. I racked my bike, put my helmet on my aerobars and tucked it in for the night in a bike bag that they provided. Gary was supposed to check in at 6:00 pm but they were letting some people in early so he got to check in as well. We headed back home to make dinner and relax. It was about 9:00 pm when we went to bed. I think I slept for about 4 hours total. I was so nervous. My alarm went off at 3:15 am but it didn’t matter, I was already awake. I didn’t feel good when I got out of bed. My stomach was sore and crampy. Uh-oh. Mother Nature was being REALLY cruel today. Any other day of the month and I would have been ok but on RACE DAY?! Come on. Oh well, nothing I could do at this point other than take half an anaprox and hope that held off the cramps until the race start when adrenaline would take over.

I looked out the window and saw rain. Lots of it. AWESOME. This day was just getting better and better. I made my breakfast and tried to force it down. I was so nervous I had a hard time eating. I put my ipod on and listened to some Rush, hoping to calm myself down. I packed my last bit of gear and then Gary and I headed down to the start. Gary and I separated once we got to transition and we busied ourselves preparing our transition area. It was raining hard so everything was getting wet. Luckily I made up my own transition bags out of clear garbage bags so I had everything I needed for the bike in one bag and everything I needed for the run in the another bag and then another bag to cover up my knapsack. I couldn’t find our friends Rick and Sue but I did manage to find one of our other friends, Silvia, and we headed down to the water together. It was a long walk to the swim start. I didn’t manage to get a warm up swim in and, I couldn’t find Gary so I was a little freaked out. All of a sudden I heard my name and there he was. Thank goodness. I couldn’t imagine starting this day without a hug and a kiss from my husband. We said our teary goodbyes and we parted ways. I then ran into Sue my training buddy and I gave her a big hug. We made our way into the water and waited. The gun went off and the mayhem began.

The Swim:

The swim course was a 2 loop course in Lake Zurich. The first loop was almost a square. I say almost because instead of swimming in a straight line across the bottom, you swam around a little island, into a channel and under a bridge packed with specatators and then you came out of the water, ran across that island and jumped back into the water to start your second loop. I’m sure it was a great thing for spectators but it was AWFUL for the participants. Once everyone got into the channel, there was a huge backlog and people just got down right NASTY. I was grabbed, pushed and swam over. It was even worse when I got out on the ramp. I couldn’t get my footing and people behind me were pushing me so hard I almost got trampled. I yelled a few choice words and then a volunteer grabbed me and pulled me up. Off to do the second loop. The second loop was longer as we had to swim on a diagonal across to the first buoy and then around and back. I was trying to sight but I had a very hard time as the buoys were not that big. I ended up swimming all over the place. I probably added a couple of minutes to my swim time just from not swimming straight. I made it around the island without too much damage other than a punch to the head. My calf cramped just as I got to the ramp and a volunteer had to pull me up again.

Swim time: 1:16:44, 3 minutes better than LP! WOOHOO!

I ran into transition, peeled of my wetsuit, ran into the change tent to liberally apply chamois cream to my shorts. Back to my bike and on with the rain jacket. It was pretty cold. I think the temperature was about 14 degrees celsius. Not exactly a nice summer day.

T1: 6:57 - MUCH faster than LP. My T1 in LP was 15 minutes. Ridiculous.

The Bike:

I ate a gel as soon as I got on the bike. I got into my aerobars right away and soon realized that they still weren’t in the right position. Great. I tried to stay in them as much as possible. I followed my nutrition plan to the T. I usually eat a combo of cliff bars and shot bloks, which normally works for me. I motored along the first 30km which is totally flat. I made sure I drank on a regular basis even though it was cold and I didn’t feel like it. The Beast came and went. I made sure I didn’t push too hard on the climbs as I knew I had to do them again on the second loop. I was very glad I opted to put my jacket on as the descents were really chilly. It rained steadily for the first loop. Nothing too heavy but it was constant. I felt pretty good on my way back to climb Heartbreak Hill. The first sign of “problems” came at the end of the first loop when I went to climb Heartbreak Hill. My legs felt like they had nothing. That climb was a real struggle. Uh-oh. Despite that bit of panic, that climb was still really cool. It was lined with spectators even though it was cold and rainy. As I got to the top, I heard the announcer call my name. Cool! The second half of the bike was a total struggle. My feet were freezing and I couldn’t feel them, nor could I feel my fingers. My legs were also cold. My stomach was starting to cause me some problems as well. I was having a hard time getting food down. I slowed down A LOT on the second loop. I had some serious doubts about actually making it through the bike, that’s how bad I felt. I don’t know how I managed to make it through that second loop but I did. It was a HUGE struggle both mentally and physically. All I kept thinking about on the way back was getting up Heartbreak Hill. I though I was going to have to walk up it. My heart was pounding as I rounded the corner to that climb. I managed the first 150m without too much issue but then it kicks up and turns. I slowed down again and wished that I had another gear. There were still some people on the hill and they cheered me on. I was afraid to get out of my saddle as I thought my quads might cramp if I did. As I got to the top, I heard the announcer call my name again. WOOHOO. Done. The rest of the way was downhill. I rode as hard as I could on the way back to T2 just so I could get off my bike as soon as possible.

Bike: 6:46:56. Not what I was hoping for. I was hoping for 6:30. But, it was still better than Placid.

T2: 4:00

The Run:

One of my other goals for this race was to run the entire marathon. Within the first 2km of the run, I knew I was in trouble. My stomach was severely bloated and I couldn’t take any food in without wanting to throw up. I stopped in almost every porta potty on that run course. My body didn’t know what it wanted to do-puke or go to the bathroom. I had some flat coke and that seemed to sit well so I had some more at the next aid station. I didn’t have any gel until about 8km into the run. My nutrition plan went right out the window. The run was 4 10km loops, which was great as the course was always lined with people and you had the opportunity to see other people you knew, which was a welcome change from the bike, where I saw nobody. I saw Rick and Glenn on the first 2 loops. I didn’t see Gary at all until I was out on my 4th loop. He was done and had come on to the course to cheer people on. I finally saw Sue on my 3rd loop. She was about 5km ahead of me, maybe a bit more. I wanted to push it to try and catch her so we could suffer together as she looked like she was hurting as much as me, but, I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. My body was struggling to move forward. I came up on Fred who was walking and I stopped to walk with him for a while. I started to run again, happy for the little break. I could feel myself slowing down as the km’s clicked by. I saw Sue again on the 4th loop and I yelled “Buddy, I love you but I am NEVER doing this again”. I was serious. I thought I knew the meaning of the word “suffer”. This Ironman re-defined that word for me. All I could think about for the last 2km was getting to the finish line to see Gary. I just wanted the day to be over. I was tired, miserable and hurting beyond belief. I saw Gary again with half a km to go. I glanced at my watch as I turned the corner into the finish chute. It said 12:40 something. I looked down the finishing chute to see Rick and Sue cheering me on. I crossed the finish line and Sue caught me and gave me a big hug as I broke down and cried. “That was the worst day of my life” I said as she hugged me. “Never again” I said and she agreed. I turned to see Gary with my finishers medal and he gave me a big hug and a kiss as I continuted to cry. Despite the horrible day I had, I PB’d by almost 35 minutes. My final time was 12:41:14 and my final marathon time was 4:26:37. Not what I had hoped for but I’ll take it. I can honestly say that I think that’s it for Ironman for me for a while. I don’t care how much my friends beg or how many drinks they may feed me to try and convince me to do another one, it’s not going to happen for a long long time.

It was another learning experience for me, one that I won’t soon forget. It was a great trip and I was happy to share it with my friends. I was sad to say goodbye to Europe, despite the tough race but I’m glad to be home.

A big thank you to Gary for keeping my head on straight and talking some sense into me when I started to lose it and to Sue, my buddy who pushed me in training and kept me motivated to work harder. Thanks for being such an awesome friend and training partner. You guys are the reason I got myself into this insanity in the first place and despite the hell I went through on race day, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I thank you for sharing it with me.

Next up, a few drinks, some chocolate, surgery and then, hopefully, Muskoka 70.3

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Time Is Now

It's here. The time is now. We're heading to the airport in about an hour. I am so excited! Nervous and excited. I'm dreading the flight but at least it's a night flight so I should be able to go to sleep at some point. Gary woke me up at 5:30 this morning and I went to bed around 11:30 pm so I should be able to fall asleep no problem. We also have our own TV's in the seat backs so I can distract myself that way.
I had a massage last night so my legs are a bit sore - I'm sure the long flight won't help. I've been pretty tired the last couple of days but that's typical taper nonsense. All of this feels a bit surreal. I can't believe I'm going to ZURICH.


9 days till race day!

Monday, June 30, 2008

T-Minus 2 Weeks and Counting

It's less that 2 weeks till race day and only 4 days till we leave! YEEHAAAA! I can't BELIEVE it's already here. HOLY CRAP. We were up at the Cadman's this weekend and I did 2 open water swims with no real panic attacks at all. In fact, I was feeling pretty good. We practiced starting in a group, with some pushing and grabbing, I practiced sighting and I was pretty impressed with myself as I managed to sight quite well. I haven't really thought about goals much over the course of my training, I've just sort of gone through the motions and done the work. On the drive up to the cottage, Gary told me I should think about a goal; think about what I'd be happy with. So, I thought about a swim time that would make me happy and I figured 1:10-1:15. A 1:15 swim would mean that I dawdled a bit and a 1:10 swim would mean I got in there and found a good pair of feet to draft off of. T1 should be no more than 7-8 minutes. I won't be changing into anything, I'll just be adding chamois cream and body glide so I should be able to get through pretty quick. If I look back to 2 weeks ago at my 175km bike, I did that in just under 6.5 hours. Come race day with fresh, rested legs & race wheels, I am hoping that I can actually pull off a 6:30 bike for the full 180. That would be ideal. An amazing day would be a 6:20 bike. But let's say 6:30. T2 should also be pretty quick as I won't be changing either. Just getting into my running shoes and putting on my visor. 5 minutes maybe? As for the marathon, my main goal is to run the entire thing. Where that gets me, I don't know. In LP I ran a 4:32 marathon and that was with a fair bit of walking. If I can manage to actually RUN the entire marathon I should be closer to 4 hours. That would make me REALLY happy. So if I say a 1:15 swim, 15 minutes TOTAL for transitions, a 6:30 bike and a 4 hour marathon, I'd be looking at 12 hours. That would be AWESOME. I'd be happy with anything between 12:00-12:30. I think the fact that Sue will be out on the course will push me to keep going. She will have about 5-10 minutes on me in the swim for sure and I'm not sure how much I'll be able to reel her in on the bike. My only hope is the run which will be motivation enough for me to keep running.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

So Much to Do So Little Time

I don't remember being this scattered & pressed for time when I trained for my last Ironman. I have been so busy lately I've hardly had time to do anything around the house except for laundry. It doesn't help that we've been away for the last 2 weekends. Last weekend we were up at the Cadmans to do our ride and then race the Muskoka long course. What a weekend. We did a 150km ride on the Saturday and then we raced on Sunday. They changed the course in Muskoka and it is WAY harder than when I did it. Holy smokes. I gave it my all on the bike course but still managed to pull off an ok run. I had a crappy swim but so did everyone else. The buoys were off and there was a current in the channel as well. I swam 44:00 minutes for 2km, which is brutal considering I'm a much better swimmer than I was when I did that race. Gary and Sue both had slow swims too (40 minutes each). Sue had a faster bike than me by 30 seconds and that was WITH her dropping her chain 3 times. She's gotten really strong on the bike. I think she may even be faster than me! If she wasn't injured I don't know if I would have been able to run her down. It might have been close. I was 14 minutes slower this year than in 2004. Slower in everything except my transitions. I owe my speedier T1 time to my fancy new wetsuit. It came off so easily it was awesome. I was pretty tired by the end of the weekend. This weekend was our last big weekend so we went back up to the Cadmans cottage again. Sue had a 6:30-6:45 ride followed by a 1 hour run. We rode 6:28 and covered 175km. We had an AWESOME ride. I had a bit of a meltdown between hours 4 and 5, I couldn't get comfortable and I was starting to feel really tired. I have been fighting a cold and I had to take a Tylenol cold & Flu before the ride. Luckily Gary and Rick came back to check on us and Gary pulled me back to Sue. I had a little break at the gas station and got my wind back. We pushed the pace on the way home. We were getting ready to head out on our run when the thunder and lighting started so, we didn't run. Too bad, I was actually looking forward to it.
Today I had a 3 hour run which I did out at Guelph Lake. I went out there to watch Rebecca do her first Olympic distance Triathlon. It was muggy and I thought it was going to rain but the sun ended up coming out. Of course I didn't put sunscreen on so I totally fried. I had forgotten just how hilly that bike course was. I killed my legs. That was one really tough run. I covered 32km in 3 hours and my average heart rate was 155 which is high for for the pace I was running. My legs are TOTALLY killing me now. I had to take an ice bath and take some Endurox. Hopefully I'll be able to walk around tomorrow. But, the hardest part is over. Now it's TAPER TIME!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One Expensive T-shirt

This weekend marks the second time this year I have entered a race and not been able to do it. The first race was Victoria's Du which I couldn't do because of a pinched nerve in my neck. This time, I strained a quad muscle; my vastus medialis to be exact. I am not sure how I did it, but it happened at some point on my 6+ hour ride yesterday. It was about the 4 hour mark when I noticed it and it got progressively worse. Almost to the point where I didn't think I'd make it back to the car. I thought it was my knee so I was really upset. I could barely walk after I got off the bike.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Stupid Tan Lines and Other Musings

My body took a beating this weekend. Partially due to my stupidity but mostly due to Mother Nature. I had a 5 hour + 40 minute run off the bike on Saturday. We rode out in Bolton / Caledon which is REALLY hilly. There are very few flats on the ride that we do. To top it off, it was REALLY windy. And the wind didn't seem to be coming from one particular direction. It was almost like it was circular. No matter where we turned we had it in our face. There were a *few* (ok maybe 2) times on the entire ride where the wind seemed to be kind of at our back. Holy crap. My heart rate was well above where it should be. I think my average heart rate was about 152. I should be about 145. I started to fall apart half way through the ride and I didn't think I was going to make it back to the car. Miraculously, I started to feel better on the way back. My goal this week was to make sure I ate enough on the bike. I thought that I did, but, once again, I don't think I ate enough to take me through a marathon. I had to do a 40 minute run off the bike and 30 minutes in, I was STARVING. I also didn't put any sunscreen on so I managed to get some great tan lines on my legs - I should actually say burn marks because I got totally singed. I also managed to garner some spectacular red blotches on my arms - I wore a cap sleeve jersey and arm warmers but my arm warmers didn't meet my sleeves so I had some exposed skin. I now have to very attractive and seemingly random red patches on my arms. I'm not sure how I'm going to even these ones out.

I also took the plunge and bought myself a new wetsuit. Crap. All I can say is that I better be faster with this baby. It cost me $600! I'm hoping there's some kind of jet propulsion somewhere, because that would just make things a whole lot easier. It's a 2XU wet suit with "rollbar technology". Supposed to help me roll a little better in the water. We'll see about that in a few weeks time. The best part about this suit is that I seem to be able to get it off my calves with minimal effort, which is MAJOR. I don't want a repeat of my first ever transition at Muskoka (4+ minutes I think). I'll get to take it for a test spin in a couple of weeks since I'm racing the Muskoka long course. WOOOHOOOO!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Warranty Expired

Less than 2 months to go and I am totally falling apart. I thought I had solved my foot issues but now some different pain has manifested in my bunion. My running is suffering big time; I've gotten a lot slower and I can't seem to physically manage getting through a long run without feeling a LOT of pain & fatigue in my legs. I've done one long really long run so far and that was 2 hours about 2 months ago! I was supposed to run 2 hours today but I couldn't do it. Mainly because I pinched a nerve in my neck / shoulder so I could barely swing my arms. Now, I'm a LOT of pain, I can't even turn my head to the right, nor can I move my head forward so I'm not really sure how I'm going to race tomorrow. I've signed up to do Victoria's Du, a 4km run, 25km bike and 4 km run but if I"m still like this tomorrow I won't be able to race. The last month has been very frustrating. Work has been super busy and my training has suffered. I have to focus on remaining consistent over the next few weeks if I'm going to see any gains in my training.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

2.5 months and Counting

The countdown is really on now. And so the really hard work begins. Our week in South Carolina was good; not as good as our first year (at least for me) but good none the less. I had a really good ride our first day out even thought it was windy, I still managed to push the pace a bit and keep myself together until the last 45 minutes or so. It was a bit of a struggle to get back to the cabins. But I was happy. I climbed well and managed to hang with the boys (even if I was at the very back) so I was pleased. I didn't ride as much as the first year (only 350k) but I think I really needed a break so I took the time to enjoy myself and relax. I climbed Ceasar's head again this year. I was about 2 minutes faster this year than 2 years ago so I was pretty pleased with that.

I had a lot of foot issues later on in the week. I'm not sure what the problem is - it might be my orthotics, I don't know but I'm having a lot pain in my metatarsal area on my left foot so I've been getting "hot foot" on the bike and suffering through my runs by altering my gait slightly. I really need to get that looked at so I'm going to call Pivot tomorrow to see when I can get in to see their foot guy. I really hope I haven't done anything bad to it.

The last couple of months have been a BIG struggle for me mentally. I have been lacking serious motivation and most of my workouts see me just going through the motions (especially my swim workouts). I don't think I push myself as hard as I should, although, that being said, I'm obviously doing something right as my cycling has improved. My running is suffering at the expense of my riding but, that seems to be the way the plan goes. We're supposed to start some track workouts in the next few weeks so I'm hoping that my running comes around again. Obviously I need to get my foot issues sorted out first.

Monday, April 7, 2008

All of A Sudden....

the snow was gone! Yes, it's true. That white stuff is NO LONGER! The birds are singing, the crocuses are blooming and once again, I can see my backyard! WOOOHOOOOO! We had a BEAUTIFUL weekend but surprisingly Gary and I opted to ride on the trainer INSIDE. Yes, I said INSIDE. I rode for 3 hours and 40 minutes. I think I lost my mind at about 2 hours. But, it doesn't matter because from here on in, all of our rides are going to be outside! Starting next Sunday with a nice little 4 hour jaunt through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Gary's workouts for the week in South Carolina have been posted and I took a look. Holy crap. He's got a 4 hour ride followed by a 40 min run, followed by a 30 min open water swim if possible. Monday is a 30 min swim, 1:50 run followed by an 'easy" 2 hour bike. Tuesday is a MEGA day- a 6.5 hour bike followed by a 20 minute run. Wednesday in an INSANE day with a double brick; bike/run/bike/run - 2 hours 50 minutes then a 50 minute open water swim. Thursday is the longest bike ride of the week: 7 hours. Friday is a 1 hour run with a 5km time trial in it followed by a 3.5 hour bike, followed by a 45 min open water swim. Saturday we drive back and Sunday is a day off. Thank GOD. Holy. I'm going to try to do everything in Gary's schedule but I think I'm going to have a hard time convincing Silvia to ride for 7 hours and I can't keep up with the guys so, we'll see what happens. Maybe I just end up doing loops to make up whatever time I need to.

I'm hoping that I manage to hold together next week. I've been having foot issues and my elbow has been bothering me the last 2 swims. I'm thinking that it's probably because I'm really tight through my shoulders and back. I'm scheduled for a massage tonight so hopefully that helps. As for my foot issues, well, I'm not sure what's causing that discomfort, probably tightness in my arches. I really should be wearing orthotics in all my shoes but I don't, only when I run. I should probably go and see my podiatrist at some point....when i can find the time!

Friday, March 28, 2008

On Becoming A Fish....

Funny title since I am, astrologically speaking, a fish. Even more ironic that I'm not too fond of swimming- at least open water swimming. I don't hate it but, I do have a few little phobias around it. When I let my phobias get the better of me, well, I don't usually last long in the water. I think this year though, I will be able to put those phobias to rest (at least some of them). My swimming has come a LONG way from when I started back in 2003. I swam 3850m this morning in 1 hour and 25 minutes. 2 years ago that would have probably taken me close to 1hr 40 minutes to complete that workout. I had to swim a 600 m warm up and then 3x 1000m with one minute rest in between and a 200m cool down. It was supposed to be a 3800 m workout but I swam an extra 50 on one of my 1000's. My 1000 times broke down like this: #1) 21:28 (this was where I swam the extra 50) #2) 20:12 #3) 19:48. Yes, I broke 20 minutes! I was THRILLED. My Ironman swim time from LP was 1:19. This time around, I thinking I can actually do 1:15 easily, maybe even 1:10 if I seed myself correctly. I think I am ACTUALLY looking forward to the swim! Wow, never thought I'd hear those words come out of my mouth. We'll see what actually happens when I get into open water for the first time this year. I may change my tune.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Blah's

It's here. Again. I've hit that low. I've crawled into that nasty place called Unmotivation. I don't know what it is - perhaps it's the weather, the seemingly never ending cold and snow - but, I'm really bummed out. I'm tired and have no desire to do anything. I'd be much happier sitting on the couch watching a movie. I slept in yesterday, didn't do my run on Sunday (I felt like I was getting a cold) and didn't finish my workout this morning (that was due to an entirely different problem). I am really starting to feel a little stir crazy. We've got another BIG week of workouts scheduled, very bike intensive since we're heading to South Carolina in 3 weeks. I have a 3800m swim scheduled on Thursday. 3800 m! That is the FULL ironman distance. GOOD GOD. The swim I had this morning was 3500 but I only managed 1600 due to some pretty serious cramps so I got out and sat in the hot tub.

I think once the nicer weather comes along and I can actually start to get outside and ride, then I'll get out of my funk but until then, it's going to be a struggle.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Toeing The Line

It's been a while since I've been on here; since March 2nd to be exact. The last 2 weeks have been HELLISH to say the least. I've been SUPER busy at work so busy that I was starting to feel a bit burnt out. I was lacking any sort of motivation to do anything because I was SO tired and stressed. I missed 3 workouts last week, a run a swim and a weight workout. I really didn't feel like doing them. I just felt like I needed to sleep. It took me a few days to recover from the half, I think I pushed myself a little too hard that day. We've had a TON of snow which has made running outside challenging to say the least. It's all been a bit much. I can't wait to see the grass again and not have to bundle up when I head out for a run. There's 4 weeks until we're off to South Carolina and it can't come soon enough. I'm looking forward to the fact that it's a 3 day weekend this weekend as well. Another day to sleep in! One positive thing that I can take away from the last couple of weeks was my bike ride yesterday. We went to Absolute Endurance yesterday and did a 3 hour computrainer ride on the IM Switzerland course and I had NO issues. No leg soreness, no foot soreness, nothing. I managed to average 138 watts for the ride, which I guess is alright. Although, I am able to push much higher watts on a hill; anywhere between 170-180 watts. If I push really hard I can hit 200. I can't sustain that for too long but I can at least hit it. When I it the flats, I don't seem to have that same power. I have to figure out what gear ratio works best for me. I did most of yesterday's ride in my big chain ring, except for the climbs. It's hard to work on this on the trainer, especially since I don't have a power tap. But, I'll figure something out.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chilly Half Marathon-Watching the Wheels Fall off the Wagon

So this was the first race on my schedule this year. Gary’s coach wanted him to race it so I figured I might as well. I’ve never done this race before because it always falls on the weekend of my birthday and truth be told, I do enjoy a good night on the town every so often, especially when it’s my birthday. So, instead of a night on the town, we spent a night on the couch (there’s always next weekend!!!) I’d heard pretty good things about it this race; especially about the post race food. Good post race food? Sign me up!!

Our friend Sue showed up at our place around 7:30 am and we hit the road around 7:45. Made it out to Burlington in about half an hour. Parked the car and headed over to the bus pick up area. It was COLD, but nice and sunny. I was glad I brought my parka. After about a 20 minute wait, the bus showed up and we all piled on. 15-20 minutes later, we were dropped off a few blocks from the finish line. We wandered around, checked out the food tent (smelled AWESOME) and tried to find some “facilities”. We came across a row of porta potties. Bloody hell, I was already freezing, the last thing I wanted to do was drop my drawers in the cold. Oh well. No choice. We wandered around and found the baggage check, got ourselves sorted and wandered over to the start line. We headed out on a warm up jog when Sue & I had to find some “facilities”….again. So we ran around for a bit, found a pub that was open and letting the runners use their facilities. It was right near the start. By that point we had lost my hubby (Gary) but I figured it didn’t matter much as he was going to be miles ahead of us anyway. We hopped into the crowd and made our way towards the 1:45 pace bunny. My goal was to run sub 1:45. I figured if I could stay with the 1:45 pace bunny for at least the first half of the race, that would be perfect. I could then pick up the pace a bit for the second half. Well, the gun went off and I said good bye to Sue and then promptly lost the 1:45 pace bunny. I picked up the pace a bit thinking that he was ahead of me. Nope. I slowed down a bit looking for him. Couldn’t find him at all. Oh well. I had my foot pod that I thought was fairly accurate. Ha. Anyway, I ran along at a good clip, pushing the pace a bit. I felt good. I was looking for km markers to see how accurate my food pod was. I didn’t see a marker until the 3 km mark. I went through 3km in just under 15 minutes. My watch was telling me I was running 4:40 km’s. Hmmm….looks like it’s off by quite a bit! Keeping that in mind, I tried to settle in to a 4:55 pace (4:45 according to my watch). It felt relatively comfortable and I figured I could maintain it for the duration of the race. I felt pretty good (albeit a bit warm) right through the 10km mark. I had to take off my gloves at about 5km and then the jacket came off around 11 km. I was sweating buckets and had to air myself out. Shortly thereafter we turned onto Lakeshore and into the wind. Yikes. The thought of putting my soggy jacket back on was incredibly unappealing so I sucked it up and kept going. The gloves went back on for a bit and that helped. I had taken half a GU at the 55 minute mark. I figured I’d save the other half for the 1:15 mark, figuring that would carry me through to the end. In hindsight, I probably should have had 2 GU’s with me and taken half of one at 30 minutes, the other half at an hour and then the last one at 1:15. It was about an hour and 15 minutes into the race that I started to feel not so good. My calves were starting to cramp and I was starting to lose speed. Uh-oh. I had that last half of GU hoping it was enough to get me through the last half hour. That last half hour was torture. I pushed through and hit the 16km mark feeling absolutely horrible. At the 17km mark, I started to feel a bit better so I thought I had turned the corner. Just after I hit the 18 km mark, the wheels fell right off the wagon. I thought both of my legs were going to seize up. All I could think about was putting one foot in front of the other at this point. I was still managing to run just under 5 min km’s but it was killing me. It was at this point that the 1:45 pace bunny came hurtling by me. What the hell?? He was behind me the entire time. Great. I tried to keep him in my sights. I kept my eyes fixated on those pink ears. I think I had blinders on from 18 km to 20 km. I was so focused on that pace bunny. We came up a small hill to a crowd of people yelling “only 400 meters to go!”. SWEEEET! That news gave me that little bit of adrenaline that I needed. I started to pick up the pace a bit and I was closing in on the pace bunny. “Just follow the pink ears, you’re almost there!” I thought. I motored along into the finishing straight, taking a quick look around for Gary. No luck. I now had my sights on the race clock. One final push and I crossed the line in 1:44:38. (1:44:07 according to my watch). Just under the wire. I was pretty pleased with that result, especially for an early season race. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday either!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monster Swim

As if the pounding I took on the weekend wasn't enough, I had a 3500 m swim this morning. 3500 meters!!! The swim in Ironman is 3800 meters. So I swam almost the entire race distance this morning. Took me an hour and 26 minutes. Not bad considering 800 m of it was pull (which I suck at) and 400 m of it was kick which is always slower than swimming, at least for me. I'm thinking that a 1:10 swim might ACTUALLY be possible, as long as I get myself in the right spot at the start.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

Wow, where the hell did it go? This weekend has been nuts. I've barely had a minute to sit down and relax. Yesterday was the Tri For A Cure Spinathon. I needed new bike shorts so I went out in the morning looking for shorts rushed back home, packed up the car and drove up to Absolute Endurance to help Rick and Sue get set up. Spent 5 hours there, 4 of them on our bikes, sweating our faces off. Went out for dinner afterwards, didn't get home until almost 9:00 pm. I fell asleep in the car I was so tired. Got up at 7:00 am on Sunday, ate breakfast, donned my running stuff and hit the road with Sue for a 2 hour run. Got home, stretched, showered and hopped in the car to the Outdoor Adventure Show to help out at the Running Free Booth for 3 hours. Now I'm exhausted and I still have to pack my bag and have a bath. I have a 3500m swim tomorrow. Good GOD. Next weekend is going to be busy too. I'm getting my hair cut on Saturday and I have some running around to do. We're racing the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington on Sunday and my birthday is on Monday. WHEEEEEEEEE!!!

How many more days till South Carolina??? I really need a vacation!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's Been A While...

since I've been on here but I am in full tri-geek mode now. I just found out I got accepted to Team Running Free! WOOOHOOOO! I'm very excited. I spent 3 hours riding on the computrainer today with Gary and a bunch of our other friends at Absolute Endurance. I tried to pace myself so I didn't die like I did the last time. It kind of worked. My legs were still really sore at the 2 hour mark but I don't think I was as bad as the last time and I still had enough left in the tank to push 230-301 watts for the last km, which is HUGE. It almost killed me to do it but I did. Then of course I get slagged for not working as hard as I should have on the bike because if I did I wouldn't have had anything left to push that wattage. Whatever. I do tend to take it a little easier on the bike just because I don't know how to pace myself properly and I don't want to blow up. I've blown up on the bike before and it's not pretty. Especially when you've still got a long way back. Gary keeps telling me it's ok for that to happen because each time it happens it will take longer for it to happen the next time. Bah. If it's happening every time I go out, I won't want to go out any more. Anyway, I get another chance to ride on the computrainer next week during the Spin-a-thon. Rick and Sue have put together a spinathon at Absolute Endurance to benefit Tri For A Cure again. Should be a really good time!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rollin rollin rollin......

This past week was my first really good week of training in a long time. No interruptions, no missed workouts, nothing. I felt pretty good for almost all my workouts except maybe my tempo run on Thursday. I suppose that was to be expected after the leg workout I did the day before. My running is progressing nicely as well. I am getting close to where I was when I was training for Boston (sweet!) My cycling is taking a bit of a hit though I think but I'm sure my training focus will shift a bit as I move forward. Although it's hard to tell when you're riding inside on the trainer too. The real test will be when I hit the roads in April in South Carolina (can't WAIT). I'm feeling pretty good about where my fitness level is going. I'm even thinking about getting some additional swim coaching! I'm starting to take this a bit more seriously in terms of wanting to get faster. I also think some swim coaching will help me feel a bit more confident in the water. Weird I know. For someone born under a water sign, I seem to have a lot of issues with water.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Making Progress

I finally got my heart rate monitor back from the repair shop. I had been using Gary's old one for the last month or so and his doesn't have a running pace function so I haven't had any clue as to what my pace has been. I've been doing a lot of faster run workouts over the last month so I figured I'd gotten a bit faster. I had a tempo run last Thursday and I wore my shoe pod. Holy crap. I was turning over 4:25-4:30 k's for my tempo set. At one point I hit 4:00k's.(truth be told I was on a slight downhill). I couldn't believe it. I felt GREAT too. It felt good to run that fast (in a weird sort of way). I had another fast run yesterday and I managed to average 5:03 k's even thought it was really windy. I am really looking forward to running the Chilly Half in March. I was really hoping I"d run 1:45. I think that should be possible or at least close to that. I've got another 6 weeks or so before the race so I'm sure I'll be a little bit faster by that point. I just have to stay healthy. If I keep going like this then it might even be possible for me to run a sub 4 hour marathon at Ironman. MAYBE. But I'm happy to entertain the thought.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tough Times

These last 2 weeks have been very difficult to maintain any sort of consistency. Work has been crazy and I've gotten sick...again. Although this one hasn't been as bad as the other 2 colds I've had. I got over it pretty quickly without having to take a day off work. It now seems to have traveled to my sinuses. I know I'm not completely better because my heart rate has been high the last 2 workouts I've done. It's so frustrating. I try to make sure I eat well, get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and take care of myself. I feel like I've taken several steps back in my training. I've got my first race coming up at the beginning of March (half marathon) and I hope I'm ready. I know I can do the distance, but I want to do it well (i.e FAST). I'm thinking a trip to the health food store may be in order. People keep talking about Oil of Oregano and how good it is for colds. I might have to pick some up. I'm willing to try almost anything to keep the colds at bay.