Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vacation + hip injury = blah

Well, I'm not doing too good on my daily workouts on this vacation - if you know me this shouldn't be a surprise! Every time I come down here I say I'm going to be good and keep my work outs up but vacation gets the better of me! Couple that with tons of food, Eatting out and drinking .... Well there it goes.

I've done one swim workout, multiple core workouts, stretching of course and my lame attempt to run on Christmas Day. So I'm committing to the pool for the rest of my vacation. I am tring to come to terms that the marathon in February is NOT my goal for the year and if I don't make it to the start line then no big deal... With 8 weeks to go I still hold onto that little hope.

With a week left of vacation, it's time to step it up and hit the pool, increase my core work and get my eating on track! Wish me luck because I'm going to need it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Waiting to heal

Today is the second full day of our Christmas vacation and it's already been wonderful. I've already connected with 2 dear friends and last night was chauffeured downtown for dinner via the river! Yesterday, in keeping with my fitness goals, I swam 40 minutes (with a pull bouy) planked for 5 and completed 50pushups. My upper body is happily sore today!

Sadly, I'm still waiting for my hip flexor to heal. It's getting there I am sure of that. When I wake in the morning it's not too sore but after a little walking the pain is back. It's just a bit of a dull pain now so I'm optimistic that I am healing. But I'm so afraid of being injured and missing my first goal of the Ft. Lauderdale A1A marathon (that is get to the start line), not to mention my fear of this becoming reoccurring or chronic with my Ironman looming in 10 months.

I want to run so badly. I have my new Paris pink lulu lemon running shorts here. 2 boxes of raspberry hammer gels I ordered online. My new stash of Onza and vials of nuun ... All sitting on my desk, staring at me, beckonning to me. Yet today I remained sidelined. Today, I will again rest and ice and anti-inflammatory medicate. I told myself - 2 days after the pain is gone. Then I can run. I was hoping it would be Christmas day but we are 2 days out and the pain is still there.

So I will wait. And swim. And plank. And push up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Vacation in Florida (how to avoid the effect of 100 beers)

Yeah - it's that time of year when I get to run away from the approaching winter here in Canada and spend a couple weeks basking in the the warmth of my home-town of Stuart Florida.
evening in the backyard
I can't tell you how much I love spending this time of year in my home town seeing old friends, boating, swimming and family traditions.  Unfortunately it also includes many libations and no gym!  And with my hip injury, it's looking like my running will be curtailed a bit as well.  So, to combat what my husband says is 100 beers, I've decided to make some commitments, make them known to the small world one or two people that might read this blog and hopefully keep me honest to combat the effects of 100 beers in 2 weeks!

1. 5 minutes of plank a day
2. 50 push-ups a day
3. at least 30 mins of swimming, at least every other day (a total of at least 7 pool workouts and if warm enough one ocean swim)
4. a 16 mile long run and a 20 mile long run (IF my hip recovers)

I'm not sure how much blogging I will be doing but I will keep myself honest with twitter updates!  Here's to a very Merry Christmas, perhaps with 100 beers but no extra pounds!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sore hip = sad me

On Saturday, DECEMBER 17 - we stole another beautiful day of sunshine and warm temps!  Hubby and I went for a nice 16 mile (26k) run together.  I was going great, I was enjoying the sunshine and the pace was ok for me - much better than the weekend before where I felt like I was being held back.  I was really enjoying my long run with the hubby.  Then, at about mile 12 - OUCH - what is that - a pain in my left hip.  I slowed a bit, changed my gait, my stride, but each time my foot hit the ground there a was a pain in my hip.

The last 4 miles of the run SUCKED.  I sucked it up and ran it the best I could, but here I am, 2 days later and in 2 hours I will be on my therapist's table for an emergency 1/2 hour massage to see what the heck is going on in this hip.  It seems to be living somewhere on top of the hip joint.  This morning, while still lying in bed I was quite optimistic because the pain seemed to be gone.  When I first got up, it was feeling pretty good ... and then about 10 minutes out of bed and BAM ... every step with my left foot produces an annoying, painful sensation in my hip that seems to radiate in all directions.

I leave for our Christmas Holiday on Wednesday with dreams of hot weather runs in Florida.  But right now I'm quite sad, feeling side-lined by this injury.  I don't get injured.  So I'm hoping and praying my therapist will fix me right up tonight and in a few days I'll be blogging about my run to the beach and back!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Welland Half-Iron or Syracuse 70.3 - that is the question!

I have a bit of a choice on my hands and I don't know what to choose!  My first key race this year is my first Half-Iron distance.  I have always thought it would be at Multisport Canada Welland - it's an hour away, it's a flat course and it's where I did my very first tri (just a short try-a-tri) last year!

However, on the SAME DAY is the Ironman70.3 Syracuse - and like a girl I met at the gym said - it's nice to go with "The Brand", the big race, the big ta-da!  Syracuse is a 4 hour drive (not a big deal), a for sure hotel stay (though we would be staying a night in Welland as well), but at LEAST twice the cost to register, monies going to a big corporation instead of supporting my local triathlon organization.

So the decision is out there - Welland or Syracuse!  Local and small or out of town and big? A decision I think have to make soon!  Any help would be appreciated!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tannenbaum 10k

This morning was a local 10k race to support our local Community Centre 55 Christmas hamper program.  Due to past popularity (it always sells out) it doubled in size from 200 - 400 runners this year (and it sold out early!).  It is a great race so if you are local you should put it on your list for next year! Tannenbaum10k!

This race is notorious for poor weather - snow, rain, wind, freezing temps - you name it.  But this morning we were blessed with mild temps (6*c, 43*f) and light winds with rain in the forecast.
isn't this a great shot!
We got hit by a few drops and I'm sure the spectators were a little on the chilly side but all in all it was perfect running weather for DECEMBER 4th!
Griffin, Barry and Me  showing off the bling (and the lake)
I had 2 goals in my mind - since I have never run an official 10k except on the back end of swimming 1500m and biking 40k,  (which I ran in 54:40) I figured a sub-50 10k would be nice to run.  And then there is always the competition with the hubby who ran a 48:59 10k last year.  Happy to say I hit my sub-50 with a 49:22, and will also say I'm happy hubby still holds the Richards' Family 10k record and I can blame it on 23 seconds - what is it about 23 seconds this year?

pretty cute eh girls?
This race was extra special because Griffin, my soon to be 13 year old stepson ran his very first road race!  I am so proud of him.  Before the race I asked him what his goal time was and he said 1:15!  I told him straight up that I thought he would go sub 1 hour and I'm so proud to say he finish in 56:41!  So very very proud of him!

Calli Anna with Hamper the Reindeer

This was also a special race becuase my daughter was able to come watch her big brother, dad and mom race.  I love to have the kids at the races and see how much fun it is.  I didn't descover the thrill of runnign until recently and I would love for my daughter to be runnign this race with me in 5 years! Thanks Grandma and Janet for being our babysitters and photographers!

Again, this is such a special race for us - the start/finish line is 1.5k from our house and the route is my number 1 training route.  The folks who put on the race are wonderful and the volunteers are amazing. It was great to contribute to the Hamper Program.  I hope to make this race a tradition in our family!  Kudos to the Toronto Beaches Runners Club for a fabulous event!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

60% to a Marathon

Today I ran the farthest I have ever run.  16 miles in 2:35.

Coming off a month of fabulous long runs in amazing weather conditions, I was super excited about my run this morning.  Unfortunately, I got a little cocky with the weather and wore shorts - a decision that haunted me for most of those 16 miles.  It wasn't that I was "cold",  my muscles just couldn't let go.  In particular my quads and my glutes were tight and my legs felt heavy the entire run.  My lulu crops would have been a much better choice. With that being said, the weather today was AMAZING!

I've been sticking to the Martin Goodman trail / Leslie spit this month just adding on each week.  I like running the same route - mentally it helps me visualize where I am and what I've got to do. Today I ran out Lakeshore to Cherry, down to Cherry Beach, across the trial to Unwin, east to Leslie, down the spit, east path, to the lighthouse, UP the hill to the lighthouse, then back along the western loop to home.  16.3 miles to be exact - that's 26.2km - that's over 60% of a marathon!

As I got to the bottom of the lighthouse hill, my trusty GPS told me I was at 10 miles.  I felt pretty good, has surrendered to the cold hard muscles in my legs and I charged up the hill.  My no means is this hill long, nor very steep but today was the first time I climbed it.  At the top I stopped to have a hammer gel. snapped a photo, drank some water and said - hey - ONLY 6 MILES to go!  And down I went and ran the 6 miles home.

I'm still amazed it is the last weekend of November!  Next weekend is the Tannenbaum 10k so I won't be getting a real long run in but I'm sort of looking at this like a little recovery week.  Then 2 more long runs before I get a reprieve from the cold and have 2 full weeks of warm weather running in Florida.  I know I'm going to be ready for the Ft. Lauderdale A1A Marathon in February !

I've been slowing talking more and more about the spring and the 2012 season, what I need to do and how I need to get there.  My Half-iron race is either Welland (Multi-sport Canada ) or Syracuse Ironman 70.3.  There are pros and cons for each race - big vs. small, 1 hr away vs. 4 hr away, flat course vs. hilly course, and of course COST.  In any event, guidance on this decision would be nice so Barry and I need to talk about it.  Oh, both races are on June 24!

In getting ready for Ironman training I'm about to purchase my trainer (cyclops fluid pro) and get my bike fitted with aerobars.  I've been talking about getting a coach or joining a club ... trying to figure out what's best for me and if perhaps I would be the best coach for myself ....  I hope to find clarity on this issue in the New Year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Mental Game

So the other day a friend and multiple Ironman found out I was doing IMFL2012.  He said he has no doubt I can do it physically but it's the mental part I need to focus on.  Well, I still know I have a long road of training ahead to get there physically AND mentally!  So my first step in the mental game - at least while training for the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon is I am now training in miles and not kilometres.  It's sort of funny, being American I was raised in miles.  I have lived in Canada for 9 years and have slowly adapted to driving in km/h and the such. But I only started training a few years ago and have ONLY trained in KM.  So for me to make the change to miles is quite drastic.

Last Saturday, my long run was supposed to be a 12mile run.  It turned out to be a 12.5 mile run..  I've got my GPS tracking on my blackberry now set to miles and I'm working out my pace in miles.  But the biggest plus of training in miles over KMs .... 26.1 sounds A LOT BETTER than 42.2!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

IMFL and The BIG 2012 Plan

2011 was a great year for me.  I had been thinking about triathlons for over a year and finally took the plunge, bought a bike and raced my first Triathlon.  And now I'm hooked.  My "A" race this year, as of 1:05 this afternoon is Ironman Florida on Nov. 3, 2012!   There is a very LONG road to IMFL!
Here's the plan!

 Ft. Lauderdale A1A Full Marathon. February 19th.
My first and probably only full marathon before IMFL.   My first goal is to get to the start line, second goal is to finish in under 5 hours, but the "A" goal is to finish under 4:15.  

Chilly Half Marathon. March 4
Just a training race to keep me focused on running through the miserable winter months.  the weather will be a huge factor in timing in this race but I would be happy to run it sub 2 hours.

Around the Bay 30km, March 25
Just to get out and run it is my only goal.  Don't even want to put a time goal on this race.  It's a tough course and usually tough weather!

April Races
Beaches Spring Sprint 5km - will be happy to break my time from last year so Sub 24mins is my goal - unless I run it with my 7 year old daughter - then it will just be a happy 5km.
There is the Angus Glen 10 miler which I might race again this year just because it was cut short last year.

Toronto Goodlife Full or Half - will depend on how much a full takes out of my sails.  I don't want to do anything to jepordize my health before the Welland Half Iron which is 6 weeks out.
Ottawa Half OR the Woodstock Tri - conflict here as my hubby and bestie want to run Ottawa every year but I want to get a Tri under my belt early in the season and before the Welland Half Iron.

Binbrook Tri - June 9th - if I can't run the Woodstock Tri I will run Binbrook.  Not sure I would do both, but you never know!
WELLAND HALF IRON - BIG RACE - June 24th.  This is my Spring "A" race.  Goal will be to finish it in 6 hours, give or take.  This is a HUGE milestone race for me and will really give me a glimpse into the IRON world!

July will be a play-it-by ear month -  I might just train but I might do the Gravenhurst Oly tri or the Peterbourgh Half Iron depending on how much the Welland half kicks my butt.  We usually vacation for a couple weeks in July down in FLA which will give me much needed salt water training - but being vacation can take the mojo out of my training!

The only Tri in August that catches my eye is the Niagara Tri.  Then there is the Accura 10 miler and the Midsummers night which I might tackle the 30km as it would be good training for the IMFL.

Because I loved Wassaga Beach so much in 2011, I think I have to return for the Oly tri this year on September 8th - good training race.

Then it will be nothing but training until ...

And I think that will be the plan for 2012.

I'm going to try to use this blog to capture my training over the next year as I endure to become an IRONMAN!

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 in Review

Wow - it was a busy year for me.  Its funny when I look back and realize the first race I ever run was the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon on October 17, 2010.

And then in 2011 I ran:

Running Races
Disney Half Marathon, January 8, 2011, 1:58:26
Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon, May 15, 2011,  1:54:45
Ottawa Half Marathon, May 29, 2011,     2:44:07 (yes I have walked a half marathon faster but I ran this with my bestie Carole)
Beaches Spring Sprint 5k, April 2, 2011,   24:12
Angus Glen 10 miler (turned 11k due to lightening), April 10, 2011 1:03:05
Acura 10 miler, 1:27:09
Midsummer's Night 15km, 1:56:42
Scotia Waterfront Half Marathon, Oct. 16, 2011, 1:50:22

Welland Try-a-tri, June 25, 2011, 53:30
Peterborough Sprint Tri, July10, 2011. 1:33:14
Bracebridge Sprint, August 6. 2011, 1:34:23
Wassaga Beach Olympic Tri, September 10, 2011, 2:55:16

I was happy to stay healthy and strong over the year.  I'm rounding out the 2011 with the Tannenbaum 10k that is run here in my neighbourhood, the Beaches Toronto on Dec. 4th.  That will finish the year with 9 running races and 4 triathlons.  Next post will detail out my plan for 2012!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scotia Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Race Report

Scotia Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Race Report
16 October 2011

I came into my 4th half marathon of the year with very low expectations.  A week prior to the race I came down with a sinus infection that threatened my ability to make it to the start line.  Couple that with a forecast of rain and wind, I held out making my decision to run until Saturday - and at that time I decided to run but would take it easy and not push myself - I will just shoot for sub 2 hours.  I think my husband said "you don't know how not to push yourself".

Race time was a nice, late 9am so the morning was pretty much a normal morning. Up around 6:45, couple cups of coffee and a large bowl of Leaping Leamers cereal (yes, I eat a peanut butter and chocolate kids cereal for breakfast - it's the perfect pre-race food).  We grabbed a cab and picked up Carole and Vic and we were at race site at 8:15.
Barry and I said our good byes to our friends and made our way to bag check - which was pretty efficient to check the bag - more later on the fiasco on retrieving the bag, hit the porto potty lines and then went to get into the blue corral at about 8:45.  The corral was spilling over with a huge mob of people at the little entrance in the fenced in area and NO ONE WAS MOVING.  Well, by this time I was pumped and ready to go and I had my eye on the 1:50 pace bunny as I could feel a PR in the air so I gently started with my "excuse me pardon me excuse me" and slithered myself into the corral and as close to the pace bunny as possible.  I told Barry (who was under trained not trained for this race) that I was feeling good and that I would see him at the finish line.  And with that we were off!

This race was too crowded.  Not just the start, not just the first KM - the entire race I was fighting for space to pass.  It was miserable!  But my legs felt great, I felt great and in my heart I thought perhaps I could finally break that 1:50 mark.  My PR was the 2010 Toronto Goodlife of 1:51:14.  So I ran.  I zigged.  I zagged. And I ran.  Besdies the first km which was 5:44 due to the intense crowd, I averaged 5:15 kms.  I had taken an onza perforance gel prior to the race starting and I took a hammer gel at about 5km in.  I took water at every water station.  My mouth and throat were incredible dry due to the wind and the dry air.

The first 18 km flew by.  I was so excited to see Carole and Victoria on Lakeshore as we had trained together the few weeks leading up to the race.  It was Vic's first half, Carole's second.  It was a PR race for both of them at 2:40!

T H E   L A S T  3  K
Yip, I had one major fail in my race.  Remember I took a hammer gel at 5km.  That's all I took.  I had honey stingers and another hammer gel to take.  I train by taking something every 5km.  So why I didn't I can only attribute to the crowds and being singularly focusing on passing. At at the ramp at 19km my body hit a wall.  My muscles slowly gave up and my pace started slowing.  The 1:50 bunny who I had passed at 1km and hadn't seen all day joined me and then left me in the dust.  I pushed hard and I never stopped running.  I told myself "if you think this is hard, what do you think you are going to feel 19km into the run at the Ironman".  I pushed.

The turn up Bay Street was both awesome and horrific.  The crowds were awesome.  I pulled my ear buds out so that I could focus on the cheers of support.  But it was like a wind tunnel.  I kept my head down and pushed on trying to sprint to the finish but I don't think it was much of a sprint.  The clock read 1:53 as I crossed the line.  I was pretty sure it took me a few minutes to hit the start line.  I wondered if I had broken the illusive 1:50.

I felt pretty rough when I came to a stop.  It was very crowded.  I looked for my buddy Catherine who was handing out medals but couldn't find her. I grabbed a banana and a bottle of water.  Once I got my bearings I decided to recover my bag from back check...

It was a mad house. We were crammed into a very small space divided into to lanes. We stood. we chatted, we shivered, we wondered.  NOTHING WAS HAPPENING.  every 8 mins or so someone would come back with a bag.  We were not moving.  I took this time to check my results on my blackberry.  I was happy to see I PR'd... but didnt' break the 1:50 mark.  I finished in 1:50:22.  Yip. 23 seconds.  So now I'm a little bummed but really pissed off at the bag check and I want to find my husband.

Barry, my husband, is a very resourceful guy.  Knowing I would be in the bag check hell - he climbed atop a mail box and we found each other.  I was relieved that he knew where I was (while I run with my blackberry, he does not).  I had been in the line for over 30 minutes now and it was really getting bad.  About 10 minutes later I hear a cheer, I turn to look and Barry is standing on the mailbox again and he's holding my bag up above his head.  I was overcome with joy that I could leave that mess and join him.  It was no easy feat getting out of that space and while I understand everyone was frustrated with the situation - there were some down right rude people wouldn't let me through.

We made our way over to the post race party which was pretty empty - considering everyone was either in bag check hell or as I found out from my friends were pushed north to Queen street  so they missed that area all together.  We decided to grab a cab on Yonge street and get the heck out of there!

We are lucky to live in the beach, just a block before the turn around point for the full marathon.  So after we showered and got warm we went out to cheer on the marathon runners.  It was inspirational to cheer them on and I know we motivated them just a little bit as the spectators had dwindled by that time and I can imagine that being a pretty lonely time in the marathon with 9km left, into the wind.  Barry and I clapped and cheered on each runner by name.

I'm pretty hard on myself I guess.  Considering leading up to the race I wasn't even thinking of PR'ing, I have beaten myself up over 23 seconds.  23 seconds.  If I had gotten in front of that one guy, or not slowed down to grab that second cup of water at the 4th water station, or not taken water at that last station just 1 km from the finish, or stopped to pick up my arm warmer I dropped at the 5km mark.  So many places I could have recovered that 23 seconds.  23 seconds. Then I think how trivial that 23 seconds is.

BECAUSE - in this same race,

Eric Gillis qualified for the Olympics with 1 second to spare,

 Reid Coolsaet missed breaking the Canadian Record by 46 seconds,

a 27 year old man lost his life and a 100 year old man became the first centurion to finish a marathon!

So, I concede.  23 seconds were not meant to be.  So my next half marathon, which at this time is the Chilly Half in March - that 1:50 mark still stands and it will be there for me to blow out of the water because I think I will have to set my goal for something a little more than 23 seconds.  Sub 1:45 it just might have to be!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wasaga Beach Olympic Tri Race Report - 10 Sept 2011

I DID IT! I completed my first Olympic Triathlon!

This is me with my bib!  The race was sold out but I showed up anyway hoping for a chance to race.  Early this week I was half way to Washington DC to race the Nation's Tri on Sept 11 when I found out the swim was cancelled due to the heavy rains and flooding.  I had trained all summer to do an Olympic Tri and I wasn't going to happy with a bike-run.  I turned my truck around and headed home with the hope of racing a local race.  I knew Wasaga Beach was sold out.  But I held onto the hope that I would be able to race.   We left Toronto at 6am and arrived at the race site shortly after 8.  I got my bib around 9:55am with a swim start of 10:27. 
This is me (on the right) finishing the Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon on Sept. 10, 2010 in 2:55:15! My First Olympic Triathlon!  While I am still very sad I was not able to run the Nation's Tri as my first Olympic Tri - if they hadn't cancelled their swim I would have never had the great opportunity to race at Wasaga Beach this year - and it was a perfect race!

The 1500 meter swim was in the beautiful waters of Lake Huron right off Wasaga Beach (just about a 2 hour drive from Toronto).  The water was perfect!  The temperature was just right for a sleeveless wet suit. the water was fresh,clear and clean and you could see the sandy bottom for the entire swim.  Not a piece of sea weed in sight!  The sandy bottom had perfect little ripples and with the sun shinning so bright the water was just gorgeous.
I took a hammer gel and  onza performance gel about 30 mins before my swim start.  I was in the second to last wave so we waited 12 long minutes for our start.  It was a little intimidating looking out at the first green buoy which was 610 meters away.  Swimming has not, in the past, been my strong point.  I went into this swim with one goal - to swim the entire time without resting.  I'm happy to report I swam the entire 1500 meters in 33:38.  I don't think I could have asked for more perfect swim conditions!
The water was very shallow so we started about 100 meters off the beach.  But we had to run in the water for the swim exit.  When I touched my right foot down in the swallow water my right calf seized up - it was breath taking pain that I quickly worked through but I would feel for the rest of the race.  I was happy to see 33 minutes on my watch and even happier to see Barry and Carole and hear them cheer me on.

There was a short run up the beach into T1 which took me 47 seconds. 

My official time in T1 was 1:49, nearly a minute faster than my last Race in Bracebridge.  I had to rinse and dry my feet but had my shoes set for me to just slip on, snap on the helmet and off i went. 

I had a hammer gel in the back pocket of my shirt and an Onza Gel taped to my bike along with 20oz of NUUN for the ride.

The bike course was very challenging for me.  There was a u-turn at the 5km mark and then many other turns along the single looped course.  To add insult to the course, it was an incline for the first 30km with a couple short steep climbs.  As we were coming up to 10km mark we climbed to the top to see a screaming downhill ahead of us - I was so happy to get some momentum and then I saw at the bottom the cop directing us to turn right at the bottom so I had to slow down quite a bit at the turn and then boom - right in front of me was another steep climb.  I have a lot to learn about biking and think i could really shave some time off my bike leg.  I finished the 40km in 1:23:25. 

I spent exactly 1 minute in transition 2.  I grabbed another Hammer Gel and another Onza Gel to take on the course.  I also had a bag of Honey Stingers in my bib pouch.  I was pretty sure I didn't take the entire 20oz of Nuun that was on the bike so I was a bit worried about dehydration as the sun was hot and there were stretches of the run right along the beach that provided no relieve. I did not have an water or NUUN to carry on the run course.

The run was 2 loops of a nice 5km along the boardwalk, through the park and a quaint cottage neighborhood and along the stretch of Mosley Street.  Psychologically I don't really like the 2 loop course as you come to the end of 5km you are right at the finish line and there is a lot in you that says goodness I wish I was just finished.  Instead you go back out for the last 5km.  It is however, nice to see your adoring fans half way through the run too.  Barry and Carole were both screaming for me "you got this, you got this baby"  I know they meant I was going to beat my 3 hour goal.  By my watch I was pretty sure I was going to beat it too but with 5km of a hot run on tired dehydrated legs - anything could happen.  I'm pretty sure I took my Onza

With about 500 meters left you turn back onto the boardwalk and run for the finish.  I was happy to see Carole and she ran along with me for a bit.  I think this was when she talked about beer.  Or maybe it was on the first loop. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I saw the clock said 3:07 - I knew it had to be under 3:12 for me to beat my goal so I knew I had accomplished what I had trained for all summer.  I made it to the start line, I swam the entire swim course, I didn't fall off my bike, I ran the entire run course and I made it to the finish line in under 3 hours.  I only failed in drinking my entire 20oz NUUN on the bike.

The finish line of the particular race is not the best laid out area.  I'm sure this has something to do with the popularity of the public beach but also the Try-a-tri was still underway and the swim exit cut off the finish line from the finish festivities.  After wandering around a bit I found a banana and inhaled it.  I was unable to eat more than a bite or two of the delicious Hero burger, couldn't even take a sip of chocolate milk and I couldn't even swallow the water.  HOWEVER, we found a nice patio on the beach and surprisingly the Stella on tap went down perfectly!  It was a perfect end to a perfect race!

I'm registered to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half marathon on Oct. 17 with a few friends in support of Cottage Dreams.  I will probably run it with the notion that I won't push myself and just run for the fun of it (sure, that's very much like me - more likely I'll be running for a sub 1:50 PR).  That will mark the end of the season up here in Toronto.  We have talked a bit about winter races down south but I think we might leave the winter racing season open and get strong and healthy for next years season.  My goal for 2012 season will be to run a 70.3 Ironman - my 2 choices for driving distance 70.3 are Syracuse and Muskoka - both are September races and both have challenging rides and runs!  Other option is Miami ...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nations Tri 2011

I'm coming to the end of my training for my "A" race - The Nations Tri on September 11,2011. I have been asked many times why i chose this race and my off the cuff response is "I'm running it with an old friend from high school".  Which WAS true until she just informed me she wasn't about to swim in the Potomac under trained and I SO understand!  So I'm fully expecting her and Barry to be my biggest cheerleaders and cheer me through my first Olympic Tri.  And if anyone else is in the DC metro area come on down and scream me on!

But I also choose this particular race because it is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  A day I know we all remember as if it were yesterday.

I was in my new house in Sunnyvale, CA - had just moved in in August as my company has closed East Coast operations and relocated me from my home in Washington DC.  I had just spent the past couple of years living in Washington DC but commuting to NYC every Tuesday - Thursday.  I worked from home the rest of the week and went to UMD Business School on Monday and Thursday nights.  It was a fun and busy time in my life where little stood still.  That Spring of 2001 the Company was downsizing and closed my NYC Office but offered to relocate me to California.  So off I went.

On the morning of 9/11 my phone rang, I answered to hear Barry say "your country is under attack".  I turned on the TV in time to see the second tower hit.  My life changed at that very instant.  That day passed so slowly.  I remember speaking to my friend Jason who called me from his cell phone as he walked up Broadway.  It was surreal. I remember talking to my mom on the phone, in tears relishing the fact that I was NOT in NYC.  I remember going to a church and sitting for a long time.  I remember going to Neil's pub with Jeannine.  I remember being glued to the TV.  I cried a lot that day.  And over the days to come.  Life changed drastically for me after that day.  6 weeks after officially relocating me to California my company let me go, I returned to the DC area to finish my MBA full time in one semester so that I could graduate with my Part-time class in May of 2002.

When I saw that Nations Tri was being run on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I knew that had to be my "A" race.  I will never forget that day 10 years ago.  And on September 11th, 2011 I will race my heart out and I will dedicate this race to all those who lost someone that day, especially to my classmate and friend Michele who lost her brother that day.  I will utter those words as I'm entering the Potomac - Let's Roll.  And I will push myself in honor of all those who died.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

40/10 brick for the record

Today was my first big brick - I planned for a 40/10 and actually did a 42.86k ride in 1:50 and a 9.85 run in 53:34.

I started my day off with only 1 cup of coffee and a odwalla chocolate protein shake (YUM) around 7am.  had a very small bowl of leaping lemurs right before I left.  I took 1 onza gel and prepared 2 16oz bottles of citrus fruit flavored nuun.  One for the bike and one for the run (i drank them both).

Bike went great - not the fastest I could have gone but i did push myself on the back side and pushed my speeds up to over 30km/h.  I was on the waterfront trail which has lots of traffic and I have to go through Queen's Quay in street traffic.  My average pace of 23km/h is not indicitave of my ride.  My knee started to hurt a little.

Run - got the knee strap for the right knee that was bothering me.  took a hammer raspberry gel (YUM) another onza gel before hitting the run.  Ran to Kew Tennis courts and had a short break to watch the kids, then ran into friends and walked with them a bit so had a rest in the middle of the run.  Was happy to run an average pace of 5:26.

My knee is tender and I'm icing it as i type.  I downed another 16oz of nuun and need to eat now!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Acura 10miler

This is me crossing the finish line of the Acura 10 miler - a PR of 1:27:09.  I went into the race with very little expectation after riding 90 km to Stouffville and back the day before - my longest ride ever by 40km and many many hills to boot.  Happily, I awoke around 6am feeling pretty good and ready to go into the race.  I had a bit of trouble getting my coffee and cereal down so was a little concerned about nutrition.  I had eaten very well the 2 days prior and I was planning on popping a gel 15 minutes prior to the race so I was staying positive as I felt pretty terrific!

First, a great race venue starting and ending in the distillery district.  The course is beautiful as it takes you out and around the Leslie Spit with incredible views of the lake and the city.  LUCKILY there was a lot of cloud cover otherwise the heat might have been unbearable - as it was it was very warm and humid making for a very sweaty run.  A light rain shower might have made things better but it really wasn't that bad.

We started the race in the second major corral and i think we were about a minute after the gun to cross the start line.  It is a crowded race on a pretty narrow course so we came out with a quick pace - everyone trying to get settled into their own race pace - passing and being passed.  From the very start my legs felt great - surprising me as i was sure they would be dead after the long ride the morning before.  While I had every intention to run with my hubby, my legs were itching to pickup the pace.  At the first water station I took a water and kept on going and that was the last I saw of Barry.  I had planned on running with him but I knew he was planning a slower pace as his marathon is in 2 weeks and my legs just felt so good. not sure he will ever stop bugging me about saying I would run with him and then leaving him 2km into the race.

I settled into a nice sub 5:30min/k averaging 5:25 over the race.  I tried a new energy chew called honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews - they were tasty and seemed to do the job quite well.  I popped on every water station and took water at every one.  I finished the race strong at 1:27 - my first official 10 miler (I attempted the Angus Glen 10miler in the spring but it was cut short due to lightening).

What a great race - the volunteers were amazing!  I do however have a couple bones to pick with other racers. 

First, if you pack a gel (or 2 or 10) to take on the course, you can pack the wrapper up after you consume the gel.  We were running out in a beautiful park in Toronto and I saw many gel packs along the course - nothing but litter.  I actually reprimanded 3 runners that I witness throwing their gel packets into the grass along the route.  There were many water stations with MANY trash cans - you weren't racing to get a BQ so take the second to properly discard your trash.

Second, I run middle of the pack, I'm not going to win the race, I'm not going to win my age group, I'm out to have fun, test myself and be fit.  Anyone racing around me must realize this as well. There is NO REASON what so ever for body checking at any time of the race.  I watched one particular participate push and shove at almost every water station - seriously, by the 4th time I seriously considered tripping her! (Of course I DIDN'T).

Next weekend there will be a shorter recovery between my ride and my race.  I will ride 90-100k on Saturday morning and then race in the Midsummer Night's 15km on Saturday night!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ramblings about The Beach

I am so very fortunate to live in a great little neighborhood about 9km from downtown Toronto called The Beach (or The Beaches depending what side you stand on that debate).  We have been here for 7 years now and I can say I would live no where else in Toronto but here.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to try SUP for the first time.  That's short for Stand Up Paddle if you are like my hubby who said to me "when you say SUP it means nothing to me".  I had been wanting to try it for awhile now and now I think I found a new hobby (oh how to fit this in between runs, rides, swims, spins, yoga, and weights) but unfortunately only another month or so before this hobby will move South.  I'll be checking it out when we are down in FLA this winter for sure!
If you live in Toronto and want to give SUP a try give Janna a shout at http://www.supgirlz.com/ and let me know and I might get out there to join you!  They only paddle until the end of September so not a lot of time left.

On my run this morning I was once again reminded of house incredibly lucky I am to live in such a wonderful neighborhood so close to Lake Ontario.  I even stopped to take a couple of shots on my Blackberry.  They didn't turn out that great - will try more another time. That's the CN tower and downtown Toronto.  I thought it was a nice and clear day but the BB seems to have picked up some smog or haze!

This is taken from out on the point of Ashbridge's Bay Park looking back to where my street is - about 3.5km away.  It's so easy to put a 10k run in around the boardwalk and Ashbridge's Bar Park.  today was a reminder to get out and enjoy the weather and the neighborhood now because even though it isn't even mid-August, the air at night is tuning cooler and fall is just around the corner!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bracebridge Sprint Tri Report

This is me finishing my third triathlon - with a time of 1:34:23 - not my best race by far but I learned a lot and I did cut my transition times by a huge amount.


The 750 meter swim was in the Muskoka River - a quite narrow river that had the faint taste and smell of gasoline and motor oil. The water temp was quite warm at 77*F but wetsuits were still allowed and due to the advantages of wearing one I choose to wear mine. The swim was a time trial start which has its pros and cons. The pros are easy - you have all the space in the world, the water is much calmer and the chances of being kicked, elbowed or swam over are nearly zero. The cons include a lack of adrenaline, waiting for your turn to come up and not having the surge of energy when you hit the water. I was actually happy to have the time trial start as the river was very narrow and the thought of the masses of us swimming all at once were not pleasant.

I'm pretty sure I know why this swim was tougher than the swim a month ago in Peterborough. First, I'm carrying around a few extra pounds from our Florida vacation and second I don't think I was adequately hydrated and fueled for this race. A problem I face with out of town races is finding good quality meal the night before and to eat at a decent time. Finally, my goggles failed me - the left side leaked quite a bit and I actually had to stop at a paddle board about half way though to try to fix it - I wear contacts so I was very concerned about losing my left contact lens. I pressed on and finished the swim in 18:48, 2 minutes longer than my 16:46 in the Peterborough race a month before. I put the swim behind me and remembered I was working on cutting my T-times.


It was a very short run up to transition and I made quick work of getting out of my wetsuit, into my cycling shoes (hate my shoes - need to get an easier pair to get one), helmet and bike gloves (which I will no long wear during races). Grab a quick drink of my warm G2 and headed out to the bike course. My T1 time was 2:41 shaving nearly 40 seconds from the 3:19 at Peterborough.


WOW what a bike course - there were a couple very steep hills but it started out nice and flat so I quickly got myself in my rhythm and felt comfortable (I am not the most comfortable on the bike and have a huge fear of falling). As I approached the first large hill I noticed a lot of riders WALKING their bikes ... I was determined NOT to get off my bike and got out of the saddle and got up that hill. As I crested the top I did something I hope to never do again - I vomited in my mouth - which I quickly expelled and had to take water on the bike to rinse my mouth. I couldn't get to my shot blocs (nutrition) in my pouch on my bib belt. I knew I was probably very dehydrated from the warm swim in the wet suit as well as the hot air temps and lack of shade on the course. I continued on the winding, gentle hill course and put each large hill behind me. The turn around went smoothly and I pushed as hard as I could on the return. I completed the bike in 43:02 just a tad quicker than the 43:46 at Peterborough. That's me coming back in from the Bike - I love this photo because my kids are in the back ground cheering me on!


I made quick work in T2 - happy that I did NOT fall off my bike I quickly racked and changed shoes and was out of there in 57 seconds! a FULL MINUTE quicker than Peterborough. I knew I had my shot blocks in my pouch and I knew there would be water on the course.


The run out of the park was up a short STEEP hill which I had to walk up as I had a terrible stitch in my right ribs. Was not a good way to start. I knew water was up ahead so I popped 2 shot blocks but that 1k to the water station was long and hot and the pain in my rib was horrible so I took it easy., Stopped at the first water station to take some water and to pour some on my head and back to cool down. Did some deep breathing while slowly jogging working the stitch out of my side. Luckily at the 2.5k turn around the pain was gone and by the 3rd km I was back to running my 5 min Ks. The last 2 kms were much better and i made sure to give encouraging words to the athletes that were just coming out on the run course. The finish was down the same steep hill from the beginning which was awesome because it allowed me to turn on the burners and finish very fast and strong. I finished the run at 28:57, quite a bit slower than my 27:28 at Peterborough.

I knew I wasn't optimally prepared for this race and I knew I went in to work on my transitions times - so in that light this race was very successful for me. I also learned that I need to focus on my nutrition during training and the race. My run could have been much faster if I hadn't struggled with the cramping.


I have 5 weeks until my A race - the Nation's Tri in Washington DC on Sept. 11. This is my first Olympic Distance and this race holds special meaning to me. First, it's the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Secondly, its in a city I called home from 1998 - 2001. Third, I'm racing with my old school friend Julie. And finally, it is the first time will have returned to DC since I left in August 2001.