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 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.