Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 2 training recap: 14 weeks until Ironman Florida

I finished my second week of my IMFL training in style this week with a nice run in Ottawa with Barry.  We ran the last 17k of the Ottawa Marathon course which is beautiful through Rockcliff and along the Canal.

The Numbers - week 2 - July 23 - 29
Swam 2 times: 3.48 km, 1 hours 26 mins
Biked 4 times: 180.45km, 6 hours 36 mins
Ran 4 times: 37.16 km, 3 hours 32 mins
weight trained once
SUP (Stand up Paddle) once

I hit all my scheduled workouts except in swimming.  I have to find a little more focus and drive to get to the pool for my drills and be more excited to complete my full continuous swim at open water swim practice on Wednesday nights.  The weather even cooperated and I finally got out for a 1:30 SUP which was a great workout as well as fun!

The highlight of the week was my solo, 4 hour, 109km ride on Friday.  While riding with someone is always nice, I think completing some of my long rides alone is great mental training.  I won't be riding with anyone at IMFL so might as well train for that.  I rode up Warden from Major Mac until I hit Lake Simcoe and then I headed West around the lake until I turned around at Roches Point.  It was a spectacular day for a ride and the scenery was beautiful!

I really need to figure out my nutrition on the bike.  It's the question of 4:1 carb:protein or straight up carbs.  I have friends and mentors who can argue for each side.  This week I took 4 bottles of Ironman Perform, a bag of Honey Stingers and 2 Acellgels (4:1 ratio).  I ate a few of the stingers and one of the gels but the Perform wasn't washing them down well so I stopped.  Obviously I was leaning toward a mostly carb nutrition and while I performed pretty well (average 28.2 kph) I did not feel content with my nutrition.  Lessons learned: need bottle of NUUN to wash down Stingers and Gels and my stomach gets a little grouchy with just Perform to drink.  I have all week to figure out what I will try this weekend!

I'm excited to get into the upcoming week of training.  My week will end with a ride of the Muskoka 70.3 course with a few of my club mates on Saturday.  My plan calls for a 4:30 ride - I assume we will make it through the 94k of the course in 3:30 - 3:45 so will have to add a bit on the end if I can.  And then finally a 2 hour run on Sunday.

Goals for Upcoming Week
- nail swim workouts Monday (3,200m drills) and Wednesday (3,000m continuous)
- create nutritional plan for long ride
- sort out HRM issues  (my Garmin heart rate monitor is not work)

Happy Training - get ready to say hello to August!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 1 training recap: 15 weeks until Ironman Florida

Today I started week 2 of my 16 week training program - which means 15 weeks until THE RACE!

The Numbers - week 1 - July 16 - 22
Swam 3 times: 6.35km, 2 hours 31 mins
Biked 5 times: 210.45km, 7 hours 48 mins
Ran 3 times: 29km, 2 hours 37 mins
weight trained once

The week started out great but fizzled a little as the week wore on.  The weekend leading up to this week included a hard 95k bike ride chasing two young guys up hills and a nice 16km run.

Monday I nailed both the bike (60 min endurance) and swim (3000m continuous) on the training plan.

On Tuesday I got up before dawn to run before Barry went to work, then hit the gym for my weight training.  Finished Tuesday afternoon off with a nice lunch with a couple of my besties .... which included too much wine but well worth it!

Wednesday I only completed 1800m of drills at the pool instead of 3200m thinking I was going to open water swim that night but then blew off the OWS because of a twitching shoulder.  I added a spin workout on Wednesday morning even though plan didn't call for it.

Thursday was my tempo ride followed by a run - 1:30 on the bike followed by 30 min run - nailed it - really happy with my run splits!

Avg Pace

My long ride this week was 4 hours followed by a 30minute run and my long run was 1:45.  On Friday I rode Warden on my own for 82k in 3 hours.  I blew off the run off the bike and my long run because I was racing an Olympic distance on Sunday.

I ended my week of training with the Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic triathlon.  Full race report here.  I shaved 17 minutes off my Olympic time and finished in 2:38 - nailing all my goals - sub 30 minute swim, sub 1:20 bike and sub 50 minute run.

I'm not off to a great start this week - after an awesome ride this morning I wrecked avoiding a truck door and hitting the street car tracks.  I was planning on 3200m of drills in the pool but only completed 1500m as I was a bit sore.  Planning on staying on track for the rest of the week!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic Race Report

I usually have a photo of me crossing the finish line ... but that will have to wait until the race photos are posted.   But here is a photo of me right after I finished the Olympic Distance at the Inaugural Toronto Triathlon Festival this morning along with my dear Hubby who raced his first International Distance Duathlon!

I didn't really plan much for this race as it landed on the weekend after my first official week of Ironman training.  It was sort of weird that I didn't taper or stress or really prepare for this race aside from my regular scheduled training.  Last night I packed my triathlon backpack and this morning got up before 5am.

We don't usually spend race morning at home but since this race was here in Toronto, we had our coffees, cereal, packed our drinks and out the door we went.  Picked up my second biggest fan, Carole, and we were on our way to Ontario Place at 5:30am!

Parking and getting into transitions was fairly easy.  This was my first race where I had a numbered spot for my bike and it could not have been better.  Seriously - I had the best bike rack in transition - right on the end of the rack and the closest to the bike out.

Barry's duathlon start was about a kilometre from the swim start so we said our good byes as I lined up for the porto-potties.  The first FAIL of race organizers - over 1000 racers and only 8 potties inside transition and 7 just outside.  The line ups were terrible.  I never saw Carole after I went into transition, and didn't see her again until I returned from the bike.
Nice photo Carole!

Time passed quickly and they were closing transition and starting the swim waves before we knew it.  Simon  Whitfield and Paula Findlay, our Canadian Olympians had a little exposition race that started 2 minutes before the boys started at 7am.  I was in the last wave, us old ladies 35+ didn't start until 7:20.

1500m in a harbour - not as bad as I expected but it could have been better.  It was a funny shaped course and  for some reason there was an orange "turn" buoy along the back side of the route that should have been a yellow lane buoy.  I had a serious goggle FAIL with terrible fogging and we were swimming directly into the rising sun on the back half of the course - where said orange bouy was misplaced.   Since I could hardly see, I focused on that orange turn bouy just to find out I had another orange bouy up ahead.  The course was very crowded and a little physical.  With all that said, I had a pretty good swim of 29.10 (1:57/100m).

The swim exit was right at the entrance to transition which is nice but I ended up at my bike with my cap and goggles still on my head and my wetsuit barely pulled off my upper body. I'm used to more of a run-up to transitions to give me time to remove my earplugs, cap, googles and suit.  I felt like I bobbled my way through T1 and escaped in 1:28 but felt like forever!

The Bike out to the mount line was up a very steep pedestrian bridge - quite tricky with cleats on.  I cannot (I have not even tried to) pre-clip my shoes so I gingerly made my way to the mount line.  Hit the mount line and away I went through the EX grounds and onto the Garder Expressway.  The first part of the ride was a bit congested and I passed a lot of people.  It's quite a nice ride east along the Gardner and then north along the DVP to Eglington.  It wasn't nearly as hilly as I expected and the apparent tailwind helped on the uphill way out.  I was happy to make the turn but was not expecting the headwind when we turned around into.  I don't know why I can never tell I have a tailwind ... until I turn around into the headwind! I expected the back half of the bike to be much faster than it was. I completed the bike in 1:17:13 (31.1 kph).

Because of the steep ramp I decided I was going to dismount barefoot, for the very first time ever ... ever.  It went well enough I guess.  I didn't get my right foot on top of the shoe and it scraped the ground but I got it sorted quickly and I have no bloody knees as a result.
coming in on the bike - barefooted!

Again I felt like i bumbled transition ....
But I was only 1min. Even with the watch band FAIL.
I've got my watch in my hands but no band to attach it to!

The run course was nice but crowed - not only with racers but it was an open recreational path with many bikers, roller bladers, strollers and the such.  Also the sign-age was terrible.  There were markers for the duathon 10k, the Olympic 10k and the sprint 5k.  But they were not clear at to which race they were for!  Since I had a watch malfunction (I didn't have my watch band in transitions - another FAIL), I had no idea what was going on.  I thought I only had 1 km but actually had 3 to go!  I felt good in the run but could carry on a conversation so probably could have gone a little faster.  I took 2 waters at every station except for one, drank a little and dumped the rest on me.  While I never felt like I was going to overheat, I wanted to keep my body temperature as cool as possible.  Because of the sign-age and my watch FAIL, I was never confident as to my pace or how far I had to go.  I wanted to break 50mins for the 10k so I have to be happy with a 49:48 (4:59/km).

Official results - 2:38:37, 6/18 in my AG, 17 minutes faster than my only other Olympic at Wasaga Beach last year.

It was great being part of the Toronto Triathlon Club and having such great support on the course.  I wish I had gotten better photos after the race.  Unfortunately, unlike the Multisport events, there was no Hero Burger at the finish line.  We were allowed to take half a banana, a slice of orange and a half of a bagel and one bottle of water.  So while I wanted to hang out and wait for the sprinters to come in, I was desperate for some food so we trekked the kilometre back to transition and packed up and headed home.

Thanks to our photographer and cheerleader!

This could be a great race in the future if they get a few things straighten out.  The run sign-age must be fixed and the post race food options should be considered (along with a beer tent) and more Port-o-potties at transition  The swag was pretty light (though I do love the Tshirts) and the expo was crowded.  Besides the wait in line to pick up race packets after the mandatory meeting, the event was managed very well with transition security well run.  I must say I never did see the bag check truck but was happy enough to leave my transition bag along the fence - it's what I do in all the local races.

Finally, a huge thank you to all the volunteers - these races would not be possible without them!

I will race this race again next year if it fits nicely into my schedule!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

16 weeks until Ironman Florida

TTC BBQ at Lake Wilcox
Today I got back on George, yes, I have named my bike George. I hadn't even looked at George since he was put in his room after the Welland Half 3 weeks ago.  Today we got back together.  At times it wasn't pretty but all in all a great ride.

I rode with the Toronto Triathlon Club (TTC) this morning and since I wasn't really listening to the groups and walked up a bit late to Ted's talk ... I ended up riding with Chad and Cavin (sorry Cavin if that is not how you spell your name).  Yip, I went out with two boys heading out on a 3 - 3.5 hour, 90 - 100k ride at a "pretty quick pace".  Part of my head said - go with the 2 hour group, the other part said go big or go home.  I always listen to the go big or go home.

In the initial few minutes of the ride I thought I would be ok ... that lasted all of about 4 km.  I think we hit the hilliest route possible up there including an 18% grade.  I kept up great the first half but my legs gave out on the ride home - first I lost all power in the quads .... then my hamstrings and finally my glutes.  We completed 95k in 3hours 23 minutes.  I know I made them wait for me more than a few times - so a big thanks to Chad and Cavin for the ride.

Back at Lake Wilcox, the TTC social committee had set up a nice BBQ for the club and Barry and the kids drove up to join us.  My legs were so completely trashed after the ride.  I didn't even go for a 10 minute run.  I know this is my last weekend to enjoy such a pleasure.

I was nice to meet and chat with some of the club members.  Always great to hear Ironman finisher experiences and that hamburger was tasty after the ride!

Next week I formally start my 16 week training plan and next weekend I'm racing the inaugural Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic- with Simon Whitfield, who as you should know, is Canada's flag bearer for the  London Olympics.

Happy Training!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

17 weeks until Ironman Florida

I just returned from my annual summer Florida vacation.  It's about as hot as it gets down on the Treasure Coast but we made sure to enjoy it.  I participated in the inaugural Aaron Vaughan Memorial Frogman Swim and I ran 12k, 13.5k, 15k and 5k.  Though my nutrition, sleep and hydration took a vacation, I also enjoyed  my second recovery week post 70.3.  I had a 3 week recovery break between my 70.3 race in Welland and the start of my "official" Ironman training. This week I wanted to focus on running and really enjoyed getting up at the crack of dawn to get my miles in before the heat and humidity really gets the best of you.  I've developed a niggle in my right upper calf but I'm very pleased with my running in the Florida conditions.

My "official" Ironman Florida training plan starts next week on July 16.  That's the start of my 16 week plan. While I focused on the run this past week, this week I am going to focus on my bike and get at least 1 open water swim in at Cherry Beach.  I will also get back to the gym this week with strength training at least twice.  I look at my upcoming training and the swims are frightening me.  I want to get into the endless pool at Absolute Endurance and get some help with my stroke.  I'm not a great swimmer and could use all the help I can get.

It's starting to get serious - with only 17 weeks to go.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Aaron Vaughn Memorial Frogman Swim

Every year, right after the kids get out of school for the summer, we head south to Florida for a hot summer vacation. This year, it worked out nicely that we flew in the day before the inaugural Aaron Vaughn Memorial Frogman Swim. Aaron Vaughn was a navy SEAL that was killed along with 29 others on August 6,2011 when his Chinook Helicopter was shot down in Afganastan. He left behind 2 very yonng children. While I never knew Aaron myself, or his parents, he spent his teenage years in my home town and attended my alma mater, Martin County High.  His parents created this event to celebrate the life of their son with all proceeds going directly to his children.

When I first heard of the open water ocean race I was excited because it presented an opportunity I never thought I would find. An opportunity for me to practice open water swimming in the ocean - which will be the first leg of my Ironman journey. Living in Canada I can swim in fresh water lakes until my heart's content but even when visiting my home town in Florida, open water swimming in the ocean was daugnting without support, and here I was given the opportunity to swim with complete race support in the ocean off the very beaches I grew up on! The race offered 3 distances: 200yards, 1km and 5km. While I waanted to swim the 5K, I am not trained for that distance yet so I registered for the  1km.

When we arrived at Jensen Beach the tears welled in my eyes for the first of many times that morning. Lining the entrance to the parking lot were many veterans presenting the US flag. Very moving moment. The parking lot was packed! We found a not too illegal spot to park and heading up to the pavilion to check in. Barry was also swimming his first ocean swim. Since we are on our family vacation and it was a very family friendly event, the 3 kids came along too. The event was very well organized with good flow through the registration tables of siging the waivers, picking up caps, swag bags and body marking.

I was soon coming over the dunes to another amazing sight, the flag bearing veterans had moved to the beach lining the shore of where we would race. The excitement was wonderful. There were over 200 swimmers and lots of spectators. I was expecting warm and flat water conditions but due to an off shore upwelling the water was cooler than expected and a little rougher a well. The visibility wasn't good at all either shattering my thought of swimming in clear ocean waters. I went for a quick swim and decided that while there were very few folks wearing wet suits, I wanted my security blanket. It was not fun pulling on my old sleeveless wet suit over my salty, wet skin but I managed to get it on ... And then sweat my butt off for 30 mins waiting for the start.

Me and Barry

At 9 am there was an opening ceremony that again brought tears to my eyes as Aaron's sister and father spoke. The turn out was far greater than they had expected and they were very grateful for everyone's support. After we pledged our allegance to a massive flag hanging from 2 firetrucks and sang the National Anthem the races began. They started with the 200 yard swim which Barry was participating in. I'm so proud of Barry overcoming his fear and trepidation for this particular morning swim. Later I found out he did it because Griffin was with us and he wanted to set the example. We are all very proud of Barry conquering that swim!


Next it was time for my race, the 1km. It was a beach start with about a 125 meter run/swim through the surf to the first buoy. I started on the outside but wish I had started more aggressive as it turns out I was one of the faster swimmers. There were about 90 of us and it really wasn't crowded - probably the easiest mass or wave start I've ever done. The course was out past the breaking surf and the water was not that choppy. The biggest difference between lake and ocean swimming is the salt. I tend to swallow some water every time I open water swim and this was no exception. However swallowing dirty fresh lake water is not as hard on your belly as swallowing very salty ocean water. The swim was very nice. I was a tad warm in my wet suit however I was grateful to be wearing it. The course was nice - swim out 50 meters, turn left and swim 450 meters, turn left and swim 50 meters then back 450 meters. Then of course the 150 meter swim/ run to the beach. My garmin registered the complete distance of 1.2km.

I finished with an official time of 22:42, 7/21 females, 24/87 overall.  I was incredibly happy with my swim and even more happy I had my first ocean swim under my belt!

This event was well organized and supported.  The sponsors had great swag - chicken biscuits and fruit from Chick-fil-a, free juice from Natalie's fresh juice, and snow cones to name a few!  I am so happy I had the opportunity to race in this inagural event and I hope I can say 10 years down the road that I have participated in every year since!  And to make it even sweeter it was for a good cause!