Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 6 Training Update: 10 Weeks to go!

The Numbers - week 6- August 20 - August 26
Swam 3 times (Mon, Tues, Thurs): 6,000m, 2hour and 38 mins
Biked 4 times (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat): 199.79 km, 7 hours and 41 mins
Ran 2 times (Sat and Sun): 25.15 km, 2 hours and 30mins
Weight training once (Tuesday)

This week started off behind the 8 ball as I ran the Midsummer Night 30k on Saturday night and my recovery days took away from my running.  My body is definitely feeling the effects of the training and I'm tired, hungry and sore most of the time.  This week I accomplished 2 major goals.

First, I finally got myself to Absolute Endurance and into their endless pool for a stroke analysis and swim session with Kyle.  I definitely should have done this long ago but at least I have done it now.  I have purchased 4 more session with Kyle and will see him again on Tuesday.  Given that I have not been in a master's program or have had any real instructions on my technique, there is much room for improvement.  I'm looking forward to my coached sessions with Kyle.

Second, I completed a 4,000m open water continuous swim!  Thursday this week was perfect conditions and with my buddy Carole at my side on the SUP board, I swam from the base of Silverbirch to Woodbine Beach and back.  The water was perfectly cool, crystal clear and calm.  It was a huge confidence booster to know that I can do my Ironman swim with no problem!  I'm looking forward to doing the swim again on the Holiday Monday!

The last two highlights of the week were meeting my triatlete hero Chrissy Wellington.  Her book is an inspirational read!
I should call my Blog LK Smiles

and riding the Muskoka 70.3 bike course for the second time.
with club-mates Dushan, Irisz, Jayson, Chad and Myndi

I had planned on riding the bike course and the run course but we got a late start in the morning and it was hot and humid so I bailed on the last 21k of the ride.  So technically I did not get a long enough ride in this week but I feel like the intensity of my bike workouts this week, including the very difficult Muskoka course makes up for it.

A not so great moment in training this week was my very sucky long run on Sunday.  I had wanted to run 2:30 but only managed to get just over 2 hours done.  Again I had a late start in the morning and was tired and dehydrated from the Muskoka ride the day before.  The first 10 km were great.  Then I got a very painful stitch in my side and had to walk/run the remainder.  It wasn't pretty.  Mentally, for the first time, I started to doubt my ability to complete an Ironman.  Luckily I'm over that now, putting week 6 behind me and looking happily at week 7.

My key training goals for this coming week:
  1. Continue to improve my swimming with the coaching of Kyle
  2. Join my club mates for hill repeats on Brimley on Tuesday
  3. Nail my long ride of 5 - 5:30 hours with Christina on Thursday
  4. Try to enjoy a LSD of 2:15- 2:30 on the weekend
10 weeks is no time at all!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week 5 Training Recap: 11 Weeks until Ironman Florida!

The Numbers - week 5- August 13 - August 19
Swam 2 times (Mon, Wed):3,550m, 1hour and 28 mins
Biked 3 times (Mon, Wed, Thurs): 175.5km, 6 hours and 22 mins
Ran 4 times (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat): 42.6 km, 3 hours and 46 mins
Weight training once (Tuesday)

This was the first build week of my second build session.  I was coming off a nice easy week and ready to hit some milestones: A long bike ride of 4:30 - 5 hours and a 30km long run.

Monday started out good with James's hour spin class followed by a 20 min treadmill run.  I hadn't been to James's class in a very long time but I'm happy I can fit it back into my schedule because it is an awesome sweat-fest of high intensity  intervals.  The run on the Mill felt great.  I dragged myself to the Summerville 50m pool that afternoon but I was not feeling much like swimming.  I have to learn that when I am not feeling a swim workout I should just not bother.  It was a total waste of my time and what little energy I had to squeak out 1,500 useless meters.

Tuesday's plan was to get up early and get my hour tempo run done.  My legs were sore from the Toronto 10 Miler and I was so incredibly tired I couldn't get myself out of bed.  It wasn't going to be a hot day so I figured I would get my run in later in the day.  I made my Tuesday morning gym date for weight training but never did get the energy to tackle my run.

Wednesday was better day all around.  I hit David's spin class and then ran to Cherry Beach and back.  Wednesday night OWS clocked in 2,000m with a lot of social interaction with my club members in between laps.  I was getting psyched for my long ride on Thursday.

On Thursday morning I drove up to Elgin Mills and Leslie and embarked on my 130km ride alone.  I am really embracing my lonely long rides.  The mental training is wonderful and I know will go a long way during my Ironman.  You are alone on the bike no mater how you look at it!  I rode up to Lake Simcoe and around the lake a bit and then back.  I was running a little behind schedule so I only got a 15 minute run in after instead of the planned 30 mins.  It is important to note that I felt great on and after this ride. 

Friday was a total rest day that I took full advantage of.  I spent most of the day on my butt!

Saturday night was the Midsummer's Night Run 30k.  I had never run this distance and I was excited to tackle it. I won't go into the gory details, you can check out the race report for that.  I completed it in 2:44:31 which was a good time for me.  It was a hard race and my legs really took a beating.  

Even though I I didn't hit all my training bang on this week, I'm really happy with what I did.  I am still struggling with my swimming but this week I'm finally getting in to see Kyle at Absolute Endurance for my stroke analysis and I'm planning a 4k continuous swim from my end of the Beach to Woodbine Beach and back.  I think that getting that 4k continuous swim under my belt will give me great confidence in the water.

My key training goals for this coming week:

  1. Swim stroke analysis with Kyle on Monday
  2. Swim a continuous 4km (Wednesday or Thursday)
  3. Ride the Muskoka 70.3 bike and Run course, then run 10k of the run course on Saturday
  4. Enjoy a SLOW long run of 2:30 - 3 hours

2012 Midsummer's Night 30k Race Report

Last night I ran the Midsummer's Night Run 30k.  It was the third year I have participated in this event.  In 2008 I race walked the 15k, in 2011 I ran the 15k and last night was my first go at the 30k distance ... ever!
2008 - before my running career 
While my Ironman training plan only called for a 2 hour long run this week, I really wanted to run the 30 k distance and this race appeared to be a great opportunity.  And it was!

The 30k run started at 5:30pm, with the 15k walkers starting at 6 and the 15k runners starting at 6:45.  Not really happy with the way the staggered start played out on the course but understand the principle behind having folks finish around the same time.

Being a night race there is always the challenge of fueling properly and avoiding GI issues since you have all day to fill your belly up.  I felt pretty good going into the race - had a nice breaksfast of oatmeal and blueberries and a fabulous sushi lunch with Carole and Vic.  Took a gel about 15 minutes before the start along with an Onza and felt pretty good tummy-wise at the start.  It was quite warm and sunny at the start and my fear of over heating was at the top of my mind.

I lined up originally with the 2:40 pace bunny but then ended up next to the 2:30 bunny.  First FAIL of the race - I decided to stick with the 2:30 bunny (5min/km pace).  Without any warning the horn blew and we were off.

The course can be found here.  I'm not a fan of the 30k course.  I love the 15k course but the 30k course takes us up and around Villiers Street which is just not pretty, then down to Cherry Beach, along the Cherry Beach trail east, back west along Unwin and then east across Commissioners (my least favorite road!).  Then we pick up the nice part of the course out the Leslie Spit, around the lighthouse, back through the eastern loop of the spit, then out of the spit.  The course then splits on Leslie with the 15kers heading back across Commissioners to the finish line while the 30kers follow the path to Lakeshore, East to the Beach, out and around the large peanut loop of Ashbridges bay and then back.

I started out strong and kept good pace with the 2:30 group.  It was HOT.  I was trying not to get overheated and poured water on me at every station.  As we hit the 10k mark my heart rate sky-rocketed and I was overheating.  I knew at this point I would not be able to maintain the 5min/km pace.  I started making excuses in my head .... like, of course I can't - I rode 130k just 2 days ago, my legs are not fresh, it's a night race, this is supposed to be a training race.

KM 12 clocked in at 5:15, Km 13 at 5:30.  I was going in the wrong direction quickly. At this point we were just on the spit and the run had turned into "dodge the walkers" who clogged up the 13k water station making me miss the water and have to backtrack to grab water.  Groups of walkers were walking 4 - 6 people wide so it was not much fun for the next few KM getting through the walkers.  I have utmost respect for walkers, but these were more like strollers.  I think the new start time for the walkers really messed up the run for the 30kers.

I had finally gotten my heart rate under control, and with the setting sun I was cooling down significantly.  My legs were in more pain then they have ever been in a run.  From the top of my hamstrings all the way to my Achilles were tight on both legs.  I stopped to walk once but it was even worse getting started up again so I just trotted along.  At this point I was going through the motions in my mind.   This is nothing compared to the Ironman, I have to do this plus 12 more K AFTER swimming and biking... suck it up and get it done.

I saw Barry around the 20k mark as I was heading back and as soon as I saw him in the distance, tears welled in my eyes.  I was not doing good. He flashed me a big smile and thumbs up, all I could managed was a slow shake of my head.  I was not in a happy spot.  I wanted this run to feel as good as the 10 miler did the week before and it just wasn't!

From there on my pace never saw anything better than 5:30 with my paces staying in the upper 5s except for km 25, 26, and 27 ( 6:00, 6:13, and 6:00).  These were the three km in the peanut loop of Ashbridges bay.  I had expected to see some friends at the entrance and was surprised that everyone I expected was not there - but Irisz, who I did NOT expect was.  When I came back out of the peanut loop and saw Irisz and John again I was so happy!  She was cheering so loudly for me and ran with me for what seemed like forever, though it must have just been a minute or two.  Irisz's positive words and encouragement meant the world to me and gave me the strength to pull it together for the last 3 km and I clocked them all in under 6min/km.  I would not have been able to do that with her.  Thanks Irisz!

The KM markers, which had been "early" for the entire race when compared to my watch, were all of a sudden "late" ... and in the end the run was actually 30.23km.  I was so happy to turn back onto Commissioners and get to the finish.  I was able to get it together and sprint up Logan to the finish line.  I finished in 2:44:33 chip time.  My goal was 2:45.  My "A+" goal was closer to 2:30 with my "B" goal being under 3 hours.  While I hit my goal, I did not execute this race well at all.

I felt horrible.  I cannot remember feeling so horrible after a race. I stopped at medical and sat down on a chair but quickly stood up.  Sitting was not the right thing to do.  I staggered to the medals and found my way to the plastic bag that had a banana and a bag of candy.  My legs were wobbly and I was searching for a place to lean when I saw Cavin walking toward me.  A huge wave of relief washed over me.  I did not want to be alone in a sea of people.  Shawna,  Calvin's lovely fiancĂ©e took my stuff (I had my hand-held bottle, the steal bottle they hand out at the finish line and my food baggie.  I inhaled my banana thinking it would somehow cure my pains.  I'm not sure how long we stood there but I slowly stretched and regained my balance and composure.  They were off to the beer tent and I made my way back to the finish line to wait for Barry.

It wasn't long before he came through with a time of 3:05:15.  He looked great and felt great ... role reversal all around!  We found some bleachers and stretched a bit then changed into dry cloths and hit the beer tent.  It was nice to have a couple of beers with Cavin and his crew.  

I learned a lot about race execution today which I hope I take into my Ironman.  As much as I want to run 5min kilometers, if I had just gone out running 5:15 or 5:30s from the start I would have had a more successful race.  I pushed myself too hard at the beginning and paid for it on the back end of the race.

Surprisingly, my legs feel pretty good today.  I didn't get much sleep last night - a combination of adrenaline, caffeine and sore legs!

I'm sure I will run this race again.... but not necessarily the long course!  As in years past - it was a well organized event, well supported with volunteers and spectators.  The after party beer garden and BBQ are top notch as well!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Week 4 - recovery week, 12 weeks until IMFL

Last week was a recovery week.  I had some inflammation in my right Achilles tendon from my last long run so it was a good week to take it easy.  I didn't run all week until Friday and tried to focus on resting, recovering and eating right.  I felt pretty cruddy all week which I hear happens during recovery and taper weeks.

The Numbers - week 4- August 6 - August 12
Swam 2 times (Mon, Wed):3,890m, 1hours and 28mins
Biked 4 times (Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri): 80.36km, 3 hours and 50 mins
Ran 2 times (Fri, Sun): 21.94km, 1 hour 49 mins
Weight training twice (Tuesday and Thursday)

Both my swims this week were OWS at Cherry Beach.  On Monday I swam 2,000m and on Wednesday 1,890m.  I enjoyed my Monday swim but Wednesday I wasn't feeling all that great and sort of gave up earlier than I should have.

My biking this week was 3 awesome spin classes and a VERY slow, lovely ride to Cherry Beach and back with my two boys Griffin (13) and Jensen(5).  I was so proud of Jensen riding all the way to Cherry without stopping!  That's nearly 7km!

As I said, I was really taking time off from the run all week.  On Friday I decided to hit the treadmill after my spin class and was happy to run 30 completely pain free minutes and it felt awesome.  On Sunday I ended my training week running the Toronto 10 miler - a great race!  I cut 8 mins from my last years time clocking in at 1 hour, 19 mins.  More notably I ran every kilometre in under 5 mins and my Achilles didn't act up at all!

This coming week I'm starting my second build session and very excited to get out on a 4:30 - 5 hour ride and complete the week with the Midsummer's Night 30km run!

Toronto 10 miler Race Report

This past Sunday I ran the Toronto 10 miler - my second year in a row running this race and it was even better than last year.  I'm not sure if there were less runners this year or if it was the change in the start/finish area but I found the race this year much less crowded.  Last year I remember being pushed around quite a bit while this year it was a very pleasant race.

I went into this race with very fresh legs since last week was a recovery week in my Ironman training and I took it even easier than my plan due to a sore Achilles from my long run last weekend.  I didn't run all week to rest the Achilles and then hit the treadmill for 30 minutes on Friday and felt super.

Now that I'm training for an Ironman and have quite a few running and trialthon races under my belt, I don't really get stressed out or nervous for a race.  In fact, the night before I was at my girlfriend's house for a little party - though I was very good and only had 2 beers followed by 3 very large glasses of NUUN and was home before 10:30.  I did eat a bit of junk though so I was a little worried about that effecting me on Sunday.

We woke around 6:15 and I proceeded with my normal morning routine of coffee and cereal for breakfast.  I was very relaxed as if I was just getting ready for any Sunday morning run.  Our babysitter arrived at 7:30 and we were in a cab on our way to the Distillery District.  We arrived with more than enough time to hit the port-o-potty and ended up muling about before lining up. The weather was quite cool in the shade and I remember thinking this was going to a nice cool race.

The start line was uneventful.  I was in the second corral  and Barry was in the 3rd so we said our goodbyes and lined up.  Like I said, last year the race was SO CROWDED and I was expecting the same this year but it wasn't bad at all.  There was a new start/finish line this year and I think that helped.  At 8:30 the starting gun went off and we were off.

It wasn't even a kilometre into the run that the clouds disappeared and it got warm ... hot.  I decided right then I was going to soak myself at every water station to keep from over heating.  I find that once I over heat it is harder to get back onside. I didn't have any real strong goals for this race since it was more like a fun training run more than anything.  Though there is always a part of me that wants to test my limits.  I wanted to see if I could maintain 16 km under 5min/km. My first km clocked in at 4:58 and I felt great.

I love the course as it goes out the Leslie Spit and my long runs regularly take me out there.  I ran consistently keeping my pace around 4:50/km.  Around the 10km mark I caught up to a man and we paced each other the remainder of the way.  I felt strong and sprinted in the finish.  I was so incredibly happy to be under 1:20 and still have energy.  I didn't feel tired or wiped out at all and really felt like I could go on forever.

For the first time EVER, I got not one, but two blisters.  As we were entering the Spit there was a misting cooling tent which I ran under and soaked my shoes in a big puddle.  I guess the wet socks got the better of me.  Thank goodness for Elastoplast SOS blister bandages.  They have been a saving grace!

The finishing chute this year was awesome - it was wide and long.  Last year I remember being hurried through with a man on a megaphone "keep on moving, keep on moving".   This year I was able to stay at the finish line and watch Barry finish.

This is definitely one of my favourite races.  CRS and Alan Brooks did a fantastic job and of course the volunteers were awesome.  A well supported race all around.  I will run this race again next year!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week 3 training recap: 13 weeks until Ironman Florida!

The Numbers - week 3 - July 30 - August 5
Swam 2 times (Mon, Wed): 6,280m, 2hours and 29 mins
Biked 4 times (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat): 193.55km, 7 hours and 39 mins
Ran 4 times (Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun): 44.80km, 4 hours
Weight training twice (Tuesday and Thursday)
SUP (Stand up Paddle) once - Wednesday

This week I wanted to really focus on my plan and try to hit my numbers, especially in the swimming.  I started the week out nailing my 3,200m drill workout at Summerville 50m pool and then powered through over 3,000m continuous open water swim on Wednesday night.  Hitting those two workouts were very important to me!  I'm feeling very confident I will be able to power through 4000m. I have booked an hour session with Kyle at Absolute Endurance for a stroke analysis and I know it will help my efficiently in the swim and and perhaps give me a little more speed ... I'm still dreading my swim workouts - this coming week I am ditching the pool and will do both my swims at Cherry Beach and hope that helps!

I biked on Monday along the waterfront trail and have decided I cannot train with the recreational traffic.  The bike will be heading back to the trainer for my Monday rides to optimize my training.

For the 3rd week in a row I got up before dawn on Tuesday and was very happy with my 60 min tempo run with 20 minutes in Z4.  What impressed me most was how fast and easy the last 20 minutes were after the Z4 effort.  I came off this run really happy with how my training is making me faster!  I also hit the gym for an hour of weight training and coffee with Lawrie.

Wednesday morning I hit one of my favorite spin classes for 45 minutes of sweat and Wednesday night I powered through my 3,000m continuous swim.

On Thursday I trekked up to Warden and Major Mac for my 2 hour Endurance-Tempo ride followed my a run off the bike.   Not quite sure I put forth the effort called for in my plan on the bike but I ran off the bike and was happy with my run - just over 5km with an average pace of 5:07.  Hit the gym Thursday night for my second weight training session of the week and so nice to catch up with my gym friends.

Friday was a TRD - total rest day!  Probably could have done without the Stella's on the patio on Friday afternoon, but it was a good way to rest!

I finished out my week with a ride of the Muskoka 70.3 course on Saturday.  While my plan called for a 4-4:30 hour ride I was happy to get the chance to ride this course.  It is actually a 94km course that goes around the Lake of Bays (4 more than the typical 90k).  And to sum it up - you are either climbing or descending the entire time!  It took us about 3:30 to ride the course and you had to stay completed focused on the ride the entire time!  I have completely reset my time expectations for this race - both the bike and the run are going to kick my butt with hills.  While my first half-iron (Welland) was flat, this one is completely the opposite!

At about 70km into the ride you hit a very rough road with stretches of loose gravel and sand.  I'm afraid this will be a safety issue during the race.  Had I ridden the course prior to registering I probably wouldn't have decided to race!  But with $250 sunk cost I will race it on September 9th!  We followed the ride with a very HOT run and then a great cool dip in the lake (THANKS MYNDI)! The highlight of the ride was the company - 5 TTC club-mates: Phil, Trevor, Cavin, Irisz and Myndi!  Thanks guys for a great ride (a super thanks to Cavin for driving the 5 hour round trip!).  And just as a note, I brought my camera but didn't get a shot of the group and I'm not happy about that :( .

My long run this week was a 2 hour run which I was hoping to cover about 24km.  Unfortunately, it was just under 22km.  It was NOT a good run.  It was hot, it was humid and it was windy.  When you were running into the wind you were just praying to turn around to get out of the wind, when you were running without the wind you were dying of heat and sweat and wanted a breeze.  Somewhere between 12 and 15km my right Achilles tendon started to get tight and was a problem for the rest of my run.  It continues to be a problem right now.  I have iced, trameeled, and KT taped it.  I will not be running until the pain and swelling are gone.  I can only attribute it to running a few hills on Thursday after my ride and on Saturday after my ride and it just gave out today.

All in all I'm very pleased with my training this week.  I was a little short on my long ride but I think the intensity and effort made up for the lack of time and distance in the saddle.  I'm also disappointed with my long run but it's behind me now.  I'm running the Midsummer's Night 30k in 2 weeks and wanted to get more distance in today.

Next week is my last week of the first build session and with this new Achilles thing I might have to reset expectations and the plan.  I am even considering making this coming week a recovery week and starting the second build session the following week.  To make this coming week even more complicated, the kids are not in camp and I am registered to run the Toronto 10 Miler on Sunday.

My three goals for last week were:
- 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 working properly)

My three goals for this week are:
- sort out HRM issues  (my Garmin heart rate monitor is not working properly) 
- allow my Achilles to heal
- keep refining my nutritional plan

August is here and if we could get a little reprieve from the heat and humidity, it would be much appreciated! And while I am not one to complain about Toronto being too hot, I think a more typical wet and cold Toronto summer would have been more conducive to Ironman training!