Saturday, December 14, 2013

Musings post Ironman Cozumel

1.  I have to get faster in the swim.  If I want to be more competitive I cannot give up 10 - 15 minutes on the swim. That's it. I need those minutes.  I need to get to the pool and get it done!

2.  I have to train harder on the bike this winter to develop my riding muscles.  I am new to cycling (3 years on the road) and I know there is untapped potential in my legs. I need to figure out / find / hire someone to help me reach this potential.  I need to learn more about using power and I need to push myself harder here.

3. I have to figure out the mental aspect of the run.  I lost the mental game at Cozumel (read about that here: Ironman Cozumel) on the run.  Just because I couldn't get a gel in me, I basically surrendered to hitting the wall HOURS before it could even happen - I actually remember at 14km, 1/3 into the run, that I was "not going to make it if I couldn't keep nutrition in me"..  I didn't even think I could do it drinking pepsi every 10 minutes!  Why did my brain not let me entertain the idea of just running the marathon on gatorade and pepsi?  I'm sure it could be done.  I thought there would be more variety of food on the run but the aid stations were sparse.

I'm not sure I'll be ready for Lake Placid in 2014, but I'm setting my sights on a race in 2015 which will be all out try for a Kona slot.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 Ironman Cozumel Race Report

It's been over a week since I raced Ironman Cozumel.  I thought of many titles of this blog that day - Ironman Cozumel: the s#*tshow was a big favourite.  Getting there via Cancun-Playa del Carman to Cozumel, to the unorganized registration and packet pick up, to the misinformation as to where we had to check out T2 bags ... it was what I guess you would expect in Mexico ... a bit of a s#itshow.

BUT, our hotel was great and the locals were great.  We stayed at the Intercontinental which ended up being the swim start for the race, so we can't complain there.

The days leading up to the race were windy - incredibly windy and the seas were rough.  The day before the race, as we ate breakfast, we noticed a bunch of officials talking for a long time and I started a rumour that our swim would be made a shorter, point-to-point swim starting at our hotel.  By 4pm that afternoon that rumour was confirmed by a race official.  That's right - hang with me before an Ironman because I'm in the know! (or follow me on twitter)....
Race Directors and Triathlon Mexico Officials
So race morning was like most race mornings though a bit light on nutrition now that I think about it.  I had brought my gluten free bagels, a toaster and some peanut butter but the bagels were too stale and I only got down a few bites.  I had a 200 calorie bottle of CarboPro+Nuun before heading to the T1 and took another bottle to sip on.  I caught the first bus from the hotel to T1, made very quick work of putting my nutrition on the bike, borrowing a pump and pumping my tires and lubing the chain.  I got on the first bus back to my hotel which was key as there were over 2,000 athletes, some of which had no idea the swim start had been changed, that needed to be bused from T1 to the swim start.

I was so lucky to be staying at that hotel!  I went back to the room and heading down to the swim start just before the pros were to go off.  I found my buddy Duncan and like always it's so calming to have a friend to chat with!
talking about something....

The pros went off and in went the age groupers.  Even though officials were saying we had 15 minutes - you know us triathletes - so the fast swimmers got to the start line and started drifting with the current - oh did I mention the new swim course was point-to-point with the current the entire way?  So by the time the gun went off, which no one even claims they heard, the lead swimmers were probably 50-75 meters past the start line (including my buddy Hector who was the 2nd age grouper out of the water, first out of T1 and led the first 50k on the bike!).  Oh well.  There was a loud cheer and we were off swimming.

Typical Ironman mass start swim.  Most violent swim I have ever experienced.  I was pushed into a buoy line and got rope burn on my left leg, I nearly sliced my left hand completely open on a coral head and felt lucky that I only caught a chunk of my right hand on it (which I am still nursing back to health) and I took a whip kick to my left eye that knocked my goggles off and left me seeing stars. It was a short (3.1km) and fast swim (52 minutes).  Getting to the stairs and pulling myself out of the water was a complete disaster too...
yes, we had to tread  water waiting to get up the stairs!
As always I was happy to get out of the swim.  They were handing out the bags of water so I grabbed 2 - one to drink and wash my face and the other to rinse my feet in the change tent - brilliant move if I say so myself!  I made quick work in T1 with a time of 4:58 but there was a long, crowded run-up (that's right people RUN -it's a race) and a crazy bike transition area.

I was happy to get out on the road until I realised that I hadn't secured the top correctly on my new aerobottle (I left mine at home) and I lost half a bottle of Carbopro-Nuun before I pulled over and fixed it.  Deep breaths, long race ahead, put that behind me.
the wind sucked but the scenery was beautiful

The first loop of the bike course was super fast.  The winds hadn't picked up too much and I was riding strong. I had passed quite a few and was only being passed by a few men until I got caught by the first big peleton of the day.  I was about half way through the windy side of the island when I was over taken and sucked in by the largest peleton I have ever seen in a triathlon!  They were 5-6 wide and when I looked over my shoulder they went on as far as I could see.  I'm sure I benefited from this pack passing me.  When we made the turn to head West across the island the pack broke up.  And as I was catching up to a large group of riders, and actively passing on the left (and eating a gel) I heard an official shout out - I turned and saw a guy, on a scooter with his phone, calling out numbers.  In hindsight I think he was warning me to drop back or pass faster - but I assumed it was a penalty.

So we came into town, I saw Barry and Carole and they had a sign that said "22nd out of the swim".  I knew I had passed quite a few and had not been passed by any woman that I knew of so I felt good.  I shouted "Penalty" and road on.  I stopped at the penalty tent and had a frustrating conversation with the official.  Since no card was shown to me I presumably didn't have one.  Ugh - wasted time and energy there.

different bottles on the back, further along
Back on my bike I continued to drink my nutrition, take a gel every 40 mins as well as some gel blasts to switch it up.  I peed 3 times on the bike which I thought at the time was great - must not be getting dehydrated.  I supplemented my Carbopro+Nuun with gatorade and felt like I had done a good job with my nutrition on the bike.  The second loop was tougher, the peletons had mostly broken up and the winds were picking up.

I should mention it rained twice on the bike.  Though my exact memory of when escapes me.

The third loop was mental!  The winds had picked up substantially on the Eastern Side of the island and my speed and power dropped substantially.  It was disheartening when I realized not only was I not going to hit my bike goal for this race, I wasn't even going to beat my bike time from IMFL last year.  We made the last turn to cross the island and the crosswinds had picked up too so there was little reprieve there.  I was ready to get off my bike.  I successfully held back my tears of frustration as I shouted to Barry "That Sucked".  Official bike results: 5:56:40, 12th off the bike.
happy to be off the bike, not happy with the bike

I made quick work in T2 - had a volunteer sunscreen my back, got my socks and shoes on and was out in 3:15 and off on the run.
Let's do this!

My legs were shakier than normal but at this time I felt pretty good.  I was running 5:15/km when I was running.  I stopped at the first aid station and grabbed a bag of water and took my first gel.  Here's how it went... open gel, squeeze in mouth, big gulp of water, step, step, step, yack.  Gel and water on the ground.  Ok, well that is sub-optimal.  Keep running and walking the aid stations.  Take Pepsi and gatorade.  Make it work....

First loop the sun was out and it was hot.  I was taking gatorade, pepsi and water and  whenever I could get a hold of it, ice too.  It was hot but that wasn't a bother, the fact I didn't keep my gel down was.  Made it to the 7km turn and felt ok.  Thought I would try another gel ... same results.  Remember joking that it would be nice for a bit of rain.  I don't like to leave much out of these race reports, and since this is sort of nutritionally relevant, I wanted to mention that I peed a lot on the run.  A lot, a lot.  Like every time I stopped running and walked, I had to pee.  And I did. And my runners are no longer useful due to the smell.  That's all I'm going to say about that right now. I'll dissect this more in depth with my tri friends, but I'll just leave it at that for this blog.
still sunny and hot
Made it back to town, 2 down, 4 to go, I told myself (three 14 km loops or 6 x 7km).  It was nice to see Barry and Carole at the turn.
still dry, 7km in
At this point I was averaging 5:30/km but knew if I couldn't get nutrition into me, the next 28km were going to be slower ... much slower.  I took pepsi and gatorade  at every aid station.  Then the rain came.  First it was a nice gentle mist, then it would come in buckets.  The roads flooded, the aid stations became self-serve as the volunteers disappeared as did the spectators and it was a pretty grim time in my head.  This is where I again failed miserable in the mental race.  I would walk the aid stations and would struggle to start running again.  Nothing really hurt, I just didn't have the energy.  I knew at this point Kona was out of the question, and pretty much breaking a 4 hour run and an 11 hour race were history (though with hindsight the 4 hour marathon and 11 hour race were still in reach ... it's so mental!).  Not a good space in my head.

I pushed on.  As I came to the end of the second lap I had dealt with the demons in my head telling me to quit.  I actually had the conversation and almost convinced myself I could quit.  But I pulled it together.  As I made the turn to go out for my last lap, in the pouring rain, I remember saying to Carole "I'm going to finish this thing.  It won't be soon, but I'm going to finish".  I left them with my sunglasses and pushed on, tears in my eyes.  Disappointed in myself. 
14km to go
The last lap, the last 7km out, were mentally tough.  I drew strength from athletes that I knew were on their first or second lap.  I thought back to all those miles spent on the bike, on the run.  I reminded myself of why I do this crazy thing and I told myself this was supposed to be fun.  I will not lie, it was not fun.  It was pouring, there were puddles calf deep, and my body was pretty much revolting on me.  But I pushed on.  I got to the top and made the turn and said to the guys recording bib numbers at the turn "gentlemen, I will not be seeing you again today".  7km left.

It was pouring.  There was little aid station support and little spectator support.  The puddles were massive.  But it was only 7km.  Then 6km.  Then 5.... ok no more walking, I can do this and slowly I sped up, I pushed, I smiled, I grimaced.  I was ready to finish this thing.

I ran the 41st. Km at 5:29/km pace and the 42nd km at 5:16/km.  I finished strong, in the pouring rain, with a smile on my face.

And I gathered all the energy I could muster to jump across that finish line.

Run time: 4:13:59. Official Time 11:10:57: 7th  in my age group, 50th female, 431st overall.

I cried after I finished.  I was disappointed in my run.  I was sad that my body didn't produce what I had thought I had train to produce.  Don't get me wrong, I know that just finishing this race is a feat in itself. And the journey to the race is more important than the race itself.  And deep down, I was not ready, I was not able to endure to make it in the top 3.  I was not World Championship material.  Not yet.

nice photo bomb, that's Carole comforting me as I broke down.
But in the end, I finished strong.  I went from 25th in my age group last year in Florida to 7th.  That's pretty good.

So that's it for Cozumel - would I race it again , yes I think I would. Will I race it next year, nope.  So what's next I'm always asked.  Well I've got Boston Marathon in April, Lake Placid Ironman in July and NYC Marathon in November.  Plus a few local races along the way.  And as for the off season, I'll be working on my swim, bike and run as I've got a long way to go before I'm Kona bound!  Dream big, and never stop dreaming!
two days post race with my bestie and a pina colada!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Countdown to Cozumel

Here I sit in Toronto where the snow litters the ground and temperatures won't hit -5*c (23*f) today and of course all I can think of is Ironman Cozumel in exactly one week.  My "A" race and the end of my 2013 season!  In four short days I'll be out of this cold and ready to race!

When you train for something as big as an Ironman, it becomes a little surreal when you get the end of the plan.  Taper sets in and training time diminishes quickly.  You focus on eating well, maintaining your race weight and getting enough sleep and rest to allow your body to respond to the past 16 weeks of training.  You stretch and foam roll your muscles and get so excited that it doesn't hurt.
My plan: I have carried this with me for the past 16 weeks
I've made it through this training season injury and accident free.  I nailed all my major training session and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.  My race weight is perfect and I feel strong, fast and confident.  This is only my second full Ironman distance and I often have to remind myself to respect the distance - but at this point in time I'm ready to race this race and race it hard!

My biggest fan, best supporter and financier has listed out his goals for me - so I'm going to humour him and put them out for the world to see...

First goal is a PB, that is 12:09 or lower.
Next goal is sub 12 hours.
Next goal is a IM marathon PB, sub 4:50
Next is two fast transitions
Then a PB in non wetsuit swims.
After that it gets tricky because it depends on the relative performance of others.
If something goes wrong I will already have enlightened everyone on Facebook etc before you even finish the race, so don't worry if there is bad luck or whatever.
Alternatively, I think you should be reminded that a top 10 would be truly amazing and sensational achievement.
Focus here first. 
If we get to the marathon on track for something special we will unleash the Chrissie Wellington inside of Linda Kay.
If we get to 10k in the marathon with any chance of Kona will step up the pace.
If we get to 20k and things are good we will start to get excited.
Then balls to the wall after 30k if we are close.

Of course the real first goal is getting to the start line and the second is getting to the finish line but that goes without saying.  

So there you have it ... if you ask me, my goal is to go under 11 hours.  If I have the perfect race, then that's a very achievable goal.  To break it down this is what I'm thinking:
Swim: 1:15 (depending on the currents and conditions)
Bike: 5:40 
Run: 3:55 or less
T1+T2 <8 mins

That puts me in sub 11 hours and in last year's field that would get me a spot to Kona - of course, that means nothing as it's a new year and a new field.  Kona depends not solely on how I perform but who shows up to compete that day.  

in my spare time during taper I made some shirts!
But for now I will focus on diet and sleep and staying injury free (avoiding most outside activity in this icy/cold weather!).  I have to thank all the people making it possible for me to leave my kids for a week!  Kathryn, Alice, Anna and Don, and Sarah - thanks for stepping up and helping out!  I couldn't do this with out you!

The next few days will fly by and then it's off to Cozumel on Thursday!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2013 Miami 70.3 Race Report

My "Perfect" Race...
swim: 38:56
T1: 3:03
bike: 2:41:57
T2: 1:53
run: 1:42:11
Miami 70.3 turned out to be a perfect race day for me. Everything came together and I raced the fastest ever in my IM career.  Even though I forgot to Vaseline my underarms, and my power meter was wonky, those little inconvenience didn't effect the day at all. I smashed my expectations and finished in 5:08 with nearly breaking my open half marathon PB to boot!  I was 6/118 in my age group, 56/686 woman and 443/3133 overall!

Since this race was a tune-up for the upcoming Ironman Cozumel, my goals were more training related.  I had four goals for this race:
1. Get a feel for a non-wetsuit, salt water swim
2. Quick T times with no mistakes
3. Hold 140 watts on bike
4. Run 5 min/k

Race morning with Erin

The male pros started the race at 7:25 and I was in the 8th wave starting at 7:51.  I was excited and nervous to jump in the water with 117 other woman and get the day started. Water was calm, winds were calm and humidity wasn't too bad. It was going to be a great day to race!
standing out in the crowd

It was a good swim. I kept on someone's hip most of the way. About half way through I got caught up in a large and heavy seaweed patch which caused me some concern and for sure slowed me down. I had to do head up front crawl to get through it. Besides that, the swim was good, there was contact for sure but not too bad.  Definitely a positive experience knowing I have to do (and totally can do) twice the distance at Cozumel!
taken from the hotel's 29th floor lounge

The last 50-75m was pretty aggressive as we all sprinted for the exit - with multiple waves caught up together. I pulled myself up the stairs gracefully and was happy to see 38min on my watch. In line with what I expected, but clearly not as fast as I would like. I felt great and ran up the very long run up to transition. It was my fastest half iron swim I think.  

My watch recorded the swim as 2,010m instead of 1,900m so in the end my swim definitely reflected my training.

My T1 time was just over 3 minutes but given the long run up it was a good T time. I was on grass and that caused me a bit of concern getting my shoes on with grass on my feet but turn out it was no bother. It's nice not having a wet suit, and I was out of my swimskin in no time.   Transition was very crowded (however, I should mention the ladies on either side of me did not show up so I had tons of personal space) - but running with the bike through transition was a little dicey.  I was happy to get to the mount line and get on with my ride.

My goal was to hold 140w. Unfortunately I think I messed up my power meter calibration because the power data was completely contrary to perceived exertion, heart rate and cadence. In addition, after my long training ride in Florida this past week, 140w is a little aggressive for me.  I think I have a long way to go in understanding and using power.  About 40km in I decided to stop looking at power and focus on the feel.  The bike course was OK. A little tricky getting out of down-town with lots of turns and poor pavement. Once you got out on the open road the conditions were good but the scenery is boring and its just a long, straight, flat road.  The wind was there for sure but I didn't think it was too bad. Some people agreed with me, but some thought it was windy then ever.  There was some blatant drafting going on - both in pairs and in peleton. So super frustrating to see it go on and after looking at the data, for sure one of my age groupers passed me in a peleton on the back half of the ride.  I was super pleased with my bike split just under 2:42 (avg 21.7mph, almost 34kmh!) And even better I felt like I could have done that for another 3 hours.  I nailed my nutrition drinking nearly all of my 3 bottles of carbopro/nuun and taking 3 gels.  At this point in the race I knew I was doing well and was on track for a great run.

Always Smiling!

heading into T2

My 1:52 T2 probably could have been a bit faster but again, you come into a very crowded and tight transition and running with the bike and bike shoes on is not easy. I struggled a bit getting my socks on but that's just going to happen. No mistakes and I was out the run as fast as I could. 

always nice to see empty racks when you return from the bike

This is where things got ugly but I'll start with good. I ran a 1:42:11 half marathon!  1:41:53 is the fasted half marathon I have ever ran!  According to the official stats that's averaging 4:50/km.  According to my Garmin however, I only ran 20.2km and averaged 5:03/km.  Either way I'll take it as a great run!

Heading out for the run - I was surprised B made it from Transition to see me here!

I'm well on my way to mastering the mental run. I keep my heart rate and respiratory rate under control and I felt like I could run forever.  Also, the actual route itself is not bad. Don't get me wrong, the bridge is a huge challenge right smack dab in the middle of this run... twice... , but given the flatness of the bike, it's nice to have a challenging run. 

coming in from first loop - feeling strong

Also, being the out and back you get to see your friends racing too.  It was uplifting every time Hector called out my name!  Hector looked great when I saw him the first time, I barely got a good look at him if at all the other times!  I saw Erin as I was coming in from my first look and I was happy to see she made it out of the swim, and by my calculations she seemed to be running a solid race. 
"It's all mental from here" heading out for the 2nd loop feeling good!

I ran past Barry twice as I came in and out onto the second loop. I knew at this point it was all mental. Hold down the pace on the flats and get over the last 2 climbs and it will be a perfect race. It was warm and sunny but not too humid and very manageable with water on the head and ice down the top.

It's the best feeling when you hit the turn around point and you are the only one heading straight to the finish!  I was so pleased with my race, grinning ear to ear and ran as fast as I could to the finish!

Running towards finish!
The final stretch

FINISHED! 5:08:00, 6th in my Age Group
So while I killed it on the run .... The run course sucked!  I don't even know where to start so I'm just going to lay it out there because that's why I write these race reports!

  1. The course is too narrow.  Out and back traffic on a narrow path in English flow (out on the left, back on the right) made for lots of dodging and even a couple games of chicken, especially on the second loop when most of the racers were on the run course. There were no dividers between the outbound and inbound traffic and due to the English flow, folks didn't know to pass on the right or the left or where to walk!  I'm surprised there were not a lot of head on collisions on this run course!  Crossing the bridge was the worst!
  2. The aid stations were under manned, under managed and chaotic.  In the beginning of my run it wasn't too bad but by the second loop it was a disaster.  Most of the stations I would run into yelling for water and they would be pouring it or just not have it ready.  And a few times, the volunteers would have the water in their hands, but have their backs to the runners chit-chatting with their friends.  Now don't get me wrong, I very much appreciate volunteers.  And if there was some sort of management or oversight of the kids things might have been better.  But there were quite a few aid stations that appeared to be completely staffed with high school kids and they were totally overwhelmed with the amount of runners!  I would definitely recommend the race director taking a look at their aid station plans and revamp the way they are staffed.
  3. Course marshals were missing at key turns and pedestrian cross-walks   I actually witnessed a lady run right pass the turnaround on the other side of the bridge - lucky for her there were 3 of us yelling at her that she missed it!  Additionally, there were no barricades or marshals at cross-walks and spectators were pretty oblivious to the runners on the course.  
  4. Very little spectator support except at the finish line turnaround.  I understand it was difficult for spectators to get out on the course, but it would have been nice to have some cheering section on the bridge!
  5. Finish line - oh that poor finish line!  I understand we were in the middle of a metropolitan city and I understand there is space constraints but the fact that there wasn't even a piece of fruit at the finish line was awful!  Basically you finish and then a shuttled out into this small space that the finish chute circles.   There were massage tents and some open space and a Muscle Milk tent (gross).  I was handed a small bottle of water at the finish line but that was it.  I walked around, a bit in a daze, looking for the food.  I asked several athletes and spectators and was told that there was no food there!  I was amazed and distraught.  Finally I saw a sign that said Athlete Food with an arrow so I followed.   First I had to cross the finisher's chute (about 50m from the finish!) and then I had to walk around the huge fountain and then I had to cross the course AGAIN - this time right where the finisher's chute merged with the exit from Transition on to the run course (the food tent was in the Ironman Village)!  Finally, I reached the food tent, proceeded to grab a piece of watermelon and inhaled it.  I have to say I was happy with the post race food - it was rice, black beans and chicken!  I would suggest to the race director to put the fruit at the finish line and put the hot food in a food tent in the Ironman village. 

NOW, back to the good stuff!

Since I finished 6th in my age group there was a small chance I might get a spot for the 70.3 World Championship begin held in Mt. Tremblant next September.  So after going back to the room and having a ice bath and a beer, we retuned to the stage for awards and roll down.  Both spots for my age group were claimed by #1 and #2 so I didn't get a roll down spot.  Both the 30-34 and 35-39 got extra spots AND the 35-39 group went to something crazy like the 20th spot .. but no such luck for me and probably good as I didn't really have room in my schedule for that race next year!

I also got to chit chat with the pros!
with Helle, the woman's winner

Me and Terenzo, the male winner (he's cute and nice)

Leanda, an Ironman World Champ and super nice person!

Leanda asked about my race - nothing like chit-chatting post race!
All in all it was a super awesome race for me.  Would I do it again?  Probably not, unless I decided to get competitive on the 70.3 circuit and was looking for a World Championship spot!  Then again, an excuse to go to Florida at the end of October ... never say never!

Next up in exactly 4 weeks from today - Ironman Cozumel and I'm feeling pretty darn good about it!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ahhh, Great Build but Ready for Recovery Week!

Wow Ironman Cozumel is just 8 weeks away and Miami 70.3 just 3!  Crazy how fast time flies when you are having fun - and training like an crazy person Ironman!  This three week build session was amazing.  First of all, the weather was pretty darn amazing.  I did have a couple of windy and chilly rides but all of my long rides were deliciously warm!  And, I had company for all my long rides thanks to having not one but two riding partners who can ride mid-week!
Dushan and Duncan on our ride this week!
Duncan is also training for Ironman Cozumel and Dushan - well he became an Ironman in August at Mt. Tremblant and he just loves cycling so much he comes out for the fun of it all!  Like he captioned this photo from Thursday "Another beautiful day at the office".  So nice to get my longest training day done during the week so I don't take too much time away from the family on the weekends!

My body is taking this training so much easier than last year.  I keep waiting for the "Ironman Flu" to set in - you know, where every muscle in your body aches and you just want to sleep for a couple of days.  Last year at this time in training for IMFL I was definitely feeling it!  Now, it's not to say I'm not tired!  I am tucking myself into bed as soon as I get the kiddos to bed and sleeping as much as I can!

Besides slacking a bit on the swim side of things (I am getting to the pool twice a week), I have hit my training marks and I'm smashing my running times.  My Long Run this week was 25k at an average pace of 5:15min/km!  This is really giving me a lot of confidence in my run and making me dream big about goals at Cozumel.  I'm not ready to publicly discuss my goals - besides the first goal is to get to the start time, the second goal is to finish and the third goal is to go sub-12 hours .... but the real goal - I'll share that in about 6 or 7 weeks!

I've started planning out my recovery week and it's so nice to see the training hours drop from 17 hours to 7-8 hours!  My body, while feeling great, definitely needs this recovery week and I'll respect it and take it.  Because after this coming week I enter my final build for IMCOZ with a little half iron training race thrown in for good measures.  AND, I only have a few more long rides up here in the cold North and get to do my final long training ride and run in the Florida heat!  And when you start having big dreams and big goals - that's when training becomes vital!

So here's to a great recovery week and the added bonus of watching KONA next Saturday!

Happy Training!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Feels Like Ironman Training!

And it feels good!  I just wrapped up my first week of the second build session for Ironman Cozumel and it's feeling more like Ironman training after the sick week followed by a recovery week.

This week I logged over 273km on the bike and over 40km on the run.  I missed one of my swim sessions due to poor planning on my part.  The week had me swimming back to back Tuesday and Wednesday but after a long 3,000m continuous swim on Tuesday I wasn't feeling it for swim work out the following day.  So I pushed it off to Friday - which was a stupid idea as that followed my long ride on Thursday (thanks Dushan for joining me) and my long run on Friday morning.  My back and shoulders would have no part of me swimming Friday at lunch time.  But that swim was the only training session I missed all week.
Turn Around Spot on my short 2 hour ride
Dushan and me after our 4 1/2 hour Ride 

I had a bit of extra time on the bike this week because I went out to Burlington to support my neighbour's charity and rode 100k with Spin For Limbs - to raise money to help out the families of kids undergoing limb reconstruction at sick kids.  It was a crisp and cool morning for a ride and it was  long drive out there but it was worth it.  A beautiful place to ride!  Since I was riding with a group (all roadies), I was very good and stayed out of my aero-bars the entire time and obeyed the rules of group road riding.  It was a lot of fun, and very easy for most of the ride enjoying the draft off the strong male cyclists.  The only thing I couldn't stand was breaking and slowing on the downhills when I just wanted to tuck down into aero and fly.

Just want to put a little shout out to my friend Chad.  Yesterday was the inaugural running of Ironman Lake Tahoe and Chad completed his first Ironman on one of the toughest courses in frigid conditions!  Congrats Chad and I can't wait to train and race Lake Placid with you next year!

Looking forward to another great week of training.  I'm going to get to the pool at least twice this week (it's on the plan for Monday and Thursday, optional on Tuesday) and I'm riding long with my buddy Duncan on Friday and I have a sitter lined up for my long run on Saturday!  And to top it off, the weather looks just fabulously sunny for the week!  Here's to another great week of Ironman Training!
End of my run last week!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Recovery Week Feels like Forever

Well, here I am, almost through my first recovery week and I'm going a little batty.  I made the decision to respect my plan and stick to a recovery week even though I missed some key workouts in my last build week due to that bout with food poisoning.

I've been using "The Triathlete's Training Diary" to record my training for the next year and for each week there is a spot to write out 3 of the weeks goals.  My goals this week were:
1.  Respect Recovery Week
2. Focus on swim technique
3. Eat well

I've done a pretty good job with my goals.  I have respected my recovery training sessions - though my spin on Wednesday was must more intense than my plan called for and my 30 minute recovery run might have been more at a tempo pace, I've done a good job of holding back and not taking the bike out for a 4 hour ride!  Tomorrow is my "long" ride and it's just an hour and half but the weather is calling for a strong wind out of the north so I'm ready for some wind training tomorrow!  Then I will cap my week off with a 60 minute endurance run in Niagara Falls on Saturday!

My swimming is coming along pretty good too.  I'm able to average well under 2min/100m for my swims so I'm hoping if I can focus a bit more on my technique that I'll be able to consistently hold this pace for longer distances.  I'm done with open water swimming until I go to Florida at the end of October so it's pool work for me 2 - 3 times a week.

Finally, I'm trying to eat well.  I'm back on track with my kale/spinach/berry shakes for breakfast and I'm trying to avoid the sugary treats and eat more veggies.  This will be a battle with me forever.  Also recovery weeks tend to have more wine involved than build weeks and this week is no exception!

I cannot wait for next week to roll around - especially for my 5 hour ride coming up next Thursday and then the 100k Spin For Limbs ride the following Sunday.  Looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with my bike and just hoping the warm weather sticks around for a few more weeks!

Happy Recovery Week!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ending the First Build with a Wimper

Oh how I wish the title of this blog was Ending the First Build with a Bang!  After a great start to my first build phase of Iroman Cozumel training, the final week went south ...  I came into the forth and final week of my first build excited and ready to nail every work out.  I had made plans for 2 great bike rides with fabulous training partners and was looking forward to a week training hard to earn my upcoming recovery week.

It all started out it great on Tuesday with a good weight lifting session followed by getting my butt back to Main Square pool and pounding out 3000m of solid swimming.  And then it all began to unravel!  Tuesday night I prepared a good dinner in anticipation for a hard 2 hour ride followed by a solid run the following day.  I made sure I was well hydrated and well fed for the next day's workout.  Then as I put myself to bed nice and early, my tummy didn't feel quite right.  I thought nothing of it until just after midnight.

Just after midnight, and for the next 6 hours, I was overcome by a serious case of food poisoning / stomach bug.  Around 4 in the morning I remember thinking, I have to get this out of me so I can ride in the morning. By the time morning came, I was a listless, frail, shell of myself.  I'm still not sure how I got the kids' lunches made and got them to school but I spent the entire day laying bed drifting in and out of consciousness.  I couldn't eat.  I couldn't drink.  Thank goodness for my neighbour Alice who picked the kids up from school and for my in-laws who brought dinner for the kids and took JJ to his last soccer match.  I was completely debilitated.

Little did I know the toll something like this takes on your body.  I had lost 6 pounds in 24 hours so I knew I was severely dehydrated but I couldn't put anything in my body.  By end of day Wednesday I was sure I was not going to be able to do my run or my swim as planned on Thursday and I sent a note off to my riding buddies for Friday - I said I was fully planning on riding the planned 4.5 hour ride, as long as I could get some nutrition in me on Thursday.

Thursday came and while I felt better, it was still hard to get my body to accept much.  I got a banana down and a quarter of an avocado.  I sipped on my NUUN and plain water.  But I was still undernourished and dehydrated and my stomach was still not right.  By Thursday night I made the call that I would shorten my ride on Friday to around 2 hours and I would definitely ride if I felt up to it.

I woke Friday morning feeling better.  Not 100% but closer to 80% which isn't bad.  I choked down half a GF bagel with peanut butter - not even close to enough food but it was all I could do.  While I knew I was definitely undernourished for a ride, I was desperate to get some training in.  Plus it was Duncan's birthday and I had picked up some vegan cupcakes from Tory's Bakeshop (I am not vegan but Duncan is and I have to say - you wouldn't even know these cupcakes were vegan!  SO delish - plus they have great GF treats too - so if you are in the beaches - check them out!).
Happy Birthday Duncan!
I picked up Duncan and Dushan and off we went to Angus Glen for our ride.  Duncan had been fighting a cold so he was happy to shorten the ride to 2 hours - though I did some fuzzy math and instead of doing 50k we did 75k and instead of 2 hours we did 2:40.  It was a beautiful day, cool and breezy.  But it was tough.  My stomach wouldn't even let me try to take a GU and I had trouble taking my carbopro drink.  On a ride where I would normally drink nearly three 750ml bottles, I was able to get down 1 1/4.  Thank goodness Dushan was there to pull Duncan and I home those last 25km!

all smiles after the ride
I still have my long run in store this weekend and I'm planning on a nice easy 1:50 run tomorrow while my little guy is at lacrosse.  So my week will have consisted of 1 weight workout, 1 swim workout, 1 bike and 1 run.  Definitely not what I had in mind but it is what it is!  Next week is my recovery week and I'm going to take it.  I'll focus on my swimming and take it easy with some recovery runs and bikes - gearing up for Build #2!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ironman Cozumel Training has Commenced!

Last week was the official start of my 16 week Ironman training plan - officially called Build 1, week 1 and I'm happy to say I'm definitely NOT over training at this point!  In a nutshell I biked twice, ran twice and weight trained twice.  Yip, you read that right - I didn't even swim once last week!
First long ride on the schedule - solo to Lake Simco

I changed my saddle and think I like the ISM Adamo racing saddle - I rode 2:15 and a 4 hour ride last week as well as a 2 hour ride this week on it and the comfort is a million times better than my Nineteen saddle.  I've got a BIG ride coming up this weekend so that's going to be my final test before I commit to it.

And speaking of my lovely bike ... it's in the shop right now and when I pick her up on Friday she will be nicely tuned up, the 11-25 cassette will be on my race wheel and my new Garmin Vector pedals will be installed!  Not excited about the bill but very excited about the new toy!  And I'm happy to get back to a 11-25 cassette now that I'm not planning on any more big climb rides.

I've moved nicely into Build 1, week 2 this week hitting my training milestones and getting to the pool twice already!  I've got a long way to go to build up my swim endurance but I'm focusing on good form and know the endurance will come with time.  I want to take advantage of the outdoor 50m pool while it remains open as it is so much better than the indoor 25m pools.

The excitement of Ironman training is already consuming me.  This past weekend I watched while many friends finished Ironman Mt. Tremblant.  I'm so excited to start training with power on the bike and hope it will not only help me get faster but help me remain consistent so my runs off the bike are better.  I already see the change in my diet and sleeping habits as training for such a monumental undertaking requires you to treat your body very well.

However, this weekend I did take a little time off to enjoy a the weekend with Hubby while the kids are at sleep-away camp.
Niagara Falls
Because we all know - this Ironman is brought to you by Barry Richards.  I'm in the market for some gear I can customize to say "sponsored by Barry" and I can never give enough kudos and thanks to him.  I couldn't do this without him!

Ironman Cozumel - just under 15 weeks to go!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rest and Recovery before Training

Goodness, I cannot remember posting something besides a race report!

Right now I'm taking a little break from racing and I'm focusing on a bit of rest and recovery plus some strength and core building before I start a 15 month long journey.  In that time I will race Ironman Cozumel (Dec. 1, 2013), Boston Marathon (April 21, 2014), Ironman Lake Placid (July 27, 2014), Olymipic Distance Worlds in Edmonton (September?), and finally the New York City Marathon (Nov. 2, 2014).

Now I know, there are many out there who think I'm crazy, but I also know there are people out there who do this too!  So how do I see the next year plus of my life playing out?  Here's the plan!

Week of August 14  start a 16 week training plan for IMCOZ
Race IMCOZ Dec. 1
Take the month of December off - yeah Christmas!
Start running again at the end of Dec / Beginning of January
Week of January 26 start 12 week training plan for Boston - brrr cold!
Beginning of April Starting training for IMLP
Race Boston April 21
Keep rolling with IMLP training (13 weeks)
Race IMLP July 27
Take 2 -3 weeks off
End of August start 12 week training plan for NYC
Race Worlds (this is OPTIONAL and I will not be upset if I cannot go)
Run NYC Nov. 2

A lot of people ask me why.  Some people think I have a problem.  And I'm sure there are some people out there that don't think I will be successful in executing this plan.  But for me, this next 15 months will be a defined period of time in my life where I am going to push my body to the limits.  I am going to train smart.  And I'm going to enjoy - I would like to say I am going to enjoy every moment - but there will be times when I'm going to hurt, when I will be tired, when I will feel like giving in.  There will be times of doubt and times when I will question my sanity.  But those times will be overshadowed by the elation I feel after every long ride, the pride from nailing a track workout, the enjoyment of long runs and big meals to celebrate accomplishments.  

I totally understand why 99% of my friends don't fully understand why I do these things,  but I know that 100% of my friends will support me through my journey.  Not to mention I get to spend a week in Mexico, experience the BOSTON Marathon in an epic year, go to Lake Placid with one of the 1% that get it, race WORLDS (though really, Edmonton? - could have been somewhere more exotic), and then wrap up the year running the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON!

Life is definitely good!