Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Just wanted to take a second to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!! 

On the training front...well I am still in my "honeymoon" phase as Ming puts it!  Still taking a break and actually just started running earlier this week.  I did a 4.5km run and then an 8km run and it felt great!  I am glad I waited until I was ready both mentally and physically.  I am heading up to Parry Sound tomorrow to try out some cross country skiing and probably do some other activities, which I am not quite sure of yet!  But I am excited nonetheless!!! 

Merry Christmas!!! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IM Cozumel in pictures!

Here are some of my race pics! Enjoy!

2200+ start the swim for 3.8km

heading out of T1 for the 180km bike ride

this is my favourite pic!

almost done the 42.2km run

official finish time 12:43:00!

Yay!  We all finished!!!  Congrats to all!

Friday, December 10, 2010

100 x 50...

That was our swim set last night with the masters club at UofT.  We did 100 x 50m long course!  That is 5000m...5km!!!!  This was my first attempt at any sort of physical activity since the Ironman and this is what I was faced with.  I chose a generous pace time for me knowing that I was not in peak swimming shape and still recovering from almost 13hrs of effort from a couple of weeks ago.  And this way I actually had someone to swim with as well which is always more fun.  So...we started our 50s on either 1min or 55sec, depending on where we were on the set.  The further along we got into the set, the more 50s on 55sec we were doing.  And on top of that, we had to breathe every 7 on every lap divisible or had the number 7 in it!  Haha!  It forced me to focus and stay on top of counting.  I normally get lost when we start counting lots of laps because my brain usually shuts off when I swim.  This time I had to stay focused or I was going to be completely lost.  I actually felt pretty good in the pool.  My body did feel a little tired when we started but it wasn't that bad.  I also felt a few twinges here and there but they worked themselves out.  I just tried to focus on my strokes while counting away.  We were cutting it close with pool time but we were determined to finish the set.  And we did!  And it felt awesome!!!  I think this was the first time I completed a 5km swim set in the pool.  I remember a couple of years ago it was a goal to complete 4km in our 2hr workout!  I do not think I ever got to 5km before.  This fall I have reached 4km and 4.5km.  Last night we did it in about 1hr40min.  Yay!!!  But my arms were dead weights when I was done!  They just wanted to fall off and were yelling at me! Hehe!  I was also winded by that effort for a while after getting out of the pool. 

I am suppose to start with short spins and runs of about 30min this week but I am not mentally ready for that yet.  And I am still a bit sick!  Yes...I got sick while in Cozumel by the Tuesday after the race and I was really bad by the Saturday.  Looking back, I think I was getting sick again starting the Friday before race day.  I wasn't feeling very well at all at the athlete's pasta dinner but I thought nothing of it and just continued on.  I have been working almost every night since I got back and haven't had a chance to really rest and get over my cold.  So I do not want to start training again with a cold and prolong it any more.  I need to get 100% completely healthy.

On a side note...when I went to the Vancouver Olympics earlier this year I fell in love with the red Olympic hoodie.  I was hoping to get one for my birthday from my parents as it had been a traditional gift for years but this year they did not get me one.  I searched high and low for one and it was sold out everywhere.  Well, The Bay just released another batch so I went in search for it at the downtown Bay stores and they were sold out.  I just checked online and they are available in my size!!!  Yay!!!!  So I just ordered one with free shipping and cannot wait to get my hands on it!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ironman Cozumel!

Ironman Cozumel Race Report
November 28, 2010
Cozumel, Mexico

Well I guess I better get my act together and write some sort of race report.  This was Ironman #2 this year and #6 in total.  I cannot believe that!  Crazy!  I was ready to be done for this season and needed to get through this race.  I was hoping for another PB.  Based on last year, I figured I should have been at least 15-20min faster than IMC but I also knew that I had such an awesome race at IMC that this may be difficult.  However, if anything, I wanted and figured I could come in under 12:30. 

This time around I travelled with a group of triathletes from the Parry Sound area from the NachoAverage triathlon club and boy did I have a blast!  Made some new friends and great memories!  We arrived the Wednesday before the race and did the usual packet pickup, registration, short training sessions, and bike and gear bag drop off with some lounging and play time sandwiched in between.  Race day finally came and I did my usual morning routine of taking a quick shower to wake me up, drank three high protein chocolate Ensures, half a bowl of oatmeal, a banana, and this time two cups of coffee.  Boy was I pretty hyper in the morning!  The caffeine really hit me and I was basically bouncing off the walls! LOL!

We were one of the first to arrive at the race site and waited for transition to open up.  I loaded up Limey with my bottles and nutrition, took a potty break, and then just hung out with the guys waiting for the race to start.  It wasn't until we were waiting on the dock at the swim entrance where I was surrounded by nervous energy that I started to get a bit nervous myself.  I just really wanted to get into the water and start swimming.

The dolphin show right before the swim start

Swim: 1:06:21

I had originally planned on taking the same approach to the swim as last year and start close to the shore and avoid the masses.  However, when I got in the water it seemed that lots of people heard about the awesome current we got to experience last year and were heading in the same direction.  So I made a quick decision change and swam out to the starting buoy as no one was there.  I treaded water for a bit waiting for the swim to start and had to continuously swim forward because the current kept pushing me back behind the starting buoy.  The horn went off and all ~2200 of us started to swim.  I had pretty open water for the start so there was minimal man-handling until I got to the first turnaround buoy.  At this buoy I came to a complete halt and stopped swimming.  It was sooooo congested it wasn't funny.  Seriously, does everyone have to turn right at the buoy?  If I could I would have swam wide but I was swimming to the inside of the buoy so I was basically stuck there.  A canoe with some race officials were yelling at us not to swim underneath the buoy and other people started to panic.  I just wanted out so I grabbed the buoy and somehow pushed my way around it and then started swimming.  Unfortunately, there was no magical current this time around.  The long leg of the swim was very difficult to sight.  I felt like I was zigzagging the whole way.  I got to one buoy, looked for the next one and felt like I had to swim way out to try to reach it.  The current kept pushing us towards shore.  My goggles then started to leak and I was a little worried that I would come out of the water with swollen eyes.  So I closed my eyes anytime I felt the water but it did not affect me at all, pheww!  I felt like I was swimming great, my strokes felt great and I felt strong but it felt like it took forever.  Got stung by a few jellyfishes which to this day I still have some markings from the stings.  Finally made it to the exit steps 10min slower than my swim last year.  Ah well!

Link to my Garmin swim stats (prob not very accurate!)

T1: 5:04

It was pretty straight forward in T1.  I had no assistance so I just went about putting my bike gear on and spraying myself with sunscreen and off I went to go and grab Limey for the 180km bike ride.

Bike: 6:31:32  

I had the same approach for this race as I did for IMC and that was to keep my HR between 140-155bpm.  For the first 30min or so my bike computer had a hard time picking up the HR but it eventually did.  I felt pretty good for the first loop of the three loop bike course and just maintained my goal HR.  However, I made a BIG nutrition error that I do not think I will ever do again!  While on the first loop I decided to take what was suppose to be a SIP of my concentrated carbopro/eload bottle.  However, for some reason I decided that the mix actually tasted pretty good and I started taking big gulps as though I was drinking water.  Well, I guess I did not chase this down with enough water or it was just too much carbs for my poor belly to absorb and I started to really get bloated.  This followed with painful stomach cramps and I was unable to stay down in aero and it really hurt to breathe.  I was in so much pain that tears were coming out of my eyes.  So for most of the second loop I was struggling to keep going.  I quickly went from wanting to PB this race to just wanting to finish.  I did not know what to do.  I first thought drinking more water would help but it just sat in my belly.  Then I stopped taking any nutrition whatsoever for about two hours and was trying to wait it out.  I even thought about sticking a finger down my throat and try to make myself throw up and then start my nutrition from scratch.  My speed went from 29-31kph to 22-24kph.  Then I decided to try an Imodium which I was carrying with me.  I was hoping one of the guys would catch up to me so I can ask them what to do.  I was lost!  I then decided to start downing the salts.  Not sure what worked but I slowly started feeling better.  Maybe it was the redbull I had picked up at special needs. LOL!  I had a second super concentrated bottle in special needs which I picked up and then shortly after just chucked it as I wanted nothing to do with it.  I went back to my three shot bloks every 20min and taking lots of salt until I ran out of all my salt pills.  I was feeling better on the third loop and was passing people that had passed me on the previous loop!  Yay!  Even though I was feeling better, I started to worry about the run.  I wasn't sure how my belly was going to respond to some jostling around.  I was hoping to come in under 6:30 but my computer read the course a little long at close to 182km and so I came in just over 6:31.    According to my Garmin, the temperature reached a scorching 34C!  Yikes!

Link to my Garmin 500 bike stats
Link to my Garmin 310 bike stats

T2: 2:10

Rolled into T2 tentative about starting this run.  Handed my bike to a volunteer and quickly switched into my running shoes and grabbed my run stuff.  I was also feeling quite dizzy here.  Well, I just ignored that and got out of T2 as quick as I could and started the Ironman shuffle.

Run: 4:57:53

Since my race wasn't going as well as I had hoped I started this run in survival mode.  I was just going to see what pace I could hold.  I really felt the sun and heat when I started the run.  It was about 2:30pm or so and it was a scorcher!  I had to walk through the first aid station just to take in some water and pour some over myself.  I found myself struggling to keep a 7min/km pace but I just kept trotting along.  I stopped at every aid station which was every km or so to drink and pour water over myself.  I also started my Coke drinking very early, at about 12km into the run.  I normally wait til the half way point but I felt I needed it and I wanted it.  So began the water/gatorade/coke/salt or the gel/water aid station stops.  I saw David when I was on my first loop and I was waiting for him to pass me but I managed to hold him off until I reached the turnaround of the 2nd loop. Hehe!  I slowly tried to drop my pace and go a bit faster and also decided that I didn't want to overdo it at the aid stations so I started taking things at every other aid station instead.  Then I started to run through some of the aid stations that I was taking stuff from as well.  I managed to shut my brain off from any thoughts of pain or despair and kept by brain busy by looking out for the other Nachos.  I guess I was in the "zone".  Since it was a three loop course and they were a bit spread out, I got to see someone often and yelled out words of encouragement.  It was the only time I was able to say anything and it took some extra energy to do so!  I was feeling ok during the run and was feeling stronger and just tried to push myself through.  This was actually the first Ironman I have done that I did not take an advil or tylenol on the course.  I even managed to pass one of the Nachos and gave him a good butt smack! LOL!  I surprised myself as to how strong I mentally got.  I got down on myself a couple of times because I knew I wasn't keeping the same run pace as I did at IMC but then IMC had better running conditions.  I just kept pushing myself and I even managed to negative split the run and still did it in under 5hrs which is always a goal of mine.

Link to my Garmin run stats

Total: 12:43:00

Got to the finishing chute and was a little disappointed when I saw the finish time.  I wasn't paying attention to the overall time while I was running so I had no idea where I was in regards to time.  I was more disappointed that I was 7min slower than IMC.  This time David wasn't at the finish line as he got lost on the way to the condo and missed my finish.  But I was thankful I was in pretty good shape when I finished since I usually refuse the med tent regardless of how I feel.  I guess I didn't give it my all but I do not know if I could have done more.  I'm pretty sure I left it all on the course.  I was 26/72 in my AG, 117/460 women, and 804/2248 overall.  After talking to the others I felt better about my race and was pleased with what I have done!  It was a pretty solid and consistent race for me so I will take it!  It is my 2nd fastest IM to date!  Ironman #6 is now in the books!

I was happy I got to see the other guys finish!  Congrats to all of you!  It was a hard day out there and you all came through!  And a big thanks to my family and friends for all their support and advise!  I greatly appreciate it all!!!  Bring on 2011!!! (after a nice long break of course!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's almost showtime!!!

I am pretty much packed and ready to leave early in the morning for Cozumel!  I am slowly getting excited about the race and I am sure I will be quite excited once I go through the registration process and everything!  This will probably be the last time I can post before the race until I come back.  Funny thing is that I am beginning to feel more pressure to do well and I hope I do perform! I am of course aiming for a new PB!!! One thing though, I can't wait for the post IM celebration and taking a nice break!!!  Race report and pics to follow when I return!  I am ready to rock-and-roll!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taper time...again!

I am officially into my taper period! However, this time around I do not feel like I am ready to taper nor am actually tapering.  Oh oh!  I am doing a two-week taper instead of my usual three but I do not feel it's going so well.  I had a great week last week fitting in a good 17km run, 110km ride, an interval run and some trainer sessions.  I was disciplined enough to run 17km before my day shift starting my run just before 5am!  I was really proud of that!  Then on Sunday I went out for my last long ride.  I had 100km on the schedule but I was aiming for about 140km to make up for some lost time on the bike.  Guess it was a sign that I was not to go as long as the rain, mud, and cold got to us on our ride and we stopped at about 110km and took the GO train home.  But this week felt pretty disasterous!  My 17km run turned into a 13km shuffle.  I was really struggling and it just wasn't happening so I ended the run early feeling like I had no energy.  Same goes for my trainer rides this week;  I just felt weak and had little energy to complete my workouts.  I just hope this is my usual blah feeling during the taper rather that not being fully prepared for this IM coming up quickly!

pics from my wet, cold, and muddy ride!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Less is more.....right?!

Well, I hope so!!!  I am feeling slightly undertrained for Ironman Cozumel coming up in less than three short weeks!!!  Eek!!!  And I am a little worried about it!  Last year, I felt stronger going into IMCoz after IMC, but this year I do not have the same feeling.  Even though the weather has been much more favourable for training over last year's wet and cold fall, I have not had the chance to go out on my bike as much.  Getting sick didn't help and work just sucked the life out of me since we moved hospitals and then of course there was my little rendez-vous to Taiwan that went into my training time.  So I am right now banking on my IMC training this year to get through IMCoz.  I am still hoping for a PB and I figure if I stay strong on the run I should be able to.  I did put in some long runs since IMC including a few 20km runs and a 30km run so I hope I have gained some points there.  I am just worried about the bike.  I was suppose to ride 180km the day after I arrived home from Taiwan but that just did not happen.  I was hoping but I was just too lazy after the long flight home to unpack and reassemble my bike early enough to fit in a long ride.  I did ride about 105km the other day and felt great.  I cut the ride short for lack of sunlight as I was originally aiming for about 160km.    So that has been my longest ride since IMC.  I didn't feel tired or anything at the end but another 80km is still another 80km and who knows how I will feel like at the end of that.  So....we'll see!  I will be doing a two week taper this time around and am hoping I am not getting sick again!  I think the travelling, the jet-lag, and the night shifts are getting to me a bit.  I should start popping that ColdFX everyday! LOL!  Up next: 17km run after I wake up later today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Taiwan 70.3 Race Recap

Well I am back from Taiwan and settling back into real!  So much has happened on this incredible trip!  It was quite amazing and definitely an interesting and different part of the world.  From the food, the culture, the streets, and even the toilets, all made this trip quite the adventure!  Here are some snapshots of different places around Taiwan:

At the Yoho Beach Resort - race hotel

Site of the swim start - Kenting

Sunrise at Kenting National Park

Steamed buns - choice breakfast daily


Pagodas in Kaohsiung

One of the many night markets - this one is in Taipei

One of the many temples around Taiwan

One of the many different varieties of food choice

The streets in Taipei

Now for the race which was my main purpose there!  The race was held in Kenting in the southern tip of Taiwan.  We were staying at the race host hotel - Yoho Beach Resort which was really nice.  The couple of days leading to the race were quite uneventful with the usual registration, packet pickup, short bike/run session, bike drop off, and pre-race dinner.  One thing I do have to say is that I quite like Taiwanese food!  It's pretty yummy which has led me to gaining at least five pounds before the end of the trip.  Another thing was that training there was almost a death sentence.  I had to dodge dogs, mopeds,tour buses, and photographers!  So after the race there was no bike training to be had.  I did do a 21km run and a 30km run though.

Race morning I had 2 chocolate high protein Ensures and the boxed breakfast the hotel delivered to us which had 2 eggs, 2 buns, 2 bananas, and apple juice.  I only had one egg and one banana though.  We took the bus to transition and got our bikes prepped with fluids, nutrition, pumped tires, and then it was to the swim start.  I probably did about an 800m swim warm up in the China Sea and the water was pretty warm and pretty choppy.  The day before people were actually surfing on these waves.  It was borderline wetsuit legal but I still wore the wetsuit even though I prefer not to swim with it.  Then it was just some waiting around for the start of the race.  It was a beach start which meant we had to run from the beach into the water. 

The horn went off indicating the start of the race and so I started running into the water only to be held back by people who decided to line up right at the front and walk in.  Argh!  I tried to get to the front but people decided to stand right in front of me anyway.  Dodged some people and finally made it into the water.  Tried to swim right away but the waves were pushing you right back into shore.  Finally managed to get some clear water and start swimming but sighting was really difficult with the waves.  Then all of a sudden I was bumping into bodies everywhere...the waves were throwing us around and it became difficult to hold your line let alone avoid people.  I got to the turn around and came to a dead halt as the congestion was pretty bad and fighting the waves to swim around the buoy was no easy feat.  I ended up grabbing the rope and then the buoy and pushed myself around it.  Coming back into shore was not any easier.  I thought we would have an easy ride home...nope!  The waves were throwing us around and there was an undertow so as you were getting closer to shore you were then pulled back into the water.  I was getting really frustrated and getting angry with people grabbing my legs!  Probably out of panic but don't grab my legs!  I was actually happy that I had the wetsuit on as it protected me a bit from the chaos.  I got out of the water as I completed the first loop and saw my time of 18min and something and was soooo disappointed!  Went into the water for the 2nd loop and it wasn't any easier.  It was less congested but this time I had to swim around the slower swimmers which meant avoiding the breaststrokers.  Not only did I now have to fight the waves and current, I had to avoid the frog kicks of the breaststrokers and protect my face, ribs, and legs.  I really did not enjoy the swim and came out of the water shaking my head at the awful swim time I posted: 39:13! Ugh!  Really!?  What I did not know was that this was actually the fastest swim time in my age group...haha!

We came out of the water and then had to run uphill on the sand and then some stairs to make it to T1.  I fumbled here a bit as my helmet straps got tangled and the nose piece to my sunglasses were falling off.  Made it onto the bike course and was feeling pretty good.  Had to really pay attention as to where to go as nothing was in English but I managed.  The first thing I noticed right away was the wind and the heat.  That wind was relentless.  The whole time we were fighting a head wind or a cross wind and I really had to dig deep at times to keep the bike moving.  There were times I was completely on my own on the course.  I did notice that I did not see many women on the bike course.  I got passed by two other women which one was a pro who I beat out of the water.  I myself passed two women neither in my age group.  I did have to dodge dogs, elderly people, mopeds, bad pavement, and even huge tour buses.  All I remember thinking while on the bike was that I never wanted to do this race again!  The bike was very difficult with a fair share of climbs and descents....but the wind was just beating you up!  Finally finished the 2 loop bike course again, not all that happy with my time!  I completed the 90km in 3:09:06. 

When I went into T2 I noticed not many women bikes were racked and I was wondering whether I was the top 2 in my age group at this point.  Since there were no portapotties whatsoever on the course I decided to take a page out of Marianne's book and as I was changing my shoes in transition, I decided to sit down on the pavement and pee.  What else was I going to do?  I didn't pee while on the bike but I really had to go now and I didn't really want to do it while running.  So I peed and I laughed.  Got out of T2 and then started the run.

The run was HOT!!!  The sun was a scorcher and it was a bit humid too although the wind kind of cooled you down at times.  I was getting excited with the prospect of placing in my age group so I went a bit aggressive.  At about 5km, a woman in my age group passed me.  I had another women pass me shortly after her but she wasn't in my age group.  I continued on but definitely was struggling at times in the heat.  The run was not pancake flat as I was told it was going to be.  There were long gradual hills, nothing too steep though.  I felt myself really struggling by about 16km and every time someone passed me I checked to see if it was a woman.  I did not see another woman until 18km when one in my age group passed me.  I was a little demoralized and was not sure if I was going to place top 3 but I was still thinking top 5.  The run was a point-to-point with one turnaround so you could not see your competition until 19km.  I reached the turnaround and then saw a few more women not too far behind me so I gave it my all to stay in front of them.  It turned out they were not in my age group but it didn't matter to me.  I wanted to stay in front of them.  Got to the finish and was a bit disappointed with my time.  I wanted to be under 6hrs.  My run time was 2:12:16 with a total time of 6:06:53.

Saw Ming at the finish who also raced and he told me I posted a solid time.  He also found the course to be a difficult one and actually blew up on the run.  I wasn't sure what I placed at this point because I wasn't sure how many girls got out of the water before me.  I then saw the results board and saw that the 4th place girl in my age group crossed the line 10min after I did which meant I placed 3rd!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!!! I podiumed at an Ironman event.  How exciting!!!!!!!!!  I was actually first off the bike!  Got to go to the awards ceremony and got called to the podium and received my award.  Now that was a lot of fun!!!!!

So at the end it ended up being a good race! LOL!  It was well organized and the food at both pre and post banquets were yummy!  We travelled around a bit after the race visiting the Kenting National Park, Kaohsiung, and Taipei.  I had lots of fun!  I do have to give a heartfelt thank you to Ming and his family for putting us up for accommodations and treating us to some delicious meals!  I greatly appreciate it all!

Oh...and a bonus!  I met a cousin for the first time who is studying in Taipei!  What a small world!  So fun!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm packing!!!

Life is more adventerous when you are spontaneous!  So, I decided to go to Taiwan and race the 70.3 this Saturday!!!  I am leaving just past midnight and I am busy packing away.  Sooooo excited!!!!  I considered going to Taiwan earlier in the year but decided to pass on it for Cozumel.  Well, after some convincing and giving away three of my shifts, I decided to go to Taiwan as well!  Crazy!  But, why not?!?!  My bike is packed and now I just have to pack my luggage and hopefully sneak in a short run workout.  I already went to masters swim practice this morning and it was a good one.  Can't believe it!  Sure looks like a beautiful island!  After the race I hope on continuing IM training as well as sightseeing!  I do not know if I will have a chance to post while I am there but I will definitely update my blog with pics and a race report when I am back!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More weekend adventures in Parry Sound!

I just got back home from another fun weekend in Parry Sound!!!  I once again travelled north to visit/stay/train with my favourite triathlon family! :)  Although training in the fall is difficult at times, I do have to say that I almost enjoy wearing all the layers, warmers, etc as I feel like a real cyclist out there!'s just the look but its fun!  I feel more hardcore! LOL! 

I arrived Friday afternoon and went out for a 40km ride.  It is sooooo awesome to train up there and it is sooo beautiful!  Out the door and you are in cycling heaven!  No stoplights or traffic to worry about!  Saturday was a great day training and weather wise!  I rode 90km with Marianne and then did a 15km run.  That was a good workout to get under my belt!  It wasn't easy and Marianne pushed me on the bike.  Cold and windy but the sun was out!  Sunday was a bit of a disaster as it was pouring rain and freezing!  I still went out with the intention of doing at least 130km but I froze out there!  I had a puddle of water in my shoes and booties and I got to the point where I couldn't feel my hands or feet and just thought that it was stupid to stay out there!  I especially didn't want to get sick again so I bailed after 30km and headed back.  I then joined some of the Nacho guys and David on the trainer for another 1.5hrs in about 30C temperature for some Cozumel training.  Overall a good weekend of training but I was hoping for more saddle time!  Right now I am just banking on having a good base from IMC training!  We'll see!

I do have some pretty amazing news to share but am going to keep you in suspense for a little while!!!  All I am going to say now is that Team Awesome is soon going to be in action!!!  Stay tuned!!! ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I guess I can't PB all the time!

Again...I've been bad in the posting department!  I also haven't been stellar in the training department which is too bad since this October is already sooo much nicer than last year!!!  I did put in another 20km run and I did some shorter bike rides with Ming under the gorgeous autumn sun!  I just wish I took more advantage of the weather and put some longer rides under my belt.  Although it has been difficult with my work schedule and with getting sick.  Ah well!  Last Sunday I also ran the Toronto half marathon.  I almost was going to pass on this but Marianne had pushed me a bit to run it and I did.  I was hoping to at least match my time from last year, 1:55, but I knew that it was going to be hard.  Last year I had the luxury of Marianne pacing me and she pushed me to my new PB.  This time around I haven't put in the runs I needed to and am still a bit sick and I didn't think I had it in me to match my PB.  I went for it nonetheless but I didn't succeed.  In fact, I did quite a bit worse.  Just over 2hrs!  Ugh!  Not happy with that at all!  Ming did point out to me that I did miss some key workouts because I got sick and not to worry about it.  Thanks coach for the little pick me up! ;)  I am finally off work for a little while and am going up to Parry Sound this weekend for some great training!!! Can't wait!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Back on the saddle!

I am almost completely over my cold now! Yay!  I still have a bit of a stuffy/runny  nose and a sore throat.  But I am sooo ready to get back into serious training even though work has been sucking the life out of me. Haha!  The weather today was just spectacular so I turned what was suppose to be a 1hr trainer ride into a 3+ hr outdoor ride on Limey!!!  I was sooooo happy to be out there under the autumn sun!!!  After my ride I fueled up a bit and then went out for a long run.  The run was the important workout so I didn't go balls to the wall on the bike.  I just focused on keeping a high cadence.  Unfortunately, I cannot get my Garmin 500 to read from the powertap so I have no power or cadence readings.  I need to fix this asap!  The run went ok.  I am still not running at the pace I want to be running at and I hope I can improve on this soon.  I ran 15km today so not too bad.  Just a little slower than I would like.  I am not sure what is planned for the weekend in the training department but I do hope I can take advantage of this gorgoeous weather we are having even though I am working all weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some forced rest...

My body finally gave out on me and I got sick.  Luckily, just a cold and not a really bad one either!  I do not feel crappy but I am quite congested with a sore/scratchy throat which makes it difficult to train.  I blame one of my coworkers for getting sick as he was coughing all over the place when I was working with him one night.  Not even a week into the official start of my IM Cozumel training and everything is halted and I am forced to rest a bit more.  I still have been trying to put in some sessions just not long or hard ones.  I did a run interval workout last Tuesday which went ok for it being my first interval session since IMC.  It was hard and it wasn't pretty but I did it.  That was my last workout before I got sick.  Then I attempted a couple of runs and a ride as I had 3 nights off from work.  I ran just 8km on Thursday and this one was a bit of a struggle because I was feeling unwell and it was hard to breathe while being congested.  Friday I passed on my ride and did a 45min ride on the trainer and went to swim practice.  That went well as the pace times were generous and I didn't have to overexert myself.  Saturday I tried to run again and it went a bit better but I stopped after 12km as I was caught in the rain and it was getting cold outside.  I didn't want to make my cold any worse so I headed home instead to dry up and stay warm.  Sunday I attempted an outdoor ride.  I was planning on a 90km ride but about 10km into my ride I decided to head back home.  It was surprisingly cold outside and I wasn't that prepared for that.  So again, for the fear of getting worse, I just returned home to warm up and rode another 30min on the trainer.  This past Monday I was back in the pool for the masters swim and had another good swim workout.  I am now just hoping that I become symptom free relatively soon so I can get back into ironman training! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let the training resume!

I have to apologize for my lack of posting lately.  Work has been killing me so I've come home exhausted and then pry myself out of bed for my next shift!  Oh joy! 

But...I do have some good news to report!  I got a commuter bike!!! Yay!!!  It actually is a little nicer than I expected, actually, it's a pretty sweet ride!  I love my new bike!  It is a Trek Soho single speed urban bike that rides sooo smooth!  David got the bike all set up for me so I can zip to and from work without having to deal with the stupid bus!  I couldn't stand waiting for the inconsistent bus anymore!  I love riding this bike! 

Here is a pic of my new ride:

Trek Soho Single Speed

Ironman Cozumel training officially began as of Monday!  I did go out for a ride on Saturday on Red, my road bike.  Although Limey is back home, I don't have my tools to switch my cassette off the Zipps to my training wheels.  I only did about 70km but it was a decent ride.  I did get quite uncomfortable on the road bike with lower back pain and I think it may be a saddle issue but I also rarely ride this bike!  Today after I wake up from my night shift will be an interval run, I'll see how that goes!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some crazy triathletes!

I did my first longish workout yesterday after work and I felt pretty good!  AJ, Ming, and I went up to Lake Wilcox to swim and bike. Yes, that's water swim in the middle of September and it was cold! Whose bright idea was that?!?! I went voluntarily so I am just as much to blame.  LOL!  I wasn't too bad with my wetsuit, double silicone caps, and some booties.  After the initial shock of the cold water it was ok.  I swam 2km....a slow 2km, and I was done.  AJ went on for 4km.  But Ming....ohhhh.....poor Ming!   He forgot his wetsuit so ended up swimming in a speedsuit that AJ had with him.  Not too sure how long he swam for but he turned back early and pretty much froze to death.  When I got to shore Ming was shaking uncontrollably!  Got to admit, it was a bit funny!  After Ming recovered and AJ was done his swim, we went out for a ride.  We rode for about an hour and I was on my road bike as Limey is not home yet.  I am not as comfortable on the road bike but it wasn't too bad.  It was an easy ride for the guys and I hung on just fine until the end when I was starting to get a bit tired.  The combination of coming off a night shift and working so many nights in a row was getting to me.  But it was great to ride outside as this was my first time on a bike since IMC.  Hmmm....wonder if we are going to open water swim next week???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trying to get back into it...'s been almost three weeks since IMC and I am slowly trying to get back into the swing of things in the training world.  It hasn't been easy.  We are going through big changes at work - moved to a new hospital so everything is new and missing! Haha!  I've been exhausted after my 12-hr shifts and because I am making up for having time off for IMC I am working lots!  So it's been hard to get back into training with all this happening!  Ah well...I'll get through it and I'll be back in training mode in no time at all!  Well, I hope so! ;)  Probably another week of slowly easing myself back into training before I start ramping up for Ironman Cozumel!  I did make it to masters swim the other day and my body still feels tired!  Today I ran to work!  Now that we have showers this is an option.  It's only 4.5km but at least it is something.  I was scheduled to run an easy 30min anyway.  I am actually hoping to get a commuter bike so I can ride to work instead!  Any suggestions???

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One more...

So I am now officially signed up to do Ironman Cozumel this November!  Eek! A few more days of rest and let the training resume!  I haven't done a thing since IMC.  I am beginning to get a bit antsy anyway.  I just hope this October is a warmer than usual month so I can happily train outdoors!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ironman Canada Race Report!

Ironman Canada Race Report
August 29, 2010
Penticton, BC is my race report for Ironman #5 - IMC! I cannot believe that I have completed five Ironmans already! Wow!!! Warning though, this is a long one!  Pictures and garmin files are uploaded on my previous post.

We arrived in Penticton the Wednesday before the race where I was happily reunited with Limey. She got a ride across the country via a trailer courtesy of the Guembels. We settled in our house off of Lake Skaha, the same house we stayed in last year, and I went for a 7km run before dinner that night. Thursday we did a short swim/bike/run workout. We also completed registration, bought some swag, and of course, had some downtime in the hot tub. Friday morning we did an easy swim but in the process of donning my wetsuit I somehow pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle in my upper left shoulder. Not sure what exactly I did but it really hurt to swim...oh oh! After the swim, and a few minutes in the hot tub, Brian and I drove the bike course which I was happy to have joined him for. Brian pointed out some key landmarks and it really helped me on race day! We all then went to the pasta dinner that night. Saturday, after a short bike/run workout we dropped off our bikes and gear bags and got ready for race Sunday! Race morning I did the typical things, nothing out of the ordinary. For breakfast I drank three bottles of high protein chocolate Ensure, oatmeal with raisins, a banana, and a cup of coffee!!! I am trying out the coffee on race morning business for the second time. Arrived at the race site early, got body marked, prepped my nutrition on the bike, and just tried to kill some time before getting the wetsuit on and waiting for the swim to start. I had two salt pills and two gels before the swim start spread out over 45min. The bagpipers came in and O Canada was played. It’s Showtime!

Swim: 3.8km: 1:04:03

I placed myself probably about 3 rows back and right in the middle of the thick of things. I knew this was going to be an aggressive start and I just looked around me hoping people were not going to swim over me. I don’t have the greatest swim starts. I am not aggressive enough and I usually get rough handled before I can start swimming well and start passing people. The gun went off and I started the swim. The first few hundred metres or so I was just telling myself not to panic. It was mayhem and I just wanted to make sure I stayed calm enough and catch my breath. I was doing a lot of head up crawl to make sure I didn’t get a foot in the eye or mouth. Eventually things settled out and I was able to swim my stroke. I couldn’t breathe on my left side without a sharp pain in my upper back/neck so I was doing a lot of breathing every stroke on my right side. I started aiming for gaps and swam towards it for some clear water. I then found a pair of feet which were awesome for drafting. I hung onto him for as long as I could. He was great for navigating around slower swimmers and I just stuck on to him. A couple of times other guys were trying to steal my draft but I wasn’t going to let that happen. Unfortunately I lost him when he got mixed up in a group of guys and I didn’t know where he went! Ah well! Off to swimming on my own again. This time I went wide because I didn’t want to deal with people not swimming straight anymore. And just when I was thinking, “ least I didn’t get hit in the head like I did last year”, I got two good whacks to the head! Geez! Just jinxed myself there! I went around the first house boat and wanted to swim closer to the buoys here but other swimmers were not making the corner! Ugh! I got a little frustrated as I knew I was swimming way more than 3.8km now! Saw the second house boat, made the corner, and was far away from the buoys. I looked at the time and it was about 32min and I was pretty pleased so far. Then I started focusing on long strong strokes and was passing lots of people here. Tried to draft again but the drafts were too slow for me. I pushed the last leg of the swim once I saw the peach on shore! My left calf started to cramp up a bit so I just tried to relax that leg before it went into a full blown spasm. I was getting excited knowing that I was having a great swim. I swam as far into shore as I could. As people stood up and were running out, I was still swimming until my hands were touching the sandy bottom. Got out of the swim and ran across the timing mats before I tried to get the wetsuit off! Sweet! 1:04!!! Awesome! Great start to my day!

T1: 4:10

One of favourite parts of the Ironman...the wetsuit strippers! Yay! Although the girl that was helping me did struggle a bit. My Garmin watch got in the way and getting the sleeve off was a bit tricky. But the wetsuit was off in no matter of time and off to find my bike gear bag and into the change tent. An awesome volunteer helped me out by putting my shoes on and she even put my arm warmers on! Wow! That was great! Although it was a struggle to get the arm warmers on and it felt like it took a few minutes. I took two salt pills in the tent but didn’t take a gel which was my initial plan. I felt like I was taking forever in transition and just wanted to get out there on the bike. Once the helmet and sunglasses were on I was out of the tent to grab Limey and start the bike ride.

Bike: 180km: 6:35:13

My bike shifters must have been bumped into or something as the gears were not where I left them and I had to move the pedal to get the chain to sit in the proper spot. No big deal. Got on the bike, started pedalling, turned on my new Garmin 500 and got my gears to where I wanted them to be. I had my Garmin 310XT set to beep every 20min to tell me to eat on the bike and so, I started eating. My nutrition plan was to eat 2-3 Clif shot bloks/Powerbar gel blasts every 20min, drink from my Carbopro/Eload concentrated mix every 20-30min, a salt pill every 30min, and water throughout. I wasn’t all that great with executing my plan, I ate 2 blocks every 20min and drank the mix when I felt like it, probably a sip every 30min or so. I also grabbed banana and Powerbars on the bike course a couple of times because I felt hungry. I was racing with my heart rate monitor for the second time, but this was the first time I was actually paying attention to it to try to keep my HR within a range. I was aiming for 140-155bpm. So the plan was to keep my HR in that range unless I was climbing. I was to allow my HR to go up during a climb but then I had to wait until it came back down after the climb before I can push again. I was also concentrating on keeping a good cadence up. So every big climb I just went in my smallest gears and spun up the hills.

I started the ride feeling great! I was happy that I did go with the arm warmers as the morning air was crisp. Soon enough I was going up Mclean Creek Rd. No problem! I just spun up the hills. Brian passed me on Mclean Creek and we gave each other some words of encouragement. Shortly after Bryce passed me and I was surprised to see him. It is always fun seeing people you know on the course. By the 60km mark I was averaging over 30km/hr but I knew that was short term as the hills were coming. Came to Richter’s Pass and again, I was just spinning up the hill. Somewhere along here Roger and Richard passed me and again, gave me words of encouragement. Thanks guys! So fun! I soon reached the house which indicated to me that I was done with Richter’s and then heading towards the seven rollers, or the “Seven Bitches” as they are affectionately known as. Not bad, in a good mood and still felt great. Reached the red house and I knew I was done with the rollers! Yay! Somewhere here I felt warm under the sun and pulled the arm warmers down. The weather looked like it was going to be ideal race conditions. However, with some of the descents, I felt cold again and pulled them right back up! Haha! We were cycling into some strong headwinds towards Keremeos heading towards the out and back. I hit the out and back section and was still in a good mood. Got to special needs at the 120km mark and switched up my bottles and baggie of bloks and blasts. I was surprised to see how many chews I still had in my bento box...oops! I think I should have eaten more by that point. My concentrated mix and Redbull bottles at special needs were actually still frozen when I picked them up. I also took off my arm warmers and was going to leave them there. A volunteer saw what I was doing and she was concerned that I wouldn’t get the arm warmers back. I was fully aware of this but thought, ok, I’ll keep them in my back pockets! Boy, was this a blessing! I had no idea what we were about to be faced with!

Heading out of the out and back and back towards Keremeos we were faced with quite a strong head wind again. It got really tough. A guy passed me complaining about the wind. Turned onto the road where the big bear was and I felt like I was barely moving. Reports had wind speeds from 40-60km/hr, and that was a HEADWIND! I got so cold I actually stopped to put my arm warmers back on! From a short distance away, you can see some fierce looking clouds. Then it started to rain! Really?!? I kind of chuckled and memories of IMLP 2008 came into my mind. It was raining sooo hard here and it was sooo windy. Then I felt pellets hitting my aerohelmet, it was hail! Nice! I noticed people started to draft here and I did not want to get caught in this pack so I geared down and pushed a little more to pass the pack. I passed them and was in the process of passing another guy who decided he wasn’t going to let up and he went harder. An official came to my side and asked me if I was passing, at this point we were on a bit of a climb and I said I was trying to but he didn’t let up, so I’ll just fall behind and I did. Hey, how about that pack behind me! Ah well! By the time I hit Yellow Lake it was still raining but it had let up a bit. I finished up my Redbull around here. The crowds were fantastic and I felt like I was in the Tour de France! I passed a lot of people here as I was just spinning up the hill and kept my cadence up! The descent after Yellow Lake was a bit sketchy with the rain and the slippery roads but I still felt great! I was feeling cold but I wasn’t too bad.  I was a little more aggressive than my normal self and flew down some of the descents! I am not sure where I hit my top speed but I hit 71.2km/hr, probably after Richter’s Pass! After Yellow Lake I had only about 20km to go and I still felt awesome and I was still in a good mood. I went harder here and tried to be as aggressive as I could be on some of the descents. I looked at the time and realized I may ride under 6:40! Woohoo! I rolled down Main St and into transition in 6:35 and was ecstatic!!! I still felt great! And I was soooo happy to hand my bike off to a volunteer! See you later Limey!!! According to my Garmin, I averaged 27.2km/hr for the whole ride, with a moving average of 27.8km/hr. I had an average HR of 140bpm, and the temperature range went from 12C to 30C...yikes! Average temp was 18.2C. I also managed to pee twice on the bike; I couldn’t be bothered with waiting in line for a port-a-potty! :)

T2: 3:27

I had another amazing volunteer who actually put my socks on for me! Thank you! I took another two salt pills, took a couple of sips of Ensure and water, got rid of the arm warmers and put on my shoes, and hat. Stopped for some sunscreen and off I went for the marathon.

Run: 42.2km: 4:49:04

The marathon. My first goal for this race was to go under 13hrs. I went 13:11 last year and I wanted to improve on that. But my primary goal was to run the marathon under 5hrs! I haven’t done that yet in an Ironman and I really wanted it.

I started the run feeling not bad at all! The crowds were insane on Main St and Lakeshore Dr and I went faster than my goal pace for the first couple of km. I then settled into a pace that was comfortable and steady. Ming had told me to start at a 7:30 pace and to drop it to 7:15 after 5km, 7:10 after 21km, and 7:05 or faster with 12km to go. I was easily holding 6:55-7:05min/km and decided to keep this pace instead. I had two people’s voices in my head for the first part of the marathon. I had David’s voice saying “eat, drink, and be merry” and Marianne’s voice saying “patience”. And I did both. I had four Gu gels in the first 21km, drank at every aid station both Gatorade and water, and was taking salt pills every other aid station. I kept a comfortable pace and at times it was raining and we had the wind at our backs and I took advantage of this. I also knew that this wind would be in our face on the return trip. I saw some familiar faces and that is always fun! I saw Wolf, David, Susanne who passed me at about mile 8, Richard, Roger, Bryce who I surprisingly passed because he was injured, Brian, Lester, Paulette, and Wolfgang Sr. I was feeling pretty strong heading to the turnaround but I held back a bit as David’s voice came back in my head with “the race doesn’t start until mile 16”. I picked up the pace a bit though after I grabbed my Redbull at special needs and the rest of my gel supply. I was at 23km or so when I realized I hadn’t stopped to walk at the aid stations yet. My initial plan was to walk all the aid stations after mile 6 or so. At mile 6 I stopped to pee at a port-a-potty and walked through that aid station as I took in a gel. After that I only walked at special needs to grab what I wanted and was running again. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. I thought to myself “am I crazy”, and “what am I doing”. But I had such a good rhythm going I just continued and shut off my brain. At mile 16 I then let myself go a bit more. Steady on the hills and into the head wind but I really tried to go faster, well, at least stay strong. I took one more gel in the last 21km as I resorted to Gatorade, Pepsi, and water at every aid station. I took a couple more salt pills as well but I am not sure how many more. I just focused on a quick turnover with my feet and to keep running. I passed quite a few people here and I passed some people who had passed me in the early stages of the run. When I had four km to go I really let the hammer down. I was looking at my watch and figured I can go under 13hrs and I will run under 5hrs. I was quite happy and this pumped me up a bit. As I continued running I was surprised to see that I may go well under 13hrs but I didn’t pay too much attention to this. My primary concern was to go under 5hrs for the run. So I ran, and just concentrated on my feet. I really dug deep down and was smiling while feeding off the crowd as they cheered me on. Smiling helped! :) I had about 2km to go and I dropped my pace to under 6min/km but I paid for that as the last turnaround was further than I expected and my right quad started to cramp. So I let up on the pace because all I thought was that I still had to get to the finish line. I did not want to fully seize up so close to the line. I made the turn and the crowd really egged me on and I pushed again. As I was coming close to the line I saw the finish time of 12:35 something and I pushed the last bit to come in under 12:36! I couldn’t believe it! 12:35:55!!!!! I averaged 6:50min/km and I actually negative-split the run!!! By about ten mintues!!! Woohoo!!!!

Finish: 12:35:55!!!!!!  1289/2732 overall, 60/129 AG

A new IM PB!!!! I even beat my IM Cozumel time of 12:52 which I didn’t think I would be able to do on this more difficult and challenging course. I was soooo close to my dream goal of 12:30! WOW!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it! I did it!!!!! I crossed the line and a finish line catcher came to me. I stopped my Garmin and then my legs seized on me and I was on my way down. Haha! Then I had 2 guys holding me up! Those volunteers were awesome! The next few minutes were a bit of a blur. They took me to get my medal, but both of them were holding me up as I couldn’t stand up anymore. Then they noticed David who was waving his arms at me and they took me to him. I was so happy to see him and I said to him “I did it!” and gave him a hug and basically collapsed in his arms. Now David was holding me up along with the catcher and the other guy was still there trying to direct where to go. He grabbed my finisher’s shirt and hat. They asked me if I wanted a finisher’s picture but I refused because I couldn’t stand up for it. Then the one catcher was concerned about my mental state – hehe! He thought I was confused! Maybe I was but I thought I was ok. I refused the medical tent but he was pretty insistent on it. And David was just too funny telling them that I am always confused! Haha! Because the catcher told the triage person that I was confused I bypassed the triage area and went right to the cots where a doctor was there right away. By this time I was almost hyperventilating again, just like I did in Cozumel. I could feel that I was wheezing quite a bit and it became hard to exhale. I eventually got my breathing under control and the medical team were debating about an IV. I really didn’t want one and they decided just to wait a bit more to see how I was doing. I eventually felt better, the pins and needles that I was feeling in my face and upper body was subsiding, and I wasn’t as dizzy. My legs were still cramping though. They eventually let me go after I asked if I could go. I didn’t really want to be there anymore. I could barely walk but I was much better.

Congratulations to all the finishers!!!  I have sooo many people to thank making this Ironman journey so special! I won’t name anyone but a big thank you to my parents, family and friends for all of your support, encouragement, and best wishes! You know who you are!!! Every one of those means so much to me. Special thanks to coach Ming who I started working with in July and to Wolf for offering training advice! And a huge special thanks to the Bialkowski family! Thank you for welcoming me into your home so I can train with you guys away from the traffic in Toronto. Thanks for all of your encouragement, tips, advice, training sessions, bike care, and of course, the beer bet!!! :)

I can’t wait for the next Ironman!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Race report in pictures!

I am right now at the Kelowna airport waiting for my flight home.  I have started writing up a race report but decided to first post a report in pictures!  I have also uploaded my Garmin files for the swim, bike, and run!  Enjoy!!!
Getting ready for the swim - all 2732 of us

Out of the swim in 1:04:03 (3.8km)

New IM PB!!!