Friday, August 27, 2010

Relaxing in Skaha...

I am here in Penticton doing the typical Ironman stuff...tapering, eating, doing a few workouts here and there, registering, and buying some swag!  The house here is great and it's just off of Lake Skaha!  Already been in the hot tub twice!  The company is great and I'm having some fun here!  I did somehow manage to either pull some sort of muscle or pinched a nerve or something in my left upper back/shoulder...not sure what I did but I hurt it when I was putting on my wetsuit for an easy swim this morning.  It now hurts to move my shoulder, so swimming hurt, and it hurts to move my neck/head, and even to breathe.  Ugh!  Not fun!  I am hoping it will sort itself out soon because race day will not be as much fun but I am sure I will be ok.  Adrenaline will take over and if that doesn't work...there is always Advil!  Haha!

Here are some pics of the bike course.  My friend Brian and I drove the course today and it was a quick reminder of how beautiful and how challenging this bike course is!

Along Richter's Pass

Forest fires visible along the out and back section

Yellow Lake

On the other side of Lake Skaha

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taper time and a Sprint race!

Again...I'm a little late in writing this but I was legitimately busy!  I am right now writing this at the Edmonton airport waiting for my next flight to Kelowna!  And then it's to I come!

So after my grand ride to Barrie, the taper started, as well as a long stretch at work.  A total of 9 shifts in a row!  Well, I got through them and fit in most of my workouts including a 20km run which went ok.  During this time I had to meet people to drop off and pick up bikes, fit in a lunch with my mom, and a dinner with friends.  But then I got a week off before I had to head out to Penticton!  Woohoo!!!

The last week flew by.  Did some things I really needed to do like CLEAN!  I desperately needed to clean my place which I successfully did.  Then on the weekend I played support crew to Marianne and her friend for the Midsummer's night run.  Some of my other friends were running the race as well so I had a few people to cheer and take pictures of.  After the race, Marianne, her friend, and I rushed to get on the road to Parry Sound.  I was going to race at the Parry Sound sprint tri on the Sunday!  We arrived in PS pretty late, almost 2am!  Tried to sleep and then was up early to help out with the race.  I ended up volunteering for the try-a-tri on the run course to direct the racers on which way to go.  I actually had a lot of fun doing this as I cheered on many first time triathletes!

Then I got to race!  Last tune up before IMC!  The swim went fairly well.  I had no wetsuit as I sent my wetsuit and bike to Penticton.  So I wore my speedsuit and had a good swim.  The bike was a bit awkward as I was borrowing Marianne's bike which is a bit too small for me.  But it served me well.  I also tested the aerohelmet and I kind of liked racing with it so I think I am going to use it for IMC!  Also got to use my new sunglasses and liked them very much.  I got another set of lenses for overcast days which I ended up using and it even has my name on it!  So cool!  The run was pretty tough!  I was third female off the bike but then got passed lots on the run.  I tried to go hard but wasn't very fast on the hilly Parry Sound course.  I averaged about 5:45min/km.  Ah well!  The hills got me!  I did manage to still come first in my age group which is a first for me!  Yay!!!  That was fun!  Marianne took lots of pics so I am hoping to steal some from her and I can post them.

Monday I went for a great swim with David in Georgian Bay before I made my way back to TO.  Played host to Marianne and Lynsey for the night and then David came the next night since our flights were at the same time!  Packed for IMC (well, overpacked!) and now am at airport!  Getting sooo excited!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My new toys! and racing tools! ;)

I did my last longish run yesterday...20km of fun!  The rest of my runs before IMC will be no longer than an hour...yay!  I wasn't too happy with my run though.  It was slower than I wanted it to be but oh well!  Still did it!

So I decided I will write about some of my new toys I bought over the past year to make training and racing a bit more fun!  Most of it was just over the past month.  I got the bike and the wheels already so I just had to buy some new toys this year!

Limey in all her glory - custom 650 Guru Crono (race wheels Zipp 404)!

First, I got a powertap!  I got this late last year and was my big purchase for last year.  I got a good deal on it and was told it is a good training tool so I bought it used off of Terri.  I got the Powertap SL+ and its been fun training with it.  I know I am not using it to its full potential but I like looking at numbers and graphs for now.  My coach can analyze the data.  I just use it for training as it is on my training wheels only.

My first purchase this year were a new helmet and cycling shoes.   I needed a new helmet because it was time.  My old one was beginning to fall apart and it wasn't very comfortable.  So I got the Giro Atmos in silver and white.  The shoes were a must.  My previous cycling shoes were getting a bit smelly and I think they were a little on the small side since anytime I hit a bump on the road, my big toe felt it.  So I got the Shimano SH-TR70!!!  I wasn't planning on getting these ones but I was offered a great deal and thought why not!  They fit and they felt comfortable.  They are made out of carbon and I got to put them in this oven cooker to mold to my feet so they are custom too!  Plus, Simon Whitfield uses these shoes too! LOL!

Next I got a few Garmin toys!  The first of the bunch was the Edge 705, a cycling computer.  I think I will keep this for cycling trips or new adventures like my Parry Sound to Barrie ride.  More for navigational purposes.  Otherwise, I will use the Edge 500 as a training/racing tool as it can read from the Powertap as well.  The 705 does everything the 500 does and more but it is a bit on the big side and I prefer the size of the 500 for racing.  Also, I am not a big fan of the yellow computer that comes with the PT and I hope this does the trick!  It can display many readings at the same time including speed, power, average power, cadence, time, distance etc.

Edge 705
Edge 500 

My next new toy that I really like right now is the Garmin 310XT!  I use it for all my training sessions and since it is waterproof, I can also use it swimming, and racing!  It is smaller than my previous 305 and is much more comfortable.  And the battery life is a bonus, I can actually use this for the full Ironman!  So I will be wearing this for IMC to help me pace my run and to remind me to eat every 20min or so on the bike.  Then I will have cool numbers and graphs to analyze afterwards, well more for my coach to analyze!  Apparently, the 310XT can read from the PT as well but I haven't figured that out yet.

In hopes of getting faster, I decided to buy an aerohelmet!  Apparently, it is the most bang for the buck in the speed and aerodynamic category.  I haven't decided whether I will actually wear this for IMC but I have it.  I have to get over that dorkiness factor.   But all the cool kids are wearing it so I may go with it! Hehe!  I got the Giro Advantage 2 in the same colours as below.  Too bad they don't make it in lime green to match Limey!
My final purchase are my Oakleys!  I have wanted to buy Oakleys for the longest time and I finally did it, plus I got a good deal on them too!  I was torn between a few models but I went with the Radar Paths with Polarized lenses.  I may in the future decide to get another pair as I like to train and race in different pairs but for now these are pretty awesome!  And I wanted white frames too!  My next ones may be the Split Jacket, Jawbone, or the Flak Jackets depending on fit and look! ;)
So there you go!  A few new toys to maybe help me get faster.  At least they will make me look faster! :)                    

Friday, August 13, 2010

My adventures in Parry Sound!

This post is a little overdue but I just got a little busy and a little lazy to sit down and write it. 

Last week I had a fantastic week of training!  I went up north to Parry Sound for my last big training week before my taper.  My previous post I wrote about my long 30km run from Parry Sound to Snug Harbour which is close to Killbear.  Then on Thursday morning, I headed out with David and some other Nacho triathletes (NachoAverageTriathlon is the tri club in Parry Sound) for a morning swim in Georgian Bay.  We swam about 2km and it was a great swim.  The water is soooo nice there!  Later that day I then went out for a 90km ride and Marianne joined me for part of it.  It was quite windy which made it tough at times.  Not quite as strong as the Kona winds but still strong enough that I had to fight to keep my line.  After my ride, I got back to the house, ate some food, showered, and then decided to take a shot at the weekly time trial the club hosts every week.  The time trial is a 16.3km bike and a 3km run....not too bad unless you decide to run 30km the day before and ride 90km that day...haha!  I did not go as hard as I could have but it hurt nonetheless.  I did this time trial earlier in the year and went faster back then.  I still managed to average over 30km/hr on the bike though on a very windy day with a good head wind on the return trip.  I was much slower on the run this time around.  In May, I believe I averaged 4:55min/km, on this day I managed 5:10min/km.  This girl was tired!  I went back to the house and was welcomed to some yummy chocolate chip and PB cookies!  Mmmmmm!!!!! 

Thankfully Friday was a light day and I did an easy ~37km ride and had some great company with Lynsey for this ride although it was a bit on the chilly side when we went out.  We had plans of going swimming later during the day but we never did get around to it.  The winds were strong and made the water pretty choppy.  Instead, Morgan and I went out on mountain bikes to jump off the salt docks and then rode up Tower Hill to get a pretty nice view of Parry Sound!  Fun times!

View of Downtown Parry Sound from Tower Hill

Now Saturday meant business.  This was going to be my longest training day.  The plan was to swim 3km, bike 110km, and run 25km.  We woke up nice and early and it was COLD!  Where did summer go all of a sudden?  The outside temp was just about 5C...what?!?!  I had to borrow some extra layers to go out that morning and we even put on our wetsuits halfway to keep our legs warm.  Luckily the water was actually pretty warm and it was a great swim.  We swam for about 56min and then headed back to the house for a yummy breakfast of poached eggs, toast, blueberry pancake and I ate a Clif bar for extra calories.  Then off for my ride.  Morgan joined me for part of it and it went well.  I rode 110km and got introduced to Shoebottom hill which was a bit harder than I expected.  A good ride though!  Got back to the house for a quick change and I was out for the run.  Marianne ran the whole way with me which was just awesome!  I didn't have to think of where to go and just followed her.  We ran on roads, trails, and in a provincial park where I got to refill my one little fuelbelt bottle I was carrying in my hand.  We were slowly ticking off the km and held on to my goal pace of 6:30min/km and averaged 6:32min/km for the whole run.  I ate 4 Gu Chomps, 2 Edisks, and drank 4 fuelbelt bottles with water during the run.  This was with some quicker km at the beginning and some much slower ones near the end.  But boy was this another hilly run...some good IMC training!  Woohoo!  I did it!!!  Thanks to Marianne and Morgan for keeping me company and helping me push along the way!  We ate a yummy lasagna dinner when we were done and had some more yummy baked treats, this time muffins filled with berries and nuts!

Sunday was my last long ride before IMC!  I had the brilliant plan of riding from Parry Sound to Barrie since Marianne had to take her youngest to Barrie for a race.  So she took all of my stuff since I was going to get a ride home from Barrie.  Morgan decided she wanted to take on this adventure with me which was great!  I had written up directions from Google maps, the walking version of it to avoid the 400, and I had another new toy, the Garmin 705 for a GPS and map.  Unfortunately, the 705 was giving me a route that was over 300km so I couldn't use it as I didn't know how to upload a route onto it.  We went out around 7am for the 160km route to Barrie.  The ride started off great onto some beautiful rolling hills.  However, about an hour or so into our ride it began to rain.  And at times it poured.  But Morgan and I kept our spirits up and I had fun.  Unfortunately, the directions took us to Hwy 11 which I thought was going to be ok...not so much!  It was pretty sketchy and scary to be on that road that I ended up taking the next exit into Washago.  We went into a bakery/ice cream parlour for directions and to buy some water.  Luckily, a local overheard our questions and found us a back route to Barrie.  Sweet!!!  So much better than riding on 11, pheww!  But the rain kept coming down.  We had to stop again in Orillia to confirm our directions.  I have to admit, a few times I was unsure whether we were going the right direction and whether we were going to make it to Barrie.  I did not want the ride to be that much more than 160km as well.  We soldiered on in the rain and the hills and made it!   Yay!!!  Morgan was awesome and pushed me along the way!  Thanks for the ride!  Took us a total of 165km and just under 6.5hrs with stops. 

I'm done!  Now...TAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Georgian Bay - view from the Salt Dock where we jumped off from!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My loooong run

Well I finally got in a 30km run this year and it hurt!  I am in Parry Sound hanging out with my favourite triathlon family to train for my final big week before I taper.  After a 5hr trip to get here, I went out for my run with the goal of reaching the cottage in Killbear from Parry Sound which is about 35km.  I had planned on running 35km and started off feeling great!  However, by 15km or so I wasn't feeling as great and the hills just kept coming.  I didn't realize how hilly this run was going to be so I kind of fell apart mentally and probably didn't take in nutrition early enough.  I think once I started taking nutrition it may have been a little too late.  I took one gel at about the 15km mark and tried to take in another one at 21km but it didn't really go down smoothly.  Marianne was sooo awesome to drive along the course and meet me at times to refill my bottles with eload.  Unfortunately, I do not think the eload was sitting well with me.  Then she got a coke for me which was sooo good and I was drinking it from about 23km.  But at 26km I totally thought I was going to hurl.  I started dry heaving and I really thought I was going to throw up!  Nothing came up but my stomach muscles hurt as I was heaving.  I continued shuffling along and had planned by this point to only run 30km.  My form went down the tube, my feet were barely getting off the ground on the hills, I ended up walking some of the hills, and I felt awful.  I made it to 30km and was soooo happy to be finished!  Everything hurt and I felt nausea but I got that run in.  After the run I had a refreshing dip in Georgian Bay at the cottage.  It felt great to be in the lake out of the sun and heat, but then both my feet cramped up.  Haha!  Thanks so much to Marianne for driving along and refilling bottles, getting coke, and making sure I was not eaten by a bear!  Yes...bears!  There are bears in the area and I was worried at times that one would come out of the trees.  Thankfully, I did not have to encounter them today!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Steelhead 70.3 Race Report

This member of Team Awesome was in action this week with another new half IM PB!!!!!  Yay!!!!  On Thursday morning, Marianne, her daughter, and myself went on a road trip to Benton Harbor, Michigan for the half ironman.  Fun times were had by all!  On our way down, we made the obligatory stops at Walmart and my favourite, Target for some cross-border shopping!  Probably one of my favourite activities next to swimming, biking, and running! :)  We arrived late Thursday afternoon at our quaint cottage not too far from a great beach, did some grocery shopping, met up with the couple we were sharing the cottage with, and we all had a yummy chicken pasta dinner!  Carbo-loading!

After a good sleep, about 8hrs worth, I did a short bike/run workout and then we all headed down to registration.  After some more carbo-loading and shopping at the expo, we returned to the cottage to pick up our bikes to take them down to transition for bike check in.  Here is Limey all ready and racked for some 90km action: 

We then headed back to the cottage to wind down for the day.  I got my nutrition prepped and the rest of my race gear ready.  We then had a delicious lasagna and garlic bread dinner.  I then played around with my new toy - the Garmin 310XT!!!!  I decided I was going to race with it so I was trying to get the settings to my liking but couldn't figure it all out.  The instruction manual was a CD and with no computer I couldn't open it.  But it was no big deal!  I managed the basics without it.  We then went to bed fairly early for a very early wake up call of 3:50am.  I got probably about 6hrs of sleep though which is a lot for me! 

Race morning, I woke up, had a shower to wake me up, and had lots to eat for breakfast!  And I mean LOTS!  I had 3 high protein chocolate Ensures, oatmeal with yogurt, half a bagel with peanut butter, and a banana!  That was probably about 1000 calories!  We then headed to transition and shortly after we arrived, it started to rain.  And then downpour!  It really sucked trying to get transition ready in the dark and the pouring rain.  Ah well!  I loaded Limey up with my race nutrition and bike computer, I put my wetsuit on halfway to keep me a bit warm, and then we headed to the swim start which was about a mile walk from transition.  Apparently some people heard thunder and maybe even lightening but the officials did not cancel the swim which I was very happy with!  The last thing I wanted to do was a duathlon.  Yuck!  Did a short warm up in the water and waited around for my swim start which was about 30min after the start of the race.

Swim: 31:17!  My fastest swim yet for 2km!  I actually got out of the water in just over 30min but we had to run up the beach in the sand before we got to the timing mats.  That run actually really hurt too!  We did swim with the current so it made for an easy and nice swim!   I felt great, comfortable, and swam on my own.  I actually at one point threw up part of my breakfast during the swim...haha!  Just a tiny bit but it was still kind of gross!

T1: 2:52  Again, some fumbling in transition.  Everything was soaking wet so it wasn't that fun.  Drank my Redbull shot, got my bike gear on and I was off for the long run to the bike start.

Bike: 2:54:31.  I was hoping for an under 2:50 bike time.  I much preferred this course over Welland's flat course.  This was a bit more interesting with some rollers and some small hills but I never at one point got bored or tired of pedalling.  I started strong and just kept steady and tried to keep a high cadence going although I did not have a cadence computer.  I did not want to go out too hard and blow up on the run again but I still kept a strong pace throughout.  I didn't do so well in the nutrition department as I was still a bit full from breakfast.  I did manage to eat 1 package of Powerbar blasts, 1 package of Clif Shot Bloks, 3/4 bottle of concentrated CarboPro/Eload, about 3 bottles of water, and an unknown number of salt pills...I am guessing about 6.  I felt pretty good at the end of the bike so that was good!        
T2: 2:54  Another fumble fest in transition but my times were not that bad compared to other racers.

Run: 2:09:33  I was really hoping for a PB on my run time.  I wanted to go under 2:05 but it didn't happen today.  The plan was to run a 6:30 pace for the first 5km, and then a 6min pace for the next 10km.  If I felt good, I was to try to go faster or stick to the same pace.  It was hard for me to stay at a 6:30 pace for the first 5km and I tried hard to hold back but I didn't quite do it right.  Then I dropped my pace to about 6min for the next 10km.  At that point, that was the best I can do, I held around a 6min pace for the rest of the run, faster at times and slower at others.  There were a couple of good hills we had to run up but it was a nice run.  I felt strong throughout and I laid down the hammer for the last couple of km dropping the pace to about 5:35.  Maybe I had too much at the end to do that...ah well!  It was a hot and sunny run and I took 4 gels, some salt, gatorade, a Redbull shot, and water throughout.  They did not offer coke which I was disappointed about.
Total time: 5:41:07!  A new PB!!!  I was 36th out of 137 in my age group!

At first I was a bit disappointed with my bike and run times.  I was hoping to go closer to 5:35 on race day.  But I was reminded that I did do a big training week last week which included a 180km bike and a 26km run and a total of about 23h of training.  So I guess it wasn't that bad!  This is still all part of the build for IMC which is my A race! 
      sunny and hot in transition after the race
heading down to the beach for a cool down in Lake Michigan
I took a dip in the lake, eventually met up with Marianne who placed 4th in her age group and got to take home some hardware!  Props also goes to Lynsey for completing her first half and rocking out an awesome time well under 6hrs!  We made it back to the cottage, relaxed a bit and went out to see a move that night in 3D!  It was a fun weekend and I am looking forward to another big training week before my taper starts!  Yay!  The big show is almost here!  I am heading up to Parry Sound later this week for my last build week and for some awesome training!  Can't wait!!!