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 right...open water swim in the middle of September and it was cold! Whose bright idea was that?!?!  Ok...so 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...

So...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

So...here 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, “wow...at 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!!!


Link to the Run details from my Garmin file

IMC bike

IMC bike details from my Garmin file

IMC swim

IMC swim details from my Garmin file

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Post race recovery

This will be a short update...I will write up a proper race report soon! 

Right now I am recovering from my race on Sunday which I am super happy about!!!  I PB'd by a lot and exceeded my expectations!!!!  I wanted to go under 13hrs and I finished in 12:35:55!!! Woohoo!!!!!  I didn't think I could do that!  12:30 was a dream goal and I was soooo close!!!!  My other goal was to run under 5hrs and I finally did it!  I ran the marathon in 4:49 something!!!! Yay!!!!!! 

My body is still quite sore.  My legs are still pretty tight and walking is a chore.  I have a couple more days here in Skaha and am enjoying the wineries here in the area!  Will write more soon!