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!