Monday, June 27, 2011

Ironman #7 DONE!

These things do not get any easier!  I knew it was a tough course but it was downplayed as to how hard it really is!  We basically climbed up mountains and down some crazy hair-raising descents! That was probably one of the most painful things I have ever done - physically and mentally.  In a nut shell my race went like this: swim - blah!  My slowest IM swim time but I felt great out there.  Bike - pathetic!  I really need to learn how to descend because that is where I lost lots of time.  I had no problem with climbing, I just worked hard but to lose time descending just sucks!  Also my slowest IM bike time.  Run - almost fell apart!  I actually was in tears for a few seconds, haha!  However, I somehow pulled it together and went for broke on the last 10km and actually posted my best IM run time with a negative split!  Overall: 13:43:29  swim: 1:10:02, bike: 7:34:53, run: 4:47:22.  A proper race report and stats will follow sometime soon!  Off to Italy for a week starting tomorrow for some post IM fun!!!

Larbi and I with our finisher's medals!

Post race firework celebration.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's Showtime!!!

Well it's almost time! Ironman France in just under 8hrs!!! I am ready to rock and roll!  The bike and gear bags have been checked in.  My special needs bags are ready!  I am ready!!!

My friend, Larbi, is also hear for this crazy IM adventure.  We have settled here in Nice quite nicely but have had long and tiring days.  Below is a pic of what we were greated to on our first day here - the Mediterrainean Sea!  This is also where we will be swimming tomorrow for the race.

We have trained a bit here and there to make sure our equiment is ready and our bodies are feeling good.  Although, honestly, I've just been feeling tired this week.  We rented a car for a day and tried to check out the bike course and ride the descents we have heard so much about.  Luckily, Larbi had two friends who were travelling here at the same time.  We met up and they drove the course with us and took some pics as well as be chauffeurs.  The bike course is quite specatuclar as well as challenging.  It will be interesting on Sunday, that is for sure.  Here are some pics of the course we took while on the road:

riding somewhere in the south of France

note the water we will be swimming in, in the far distance and the height we are at

photo op before taking on one of the long descents
Here are some more pics from the week including a photo op of Limey.

Larbi and I taking advantage of the scenary

And here are some pics from today at check in:

gear bags ready to go!

our run gear bags...looks like more than 2700 athletes

Where's Limey?
So a short post as I need to get to bed and try to sleep.  I got a 4am wake up call in the morning.  Hope all works out and I have a great day!!!! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guelph Olympic Tri

Guelph Olympic Triathlon Race Report
Jun 19, 2011

As a form of procrastination from packing my bike I decided to write a race report.  Today was my last hard effort before Ironman France which is just one week away!!! Eek!!!!

I got to Guelph thanks to my parents who decided to come out and watch me! Yay!!!  I do enjoy when they come out and watch!  So fun to watch my parents get all excited when they see me coming! Lol!  So the photos from today are courtesy of my mom.

After a quick chat with David I got a race plan on how to attack this course! Basically, try to negative split the bike and run.  Easier said than done!  The swim was a mass start which I am really disliking now!  Ugh!  What am I going to do in France?  To avoid people I started swimming wide.  The water was pretty choppy and even though I felt great in the water, I posted a pretty slow swim time for me.  I swam the 1.5km two loop course in 28:40, 6th in my age group.  Well that was when I crossed the timing mats which involved a long run uphill.  I stopped my watch as soon as I got out of the water and it was just over 27min.

running out of the water to T1

T1 went ok.  Need to still try to speed it up a bit!  Then I headed out on the bike.  I forgot my heart rate strap so I was just going by feel and trying to keep my cadence up.  I felt pretty strong on the bike and instead of getting passed big time as in the past, I got to do a lot of passing!  I just tried to push the hills and aimed to stay over 30km/hr.  I did not however, manage to negative split the bike.  I was over 1min slower on the return trip but we did have to contend with some cross and head winds.  I also started cramping on the bike and I was a little worried.  I felt both calf muscles and  my hamstring ready to seize but luckily they held off.  I clocked the 40km bike ride in 1:17:26 for a 31km/hr average.  My average cadence was 84rpm.  And a first for me, my bike split placing was actually better than my swim split placing!!!  Who would have thought?!  I had the 5th fastest bike split in my age group.

bike ride done - heading to T2

Got to T2 and there were not many bikes on my rack.  I quickly looked up to check out the two F30-34 bike racks and noted five bikes.  Got out and started running and I started pretty hard.  I was to take two cups of water/gatorade at every aid station but I stopped taking stuff at about 7km because I felt like I had enough.  The run was where I got passed! Lol!  I tried to run hard and I actually ran faster than at St. Anthony's but I was still a little disappointed.  I felt like I never had my running legs going but I just kept thinking quick steps.  I tried to push harder on the second half and this was helped by having two people I know chasing me!  I wanted to hold them off and I did!  One is a really good runner too!  It looks like I did negative split the run but the trails and grass running made it a little more of a challenge!  I ran the 10km in 53:53 for a 5:24min/km average.  Not too bad for me but I definitely want to improve on this!  I posted the 11th fastest run time in my age group.  I would like to run closer to a 50min 10km at this distance.  I need to become a faster runner!!!

starting the 10km run

I completed this race in 2:43:11 and placed 7th out of 23 in my age group.  Two spots away from the podium.  Almost!  Good tune up for Nice next weekend though.  Oh, and Kevin Mackinnon was the announcer for the race today and he was the head coach for the UofT tri club when I first started out and when I took over as president.  Well, Kevin mentioned some stuff about me and my parents got all excited about that! Lol!  Thanks Kevin for the mention!!!  I appreciate it!!!

Ok, guess it's time to pack my bike!  Tomorrow I'll pack the rest of my luggage before I head out in the afternoon for France!!!  Sooooo excited!!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

To Zipp or not to Zipp?!?

This is the huge question boggling my mind for the past month regarding IM France!  Do I go with my carbon race wheels or stick to my aluminum clincher training wheels?  I have asked numerous people their opinion/advise and naturally got back a mix of answers! Lol!  Oh why am I so indecisive!  Any other race this would be a no-brainer....go with the race wheels!  However, there are apparently some techincal decents in Nice and I know I will be riding my breaks for most of it! Ugh!  It comes down to safety - will I have enough stopping power on the carbon rims?  Carbon rims apparently do not stop as quickly as aluminum ones and they actually make a high pitched sound when you are braking with them.  I survived Triple-T just fine with the Zipps and I was riding my breaks then as well.  Ohhhh....what to do!?!?!  I have to decide by Sunday night which is when I will be packing my bike!  Do I just suck it up and go with the carbon rims or play it safe and carry extra weight with the aluminums???

On another note, just over a week to go before the big show!!!  Ahhhh!!!!  And again, I am doubting whether I did enough! Lol!  My taper week doesn't feel like a taper week.  My legs actually feel pretty trashed!  They are sore and tired and I struggled through my run yesterday before coming into work.  Last hard effort will be this Sunday with another Olympic distance tri in Guelph!  Hope my legs feel better for that and I can put down some fast times!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ironman New York City!!!

So...I did it again!  I think I officially need counselling now or something!  I am addicted to Ironmans! Ugh!  LOL!  I just signed up for an Ironman in 2012 in New York City/New Jersey!  It is also the US Championships and sold out in only 11min!  And I somehow got talked into it! Although it didn't really take much convincing! Haha!  I was debating between this and Mt. Tremblant....Tremblant will have to wait til 2013.  So there you go...on August 11, 2012 I will be toeing the start line in NYC ready to jump into the Hudson River!  First, got to get through IM France! ;)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Milton and the final big training days!

Milton Triathlon Race Report
Jun 5, 2011

The next race on my schedule was a local one, the Milton sprint triathlon.  As this was near the end of my last big training week before Ironman, it was more of a training race - go hard on heavy and tired legs!  So sometime late Saturday afternoon I headed back to the city with the Bialkowski family and then to Milton on Sunday for the race.  I really wasn't sure what to expect and how my legs/body were going to react to a hard effort on a big volume week.

The swim went ok.  Not my greatest swim and I actually did not really enjoy it much.  When my wave started I decided to go hard right away and see if I can stay in front of the pack somehow.  I am never good at swim starts, I always start slow and then start passing people midway through the swim.  Since this swim was just 750m I decided to try to go hard right off the bat and see if I can hold it.  The start went well as I was out in front with a few swimmers in front of me.  But then the swim just got dirty!  This was just as rough as some of the huge mass swim starts I've done.  I got clobbered on the head, ankles pulled, and even got a two-handed shove by a backstroker as I was passing her.  Funny, the more I do tris, the more I am disliking the swim even though it is my strongest discipline.  I just am not liking the contact part of it.  I need to get over this soon though as it is part of the sport.  My swim time was 13:09 which was a 1:46min/km pace.  Not that great for me but actually my fastest swim time at Milton.  Got through T1 and off on the bike.

The bike also went well.  I really wanted to average over 30km/hr on this course and I did.  I did the 30km ride in 57:53, my fastest on this course to date.  On the results page it reads that I averaged 31.1kph but my garmin read the course short at 29.09km so I averaged 30.3kph.  The sixth line hill went well but I forgot about all the rollers after that.  I last did this race in 2009 and I've done the sprint three times, however, I obviously blocked parts of the race from my mind! Lol!  After the rollers I really started hammering the bike as I really wanted an under 1hr ride.  My average heart rate was 157bpm and cadence was 81rpm.  I hit a top speed of 65.4kph going down the 6th line hill.  My legs were not feeling too bad at this point.  Though I really felt the lactic acid at times going up some of the hills.  Thanks to Morgan for letting me borrow her aerohelmet as I did not have mine with me when I went to Parry Sound.

Now for the run.  The plan was to run at a good effort until the turnaround and then run hard home!  Boy, was this a hard run course and I completely forgot about that!  The heat was also a bit of a factor.  You start off running up a short steep hill, onto some trails, then a bit on the road, back onto some more cross country trails through Halton Falls (aka HILLS) before coming back home.  I basically just started running hard and hope that I could hold the pace.  I was breathing quite heavily and even had other racers look behind as I was approaching them because I was breathing so loud!  I was actually wheezing again.  But I pushed on and pretty much gave it all that I had.  Tried to drop the pace on the return trip home and was running out of gas in the last 500m or so.  I could feel that I was slowing down.  My legs were done.  But with so many people cheering for me I pushed to the end.  I did the 7.5km run in 41:52 for a 5:35min/km pace.  Average heart rate was over 170bpm. 

Finish time was 1:55:22.  9min faster than in 2009 and 7min faster than my best time at this race.  I was pleased with this.  Although I did not place well at all in my age group.  Either it was a fast day or the other girls were just really fast this year.  I only placed 13 out of 20.  When asked if I would have been able to go faster if I was chased by a bear - I probably could have gone faster on the bike but the bear would have eaten me alive on the run.  I do not think I could have ran any faster.  But who knows! Lol!

I ended up returning back to Parry Sound for two more days of training since I was still off from work.  On the Monday I did a 1:06 open water swim which felt great!  Then after I switched my race wheels back to my training ones on Limey I headed out for a ride.  I was just going to go out easy to get some more mileage in my legs but my legs surprisingly did not feel tired (which is why the bear question came about) and I pushed the ride a bit.  I rode a hilly 95km with a total elevation gain of 3123ft.  My average HR was 165bpm.  I decided to venture out on a new route and headed towards Rosseau.  Another ride with great scenery and hills.  However, at about 60km into the ride my legs then started to feel it and were getting tired.  The race finally caught up to me!

Rosseau River
 Tuesday was going to be my last big training day!  Started the day off early in the morning with a run interval workout at the same field as last week.  We did a strength type of workout since we just raced on the weekend.  Now my legs were really feeling the effects of the training and the race.  I was struggling in the warm up!!!  But I did the whole workout which involved 8x600m with As and Bs in between albeit a little on the slow side!  Then I refueled and headed out for a 120km (5hr) bike ride.  I did the same loop as I did last week for my long ride but just did it three times.  Almost ran into a couple of deers on my last loop but no harm was done.  I tried to push hard and keep my HR up but my legs had a different plan.  The effort was still there!  I believe my HR average was around the 140bpm range.  Then after the ride I quickly changed, refueled and headed out for a long run.  I managed to run just under 20km trying to hold a 6:30min/km or better.  I was good until about 14km when I completely fell apart.  My pace then dramatically dropped and I managed to average about a 6:40min/km.  I even stopped to walk for a bit but I felt like I was going to hurl so I started running again!  I completed it and felt just awful when I was done.  Although I was happy that I did it!  8hr training day accomplished!  Now....TAPER!!!!!!!  Hope I am ready for France though!  I am severely doubting whether I am ready! 

Oh...and just for fun, I got some bling!  Well, bling for Limey!  Check this out!  A split skewer close to Limey's new colour!  I just had to!  It's a nice added touch! Lol!!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back to one of my favourite places in the world to train!

Parry Sound!!!  I got this past week off so I can put in some good mileage in my last big week of training before tapering for Ironman France.  Therefore, I am back visiting my second family!  Thanks again for putting me up for a week!  Hope I wasn't too much of an inconvenience! ;)  Here are some pics I took during one of rides showing why this is such a great place to train!

I came up Monday night after my night shift.  I went straight to work early Tuesday morning with a run interval workout at a field.  This was actually much harder than a track workout because of the terrain.  It actually was a cross-country workout!  We did 2x600m followed by 1000m and then 3x600m followed by another 1000m.  Well, I was toast after the second 600m of the first set! LOL!  I then did a 110km bike ride under the HOT sun repeating a hilly loop three times with one hill averaging 9% for a total of 3228ft of climbing.  The temperature spiked to 38.5C during my ride and averaged 35C!  Good practice for Nice!  I knew it was hot but didn't realize it was this hot!  Guess that would explain why I ran out of fluids at 80km into the ride and I resorted to liking the salty sweat around my lips! haha!

Wednesday the temperature turned and it was much colder and very windy!  Gusts of 50+km/hr.  I was soooo exhausted when I woke up that morning I could have easily stayed in bed all day!  I managed to force myself out for a 9km run and then went open water swimming solo for 30min.  When I got back from swimming we decided to do an easy short bike ride followed by a Starbucks stop!  And then I did another 30min open water swim to give someone else some company out in the water. 

My riding and Starbucks buddies for the afternoon!
Thursday I woke up with more gusto and went out for an easy 90km ride as that night was time trial night!  I gave Torture Thursdays a new spin.  The time trial consists of a 16.3km ride and a 3km run - ALL OUT!  I gave it all I had and I believe I went faster than the two previous time trials I did last year.  I averaged about 33km/hr on the bike, 189 watts, 94rpm, and 165bpm.  I ran a 4:40min/km pace for the 3km.  Not bad!  Hope to improve on this if I have another chance to do the time trial over the summer.

Limey getting psyched up for the time trial

before the pain of the TT

cooling down after the ~45min of torture

Friday I had my long ride planned!  I haven't ridden more than 140km this year and I only did that once.  I was getting a bit worried about not having the mileage behind me.  So it was decided after some advise to do 160km.  Before that I did a one hour open water swim.  The water was sooooo calm that morning we were sailing as we swam across the lake.  That really was a great swim!  Then I got back to the house to refuel and get ready for the long ride.  I did the same loop as Tuesday's ride just made it a little longer and repeated it four times.  With the wind in my face for a good portion of the ride it was a tough one!  I climbed a total of 5151ft which I believe is the most climbing I have done in a ride!  According to my Garmin files this was more climbing than any of the North Carolina rides and more climbing than IMC!  I unfortunately did flat on my first loop and had to change the tube but was on my way after about 20min (I had a couple of failed attempts at the CO2 cartridge and had to resort to the hand pump).  I was out longer that I would have liked, about 6.5hrs and I was initially planning on running about 1-2hrs off the bike but that did not happen.  Ah well! 

Saturday morning I did a short easy 10km ride followed by a 10km run in the rain with some thunder and lightening threatening me!  I definitely negative split the run home after I saw the bolt of lightening cross the sky!  So after training just over 22hrs this week I am racing a sprint race tomorrow in Milton!  Shall be interesting!  I am hoping to race hard but my legs might say differently!  I'll update with a race report as soon as I can!