Thursday, September 29, 2011

Centurion 50

September 18, 2011
Collingwood, Ontario

This was the first cycling "race" I have participated in and I had quite a lot of fun!  I managed to convince the Nacho guys to sign up for the 50  mile race and to do this as a team.  I originally wanted to do the 100 mile version of this but by the time this event came around I was glad I only had to do the 50.

I went up with some Toronto friends to the Blue Mountain resort where I was going to meet the Nachos.  Here is a pic of the Honda  we drove in and FOUR bikes on the roof rack:

We just made it on time to get through registration and check out the expo and the guys were there also getting through registration.  So that was easy enough!  Transferred my stuff over to their van and we went to the hotel we were staying at.  It was me and six other guys but at least this time we had two hotel rooms (as oppose to the tiny cabin for Triple T) and I got my own bed!  Pheww!  Let's just say some carbo-loading was done and I enjoyed some tasty home brew by the "kegmaster".  We had fun that night playing some pool at Boston Pizza with some more carbo-loading.

Got up super early as we had to be in our start corral at 6:30am for the 7am start.  I opted to start in the second group with the "serious riders".  The first group were the elites, then after us were the casual riders and then beginners.  It was also pretty cold and I wore knee and arm warmers as well as gloves and toe covers.  I really was not in race mode and just approached this as another ride.  I was also a little worried about the start because I wasn't sure how 1200 cyclists were going to start all at the same time without crashing into each other.  Happy to say the start went pretty smooth and I really did not have anything to worry about.  I managed to find my TO friend in the morning but we did not find half of the Nachos as the car I was in had to get there earlier for the guys to complete registration.  I was hoping to draft a couple of the guys that I was with at the start but I also had agreed to wait for my friend and in doing so I lost the guys right at the beginning. 

There was a lot of passing done right off the bat as we were trying to get away from some of the weaker cyclists and in an effort to warm up as it was only 4C that morning.  I was also hoping we would somehow catch up to the guys so we can draft as long as we could.  We managed to catch up to one of the Nachos that got dropped and I talked to him for a short bit and when I looked up I found that my friend had then dropped me and took off.  I was a little surprised by this as we said we were going to ride together especially since I had waited for her at the start.  Ah well!  I tried to catch up but the gap had widened and it wasn't in me that day.  So now I was riding on my own.  Being a triathlete I am not used to being able to draft while riding in a race and I did not take advantage of this.  I rode pretty much on my own the whole way.  I did draft a couple of times but the hills broke up the pace lines and then I was left alone again.  Riding in the Blue mountains was absolutely beautiful but also challenging!  There were three major climbs but nothing crazy steep.  I just need to learn how to climb faster.  There was also a good head wind for a good portion of the ride to make it that much more challenging.

Here is the profile of the ride from my Garmin

I was riding at a good pace and was averaging just over 30kph until I hit the last long climb and then that pace went all out the window.  And then there was a long descent and we all know how I descend - on my brakes!  So I lost lots of time here and the one Nacho I passed early on caught and passed me as I continued down the long and windy hill very cautiously.  At the end I completed the 84km ride in 3:14:35 for a 26.1kph avg according to my Garmin but my chiptime was 3:15:28, avg 25.6kph which probably was due to me waiting at the start.  Average HR was 148bpm and total elevation was 1,133 m.  I placed 10/27 in my age group and 588 overall out of 1216 cyclists.  As a team, the Nacho Average Triathlon Club finished in 17th out of 33 teams.

crossing the finish line and I did not even realize that was the finish! lol!

I had some fun out there that day but I wished I would have had a little more fire in me so I could have raced this a little more.  I honestly kind of gave up midway through and just wanted to get the ride done.  I also noticed that I did a very poor job of hydrating and eating.  I did not even drink one whole bottle and I had only one gel.  I should of done much better than that.  I definitely would do this type of event again though!  It was a nice change from triathlon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Muskoka 70.3...more like 72.8

September 11, 2011
Huntsville, Ontario

Well I am finally getting around to writing up this race report!  Huge apologies! Lol!

I was lucky enough to stay up with my second family for this race and cut any hotel costs so I was very grateful for this.  We did our registration on the Friday, got my bike checked in for me on the Saturday (thanks guys!!!), and got up super early for race day Sunday.  I had a bagel with PB, banana, and coffee for breakfast.  Got to the race site and was getting Limey prepped with my nutrition when I realized I made a huge first for me!  I forgot my timing chip at the house!!!  How in the world I forgot to put it on I have no idea.  But I later found out it was underneath a bag in the room so I could not have seen it in the morning.  Nevertheless, I should not have forgotten it and there was no way for me to go back and get the chip.  Luckily I guess this happens often enough and Sportstats had some set aside for such circumstances.  So I got my new chip thanks to the race director and I was set to go.  There was a lot of time before the start so we just chilled in the lobby of Deerhurst so we can stay warm until it was time to head down for the swim.

I was in the third wave for the swim and the water was pretty calm.  The gun went off and I just tried to settle into a good rhythm.  Sighting was actually not the easiest with the bright sunshine but it wasn't all that bad.  I tried to follow some feet but I just found myself swimming on my own....well, more like people were following my feet.  Got out of the water in 35:24 for a 1:47min/m pace and 11th in my age group.  Once out of the water and the hills start immediately!  There is about a 500m run uphill to get to transition.  By the time I got there and got my gear and Limey I left T1 in 4:06.

Now the real hills start!  This bike course is quite challenging but can be a lot of fun.  I just tried to keep a steady effort and keep my heart rate in the 150 range.  However, I was getting passed quite a bit and I was getting a bit annoyed by this and decided to push the pace a little more and started passing people.  I was still feeling pretty good and managed to keep my HR in the same range.  Up and down and up and down...that was the whole bike course.  We also had quite a bit of wind to contend with to make things a bit more challenging.  But for some reason I had this awful feeling in my stomach throughout the bike course.  I just had a sense that something may go bad and all I wanted to do was finish the ride.  The course was open to traffic and I had a couple of really close cars whiz by me so that did not help.  Not sure why I was feeling like this but I was just relieved to have survived the bike as well as see my friends on the run because then I knew they were ok too.  I also started feeling weak in the second half of the bike.  A weird weak feeling as if I was losing some sensation to my legs.  Don't know what that was about.  I rode a 3:24:47 for the 94km bike ride (instead of the usual 90km) and averaged 27.5km/hr, 152bpm HR, 82rpm for cadence, with a total of 1008m of climbing.  I was also very happy to see my parents when I was heading to T2.  I think I surprised my dad as I waved at him since he seemed excited to see me and missed taking a photo! Lol!

Got off the bike, got through transition and onto the run.  As I posted before, I had a guy thank me at the beginning of the run for being his pace bunny on the bike.  Ha!  T2 time was 1:23.

Even though the temp was pretty cold in the morning it really warmed up for the run.  I started the run and wanted to hold about a 6min pace with the plan of bringing the pace down after the first hour.  Well that didn't really pan out.  I was well over a 6min pace and the hills just kept coming.  I think this demoralized me a little bit and I was getting frustrated with myself.  I tried to bring down the pace but just could not do it.  All I saw was 6:15, 6:18, was not pretty.  So by about 2km in I felt like I did not want to be out there.  Not a good thing.  I let my mind get the best of me and I defeated myself.  I had no fight in me for this race.  Then it became a mental battle to just keep running.  I resorted to walking part of one hill that was pretty steep and then I was fighting to not walk anymore and keep to the Nacho rule!  Then I was worried Marianne would pass me on the run so that helped me try to push the last bit some more.  I struggled for most of the run.  Not a good day for me. Boo!  I ran the 21.1km in 2:20:54 for a 6:41min/km pace and avg HR of 164bpm.  Yuck!  That was ugly!  Ended up in 23rd out of 44 in my age group with a time of 6:26:32.  I actually only had two girls in my age group pass me on the run. 

It was a great day to race and it was also great that my parents were out there to cheer me on!!! I love seeing them get all excited when they see me come by!  That was pretty awesome!  I did manage to still have fun out there but it was a tough day for me on a tough course!  Maybe next time!

Monday, September 26, 2011

More races...oh oh!

I have been a delinquent in the posting department.  I really do hope to write up a couple of race reports soon!  I do want to report that I have added three more races to my 2011 season!  If I wrote a report right after my last race (Centurion 50), I would have wrote about how I was done with racing for the year.  I mentally checked out of that race too and didn't actually race it.  More on that in another post when I get around to it.  I wanted some down time so I could get mentally strong for Chicago which I really want to do well at.  I am happy to report that I did do another 30km run (31k to be exact) and I did a 25km run just this past weekend.  I think I have the mileage under me...well I really hope so.  Not sure about the speed though.  I have also started to incorporate some power yoga into my training.  But now I got talked into some cross country races.  Mind you, no arm twisting was involved but I had two parties trying to get me to do this.  Lol!  I have been training with the UofT masters run group (UTTC and part of my torture Thursdays!) and love it!  I've been having fun with the group (while getting my butt kicked) and wanted to take part in a team event.  So I decided to give this cross country running thing a go.  I have never done this before and am excited and nervous about it.  I joked that I am more nervous about this than an Ironman! Haha!  I just hope I can make the team proud although I doubt I will be contributing any points.  This Sunday will be the first race at Taylor Creek Park for 5km.  Wish me luck!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Muskoka - the quick and dirty!

I will write up a proper race report in the next couple of days but here is a short recap of the day!  I am actually quite disappointed with myself and my performance out there yesterday.  I was actually pretty bummed about it last night.  I had an ok swim and bike.  The bike is a very challenging one and I think I did a pretty good job of attacking it.  I even had a guy pass me at the start of the run thanking me for being his pace bunny on the bike! LOL!  He said he was chasing me the whole time and couldn't pass me but I kept him in check!  Thought that was funny.  Oh....but the run.  What to say!?  By the 2km mark I was done.  And I mentally checked out!  Which is what I am very disappointed in.  I couldn't fight through this one for some reason.  Then I was wondering if I was just over-raced.  Maybe doing Guelph wasn't the smartest thing but thought it was a good prep for yesterday.  Who knows!? All I know was that I didn't want to be out there on the run and I let myself give up.  It is a VERY challenging run course with never ending hills.  You just keep going up and down and whatever I did I could not get my pace down.  Going to take the next few days off and then start really focusing on the running for Chicago.  I really wanted to end the tri season on a high note and this was not it! Boo!  Well, another half ironman in the books and I will need to take this as a learning experience some how!  On the bright side, I was 20min faster than the last time I did this course in 2008 but not sure if that accounts for much! Ha!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guelph Lake II

Guelph Lake II Race Report
September 3, 2011

I decided to do this race as a prep for the Muskoka 70.3 next weekend.  I was working the whole long weekend anyway and I figured this would be the best way to get a good workout in.  So I raced Saturday morning and had to report to work that night for four nights! 

Race morning I had a bowl of oatmeal, a banana, and a cup of coffee.  Got to the race site and reunited with Limey who was staying up north until Muskoka.  Chatted with some friends, got my gear ready, and was set to go. 

The 750m swim went ok.  When the gun went off for my wave I decided to start pretty aggressively and I actually was leading the swim for all of 10seconds! Lol!  I started swimming hard but quickly the lactic acid built up and then I backed off.  I got into a nice rhythm and felt ok but I did not have a great swim time.  In fact, this was one of my slowest swims for the year.  By the time I crossed the timing mat (which was a good run uphill), I clocked in at 15:04 for a 2:01min/m.  Yikes!  That actually really sucks for me!  Anyway, I was 4th out of the water in my age group.

Transition went ok and then I was off on the bike.  Legs were not feeling that great and it took me until the turnaround before I really started hammering it on the bike.  Don't know if I pushed it too hard out there but I had my fastest bike split too date! Yay!  I tried a caffeine pill as well for the first time and I do not know if it helped me or not.  It did not bother me so I may try it again in Muskoka.  I completed the 30km ride in 54:02 for a 33.3km/hr average!  Good enough for 3rd in my age group for the bike! 

check out the bruise on my left leg from the dock jumping incident last week! lol!

Got through transition then onto the run course. here I died!  Maybe I pushed the bike too much or the humidity really got to me.  It was around 39C with the humidex.  Whatever it was, I was suffering out there.  I just had no running legs and was really struggling.  Then my mind went into doubting mode as I was trying to figure out how I am going to run a half marathon off a 90km bike next weekend!  Oy!  I actually had two guys who passed me turn around and asked me if I was ok.  That was how bad I was breathing out there!  I sounded horrendous!  Lol!  As much as I wanted to just stop I did not.  And I was getting faster as I continued running but clocked in my slowest run splits for this year!  Boo!  I ran the 7.5km course in 40:07 for a 5:44min/km.  9th in my age group for the run.  Total time was 1:52:23 and I lost 3rd place by 13 seconds as the third place girl in my age group passed me on the last corner.  I tried to stay with her but just could not.  Final standing was 4th out of 32 in my age group!  Not bad!  But not totally pleased with my performance.  I did get called to the podium and got a plaque. Lol!

Just hope I have a better time at Muskoka this weekend!!!  Eek!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Summer Fun!

I got to spend some more time up north with my second family this past week! :):):)  Originally I was planning on making a trip to the Okanagan and spend time with friends as well as watch and cheer IMC.  But since I couldn't manage a nice stretch off from work I decided not to go and save some money.  But I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my free time!  Huge thanks to the Bialkowski's for always welcoming me into your home!!!!

I arrived Wednesday right after work and pretty much did nothing that day since it was passed noon when I arrived. There were actual tornado warnings for the area that afternoon/evening as well!  Great, I got to experience an earthquake the day before and now tornado warnings!  Thankfully nothing materialized but it was a stormy evening.  I did make a batch of chili for the family which appeared to have been a huge hit since it was all gone by the next night!  And that was a huge batch!!!!  Thursday morning I rode my bike for 2hrs with David.  It was an easy ride for him but I had my work cut out for me to keep up with him!  Lol!  He also realized that my seat was too high for me!  Ahhhh....thanks!  Too bad he didn't see this before as I rode the whole season like this! Ha!  Later that afternoon I swam in the bay with Marianne and it was pretty choppy so it was a slower swim than normal for me.  However, I always do enjoy fighting the waves.  Makes swimming more interesting! Following the swim I then did the club time trial.  I was really hoping for another bike PB but it just did not happen.  I think the back to back race weekends caught up to me as it was one of my slower bike time trials for the year and the run was absolutely disastrous! body decided it was tired!
riding along the Muskoka 70.3 course

Friday I got up before the crack of dawn because Marianne and I were going to ride the Muskoka 70.3 course in Huntsville.  One of Marianne's friends joined us for her first ever 94km ride.  We were on our bikes by 7:30am and set out on the course.  It for sure is a beautiful bike ride but also a difficult one.  I did this race three years ago and I was quickly reminded how hilly and challenging this course is!  I was trying to take mental notes as to when to go into my small front ring for the steeper climbs.  It was a great day for riding and kudos to Debbie for surviving it.  Even though we took it easy, the climbing forced you to work hard.  We did reward our efforts with a yummy ice cream treat on our way home!  It was one of the best ice creams I have ever had!!!! Yuummmyyyyy!!!

Saturday I decided to go on the club ride in the morning.  I was banking on some of the  Nachos showing up so I could go a bit easier.  Nope!  Hard core guys were out for this ride and I was the only girl!  If I would have known I may have opted to sleep in and go for a moderate ride later in the day.  But I went and did my best to hang on.  I wanted to just tuck in somewhere and draft and I was doing a good job of that until I had to pull.  The first couple of times I pulled were ok but I was for sure redlining it to keep the pace up.  By my fourth pull I was struggling on the uphills and was expending a lot of energy.  I should have been smart and dropped back right away and draft.  But I tried to take on my share of the work.  Soon enough I was struggling to keep with the pack and kept falling off the back. A couple of times someone would wait back for me and bring me back to the group but doing this enough times was taking its toll on me.  I was time trialing this whole ride.  The last bit we caught back on with the group but I was already going 42km/hr just staying with the three guys as we were waiting to get back on the train.  Once the train came barrelling across my speed hit 45km/hr and I discovered this to be my top end.  Last year my top end speed for drafting was 35kph, at that point I would drop off.  Now its 45kph! Yay!  But the lactic acid was just building up and I thought I was going to hurl going this hard and this fast!  I finally got dropped and decided that was it for me!  I was going to go do the rest of the route and climb the last hill and I was heading that way.  But my legs were fried!  I then decided to turn around and go home.  Still rode 50km in total and most of it was an all out effort.  Oh...and I saw a bear and 2 cubs during this ride too!!!  I was pretty excited about that but also freaked me out a bit as they crossed the road not to far ahead of me! Lol!

That was it for Saturday for me!  My legs were done!  I was contemplating riding later that day but I decided against it as Sunday was a big day for me.  Woke up once again before the crack of dawn on Sunday to now run 30km with Marianne.  I needed to get some long runs in to prep for Chicago and this was one of them.  I am happy to say that this run felt great!  I felt like I could have easily ran another 5km.  I held a good pace until 27km and then fell off a bit from Marianne; but it went very well!  I am super happy with my run!  We did it in exactly 3hrs.  One of my best 30km training runs ever!  Yay!  This has given me a boost for Chicago.  I am planning another 30km run after the Muskoka 70.3 and I should be set!  Following the run I went for an easy 30km bike ride to just spin out the legs. 

Later than afternoon we then went up to the cottage!  The cottage is such a novelty for me because I did not grow up with one!  So it is a lot of fun for me to go there!  I even attempted a silly stunt against my better judgement.  There is a ramp off the dock built to ride a bike off of it and jump into the water.  Well, I gathered up enough courage to do this and was successful on my first attempt.  But I had to get more speed and pedal harder to make this stunt more successful so I tried it again.  Only thing is that we are riding this kids bike so you have to stand and pedal and I fully admit to having poor bike handling skills.  So my second attempt failed as I was heading off the dock before the ramp and into some huge rocks.  I managed not to go head first into the rocks but not before I managed to bruise my whole left leg!  Haha!  After that I was not allowed to try it anymore!  I think I scared them more than I scared myself! Lol!  I was then taken on a boat ride where I got to try water skiing for my first time. it is a lot harder than I expected!  I never did manage to get up but I was persistent and kept trying until I was absolutely freezing and shivering in the water.  Then I called it quits.  Hopefully I can try that again as I think I was getting the hang of it...sort of!

the bike ramp we jumped off from!

my attempt at water skiing

enjoying a boat ride
Monday I finally got to sleep in! Haha!  Went out for a 45min swim in the bay with Morgan and then I did an easy 3hr bike ride.  It was another beautiful day and I just enjoyed myself out there.  Soooo much fun!!!!  I love how I get to sleep 7-8hrs, eat well, relax, have fun, and train!  I even read a book while I was there!  Just awesome!

Up next: Guelph Lake 2 sprint triathlon.