Monday, December 24, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

A quick little post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!!  

I'll update about my injuries,  rehab, and non existent training later but for now, here is a You Tube clip of one of my fav Christmas songs:



Here are some of the Christmas goodies I made this year!  They seem to be a hit! :)  

The M-dot Shortbread cookie!

The cookie spread all gifted up!  I made six different kinds!

So...Merry Christmas to you all and To all, a Good Night!!!!



Monday, December 3, 2012

And one more...

My injury list is just getting longer! :) Boo!  Since I have stopped running and cycling I have been in the pool and getting in some yoga.  Well, Thursday night at swim practice I did something stupid!  We were working on dives, turns, and finishes after a shortened main set to prepare for our club's time trial swim meet.  I had signed up to swim the 50m, 200m, and 800m free looking forward to improve my times from the last swim meet.  Working on the last thing - finishes, I managed to do something bad.  As I was going into the wall at full speed with my left arm outstretched to touch the wall, I think I had my arm a little too hyper-extended that when I hit the wall it had no where to go.  My elbow just sort of buckled and popped out!  I immediately sort of tried to straightened it and grabbed it with my right hand to straighten it and it went back into place.  But not without massive sharp pain! :(  I stood at the side of the pool in near tears hoping the pain would go away but it was just getting worse and I could not move my arm.  I then realized I was in trouble and did something bad.  I managed to get myself to the other side of the pool where I one handed got myself on the pool deck and iced my elbow for a bit.  My range of motion was horrible.  Thankfully I got a ride home from one of the coaches (since I rode my bike to swim) and hoped that my elbow would get better.  I almost went into emerg that night since I could not sleep from the pain to make sure everything was ok.  I waited until I was at work the next night and had it checked then.  Thankfully, the xrays were all cleared and there were no fractures, it wasn't a complete dislocation and the elbow is in its proper place! Pheww!  But there is joint swelling and ligaments were torn.  So now I have a bum elbow! Lol!  Range of motion is getting better but it is still quite painful and there is no way I can swim or go to yoga for a bit until this heals!  Well, I figured this is a sign to force me to completely rest!  Yoga may have been pushing my hamstring a little much....well, now I cannot go.  I may try some swimming by the end of the week if my elbow feels better but I think I need to be careful with that too and not push it too soon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Check this out!

I have had the pleasure of taking yoga classes for just over a year now at Fireflow Yoga!  And I really do love classes there!  Well...owner and yoga instructor, Jonathan, asked me if he could interview me about being an athlete and taking yoga classes.  I was honoured and below are two You Tube clips he put together of the interview and from a yoga class that I took.  He did a really good job if I may say so! ;) Thanks Jonathan!




Friday, November 16, 2012

On the "DL" list! :(

As in the MLB, I am officially on the "Disabled List"...which in my world means no running, and possibly no yoga! :(

I started the year with plantar fasciitis and a sprained ankle.  The ankle healed and I was getting treatments for the PF; which I am still getting treatments for just not as intense.  The foot is actually doing quite well and just flares up once in a while.  It really did not bother me this past race season.

Somewhere along the way, I developed a hamstring strain.  I remember feeling my right hamstring get tight in March during Oceanside but I thought nothing of it.  As the race season went on, my hamstring was getting worse.  Unfortunately, I put quite a bit of stress on it preparing for the Ironman and I think I destroyed it during the IM.  I continued to race and train for the remaining races I had for the season but really backed off on the run training.  I was running very little to give it as much rest as possible.  I got through my races, in pain, but I got through them with awesome results.  The pain got worse at the upper hamstring where my hamstring meets with my sit bones.  I got to the point that everything hurts - sitting, walking, swimming etc etc.  I was in constant pain. :(  I do have a high pain tolerance though so I was and am able to continue with my normal activities of daily living.  My chiro has been pretty awesome in treating me the whole time but I know I did not do myself any favours by continuing to race.  So after my last race (B2B) I was told to stop running and see if I can start healing.   I ended up getting an ultrasound to make sure there was not a complete tear in my hamstring.  The good news: no tear!  The bad news: my tendon on the injured side (right) is 50% thicker than the left with some calcium deposits.  Basically, tendinitis that is chronic.  Saw the doc and was basically told to not run because it would just prolong the healing.  Also, there may be a chance that I have a stress fracture but at this point he doesn't think so.  So, continue with the treatments and hope for the best.  I was hoping to begin some real training in January - I guess I will have to wait and see! :(

Not gonna lie, I am not liking this!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

Since I am on the do not run list (more about that in another post soon), my off season training is right now limited to swimming and yoga.  In fact, swim and yoga are two of my favourite activities!  I haven't jumped on the bike trainer yet for any serious training, that will come soon though.  So, since I could not participate in the OMA XC meets this fall, I decided to try out an Ontario Masters Swimming meet, at the very last minute to boot!  So on Sunday, I headed to the Etobicoke Olympium with our coach and other swimmers from the University of Toronto Masters of the Universe swim club and swam in my very first swim meet ever!!!

I am not going to lie, I was very nervous heading into this meet.  My strongest sport in triathlon is swimming but I did not grow up as a swimmer.  I learned how to flip turn when I joined the club a few years ago and I really do not know how to dive off the diving blocks.  Many of the swimmers at these Masters meets are ex-varsity and ex-competitive swimmers and they are fast!  I did not know the rules for swim meets but because I was just sticking to free style I was safe! ;)  My biggest fear - losing my goggles during the dive starts! Lol!!!  I decided to swim the 100, 200, and 400m free as well as the 4x50m free relay!

The first event was the 100m free.  I am not a sprinter, I am a long distance swimmer so this was going to be hard!  I seeded myself at 1:30 knowing I could swim faster than that but wasn't expecting anything faster than 1:20.  The start gun went off and I dove in and swam as hard as I could for 100m.  This was an all out sprint for me and I definitely felt the lactic acid building up!  I swam it in 1:17:56 and I was ecstatic!!!!  That was the fastest I ever swam 100m!!!!  Woohoo!!!!  But I gave it my all and red-lined the whole thing.  I could barely get out of the pool and my legs were absolute jello!  Lol!  I could barely hold myself upright let alone walk!  Haha!  My teammates and coach were waiting for me to congratulate me and I was having a blast!  I was 5th in my age group and 2nd in the heat.

Next event was the 400m.  My biggest problem at swim practices is pacing.  I can pace running events but I have yet learned the art of pacing in swimming.  So when the gun went off, I started off too hard for the first 100m.  Then I tried to settle into a pace telling myself to slow down, slow down.  I led my heat for most of it until the end when I was losing gas.  Then I wasn't sure if I was on my last lap and actually held up a bit to see if the girl next to me was going to do another flip turn or finish.  Well, she finished so I tried to kick the last little bit to get back some time! Haha!  I swam a respectable 6:06:42!  I seeded myself at 6:15.  This was the fastest I ever swam a 400!  I was 4th in my age group and 2nd in the heat.

Now for the 4x50m relay.  I was swimming with ex-swimmers so I was swimming second! Lol!  I was given a quick tutorial on the rules and how-to of relays!  Again, an all out 50m is hard for me and I gave it my all.  I finished barely able to breathe or even see straight! Haha!  I swam my leg in 35:30 which I believe is the fastest I ever swam 50m.  We came 2nd in the relay in our age category and won our heat.

Our 4x50m relay team!

 After a little break was then my final event for the day.  The 200m free.  I had a blast racing this one.  I had the slowest seed time in my heat at 3:05 so I wasn't expecting to stay with the others.  However, I started off sprinting the first 100m and then found myself fighting to stay up there.  I think I was leading the first 100m, lol!  The girl next to me decided to do this event all fly.  As I was dying, she caught up to me and passed me.  With about 50m left I just put my head down and kicked with all my might!  I saw my coach at the side of the pool cheering me on since I had the outside lane!  So much fun!  Well, I managed to catch up and pass the girl next to me in the last 25m and won my heat! I swam the 200m in 2:53:55 which is for sure the fastest I ever swam this and came 3rd in my age group.  My coach was excited as he said it was fun to watch me lead, get passed, then fight back and out touch the other girl!  I even could hear the crowd cheer loudly!  I got out of the pool and was dizzy probably from the lack of oxygen! Haha!  I had to sit down and then I decided to jump in the pool for a little cool down.  I had no legs left, once again, they turned into jello!

Too bad I didn't grow up as a swimmer!  I think I could have actually done well.  I held my own being a non-swimmer and had so much fun!  Having a team and coach for sure helped too!  It was awesome getting cheered and cheering others on!  Of note, one of our team members is 75 years old and he did a 200m fly! If you have ever done fly you will know how hard this is!  He is absolutely amazing and an inspiration!!!  I still cannot do 200m fly!  Lol!  I am actually looking forward to the next masters event!  Oh...and I did not lose my goggles in any of the dive starts! Yay!  Much better than the warm ups when I lost them twice in four dives!

Members of TMU plus our coach (minus one swimmer!)


Two days later, and I am still sore! Lol!  I did not expect to feel so wiped out the night of the swim meet and to feel so sore! My shoulders and abs actually hurt! Haha!  I really did push myself to the limit but it was so worth it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beach 2 Battleship

 “Mind is everything; muscle, mere pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.”       - Paavo Nurmi

This quote was what I was banking on going into Beach 2 Battleship Half Ironman.  I wanted to PB at this race and I wanted to go under 5:30.  I was fully aware that this was an optimistic goal with how bad my hamstring has been.  But I was going to go for it and I was prepared to hurt for this.



Race Report
Beach2Battleship Half Ironman
Wilmington, North Carolina
Oct 20, 2012




The days leading up to the race were pretty uneventful.  I drove down with one of the Nacho's and we did the drive in one shot.  We arrived at our hotel which had complimentary breakfast AND fresh baked cookies at 5pm everyday!  We did the routine race check in, bike check in, short workout, and race meeting the day before the race.  Then we had dinner with the rest of the Nachos in their RV for some carb loading.  Race morning, I had some oatmeal, coffee, and Boost.


We drove to the site and parked in the race parking lot only to get completely disorientated in the dark.  We were parked less than a 5min walk to the transition area but for some reason we headed in the opposite direction and walked for about 20min before we realized we went the wrong way! Ha! That was a first!  Luckily we got their early enough that we had enough time to make the walk back and still did body marking, tire pumping, and getting the bike all prepped with nutrition and fluids.  Then we took a trolley ride to the swim start since the race was a point to point race except for the run.



the real battleship in Wilmington


Swim: 27:24 (2km)


The swim was in Wrightsville beach and it was in a channel so that meant swimming with the current.  Boy did I choose a year of fast swim times!  I was hoping for a sub 30min swim.  I was told it would probably be even faster.  I was in the sixth wave and  it was hard staying behind the start line as the current really was pushing us.  I swam backwards a few times to stay behind the line.  The gun went off and I started swimming hard trying to get out in front.  Not to far into the swim my Garmin strap broke off.  I took a chance swimming with it, it stayed on just fine on my training runs but I never did get it repaired after Savageman.  So before I lost it in the water I grabbed it and swam with my right hand holding onto my watch.  I was basically swimming one handed as I had my right hand in a fist.  After the first turn buoy, I was lost.  I really wasn't sure where the buoys were and where to go so I was following a group in front of me.  Then I lost them because I somehow made a wrong turn and was redirected by a lifeguard.  Oops!  Not until I saw the swim finish did I know exactly where to go.  And the swim felt long to me for some reason.  It felt like I was swimming forever.  I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the Garmin and it read 26 something min for the swim! Woohoo!  Yup, another fast swim but I was 12th in my age group.  Guess I made a few too many wrong turns!  Got out to the wetsuit strippers, then ran the half km or so to transition to meet up with Limey!  Nb: I had the fastest T1 time in my age group! ;)



run to T1


Bike: 2:47:38 (90km)


I got on the bike and was ready to giv'er!  I recently purchased a Quarq crank which means I can now race and train with power! I was very excited for that!  My powertap was just on my training wheel so when I raced I depended on feel and my heart rate.  Now I got real power for everything!  I had no power goal though so I just pushed.  I was expecting a pancake flat bike course and it wasn't quite that.  There were a few long steady hills but nothing Savageman-like.  The big thing was the head wind we were facing.  Most of the ride was a head or a cross wind since the ride was point to point.  I was doing a lot of passing during the ride and it felt good!  My legs were feeling it though and I knew I was gambling a bit for the run.  However, I also knew that I probably could not run as fast as I would like to so I took this chance.  I was happy with my time and I averaged 32.5km/hr and 189 Watts!  Woohoo!  My past goal watts was 160W so this is huge!  The ride was about 500m long but no big deal.  I did have the 5th fastest bike split in my age group which moved me to 5th! Another rare occasion of my bike split placing higher than my swim split!



hammering the bike


Run: 2:07:48 (21.1km)


Now for the run.  In the last 10km of the bike I took two extra strength Advils in preparation for a painful hammy on the run.  I started the run with great feeling running legs but an immediately painful hamstring.  I just told it to shut-up and to go away and I managed to ignore it for the most part.  Since I wasn't running with my Garmin which I left with my wetsuit I had no idea of my pace.  I knew I was running a pretty fast pace for the beginning and maybe it was too fast.  But I was hoping to bank some time since I was inevitably going to slow down.  Who knows, maybe if I paced it better I would have run a bit faster.  I just focused on a fast turnover and ignored the pain.  However, I did notice my gait was changed and I was completely compensating for the right leg.  But I was so focused that I did not let it bother me.  I somehow managed quite a bit of passing but I got passed as well.  The last 5km were a struggle as my left leg was cramping up quite a bit while my right leg was barely moving through.  I must have looked funny.  If the run was any longer I would have been in trouble as I was really cramping up in the finishing chute.  I ended up averaging just over a 6min/km.  One of my goals for the year was to run a half IM run in under 2hrs,  I'll have to wait til next year.  Oceanside was my closest attempt but I knew it was not going to happen today.  I had the 18th fastest run time in my age group.  Yick!



in the finishing chute - almost done!


Finish: 5:28:15  (6th place AG)


New Half Ironman PB!!!! Woohoo!!!! Soooo happy!!!!!  I managed to hold onto 6th place overall in my age group out of 59 finishers!!!!  I was 35th female out of 306 finishers.  I was barely able to walk afterwards with the pain but with time I was getting more mobile.  I am extremely happy with my last race of the season!  And again, surprised at how mentally strong I was out there and how focused I remained despite the pain.  Now for a long rest before the 2013 season and hopefully a fully recovered hammy!


Afterwards, we headed down to Charleston, South Carolina and surfed at Folly Beach.  Here is a group pic of the Nachos after our surf lesson:






Friday, October 26, 2012

SURFIN'!!!

I am in the process of writing a full race report for my final triathlon of 2012. I am super happy with my result and am super happy with my 2012 season!  Truly, I am ecstatic! In the meantime, I wanted to post a pic of a new sport I picked up this year - surfing! Lol!  Here is digital proof of my success of getting up on the board!  And not just once!  (or twice!) So much fun!  Too bad I don't live near surf-able waters!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Bah-hum-bug!

Is my attitude right now! Lol!  This is the first time I am letting an injury beat me up and I am not liking it!  I am in unfamiliar territory dealing with my hamstring and I am not having a lot of fun at the moment.  Last night was the first time I did not finish my workout due to my hamstring pain.  I have managed to push through the pain and complete what was planned, albeit slower but I would still finish it.  But not last night!  I was planning on running 8 x 600m on the track after taking 6 days off of running.  I ended at six!  And I was not even going all out or anything.  I could not even do strides without pain so I did not do them.  Then today after a 3hr ride I was planning on running 10km.  Nope!  Stopped just shy of 8km because I was just getting slower and in too much pain to push any harder.  This is not my first injury by any means.  I have had my fair share over the years but I have been pretty lucky at the same time.  The timing in my past injuries allowed me to rest it properly before training again or was really bad that I was forced to rest (not by choice) so I was able to heal.  But this hamstring is just not cooperating with me! ;)  I was going to write a post last week with the title of "Power of Mind Part II" where I was going to discuss how strong a negative mind can be.  My last three races were going to be my reference for this.  In both the olympic and half races at Savageman, I gave up on the run.  Particularly in the olympic, I just did not fight and push through.  In the half IM, I managed to fight in the second half of the run and I pulled it together well.  At the Taylor Creek 5km, I was holding a good pace but at about 3.5km in, I gave up and let up and ended up being slower than last year.  I was going to attribute it to being burnt out.  However, even though a negative mind does affect athletic performance, a broken body will too.  Maybe it was just my body trying to tell me to slow down to prevent more harm.  Or it could have been both, a crazy race schedule and a broken body!  I am burnt out both mentally and physically.  I even had a tough time on the bike today, I just wanted to turn around and go home.  Well, maybe the near zero temperature and strong headwind didn't help but I had no juice in me to push stronger.  I did finish the ride but was bummed with my performance.  And of course, I stubbornly refuse to pull out of any races! Ha!  One more to get through!  Next weekend, one last half IM!  At least I did not sign up for any more races as I was originally planning on running a fall marathon too!  Lol!  That will have to wait, not this year!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Road Trip!

Last week I did something I have always wanted to do!  Cross the border on my bike!!! :):):)

And guess what, this trip was not even my idea! Lol!  A friend wanted to ride to Buffalo to visit his brother and asked me to come along!  It definitely was a great ride!  We left Wednesday morning just after rush hour with the potential of hitting some rain.  It was a bit dodgy getting out of the city but we lucked out with the weather and never did get rained on! Woohoo!!!

Our route from TO to Buffalo - 191km


We kind of winged it in terms of a route to get there.  We both looked at maps and figured out a rough route.  Luckily, my friend memorized roads once we hit St.Catharines for us to get to the Niagara Parkway and eventually the Peace Bridge which was the bridge we needed to cross to get into the U.S.  

 Niagara Falls from the Canadian side


                                               Crossing the border using a separate entrance

Once we reached the bridge, I rode part of it and walked the rest of it as I wasn't a fan of huge trucks whizzing by me as I was on a narrow sidewalk.  We had a separate entrance to go through and it was pretty easy going.  No real questions were asked and it was smooth sailing!  Total ride was about 191km and took us about 7 1/2 hrs.  We stayed in Buffalo for two nights and stayed in a quaint little neighbourhood.  I really did have a nice stay there!  Then we made the return trip on Friday once the sun rose and tried out a different route.

 Buffalo to TO route (garmin died in Mississauaga)




The highlight of the trip was crossing the border back into Canada.  We got to use the car lane!  I always wanted to do that! Ha!  The border officer was very nice and really just chatted with us.  He did ask us if we made any purchases and if we had alcohol or cigarettes, lol!  The day was perfect for another long ride and we took about the same time to get back home.  We rode at a pretty good click though, just as fast as a training ride with minimal stops.  Getting back into TO was really sketchy as we hit rush hour traffic in the middle of downtown.  So once we got to my friend's place I waited rush hour out before I rode the rest of the way home.  The trip was a ton of fun with great company and a great ride!  Now I can officially say I crossed the border on my bike, we rode into another country, and we crossed the country from lake to lake - Lake Ontario to Lake Erie!  FUN!



                                                            Lake Ontario in Burlington


Monday, October 1, 2012

True Savage

Finally, my race report of the "True" Savage, aka SavageMan Double, aka SavageMan 100!

SavageMan Triathlon Festival
Sept 15-16, 2012
Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

This was one of those races I have read and heard about, thought about doing, but at the same time seemed so insane that I wasn't sure if I would, lol!  It has been labelled as one of the toughest triathlons in the world by reputable magazines and websites.  And I fully believe it! Ha!  I not only did the half ironman; I decided to do the "true"/double/ SavageMan 100 - which is racing the olympic distance on one day and then doing the half ironman the very next day.  This race was my final race of my crazy five week schedule.  I started off with a tough Ironman and ended this stretch with the toughest half ironman in the world the weekend after another tough half ironman at Muskoka!

The weekend started with the olympic distance race on the Saturday.  Since I raced the Muskoka 70.3 the weekend before I did absolutely no training in between the two weekends!  I needed to survive!  I also was not expecting or looking for any PBs this weekend due to the nature of the tough course!  I was sooooo nervous going into Saturday's race.  I do not think I have ever been this nervous before a race!  Not even for Ironmans - ok, maybe not! ;)  But seriously, I was feeling the butterflies in my tummy!  These nerves were not for the olympic race itself, it was for the half the next day!  I was already nervous about the half and the infamous Westernport wall and the descending!

SavageMan 30
The swim was a pretty fast swim, probably because it may have been a little short.  I felt good in the water and all nerves disappeared once the race started.  I came out of the water in 24:11, 2nd in my age group but first out on the bike due to a pretty decent transition.  On the bike I felt good as well.  I was a little hesitant at the beginning because I was worried about descending but none of the descents were bad so I was pretty comfortable out there and putting in a strong effort.  This bike course had four notable climbs ranging from 5-8% average grades with max inclines of 8-14%.  However,  I found two of them were tough and I had to go into the small chainring in the front.  To my surprise, I returned to empty bike racks in transition.  Bike time was 1:25:02.  I was first off the bike and starting the run first in my age group.  But this lead was short lived as I could not hang on during the run.  The run was pretty brutal itself.  More hills!  I struggled during this run!  Big time!  It took every ounce of energy to keep running.  I was hurting so bad!  My left ankle turned and every step was painful especially running up the Fire Tower Rd which was a steep gravel hill.  In addition, my poor right hamstring was just yelling at me to stop!  Or at least walk up the hills!  It was so bad I actually wanted to cry out there during the run.  I could not push the pace and I lost my lead! Lol!  I had two girls pass me in the last couple of km of the run.  Ah well!  I ran a 59:42 for a total time of 2:52:36 and ended up in 5th overall in my age group!  Not too shabby!

SavageMan 30
First race done!  Now back to being nervous!  Lol!  Watching You Tube videos of previous years' races did not help.  You watch buff men in all the gear falling all over the place trying to climb the wall.  It really is funny but really played on my confidence.  If these men can't get up, I had little faith in my ability to get up especially since I lack the ability to stand up on the bike on steep hills!  (I REALLY need to learn this skill!!!).  You see, there is an alternate option to climbing the 31% grade Westernport Wall on the bike course.  There is an actual detour we can take which is a bit longer but not as steep.  So I was not sure what to do!  Do I attempt the near impossible and risk injury or take the safe route around.  A couple of my friends decided to take me to the wall later that afternoon to give it a go.  We drove to Westernport and I was greeted with the steepest climb I have ever seen in my life!  At this point I was literally shaking with nerves!  I am not kidding either!  I was scared!  The climb leading up to the wall is no dance in the park either, there are pitches of 22% and 26% grades.  So I started climbing with my friends and strangers cheering me on!  I started really aggressively and was hammering away feeling pretty good.  Then I hit the crappy pavement of the 31% wall and just gave it all I had.  I tried to keep my wheel straight and tried to stay to the right which had slightly better pavement but soon enough as I was nearing the end I started wobbling and couldn't keep my line.  I went right into a pothole and I was done!  Down I went!  Haha!  But - it did not hurt!  So I decided at that moment I was going to give it a go on race day!  I tried it, I fell and I was not hurt!  And I was pretty close to the top!  Like a few metres away!  So with the added adrenaline on race day I thought I may have had a shot.  And my strategy changed to trying to go up the first part easy and then giving it all I have for the last part.

SavageMan 70
Race morning was pretty uneventful and I was not nervous at all!  I really had nothing to lose!  Lol!  The swim went ok; I think I went off course a bit and I was swimming on my own.  I swam a 32:46 for the 2km swim.  The run to transition was also uphill with stairs, surprise! surprise!  On my way to transition, my Garmin ripped off as I was taking off my wetsuit!  Oh oh! I tried to repair it in transition trying to get the tiny pin back in the holes and I did it but it wasn't stable.  Since I did not feel like losing a $400 watch I decided to leave it in transition and therefore, race with no watch.  Got on the bike and was greeted with Toothpick, a 0.5mile climb with a max grade of 16% and average of 9%.  Then the descending started!  My favourite part (enter sarcastic tone here)!.  This course really is not for me!  I can climb the hills and pass many people doing so but I just get passed back on the descents.  Boo!  All that work for what seems like nothing!  But as a fellow competitor told me during the race - climbing well is much more impressive than descending.  I was freezing during the descents and the cold did not help my hamstring either.  It felt really tight and I tried to pedal whenever I could just to get some blood flowing and warm up the muscles.  We descended until we hit Westernport - here goes nothing!  You can see my attempt in a previous post in the You Tube link video.  There were crowds of people lining the wall cheering madly while the Rocky theme song was blaring.  I wanted to pass a couple of people near the bottom because I knew they were weaker climbers so I went a little hard at first and then settled in to a rhythm until I hit the 31% wall.  Then I gave it all I had and unfortunately had to start further to the left than I would have liked to avoid people and rode straight into potholes and crevices.  Since I had some good momentum I rode right through them until two people crashed right in front of me. I managed to swerve and stay upright and kept going.  I even gave a loud savage like groan to turn my bike again until a guy came from behind me and to avoid hitting him I swerved one more time.  This time with less speed and right into another pothole I went down!  I got further up than my first attempt the day before and I was oh so close to the top!  Ridiculously close!  I could of had it if it wasn't for me trying to avoid the other guy!  But I did not hurt myself and I had fun!  This was actually the highlight of the race for me!  I went for it!


Going up the wall with my savage look!


There was still another ~60km to go on the bike and the wall was the start of Savage Mtn which took me by surprise.  I was hurting here!  We had to climb another 2.4miles with an avg grade of 6% peaking at 21%.  Then more climbing and more scary descending.  The climbing was relentless!  Hills just kept coming and coming!  I would look up and just see another one coming.  Geez!  This was no easy bike ride.  We had climbs with several 17%, 19%, 22%, 23% grades!  I was happy to reach Killer Miller which I was warned about and was told it is actually harder than the wall due to it's location in the bike course.  We climb for 1.3miles with an avg grade of 8% and a max of 22%.  I was surprised how long this climb was but the crowd support was awesome!  Since I passed 3 or 4 guys while climbing the crowd went nuts and egged me on.   When the climb got tough, a guy spectating ran beside me the rest of the way up giving me words of encouragement!  He was awesome!  Thanks stranger!  You got me up Killer Miller faster than if I were to do it by myself!  Later I found out my friends (all of them were guys) did not think I was going to make it up Killer Miller and asked me if I had to get off the bike!  I was angry at them for their lack of confidence in me!  But I showed them!  Haha!  After all the significant climbing was done I had one more obstacle.  As if the hills and the wall were not enough, I was chased by a dog!  No kidding!  A boxer came right for me and bit me!  I could not believe it!  First time I was ever bitten by a dog!  I yelled at it to try to intimidate it but to no avail!  He got my foot but did not break skin thanks to my bike shoes!  I did feel it and it hurt a bit but I was scared more than anything else!  I cycled like mad to get away and he chased me for a bit and then stopped.  Really?! I was so happy to see the end of this long bike ride though - took me a whole 4hrs 29min to complete this ride.  Ewww! Lol!

SavageMan 70
Finally got onto the run course and I was a mess.  I was struggling, my hamstring was hurting, my whole body was hurting! The run course was the same as the olympic with an additional hill and it was two loops.  I suffered the whole first loop.  It was awful!  However, I somehow managed to pick it up in the second loop and ran relatively well.  I did a lot of passing and was feeling stronger.  Maybe the coke I was drinking kicked in to give me my second wind.  I ran a slow 2:28:48 for the half and finished the whole thing in 7:29:10.  By far my slowest half ironman ever!  I was 6th in my age group for the half and finished 3rd woman overall in the SavageMan Double!  That was one hard race and it definitely lives up to its name!

I may be back to take care of some unfinished business! ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Savageman in pictures!

Since right now I am a little on the lazy side to write up a full race report I thought I could post some pics up for a race report in pictures! ;)

So here they are:

From the Savageman 30.0:



   


Just passed two guys! ;)


From the Savageman 70.0:





The next 4 are my favourite picture sequence from the Westernport Wall:

That is right! Ride right through a pothole!  31% isn't enough!

Crap, they just crashed in front of me!
OMG! I managed to just miss them! I'm still upright!

TURN! OMG! Still upright!  Go!Go!Go!




Finally, the finish!!!

I will write up a proper race report in the next couple of days! Promise! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Muskoka 70.3 Race Report



Muskoka 70.3, Huntsville, Ontario
 September 9th, 2012

This was race #3 of my crazy 5 week race schedule.  Not knowing how much juice I had in me I still wanted to improve from my last year's time.  I was hoping for a very optimistic race goal of 6hrs but had a realistic goal of 6:15 tucked in my head.

I stayed with my friends in Parry Sound and made the trek with them to Huntsville race morning.  Did all my usual pre race checks which included pumping tires and setting up my transition and then just waiting for the swim start.  The swim was a wave start which is much more to my liking than mass starts.  

The swim itself was pretty uneventful.  I felt pretty good in the water but it felt long to me.  I was actually getting a bit tired or bored of swimming the 2km.  Guess that is what happens when you just swim twice in the pool in the last month (since the Ironman).  I came out of the water 6th in my age group with a time of 36:38.  Not that spectacular but ok.  Funny, I swam twice this distance in just over 46min in the Hudson River - shows the effect of the tidal current we had in that race!  Made the run uphill to transition and got out of there as quick as I could and onto the 94km hilly bike course.

(I really like this pic!  I may actually buy this one!)

The bike!  Hmmm, what to say!?  Maybe riding 160km the weekend before wasn't such a great idea.  I just felt like I had no juice in me for the bike.  I could not get going and I was getting frustrated.  I think I also realized that this course is not meant for me.  I am not the greatest at short steep hills, I think I am better at long hills and rollers.  I do not take advantage of the downhills as I get into chicken mode out there.  So even though I felt like I was trying to push on the bike, I felt like I wasn't moving.  I also felt a bit unwell on the bike and kind of wanted to puke.  Riders who I am normally stronger than were passing me which did not help my state of frustration, lol!  We had some headwind to contend with which would make it harder than the previous year but I felt like I should have been able to put up a better bike split than last year since I am a better rider now.  In fact, I was about a minute slower. Boo! Time was 3:25:31.


I was happy to get off the bike and start the run.  I was not sure what state I would be for the run as I barely ran since the Ironman.  My hamstring is in a bad place and I was minimizing any training to try to get it better. My hamstring actually also hurt quite a bit on the bike which was new.  My parents were there to cheer me on which was awesome!  Gave me a boost at the beginning of the evil hilly run! ;)  Surprisingly, I had some running legs in me.  I wasn't moving very fast but I was able to run even though my hamstring was telling me to stop at every hill.  I was still mentally strong so I tried to remain strong throughout and I did.  The last 4km were pretty painful but I did not stop to walk.  I ended up running about 9min faster than last year! 2:11:30.


Total time was 6:18:47, 18th in my age group and 91st women overall out of 238.  Not quite the time goal I was hoping for but I will take it.  I was happy that I did not mentally check out this year like I did last year.  I remained focused on the run!  It is a tough course and I still did improve from my previous time by about 8min. Yay!!! :)  And my parents were there to watch and cheer me on which was awesome!!!!  It makes me smile to see them get all excited when I pass them while racing!


Oh....and immediately after this race I made my decision about Cozumel.  No way San Jose!  I do not have a second Ironman in me.  I had my race in NY, I exceeded my goals and am super happy with it!  There is no guarantee that I would go faster in Cozumel even though the course is easier; it still is an Ironman and they are never easy.  Furthermore, my hamstring would not survive the rigors of training and racing a second Ironman.  Well, maybe I can push it through but I would probably just cause more damage.  So, Beach to Battleship will be my last race, then I will take some time off and be fresh and ready to start training for next year!  Ironman #9 is confirmed - Mont Tremblant in 2013!
    

Friday, September 21, 2012

Determination!

If this is not the face of determination, I do not know what is! Lol!  Here is a pic of me going up the Westernport wall during the SavageMan half! So how Savage do I look???



And just for laughs, here is a You Tube clip of my attempt going up.  You can start seeing me at about the 8:00 min mark!  Full on teeth gritting grimace!!!  Enjoy!


And here is another clip taken from a friend's camera capturing my failed attempt; oh sooo close!!!

video