Monday, April 23, 2012

I am one lucky girl!

Not only do I have a place to sleep, food to eat, a loving family, friends, health, and a steady and fulfilling job...I am also able to be active and enjoy the outdoors, push my body to its limits, and travel the world.  This came into my mind when I went out for my run today.  I was enjoying my run and the scenary that surrounded me and just thought how lucky I am to be able to do what I do.  It is not always easy to get out the door and put in the time and training sessions, especially when I am in between my night shifts, but I would not be doing this if I did not enjoy it.  I enjoy pushing myself and seeing what I can do.  I enjoy seeing my hard work pay off at races when I get a new PB (well, who wouldn't?! Lol!).  I also enjoy travelling to different places with my running shoes and bike and racing/training around the world meeting new people and friends!  I am really and truely a lucky girl! :)

I thought I should post some pics from my latest jaunt in Southern California.  Not only did I train and race there, I took in some beautiful scenary, spent a fabulous time with family, and even learned how to SURF!!!! Woohoo!!! I had a blast surfing and it was a success! I got on the board!  Yay! :):):)

We had some great cycling days in Santa Monica and Malibu.  The cycling there is spectacular with great climbs and some scary descents.  I climbed the likes of Piuma (total climbing of 1131m), Rockstore and Encinal Canyon (1441m total climbing), Decker and Yerba Buena (1462m climbing), and Latigo Canyon (1189m climbing).  I would have loved to have taken more pics while cycling but we were either climbing or descending and I did not want to stop or could not stop safely, lol! 

Here are some pics from my California trip (and proof that I am a lucky girl to experience all of this!):

Agoura Hills - bascamp for our training week

riding on Mulholland Hwy

Calabasas outdoor pool

Pebble Beach (17-mile drive)

riding on the Pacific Coast hwy

one of our riding routes

sunset in Malibu

Malibu beach

I just LOVE watching the water!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hollywood Half Marathon

Before I write about my half marathon report, I wanted to mention something about the Oceanside 70.3 that I forgot to add.  Pro triathlete and overall winner Andy Potts is an amazing guy!!!!  After he took the win and did some post race stuff, he was out on the run course cheering us on very enthusiastically!!! :)  He truly is a class act!  I realized it was him as I was passing him and thought that was a really cool thing to do.  Not many pros do this!  My other previous pro encounter was Macca (Chris McCormack) who was out on the run course when I did St. Croix 70.3 handing out gels at an aid station.

Now for the run report:

Hollywood Half Marathon
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 7, 2012

As mentioned on a previous post, I decided to run the Hollywood Half Marathon only a week after the Oceanside 70.3 and after a cycling focused training week while in Santa Monica.  I decided to do this as I figured this would be the only time I had a chance to run an event like this and it sounded like fun!  We were told we would be running on the Walk of Fame!  And it was also a chance to see Hollywood!!!

I did a short 8km run two days before the run to try to get some running legs under me after a heavy dose of cycling in the hills of Malibu and Santa Monica.  This run HURT! And I was SLOW!  I also did a run the day before after our ride and I cut it to only 10min because my legs were very heavy.  I was not expecting much on race day as I figured my legs were just not fresh enough for a strong performance.  It was an early morning on Saturday as the run started at 6am!  We got to Universal Studios where the race was based out of fairly easily with parking being a bit of a traffic jam.

Mind over matter really works.  The run started and adrenaline kicked in and I was running a pretty fast pace, the downhill at the beginning also helped though, lol!  I tried to settle into a pace and found myself holding about a 5:14-5:17 min/km pace.  Huh!  As the kilometres ticked on I was still holding pace and then I decided to go for this.  Maybe I can PB I thought!?!?  Maybe I can at least match my Chilly time.  So I became aggressive and ran hard to maintain a 5:15 or so and I was doing it.  My legs on the other hand were saying WTF!!!  Haha!  And I told them to shut-up!!!  And I told them to shut-up often! Lol!  My mind would start doubting what I was doing: I just did a half ironman last weekend, and I have been cycling up quad busting climbs...this is hurting too much!  But I just replied with a shut up and keep pushing!  It would have been funny to listen to the conversation going on in my mind.  I started to push even harder on the second half hoping I wouldn't blow up.  I hit the 18km mark and had an average of 5:16min/km to that point!  Sweet!  I can do this!  I can at least match my Chilly time, but maybe I can come even closer to 1:50!!!!  I was getting very excited with this!  And then it was all over! :(  I was met up with an evil 3km climb that averaged about 5%.  Boooo!!!!  My pace dropped to a 6:24, 6:59, and 6:13 for the last three km.  I tried to push but my quads wanted no part in this!  I lost 3.5min easily right there.  Chilly is a flat course compared to this and I was able to run faster the last couple of km.  No chance here.  Once the hill was done I tried to run as fast as I could the last 600m or so but of course it was too late by then.  Ah well!  I crossed the line in 1:55:16 and thought I was going to puke.  Seriously!  I did not stop for any food or drinks because I totally thought I was going to hurl and had to get away.  I stayed close to the barriers in case I had to turn around and puke! Lol!

Considering the training and racing before this run, I am quite pleased!  I almost did it!  Almost another PB!  And with little long distance runs so early in the season.  I am happy!  I was 59/685 in my age group, 275/3815 female, and 870/6094 overall!  This was my 4th fastest half.  But now my quads hurt!  I did do one final hilly ride before I packed my bike to head home and that ride hurt a little too! ;)

A side note: I did not notice us running on the Walk of Fame, not sure if we actually did.  I was looking.  We ran on Hollywood and Sunset Blvds and it was ok.  Not very scenic.  And I know of two "stars" who ran this as well: Thor and Sean Astin.  I wonder who else ran the race too???  We did get into the post race breakfast at Hard Rock Cafe, that was pretty sweet! And yummy!  Eggs, bacon, and french toast!  Mmmmm!!!!!

Here is a pic of us post race at Universal and another pic of the finishers medals I got for both races:


Just found this on the web....looks like I need way more sleep! Huh!?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Oceanside 70.3

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report
March 30, 2012
Oceanside, California, USA

Well my tri season started a bit early this year with the Oceanside 70.3 on Saturday.  No warming up with shorter races, just jumped right into the half ironman distance!  Needless to say, I was quite under-trained for this race.  With only three outdoor rides on my bike, a handful of indoor trainer rides, and not many long runs I was not quite sure what I was going to be able to do on race day.

My friend and I stayed at a hotel for the night in Oceanside.  I did not get a chance to explore the area much but we were really close to the transition areas so we just rode our bikes to T2 first to set up our run stuff then to T1 to get ready for the swim start.  I had to wait around a bit after the first wave started as my swim wave was one of the last ones to go.  So after waking up at about 4am, I did not have to be in the water til just after 7:30am.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was pretty cold and raining on race morning!

The swim was an in water start so we had to swim about 100m to the starting buoy.  Got in the water and my body went into shock - the water was FREEZING!!!!  I couldn't put my face in the water right away and was doing a head up crawl.  The gun went off and we started swimming.  I did head up for a bit more and then just put my face in the freezing water.  My hands and feet went numb so when I got hit by another athlete it was just shooting pain.  It almost felt like my foot or hands could just break off; lol!  We were protected by the ocean swells in the harbour but once we got to open water it was a bit hard navigating the swells.  I felt like I was barely moving at times and this was evident in my much slower than normal swim time.  I have been consistently swimming at masters about twice a week so this was the event I was least concerned about.  I usually swim in the range of 31-34min for a half but today I swam a 37:00 flat.  Ah well!

Got out of the water barely able to feel my feet but I just ran the long run to get to my bike in T1.  I decided to put arm warmers on because it seemed like it was going to be a cool day so I took a little longer than normal to get myself out of T1.

I started the bike and felt pretty good.  I was aiming to hold a steady power of 150W on the bike.  I did a good job of that for the first 45km and I was averaging just over 30km/hr.  It was a pretty fast first half but I had to do a lot of manoeuvring as the course was quite congested with some narrow sections.  There were some short steep hills but nothing that took a lot out of me.  I was told that this part of the bike was beautiful since we would be riding right next to the ocean.  Well, with the dismal weather I was barely able to even see the ocean.  Where was the California sun???  The second half of the bike was another story.  There were hills and quite a few of them, against the wind, and they were long.  There goes my average speed. Ha!  So I just focused on spinning up the hills and staying steady.  Unfortunately, my powertap was acting up and was not reading my watts anymore.  It would jump from 0-50W going against the wind up a hill - ya, there was no way that was accurate.  Even the last section which was suppose to be a fast ride home was a battle against the wind.  I did survive the 90km bike though in just over 3:18.  Not spectacular for me but I was not expecting much with my lack of bike training.

Got through T2 and then I was off on the run.  I started the run feeling great!  Better than I expected.  I had my running legs under me right away.  So I was just running at a pace that was comfortable for me and I was holding 5:30s.  Not bad.  But I did not know how long I could hold that for so I decided to run at a little more comfortable pace at about 5:40-5:45.  The run was flat on some sections with its fair share of hills, and some of them short and steep.  It was a 2.5 loop run so we had to run up and down those steep sections several times.  My pace started to fall but I was running so well that I started to wonder if I could run a sub 2hr half which I have never done.   At 11km I decided to pick it back up and go for broke.  I started passing lots of people which was mentally helpful, however, it was not enough.  The last two km were a struggle.  I crossed the line with a 2:02:5? half which is a PB for me in the half IM. Yay!  

Total time was 6:06.  Not spectacular but I would say respectable.  I placed in the top half in my age group - 49/104.  This race is historically known to be a tough one with a very competitive field.  So I think I did a decent job of holding my own.

I am still here in now sunny California training for the week with a strong bike focus.  I also at the last minute decided to sign up and run the half marathon in Hollywood tomorrow.  This will be interesting as my body is battered and bruised! Lol!!! ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quick Update!

I am now back in Agoura Hills, CA which is super close to Malibu from our one night in Oceanside where I raced my first triathlon of the season.  Quick race recap: swim time was really bad for me even though I felt ok but the water was freezing!!!!  Bike went fairly well considering it was my fourth ride of the year; I did a 2hr ride, a 3hr ride, and a 1hr ride the day before the race all within the last two weeks.  The bike course was fairly challenging and cold and windy.  I was very pleased with my run!  I ran a PB for the half IM distance!!!  I improved by more than 30sec from my Steelhead run last year and I felt that this was a bit more of a challenging run course.  Also, Steelhead was a much easier bike and the swim was cancelled so I was a bit more fresh for that run.  It took me 30 more minutes today on the bike compared to Steelhead last year with a lot more climbing before I even started the run and I had no brick training sessions under my belt.  So I was quite pleased to pull off the run that I did today!!!  Total time was just over 6hr6min which I am ok with.  I would have liked sub 6hr but I just did not have the bike training to be able to do that.  And for a March race I am pleased!  A full race report will come soon!  Now for a week of cycling training here in Agoura Hills!