Sunday, August 24, 2008

Alberta Challenge Half IM, Lake Miquelon, near Camrose

Swim 1.9 K, Bike 84 K, Run 20 K. At least that's what they said.
I think swim was closer to 2 K, my bike computer said 84.57 K, and run was closer to 21 K.

Going back to my last run, I think I overdid it just a little. The next day I had sore calves. That worried me a bit. My calves seem to be the weakest part, and are what have given me the most problems and worries. So I took it easy the rest of the week, lots of stretching, and lots of sleeping.

Friday evening I got almost everything all packed into the new Zoot bag. I even discovered another pocket! The wetsuit actually slides into it's bag slick as grass through a goose, with room left over. Made up my energy drink. Reviewed the race materials. Went over my checklist and race plan. Tried not to fret, and and got a reasonable night's sleep.

Sat am I went for a 30 min ride, and short run, with pickups. My legs felt pretty good. We got the last of the stuff into the car and headed out. It's an easy 3 hr drive to Camrose, and we stayed at the Norseman. There's a reason that's funny, and apros, but I'm not sure anyone reading this is in on the joke. You'll have to buy me a beer for the explanation.

After a light meal (BIG plate of lasagna in case you were wondering) we drove up to the park. Checked out the bike route along the way. Some of the road has really new paving. Most of it isn't too bad, except for the damn rumble strips, and the sealant filling up the cracks from side to side. We scoped out the beach, transition, and the route up to the road and out to the run course. Walked a bit of the run course. Back to the hotel, and tried to get to bed early.

We watched a little bit of the Olympics. Sleep was going good till 2:30, when the noisy neighbours came home. Bastards! I'm not sure I got back to sleep after that. We were up at 5:30, and neither of us made any particular attempt to be quiet. I particularly loved it when the bathroom fan swallowed the little metal clip holding the plastic cover on. That made so much noise I hauled it out, and tried it again. You get your jollies where you can.

We had picked up a light breakfast from the night before and nibbled that. Yes Jenna, the poop fairy visited. Headed out in good time. I've never seen so many bird conventions along the way. We were directed us to a different parking lot, and it was a shambles. I must say that when there aren't any lines, triathlon people park horribly. Maybe there should be a parking lot Nazi to go along with the swim lane Nazi. It's nice having all stuff in one bag. Found a space in transition on our rack, mainly by moving someone over. They'd taken 3 spaces. Registration. Cap, nice tech T shirt, number. That's it. Chipped. Body marking. #7. Back in, set up transition, got wetsuit on. Took Jenna's advice and slathered body glide all over my feet to help with wetsuit removal.

Race meeting. Good directions. Remember that. The race director was totally clear about the swim, bike and run routes for the different distances. Very clear. Race started a few minutes late, which is not a surprise. They were a bit short of volunteers. There were a mighty pack of 25 of us doing the half. Yes, twenty five. It made for quite the 'mass' start. The course was sort of diamond shaped for the first lap. New goggles didn't leak a drop.

I settled in to a fairly strong and easy stroke. Breathing to one side, but occasionally every third stroke. I think I paced myself better, and was never really short of breath. It was a bit of an adventure going from the 2nd to 3rd buoy. It was right into the sun, and nobody could see anything. Back to the first buoy, out of the water, and around a shorter triangular course. I was out of the water in 40:18. I thought that was a bit slow, but a couple people said they thought they were slow too, so maybe the distance was a hair further than 1.9 K. Coming out of the water I noticed a crick in my back, sort of low mid back. Usually hanging from a chin up bar and stretching fixes that, but no opportunity. It impacted my breathing a little bit. Niggled me throughout the day.

We had to run over the soft sandy beach for about 100 m. I was a bit worried about getting out of the water since that's often where I've cramped my calves. Thrashed my feet around a little just before getting out of the water, and crouched for a few seconds stretching before I stood up. Supposedly there was wetsuit strippers for the half people, but I didn't see any. Linda said she had been counting yellow caps, and said that only about 10 of them were ahead of me. Certainly there were still lots of bikes on the half rack. Sat near my bike and pulled off my wetsuit myself. The body glide helped. Got it together in a mostly organized way, though I nearly forgot my helmet. Getting sand off wet feet, drying them, and getting socks on isn't much fun. We had to go up a small hill over a rough gravel path. I noticed a few people that had been thinking about clipping their shoes and running in socks changing their minds. Out of T1 in 7:16 (47:34 elapsed).

My goal for the bike was to keep my heart rate mid zone 3 (low 130's) and if possible maintain 28 kph over the fairly flat course. And YAHOO!! That is exactly what I did. I passed two people, and two people passed me. Not sure if they were half people or not, since there were several other races. I was really disappointed on my second lap. I'd been slowly reeling in another rider on the north leg, and nearly had them. But they turned left into the park. I checked the schedule later, and nobody should have been turning in about then, unless they were really, really slow. Like hours slow on the sprint. Linda later mentioned there was talk of people not taking the correct course.

There was hardly anyone near me for most of the ride. I didn't know what that meant, but carried on. Spent part of the time singing to myself. (I ride alone, tadum tadum, and you know when I ride alone, I prefer to be by myelf. No bitch bout drafting, and nobody farting ahead, just me and my buddy Estela, we got everything we need.) (plus lots more.)

I certainly wasn't lapped by the faster riders, that's for sure. I was hoping to be out of T2 before the half was won. I'll have to check the official results, but from something Linda said, I think I did that. I kept the ride smooth and strong, like dark chocolate dripping off the abs of a buff cutie. I got through 2 and 5/6 Cliff's bars during the ride, plus nearly all of two bottles of energy drink. Stopped once on the bike course for urgent fluid management.

Back into T2. Oddly enough, the bike rack was full again. I'm going to have to figure this out sometime. How can there be lots of bikes, half of them at least on the rack when I leave, only get passed twice, and have a full rack when I get back? Chatted with a guy I saw doing photography. He told me he got a great shot of me, so I'm looking forward to it. The water bottle with ice in it was still cold. Slurped back a Gu. Out and up the hill. There were 3 laps for the run. About the first half of it is a trail run. It's mostly well shaded and just as well, it was getting hot. Up and down smallish hills. Well, they seemed small the first lap. They got bigger. Then the course went onto gravel roads winding through the park. I got through the first lap at 4:49, for 55 min. That was a little bit slower than I hoped for, but I ran the whole lap, except for the aid stations. Slurped back another Gu at the beginning of the second lap.

I got part way through the second hilly part, and nearly tripped over a root. I had visions of them trying to get a big guy like me out of there, and resolved to be more careful. I was beginning to feel the heat, and my legs were getting tired. I started walking the hills, and ran most of the rest of the flats and gravel. I had a brief panic attack when I looked down and couldn't see my chip. WTF?? I had brief vision of the entire day being for nothing, with everyone pointing and laughing, to say nothing of the lost chip fee. Then I noticed the bulge in my sock, and was relieved. Nibbled half a banana at the aid station about half way through the run. Typically was drinking a cup of water, some of another, then pouring it on my head and shoulders.

Finshed the second lap, and was beginning to struggle. I think the second lap was about an hour. Walked more of the third, especially the hills. Chatted with a really nice volunteer, and discovered I was last, except for a couple DNF's. Sucked back another Gu there, and the last one at the second aid station. Stopped at a tap part way between the stations to rinse my head, hands and arms. I was so sticky from sunscreen and sweat I couldn't take it any more. Walked a good chunk of the last lap, running flat trail bits. Ran the last K or so on flat roads. I think the last lap was a bit over an hour.

The end was a bit disappointing. They had rolled up and put away the chip mat, but there was a guy there looking at his watch, and told me the time. It agreed pretty close with my stopwatch time. They did announce my name as the last finisher. I got what I think is a set of aero-bars as a prize, and a finisher medallion, though it's not as nice as Chinook or Canmore. My bike was the only one in transition, leaning against the fence, with my wetsuit draped over it.

Linda brought the bag, I stretched a bit. Well, a lot. Tried to click my back and was seeing stars for a second. Humped all the stuff back to the car. Went back to the hose and showerhead they have set up for the beach. Hosed off with ice cold water, and went into the nearby change room to put on shorts and T shirt. No need for a towel to dry off.

Back into Camrose. Dinner. Drove home. Showered!!! Heavenly. Rinsed out wetsuit, which was filthy! Checked Greg. Sub 10!! What a super race. Lets hope that's good for a Kona spot. Checked out a few other people as well. Wrote up own race report.

In spite of finishing totally last, I'm pretty pleased. Darn pleased, in fact. What went well:
Swim was a hair slower than I'd hoped, but in the ballpark. I felt strong and confident. It was more important this time to stay on top of heart rate and breathing, and avoid cramping the calves. There was that long walk across sand to think about. The bike leg was everything I had hoped for. 28 Kph for 3 hours and feeling good! This was a huge improvement from Chinook, which was 25.5 Kph average and felt knackered after. Estela was a champ, nice smooth ride. The nutrition plan appears to have worked. I like the Gu, though I have to remember to time it for coming up to an aid station so I can get some water fairly quickly after. Even though the run was slow, I still ran various portions throughout the race, and finished the last K running. On a tougher course, I got about the same time, with much less effort.

What didn't go so well:
I had been hoping for 2.5 hrs for the run, which was about the pace for Canmore, instead of 3:10. If anything, I was slightly slower than Chinook, assuming the distances are the same, which is a poor bet. This was my first time doing a run on a trail, and with lots of short hills. Mostly my training has been done on asphalt bike paths. I wasn't getting cadance numbers, and I'm not sure why. It seemed to be plugged in, but maybe the magnet moved or something. Doesn't really matter, I've got a pretty good idea what my rpm is and when it's time to shift.

I feel much better than I did after Chinook. MUCH better. I'm not going to go up the stairs two at a time, but it doesn't hurt. (Even Monday morning I'm feeling pretty good, tired but not hurting.) Part of the credit goes to this great vibrating chair attachment Linda got for me. The end of the race was a bit of a letdown, with most of the event packed away, and no burgers for me, but I can see they'd want to get packed up. I think it's a good end to my first season of triathlon. Looking forward to working with Greg over the next year to continue the improvement on the bike, and hoping to see some of that same improvement happen to the run.

Time summary
Swim 40:18 avg hr 131 bpm
T1 7:16 (47:34 elapsed)
Bike 3:02:32 (3:50:06 elapsed) Avg hr 132
T2 4:44 (3:54 elapsed)
Run 3:10:12 (7:05:00 elapsed) avg hr 136 bpm

Average heartate overall 134 bpm
peak heart rate 151
Total Cal 7628

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nice evening run

I had itchy feet all day today, even though it's been warm and humid by Calgary standards. Did some stretching, a brisk warm up walk, warmup run, then 5 K at a good upper zone 3 pace, short jog, gentle walk, then more stretching. They say that running in zone 3 is junk miles, but it sure didn't feel that way to me. I mainly was working on pace, trying to be steady and smooth with my feet.

It was a nice night for a run. Still warm, but cooling off, with a nice breeze. The clouds were quite pretty, and beginning to get the weird lighting from a lowering sun.

This is my last real run before the Alberta Challenge, so I wanted to make it a good one to match my good bikes and swims recently. IG wanted a 30 minute continuous run, and I'm sorry Greg, it was actually 31:30. But that got me 5 K. Again, for me this is a really good time. I don't think I could have maintained it for 10 K, but you never know. I was feeling just a bit too full to be running hard, with a bit too much water, and the remains of supper sloshing about.

During the stretching after I thoroughly explored the new tri bag I bought. The wetsuit goes into the pocket for it slick as grass through a goose, and lots of room left for stuff in other pockets. The race stuff is gradually migrating down there, getting ready to be checked off against the master list.

I've been thinking of my many buddies going out to IMC in Pentiction. Hope you all have a great race! Normally I'd be sending energy throughout the day, but sorry, I'll be needing it for my own race. Current weather forecast for Camrose is sunny and 28 C. That will make the run tough for me, but I'll get through. I promise first thing I'll do when I get home is check to see how you're all doing, and some of you had darn well better be done!

Here's the heart rate and splits for the run, so not counting warmup or cooldown.
137 bpm overall average heart rate
149 bpm peak heart rate
121 bpm minimum heartrate
589 calories
1st K 6:38, 131 bpm
2nd K 6:08, 136 bpm
3rd K 6:15, 135 bpm
4th K 6:36, 141 bpm
5th K 5:53, 144 bpm

I still think I need to measure this route just a bit more carefully where the fourth K ends exactly. It seems a little slow, and the last K a little fast.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Slow, but sharkly

I woke up this morning with a really sore left shoulder. It was a bit creaky last night, but really stiff today. Even when I take a deep breath it hurts. So I was a bit dubious about swimming this am.

However, I was feeling a bit guilty about missing yesterday's workout. Normally I'd get it done first thing. Instead I wandered over the the Chaparral Oly to cheer on Lori, Leaha, and Jarrett. I also ran into Alex from spin class earlier this year. Looked like a fun race. I think for sheer guts, the winner in my eyes was the wheelchair gal, as I thought of her. Someone carried her into the water, and she backstroked the entire way. I got told today she flatted out. That's too bad. The plan was to ride in the evening, but a thunderstorm rolled in.

The new goggles are perfect! Love them. Enough of the cheapies. Started the swim, and for the first length was essentially swimming one armed. No pull at all with the left. Oddly enough, it felt smooth. I took it easy, and it gradually warmed up. A couple of the regulars were swimming nearby. I wasn't passing them quite as quick, and in fact, one of them was passing me.

I didn't care. My swim was going really well, actually, although slow. Very smooth and even. Thought about a long steady stroke, and a very easy pace. About the 35 min mark I picked it up for 6 laps, and pushed fairly hard. It just so happens one of the regulars was right there and we swam together. Then I cooled down a little, and stretched.

Linda got me this great seat massager thingie. It runs off house current and car AC. Heat, vibe, thighs, upper and lower back. I've got it humming now. Very nice. I'll take it with me to Camrose.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fri rest, Sat run

It took me a long time to go to sleep on Thursday night. It was hot, and I was still pumped from my ride. Friday morning I was supposed to swim, but I wanted to sleep in a bit more. Friday night was the end of a long week. I went to bed early.

Sat am I was up really early to run an errand. Had a bit of breakie, then went for the run I was supposed to do on Friday. I did the loop down into Fish Creek. I'ts about 7.8 Km. I was to run 15/1. I even wore my new Legend jersey to see how it felt, and where it rode up to. Did some stretching before, and started easy.

It was warm, and even with an easy start my heart rate went way up. Once I got on the path, it came back down again, but never got below mid-120's; a little higher than I'd like. My goal was to run steady and easy, trying to imagine my feet and legs were like a little tank tread rolling around and around, while my body floated above it.

It got hot on the hill out of Fish Creek, but the run through the trees was very nice. At first the shirt was riding up, but once I got sweaty it mostly stayed fairly close to my shorts. Still a bit of belly showing. Odd feeling to run sleevless.

I made it back to my starting point in less than an hour, which is the first time it's happened on this route. Kept going around behind our house on the beginning of my 5 k loop, but only did the first K to finish my run in 1 hr 4 min. After doing the mapmyrun thing, I figure I ran just over 8 K in the hour. That's not quite as quick as my Canmore pace, but I wasn't trying to go fast. I'm pretty pleased with that, since I could have kept going. Stretched after.

Went shopping for tri-goodies, more food (Cliff's and Gu), new goggles, some body glide, more spray on sunscreen, and a Zoot Tri-bag. The number of pockets in the house just doubled when I brought it home. I'm still not sure I've opened them all. Sure beats a 20 year old beat up hockey bag. Made the hotel reservation for Camrose next weekend. Tried on a pair of the 5 toe shoes, but my 3rd and 4th toes are just about welded together and it didn't work out well. I think it was a size too small, but it was the demo shoe, and they were swamped today. I'll try again another time when they're less busy.

Today's numbers:
131 bpm average heart rate
149 bpm peak (coming out of Fish Creek up the hill.)
1125 calories

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I had a super ride tonight!

Wow! What a great ride, and I couldn't ask for a better confidence builder a week from my race. IG wanted an aerobic build workout. I'm still figuring out how to slowly build through the ride, taking into account hills, the wind, how tired I am, and all that stuff. So for tonight, I wanted to start easy, and build into a strong steady pace (sort of between what I used to ride, and what I did during the tempo rides) and see how I could maintain it. My goal was to keep the cadence up, trying for between 90 and 100 rpm, but more importantly, keep the pedals going around smoothly. I haven't thought about that for a while, and realized on my last ride that I'm getting a little jerky.

I took just under 20 minutes warmup to get to 37th and 22x, was at 22 and 22x at the 44 min mark, was at the 549 turn off at the 70 min mark, was at the bottom of the road to Nepal at the 98 min mark, back to 22X at the 140 min mark, and back home just a hair under the 160 min mark. It was the perfect temperature for a ride, with only a bit of wind that gradually died out during the ride.

The ride out 22X and down 22 I felt strong, keeping the average cadence up at 87 rpm or so, and an average speed over 28 Kph. I got down to 549 feeling good. For a while I rode with a guy in a strung out group, but dropped him when they stopped to get together again. At that point we were chatting, and both of us were cruising along at the upper end of aerobic zone. My heart rate was a bit all over the place for the first half of the ride. At one point I thought I was working pretty hard into the wind on a slight downhill, and heart rate was 115 or so.

I had forgotten how rough 549 is. It didn't seem that bad when Lori and I rode it last weekend. Maybe pumping up the tires makes that much of a difference. It was sure nice to get onto Road to Nepal. I had taken it just a little bit easier on 549 stretch, but not much. Then I blasted up the Road. I treated it like a full out race. I rode like IG was behind me with a cattle prod. Pedalled up to about 120 rpm downhill, and pushed really hard uphill. Then from 22X back to the house took it easier, trying to spin and cool down the legs.

Not counting the warm up and cool down, I did a solid 2 hr workout with the average speed 27.5 kph. My legs feel the workout, but I could still run. My lungs feel good, that nice clean feeling when you've been breathing hard. That's a huge improvement from Chinook and other rides earlier this year, where I could barely maintain 22Kph. It gives me confidence to have a strong ride for the race. That course can't be hillier than Nepal, can it? Then do my slow and steady run. I'm really looking forward to the race!

Normally I'd spend IMC day looking you all up and watching for you on the streaming video. But I figure by the time I do my race, the awards, the banquet, the drive home, all of you will be finished, partying, and talking about signing up for next year. I hope all of you have a super race, and I look forward to hearing about it!

Here's the numbers:

70.1 K ride
2:39:40 total time
26.4 Kph average speed overall inc warm up and cooldown.
83 rpm Average cadance overall, just before Nepal it was 87.
78 Kph max speed
1429 calories (so I feel no guilt about the brownies they treated me to at work, and the 3 pieces of pizza for supper after.)
124 bpm overall average heartrate
148 peak heart rate (one of the Nepal hills, I'm sure.)
67 min heart rate

Oh, and last of all, the new Legend shirt is my incentive to work on abs. It looks great, but turns into a belly shirt on me pretty quick. There's still a bit (well, maybe more than a bit) of a roll that must go. I wore it over another shirt so I didn't gross anyone out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The hopeful shark

Ran this morning. It's dark in the morning now. Not as dark as in the dead of winter, but that's coming soon. I headed out about 4:15 am, with not even the faintest hint of light in the east sky. It was sort of that cool warm, or warm cool of late night. Then the last 15 minutes cooled down to where I could see my breath on the air. I forgot to look at the schedule to remind myself of what to run. When I got back I see the IGP™ was 45-55 12/1. I'd never have remembered that, so it's just as well.

I ran along the 37 st path almost to South Glenmore park. Walked a bit to warm up, then ran easy, then picked it up. Ran 14/1 for 60 minutes, and got back to within a few dozen steps of my starting point on the hour. Walked a bit more to coold down, and stretched. I didn't wear my heart rate, so no numbers. Tried to run at the point where lungs were starting to work. More importantly, I was trying to find a smooth stride. Overall it felt pretty good. I was beginning to get a bit tired and hungry at the 45 min mark, but that isn't a surprise considering I rolled out of bed, dressed, stretched lightly, drank a glass of orange juice, and was gone.

Joined Leaha for a swim at Lake Chaparral. Greg and Darryl showed up a bit later, as we were almost ready to go into the water without them. Nice to actually meet Leaha.

Black wetsuits sure are hot when you're getting into them in the full evening sun. It was still quite warm. There was a group of scuba divers going into the water. I guess it was police, firefighters, or a rescue squad practicing. We didn't have to wait long for Greg and Darryl.

The water was really nice. Not cold. Quite clean. I started off across the lake, nice and easy. Almost at once I fell into a nice strong stroke, still breathing alternate sides. Turned left and swam the length of the lake with Darryl. Still nice easy stroke. My innner shark showed up, gently approving. He liked the roll and the somewhat zigzag course I steer. He says that's an effective way of looking for prey.

Greg swiped a floating hackie sack ball from some kid, and we tossed it around during the swim. He put it back later. I think he was just trying to get a closer look at the hottie working on her tan on that dock. We did a leisurely circuit of the lake, with a few shorter sprints in between. Nothing formal. I took the opportunity to get more wetsuit time, and to think about my stroke, my heart rate, and breathing, while trying to find a nice pace.

My inner shark hung around for about half the swim, then took off. He said something about scoping out the seals in the underwater obstacle course. I told him they wouldn't taste good. Met up with him again for the last push across the lake. Way more fun than a pool. Stretched a little coming out of the water. Both calves were a bit crampish, but not too bad. Overall, a great day!

It's a measure of their fitness that while everybody else is tapering, I'm in the last week of my build, and they're still doing more than me. I taper next week, then on the 24th, I'm in the Alberta Challenge Half, up at Lake Miquelon, just north of Camrose. So far, this has been a well kept secret. When I looked earlier this week, there was only 22 other people signed up for the half. So unless there's a bunch of old guys in it, there's a faint hope I'll get a top 10 finish in my age group. For Chinook my goal was to finish. For this one, I'd like to have another good swim, consistent with what I've been doing, then have a nice strong bike, actually pushing my pace a bit, and then actually run (what passes for me running anyway) the entire course, walking the aid stations of course. Of course, I'll write it up for you guys.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I ate the bugs for Greg

Tonight was another tempo interval night on the bike. A perfect night for riding, by the way. It's a pity that days like this are numbered. I got out in good time, looking to do 10 min hard, 5 min easy.

There was a bit of a wind, but it couldn't decide what direction it was going to blow, so I decided to ignore it, and just pedal on effort. I wanted to keep the cadence up during the tempo portion, and try to actually ride easy in between. That's a bit tough when your easy section is uphill. I went out 22X then down 22 past the Rothny observatory a ways, I don't know exactly how far.

Still, I pushed hard during the 10 min, then sat up to nutriate and hydrate during the rest. I tried Sharkies for the first time. They've been in a couple of my race packages, but I haven't got around to them yet. I'm not really a fan of gummy things, so I wasn't terribly eager. They're ok I guess, but some of the flavours don't go very well with my energy drink. Water after them was fine.

Remember how we don't eat the paste, but do drink the kool-aid? Well, I've never been fond of kool-aid, so I've been trying to think about something else to express the idea of doing what IG has planned, showing our dedication, our focus, and sheer grit. After sailing through the umteenth cloud of bugs doing the ack spit thing, I had a brainwave. It occurred to me that IG wouldn't turn down the protein, he'd just breathe them in and out, or swallow. Spitting takes more effort than swallowing, and removes fluid from your body. Hence the title of this piece. Greg, feel free to put this on the next generation of T shirts.

Heart rate numbers. I didn't really look at this while riding, just tried to pedal strong at a pace where I'd be happy to stop part way through, and have to stay dug in to finish the 10 minutes. So lets see how I did.
125 bpm overall average heart rate, including warm up and cool down
148 bpm overall peak heart rate
56 min heart rate, must be right after getting on the bike. This after hauling her upstairs, and scurrying around getting ready.
1723 total calories
average heart rates during ride
113 bpm 10 min warm up
134 bpm 1st interval, 108 bpm 1st rest
133 bpm 2nd interval, 116 bpm 2nd rest (hill)
137 bpm 3rd interval, 116 bpm 3rd rest
132 bpm 4th interval, 121 bpm 4th rest
132 bpm 5th interval, 117 bpm 5th rest
136 bpm 6th interval, 107 bpm 6th rest
114 bpm cool down (zooming along trying to spin out legs.

1:50 overall ride time

I feel pretty good after. My legs were a bit tired, but I could have gone for a run, or gone for a longer ride. Maybe that means I didn't push hard enough.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A title

Wanted to stay in bed, but swam half hour this am. Thought about stroke, trying to get forearm vertical. It was kind of slow. My breathing didn't seem to be working all that well. Stretched afterward.

Yoga this evening. Warrior 1, 2, and 3. The ever-present Downward Dog, and my fave, shavasena.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Company on the Road to Nepal

My buddy Lori D showed up this am ready to ride. (She says, "Hi Susi!") She's signed up for the Chaparral Oly, so we figured to ride not too far. I was up for a 3-4 hour ride. Normally I'd do this out 22x, but we wanted to do the Road. Instead of going down and back, we took the loop that goes up and over the big hill and comes out at Millarville Racetrack, across 549, and up the Road the easy way. It was overcast and slightly cool, so I ended up wearing the arm warmers for the first time.

For the flats and long uphills we rode and chatted. Lori's a bit more cautious going down hill than I am, so on the Road, I let'er rip, and pushed hard up the hills, then waited a short bit while she caught up. It's nice having someone to chat with especially since we ride about the same pace. Keeps it aerobic. She's signed up for next year's Chinook! I'm so excited for her. This is a great race, and if she can stay regular on her workouts she's going to eat it alive.

We had a great ride. 3 hours almost exactly. We did some stretching after, then she packed up to head home. I hope the traffic at 14th and Glenmore wasn't too bad. Then I left for my 30 min run. Sorry Greg, it wasn't quite off the bike, but it still took a K to get into the groove. Felt solid and steady, though it seemed like I was leaning back and letting my feet get out in front of me. I got most of the way around 5 K, maybe 4.5 K in the 30 min.

Oh, and we saw 3 white tailed deer cross 549 ahead of us. Trot trot, HOP! So graceful. Lori's Garmin died just as we got off the bikes. I was looking forward to seeing the elevation data. Oh well. Had a bit of a nap and quiet time this afternoon, then did some BBQ chicken. I need to get downstairs and put some labels on wine bottles and iron some clothes for next week at twork. Another busy week on the workout front coming up. I need to remember to call a motel in Camrose and book a room. I'm getting pumped about Miquelon Lake Half!

Weekly Totals
Swim 1.5 hr
Bike 5.5 hr
Run 2.0 hr
Total 9.0 hr

Friday, August 8, 2008

A novel state

No that doesn't mean this is going to be a long post. What it means is that for the first time in my life, ever, I was bored during the swim this morning. I really didn't particularly want to get in the water. Once in, I didn't particularly want to swim. Once I started swimming, I realized it just wasn't feeling together.

The girl in the next lane is a regular that swims 4 K every day. Normally I pass her every once in a while, swimming just a bit faster than she does. Today, I could still pass her, but just barely. She might be swimming faster, but I think really, it was me swimming slower. It's like I couldn't really get a grip on the water, and my stroke wasn't particularly smooth.

I figured to hang in there for a while and see what happens. It wouldn't be a surprise to click into the groove part way along. Well, that didn't happen. About what I thought was the 45 minute mark I looked at my watch and was astonished to discover I'd only been at for 31 minutes. That was depressing. I continued on, determined to get in at least 45 minutes, even though the schedule called for an hour. Normally I can lose myself in stroke details, tweaking finger shape, and trying subtle arm things. None of that worked today. All I could think of was my elbow hurting.

What can I say? 45 minutes. Done. Over with.

This evenings run was 5 x 10/1 with a few minutes walk to warm up and cool down, and stretching before and after. Not sure how far I went, since it was a noodley route around the neighbourhood that overlapped itself several times. I don't really feel like charting it on mapmyrun. I had trouble keeping my run slow enough to stay in zone 2. Much of it was bottom of zone 3, probably. Breathing was strong and regular, but not forced in the slightest. Pretty sure I could have carried on a conversation. Legs and feet felt fine. I was actually in a running groove for quite a bit of the time. I've noticed that I tend to slide my feet into my stride, so there's a bit of a scuff as my foot lands. Worked on trying to pick my feet up a bit, and plant them lightly right underneath my weight.

One of the freebies in the Canmore Oly race package was some foot butter. I'm really liking this stuff! Smells nice and isn't goopy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Zoomy Oly ride

Well, how about that. I didn't faint in the heat. IG wanted me to do a gradual aerobic build for 90 minutes, or a little more. I'm not very good at some of this stuff. There isn't much room between an easy pace I can maintain, and a pace I can't maintain for long. But I am getting better.

From the Oly I know I can do 40 K in about 90 minutes. So I decided to head out 22x, starting easy for a warm up and gradually building. Well, so much for that idea. A short way into the ride, a guy caught me, and we chatted for a while. I had to speed up slightly to stay with him. Turns out he had been in Chinook as well, and is planning on going to IMC. However, the effort of talking, and keeping up drove my heart rate to the mid 140's, and going up a hill he gradually started to pull away. Said bye to him, and eased back a bit.

There was no way I'd be able to build on that, so I settled for maintaining a brisk pace, trying to stay strong, and finish strong. It was a beautiful night for a ride, starting hot, but gradually beginning to cool down. At one point the smell of new mown hay took me back to my childhood. I didn't lose focus though. Every time cadence dropped, I changed gears. Pushed hard up the hills. And it all turned out super!

Tonights average pace is getting close to where I'd like to be. I felt strong, and could have kept going at this pace for a while.

29.3 Kph average pace, (starting easy, and actually waiting at one light for a minute)
45 K ride, of which the last 5 K or so was easy cooldown.
40 K in 1:22
87 average cadence
127 average heart rate, including cooldown
150 max heart rate
1450 calories
90 minute ride overall.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Flip (gurgle, snort, gasp, but NOT bonk!) turns

First swim in a pool in what seems like forever. Did 500 m warmup and a nice easy pace. The 5 or 6 50 m sprints that were strong but not quite all out, with 20 seconds rest. Then some more laps, trying to do flip turns in the deep end. I mostly got around, and I'm happy I didn't bonk myself. Then into the dive tank for some stretching and core work. I could really tell I hadn't done this for a while!

This evening I did a bit of stretching and went out for a 30 min EZ run. It started off really well. For my legs the whole thing continued really well. But for some reason about half way through my heart rate went from 120 up to peak at 134, even slowing down a bit didn't bring the heart rate down. It was going much faster than my breathing would have indicated. Not sure what that was all about. Overall average for the half hour was 123 bpm. Stretched more after. Feeling good.

Swim .75 max, run .5 hr.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I have recovery spun. Or is that spinned?

KS, my wonderful massage therapist worked me over last night. Just as well she couldn't come on Sunday. On Monday I thought my legs were actually in pretty good shape. Left was still sore, but I ran back and forth down a long hallway at work without anything hurting. KS loosened things up a bit more, apologizing as I whimpered, and oddly enough, my legs actually hurt more afterward. Still, I stretched them out. She also found some tension at the base of my neck, and suggested that I might need to make some subtle adjustments to my bike setup.

Today was good, more stretching at work periodically. Stretched a bit before going for a short ride this evening. The plan was to have a fairly high cadence, but really low heart rate. I just went around the neighbourhood on a 7.25 or so K loop. Got around 3 times in an hour. Average cadence 81, average heart rate 101, and peak heart rate was 118. It's a really nice night for a bike ride. For a little while I wanted to get out and push myself around the loop, but I was good.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Canmore Oly

The day started really early. 4:10 am. On Saturday, in between seeing Susi and Julie off on the Road to Nepal, and having Indian food with them after, I scurried around getting all ready. Essentially the only thing I had to do in the morning was dress, take drinks and nibbles from the fridge to the car, and get going.

We arrived in Canmore at T1 in good time. The parking was tight, and some idiot in a big-ass pickup with a hitch that stuck out THAT far had to park right at the bottle of the bottleneck, bottlenecking things even more. This idiot made a bunch of people park on the road and walk in. I say, he (not likely it was a she) should be told at the finish line that he was disqualified before he even started, for parking like an idiot. That's an offence right up there with littering and creating a nuisance. The Group W bench is too good for him. I digress.

It was cold out. Probably 5 C. People were huddled up and looking at the pond dubiously. ('Quarry lake' if you know it.) Water vapour was coming off it, and you couldn't really see the far end, a whole 250 m away or so. I got Estela set up in T1, where I wouldn't have to go off the carpet. It was pointy gravel, and they had laid down not quite enough carpet.

Then up to the Biathlon building for T2 and all the other good stuff. Not much to set up in T2. Shoes. Hat. Chocolate milk in a thermos. Extra water. Milled around getting marked (cute body marker, almost as cute as Susi and nearly as tall as me.) But she just put my number (24) on me, not hers. Briefing, wetsuit on, then get a bus ride back to the lake. There was a bunch of people standing at water's edge, saying, "after you", and similar such things. Finally someone poked a toe in and said it really wasn't so bad. Then most people got in and swam around a bit. Really, it wasn't so bad at all. Standing around on the cold ground waiting was much worse.

In the water start. 3 laps counter clockwise in a rectangular pattern. Got one kick that grazed my cheek, since I saw it coming. Traded a bunch of elbows with others. The buoys were tiny. I didn't even try to sight them. Just followed the herd. Tried to swim smooth and long. I just can't breath alternate sides in a wetsuit. Just not enough air, and I'm not swimming much faster than in a pool.

Out of the water carefully, since this was where I cramped up last time. Handed in our safety swim strap, then up the long (300 m or so) carpeted pathway. I walked most of this, trying to relax my legs. No strippers. Sat on a rock just outside the tranistion area rather than flounder and thrash around surrounded by expensive bikes. This is where I badly cramped my right calf for a few minutes. Finally got the suit off and rubbed and stretched my leg. Into T1, dried my feet a bit, into socks and shoes. I thought about sockless, but it was still cold out and I haven't ridden without socks. The conversation in T1 revolved around jacket or no jacket? Arm warmer or no arm warmer?

Out of T1, right turn down the hill, and down to 3 Sisters Parkway. I was pretty cold here, and at one point I seriously checked to see if I was wearing shots. My thighs were burning and it felt like I wasn't wearing anything. I was pretty sure that had this been the case someone would have pointed it out to me. This is actually a nice road to ride on. The shoulder is pretty wide, and was mostly in good shape. I'd heard a rumour that Canmore had put the town sweepers on the road, but that wasn't true. There were a couple bad spots. Lots of volunteers dealing with motor traffic for us. The course runs along a mostly flat route, past where you'd turn off to get onto the highway, up a little hill, then turn around. I thought that there was really only two hills, at the beginning and end. Other people though it was really hilly. Maybe it was if your most recent ride wasn't road to Nepal. I'd love to see a tri use that road as an out and back. After about the first half hour I warmed up and never really thought about it again.

The ride was good. Greg had told me to not wear a heart monitor, and don't pay much attention to speed, just race by how I feel. We went back and forth, around the loop 4 times. There were several firsts. Estela was passed on the down hill several times. Just about all of them were wearing the sperm helmets as I think of them, so I didn't mind so much. I was really suprised at how much noise some of the tri bikes made! I'd go crazy if I had to ride that. There's a nice bit of stream at one point with some very soothing water sounds.

I went back and forth, trying to stay strong and consistent. I gradually slowed a little throughout the ride, but not as badly as I had feared. When I was coming up to the end of the third lap, I got all excited and though I was done, but then was looking through bike computer and realized I hadn't gone far enough, around once again. Susi's gerbil paid a visit here, getting me thinking about T2, and the run, how I was feeling, and wondering how Susi and Julie were making out on Lochend. It took a while to evict the little bugger, but I got my focus back, and headed up the hill to T2. The last bit up to the day lodge was a bit of a surprise since I hadn't remembered that.

Into T2, change, pee, head out for the run. I'm feeling pretty good here. The course was quite hilly at the beginning. I was wishing I had one of those ski trainer things for the downhill. The course was a paved path through a forest and really quite pretty. Each kilometer was marked, which is nice. Just before 2 K my running legs showed up, and we chugged along. Up and down hills slow and steady. Walked the aid stations. Aid station, I suppose, since it was on an out and back. I was looking at my watch every K, and without doing complicated math, or pressing the splits button, I was steady and consistent, and at a very good pace for me. About the 5 K mark I realized I was going to be able to run the whole thing, and I might even have enough in the tank for a strong finish. Well, not really a sprint, but I picked it up for the last K, and did it a bit quicker than the others. Crossed the line, and started nibbling. Yay!

Out to T2 and guzzled most of the thermos of chocolate milk. Still cold. Did some stretching, and walked all my stuff back to the car. Hung around for a few minutes waiting for the final people to come in, and they went straight into the award ceremony. Leaha, your name was drawn, and you missed out on a prize. Then to the day centre for a yummy meal.

Chantelle showed up. She had seen me on the course and given me some encouragement. We chatted a little bit. I never saw Leaha at all. Home. Linda drove, and I stretched my legs, and rubbed my calf. Humped everything in, showered, did laundry. Stretched more. I'm looking forward to KS, my massage therapist, pummling me tomorrow. Wrote up blog.

Greg told me not to pay attention to numbers this race, but I did look at bike computer and kept track of times on stop watch. Official time may vary. Besides, it would break Julie's heart if I didn't put some numbers in here.

1500 m Swim 28 min 48 seconds
T1 6:19, including the 300 m waddle
40 K Bike 1:31:38 (avg speed started at +28 Kph, gradually dropped to 26 Kph or so)
T2 3:08
10 K run 1:09:51 (split 34:35 and 35:16 for the two 5 K loops, which is essentially 7 min/Km pace.)
Total time 3:19:46

I'm thrilled! I'm not too pumped about the time itself one way or the other, but I'm thrilled about how strong I was on the run. For you guys, a 70 min 10K in an Oly might be cause for despair, but it's an excellent time for me for a run off the bike. My swim and bike times were right about where I thought they'd be based on recent training, but I haven't done much running lately. My run felt strong and steady, with little complaint from the legs. I never even thought about walking the hills.

In highsight, I could have pushed a little harder and maintained my pace on the bike. Or maybe I should have started out a little easier and pushed harder at the end. No complaints though; it was a super learning experience. Not sure I could have put more into the run, since that's the pace I've trained at, and I was trying to be careful of the right calf. Greg has already talked of breaking me out of that groove.

Of course, I got passed lots. That's just fine, since I was thinking of this as a shared heavy duty training day. I was just amazed at some of these people. At one point I'm doing 33 Kph UP a hill, and thought I was doing good. This guy with the most astonishing legs just screams past me. Seriously, you could use those legs in a commercial! And one girl just tearing through a gaggle of guys. "Passing left" she yelled, and totally chicked them. I had a really good time! I'd say I'd do it again, but the current date conflicts with Calgary Ironman 70.3, which I think is my 'A' race next year.

Weekly totals, including Oly.
Swim .5 hr
Bike 3.3 hr
Run 1.25 hr
Total 5 hr.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Julie and Susie are off to the Road to Nepal

This very minute, they are probably pedaling their brains out up the long hill, or at the top, getting the first look at the steep hill, and the hints of distant hills. I hope they take a moment at the top of some of the hills to enjoy the view. It really is quite remarkable.

Susi was firm, Greg. Very firm. Would not even let me consider the possibility of coming along. Wouldn't even let me ride them out to 37th St on Estela, because then I'd want to follow along. I'm puttering around getting all packed up for the Canmore Oly. Legs are feeling good, with the odd twinge. I'll have to be careful to do a good warmup tomorrow.

Pre-Oly warmup

Today was a very light workout.
Biked about 12.6 k around the neighbourhood, keeping cadence up and effort down. Three loops done in 10:30, 9:39, and 8:30 at an average cadence of 95. Then off the bike for a short run around a 2 K loop, and then a bit in the green space. Mostly chugged along, but did a few bits at a faster pace. Never got out of breath, but was up at the top of zone 3 briefly based on breathing. Ran in the park on grass, then did some stretching on the ball diamond bleachers. Legs feel pretty good. Just yesterday they were a bit tight, so I'm planning to stretch lots today. Home, SIGNED UP FOR 70.3!!! Stretched, showered, puttered around getting ready for the race tomorrow.

Picked up my race package yesterday, lots of goodies in it. Plus it came in a nice mesh bag with shoulder straps. It's not big enough for everything, but just about everything except the wetsuit will fit in it.

Looking forward to finally meeting Julie. Her and Susi are supposed to drop in before their ride on Nepal. I'm crushed and heartbroken that Susi won't let me ride with them today. Something about making me be good for the race, and giving the same advice IG would give. Maybe it's just as well.

More news after Canmore!