Wednesday, June 30, 2010

T & W

Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking. Tits and Who-ha. I'll have you know I run a classy blog here and would never refer to bodily parts or fluids or anything the least not classy. Right???

Tuesday. I got home to severe thunderstorm warnings, a magnificent thunderhead just north of us, and crazy gusty winds. I bailed on my ride, but worked on core for a half hour. Yes, plank and pushups to failure, but lots of good stretches.

Wednesday. Great swim. Chatted with the girl who swims my speed and suggested we should be taking turns practicing drafting. Turns out she's doing GWN and IMC as well. Maybe I'll draft off her during the swim. Not quite an hour in the pool.

Got home and went face down in the bean dip. I've been struggling with sleep lately. I don't sleep well when it's hot and I'm really tired. Got up for yoga since it's the last one of the session and wanted to give my thanks to Fiona. She's really helped a lot.

Monday, June 28, 2010

That damn ice cream scooter

The swim plan was littered with "hard" all over it like the white on rice. Now, it just says "hard" a bunch of times but I know perfectly well that what is meant is "HARD!!!!!!". And being the obedient sort that I am, I went hard. Lots. Often. Afen. (Do you know what it is to be an awfen? Sorry, guess which comic opera just went through my mind.)

I should have coordinated my plan with the girl swimming in the next lane and we could have taken turns drafting. She swims the same speed I do, but does an open turn so I pass her doing a flip turn. Keeping up, or trying to stay ahead was great fun. My inner shark came out to play again, which is nice to see. He cruised along, critiquing my stroke, and hers though there isn't much to say there. 1 hr.

To tell the truth I did not feel much like running this evening. Still, I headed out there. (obedient, that's me.) Stretched a bit, especially the hams. They were tight. Walked a bit to warm up and started with an easy run. At first the run was everything I feared it would be; plodding, slow, heavy, joggly. Which didn't help the sloshy tummy.

But a funny thing happened just after 10 minutes in. My stride evened out and picked up a bit. I found I was running along at my old "slow and steady pace". A while later things got better and I was running faster with less effort. Breathing was high zone 2 at the most. The slosh went away. I started really enjoying the run. It was a beautiful evening out, warm, sunny, with a bit of a breeze. A nice night for a run. Except for the ice cream truck and the ding dong songs it plays. I've often thought the drivers of those little scooters are either functionally deaf or have really good hearing protection, and must have done something terrible in a previous lifetime. From about the one quarter mark I could hear the truck. Sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, but always there. Grrrr.

Ran 45 minutes, maybe 6.5 K and ended up enjoying it quite a bit. My legs felt pretty good by the end. I could have run longer but there were beginning to be some reminders that they had worked really hard yesterday, and weren't out of the hole yet, but were just doing me this favour.

Walked and stretched after.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

CDA, strong bike, and snot

As I write this Julie and Darryl are part way through their IM CDA run.
Go Julie Go!
Go Darryl Go!

One of the things I don't like about the video coverage during the race is that they focus so much on the leader, especially the guy. I'd prefer to see ordinary people.

Took some time first thing to clean Estela. She's a beautiful bike and likes to look nice. The only problem was getting the chain apart. Last year it was easy as pie. This year on a new chain I couldn't get it apart so I just cleaned as much of the grit off as I could. For some reason afterward the rear deraileur adjustment changed, and I had to tighten the cable. It was all good during the ride.

The plan called for a 4 hour bike today. I'm trying to push a bit harder on the bike and find how hard I can go. I've always held back a bit on the bike. At first it was to be sure I was going to get back from what I thought of as longer rides. When I had a run after, it was to be more sure I could do that. But today I decided to push a bit harder. The very worst that would happen is that I would poop out part way and have to get Linda to rescue me. There are some other things that could happen, but I figured I could cope.

So after a good warmup I pushed. Right from the start my heart rate was a bit higher than I would have thought from my breathing, but I didn't really care. There was a very light wind helping along, but I still made excellent time. 40 minutes to get to the 22 turnoff. Passed a group of 5 people. On the other side of the road there were a zillion people riding. Later I found out it was a cancer ride thing.

I still have the faint vestiges of that cold, with a bit of a cough sometimes, and periodic snot buildups. As some of you know, Missy has decided to stop updating her blog. Sigh. She always had a good spirit about the various bodily fluid adventures that befall athletes and was a hell of a good writer besides. I really enjoyed it, but I'm not going to break her stones about it. She's a grownup and can make her own decisions. (Though maybe if I do, she'll come here for a race and to kick my ass. hmmmmm.) So in her spirit, I'll get a bit graphic here.

Periodically along rides I see people put their hand to their nose, turn their head, and with a meaty thunk a small pellet flies off to the side. Hopefully they looked to be sure nobody was riding there. I'd done a few suck and spits, but the build up today was happening faster. So I tried. I give myself a passing grade on the right nostril, mainly because I didn't get any on myself, but it wasn't particularly neat. I give myself a big fat F minus for the left nostril. I ended up wearing it all over the moustashe and cheek. Probably on my shirt too but I didn't look. After a while it dried up and I could flake it off. And yes, the Weird Al Yankovic song was running through my mind. I guess I'm a dribbler.

I hit the 45 K mark in 1:39 and kept going. 2 hours and kept going. I know that going home is faster on this course (out and back 22X) by what could be a considerable amount, depending on wind, and I for sure wanted to get the 4 hours in. So I kept going. I was sort of hoping to get right to the end of the road at Elbow Falls. But the hills start getting bigger, and the wind started getting stronger. At the 61 K / 2:29 mark I called it and turned around. I'd be choked if Elbow Falls was just out of sight, but so what. I was getting tired.

Coming out of K country is fast. Rode on the road a lot since the shoulder was really gritty. Plus, I figure if I'm doing a large fraction of the speed limit the drivers can darn well treat me like a car. 90 K in 3:27 so I'd slowed down a bit. About this point I started getting a bit fidgety on the bike and started coasting more. My low back was starting to complain, and my hams were giving me hell. We won't even talk about my sit bones, (though Missy and many others would) and my arms and hands were going numb a lot.

After I passed 22 (from the south) I started finding more of the cancer riders. No idea how much they'd been riding, but I was blowing past them, and feeling like a bike pro. My inner shark even showed up for a bit. He loves passing prey and snapping his jaws at them. And some of the riders would have been good meals even for a big shark. We zoomed past lots and lots of people. Even though I was getting really tired, I was inspired to keep up the pace, and keep pushing.

Turned left onto 37 st, with a whole crew of people waving at me to be going somewhere else. I guess they thought I was one of them. I wasn't. I wanted to get home and off the bike. It had been a really good ride, but I wanted to straighten up. Home at 4:42, 122.1 K altogether for about a 26 Kph average pace. This is the longest ride of the year so far, and maybe the second or third longest ever. Average heart rate for the ride was 127, which is a bit ridiculous given my heart rates from a ride last week. I'd had a terrible time getting my heart rate past 125 for a short interval, and here my average over almost 5 hours is 127??? I think that's just variability in my metabolism or something. Which is why I do my races based on perceived effort, rather than a heart rate number.

For the first time in a long time I had to start my brick run with a walk. Hell, I was in doubt about standing at first, and was glad I had my bike to lean on. Most of the run was a run walk. My heart rate was good, and my breathing fine, and even though it was a pretty hot day for Calgary my temperature was fine. It was my legs. They were barely up to walking, let along run. But by the end of the half hour they were coming around. Very tired. I didn't even go into the house at first. I got a drink from the hose and soaked my hat and face. Then lay down in the grass with my feet up against the house. I was enjoying looking at the clouds, and thinking about the life of a cloud.

My thinking is that I pushed the bike pretty hard, on a hilly route, on a windy day, so it's no surprise the run sucked. But what's important for me is that I did push the bike pretty hard and mostly felt pretty strong. I need to figure out where I can ride for long distances. That means pushing progressively harder and harder and risking failure. Today I think I reached my current bike maximums for speed and effort. For now. Pity I didn't have a power watt meter, but oh well, that's just another number.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.25 hrs
Bike 7.75 hrs
Run 2.66 hrs
Walk .5 hrs
Total Cardio 14.17 hrs (highest ever, I think.)
Core 2.0 hrs
Total 16.1 hrs.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Riding in the rain

Swim. Warmup. 2K as a main set. Happy with time. Canyon Meadows shower room nearly made me spew it smelled so gross. 1 hr

Rode Estela home from work for the first time. It was sort of fun plotting a route home, since there is a freeway and a river to cross which means major roads. For the people in Calgary that know the streets, through Vista Heights to 16th Ave, down Centre street, across 3rd ave, down 5th street to Elbow and down that to Anderson. Playing dodge'em with cars the whole way. Kind of fun accelerating off the lights and getting up to speed as fast as possible, and hanging on till the next lights. The bike computer says one hour flat, but the timer stops when the bike stops, so I think about an hour and 5 or 10 minutes max. Several times it's taken longer to drive home.

It's 2 or 3 K shorter than the bike path and about 20 minutes faster. The bike path doesn't have stoplights but you can't go near as fast. Elbow has that long reduced speed section so I was keeping up with traffic quite easily. The only problem was the construction on 5th street. There was a little bit of rain leaving the office and  a bit more rain downtown. Drafting another bike in the rain is not the smartest thing in the world. The rest of the ride was sunny and warm. Poor Estela is filthy now and needs a bath. Saturday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A tiger and two camels

Walk into a bar. No, they don't, different story. This story turns out well, but it was a bit scary for a while. Some thieves stole a truck and trailer transporting a tiger and two camels (Jonas, Shawn, and Todd, respectively.) Nobody knows why exactly, or how long it took before they discovered exactly who was in the trailer. One can imagine their surprise. The trailer, complete with critters, was discovered almost a week later with the animals in good condition. They are now back at the zoo. One wag suggested the thieves will never be found precisely because the tiger is in good condition. Who says nothing ever happens in Canada?

Throughout the entire episode, the name that kept coming to mind was John Dortmunder. Some of you are smiling already. The rest of you need to find out who he is, and you're in for a treat. I could just picture this as a Dortmunder story, except that Westlake (may he rest in peace) would never have come up with anything so far fetched. Anyways, that was running through my mind during my run today. Just trying to imagine the various scenarios and the look on the crooks faces when they figure out exactly what they've got.

As usual, the day started with a swim. Lots of people in the pool today and I'm grateful for small blessings, all of them stayed out of my way. Not that I was in a hurry or anything, but I was swimming very purposefully. 4x 50 golf on 65 sec, 90, 89, 88, 86 which is not particularly impressive for me, though normally I give myself a bit more time between rounds. 1.25 hrs.

Hot and humid for the run. Down into Fish Creek. No idea how far. It took almost half the run to get into a happy running place. The first half felt kind of plodding, heart rate high zone 2. There was some surges at the halfway point, and from there it was much easier to settle back into my normal pace with my heart rate picking up into low zone 3. My hams had been on the verge of cramping, then after the surge they were ok. Go figure. More tired surges at the 80 minute point, then hanging on till the 90 minute mark. I didn't quite get back to my starting place even though I was running better in the second half. I remind you the second half is all uphill. Tired at the end, beginning to feel the heat in my face. I suspect I was getting red, but I manage to keep running.  I'm hoping to get more hot and humid runs in. I need the practice.

Seriously. Go look up John Dortmunder the character, in books by Donald Westlake. Oh, what the heck. I'm feeling generous. Click here. Drowned Hopes is my fave, though it's hard to pick. What's special about it is there is a chapter that is shared in another book by a different author. Same scene, same characters, different point of view. Both are hilarious. I'll let you figure it out.

Oh, and yoga. Lots of pigeon pose. I was happy. The rest of the class was not. This is the second last class. Bedtime now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two major thunderstorms and a tornado watch, sooooooo

I rode outside. Who wouldn't? There I was at the office, cheering on the thunder and lightning and hail, hoping that it would get over and done with. That one did, then I drove into the tail end of another one coming home. These were major enough so that in some places city streets were flooded to several feet deep, leave an inch of hail in place, knock out traffic signals and produce a pretty good lightning show. This is pretty typical Calgary weather for June and July - rain like hell in the afternoon, and have a nice evening. During the drive home they announced a tornado watch. That's pretty rare here, but it does happen.

Once I got home the sun was beginning to come out and the streets were starting to dry, so I dressed and went. Today was intervals. Warmup, a strong 10 minutes, then 4 x 7 minutes hard with 3 easy after, then another strong 10 minutes, cool down. It was the perfect temp for riding, and it only rained on me a little. So little I barely noticed because I get wetter than that sweating.

Here's the average heart rates for the 4 hards: 127, 129, 124, 124. That last one ended just as I was merging back onto 22X. After the 3 easy I decided to ride strong till I got back to 37 st. With a bit of a tail wind, I was flying, and it took only 18 minutes, with average heart rate of 122. From there I did easy spin up 37 st and around the neighbourhood to fill out the 2 hours. My legs felt strong today, and I felt very comfortable on the bike. Right now I feel like I could get back on the bike and do it again. Except that I just ate supper, and it's 8:40. It would be getting well into dusk by the time I got home.

I'm a little surprised at that 3rd interval, I was going mostly uphill and mostly into the wind, so I'd have thought it would be higher. The last one doesn't surprise me, since much of that was downhill, with me  sitting up for more wind resistance and pedaling like a maniac trying to keep my heart rate up.

This is still a limited data set, but I'm beginning to suspect my long ride bike pace should be about 120 bpm. Any lower and I'm dogging it. I'll have to try that next long ride. The worst that will happen is that I will knacker myself and have to call Linda to come get me, or stop to have a nap in the shade.

Core. The key words here are "to failure". No, not the plan, me.
First set
held squat ok
plank to failure
standing rows ok
seated chest press ok
tricep dip to failure (which surprised me, normally these are pretty good.)
bicycle crunches ok

Second set
held squat barely ok
plank failure even quicker
standing rows ok
seated chest press ok but getting sloppy
tricep dip to failure, same as before
bicycle crunches ok

Third set
squat to failure
plank rapid failure
standing rows sloppy and just barely
seated chest press very tired and sloppy but just barely
tricep dip I chickened out
bicycle crunches, after a rest, powered through them

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tired legs

I was looking forward to the swim, even with the "all out" lurking in there. 4 times. Well, once really, but there was a 4x in front of it, so you know what I mean.

I had a lane to myself for most of the swim, until I was starting the all out stuff. Then a guy who couldn't swim hopped into the lane, but fortunately he spent more time panting at the end of the lane than swimming in it, so he didn't get in my way. Good warmup and lots of drill stuff, then into the all out. Which went pretty good, consistent at least. Now, by all out, some of you probably envision me swimming myself right out of the pool up on the deck with teeth clenched and regretting the little bit of breakfast I had. Not so. Sorry to disappoint you. I had to sneak in a couple extra breaths rather than be strictly bilateral. (But then, if bi-vegetarian can mean being open to meat, then bilateral can include some same side breathing.) At least I'm not unilateral.

Anyways. 1 hr in the pool, feeling pretty good. Happy with the times, and hope my coach is too.

Last you heard, I was thinking about heading downstairs for some core work. I fell asleep instead. But never fear, I started the core tonight before the run. Plank and pushups to failure. Tricep dips to very tired arms. Squats were fine, but taken cautiously to be careful of knees. Lots of fitball crunches. That was 20 minutes. Started with really easy run, and very gradually getting my stride. It took about 15 minutes to find the groove, and another 15 before I felt able to push it faster than a very very slow run. The next 20 minutes was good, feeling surprisingly strong, with good turnover and good breathing. All good things come to an end, and the last 5 minutes of very easy to cool down came just in time. Walked another 5 minutes, stretched, and did a bit more core.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The rule today: no coasting below DAS

Today was another beautiful day for riding. The plan called for 3.5 hours on the bike. After a bit of dithering I decided to ride to Turner Valley. I figured I could get there and back in that time. If I was doing really well I'd carry on to Black Diamond. (I didn't take a banana just in case.)

Paid lots of attention to the sunscreen. I took two waters and two energy drinks. That seems a bit much, but I considered the idea I might go 4 hours if I was feeling strong, and the Alberta sun can be notoriously hot and dry. I'd rather carry the extra water and not need it, than not have it and be wanting a drink. There aren't many places to stop and buy water. Besides, carrying the extra weight is good training.

I was still a bit tired from yesterday and started off easy to get my legs going again. My rule for today was to pedal strong, or as strong as I could, keeping the rpm up, and no coasting unless I was going faster than my Desired Average Speed. For the record that happens to be 30 Kph today. By comparison, my actual average speed was 27.5 Kph. A year ago, when I was getting my face slapped by a banana peel in Black Diamond, my average speed on this route was 25 Kph. Then I was feeling and riding strong. Today was about hanging on, trying to be kind to my legs.

Down to 22X in about the usual time. Out to 22 in 45 minutes, which is about average these days. Not much wind. Down towards Turner Valley. Somewhere along there I realized I was going to do the 3.5 hrs, and not 4. I wasn't feeling bad, not by any means. I was really enjoying the ride. My legs weren't quite so happy, I have to say. Sure, they were going around pretty good, but they were tired. I was supposed to be up in zone three and there was no way. I still haven't totally figured out the run to bike zone conversion for me, but at best I was mid to upper zone 2 and my legs weren't going to go any faster.

Just coming into Turner Valley I checked my watch and milage. 45 K in 1.75 hrs. Black Diamond isn't much further but I turned around. Going back, even though the wind seemed a bit stronger in my face, the ride was a bit faster. For one thing, very shortly after turning around a guy caught up to me and we rode together almost to Millarville. That went quick. From there I was trying to ride very steady, gradually reeling in a guy in a bright yellow jersey. I caught him near the Rothney Observatory.

Coming around the curve back onto 22X I nearly whimpered. The wind was from the east, and fairly strong. I put my head down and pedaled. 2 guys passed and I thought about jumping into their draft but they were just a bit too fast. The two cops in the speed trap saw fast as I was riding by. No, not me, a bike and a muscle car doing something over 180Kph. They were on the radio to the chase car I'd seen a few miles back. They aren't going to like the ticket they'll get.

The ride seemed to take a long time along 22X, but it was going fast. Was passed by a guy on a top end Cervelo, and didn't even think about trying to keep up. Turning for home was sweet, and caught the lights at 37th St, which doesn't happen often. It's fun trying to corner at 40 Kph beside cars.

Drank 1.5 containers of energy drink, and about a half bottle of water, and ate one Clif's bar. This doesn't seem like much but it was all I wanted.

The run was supposed to be a half hour. The first 20 minutes were a shamble. My legs did not want to run, especially my left. It felt like I was dragging it around. About 20 minutes I finally found a run pace, and finished things off. It still wasn't fast, barely into zone 3, but I think I could have kept going for a while. Maybe. My legs had no trouble stopping, I assure you.

Downstairs and stretched. Feet in the air for a long time. Working my knees. They haven't bothered me much so far, but think about all the muscles that connect in and around the knees. All of them are sore, right in there.

BBQ lamb tonight.

3:20 hr ride
81 average rpm
91.2 K
3:24 transition
30 minute run.
119 average hr on bike
124 average hr on run

My day isn't done. There's still some core to do, thick with squats and plank and pushups. Uggg.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The nice biking day we've all been wanting

First thing today was an acupuncture/shiatsu appointment. It's a bit hard to relax when you've just got out of bed and want to be up and moving. Still, it was really good. My shoulders feel much better.

Then right onto the bike. Well, there was a half hour drive home in horrible traffic. Seriously, what are all these people doing, pretending they know how to drive? 12th Ave downtown has many blocks of construction blocking southbound routes. For a while I was thinking I was going to have to bunk down with somebody living north of downtown.

The plan said hills, so I did Road to Nepal. Very nice day for it. At last, and I'll say no more about it. As I was passing two people on that long first grade, I was passed myself. Chicked. I passed her again on the downhill, then she was gone. Hope she enjoyed her ride to Black Diamond. I got down to the end of the road in good time, 1:01 and was thinking I might have a chance to go sub 2 hrs again, but there was a slight wind helping me south and in my face on the way back. Still, it wasn't much of a wind. The main reason the ride took 2:08 was that I'm still not feeling strong. My breathing was pretty good, but the cold isn't entirely gone so I didn't want to push too hard.

After some BBQ salmon I went down and did my core like a good athlete. Still a little full from supper so I took my time getting into it. Stretching. Feet in the air. Looking at the plan firmly. Thinking it through. Procrastinating, some would say.

Then finally, for a half hour, getting into it. Grrrr.  Energy drink all made for tomorrow's ride. Not sure if I'm going to Turner Valley or out to the mountains.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A surprise. Well, no, I guess not after all

My cold is much better today. Well enough to go to work, where people liked my voice. Well enough even to ride on the trainer for a half hour, doing easy spin, with some spin ups and some one leg drill. Not too much. Just enough to get my legs moving.

Then yoga. Lots of new people in class. I have to say, it's just as well we didn't do much in gas relieving pose. No, not me, the lady next to me. Need I say more?

I thought I'd record a little audio clip of my husky voice. After futzing around in Garageband I finally got a nice little clip. Posting it here has defeated me. I don't want a podcast, I don't want to make you guys subscribe, I don't want to make you guys do anything but click a button, if you should so choose, and hear the audio. Grrrr.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Moving right along, nothing to read here today

Unless you want a detailed description of why I stayed home from work today. I'll understand if you go straight to the next blog.

Last you heard I picked up a runny nose. That process accelerated rapidly so that by bedtime my sinus were pounding and I couldn't lie down. I ended up trying to sleep in our media room sitting up. Not good. I've had my sick days, and I've never had my nose run like this.

I didn't even consider going in to work. After dropping Linda off I napped again. Did some stuff, dragging my ass around like a half slaughtered sheep. Napped more. Did some stuff. Then napped again. Amelia is a very happy cat. I've spent the entire day having a box of kleenex in reach at all times. I am very tired and achey.

Now my voice is getting husky, a sure sign it's going into my throat. While out doing errands I picked up more Echanicea, some Nyquil, and some Ibuprofen. At this very moment I'm actually warm verging on hot for the first time in several days even though I've been wearing a fuzzy sweatshirt and wool socks under my slippers. I'm hoping this is a good sign.

Even if I hadn't been sick I wouldn't be out for a ride. It looks like it's about to pour. Let's see how tomorrow goes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wasa followup, results, thoughts, ect

Given how my head is feeling at the moment, this might mostly be ect. I picked up a runny nose today. I could blame the lake water, or some anonymous work colleague. hmmmm.

Here are the raw numbers. Here's a link to the results, but I don't know how long it will be good.

Lets see if I can copy paste and make it look half decent.

Place overall      247/493 
Place gender       163/255   
Place age group    15/24   
Rank water overall 111  
Rank water AG      8 
Time water         28:49 
(this is to the transition gate, including wetsuit stripping)
Rank off the bike overall   233
Rank off the bike age group 14
Bike split         1:20:15  
(includes the longest pee of my life, and two transitions)
Rank run overall   329   
Rank run age group 20 
Run split          57:30 
Overall time       2:46:32.97

Ok, here goes thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Once again I lost ground throughout the race to my peers. This has been my pattern from the beginning, since I've been swimming longer than I've been doing the other sports. But what's important to me is that I lost much less ground than in previous races.
  • I'd love to see a fancy histogram where the results are plotted on a series of bell curves, with me marked. I know how perfectly well, but I'm lazy, and would rather train to improve the numbers than massage them. Compared to my age group for the swim, (and pity here wasn't 25 of us because that would have made the math easier) I'm in the second quintile. I'm in the third quintile for the bike, and for the run I'm in the last quintile. That is huge improvement. Last year I was usually about the first third for the swim then languished in the bottom quintile for the rest of the race.
  • I goofed in the first transition by forgetting my number belt. It was right in plain sight. Next time I'll put it on top of my shoes. That's probably another minute there, maybe two.
  • The more I think about how I felt on the bike the happier I am about it. During the ride I wasn't feeling strong and smooth like I'd hoped. Having lots of people pass me was a bit depressing since I'd hoped to be keeping up to the pace better. Still, I didn't get down on myself about it. I kept reminding myself that I was on pace for my goal results, and given the tough time I've been having on the bike for much of this year so far, I was doing good. Now that I look at the numbers more carefully, I wasn't as badly off the pace as I thought. There were a clump of us right around the 1:20 mark. You can bet I'll be spending lots of time on the bike over the next while.
  • To have only 6 people pass me on the run is fantastic for my state of mind! There were people I passed on the run that I remembered passing me on the bike, and that felt so sweet. I knew I could run a sub 1 hr 10 K since I've done it in practice, but that's not the same. Doing it in a race after a bike is a huge confidence builder for me. Still, compared to my peers I need to take another 5 minutes off that.
  • Nutrition isn't a big deal, but I had a Gu before the swim, another about the 30K mark on the bike, and about 5 or 6 K on the run, just before a water station. Plus nearly a full bottle of my energy drink on the bike.
  • The temperatures were very good for me. The bike start was cool, and ended up warm. The run was warm enough that I paid good attention to hydration and pouring water on my head, but I wouldn't call it hot.
  • This is the first race where I actually raced my plan.
  • Thank you for all the nice things you've said in comments!
  • Woke up feeling a bit creaky this morning. In hindsight maybe I should have taken today off work. 
  • Swam 55 minutes today, taking it a bit easy. Mostly it felt good, but I was taking an extra stroke per length, sometimes more. One length, one of the few harder ones, it felt like I was churning the water and not getting anywhere.
  • Water ran 15 minutes and kind of ran out of steam. Stretched out my hips for 10 minutes and worked on range of motion, which is worse than I remember it being. Then another 5 minutes water running easy.
  • Walked 45 minutes pushing the lawnmower and waving the weed whacker. 
  • I've already sent a thank you note to the race director. He and his people did a fantastic job! They put on a great event.
  • I need to do laundry, and wash dishes and a few other odds and ends, and still hope to get to bed early. Compared to Jenna my life is slack, filled with great gobs of empty time where I can actually sit and consider what to do next, or pause for a moment of quiet thought. But for me it's pretty busy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


We are home again. It's been a whirlwind here and there. In addition to other stuff Thursday night was also the pile tidying night. This involves a serious effort to go through the small mound of stuff already beside the bag, and figure out what else needs to join it. In other words, the stuff that's been forgotten. I was back and forth as I thought of something. Once to get it into the pile, and once to add it to the checklist for next time. Then there's getting it into the bag.

Friday morning I zoomed out for a quick ride. It was between 6 and 8 C (about 44 F) but was supposed to warm up so I went in just shorts and a short sleeved shirt. Not enough. After a short warmup I pedaled hard to keep warm. 90 minutes total feeling fast and strong. I can't believe how much smoother and quieter the chain is, and how much easier the pedaling is. Love it! Finished packing up and zoomed off to Fernie to stay with Cath and Jason. They run the best B&B in Fernie.

Saturday we drove (once we finished stopping for road construction) up to the lake. I swam about 30 minutes. Very nice. Resolved to swim myself almost right out of the water because where I thought we'd be exiting was mucky more than about 10 feet from shore.

Race day was bright and clear, warm but not hot till after the race. We were there in good time and actually got pretty primo parking. This was the smoothest parking I've ever seen at a tri event. In fact, the overall organization for this race can only be called superb. Once I got a spot in transition I got chipped, and I need to rant about it. The chip itself was small, but the plastic mounting for it was enormous and badly shaped. There's these two huge arms hooking down that look like they are supposed to clamp onto a ski or something. Rather than a nice sturdy velcro strap they gave us a flimsy perforated piece of laminated paper with a wimpy little fold down tab. Lots of people lost their chip during wetsuit stripping. During the swim some guy was bashing my ankle. A lot. I only hope his knuckles are bleeding more than my ankle.

The swim felt strong. 1500 m, 27 minutes and some seconds to get out of the water. At one point I actually picked up the pace a bit to leave someone behind because they were trying to massage my kidney with his elbow. Long run along the beach and up a hill. I forgot my number belt in transition and went back for it. I was really happy that I wasn't feeling woozy and dizzy out of the water.

The bike was kind of odd. I was riding right at my target speed so I was happy, but I was getting passed a lot, and I wasn't feeling strong. I was shifting gears a lot on the out leg, and didn't really settle into it until the turnaround. I had to laugh at one point. A guy passes me on the right, riding on the crappy shoulder. He's all over the place on the shoulder, and on his bike, yet going pretty good. Just after him was a pack of guys. As they passed him, he was up out of saddle to keep up. All over the road. They were holding up traffic and there was an angry honk. I think coming back was faster. My buddy JN and I passed each other a few times, then he pulled ahead. I'm going to have to look carefully at the results and see how many places I lost. It was many.

Into transition and off the bike a bit early because that's where the porta potties were. It took longer to relieve internal pressures than the rest of transition took. I felt great as soon as my running shoes were on, and was into a good run pace right from the bike rack. My first two K was about 10 or 11 minutes which is fast for me, but it felt good. Mostly good, I could see that I couldn't maintain that so I slowed down a bit to get my breathing and heart rate under control. I knew that I was going to make my time goal unless my run totally exploded. Some of the run is on roads but lots is pathway around the lake and quite nice. Lots of water stations and some unofficial ones as well. I totally loved the one kid that asked "splash or drink?" If you said splash you got the cup of water thrown into your chest. It was great!

This is the first run where I've felt strong right to the finish and I could have gone on at that pace. The 10 K was about 57 or 58 minutes, but I'm not certain because I didn't press the button my watch right at the finish line. Some might say that means I didn't push hard enough, but I wasn't out to reduce myself to a quivering wreck. I'm still learning this game and building confidence in my fitness. I got passed a few times on the run, and (yahoo!!!) I passed some. You have no idea what big news that is for me. My race runs have mostly been shambling train wrecks that don't pass anyone. My legs and feet felt great, and I had a good stride for most of the race.

The official results aren't out yet but I beat my goal time by about 14 minutes, and took 20 minutes off my last Oly race results. So yes, I'm thrilled! More thoughts about it when the official results are out and I've had a chance to sleep on it. Looking forward to my next race - GWN.

Food was good. Linda brought cookies!!! Yay! They weren't letting people into transition at that point, so she was handing them through the fence. Loved the bike racks. Rather than the pole on a stand thingie, this was a bed of 2x4's made with slots the back wheel will fit into. There was no problems with spacing or unhooking your bike. Just another example of the great organization.

News of other people I knew at the race:
JN finished a few minutes in front of me and had a good race. His wife N was doing her first Oly distance. Her goal was to finish and when I saw her about the run 8 K mark I knew she would. My buddy Cath did really well, placing 4th female overall. I was really pleased to see my colleague DT racing. He's also new to triathlon and has made amazing progress.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Estela is home again, at last

The parts finally came in. Not sure what the issue was, but it's all done now. Just in time.

It's still raining here so I hopped on for a quick trainer spin to remind my feet and legs how to do it, and see how things feel. What a difference a new drive train and shifter cables makes! I can't wait to get out for a ride outside tomorrow. It's supposed to be nice. That will get me all tuned up for the bike. Then I'll get packed up and ready to travel. Most of the stuff is in a heap in the basement.

I think I'm ready as I'll ever be for the race.

Think I need new cleats?

What shiny cogs you have, Estela!

What pointy teeth you have Estela!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My tree grew roots

Monday and Tuesday I was dragging my butt. For some reason I was getting crappy sleep. Tues was really bad, but at least I slept well and today was much better.

Lots of drill in the swim and some fast intervals. It's been feeling stronger and stronger lately. Even breathing 5 is getting to be normal. So much so that I forget sometimes during regular lengths. It was kind of fun watching Mr Outboard dodging a couple of really slow swimmers in his lane. I had a couple people that swam just about my speed depending on exactly what we were doing so all was good. 1 hr.

The short run started with very light rain, went to very heavy rain, and was back to light rain by the end. All in 50 minutes. I overdressed by one long sleeved tech shirt and was soaking inside and outside my rainshell. 1 min hard and 1 easy x 10 was the highlight. I tried to start easy on the hards and build on each one but as well all know, I suck at slow builds, and by about the middle I was getting up to the retaste zone so I backed off a bit. For a few of them I got the lean right and my legs picked up, and I felt like I was flying! That was easy on my legs and really hard on my lungs!

I was really excited during yoga, since my tree grew roots for the first time. Mostly my tree waves around like it's in a strong wind, but today it was strong and stable. My hands/branches waved lightly in the breeze, but the trunk was strong. It really makes a difference when you work the abs.

The race is coming up quick. There is a small pile of stuff accumulating beside the Zoot bag of many pockets. The big stress right now is Estela. She is still in the shop. The guy says they had a bit of trouble getting the SRAM parts needed, but how hard can it be? They have confirmed the parts will be in Thursday, and my bike is the first one on the list. I need to pick up some Gu, and maybe some tri shorts if I see something in basic black that I like. Any thoughts on the bib shorts? I know Darryl likes them. I'm not working Friday so I hope to get out for a quick ride to make sure everything is as it should be. It's a bit nervous making to be riding a bike fresh from the shop in a race. Maybe I should have planned better and got her into the shop earlier, but whodathunkit would take that long?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Getting tore in.

Picture it. There I am, wandering out onto the pool deck, half awake, smiling hello at the lifeguards. I know I need a pull buoy so I take the long way around to start at the deep end. This has become normal. More than half the pool is full of floaties. In the two lanes that are left people have arranged themselves sensibly. There are three swimmers in each of the lanes that are left. 3 slower, and three faster. By some miracle they have segregated themselves correctly. I know I have a zillion 200's to do, each faster than the one before, with the last 3 at 90+% effort. So I get in with the faster swimmers.  I know I can just keep up with them if I work it.

The warm up was timed so I didn't have to go full steam right away. That got me tuned into who was slightly faster or slower. The first set of 200's wasn't bad, strong effort, trying to swim well. I swim slightly faster than two of the guys, and slower than the other guy. We're all good about passing at the ends. I think everybody is doing intervals.

The second set I got tore in and worked it hard. I was leading the pack at one point and trying to stay ahead. Fast guy passed me anyway. I don't think it's Mr Outboard since he can pass me without any problem and this guy looked like he was working a bit. I slowed down a touch so we'd both have room to turn, then I hammered it to stay in the draft. That lasted one length. Did I say he has a fast flip turn? I was nearly seeing stars on the last one.

The third set I was trying to be very strong, but also really thinking about technique. By now the two slower guys had left. We thrashed up and down the lane. I was getting pretty tired at the end but timed the last one and went all out. The other guy passed me anyway though it took more than a length. Coach gets the time, but I'm pretty happy with it.

Both of us were doing cool down and cruising back and forth. Still passing the people in the slower lane. About this time Mr. Elegant showed up. Chatted with him very briefly and he took over the lane when I left. My lungs had that hollow feel they get when I've been working them hard. My arms were tired. One hour.

The run was 45 minutes. Not sure how far. It took maybe a K to settle into a pace near the bottom of zone 3, and ran well there. A couple light rain showers happened during the run but most of it was sunny. Feet and legs feel good. Walked to warm up and cool down, stretched after.

I'm starting to get my stuff together for Wasa this weekend. The idea of getting the Zoot pack and keeping all tri stuff in it when I'm not actively using it has turned out great. I found some tubes I'd forgot I had and a few other goodies. It's going to be a busy week.

And no, the title is not a mistake or a misprint. It's an actual phrase. I learned it from a book, but anyone from a particular background might know it. Any guesses?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The stupid and the oblivious

Way too many of them on the bike path today.

The best part of the day was hanging out with Cath and Jase this morning drinking coffee and chatting. They dropped in last night. After they left I got ready for a ride in a day that was much nicer than anticipated. Cloudless, warm, and sunny. A great day for being outside. Though by 5pm when I fired up the BBQ it had clouded over and looked like rain.

Last week coming back from yoga I got a glimpse of the bike path just north of the bridge where Deerfoot crosses over the Bow near Anderson. A few years ago it had been closed, leading to a long detour. Now it looks open. Today I decided to ride the hybrid and visit. Sure enough it's all nice paved path now, leading into the garden of doggie heaven. There is a huge dog park, but it's such a class operation they have the bike path fenced off. There are periodic gates that open inward to allow people to cross the path. The bike path has speed bumps. I kid you not. Speed bumps on a bike path. I laughed at one dog so frantic to get at me that it was flinging itself against the fence. If I hadn't been on a schedule I'd have slowed down to encourage it. The signs clearly say that the paved path is a leashed area, but some people weren't doing that. Grrr.

It took 45 minutes to ride from the very west end of Fish Creek Park to the very north and east end. It's a big park. There's a lot of changes near where the Chinook half IM course is run, but not so much I got lost. Just before the hour mark I was over the pedestrian bridge at Southland, and heading south on the east side of the river. From there, once I got back to Bow Bottom Trail I headed south on the west side of Sikome "Lake". I've seen bigger puddles, and it wasn't open yet. South of 22X then turned around and headed home going around the east side of the "lake". The ride ended up being 2.5 hours. Tried to keep the rpm up and the pace steady.

Took a few minutes for a cookie and to change shoes, then out for a 30 minute run. I never really found a good pace. My legs were tired and things got a bit sloppy at the end, but it worked out ok. Walked and stretched.

During the ride I was appalled at how many people were out on the 3B's without a helmet. (board, blades, bike) Frankly, I think you're stupid for doing any of those without a helmet. I saw one teenager with his helmet hooked over the handlebars. It won't do him much good there. One girl was on blades and given her unsteadiness I could believe she hadn't done it much. The roller blading. Yet she was wearing cut offs and a tank top. And the skates. She won't look so pretty if she crashes.

But worse than that are the people on the path that are oblivious to their surroundings. They don't seem to grasp that other people are using the path to actually move. Most people get the idea that we all have to share the path, young, old, fast, slow, walkers, runners, or whatever kind of wheels you're on. Most people get the idea that "keep right" is a good rule and generally obey it. Most people keep an ear tuned for bike bells or people saying "on your left" or "passing left" and move over a bit. Most of us appreciate that little kids are still learning those essential motor skills and need to be given some leeway.

But not everyone. I lost count of the number of times I saw people stopped on the path for whatever reason. Blocking traffic. Or people walking in a big herd on the whole path and not moving over. One romantic couple holding hands walking down the middle of the path and they didn't know whether to shit or go blind when me and another cyclist appeared at the same time, ringing our bells, bearing down on them at about 30 Kph each. In the end they huddled in the middle of the path as we zoomed past on each side.

People that don't keep their dogs under control or let the leash stretch out across the path. Or people moving down the path in a very erratic manner. There was one kid on a skateboard that had his eyes locked on me, and yet was maintaining a collision course. Until the last second when I guess he finally figured out how badly he'd lose given the resultant vectors of our masses and speeds. Strollers. Don't get me started on strollers, particularly the double wide models. While I mean the strollers that also applies to the people pushing it too. Some people should not wear snug pants. Though the cute girl on blades (with a helmet, elbow and knee protectors) pushing a single stroller at an impressive pace can be on the path in front of me all she likes.

Ipods or similar technology are their own issue. One guy was all over the path waving his arms and ignoring people ringing or calling to him. I heard the music from a person behind me for a little while. I think it was Rush, but I couldn't hear the bike at all. Eventually they dropped back. Walkers in their own little world shambling down the path and flinching when a bike goes by. After the rider had chimed their bell.

It's nice to see so many people out enjoying the fine day, but I was actually a bit grumpy at the end of it because a few people made things much more difficult than they really needed to be.

I think acupuncture is better than massage. At least for what gets done to me. Sometimes she does some shiatsu which is a form of massage. The needles are tiny tiny tiny and don't hurt at all. I went to sleep after she put about 18 needles into me and the put the heat lamp on my tummy.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 3.5 hrs
Run 3.8 hrs
Walk 1.8 hrs
Total Cardio 12 hrs
Core 2.0 hrs
Total 14.0

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Insert Title Here

Thursday the jungle had to be mowed. Had To Be Mowed. I'm counting that as an hour walking, between weed whacking it down to where the mower could deal with it, and pushing the reel mower around.

Swim and run migrated from Friday to Saturday. Friday I woke up and said no way. Friday evening was latish at work and then we went shopping for BBQ toys.

Swim was good, 1 hour. Doing 2 x 750m at race pace, with two other slower swimmers to dodge. At least she could swim.

Then acupuncture. She's never put so many needles into me at once. wow. At this point I'm not sure I'm feeling better, but I think a good nights sleep will help.

I was just getting ready to go for a run when the rain, hail, and thunder started. I put off my run an hour or so, and had a beautiful sunny run. 55 minutes, 30 minutes at 10K pace, or desired 10 K pace, or doable fraction of the desired 10K pace. Take your pick. Lots of funny little nigglies I haven't had. I'll put them down to acupuncture aftermath.

Estela's parts have not all arrived. They offered to check what had been installed, but they were pretty sure the old chain rings were off and the new cassette on. Plus it looked like crap weather for the weekend anyways. Bad to mix worn parts with new parts. They were reminded I have a race next weekend - Wasa Oly.

Oh, and I'm signed up for GWN. Hope to see some of you there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I lost my mind during the swim today

Totally. Completely. I admit I wasn't particularly awake, but even so. Me and Mz Backstroke shared a lane while I warmed up. I probably should have warmed up more. Today was a bunch of distance intervals, swum as most hard, a bit easy. Well holy crap. I got through the first one ok, and I'm sort of working hard, and two more people join the lane. These two are pretty considerate, but they swim slow. All of a sudden I'm trying to keep track of 3 other swimmers, and I lose track of which laps are hard and which are easy. So I go mostly hard till I get tired, then go easy till I can go hard again. I have a strong suspicion that if you put a stop watch on me you'd have been hard pressed to tell the difference.

Next was paddles and pull. More of the same, though I think I'm getting the hang of paddles. Still not my fave. Meanwhile I'm passing these girls at the ends and trying not to flip into them. I wish they'd make up their minds which way they're going to go. One was going left, saw me, started to the right, realized I'd already gone right, and totally panicked. I got some accidental sighting practice done trying to decide if I could pass.

Fins were fun. These intervals were short enough I could keep track. Total was a hair under an hour. It was a bit of a slog getting there, but I was more awake by about half way through.

I got home early enough to head out for an 80 minute run. It was so nice out! Maybe 18C (64F) so perfect running weather. No fancy stuff on the plan, so I ran north to Glenmore and west toward Weaselhead. Turned around at 40 minutes and made it back to my starting place about a dozen steps short on the tick.

Settled in at the cusp between zone 2 and 3, breathing easy, but mainly concentrating on running well, my posture, my cadence, keeping my arms moving, trying to glide forward with no vertical bounce, trying to run light on my feet, all that good stuff. Cadence was 84 each of the 4 times I checked it. Walked 5 to warm up, ran easy for 5 and gently eased into the pace I wanted. After the turnaround I tried to run stronger and pretended my coach was videoing me. I'm reasonably certain she could run backwards faster than I can run forwards and do so while operating a video camera, AND while shouting encouragement and advice. In case you hadn't guessed, I'm impressed with my coach.

It was so nice running through the poplar fluff. One place looked like snow there was so much of it. I was really enjoying the run. No idea how far I actually went, but I was very pleased I stayed strong and had a good stride throughout. I could have run much further at that pace. Ran easy the last 5 minutes and walked another 5, then stretched.

Hustled a bit to get some dinner and a shower before leaving for yoga. There was lots of good stuff there. I nearly fell asleep 3 times. Once in feet up the wall, once in the meditation part, and once during Savasana. My breathing was just going rattley each time and I knew if I let it I'd be snoring in a couple more breaths.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No thunderstorm after all

The weather forecast for today looked crappy, but I was determined to get out there. And whaddya know, it wasn't bad at all, and got nicer as the evening went on.

Estela is still in the shop, so I was to take the hybrid on some hills. I wasn't going to RtN. Going down is too scary since I'm afraid the bike is going to vibrate itself to pieces.  Picked the same hill out of Bebo Grove. Up and down a bunch of times. I'm learning bad habits. Several times I spun my feet right out of the toe clips and ended up getting a mild cramp in my left calf. Bailed a bit early for an hour total.

Stretched a bit, then a half hour of core. By then I was feeling like a weak and feeble reed, especially for plank.