Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Post of 2006

It's my last post of the year and my last chance to say something significant in 2006. No pressure or anything!

So far I've spent the last few days of 2006 as the antithesis of how I spent the bulk of the year and (hopefully) of how I'll spend 2007. I've gotten reacquainted with the couch and spent a lot of time reading and drinking tea. This is helped by the fact that I inherited several hundred books from a friend who is moving to Japan at the end of the month, without this literary treasure trove on hand I may have actually accomplished something this week. I also got the coolest tea cup ever from the same person and have been infusing like a mad woman (albeit a lazy one), and good tea is best appreciated while one is relaxing so I didn't want to ruin the karma or anything like that.

I do have a cold so the lack of workouts is justified, although I should have been able to do a bit of housecleaning or organizing around the place.

Today is definitely the laziest day yet, it's past 3pm and I'm still in my pj's. However, if I'm going to be in the pool by 8am every Sunday for the next four months I'm darned well going to enjoy one last lazy weekend!

Just in case you think I've been thoroughly slacking, over the past week I've read the following:

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaardner (basically an idiot's guide to philosophy. Unsurprisingly, I liked it.)
Home for The Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean (it's always a good time to have a laugh)
Vinyl Cafe Unplugged by Stuart McLean
Dead Famous by Ben Elton (more laughs)
Shopgirl by Steve Martin (I think I liked it. It was certainly engrossing and interesting. A little dry. I'll probably read it again. And still not be sure whether I like it.)
And I'm most of the way through The Many Colored Land by Julian May, a ridiculous scifi/fantasy novel that I've seen on bookshelves for ages and never gotten around to reading, which is too bad because I would have absolutely loved it if I'd read it in junior high.

I also had a two hour plus conversation with my friend in Australia, who recommended more books for me to read.

Well, not much in the way of sobering reflection or deep insights, just an ode to idleness before I give it up!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Track Workout

I may have slacked off a bit in my workouts over the holidays but I did get in a a track workout!

The nephews have a great collection of Thomas the Tank Engine and Brio track and I got a bit of alone time to do some building. The boys didn't seem to mind when they came home to find their track rearranged, in fact when my brother-in-law dismantled the track that night it caused a minor meltdown. Nice to know my work was appreciated!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Grand Prix of Spinning

So I finally pulled out my bike yesterday, the poor thing has been sitting neglected in the back on my closet – he got one glorious ride to Richmond after the move then nothing for over a month.

The plan had been for me to get Louis outside for a ride but there was a wee bit of snow (a good millimetre, if not two) on the ground and I wimped out. Plus, figure skating was on TV and I couldn’t miss that! I came to a compromise and pulled out my trainer, waited out the ice dance (it’s painful enough to watch as it is, I don’t need to add the boredome of spinning to it) then rode through the women’s, pairs men’s competitions. I have a new skating hero, the French dude who won and landed two quads, very impressive.

Spinning gets marginally less painful every time I do it but it is still incredibly boring and time goes very, very slowly (although it seemed to pick up after 29 minutes!). I managed 45 minutes then greatfully quit. Hopefully the weather improves so i can ride outside.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fun Day

Today was the last day of the swim session so it was "Fun Day"!

Sadly Fun Day is not the same as "Treat Day" where you get to skip the workout and have tea and cookies (so far none of my coaches seem to think this is a great idea).

We did a little swim golf, adding our time and our number of strokes to get our score. On 25m I shot 44 and on 50m I shot a 97. Apparently for 50m you should get double your 25m score plus four or five so I was off target on the 50m by a wide margin. Paul threatened to make us do 100m of golf but it never materialized.

We then did the tractor trailer pull, one of the more ridiculous things I've done this year. This involved pairing up with one person in front doing the stroke and the person behind holding onto the first person's ankles and kicking. We switched up every length and did 100m. It was pretty ridiculous! I was paired up with Phil (aka Daniel Craig) who is very competitive and launched into a strategy discussion before Paul could finish explaining. I myself am somewhat (!)competitive so I had to interupt to know where he wanted to be to anchor the last length, stroke or kick. We won by a nose!

Next up was the water polo swim. We had one ball per lane and did a relay swimming with the ball. Controlling the ball while swimming is surprisingly difficult! Apparently you should try to get a standing wave to push the ball. Head butting did not turn out to be a viable alternative.

Anne wanted to work on flip turns so we did that for a bit. I was surprised at how much retained from the session six months ago. I think I also had a small breakthrough - if I breath at the cross and take two strokes I can enter into the turn smoothly and with a decent amount of air in my lungs. Now I have to incorporate that into lengths. Perfecting this is done the same way as getting to Carnegie Hall - practice!

We ended with a timed 100m, 1:54 wasn't a PR by any means but not bad.

It was fun but, as Ger said, Fun Day is really tiring.

Interesting thread on FJ

Fitness Journal is an online training journal where I track my workouts, mileage, etc. The people using it vary from people just getting into a fitness routine and people purely trying to lose weight right up to psycho freaks who’re training for Ironman. One of the features of the program is a bulletin board where a fairly active core of members post regularly.

Yesterday someone who’s training for Ironman Arizona started a thread about how excited they were with a breakthrough they had on their long workout. It was an interesting post but what really grabbed my attention was the response someone had asking, essentially, how can she expect to live up to this standard and would she have to keep upping the ante on her workouts to keep getting results until she was putting in the same kind of hours/effort as the original poster?

The response was interesting to me because I’ve had the same experience of telling people what I’m up to for training and seeing them do the metal comparison between my 20 hour training week and whatever they’re doing and finding themselves lacking. I find it quite frustrating to have what I’m doing be discouraging to others, see them put themselves down because they’re don’t believe they’re living up to my standards. There is no real way I can think of to address this without being insulting. And I can’t not talk about my training because 1) I’m excited about it and 2) in my peak season it’s pretty much all I do. [And 3) I talk a lot!]

I’ve had friends and peers put down the fact that their big race was “only” a 10km/half marathon/etc. because they see what I’ve done as something bigger, and not seeing that their race is a huge accomplishment. It’s such a self-denying tactic, to accomplish something huge but denigrate it.

One of the things I’ve loved about the club I’m with is that I train with such incredibly good triathletes that, unless I want to dive into some extreme realm of illogic, I can’t expect myself to keep up with or beat them. Instead I’m forced to pay attention to my own training and my own improvement and only compare myself to myself. This is not about being self centered but, to wax new-age flakey for a moment, about being self aware. It’s about accepting where I’m at and working to get where I want to be, it’s amazing how much more positive my outlook is when I’m thinking “I am here and I am going to go there,” rather than “Why am I here? I shouldn’t be here! Why aren’t I over there?” It’s a refreshing change from how I’ve looked at things for the previous three decades of my life.

And I have to say, right now I like where I’m at, and the view ahead is pretty spectacular!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Queueing Lessons

Vancouverites need lessons on how to queue properly. We all seem to have some intense fear that by lining up in some reasonable semblance of order we’ll be dubbed uncool. We’re obviously a metropolis of adults who were traumatized by childhood bullying, somehow thinking our lunch money would be safe if we headed out West.

Instead of forming into a line where the first person to arrive stands closest to the bus stop, doorway, kiosk, etc. the first person has to stand at least 3 metres away. When another person shows up the first will glower at them menacingly to ensure that number two understands he or she is not to get on the bus, go through the doorway, get a coffee from the kiosk, etc. until after number one has. This continues with everyone tracking who came after them and savagely glaring to ensure their space in the pecking order has been noted and will be preserved. It would be so much simpler if people were to actually form a line, then you’d know who was in front of you and wouldn’t need to worry about who was behind. Much less effort, thinking and glaring.

I understand they are quite skilled at forming queues in Britain, perhaps we could encourage the civic authorities to fly some experts over to teach us all how to do it right.

So where does this rant come from? This has bugging me for some time (mostly at bus stops) but especially so after getting to the YWCA at 5:50am this morning to sign up for the next session of Masters Swimming. When I arrived there were two people already there waiting to get in, one daringly breaking the three metre rule by actually being one metre from the door and in a perfect queueing position. The man behind was glaring daggers at her so it was clear that she was not, in fact, first. As others arrived they loosely congregated behind us in no particular order. Someone joined the not-first woman in front of me and I found myself glaring daggers too (although I find it difficult not to glare at everyone at that hour of the a.m.).

Things worked out, no lives were lost and Mr. First did indeed get to sign up first (Ms. Not-first and I both deferred to him) but it all felt a little silly. I was not-first and not-second but was third in line so I did manage to sign up for the class I wanted so everything came to a satisfying conclusion.

We will leave the larger question of why on earth I would want to line up at 5:50 a.m. to enroll in a swim class that starts at 6:30 a.m. two days a week for three month to a later date!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Benchmark Metronome

So today was benchmark (aka time trial) day. I was still a little stiff from skiing on the weekend, or to be more accurate, from falling a lot on the weekend and I woke up wheezy so I figured it was not going to be the greatest swim ever. Turns out I somewhat misunderestimated myself.

My previous best, set this year, was 1:46 for 100m. Considering that was very close to my peak of tri fitness I’ll happily take 1:47 for today.

We started off with a 25m butterfly time trial, which I did in 32 seconds and change – a PR! (Also a PF, “Personal First”, so not really cause to break out the confetti.)

Then we moved on to the meat of the workout - 100m free. I didn’t realize that we were trying to maintain a pace across two sets of three reps so I went out pretty hard on the first and finished in 1:47:8. After a minute rest my second rep was 1:49 and then the third was 1:51, a trend that I thought would continue into the next set.

We did an easy swim then a kickboard time trial (athletes are freaks and will time anything!) in which I set my 50m kb PR/PF of 1:15.

The next set of 100m pieces is easy to report: 1:48. Or rather: 1:48, 1:48, 1:48. When I told Paul my 3rd 100m time he called me a metronome as I was so consistent. It was pretty cool that despite going out at what I thought was too hard a pace in the first set that I could maintain it throughout the workout. I was dying after the last set (Paul’s other comment was that I’d definitely passed my threshold), but I did maintain my pace.

Just to really keep things fun we ended with a 25m piece, which I did in 21.8. No idea if that’s anywhere close to a record as we didn’t track those last year – understandable what with us all training for distance events!

The weirdest thing about the workout was what I think of as “The Grouse Grind Factor” – I hated every minute of it while I was doing it but as soon as it was done I was thinking how much fun it was. It's mental twists like that that keeps people racing!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Manning Park

Went up to Manning Park today for some X-country skiing with Helen. It was a beautiful day (see the sunshine!). Some of the trails were a little rough as the snow wasn't super deep and the Lightning Lakes loop was hacked up because they're cutting down trees, but aside from that it was great.

I'm getting back into the swing (or perhaps the glide) of skiing and really didn't want to leave at the end. Then I slept most of the ride home. Nice to know I still can act like a five year old!

Home Making

This weekend Mum, Helen and I did a little home building, renovating, and decorting.

These are the results.

Friday, December 08, 2006

One Armed Butterfly

Yesterday morning I decided that I'm going to write a horror novel in which a sadistic swim coaches kills poor, innocent aspiring triathletes by making them do impossibly difficult drills until they die terrible and remarkably awkward deaths while he stands poolside, cackling evilly. I'm going to call it "One-Armed Butterfly."

Okay, so maybe the workout wasn't that bad - no one died and, as far as I could tell, Paul never cackled. But doing butterfly with one arm? C'mon! I'm not sure how flailing helplessly and inhaling half the pool will make me a better swimmer.

Fine, I may have sort of gotten the hang of it and perhaps, just perhaps, it may have made the full fly somewhat less impossible, but, well, ... (is there an ASCII symbol for someone who's just run out of decent arguments and is left sputtering hopelessly?)

The focus of today's class was, in fact, not to drown masters swim students, but IM. I found the butterfly lengths (the two-armed version!) much more exhausting than the previous four times I've tried. I don't know if it's because I lost it on the one-armed fly, I'm doing something terribly wrong or I'm finally doing something right. We also swam 2200m, significantly more than we've done on previous occasions when we've done fly so that may have tired me out too.

Next Tuesday is "Benchmark Day", aka time trials. I believe that is when we get to see some poolside cackling going on.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Kebab House

A good friend who just returned from the World Ultimate Club Championships in Perth sent me this.

(For those who're wondering about the relevance, "Alto" is a nickname used by about, um, well, one person I know. It's my blog, I can be as obscure as I want!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cross Country Championships

I headed back to my old neighbourhood this morning to watch some friends race in the Canadian Cross Country Championships at Jericho. I didn't get any good pictures of runners so I'm posting one of the kayakers I could see while watching the race (in case you're confused).

Andrew was running in the masters race and Erin was in the senior womens, I intended to catch Andrew's race then head out and get the rest of my errands and chores done for the weekend. When formulating this plan I forgot to take into account the fact that I get caught up in events and have to put in a great effort to drag myself away. Once I got out to Jericho the choice between watching the race or doing laundry was an easy one to make (a hint - I currently don't have any clean socks).

Watching Andrew race was great - we don't usually get a chance to see the coach compete so watching him with his game face on and fighting in a race was pretty neat. He wasn't happy with his time (21st overall) but the conditions were pretty terrible as the snow added an extra level of difficulty to the cross country challenge.

I was in the process of leaving after chatting with Andrew at the end of his race but then the junior women's race was on so I thought I might as well catch the start, and then having seen the start I really had to stick it out for the rest of the race. Then I got to chatting again and whadya know, the junior men's race was on and had to catch the start of that. Of course Erin's race was up next and it would be rude to leave just before she raced. I got heckled into watching the senior men's race (I had to cheer for Simon Whitfield) and ended up leaving sometime well after 3.

The races themselves were great to see but watching them with experienced, competitive runners really enriched the experience. I may not have clean laundry but I had a great time watching.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Let It Snow!

It's a snow day! Too bad it's a Sunday and there's nothing to cancel.

After last week's fallout from the rain and wind storms we now have a snow storm to deal with. Some parts of the Lower Mainland received 30cm, keep in mind that 2cm is enough to cause chaos in a city where very few people have a) winter tires, b) experience driving in snow or c) the brains to drive safely under the best conditions. Begin a Sunday, most people could afford to stay off the roads or drive slowly if they had to drive so the roads weren't too bad. We'll see what tomorrow's commute is like!

I went for a run this morning and it was beautiful. It was early enough that it was still cold and wasn't too slushy, more like running through trails with tricky footing than anything else. I've got the gear to stay warm and getting wet doesn't bother me, I just have to deal with snow blowing in my face. Running on a Sunday morning is generally a peaceful experience but the snow today made it quite beautiful.

After the run I had friends over brunch and was surprised most of the invitees made it. It was a nice relaxing day after a stressful week.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Year in Review

Mary is putting together stats for the club of the races everyone did and how far we raced cumulatively as a club. It was very cool to do, my summary is as follows:

UBC: 5km run, 20km bike, 5km run
Penticton Bare Bones: 5km run, 32km bike, 5km run

Sprint Tri:
Delta: 700m swim, 20km bike, 5km run

Olympic Tri:
Squamish: 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run PR
Kelowna Apple: 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run PR

Half Iron:
New Balance (Victoria): 2km swim, 91.8km bike, 20km run

Canada Day Challenge: 2km

Terry Fox Run: 10km
CIBC Run For The Cure: 5km
Richmond Flatlands: 10km
H2H: 9.47 km
Fall Classic: 21.1 km PR

My overall distance raced was:
Swim 7.7km
Bike 243.8
Run 120.57
With a grand total of 372.07!

My lowlight was the Delta triathlon - I don't like sprints or races with pool swims so that combined with pouring raining and vicious winds made for a nasty time.

The highlight was the New Balance Half Iron in Victoria. The race itself was fantastic, I exceeded my expectations throughout and beat my my optimistic estimate for my time by 15 minutes. Having so many friends from the tri club racing with me and their friends and family cheering me on made it even more special. Not sure any other half iron is going to match up with that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I had low expectations before the race. I had low expectations during the race. I was so convinced I was going to have a terrible run I set my watch to the lap timer so I could only see my time for each km, not my cummulative time, because I didn't want to get depressed. My heart rate was through the roof (ave 188, after the first 5km I don't think it went below 180) and I became convinced I was going to bonk or pass out and was shocked when I was still upright after 18km. The point where I finally realized I was having a good race was 200m from the finish line when I saw the official time clock.

My previous PR was 1:57:34. Today's time was 1:55:55. Nowhere near my goal but I knew when I set the goal I was being pretty ambitious.

I place 343rd Overall (out of 916) and 51st in my age group (out of 159).

A heck of a way to end my racing for the year.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's the Eve of the Half Marathon Things Are Getting Steamy...

... but only because of the boil water advisory. Yes boys and girls, the word of the week is "TURBIDITY."

Luckily I'm not pressed for time the last few days and have been able to boil litres and litres (and litres) of water, making me realize how much I go through in a day. Yesterday was a little odd - no coffee in the city of Vancouver. A few brave coffee shops were purifying their water, and were overwhelmed by demand, but most didn't serve any beverages that needed tap water.

The biggest problem for me isn't boiling the water but having somewhere to put it once I've boiled it - Tupperware food containers aren't the most effect water storage solutions.

So water is a bit of a concern for tomorrow's race, but to be honest I don't have terribly high expectations after all the time I've had off sick. I'm not feeling 100% tonight either as I'm tired (way too much coffee earlier in day - making up for yesterday I guess) and still stuffed up. Just to add to the mix I'm trying out the new PowerGel and have newly purchased the 10oz water bottles for my Fuel Belt - what the heck, might as well give myself as many excuses as possible!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Run and a Swim

Wednesday Run: 2.4km interval & 30-30
Run around Trafalgar Park
15 min w/u
2.4km run (2 X Trafalgar Park loop) at 1/2M pace
5min active recovery
10min of 30sec hard 60sec easy (everyone else did 30-30 but I got to go easy as I'm racing the 1/2 on the weekend)
15min w/d

Even though we had a ridiculously bad storm on Wednesday that caused mass disruptions and damage across the city we barely got wet and only suffered the occasional blast of wind.

Thursday Swim: Pull and Finish
w/u 10-12 x:
Odd 25m breast, 25m free
Even 25m back, 25m free

4 x:
25m mid scull (elbows even w/ shoulders)
25m L 3pp stroke (3 point pause - pause at entry, mid stroke, end of stroke)
25m R 3pp stroke
25m free

3 x;
25m L only
50m free
25m R only
50m free

cool down

Paul got me working on breathing at the part of the stroke, I've been breathing at the top of my stroke which is both inefficient and bad for my shoulder. I should be breathing when I finish my stroke - start to turn to my side as my arm is mid stroke and finish roll at end of stroke as I breath. Once I got over the awkwardness, this felt much smoother.

Ironman 2006

I finally managed to download my photos from IMC 2006.

Here's a happy Bronwyn and some of her LETC fan club after her spectacular Ironman finish this year. Not everyone got to see Bronwyn finish because they showed up for her estimated time, which she beat by over half an hour!

After watching Bronwyn finish, there was time for a short sleep then I got up way, way too early to line up to sign up for 2007. When I showed up at 6 am, the line already had hundreds, of people in it and was winding it's way crazily through a park. Most of the people in front of me had spent the night in line. The line behind me kept getting longer and longer, it was quite comical looking at the expressions on peoples faces as they came to join the line and realized how far back it went.

After waiting in line for hours, once it started moving I was through in less than half an hour - I could have slept in!!

Exclusive Photos from the Skaha Hockey Polo Training Camp

You'll only find it here on Tri'n Fool, exclusive photos from this summer's elite Skaha Hockey Polo Training Camp! Yes, the famous Skaha camp where the world's best Hockey Polo players go to hone their craft. Never before has a photographer been allowed in to catch the athletes in their super-secret training regimes but we at Tri'n Fool are willing to do what it takes to bring these images to you.

Here we have Marcus "the Mauler", the key defenceman on the Canadian National Team who is widely credited with Canada's shutout of Hockey Polo powerhouse Albania in the Under Five World Championship, and Oscar "the O-man", who this season smashed every scoring recond in the CHPL.

The practices are intense, the hours are long and the program is both physically and emotionally draining, but that's why these athletes are the best in the world!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Swimming with a Catch

Today's workout focussed on the catch phase of the pull. I was very happy with this as it gave me a chance to build on the advice Paul gave me last week about my wrist angle at the start of my stroke.

500m w/u (200m choice, 200m alternative back & free 25's, 200m alternating drill & free 25's. Yes, that should add up to 600m, but I was late so didn't get the whole thing in.)

Sculling 2-3x:
25m scull (both arms)
25m free
10sec R
25m single arm scull (R/L)
25m free
10sec R
25m single scull w/ lat pull (R/L)
25m free
10 sec R

Scull w/ lat pull means engage lat on the scull.
Need to work on proper sculling motion - isolate motion in forearm and scoop hand to maximize pull.

Main set 2-3X:
100m free
30sec R
25m 12 kick/1 pull (superman)
25m 9/1
25m 6/1
25m 3/1 (full free)
30sec R
100m pull

Warm down.

Great swim, aside from inhaling half the pool in the superman bits. Paul's advice from last week about my wrist position at the top of my stroke made a big difference this week. Warming up I could really feel the difference it made, I felt like I had far more power in my stroke. Strangely my stroke count per 25m doesn't seem to have gone down however. I just have to be careful now not to hurt my shoulder!

Looong Weekend

I packed (and unpacked) a lot in three days.

Saturday Ride to & Run in Steveston
The start of my day was a gong show as I couldn’t find anything: Where are my gloves? Panic! Oh right, they’re in my helmet. Where is my helmet? Panic! Etc… I finally got all my bike gear together, managed to get out the door then realized I’d forgotten my running shoes. What was planned as a leisurely ride to Steveston became a frantic time trial endeavour. On the upside, it took me almost exactly as long as I’d predicted to get there – 46 minutes (I was thinking 45).

I missed Joanne and co.'s transition to the run by about five minutes but met up with them soon enough on the dyke and had a good run. I felt slow and asthmatic and was suffering from a case of pancakes eaten too close to exercise (PETCTE??), but other than that it was a good run.

Great lunch and a good time hanging out after.

Sunday: Ontario Bike Route Run
I had a lazy morning: I had some tea and read my book and generally took it easy before going out for an easy run on the Ontario bike route to 59th & back. I used to run that route when I lived at 19th & Cambie, wish I knew how it took me then so I could compare.

Had fun with Gmaps pedometer mapping out the distance on the run - very cool!

Cassandra came over in the afternoon to help me unpack my books; she was in charge of anti-dither measures and wouldn’t let me read anything so the packing went fairly smoothly. I managed to unload my old computer monitor and some other stuff on a friend of hers so it was quite a successful unpacking exercise.

Monday: Pure Laziness
Monday was a holiday (Remembrance Day fell on a Saturday so we got the Monday off), so I did a bit of exploring in the new ‘hood and discovered/rediscovered some cool places on Main. I think I have a lot of dining out ahead of me to fully get in touch with the neighbourhood – luckily I'll need to consume a lot of calories next year.

I finished the book Helen lent me, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I really enjoyed it, even if it did get a little Harlequin-esque in parts. I think this is what Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation was meant to be. Aside from being a good story there were some very interesting arguments against pesticides in that they actually increase the number of bugs and that hunting coyotes increases their populations. Read the book, it'll all make sense!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pyramids & Medleys

Two great workouts over the past two days:

Pyramid workout at Point Grey track

I got to the track super early as I’m still figuring out how to get around from my new abode. Man Cambie is a mess. You know it’s a bad sign when the cars aren’t moving and there’s a traffic helicopter overhead!

Last night’s workout at Point Grey track was a pyramid with the goal to descend (ie run the last 1200 & 800 faster than the first) with a 4 min recovery between sets.

My times were:
800m - 3:43
1200m - 5:38
1600m - 7:33
1200m - 5:30
800m - 3:27

It took me a bit to get going but I felt strong and relaxed on the mile and the backside of the pyramid. I wonder (as always) if I could have gone out harder at the start but I was still a little leery about going out too hard after having the cold from hell. I didn't break any personal record but overall it was a great run.

Masters Swim
My swim this morning was tough but fun, we did IM (international medley), which meant I got to try butterfly for the second time.

Warm up:
200m EZ
4 x:
25m dolphin kick
25m back
25m drill (choice)
25m EZ free

4 x broken 100's:
25m fly, 2stroke, 4 kick
15sec R
25m back, 1 pull 10 kick
25m breast, 1 pull, 2 kick
25m free, 3 pull, 10 kick (superman)
30sec R

Then 4 x:
100m IM
30sec rest
100m EZ w/ pull buoy
30sec rest

Warm down
4 x 25 kick board
200m free with pull paddles (I only did 100)
something I skipped

Two pointers from Paul today:
For butterfly I need to have my head down when finishing the stroke, as in looking at the bottom of the pool. This will help my kick. That aside, apparently my form is not bad for someone on their second attempt.

For freestyle, my hand is at the wrong angle at the start of my stroke. I get my hand in the water then cock my wrist so my fingers are pointing up - not the most efficient way to swim! I need to keep my fingers pointing down but rather than make it all wrist, get the whole forearm going. As soon as he pointed it out I could tell exactly what he meant, I've known for ages that something is wrong with my stroke but couldn't pinpoint it. The pull paddles exaggerated it so it was really noticeable.

Paul recommended I get Finis swim paddles as they'll help fix the problem.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Things are going swimmingly

Things really feel like they're getting back on track. After taking Sunday and yesterday off as rest/recovery days, I got into the pool for the first time in two weeks today. The swim was largely terrible as I'm still a bit short of breath and slow but it felt so good to be back in the water. I also signed up yesterday for the First Half half marathon in February and finished my part of the cleaning at the old house.

I'm trying to take it easy getting back into a routine, although taking two days to recover from H2H wasn't initially the plan. To be honest, the Sunday was more about recovering from the H2H party than from the relay. Yesterday I had to finish cleaning the old apartment and had no time for a run or a ride.

Tonight a workout would give me a great excuse to procrastinate in my unpacking - I'm now at the phase where what I have left are the boxes of miscellaneous stuff that I never knew where to put or that I should have ditched but couldn't quite bear to part with, and 16 boxes of books, which I can only unpack once I've decided on the final and definitive location for my bookcase. Unpacking my books is a full day's job as 1) I have to shelve them alphabetically, which is complicated by the fact that they're packed according to size (ah, the joys of OCD!) and 2) I start reading them.


I have finally started exercising again and it feels GREAT! Okay, I can't breath very well, I've lost tons of fitness, I'm slow and feel pretty terrible while doing it but it's still fantastic to be active again.

This weekend I got back into the swing of things running in the 100km Haney to Harrison (H2H) relay with Team LETtuCe. It wasn't a good run for me speedwise but it was great to be out and the team was a lot of fun and managed to make up for my slow start. Running was probably a dumb idea physical health-wise but as far as my mental health it was exactly what I needed.

My leg was only 9.42 km, the second shortest leg in the relay, and relatively flat so I didn't have to kill myself running or worry too much that I was setting my team back. Running was frustrating as I had no idea what my pace was and therefore couldn't tell what distance I'd run. It's amazing how I've come to be able to trust where I am based on my pace and time (unless of course I'm sick). I did put in a big sprint at the finish, the only person in the group of runners I was keeping pace with to do so. I also found it interesting that I was running and keeping pace with a far slower group than I normally do but as soon as we got to a slight hill I was passing lots of people. Guess that's the base fitness kicking in.

Photo of the start taken by Jack. I'm so fast I'm a blur!

My time was 55:12, about 10 minutes slower than my (optimistic) predicted time. This was a PW (Personal Worst) for me but as I'd been sick for two weeks prior to racing I think the time's pretty damned cool.

Stage 1 results are here.

Our team finished in 7:54:08. We were 17th in the rec division but if we'd managed to stay in the competitive mixed division we would have come 6th. Not too shabby!

Overall team results are here.

Hanging out after the race with both the LETC teams was so much fun. What a great group of people!

For pictures of Team LETtuCe running in the early morning hours, go to Jack's website.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Where I'm At

Years ago I had a yoga instructor who'd endlessly tell the class, "Where you are is where you're at." At first I took as a new-age zen-wannabe-ism and found it very annoying but eventually I realized what he was talking about and it's something I've tried to take into my training and racing. He meant you should recognize what your limitations are and what you can and can't do, to work within the limitations you're being presented with rather than trying to force yourself to be somewhere you're not. Hmm, not necessarily the clearest explanation, on reflection I think he said it much better!
So, rather than lament that I'm not where I want to be right now I thought I'd take a look at where I've been. I use an online training journal called Fitness Journal which, amongst other functions, tracks mileage run/biked/swum/etc. and has a map function to really put things in perspecitve. A neat way to look at my training.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Patience Grasshopper

I am not naturally endowed with vast reserves of patience. What patience I do have has been developed and molded over years - half a decade of yoga and breathing techniques, years and years (and years) as admin/exec assistant, volunteering on a non-profit society's board of directors, and who knows what else. When I'm in the right frame of mind I can take a breath and stay calm and deal with whatever is testing my patience and get through it. When I'm not in the right frame of mind, say I'm suffering from a sinus cold and can't think straight or at times walk straight, then patience is a little harder to come by.

And I while I may be an inherently lazy person I'm a highly active lazy person, if that's not too much of an oxymron (I'll go for a run to get out of doing the dishes). It took me over a year to really grasp the concept of resting in my training - that I couldn't go for a brisk hour and a half walk to Granville Island after doing my long slow run or pick up for a game of ulti on my off day. Three days without exercise makes me cranky and a week without a good run leaves me twitching like an addict.

So it's been seven days and I'm still sick. My patience wore thin at day three. The twitching kicked in at day five. Not that I'm counting or anything but I've missed three swims, three runs, one Pilates class AND my tri club's year-end party. Yeah I can't breath but I really, really want to lace up my Nike's and run to the anchor at Locarno. And what about packing for my move this week? C'mon, I've slept all day, made a permanent dent on the couch, gone through litres of orange juice, done all the right things so I should be through this by now, right?

Sigh. So, I'm going to pack those runners in a box then take a deep breath, pour myself another glass of OJ, pop the Battlestar Galatica Season II DVD in the machine and become one with the couch for the evening.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

First Post - Packing, Procrastinating, Head Colds and Ulti Updates

Not an auspicious start to my blog - I'm recovering from an horrific sinus cold and haven't been able to work out for a week. I'm supposed to be packing in preparation for my move but somehow I'm creating a blog instead.

It's a beautiful day and I'm itching to get outside and do something active - must take care to go easy and as I don't want to get sick and sit out another week.

Aside from recovering from a cold, where am I now in my training? I'm not being terribly scientific at the moment, I'm calling it "base building" as I'm trying to maintain fitness and build a bit of skill/strength. I'm in a masters swim program two days a week with a fantastic instructor, Paul Cross, and am loving that. I'm doing Pilates once a week to keep up my core strength and trying to get out to run three times a week as I'm doing a half marathon in November. Somehow biking is the one thing I miss out on, and that's really where I'm weakest. I really should be in the gym doing some stregth work too (where do people find the time??). Once I'm moved and over this cold I'll be back out on my bike and better able to figure out my schedule.

In non-triathlon news - big shocker at UPA Club Championships as Fury beat Riot. The Seattle powerhouse finally goes down! The Open final is 8-6 Sockeye over Furious. C'mon boys, bring back another title!