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.