Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February Stats

Here's the month pared down to numbers and a pretty pie chart, care of Fitness Journal:


Tried using rollers for the first time tonight. Wow, they are difficult!

I think my best run without having to hold on to something was five pedal revolutions. A couple of times, however, I got an idea of how it should/will feel when I'm balanced and pedaling. Of course as soon as I got that feeling I'd hit the wall (literal wall - I wedged myself between it and the lazy boy).

However, given the choice between 50 minutes on rollers and 50 metres swimming butterfly I'll take rollers any day. At least I feel that someday I'll figure out rollers!

Give Your Cellphone to the Food Bank

This is a totally cool idea - Think Food, donating your old cell phone to benefit the foodbank.

Everyone wins - you get to get rid of your old phone, it doesn't end up in a landfill, and the foodbank gets money. I love these type of projects!

Three Days

It was a hard day to get out of bed! I miss one week of early mornings and completely get out of the habit of getting up early.


The focus was on the recovery phase of the stroke - keeping the arm loose and relaxed while out of the water, elbow bent (think of skaters spinning - a faster spin when their arms are in closer to their body), recovery arm helping to move underwater arm.

Drills included:
shark fin (arm out of the water just far enough to look like Jaws)
the wierd recovery one I can't remember the name of - do full recovery then do it backwards then forwards again. Significantly stronger on the right side over the left

Evening Pilates was hard as I was tired from skiing the day before.

48 min

Another morning where I really didn't want to get out of bed. It was icy and cold outside but at the end of the run I got a fantastic view of the snow clad North Shore mountains - beautiful.


10 min warm up

5 (?) x sit stand:
30sec standing (big ring)
30sec seated easy

Single Leg Drills:
4 per leg:
40sec single leg
30 sec easy both legs

5 x all out:
20sec all out (hardest gears)
2min easy

2 x race pace:
2.5min @ about 80/85% of max (should feel okay to start but get hard @ about 1 - 1.5 min)
2min recovery

My legs were so tired it was hard to do the workout, especially the single leg drills, and my cadence was consistently low for everything except the race pace piece.


w/u 200 easy swim

4 x 100m:
25m ?
25m ?
25m drill
25m breast

2 x 50m
25m sculling
25m free

4 x 100m:
25m fly kick
25m back - 10 kicks/1 pull
25m breast - 2 kicks/1pull
25m free - fingertip drag

5 x:
100m IM
50m free easy

cool down
100m kick/no board:
25m fly
25m back
25m breast
25m free

200m free easy with pullbuoy

I still do not have any skill at butterfly - no rhythm, no kick technique and my stroke is off, just a few minor issues! Paul said that if I work on the rhythm with my head that will help a lot - don't lift my head up so high on the breath and really drive it down after.

Paul also ranked my strokes in order of strength:
1 - Breast
2 - Free
3 - Back
4 - Fly
I disagree, I'm sure there are other strokes I do much better than fly - dog paddle, side stroke, drowning ...

This evening I get my first try at riding on rollers - wish me luck!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Emergency Face Break

Started the day with time trials (oh goody!) for the swim. Our lane did 100m and 500m time trials.

100m 1:46 (+4sec split)
500m - 10:12 (2:02/100m pace)

I checked my records and my 100m time is pretty consistent with what I've done over the past year, the fastest I've done is 1:45 so I'm happy with 1:46.

The only other 500m time trial I could find a record of was April of last year and was 10:49. My comments were "nasty, horrible, yucky swim :(" On the 4th of this month I averaged 2:26/100m in a 400m time trial, astoundingly slow. Hopefully I'm in the groove now for longer swims.

After swimming Joanne & I ditched the run and instead went up to Cypress to ski. It snowed the whole time but it was warm enough that the snow was super sticky and anytime we stopped or slowed I got several cm of snow stuck to the bottom of my skis - I felt like Trigger doing a counting trick when I was stomping my feet to get the snow off!

Unfortunately I forgot to practice my snowplough and downhill turning skills at the start and my first time to put my rusty skills to use was on the steep hill (there's even a warning sign!) on the Unknown Lake trail. I went way too fast, couldn't turn then crossed the tips of my skis and went down hard - using my upper lip to break my fall (not recommended).

Lying in snow I did the post crash check:
Am I broken?
- No
Are my skis broken?
- No
Am I going to cry?
- Maybe.
Am I going lie here in the snow and block the trail?
- Yes
- Yes
- Okay, I'll get up.

I was a little shaken but got going again. Joanne and I discussed how to get back to the lower trails but there was no easy way down so she suggested I just take my skis off and walk. My response was that would be the guaranteed time we'd bump into someone we knew like Jean-Yves. We decided to take Upper Powerline down then quickly realized why we never ski Upper Powerline (steep!). We both took our skis off to walk down the slope and of course who do we see at the bottom - Jean-Yves!

Aside from the fall it was a good day. It was great to get out in the snow.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back At It

So last weekend was fantastic: I had a great ride on Saturday and pushed myself 'til I was totally pooped, on Sunday a couple of things really clicked in the pool and I put everything I had left into the run. When I got home after that I rebounded and had tons of energy, got all my laundry done, cleaned the house and generally got things accomplished.

Then Monday I woke up not feeling so hot. I missed half a day of work on Monday, a whole day on Tuesday, another half day on Wednesday and didn't make any workouts.

Finally by Thursday I was feeling better and made it out to the track workout. We were doing 5-8 400m pieces at pace. I wasn't sure how I'd feel but I managed 5 and only got a little dizzy. Not my fastest times (2:14, 2:14, 2:02, 2:03, 2:02) but not bad all things considered.

After five days recuperating I was excited to ride outside today. Probably wasn't the smartest idea to ride for 2.5 hours in the pouring rain when it's 2 degrees outside. Also didn't help that I wore the wrong gloves (it was snowing first thing the morning, you'd think I'd have clued in that it would be cold). After 1.5 hours I had difficulty using my brakes as I lost feeling in my fingers, I had to check when I was changing gears as I couldn't tell which lever I pushing. The last half hour was agony as my hands hurt and all I wanted to do was go home and warm up.

The worst part of the day, however, was at the end of the ride. Trying to find keys that were at the bottom of a zippered pocket on the back of my bike jacket when my fingers were completely numb was a challenge. I couldn't feel the zipper pull nor could I pull it down, I finally had to take the jacket off (involving a manipulating a different zipper), use my teeth to help with the zipper and fumble through for my keys. Gotta wonder what the neighbours thought! I got into the house successfully but my first two tries to get my helmet off failed so I then tried to get my bike shoes off. At one point I was sitting on my floor, still wearing my helmet and left bike shoe, seriously debating finding a neighbour to help. "Hi, you don't know me but could I ask for some assistance ..."

I decided today it was acceptable to skip the post ride run and core workout!

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Half Photos

Today is obviously race photo day.

Can you spot Bronwyn in the above shot of the race start? (Hint, she's not dressed like Waldo!)

And here's me, slightly easier to find in this shot. I saw the photographer and was studiously ignoring him (and trying to look like a highly skilled runner). I think this was around the 12 mile mark.

After checking out all these photos I've come to the conclusion that I really need better race day hair!

More Ice Breaker Photos

Some photos from the Ice Breaker of me actually running (as opposed to the first set that came out that only had shots of me at the end chomping on a fruit square). All the photos can be found here.

Teresa and I near the halfway mark. Her race goal was to shadow me, which she was obviously doing very well here. I messed up her plan about 2km later by having to stop due to an insane side cramp and she beat me by a good margin.

The push at the finish.

Wearing gloves was obviously unnecessary! I wore/carried those same gloves at the First Half last weekend, took them off after the first mile and ended up ditching them just before the first water station. I didn't want to litter so I put them on the lid of a garbage can (didn't occur to me to open the lid and put them in!) then saw them still there on the way back and debated picking them up. I couldn't decide fast enough and left them. Hopefully the weather stays warm and I don't end up needing them!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Two mornings in a row (yesterday and today) I've decided I'm going to skip my a.m. workout and sleep in only to find myself in my gear and ready to go twenty minutes later. I guess force of habit is stronger than laziness!

Tuesday a.m. Run

A nice slow run. No crazy weather (snow, frost, etc.) to distract me but still a nice run. I ended up doing a bit of zig-zagging at the end as I'd misplotted my route and got back too soon (I don't want to go too far and be late for work).

Tuesday p.m. Spin

Andrew was away so Alan was the guest coach.

10(ish?) min warm up

Cadence build in 1 min segments - 1 min at 80, 1 min at 90, etc. up to 120.

I had difficulty keeping 110 and, as usual, could barely get anywhere near 120.

SLD's (Single Leg Drills)
40 seconds one leg, 50 seconds both, repeat on other side.
Each leg three times.

Group hill climbing:
We were put into groups of four and one person had to "climb" while the other three cheered them on. The climber went hard for 1 min then as soon as they were done the next climber took over, everyone went three times then the whole group went hard together for 1min.

I was with Karen, Owen and Benny. Benny is awesome as a cheerleader - I'd like to take him with me on my races!

7 min cool down, followed by a 15min easy run.

Wednesday a.m. Swim
Benchmark Day
1 hr

I was dreading this but it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. My fatigue didn't slow me down too much, at least not physically. I had intense difficulty figuring out my time (if I started on the red 5 and finished on the red 55 did I take 1:55 or 1:50?), I guess an inability to do basic math is a fatigue indicator.

warm up:
200m steady

4 x 50m:
25m - scull25m - free

6 x 25m
odd non free
even free

Something else

Time Trials:
25m Butterfly - 32 seconds (horrible kick technique!)
75m easy

3 x 100m free on 1min rest

50m kickboard - 1:10
50m easy

3 x 100m free on 1.5min rest
50m easy

We were also supposed to do a 25m time trial but ran out of time.

As a comparison, my December benchmarks were almost exactly the same as the above. Butterfly was 32, my 100m free were all 1:48 - 1:50 (so I beat that on my last 100 today), the only real difference was the kickboard, which I beat by five seconds. Considering that 1) I'm at the start of my season and 2) I'm in the middle of my big week, I'm happy with these times.

Tonight is a spin at home, an episode of Band of Brothers, some Pilates and a good, long stretch.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Not so Super Fly

This morning's swim workout was butterfly. It was not a good morning to be doing something challenging. But then I intensely dislike butterfly so I might as well do it on a day when I'm already feeling cranky.

I was very tired from yesterday's half marathon so I had a lot of difficulty with the stroke and the workout overall, mentally and physically. According to Paul I wasn't kicking, which was frustrating as whatever I was doing was completely exhausting.

Warm up:
4 x 50m:
25m free
25m back

4 x 50m:
25m kick
25m free

4 x 50m
25m breast
25m free

something else?

3 x 150m:
25m dolphin dive with dolphin kicks
25m kick
50m pull finish and kick (lots of trouble with this one, my pull was ineffective and I had no kick. I've decided to count it a victory that I didn't drown.)
25m 2 strokes/4 kick (arms in front on kicks)
25m 2 strokes/4 kick (arms at sides on kicks)

10-12 x 50m:
25m butterfly
25m on back

Cool Down:
2 x 50m:
25m choice
25m free

Next class is benchmark day - isn't that exciting.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

First Half Results

Chip time: 1:59:49.7

1st half (of the First Half!): 1:00:29
2nd half: 59:21

Very happy with both my time and my split, especially as the hill was in the second half of the race.

Official Results

Warm Up:
11 minute slow warm up run then 5 accelerations
A bit of stretching and some other exercises that were more to deal with impatience than warming up

Cool Down:
9 minute slow cool down run (also served as an escape from the insanely crowded community Centre)
Some stretching

At Alan's insistence I did the ice bath deal. Not sure how well it works several hours after the race but my muscles do feel better for having done it. If only I could stop shaking!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

First Half - Half Marathon

For tomorrow's race I've decided to aim for sub two hours but no PR. Of course, I'll take a PR if it comes!

I'm going to aim for 5:41 min/km. To start I may go closer to 5:45. As per the Fall Classic, I plan to keep my watch on lap timer and ignore my overall time.

Fried rice for dinner, lots of water and an early night!

Psycho Saturday

2:25 hours (est. - my bike computer died)
58km (not so est. as I measured it on gmaps)

Lows of 6 degrees and highs of 9 were predicted for today which meant (drumroll please) - we rode outside. Finally!

We did the usual, starting at Speed Theory, went out along the beach, up Spanish Banks Hill, and on Marine Dr. to the bridge. Most of the group turned back there but an intrepid few continued on to Iona. Beautiful weather, beautiful day and a great ride.

10 minutes

To Ontario St. and back (via Starbucks).

20 minutes

Did my shoulder and knee physio exercises then a general pilates/core workout.

A nice, slow stretching session. Watched curling (and contemplated getting cable). Showed great strength of will and didn't get sucked in by the "Get off your butt and get curling!" ads.

Ice Bath
Because I will blindly do what my coach tells me to do, I sat in a bathtub full of freezing cold water (cryo-something technique to get the lactic acid out of your muscles after a long workout). Hopefully this will make me slightly more ready for tomorrow's run.

Brief Spurt of Energy
Came up with tons of plans for my afternoon. Roll out the cookie dough I mixed up yesterday and make sugar cookies! Clean the kitchen! Return phone calls! Do laundry!

When I realized that I don't have a rolling pin or cookie sheets (last night I discoverd I don't have an electric mixer - I don't bake much) I ran out of steam.

20 minutes. No, maybe 30 minutes. How about an hour?

Ice Breaker Photos

The Steveston Ice Breaker organizers just sent out the photos from the race. Sadly, the only one of me was from the post race event and I'm stuffing my face with food. Not quite the action shot I was hoping for.

There were, however, great shots of most of the rest of my group. My favorite is this one:

Slightly different race faces, eh?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Put Down the Duckie

Completely and totally off topic:

But it made me laugh!

Thanks Ken.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Less Than 200 Days!!!

Aaaack! IMC is 199 days away.

I can't decide if that's a long, long, loooong way away or way to freaking soon.

I feel like breaking the 200 day mark means I should celebrate.

Or have a panic attack.

As it is, it looks like I'll be marking it by coming down with a cold. Everyone around me seems to have caught it, coworkers, club mates, people sitting next to me on the bus... I've been fighting it for a while, strongly denying I'm getting sick but this afternoon I'm tired and stuffed up and feeling like I'm not winning battle. Probably just all the excitement from breaking the 200 day mark. (De nile ain't just a river in Egypt!)

Hobbit Day

Only the second month of training and already I'm having a "hobbit day."

Strider: "Gentlemen, we do not stop 'till nightfall."

Pippin: "What about breakfast?"

Strider: "We've already had it."

Pippin: "We've had one, yes. What about second breakfast?" [Strider walks away.]

Merry: "Don't think he knows about second breakfast Pip."

Pippin: "What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them doesn't he?"

Merry: "I wouldn't count on it."

On my lunch hour today I'm going to do a snack run so my desk and lunch room are stocked with appropriate items for second breakfast, elevenses, etc.
Just call me Pippin!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Quiet Evening (except for the war movie)

Spun for 55 minutes while watching episode 4 of Band of Brothers (Replacements).

As per Alan I did 3, 5 and 7 stride sprints every two minutes. This was easier to do at the gym last week when I no other distractions. (I'm not sure the overall boredom makes up for it though.) Getting caught up in the drama of whether Bull Randleman is going to get run over by a tank made me lose track at bit.

Not including the sprints, I tried to keep my cadence over 90. I wanted to stay at 100 but that just wasn't doable today so I went for 95 and mostly kept to that.

Had a good, long stretch after and then one of my all time favourite comfort food meals - marinated tofu on brown rice. The tofu recipe, from an old Ann Lindsay cookbook, is super easy and super tasty. I let the tofu marinate and the rice cook while I was spinning, heated up the oven while stretching then put the tofu in the oven before showering and changing and when I was done the food was done.

Spent the rest of the evening reading "The Ladies of Gracei Adieu" by Susanna Clarke. I have to finish the book by the end of the weekend as it's my roommate's girlfriend's book and she'll be reclaiming it then. Luckily it's short!

Remedial Swimming


Most. Frustrating. Swim. Ever.

Today's lesson was "Lane Swimming" because, according to Paul, we needed it. The sarcasm was lost on some, sadly those were the ones it was aimed at.

Warm up 3 x 200m:
50m free
50m back
25m scull
25m free
25m breast
25m free

10 x 25m w/ fins:
Practice getting out of the way once you're done your length. Seems like a fairly basic concept.

4 x 100m passing drill:
Everyone in the lane swimming on the person in front's toes. First person in line drops as soon as they hit the first flags and let everyone pass then drop in behind (like cycling drafting drill).

One person to drop every 25m

3 x 200m passing drill:
Same as above but one person dropping every 50m.

Cool down 3 x 50m:
25m choice (not free)
25m free dps (distance per stroke)

Despite being repeatedly told not to over the past month in the twice weekly sessions, a number of people continue to do their turn off the wall INTO the oncoming swimmers. A similar number of people, again despite repeated explanation, don't seem to grasp that the toe tap from the person behind you when you're nearing the wall means they would like to pass and that you should let them do so at the wall rather than swim wide and refuse to give up space.

This morning no one can figure out the workout. When we're supposed to be clearing space for the people behind us, everyone just finishes their length, hangs onto the wall and stares blankly. I managed to get one person to move out of the way and she does eventually get it, later on in the swim she even pushes someone so they end up in the right spot (yay! a small victory), but the rest are clueless. On the 200m passing drill the first two people pass on 25m instead of 50m and we only do 150m. In trying to organize things a bit before this I had pointed out the person who would be the last to pass, assuming we all did the drill right, and no one thought to adjust and keep going to do a full 200m. GRRRR!

I am not a patient person, I have developed the small amount of patience I have through a lot of effort and self-control but at 6:30 am when the people who've been screwing up the same things for the past month KEEP DOING IT it's very hard to stay calm. Especially when it's really, really simple stuff like getting out of the way. I tried to hide my frustration but, as a couple of the people in my lane seem openly scared of me, I'm not sure I've been doing so good a job. That said, however, I've decided to give myself triple gold stars for not yelling at anyone or wielding a kickboard in an unapproved fashion.


Tuesday Morning Run
51 minutes
approx 6 km

I was actually dressed, somewhat fed on a fruit & veggie bar and ready to go by 5:50. Of course I managed to waste 5 minutes staring blankly at my watch (apparently a HR of 66 is terribly fascinating) but I'm still pretty impressed.

I'm very happy with the low HR I averaged on this run (147). I'm always low on these morning runs but considering I went up two decent hills (Heather to King Ed and King Ed to Granville) I think the ave is pretty darned good.

Much as I hate getting out of bed that early, these are generally my favorite runs of the week. I think I actually am a morning person, it just takes me about 20 minutes to realize it!

Tuesday Spin - Sweeps and a Time Trial
50 minute workout

12 minute easy warm up

? x 2 minute "sweepy's":
2 minutes in a harder gear focussing only on the bottom "sweep" of the pedal stroke and the pull up. Interesting that this didn't slow down my cadence at all

1 minute (?) easy recovery

5 x 20 seconds standing on 40 seconds recovery :
20sec spent in the big ring and harder gear
40sec sitting, small ring & easy/moderate gear

15 minute time trial:
Aim to be at 80% of max HR. I forgot my HRM but can tell you Mike beside was nowhere near 80% of my max (I had my HRM watch and picked up his heart rate).

This was tough but I did manage to keep an average cadence of 100 and upped it in the last five minutes and managed to drop a gear in the last two.

3 minute cool down followed by 10min easy run cool down.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Morning Swim - Pace Work

Today's Swim:

500m warm up
1 - swim
1 - kickboard
1 - pull buoy
1 - drill
1 - swim

Pace workout
6 x 50m descending 1min interval (as in take off every one minute rather than rest 1 min)
Barely descended, maybe by 3 seconds

5 x 100m descending 2:15min interval
Put myself further back in the queue to lessen pressure to go fast. In the end I should have been one person up and didn't go all out but I think I needed an easier swim anyway.

Something I forgot.

Cool Down:
3 x:50m kick board50m pull buoy50m swim


I got home yesterday afternoon full of energy, I figured I must be getting used to the long Sunday workouts. I did two loads of laundry, posted on my blog, covered three out of four action items from the day's board meeting, put together the desk I inherited from Ken, finally dealt with a nasty cleaning job I'd been putting off, got my run and pilates gear ready for today... It wasn't until I was handwashing my Fuel Belt that I did the math and realized I'd had about four times my recommended maximum daily intake of coffee and the engergy I was feeling had nothing to do with being fit.

Ever watch a cat climb up a tree? It's having a good time up there looking for birds or things to swat at then at some point it looks back and comes to the horrible realization that it has to find a way to get down. I have a pretty good idea how that cat feels. My heart rate was beating out the drum solo from Ina Gadda Da Vida, only slightly louder, and I had the urge to start yowling until someone sent the fire department to help me down.

Instead of caterwauling, I went into super-calm-down mode: ate a carb-heavy dinner, did lots of deep breathing, moved slowly, watched a Miss Marple murder mystery on CBC - everything I could think off. Sadly it didn't work and I still had the Iron Butterfly drum solo going when I got into bed. I did more deep breathing, lots of relaxation exercises and all the clearing my mind techniques I could think of. It was the most aggressive relaxation routine I've ever done. And it worked. I fell asleep, I had high intensity and extremely bizarre dreams but I slept.

Not only did it work, I had a great sleep and I managed to get my butt out of bed on time and got to the bus stop early. I always have to run for the bus on Mondays and Wednesdays. Of course the bus was late, but maybe that's my weekly dose of Murphy's Law.

So I guess if I can sleep after 5 cups of coffee in one afternoon my campaign to cease being a light sleeper must be starting to work. Or maybe I need to drink coffee if I can't sleep?
(Thanks Joanne for the caffeinated Spider Webs image - I'm scared to go home now in case that's what my laundry looks like!)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Four Day Summary

Thursday Run:

  • Warm up - four laps
  • 2 X accelerations (100+ m)
  • 2 min @ pace, 4 min easy (fourlaps)
  • 1 mile time trial (4 laps) - 7:44
  • 30/30 - 7 x 30 sec hard and 30 sec easy
  • Cool down
Rest Day!

Saturday Insanity
  • 2:18:00 indoor spin
  • 25 min run
  • 20 min core/pilates/physio homework
  • 12 min stretch
The weather was about 2 degrees so I wimped out and rode on my trainer instead. A month ago I would have done anything to avoid 10 minutes on a trainer and now I'll do 2 hours plus to avoid getting cold - wimp!

Managed to keep my cadence above 90 for all but the first 10 min warm up, 8 min cool down, and standing sections (aka butt stretches). At least 50% of the time my cadence was over 95 - pretty good!

Decent run - HR still a little high but definitely improving.

Did 5 or 7 stride sprints every 5 minutes. Changed things up and ran West at Hillcrest park, checked out some lazy goalty.

For my strength workout I started with the single leg squats as per Janice. Hard to know if I'm doing them right when I'm not in front of a mirror (walk away from the TV, you know you can do it!).

Then did rotator cuff exercises as per Janet, I think I'm working the right muscles but my shoulder is grinding and hurting most of the time I'm doing it. Not sure if the sore shoulder I have now is from the rotator cuff tendonitis or from muscles tired from weights!

Sunday swim/run
Time Trial Day!

  • 200m warm up
  • 4 x 50m drill choice
  • 50m easy
  • 100m time trial - 1:45
  • 150m easy
  • 400m time trial - 9:45 (?) (NOT happy with this time. However, it should be easy to beat later in the year. Asthma at about 300m and just generally ran out of gas.)
  • 100m cool down
Nice day in the Endowments Lands. The fast people disappeared so quickly we didn't have a chance to feel abandoned. My new shoes felt great, although I'm sad they're now dirty and lost the pretty new shoe look!