Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Friend, the "STAR TREKER"

Each month, TREK celebrates an individual who has made a commitment to sustainable transportation. TREK wants to hear about the inspiringindividuals at UBC who bike, walk, carpool, bus or have found otherways to make their commute to campus more sustainable. The only criteria for this award are a positive attitude and a penchant forenvironmentally friendly transportation.

Joanne Fox - August 2008Instructor, Michael Smith Laboratories

Commute Mode: Transit, cycling...and running!

Joanne Fox is an instructor at the Michael Smith Laboratories who is heavily involved in the various science education programs of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory. Her work naturally takes her into teaching laboratories, science outreach sessions, high school programs, camps for kids and many different projects across campus including the Terry ( global citizenship project.
Click here to read more.

A Look Back

Since I recently realized I’ve completed 20 races, I've decided to do a small look back on my short career in the sport.

Mostly Random and Largely Inconsequential Things I’ve Learned in Four Years of Triathlon

  • In three weeks preceding and following my A race I must not buy clothes. If I do, those clothes will only fit in the three weeks preceding or following my A race in following years
  • It is possible to eat three breakfasts and still be hungry
  • Coffee serves more than one purpose (don’t ask unless you really want to know)
  • High fibre breakfasts are a bad idea on race morning, no matter how much coffee you drink
  • Gels are disgusting but necessary and you eventually get used to them.
  • You don’t need expensive nutrition bars:
    - Nugget potatoes are possibly the best thing ever on a long ride
    - Mini blueberry pancakes are pretty darned good too
    - Almost ripe bananas are usually gross but when I’m riding they rock
  • The cycling skill I really want to master is peeling and eating a banana while pedaling
  • Triathletes think you're wierd when you offer them pancakes 50km into a ride
  • Chocolate milk is recovery food?! I love this sport!!!!!
  • I am more likely to leave the house on time when I make a breakfast that requires 6 minutes to prepare than one that takes 30 seconds (huh?)
  • After getting up early every day for eight months, sleeping in becomes incredibly difficult
  • Naps are good
  • My subconscious is a gullible five-year old
  • I am never, ever going to lose my biker tan

My fellow triathlete reader(s?), please share any somewhat random and largely pointless things this sport has taught you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ironman Calgary?

Not sure this will work with next year's plans but I do need to cross the Rockies for a family visit sometime soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Haven't I Answered this Already??
Required information on the registration form for the Kelowna Apple:

Date of birth: 01 April 1972
Age as of 31 December 2008: 36
Category: 35-39

Did I just answer the same question three times?

Tell us about yourself
The dreaded "Other Accomplishments or Comments". I never know what to say for this and usually leave it blank. For the Peach I put that I'd completed Ironman last year but that's already begining to feel like old news and I don't need it shouted out everytime I cross the finish. I'm not really sure that fact that I quit coffee for three weeks is worth putting down (besides, nobody likes a quitter). I hate leaving it blank and am always tempted to make something up, but can never think of anything witty at the time.

That many?
One of the last questions was "How many triathlons have you completed?"

The Apple will be my 22nd tri. Why do I still feel like a novice?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beaver lake Loop 1km Repeats

Thursday's workout was a pyramid (1 loop, 2 loops, 2 loops, 1 loop on 3min R) of the ~ 1km loop at Beaver Lake in Stanley Park. I felt pretty wasted from the 30km time trial on Wednesday and still haven't got my energy back from last week so I didn't go in with high expectations.

I did the first loop in 4:42 and thought I'd gone out way too hard. I was a little slower on the next set then picked it up for the last two - it helped that Erin was on my shoulder the whole of the last loop as I had someone to try to beat.

1km - 4:42
2km - 9:30
2km - 9:18
1km - 4:30

4:30 for a km? I'll take that!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Iona 30km TT

30km bike time - 50:20 (hr max/ave: 176/166)

500m run time - 2:19 (hr max/ave: 189/181)

Pancake flat course but harsh headwinds on the way out and no one to draft off combined with tired legs from last week made me one very cranky time trialer. That said, it would be pretty cool if I could keep that pace for a tri - a 1:06:00 bike leg would be totally acceptable!

Including the the 50min warm up/commute out and 45 min cool down/ride home, it was a long night.

Peach Race Report - The rest of it

Last year's (pre-penalty) time: 2:49:42
This year: 2:53:07

2007: 31:13
2008: 30:57

Bike (includes T1 & T2)
2007: 1:24:09 (includes penalty)
2008: 1:25:18 + 2:37 T1 + 1:07 T2 = 1:29:02

2007: 56:21
2008: 53:10

Looking at those numbers I feel better about the race. I thought my swim was atrocious it was almost impossible to sight on the return as we were swimming directly into the sun, it also didn't help that they gave some swimmers caps the same colour as the bouys, so I'm sure I swam far more than 1500m. I'm surprised I swam faster than '07, even if I did have a bad swim last year.

The bike was hell for the first 20km, aside from swim start panic attacks I don't think I've ever wanted to quit that much in a race. I was super sore from the prior week, especially the ride on Saturday, and had a hellish time getting up Vancouver Ave. I finally convinced myself that I would finish the ride then I could think about dropping out. Shortly after that I saw someone ahead of me that I deemed unworthy of being there and decided I had to pass her. When I couldn't pass her right away I told myself I'd get her on the run, at which point I realized I wasn't quitting. (FYI - I caught and passed her shortly after)

Sometime before the turn, probably about the time riders in front of me almost got taken out by a deer, I started to get into it. By the time the kamakazi coyote failed to get his head stuck in someone's wheel I was actually enjoying myself. I'm a sucker for wildlife (just try to get me to pay attention to what you're saying if there are hawks, eagles or other cool birds in the vicinity) so the distraction, plus the relief no racers or animals were hurt, probably helped my mood.

The return was fun, a guy and I played leapfrog for about 10km, enough that we started joking about it as we passed each other, until I lost him and was riding alone for the last bit. I got a bit confused at the top of the last descent as there were suddenly no markings on the road and no one stopping/directing traffic. I figured it would be par for the course if I got lost on the bike as well as the swim. Another racer blew by me and leapfrogger passed me so I knew I was on course, or at least I had company if I wasn't, and got back up to speed. Not a good ride at all but hopefully that was just fatigue.

The run start was also hell, I walked a bit at the base of the hill then realized I was losing the blue shirted woman I'd chased the whole way on the bike and got running again. Once I got to the top I felt better and chatted with a few people as I passed them.

The return portion was great. I started to pick up speed and pass people, I caught blue shirt and told her she couldn't walk as she'd been my pace bunny for the last hour. I thought I was being obviously silly but she actually apologized when she had to stop and walk again about five min later. I was able to run well down the hill, unlike last year, although when I hit the flat I still lost speed (and the orange shirted woman I'd caught and chatted with on the descent). Knew I did better than last year but am surprised it was three minutes.

Take away from this race:

  • If I'm having a bad day, focus on small goals (catching someone ahead, cresting a hill, finishing the bike leg, etc.) and don't worry about the big picture
  • I won't ride Richter two days before Kelowna
  • I need to get out of my wetsuit faster (slow T1)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Peach Tri Race Report - Swim Leg Illustrated

The course as we were supposed to swim it:

The course as I, and the thirty people I could see in front of me, most likely swam it.

Penticton Visit

I'm back after a week in the Okanagan - part family visit, part training camp. It was a great week, although I'm a bit tired and wondering if it's okay to ask for a day off work to recover from my vacation?

Family Visit
Claire and my brother-in-law are understandably a little tired due to the tree on their house (see photo in the previous post) and the headaches that go with clean up and fix up, but the kids are having a great time at their grandparents. I helped a bit with cleaning up, I spent a morning cleaning off books and separating glass from Tinker Toys, but there's only so much I could do. My exceptional Exec Assistant skills aren't really that applicable in this situation!

Mum came up too. She had a blast with the boys, she watched them at their swimming and skating lessons (I only caught the latter) and helped them build Custard the Dragon characters out of (glass free) Tinker Toys. Claire, Mum and I had a "Girls Day Out" and went for a pedicure at the spa at the Naramata Inn followed by lunch at the wine bar. It was a great day but I probably shouldn't have let Claire and Mum talk me into getting my toe nails done up to match my bike.

I joined Bronwyn and Dave for a couple of swims during the week but the rest of the time followed my own program, doing my workouts early then heading over to hang out with the family for the day.

I did a 16km TT workout - South Main/Eastside/Lakeside Road (the IMC marathon course) is a great 15km route, but of course I was determined to do 16km so I had to improvise a bit at the end. It's hillier than the Marine Dr. route we do, and I had to stop on the way out to fix my bike computer (using my "driving language" as Mum would say) so my time out was slow. As the club workout was an individual time trial followed by a team time trial I did a return TT, thinking I'd have a headwind out and a tailwind back and that would be a similar difference in effort. Somehow I managed to have a headwind both ways, plus for the return I started on a hill (not too smart) so I had some trouble getting up speed. I was 33 something on the way out and 31 on the way back. Slower than my Marine Dr. times but this is a harder course.

I tried to do the prescribed track workout of 6 x 1km on 4:45 and had my dumb training moment for the week. I went straight from the swim to the very nice track at Penticton High School and didn't have anything to eat in between. I forgot my hat so was running in the increasing heat with my easily fried brain unprotected. After a good warm up I did the first two km's too fast and the second two pretty close to 4:45. Somewhere around 200m into the first one I realized my mistake about food and around the third one I really, really wanted my hat. On the fifth 1km I was absolutely spent, I killed myself to just barely keep my time under 5 minutes and felt atrocious the whole way through. I know training is supposed to be hard but I decided to skip the last km, did a short cool down and biked back to the hotel.

Training Camp
On Friday I joined the training camp and did a long ride on the IMC course. I was only supposed to ride for 4 hours so Andrew said he'd pick me up at Yellow Lake. I thought he had high expectations for my speed but figured I wouldn't argue and see how it went. The first part of the ride was great, we were flying and I thought all the training had really paid off. Of course we had a strong tailwind, although it was nice to think I could average 40kph on an easy effort!

At Osoyoos we got to find out how much of a tailwind we'd had as we turned into the wind to ascend Richter. Climbing Richter wasn't bad, especially as I got to pass a few people, but the descent was frustrating as the wind was so strong it was hard to get any speed. The rollers were tough and the flat section heading into Cawston was extremely draining as we were going full on into the wind. I finally smartened up and got on Bronwyn's back wheel, I tried to take the pull a few times but she's just stronger than me and I was slowing her down so I ended up being a wheel suck let her pull me to Beck's road (the turn off to the Cawston out and back). This was four hours for me (nowhere near Yellow Lake) so I left Andrew with my bike and did my brick run on part of the out and back route. It was hot and my HR was extremely high but I felt okay for the run. I then piled into the van with Andrew and was very, very happy I didn't have to ride the whole course.

After that we had our ice bath and got to enjoy the odd looks from passers by as they tried to figure out why people were sitting in garbage cans in 35 degree heat while wearing hoodies and toques.

Saturday started with a long swim in rough water. It was very windy and the waves were pretty big, for Okanagan Lake at least. I didn't mind the rough water as I need practice swimming in waves. I tried to get Joanne's mind set from Worlds, where she enjoyed the roller coaster ride of the swim, and said "Weeee!" to myself when I was starting to get frustrated by the waves. In writing that down I realize it sounds really silly but it worked.

After the swim we rode the Peach Classic bike route plus some. I was a bit discouraged as it took me almost 1:45 to do 40km, I know easy ride pace is different from race pace but that seemed like way too much of a difference. I did a short run along the canal off the bike, another ice bath then back to the motel to change and go to my sister's neighbour's barbeque. The couple are very involved with Ironman as racers and organizers so I got to talk triathlon with quite a few people.

I ended the week with the Peach Classic (race report to follow), all in all, a great week off.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Good News is Everyone is Okay

My sister's house. Luckily no one was inside at the time.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Small World

I posted on Slowtwitch asking for elevation profiles for Cypress and Seymour and someone gave me a link to this, which was created by a fellow club member who works for one of our club sponsors.

Kind of funny to go to an anonymous forum for info I could have easily gotten from a clubmate.

Sasamat Swim

I did the 2km race and went in with several goals. The first, of course, was to beat my time from 2006 (last year I did for 4km swim). The second was to start in the thick of things and deal with my swim start psychosis and my third goal was to actually race the swim rather than do it as a set pace.

I started in the middle of the crowd and had no issues, it helps that I'm familiar with the lake and have so many people I know starting with me so it was a low stress environment. The crowd very quickly split up with a big break forming between the group of swimmers I was with and the group ahead. Most of the way to the first turn I was at the head of my group of swimmers. I couldn't get on anyone's toes as there was no one directly ahead of me, I realized that this must be what it feels like to be Stephanie (except slower!).

Before the first turn I found a pair of toes to draft off, lost them at the turn but found another set. I did have to battle to keep toes, at one point someone pushed me off the toes I was drafting off and I put my years of hockey watching to good use and hip checked her out of the way. There was a swimmer who kept breast stroking (whip kick in the water can be deadly) who I couldn't get in front of or away from which was annoying, especially on the last leg of the swim as a very aggressive group of women were pushing me in her direction. The more I pushed back the more aggressively they pushed me her way, it was a bit ridiculous as there was six of us swimming together with a whole lake to swim in but we were on top of each other for a good 15 minutes.

I was quite enjoying the battle and hopefully swimming well when I started getting out of breath and got a bit panicky. Suddenly my chest constricted and I was hyperventillating and I couldn't keep doing free. I swore loudly and did some breast stroke (shoulder checking first to ensure I didn't kick anyone in the head) to catch my breath and finished slower than my '06 time and, worse by far, well behind the agressive group I'd been battling with.

A disappointing race in some ways but I succeeded in the start and I definitely pushed myself speedwise. Maybe I pushed too hard, but as Sensei Harry used to say (back when I was the worst karate student ever), it's better to over correct than under correct.

Chrissie Wellington is my hero!

She's raced 4 Ironmans and she's won 4. What's more, she's won with a smile on her face. Very, very cool and fun to see a professional with that much joy in being in the event. This was her second chance to break a record (the marathon record at Kona in 2007 and the overall women's IM time today) and instead savoured the final miles of the run. I wonder if she's kicking herself for not going just a bit harder, 31 seconds away!

I'm not breaking any world records but it's been a tough week of training.

Tuesday was the Sasamat Canada Day swim. Wednesday morning was Master swim and I got to feel a bit faster and salve my pride somewhat.

Wednesday night was the second hill climb of the year. I had to miss the Cypress climb last month so I was happy to be able to do Seymour. Seymour is a tougher hill that Cypress, with a nastier starting grade - really tough for the first 5-6km. I was 1:09 and change to the top, I think I was faster last year in my rides with Teresa but I can't find my times so I no idea.

Thursday was up early for some core and strength work then in the evening a tough pace work run in which I was trying to keep up with Marie. I don't know what her 10km pace is but I was definitely going faster than mine. It's fun to have someone to chase (up to the point where she totally dropped me) and nice not to be pace bunny.

I didn't do my Friday ride as I wanted a day off in the week. Saturday was a four hour ride with Mary, Michelle and Christine. As usual we found a club member along the way (Heather this time) and came back with more than we left with. After the ride was a 20min easy run. I skipped the 30min of strength work as I had to make it to dinner.

Today was a somewhat frustrating swim at Kits beach. For the main set we were supposed to be working on drafting but there was no one my speed so I was either slowing down Teresa and Bronwyn or watching them disappear into the distance. I was tired from the week so couldn't swim (or think) straight and sighting was a struggle. After the swim was an easy 1:50 run. It took about 45 min for my legs to stop hurting, I started to feel loose and comfortable just before Spanish Banks hill.

It's been a very, very lazy afternoon! I dozed on the couch then had an official nap. I woke up enough for a Skype call with my nephews (luckily I don't have to work on keeping the conversation going when Marcus is around!) and now I'm watching the US track & field Olympic trials, which will be followed by the US swimming Olympic trials (aka "The Phelps Show"). Next week is an easy week then I'm in Penticton for a visit and a race!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Things I Don’t Miss About Ultimate

  • 6 o’clock games starting at 6:40
  • Losing to teams that only use one of their women and rely on the huck play
  • One negative presence in the game bringing me down
  • It’s hard to take anything positive out of a loss
I played my third game of ulti in two years last night. At the end of it I couldn't remember what had had me so hooked for fourteen years.

Near the start of the game I was actually surprised that my check (the woman who was thrown to, btw) got mad at me for moving on a foul call. I was breaking the rules and she was absolutely in the right, somehow I forgot that people actually take the game seriously. Shows you the headspace I was in when I showed up!

Even though I cared less about the ultimate game than today's 2km swim race, losing the game was more of a bummer than not hitting my goal time in the swim.

That said, I do miss the friends that I see so much less of and all the great people I used to play with. That's a big enough point to counter all of the above. Ulti is a great community with some pretty cool folk. Maybe I'll just have to get them all doing tri's!