Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Masters Benchmark

25m Fly - 28.9s (I think)

3 x 100m
1 - 1:38
2 - 1:34 (PR??)
3 - 1:36

50m kick - 62.5s

3 x 100m
1 - 1:48
2 - 1:45
3 - 1:40

25m free FAST - 20.8s

Monday, May 26, 2008

I Know Fast People!

Triathlon Canada announced their Athlete of the Year Awards today. In reading the news I was thrilled to find not one but two people I know who were named, one is a full club member and one is an honourary club member:

2007 Olympic Distance award winners include ... Vancouver’s Rachel McBride, who won in the Age Group 18-39 category

In Off-Road – Triathlon ... Kristina Bangma of Vancouver won the award in the Age Group 18-39 category

I'm thrilled to be associated with such greatness! Congratulations ladies.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Up the creek (hopefully with a paddle)

Family news from the other side of the Atlantic about Uncle Stewart's current exploit:

River expedition will raise funds and help clean Waveney

15 May 2008
Diss Express

Friends Geoff Doggett and Stewart Orr will be canoeing down the River Waveney next week to raise money for charity and help raise awareness about the local environment.

The pair, who are both 62 and live in Harleston and Withersdale, decided to take on the challenge after watching Paul Heiney’s Secret Rivers programme.

“I think it’s fair to say we are not canoeists, so we have done preparation rather than training,” joked Mr Doggett.

“But we have done a lot of research into the route.”

The friends will be raising money for two charities close to their hearts – the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and floating hospital, The Boat of Life, in Bangladesh, which carries out eye operations.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oliver Prep

I figured I should read my race report from last year to review the race and prep for this year.


Tonight's run was a 5km time trial. I think I hit a 5km PR but can't find my previous results and am too tired to do a serious search.

Regardless of whether or not it was a PR, it sure as heck wasn't my half iron run pace (which was what I was supposed to do). Don't tell Alan!

Can you imagine hitting 81 MILES per hour on a bike!

by Tim Keown

What do you get when you pair an inspired sculptor with a fearless bike racer? Only the fastest human-powered vehicle on earth.

SEPTEMBER 2003. Sam Whittingham, a national team track cyclist from Canada, is inside this contraption that he and his buddy insist on calling a bicycle even though it looks more like a homemade cruise missile with two tires peeking out from underneath. He's lying back on a recumbent frame inside the eight-foot-long sculpted faring, squeezed so tightly into place that he can't move his head; his position resembles that of someone hiding in a pipe. The only parts of his body that can move are his legs, which madly pump the pedals to propel this thing as fast as humanly possible. Literally.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I'm finally there, that point in the season where I'm starting to feel the gains from the hard work I've put in for the past few months. Where I don't have to think so hard about technique, things are starting to flow and feel natural. Where I feel strong and confident on the bike and smooth in the water. Where I'm still working hard but things are starting to feel a bit easier, as if my body has decided to get with the program and cooperate fully. Where I'm feeling the "athlete" part of triathlete might not be a total misnomer.

This morning at masters we did pace work, my kind of swim workout. The main set was 2 x 100m at pace followed by 200m at the same pace then 3 x 100m at pace followed by 300m at the same pace. I couldn't hit the right pace for the 200m piece but did the 3 100's at 1:50min apiece and, with Paul's words in my ears as a mantra, things clicked into place and I swam the 300m "smooth and strong and efficient" and hit exactly 5:30. I like long continuous swims!

I am in a recovery week and tapering for a race, so relaxed and ready is where I should be. The nice part of being several years into the triathlon lifestyle is that tapers no longer go hand in hand with panic and pre-race nerves. I'm looking forward to the Oliver Half, I'd like to beat my time from last year but if things don't work out as planned then c'est la vie.

I like this place, this is one of the reasons I love training and racing. Think I'll stay here for a while.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Women's lib arrived on bicycles

By Christopher Connolly

Susan B. Anthony once said, "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." A woman on a bicycle, the equal rights champion observed, presents "the picture of free and untrammeled womanhood."

Susan and her fellow 19th-century women had been severely trammeled their entire lives. Forget the glass ceiling; women in those days were trapped under the glass floor. Battles like "equal pay for equal work" were decades away. The Victorian woman's cause was more along the lines of, "We'd like to leave the house, sometimes ... please ... if it isn't too much trouble."

Read the full article here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lower Mainland Training Triple Play

It's the May 2-4 long weekend! While the bulk of the city's residents tried to flee the area, I was looking forward to staying home for the first weekend in a while. I had a great time hanging around the Lower Mainland and got to do some stuff for the first time this year.

Cypress Saturday - I've been itching to ride up Cypress and it was finally warm enough for me to be willing to give it a go. Teresa and I rode out to Horseshoe Bay, leaving Bronwyn in Stanley Park with her flat tire under control (or so we thought) and picked up Colleen and Benny along the way. We took Marine Drive out to Gleneagles Community Centre then rode the highway to Cypress.

I felt okay on the ride up but realized at the 3km mark that I was in my big ring (doh!) and at the first lookout that my back tire was low on air. Probably could have been an easier climb. I put more air in the tire (with my funky new frame pump) then rode down, not thinking that I may have a puncture. At the base of Cypress my tire was again squishy so I replaced the tube and removed the staple that was stuck in my tire.

The ride was followed by a short run with Teresa, a nice long stretching session and then a very long nap!

Sasamat Sunday - I finally got to go to my favorite swimming hole. No one was certain how warm the water would be but people who had Worlds, the Oliver Half or another tri with an open water swim looming in the near future were willing to risk the cold. It was shockingly cold to get into the lake but after a few minutes it was quite pleasant.

I swam the big triangle - beach to floating dock to the Camp Howdy dock and back to the beach. That's just under 2km and I did it in under 45min so that made me happy.
We ran two loops around the lake and then home again where I had another epic nap. Siestas can be habit forming!

Kits Monday - Kits Pool opened this weekend. After being deprived last summer due to the strike it's been a long time since I've had a chance to do 137m lengths. Today the weather turned and it was a rainy day but that doesn't really matter when you're swimming, plus it keeps the hordes away, so I didn't really mind.

I met up with Amy, Brian, Joanne, and her friend Jane in the pool. The three triathletes were trying out their wesuits as they all are racing in Worlds in two weeks. I couldn't be bothered to deal with a wetsuit so I just swam in my bathing suit. It was a short swim for me, five laps sounds like an incredibly short swim but as that works out to 1,370m I'm okay with it.

I've managed to skip the siesta (so far) and am about to head out for a short run that will be followed by a core workout.

Viva the long weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

For Brian

And yes, there ARE things that don't make me hyper.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oh Yeah

So being all self-absorbed about my swim I forgot to mention the rest of my team for the relay in yesterday's write up.

Mary battled headwinds from every direction for most of the 40km ride and finished in a solid 1:39:49. It sounds like the ride was brutal, I think I may have taken the right leg of the relay!

April, who has had a horrible start to the year with pneumonia followed by a sinus infection, put in a fantastic 59:12 for the 10km run. I don't know if she got her splits but she definitely picked up the pace in the second loop and must have had a negative split. Jean-Yves and I tried to run with her in the last 500m but couldn't keep up!

Great work team!

Our official results are here. I quite like the fact that the swim distance hasn't been corrected - not sure I'll ever beat 10:54 for a 1,500m swim!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

50 Cents a Metre - The High Price of Cold Water Swimming

10.2 degrees Celsius. That might be a good temperature for some things (the inside of a fridge perhaps) but it's generally not a favoured water temperature for swimming. Welcome to the Cultus Lake Triathlon!

After rumours all week about the lake temperature and conflicting reports from Joe Dixon (14C) and the TriBC rules guru (12C) at Saturday's pre-race meeting, the actual coldness of the lake turned out to be even lower. On race morning the swim distances for the sprint and olympic races were shortened to 200m and 500m respectively and racers were given the option to not swim.

I was darned if I was going to miss my part of the race, I paid $50 for this after all, so I donned my wetsuit and prepared to face the chill. I figured the cold and added restriction of the neoprene swim cap would help my with my Swim Start Psychosis Immersion Therapy (SSPIT [tm]).

Not much to report about the actual swim. I was unprepared for the starting gun but took off without incident. I was initially okay getting my face in the water but had someone swimming way too close to my left side and couldn't get away from her - I finally decided she was trying to huddle up for warmth! The swim was a mess as people were having trouble keeping their face in the water and breaststroker's whip kicking feet kept coming perilously close to my head. near the first turn I was distracted by a panicking swimmer (gasping, crying, full on panic attack) clinging to a buoy but seemingly unnoticed by the kayakers. Such was my lack of focus that I almost stopped swimming while the drama unfolded (not that I heroically did anything to help). I swam harder on the way back but definitely wasn't anywhere near full speed. Getting out of the water on rocky beach with mostly numb feet was a challenge and a lot of people passed me there and on the run up to transition. Overall, a pretty useless swim.

Once again, I wasn't at all aggressive in the water. I didn't really do any mental preparation to think myself through the swim or strategies for dealing with the crowding, so the swim was a failure in that not only didn't I achieve what I set out to do but I didn't even try.

I also felt a bit silly doing less than 20 minutes in a race where everyone else was doing two hours or more. Relays definitely don't give the same satisfaction as the full meal deal.

I still feel fried from the Wildflower camp and race, not a great excuse but I've been distracted, tired and generally a space cadet since getting back so perhaps I need a bit of recovery time.

That said, it was nice to visit with my Dad, hang out with Mary and the various club members so all in all it was a good weekend.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I don't remember smiling ...

... or this picture being taken for that matter. I do distintly recall finishing the race and feeling that I desparately needed to find somewhere to sit and die as that would be more dignified than collapsing where I was and expiring.

I also seem to be smiling on my way up Lynch Hill, maybe that's because I realized everything Bronwyn told me about passing other racers was true (not that I'd ever doubt her).

Actually, the hills on the course were fun (yes, I am a sick individual), in fact the whole bike leg was pretty enjoyable so smiling isn't much of a surprise.

Some other shots courtesy of Action Sports:


I contributed the following to a thread about goals on Slowtwitch and figured I'd post it here where I have less anonimity (and fewer readers, but that's beside the point).

1 - Qualify for 2009 ITU olympic distance worlds in Australia

2 - Overcome, or learn to deal with, my swim start psychosis (I'm fine in open water until someone sets off the starting gun)
2.1 - Race the swim, don't just swim it
2.2 - Draft in races, don't seek clear water

3 - Keep the gains I've made on the bike, especially my new-found ability to push through the hurt in training (when appropriate)
3.1 - Figure out the balance between going hard and leaving something for the run
3.2 - Develop my bike-handling skills - learn to mount/dismount my bike while leaving the shoes on the bike, do 180's without unclipping and slowing down too much, etc.

4 - Get back whatever it is I've lost on the run
4.1 - Figure out what's wrong (a good start!)
4.2 - Do 1-2 5km or 10km races in June/July
4.3 - Learn to push more on the run in races

5 - Stop slacking on my training and follow the plan I'm paying for - go back to my IMC training philosophy of one "gimme" per month (i.e. allow myself one and only one opportunity per month to skip a workout for no good reason) rather than one a week

6 - Sign up for races before they sell out

1 - Less crap!

2 - Eat at least two pieces of fruit a day

3 - Eat breakfast at home every day

4 - Have healthy snacks at work (say "No!" to the siren call of Tim Horton's doughnuts)

5 - Watch the sodium (I'm good with fats, this is the next step)

1 - Keep it positive - remember what I say affects how I feel so quit kvetching!

2 - Watch less TV

3 - Pay down my debts and save for Worlds 2009!

4 - Keep my blog up to date (anyone note that my race list is current for 2008??)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Feet Back on the Ground

Tonight's bike work out was a small dose of cycling reality after the heady joys of passing the purple hordes at Wildflower. The only people I passed were my teammates in the Team Time Trial (TTT), and I was passing them because they were dropping to the back of the line. Many people did, however, pass me. Not just my TTT mates as I dropped back, rather everyone else in the group.

Just for "fun" tonight's workout consisted of two parts - an 8km TTT followed by an 8km ITT (Indvidual Time Trial). Essentially going fast while riding 3" off someone's back wheel and trying not to kill yourself and others followed by going all out and trying not to throw up or have your legs explode. Yup, an all 'round giggle fest.

The first time through, when we hit the turn around and had to return in ITT mode, I yelled "Every man for himself" (silly as our group consisted of four women), stood on the pedals and rode away like a maniac, immediately dropping my unsuspecting former teammates. It was glorious, I was bullet-like in my speed, I was unstoppable, I dropped everyone like lead. Until my legs turned to lead approximately 45 seconds later and Teresa, Lindsay and Mirabelle all caught and passed me. I managed to reel in Lindsay and play leapfrog with Mirabelle but completely lost Teresa as she and Peppy disappeared out of view ahead. The final twist of the knife was Mirabelle saying at the end that she didn't want to pass me as she couldn't remember the way.

The second time through was a bit better - we were more organized for the TTT and I managed to hold off everyone but Mirabelle for the ITT, but those last 8km sure hurt.

My legs were definitely sore from the weekend and I was pretty wiped out at the end of the workout but the ride home helped to loosen things up a bit. I'm lucky to train with a skilled and fast group of athletes, I may get passed by almost everyone but it's fun having lots of people to chase.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wildflower RR

Sunday morning was a relatively relaxed start, we had to be in transition by 8:30 then most of us had to wait for about two hours before we could start. With several thousand althetes but limited space in the water and on the roads, age group wave starts went every 5 minutes to keep things spread out - collegiate men at 8:00, collegiate women at 8:05, then the men's age groups followed by the women's.

I didn't start until 10:35 so I had lots of time to get my bearings in transition and walk through my T1 (turn right at the Mexican flag and run 3/4 of the way to the end of the row) and my T2 (turn left at Italy and run past five racks). This was Marie's second ever tri so I got to pretend not to be nervous and act the big sister, which helped me immensely.

Finally it was my time to go! I thought I was warmed up and mentally prepared. The gun went off and I was away in the water happy to be in the middle of the pack with people my speed. Then the neck of my wetsuit felt too tight, the swimmers were too close, the water was too murky, I needed to find a clear path - panic attack. This was extremely frustrating as I slowed and did head up front crawl or half breast stroke (with flutter kick as whip kick in a crowded swim can be deadly) while trying to get my head straight. At the first turn I finally got my head down and could swim continuous front crawl and only about 2/3 of the way in was I finally thinking clearly enough to pick up the pace and start swimming like I was in a race.

I was frustrated as my swimming has been an area where I've felt that I've had a lot of improvement but that this effort was wasted by me freaking out.

The steep run out of the water to T1 wasn't as hard as I expected, and I found my bike without incident. I'd trimmed the legs on my wetsuit earlier in the week so for the first time in a tri I didn't have to fight with it to get it off. That plus my super new tri bike shoes made for a swift transition (considering the distance I had to cover) and I was out onto the bike course.

Lynch Hill, the start of the bike course is just mean, you have about 200m of flat out of T1 then a very steep hill - think the worst part of the hill from Locarno Beach to UBC. I passed several people who were walking their bikes but most people managed to ride up. The rest of the bike course is just hard - lots of uphills steep enough to put you in your easiest gears and a super low cadence and very little in the way of flat sections.

Once at the top of Lynch Hill I got into an easy spin to get my legs going, grabbed some fluids and started passing people. A lot of beginners and newer racers do Wildflower, Team in Training (TNT) especially bring huge numbers to this race as part of their fundraising challenge and people who would never normally consider doing a triathlon do so to raise money for the foundation. By comparison at the Peach Classic in Penticton, a difficult race but not as challenging, there are porportionally far fewer inexperienced racers.

This turned out to be a fantastic boost to my ego, it made up for the swim frustrations as I spent most of the ride flying past racers (more than a few with bikes three times as expensive as Louis). I may have gone too hard on the bike, I've certainly never ridden that hard in a tri, but it was so much fun!

Into T2 and again no issues finding my spot. I racked my bike, whipped off the tri shoes with amazing speed (did I mentione that I love the tri shoes?), put on my runners, grabbed my hat and took off through transtition. Another quick change.

At the aid station at the exit I grabbed water and dumped in on my head as the day was heating up. About 100m later I realized I should have also drunk some fluid as I'd opted not to bring my own water. Ah well, live and learn.

The first part of the run was on a trail beside the lake, it was a lot of up and down with short but steep hills and I had to walk a few of them. At the first km marker I checked my watch and I was at 5:35. As I was absolutely dying at this point I decided that anything under an hour for the run would be a victory (I usually do Oly runs in 50-52 min).

Once we got out of the trails and onto the road the serious hill began. This was about 5km of continuous up - a short steep section followed by a false flat, then a long steep section followed by another false flat, then a shorter not quite so steep bit before it flattened out. Brenda passed me at the bottom of the hill and was looking as relaxed as if she was out for a Sunday jog, not 44km into a tough race. I yelled encouragement and tried to follow suit but kept having to walk. I finally decided I wasn't going to let myself get passed by the purple horde (TNT racers) and did a slow, slow run up the hill. I walked the aid stations and a few parts of the hill but forced myself to keep running. At the 5km markI was under 30 minutes for the run so I had high hopes of going under an hour, this gave me a bit of steam.

A lot of folks were cheering on the hill and most had obviously done the half iron the day before, judging from their sunburns. It was great having a large crowd of experienced racers there as they said all the right things - telling us to focus or power through, giving exact distances (200yds/1/4 mile) to aid stations or hill crests, not one person said "Almost there!"

Finally, past the 8km mark it flattened out and I could try to relax my legs for the steep run down Lynch Hill. Running fast downhill on tired legs is interesting but not as fun as you might expect. At the bottom there was about 300m of flat to the finish line, usually I put in a kick to the finish but this time I had almost nothing left and was struggling to keep a decent speed. In the finish chute I did have enough energy to high five the kids with their hands out (I'm a sucker for that) and Clayton, who had finished over half an hour before me and was cheering with Benny and possibly some others from the club.

I felt rough after crossing the finish so I found a chair and shade as soon as I could. Apologies to Bronwyn for not going to cheer for her at the finish. After downing lots of water, gatorade, half bananas and a free Powerbar recovery bar I felt better and found my way to the meeting place we'd decided on. Everyone had a great race - Bronwyn and Clayton beat their times from last year, Zosia came second in her age group, Jessica was third in hers, Brenda fifth in hers and Bronwyn 11th in hers. Pretty darned cool all round.

Overall I think it was a good race. Wildflower offers more pain/km of any race I've done yet, that's for sure! I know the mental side of my swim still needs work, but considering my rough start going under 30min is pretty good. I pushed harder than I ever have on the bike, it may have been too much but I tend to be too conservative so overdoing this time it is fine in my books. As sensai Harry from Karate said - it's better to overcorrect than not correct at all. The run was tough but I'm happy I was able to push myself into running almost all the second half despite feeling horrendous, I think that was my biggest show of mental toughness in a race so far.

By the Numbers:

Swim - 29:53
HR - 161 ave/173 max

T1 - 03:57

Bike - 01:31:57
Ave speed - 26.36
Max speed - 71.01
Ave cadence - 84
HR - 176 ave/190 max

T2 - 02:42

Run - 55:11
HR - 179 ave/188 max

Overall - 03:03:42
HR - ave 174, max 190

WF Training Camp (more details)

You knew I couldn't resist giving you the whole story!

After a long drive (with an unexpected tour de San Jose) Clayton, Bronwyn and I arrived at Lake San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the crew, with one exception, were already there:

- Andrew, coach and fearless leader
- Jessica
- Brenda
- Penny
- Marie
- Benny
- Zosia (her husband Matt came on Saturday)

The training camp was mostly about riding, but of course we did some running and swimming. It took me a couple days to get over the drive, I felt that I had no power in my legs and I was just plain tired, so I didn't enjoy the first couple days of working out. Frustratingly, Bronwyn and Clayton didn't seem to be affected at all!

We did a mini duathlon, some swim sprints and rode the bike and run courses several times, all good workouts.

As the week progressed more triathletes trickled in then on Friday the trickle turned into a torrent and the massive campsite was overflowing with triathletes. The race shirt said 7,000+ athletes participated in the three events (half iron, mountain bike tri and olympic tri) and it felt like they were all there on Friday. The buzz in the campsite on that evening was amazing - I see why people call this the "Woodstock of triathlon".

We went against the flow and headed out of camp to Paso Robles for dinner. It felt extremely civilized to be in a restaurant!

The expo area was great - enough gear to get any triathlete salivating and super deals. My plans to do some serious shopping were threatened by me losing my credit card (and driver's licence) on a ride on Wednesday but luckily someone found them on the road and turned them in to the lost and found. I had killed my Polar HR monitor the day before leaving so I got a super deal on a RS200, $50.00 less than the US suggested retail price so likely more off the Cdn price. There were also tons of freebies that I took full advantage of - Triathlete magazine, visors, energy drinks, etc. We were camped near the Cliff bar guys and scooped up lots of samples (we weren't sure if we were being greedy but the guys kept offering us more stuff) and I got hooked on POM. We also came up with about 20 ideas for products that would make us all millionaires, sadly I don't think anyone wrote them down!

Saturday was all about Penny as she was the only one of the crew doing the half iron . We fit our short pre-race workouts in around catching her on the bike and run course. As some fairly huge names in the tri world were doing the race we also got our chance to get a little star struck and cheer on Macca, Lieto, McGlone, Cave, Pip Taylor, et al.

Penny had an awesome race and almost made it look easy. The half iron is a brutal race - the bike course is super hilly with "Nasty Grade" (beware of hills that have nicknames) coming near the end, and the run is much the same except that racers get to do it in the full heat of the day.

Despite the fact that it's a seriously tough course, I started thinking it would be a fun one to try out. Okay, "fun" might not be the right word but suffice it to say I'm contemplating the half.

Wildflower Point Form

California is:
- far away
- very big
- probably easier to navigate if you have a map. Yes we know the way to San Jose, please stop singing and tell us how to get the @#$% out!

Lake San Antonio (and area) is (are):
- full of algae
- in the Salinas Valley (Steinbeck!!!!!)
- close to Big Sur (Kerouac!!!)
- gorgeous
- very cold (night)
- very hot (day)
- remarkably like the South Okanagan, but with oaks instead of ponderosa pines

The camp was:
- hard
- tiring
- fun
- awesome race prep

The race was:
- frustrating (swim)
- great for the ego (bike)
- hard (run)
- very cool (support from LETC folk)

My fellow campers were:
- fun
- great cooks
- fast! (5 in the top 10 of their age group)
- very cool people

I am:
- tired
- sunburned
- glad to be home
- scared of my laundry (camping + training = very, very stinky)