Sunday, June 22, 2008

No News is Good News?

In homage to indexed (and why things have been a bit quite here):

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quite possibly the best race report ever

Found on Slowtwitch, the report from a race director who managed to keep a race together through seriously insane weather this past weekend.

Part 1
It all started on Friday. Things were going smooth. Getting to the park the portopotties were already there. The waste company was bringing the extra large dumpster and dropped it off. The local grocery story Logili (Schnuks) delivered a 52 foot refrigerated truck to keep our 9000lbs of ice, 2200 bottles of water and many thousands of other Pepsi products for the folks who were coming out to play. The folks with the 20 x 40 tent got there, they first dropped off the two gas powered carts for moving people and items, one could move six, the other had a flat bed for moving coolers and food.
Click here to read more.

Part 2
The rain started to come down and the sirens were audible in the distance, I think that I am one of the few who heard them – and understood what they were. Blake, Zach and some twenty + others were already on the run course but the mass of people were on the bike course. Folks were rolling into transition as I see some of our banners fly across the park. I head out onto the run course as I hear that our volunteers are running for cover, I need to be sure that aid stations are up.
Click here to read more

This actually makes me want to do this race - not because of the insane weather but the lengths to which the RD will go to keep the race running.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


* Warning - this post contains mention (no gory details tho) of medical tests, so if that makes you squirm, please skip it.

It's been sort of a tense week and a bit. Two days before heading up to Oliver for the half iron my doctor asked to come in for an appointment to discuss the results of my mamogram. Kind of a stressful voicemail to pick up.

Turns out there was something mildly suspiscious and I needed to go for an ultrasound to double check.

Now don't go shaking your head that I'm one of those paranoid women who're afraid of every disease out there and insists on being tested for everything. Yes, I'm in my thirties but my mother had breast cancer when she was just a few years older than I am, which puts me in a high risk category, so yearly checks are pretty much part of my life now.

I didn't really tell too many people as there wasn't much they could do except tell me not to worry, which wouldn't work, and a few were likely to worry quite a bit themselves. It didn't help matters that I've had a horrendous cold most of this week. I was in the state of mind where losing my keys was a sign of the apocalypse, so you can imagine how I was feeling about the test.

Anyway, to the point. Ultrasound showed all clear. Yay!

Now I just have to kick this cold and we're back to our regular programming.

Anyone seen my keys??

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too much excitement?

I spent last week fighting a cold and thought I'd kicked it. After going for a run on Saturday I realized I wasn't being a wimp, that I actually was ill and shouldn't feel guilty about missing workouts. I slept in on Sunday, skipping my scheduled swim and run, and headed out at noon to watch the elite races.

Watching with Amy, Brian and Joanne was great, and not just because Joanne made me look calm (it's nice not to always be the most wound up person in a group). While the Canadians didn't do as well as we would have wished, it was still exciting to watch and a very fun day.

Felt fine on Sunday night, if a bit wound up, then horrendous on Monday morning. I thought I was wimping out by skipping my swim then got to work and realized I was quite ill (I almost always feel lousy in the morning so it takes a few hours to figure out if anything is actually wrong). Tried to go to work again this morning and at this point I think my coworkers were getting a bit ticked off - they kept telling me to go home and wouldn't go anywhere near me. I only lasted an hour, then came home and hit to couch for the day.

Eight days without a workout - incredibly frustrating. Almost two days off work when I have far too much to do - a total pain in the butt!

It's not a complete loss though. As I've been feeling lousy the past few days I figured I might as well cut out coffee while I'm at it. The headache yesterday didn't help but it was gone today.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

ITU Age Group World Championships

18 people from my club raced in worlds today and Colleen, Marie and I were there to cheer them on.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cold Summer/Summer Cold

Is it summer yet? My seasonal clock doesn't seem to be working. I think it's solar powered, considering the total absence of sunlight the last few days that would explain why it doesn't work.

As we haven't officially entered the summer season I suppose I can't say I have a summer cold. Let's call it a "spring but it feels like late autumn" cold.

Training-wise it's not a bad time to be sick, post race recovery time isn't the worst time to nurse a cold. Work-wise, however, it's horrendous. Tuesday is the earliest convenient day to take off. Way too much stuff to do with a brain that's bogged down by a rhinovirus.

Just felt the need to complain.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It was a dark and stormy day ...

After the sufferfest that was the 2007 Oliver Half Iron, everyone returning this year was hoping for cooler weather. I'm sure there were prayers, special weather dances, sacrifices, etc. building up to race day. Whatever people did, it worked. A little too well.

Saturday was lovely but race morning dawned cold, dark and windy. On the drive from OK Falls to Oliver the wind was strong and the rain unrelenting. I wanted to finish in under six hours but I decided on the ride in that having a cautious ride was smarter than going all out for a PR.

The Swim
I lost everyone from the club at the swim start and while I was looking for Mirabelle I heard someone call my name. The only person in the crowd not wearing a wetsuit and the only person carrying an expensive camera (or any camera at all) was waving at me. Shelley who'd played ultimate in Vancouver years ago was taking photos for a story on open water swimming and managed to recognize me. Very odd place to meet up with someone I hadn't seen in years.

I seeded myself wide so I had an easy angle for the first turn and managed to avoid crowding or panic at all at the start. What a difference it makes to have a good start, I didn't have to deal with breaststrokers and panickers and managed to find someone to draft off fairly quickly.

The first loop was a bit odd, in the first 300m I really didn't feel like I wanted to be there. Not my usual swim start psychosis, just a feeling that I'd rather be somewhere else, doing something else. It was very strange to be so unexcited to be in a race. I focused on finding feet to draft off and to try to get a little more into the pack of swimmers and tried to get into the right mindset.

The second loop was better, I think having deal with the crowding as the swim chute narrowed to the swim exit got me psyched (in a good way) and more excited for the second loop. As expected, my HR shot up from running around the buoy on the sand and it took about 100m to get it back down. I swam closer to the buoys and had a lot more contact. Some guys in blue swim caps of the previous men's wave made a lot of contact, one guy kept hitting hitting me at a 45 degree angle, swam away then hit me again. This ticked me off and got me swimming a bit harder. On my second exit from the water several green swim caps from the following wave were making contact and one was aggressive enough that I lashed out with my elbow to get her to back off. Okay, not playing nice but good that I'm finally getting more aggressive in the water!

Swim time: 39:35
Max HR 182/Ave HR 158

T1 was a bit longer this year as they changed the route to make it more fair for everyone. As per last year, I had a long run almost the entire length of transition in bike shoes.

T1 time: 5:33

The Bike
As it was still cold and wet when I exited the swim I wore my club jacket for the ride. I debated gloves but figured they'd just be waterlogged and gross. This turned out to be the right choice and I was comfortable the whole way.

I was way too aggressive at the start of the ride but luckily was blocked by slower and/or smarter triathletes and couldn't go too hard, but rather just got frustrated. About 10 minutes in sanity prevailed and I settled into the pacing that worked for me at Ironman last year - try to keep my cadence 95 or above and my HR around 160.

I settled into a good pace and missed seeing Helen, Andrea and Rene at the end of the top loop but did hear them. The hill climb after this was harder than I expected, I forgot that short hills can be tough! I was very cautious on the descent from this hill as I didn't know how slippery the road would be and the rough pavement made bike handling tricky. On this part of the ride particularly, but over the whole ride in general, racers were all over the road and scary to pass. Somewhere along this stretch I decided that going sub-six was totally possible.

Northward bound there was a headwind but it was either not as bad as last year or I'm better adjusted for dealing with it. Unlike a lot of people I actually had a wind proof jacket, which made me feel better. Tom Evans ripped past me and significantly later a couple of other pros follow. Sadly I was too fast to be passed by Michellie Jones, I was hoping to see her on the bike.

I topped the loop and this time managed to see the cheering trio and wave at them then headed out for the final loop. At around 70km my legs started to hurt. I also started to really feel the need to pee (sorry for sharing too much, but that's part of the risk of reading race reports. Be thankful I didn't have G.I. issues). Luckily I'm easily distracted and trying to throw my empty bottle into the hockey net at the aid station caused me to totally forget my need for the honey bucket.

At my third time at the top of the loop I focused on getting in some last minute calories and keeping my cadence high so my legs were ready for the run. Somewhere around this point I realized something was missing. It had stopped raining and I hadn't noticed.

Bike time: 3:12:09
Max HR 188/Ave HR 165

Another long run through transition and a wave at Helen, who'd managed to stick it out through the nasty weather

T2 - 3:19

The Run
The first kilometer was pretty terrible. My legs hurt, I was tired and (I thought) my pace was way off. This time I knew this was normal and I had to work it through. A quote I'd come across recently in a blog somewhere kept running through my head: "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." I'm not normally into inspirational quotes but this one stuck with me, the idea that how I deal with pain is up to me is one I like. And one that makes self-pitifests a little difficult.

I hit the first km in 5:35 and the following in only slightly less. This was distressing as I thought I needed to do the run in under two hours to break six hours for the race. The third km was even slower as I'd now remembered my need to use the honey bucket and finally found one that was free. Luckily I locked the door so when the angry guy kept yanking on the door it didn't open. Whoo boy did I get a glare when I got. Yes, buddy, I was doing my nails and checking my makeup in a deliberate attempt to ruin your race.

Somewhere around 7km my math skills kicked in and I realized that I didn't need to run 5 minute kms to run sub two and that I was actually on pace.

At the turn around I saw Rene and Andrea and they cheered me on with "Only 10km left to go." I appreciate the cheering, really, but next time maybe say "You're half way." Thanks though.

The second loop felt easier. I was worried about running out of steam and worried that my gut was starting to revolt so I only drank water and flat Pepsi on the run. Not sure why I thought cola would be kinder to my stomach, but my logic skills were obviously up there with my math skills at this point. Or maybe I was thinking straight as my innards behaved.

I was on pace for a sub 2 run but on the last hill before the finish my legs hurt enough that I had to walk. It's very frustrating to know I was letting my goal disappear but my legs just didn't want to cooperate. Near the crest of the "hill" (any other day it would be considered a gentle incline) I convinced my legs to move a little faster and I even managed to put in an almost sprint to the finish.

Run time: 1:59:35
Max HR 187/Ave HR 172

By my watch my final time was 6:00:12. So frustrating to be 13 seconds away. The official results, however, were even worse. 6:00:04. D'oh!

The upside is that I beat last year's time by 8+ minutes (thank you for the correction Alan, there is a big difference between minutes and seconds!). Pretty darned cool, even if I didn't hit the magic number. I also had a good friend come up and watch me race, which was very cool. I felt terrible for Helen being stuck out in the rain but she didn't seem to mind too much.