Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogging 101

My sister is a teacher and a blogger (and a truly fabulous person), and being a teacher/blogger(/fabulous) you know that at some point she is going to start teaching blogging. (No lessons on fabulousness yet, maybe that's next semester?)

This week, as part of the Professional Development days prior to school starting, Claire is doing a Blogging 101 session to introduce teachers to blogging. She's put all sorts of materials up on her blog, those of you have already a blog will know some of what she's posted but there's still a lot of interesting stuff.

She loves comments and feedback so check out her site and feel free to speak your mind.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I thought the end of the Olympics would mean I have lots of time on my hands. Instead I spent the day in front of my computer, tracking my friends from the club who're racing Ironman Canada and trying to watch them finish. I was also the info source for friends who're in Penticton watching, I was trying to send text messages (times are very difficult to text, the full colon is hard to find in my phone) and watch the screen to catch people finishing, I was going a bit cross-eyed and now I'm feeling a little punch drunk!

I saw everyone except Dave finish. I'm really wishing I was there in person. That said, being in Vancouver makes me much less likely to sign up for next year!

Lisa Bentley, who finished fifth for women, is rocking the finish line, trying to get the crowd psyched and cheering on competitors. There's a reason she's one of my favorite triathletes!

I'm looking forward to watching and sherpa-ing next year - will schlep gear for coffee!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hope the neighbours didn't mind

I've always been amused by people who scream at sports on TV, who's going to hear you? C'mon. Granted, I have thrown some comments at the tube during hockey, but the Canucks can be frustrating enough to elicit back talk from anyone. I have never, however, been one of those sports fans who screams at the TV, veins popping on their forehead.

Until last night, that is.

Yesterday was the men's triathlon at the Olympics. I've been following the blogs of Simon Whitfield, Paul Tichlar, Colin Jenkins and their coach Joel Filliol for almost a year and, like a true cyber-stalker, feel like I know them all. These weren't just Canadians vying for gold, these were my people,

For the swim and most of the bike I threw a few comments at the TV, and there were some nervous moments when the break away on the bike got more than 30 seconds lead. Then the run started and Simon kept dropping off the lead pack. My comments and encouragement got a little louder and he'd catch up. I'd quiet down and he'd drop off the back so I'd yell again and he'd catch up again. And the louder I was, the faster Simon went. Now I can occasionally be a bit clueless but I'm no dummy and I figured out what was going on, in pretty short order I was screaming at the top of my lungs . In the last 500m when he made that mad dash from the back I was jumping up and down in front of the TV screaming and yelling, veins most likely popping out all over (although I didn't dare look away from the TV to check). What an incredible finish! He didn't get gold but we'll take silver no problem.

In closing, I apologize to all the couch potato sports fans I've mocked over the years. The athletes can indeed hear you so go ahead and yell your heart out!

Monday, August 18, 2008

2008 - Year of the Should

I'm getting comfortable and ready for watching the men's triathlon at the Olympics - I have my hot take out and cold beer on hand. However, I have an hour to kill before the race so I have some time to put in words some of the reflecting I've been doing on the '08 race year.

My initial disappointment yesterday and at various other races this year got me to thinking about a joke I'd made last year, that when I stopped having a PR at every race I'd quit triathlon. I definitely didn't PR every race this year but I think I'll stick around!

I am out of the rank novice stage as a triathlete. I've learned all the easy ways to drop time, I've developed varying levels of competency as a swimmer, biker and runner and any further improvements will take a lot of work. I'm past the point where merely completing a race is a victory. I did the race distance escalation - sprint to Olympic to half iron to full iron, where each year the focus was always on some longer distance and with completion being the key goal. I had back up goals in case my first time goal didn't happen, I was prepared for a DNF or a flat or GI distress and knew that anything could happen on race day to mess up my plans.

This year was my first year with my A race being a distance I'd already done and it came with a significant change in mindset. There was no back up plan, no willingness to accept that outside factors might mess up. Instead of going into a race with a time I wanted to achieve, I went in with a list of what I should be doing.

It may not sound like a major difference but shoulds are pretty insidious beasts - no wiggle room between hitting the should sweet spot and being a failure. Shoulds don't offer flexiblity for race day conditions or outside factors. Shoulds are unforgiving of the fact that you may have had a bad day or that your expectations were too high. Shoulds take the thrill out of achieving your goals because they were expected and therefore not exceptional.

In the context of the Olympics (the men's race starts in 16 minutes!) I can't imagine the pressure on some of the athletes. How can they compete when they have an entire country (or more in the case of Phelps) pressuring them with shoulds? Forget their physical prowess, they are monsters of mental fortitude for not crumbling under all those expectations.

I don't have a punchy, meaningful wrap up or conclusion. I'm still thinking this through and trying to figure out how to deal with high expectations and the reality of things going sideways on race day. Any feedback is welcome.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kelowna Apple

Went in with high expectations, especially for a fantastic run and an overall PR. Reality wasn't quite there, but I'll take the PR.

Overall time: 2:47:28
Swim: 31:11 (313th overall/105th women)
Bike: 1:18:56 (395th O/114th W)
Run: 53:52 (351st/113th W)

I had a late start - 9 am. The first waves went off at 7:15 and the transition area gets pretty crazy so it is a good idea to get there early, Mary & I got there shortly after 6 so I had a long wait. Pre-race nerves and lots of caffeine made me a bit edgy and I think I had some pretty bizarre conversations with people in the morning.

I got tired of waiting at 8:00, found a run route away from the race craziness and jogged and chatted with someone in the 8:25 wave. I went back to watch some waves starts and talk nonsense at Kristina, then did some B's & C's and strides, then went to transition for my swim gear. I had a great warm up swim, getting in the water really helped to sooth my nerves.

The water was 24C so it was no wetsuit, my first open water race without one. Most people were quite unhappy about the no wetsuit rule but as my biggest worry for the swim was getting out of my wetsuit I was pretty psyched about it. I was only 14 seconds slower than my swim at the Peach, although I didn't have the greatest swim in Penticton.

I've had issues with panicking at the start of the swim in Kelowna so my first goal was to have a calm start. For my wave I placed myself near the back and out wide and took a few seconds to get into the water. I was going to use my new don't-mess-with-me-mantra* of "I am Bronwyn" but as I had a great start that quickly became "I am ready". I had trouble finding toes to draft off but otherwise I was feeling really comfortable in the water and was having a good swim.

I lost a bit of time at the 750m mark as standing up, running around a buoy on the sand and then re-entering the water is a skill that's still in progress for me. At least I didn't belly flop on the re-entry as I did at this race in 2006. I tried to catch up with the women I'd been closing in on before the halfway mark and picked up the pace. I caught them but rather than get on someone's toes I decided to keep going and passed them and a number other women from my wave. I felt so good on the swim that I was surprised not to be under 30min when I exited the water.

The bike was awesome. There were a lot of racers on the course but it rarely felt crowded - people were pretty much all being courteous and smart and I didn't see any drafting. I went fairly hard and had fun passing people on the one real hill. My cadence meter wasn't working as the sensor had shifted so I was forced to go by feel - normally I try to keep my cadence at around 95 and and keep an eye on my HR to keep myself from overdoing it.

The run was hard and disappointing as I was never on pace for the sub-50 run I'd been gunning for since teh start of the season. I started out slow and never managed to speed up. I was pretty unhappy for most of the run, but I did pass a fair number of people and I didn't see any W35-39's passing me so I didn't drop in rank. I had a cramp in first few km's and was able to run it out but it slowed me a bit. In the last km of the run I had some issues breathing, my chest tightened up and I had to gasp for breath. I had to stop and walk for about fifteen seconds and then got back to running.

After finishing I found myself with a tight chest again and gasping for breath, I almost went to the med tent but mostly got my breathing under control and went to sit in the shade tent by the finish. I was still very upset and shaky, I was crying and trying not to show it in case any LETC'ers came by as I didn't want them to be concerned. I finally figured out that this really wasn't normal post-race behaviour for me so went to the med tent and told them I thought I might be overheated (actually, I think I told them I wasn't feeling okay and they had to play twenty questions to figure out what was wrong). When I started cracking jokes and thinking about food I figured I was back to normal.

Not sure what to think about my race, I'm going to go to bed and will do the post-mortem tomorrow.

The rest of the group had good races, and we had the usual strong presence at the podium: Andrea, Justine, Alan, Stephanie and Mary. Stephanie came in third and won her AG, as this was Nationals she is now the national champ for W40-44, which seems about right as she's also the World champ for W40-44.

*I like three word mantra's for swimming as I breath every third stroke. They help me get into a rhythm and focus on some part of my swim. They're not anything terribly deep or meaningful, usually something along the lines of "Smooth and Strong and Long [breath]".

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wedding Photos

Links to photo albums from A&B's wedding (click on the pictures to see the albums):

Everyone all dolled up and ready to celebrate.

Team Pink

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


So this week is supposed to be about eating well, catching up on my sleep and generally getting rested for the weekend's race.

I have the eating (sort of) covered but the sleep thing isn't working out so well as the IOC and the Chinese government very inconveniently scheduled the biggest sporting event in the world for this week (and next). I really wish they'd consulted me first.

CBC has made it all much, much worse with their website, making it possible for me to watch sports at all hours of the day. If I don't go into Kelowna seriously sleep deprived I'll likely have a back injury from twisting back and forth between my computer and the the TV or else I'll have a repetive strain injury from switching between CBC and NBC's TV coverage.

The perils of being an Olympics junky!

I know fast people!

A number of the LETC crew made the Provincial Triathlon Teams:

Long Course M4549 Jean-Yves "Broccoli" Sauriol
Short Course F2024 - Justine Clift
Short Course M4044 - Alan "Coach" Carlsson
Duathlon F3034 - Joanne "Trekker" Fox

Congratulations to everyone.

Very, very cool to be associated with such greatness!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

1km Repeats

Tonight's workout was 5-7 x 1km at the track. Alan wanted me to do them on 4:45, which seemed ambitious, especially for 7, but I want that PR run in Kelowna so I did 'em all!

1 - 4:38
2 - 4:37
3 - 4:51
4 - 4:44
5 - 4:46
6 - 4:49
7 - 4:50

Joanne is coming back from an injury so she was running my pace, it was great to have someone who's so steady with her speed to run with! We had a few math issues (see lap 1 & 2) and I had a couple of slow km's but I seemed to lose time on one half lap then get back to pace and stay with it for the rest of the kilometre.

I'm at the point where I've put in pretty much all the hard work, nine days until to see how it all pays off!

PS - I don't just want a PR for the run!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

16km Time Trial


TT results so far this year:
April 24 16km - 29:41
July 15 16km (ish) - 33:++ (in Penticton - South Main/Eastside/Lakeside Rd)
July 23 30km - 50:20

Don't know why I don't have May or June TT results, we must have done some.

Far more important than the numbers is the fact that Teresa beat me by almost 1.5 minutes so she'll finally have to admit she's faster than me!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Race Report - Mostly Numbers

Final Time: 2:55:45
Swim: 32:13
Bike: 1:27:27
Run: 52:26
Rank: 180 67/124 F 7/13 F35-39

Bike Numbers:
Ave speed: 27.20
Max speed: 62.200
Ave Cad: 87

HR Numbers:
Swim: Ave 157 Max 168
Bike: Ave 168 Max 175
Run: Ave 168 Max 175

Take from above what you wish, slowish times, okay top speed, low HR. If I was cool and had all the toys I'd have power meter and GPS data to give you, maybe throw up a pie chart or too.

Not much to say about the race, I wasn't that psyched to do it, didn't enjoy big chunks of it and had totally skewed expectations. I did enjoy the last 1,000m of the swim and having the crazy Team Pink crew cheering me on. Loved the post race food, I may have to bring Nutella in my transition bag as it was exactly what I wanted after the race.

Lots of LETC folk hit the podium, which is always cool. Fun to be associated with greatness!

Far more important than the race, the reception for Amy and Brian was fabulous. The bride was stunning and the venue was lovely. Everyone was in their best finery and looking fab-u-lous. The desserts were diving and the wine was perfect. A great group and a very fun evening.


So I should be writing a race report (or cleaning my house, catching up on correspondence, etc.) but the World Ultimate & Guts Championships are on this week at UBC so I'm going to spend the rest of the day immersed in my previous addiction.

I plan to catch up with some friends who're playing and watch some good ulti.

What are the games you should see? The (female) volunteers who did up the player's ID passes say that, based on the photos they submitted, the Aussie mens team is the one to watch.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hangover + Race = BAD

The actual title for this was going to be "There's nothing like beating yourself up for failing then realizing you acheived exactly what you set out to do," but that was too long.

Reace report teaser:

  • felt miserable and cranky through most of the race
  • didn't expect the bike course to be that hard or my legs to be that dead
  • thought I did a totally poor job then realized I'd said prior to the race that as long as I was under 3 hours I would be happy
  • I was under three hours.

Full race report to come.