I picked up new runers this week as the pair I've been using are beyond dead. The experience reminded me why I hate buying shoes.
Reason #1 why I hate buying shoes: Most stores only stock up to size ten for women. I generally take a 10.5 or, on really bad days, size 11.
Reason #2: Only one of my feet is size 10.5. That might lead you to think that reason #1 is only half as bad but as the other foot is 9.5 it actually makes shoe buying incredibly complicated. For some reason most shoe stores aren't willing to mix 'n match shoes.
Reason #3: AA width. I can cinch shoes up at the laces but the heel is pretty hard to fix - my feet either slip out the back or my heels get ripped apart from the rubbing. As I was gifted with cross country skis instead of actual feet, maybe I should wax them and head to the back country for some schussing.
Reason #4: Pronation. My feet are flat. Not flat as in "low arches" flat. Flat as in no arch, as in every part of the sole touches when I stand. Pancake flat.
Due to the above I can't buy cheap shoes as they'll kill my feet. Actually, I frequently can't buy expensive shoes as they don't fit either.
I think not enjoying buying shoes means I have to return my girl card, or at least that I'm on some sort of feminity probation. This probably isn't a good time for me to mention that I only have one purse!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I picked up new runers this week as the pair I've been using are beyond dead. The experience reminded me why I hate buying shoes.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Troisport Joburg City Triathlon organizers are probably looking for new careers - click here for the story.
- The police reneg on number of officers they will supply the race - from 15 to 9 and evenutally to 4 (huge deal when you're dealing with bikes vs. traffic)
- Before the event a cyclist (non-racer) is hit by a car, losing a leg and his life is in danger.
- An airplane crashes on the course. Seriously.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
After the fun I had with breathing and running this year I went to a respirologist to figure out what was wrong. The process started in July and just finished up today - long enough for me to almost forget how it all started and begin to wonder what the point of the whole process was.
Long story short - I am definitively not asthmatic. Good news as I can ditch the various unnecessary inhalers. Anyone want some Flovent??
I now have to figure out if this year's issues were simply triggered by a terrible flu or if there was something else.
I also had an allergy test today. You will all be glad to know that I am not allergic to saline solution (one of the controls).
I am, however, violently allergic to grass and cats, strongly allergic to the histamine control solution, and somewhat allergic to the other six substances they tested (dogs, feathers, weeds, trees, mites [dust] and mold). I find it amusing that I had a stronger reaction to grass and cats than I did to the histamine. I thought I was more allergic to dogs, but perhaps the dogs that set me off are some sort of dog/cat mutant cross breed.
Because I'm a geek, I found the whole process fascinating. As I'm a super geek I got my coworker to take a picture of my forearm so I could document the skin test. (I'll add the photo when she's sent it to me.)
The hives are going down (except the grass one) but I'm still suffering from the desire to make dumb jokes about essence of cat and distilled dog. I'm thinking there's an allergist in my future.
I guess I won't be including any bird feather extract in my Christmas baking.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
I asked Peter this morning to give me one thing to work on when I swim on Friday.
His comments were that I have good power and endurance, I need to work on glide and balance in the water. It's great to know what I'm doing right as well as get advice on what to change. He suggested streamline kicking and working on my body position in the water when kicking off the wall. I quite like his "swim by feel" approach.
There is one downside to having asked, this now means I have to swim Friday!
Monday, November 30, 2009
At masters this morning Peter put mirrors on the bottom of the pool so we could watch our stroke. It was very cool. I have much better form than I thought (which begs the question - why aren't I faster?).
One of the big benefits of the treadmill and spin classes for me is the ability to see myself running or biking and to correct what I'm doing wrong, it was great to be able to do it in the pool too.
After a bit of a rocky start I'm quite enjoy Peter's classes - a very different focus and style but it seems to be working a I'm consistently swimming 1:40 or faster 100's. I'm keen to see how/if that translates in open water.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I seem to have developed an unhealthy attachment to spreadsheets lately - first it was figuring out my budget now I'm planning my running schedule. Playing with percentages and various other math-y features (like an adding method that you then copy and paste to get dates in sequence - COOL! [I think I need help]) makes it easy to see how much or little I need to build up to a goal.
I'm sure I'm doing all sorts of things wrong, I'll hand over the planning to Alan in January ("Here you go - fix it!") but now it's fun to try to figure it out myself.
This is spurred on by two things:
1) I don't want to die in January when the club starts up;
2) I signed up for a February half marathon;
3) I'm getting bored with the lack of schedule.
Okay that was three things ("Amongst our chief weapons are fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and a fanatical devotion to the Pope ..."), math has never been my strong point.
I think number 1 is pretty obvious. I'm definitely not being a slouch at the moment, however the lack of intensity workouts right now will likely bite me big time in the new year!
As to number 2, a friend emailed me that she'd signed up for the Langley Half and if I signed up too she could give me a ride. I was so enamoured at the idea of a ride that it wasn't until after I committed my money that I realized that I'd also committed to run 21.1km. It felt a lot like the time I got conned into giving money to one of those guys running games at the PNE - I was so mesmermized by his patter that I didn't realized I'd paid for a game I didn't want to play until it was too late.
As to 3, that's actually part of the plan. I usually get burnt out by the end of the season and need a break from a structured plan. Rather than force myself to keep up a strict regimen I back off and do what I want so that in January I'm eager to get going. I'm not quite ready for hard core workouts (it's 1pm and I'm blogging in my PJ's instead of running) but I'm definitely itching to do more.
Alright - enough procrastinating. I'm off to run.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
November in Vancouver means rain, rain and more rain. That's okay, it'll stop. Maybe not until March, perhaps April, but it will stop.
The rain does make it difficult to get out the door. Today I decided to sleep in, which was a nice change but a late start usually makes it even harder to get myself going. Today was no exception. I turned on the TV while eating breakfast and got hooked into watching downhill skiing, yet another distraction. Finally it was almost noon, I'd seriously mulled setting up the trainer but my dislike for the trainer trumped my dislike for courting hypothermia so I got myself together (as in four layers of warm and [hopefully] dry gear) and headed out.
Biking at this time of year is a bit nutty - it's cold and wet and dark and drivers are seriously distracted. As I haven't been biking a lot lately I'm pretty wary in traffic so I didn't get up much speed until I hit 4th and Highbury and rode along the beach. It's really beautiful there in this weather, best of all there's hardly anyone around so I practically had the road to myself. It was cold though so getting to the hill up to UBC was great as it meant I could work up enough energy to get feeling back in my hands. My hands didn't warm up much the first time up so I turned around at the top and headed down so I could try again.
After the sixth time up Spanish Banks Hill I figured my hands were warm enough and this was potentially getting silly so perhaps I should continue on. I rode around UBC and found a new route I like and will probably do on a regular basis - Marine Drive to the Arthur Lang but going under the bridge rather than over then ride on a road parallel to Marine (Kent?) to Ontario and back home. Heading up Ontario was great - 20 blocks of climbing to warm up again. After that it was a bit of a slog and my hands went from cold to numb to painful but it was only about 15 minutes to home so not too bad.
I have no idea how far or how long I rode for, my bike computer died and I'm putting off buying a new one until I have other expenses out of the way, but it was a fun day.
I came home to read a post on motivation by fellow club member (LETC's Male Triathlete of the Year - congrats Rob!). I'm pretty sure I fall into the intrinsically motivated camp, I'm certainly competitive but that's not what is most rewarding for me in triathlon. Despite the complaints about the weather I love being out on my bike, if I could find decent gloves and glasses that don't fog up every time I stop I'd be happy riding for four or five hours right now.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Ever wonder where your money goes? I have and finally got fed up enough to do something about it. I guess this has been my big project for the Fall.
As background, I had an expensive Spring this year. I paid full rent for a two bedroom place for two months while I tried to find a new roommate and figure out what I wanted to do for a living situation then shelled out for moving costs. Prior to that I had my "rubber ducky" debt - every time I thought I'd started getting control and paying it down it would pop up again, like a rubber duck pushed under bath water - so this just added to it. It was frustrating to see all the money going to paying off (or in this case not paying off) debt when I could spend it on so many more worthwhile things.
At one point I was even convinced Visa was messing with me as there was no way I could be that fiscally irresponsible.
I tried budgeting but kept forgetting things like haircuts and bus passes so I was always way off.
Tracking backwards didn't seem to work either, so I decided to start tracking forwards, noting every single purchase I made and every penny I spent when and as I spent it.
I started in the beginning of September, initially writing things down in a notebook then I graduated to a spreadsheet, on which I then included my budget and debt tracking and now I have the urge to create account codes and pie charts (I need to spend less time with our company Accountant!).
By tracking what I spend every pay period I could more accurately estimate my budget for the next and I could see where my money was going. It's been interesting, not least because the desire to buy a chocolate bar is now frequently (but not always) outweighed by the desire not to have to write the purchase down - who knew laziness could work in my favour!
What has been far more interesting is discovering that a good budget actually works: my spending is in check without greatly impacting my lifestyle and, mostly importantly, my debt has shrunk appreciably and should be non-existent in the near future.
This is probably a terribly dull post for most readers, especially as this is ostensibly a tri training blog, but as the child of a banker this is a fairly big deal for me. And freeing up that money that was going to debt means I can use it for things like race wheels, or a new wetsuit, or going to a training camp. Can't wait for the 2010 training season!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
You know, that semi-coma you fall into when you've finally warmed up after courting hypothermia while doing some sort of ill-considered excerise in the great (wet) (and cold) outdoors. Is there a word for that?
I rode today with the Glottman Simpson group today. I was happy that it was a small group as I'm still not confident in my pack riding skills, but the reason it was a small group was that it was seriously cold this morning.
I checked the Environment Canada website before I set out and it was 2 degrees. Predicted high of 6. I'm pretty sure we never came close to six! Despite the fact that it also predicted rain I opted not to wear waterproof shoe covers and to test new gloves. In retrospect, not a good idea.
I made it to coffee shop on time and met a nice group of riders. We headed out to Iona and, aside from some very strong winds, it was quite nice. They mostly kept a sane pace and I could keep up and get comfortable riding in the group. At one point everyone decided to race up a hill and I was thoroughly dropped but they were kind enough to wait for me at the top.
On the way back from Iona the rain started. Sharp, stinging rain that made it suddenly feel significantly colder. We all decided to make it a day and head home. Wendel (I think that's his name) was kind enough to bike with me over the Canada Line bike bridge so I could take a shorter path home. Once he got me to the Ontario bike path he turned around and headed back the way he'd come, the guy went out of his way in nasty weather to get me in the right direction - I'm very thankful!
The last twenty minutes were not so nice. My feet were vacilating between numb and painful, which was unpleasant, but my hands were doing the same thing, which was scary as working the brake became challenging. I started to worry my hands would be so cold I wouldn't be able to unlock my door!
I got home, and in the door, and three quarters of an hour, one long hot shower and one very large cup of hot cocoa later I finally stopped shivering. I had lunch then sat on the couch and tried to watch the hockey game (someone won in over time, didn't notice who) but instead went into the I-almost-had-hypothermia-but-now-I'm-warm-and-well-fed stupor.
Is there a word for that?
The fall has been pretty mellow. A little swimming, to the two days of masters I've added on a swim on my own on Friday, I show up and figure out what I want to do when I get there. I'm really feeling like there are a lot of improvements to my form after a couple of months swimming with Peter, I'm looking forward to doing some longer time trials (really!) and seeing what I can do. Hmm, I could do that on a Friday I guess, I'll just consider angry-I-refuse-to-swim-in-a-slower-lane-but-will-take-up-lots-of-space-while-using-(sharp-edged)-paddles dude and various other strange denizens of the Friday am swims extra challenges to get around.
Not much running. I ended the season really feeling unspired about running so I took a bit of a break from it. Then I started running in the mornings with a friend from swimming, which worked great until she gave up her gym membership and she had nowhere to change after. No great tragedy, we switched to running home after work, initially I'd run to a B Line bus stop and bus home but I've worked up to running as far as Clark and just walk the rest of the way. This week I may go as far as Commercial. I'm also hitting the treadmill once or, well, less than once a week, I plan to up that to twice a week!
I did a women's bike skills session with two of the coaches from Glottman Simpson, Stephanie and her husband Bjorn, and I'm considering joining the Glottman Simpson group to ride with them. The classes I made it to were fantastic, unfortunately I missed a lot of classes due to travelling for work.
Oh yeah, travelling for work - I went to the UK. Training-wise it was a bit of a wash. I got in a few treadmill runs and had an awesome day biking around with my uncle. I went for a work conference, so it was a whole of time in a hotel. Good to meet the various UK suppliers we work with. I tacked on a few days at the end and had time to harass my uncles, it was very good to see David and Stewart, although it was a bit rushed.
Other than that, I've been a bit of a hermit. I'm enjoying being a homebody, the quiet's kind of nice. Things will change, however, come the Christmas party season (I have an invite for a party in November! C'mon, at least wait until December.) and the New Year with the club.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
My pre-race breathing in AB was great. I wasn't even allergic to my aunt's hyperactive puffball of a sheltie. No knock on Soxy, I quite liked him.
Pre-race was nothing special. More nerves than I've had in years, last time I was this wound up for a race was probably 2006. I was also a bit off the workout schedule as trying to fit in workouts around visiting/being a good guest was awkward. This was my first big race where I wasn't either with family or friends from the club the day before the race so things were a bit odd. My hostess in Calgary was great but next time I think I'll book a hotel for the night before for my own peace of mind.
It didn't help my nerves that finding information on the race's website was difficult, there were some things that had no information whatsoever and others where you had to do some serious interpreting, such as realizing they were using different names to describe the same shuttle pick up point.
The anxiety all came to a head when I dropped off my bike - other people were doing rides on the course, why hadn't I? I should have had a tune-up on my bike, what if something went wrong? Should I have gone for more runs?? It took an effort to walk away from my bike, I was actually shaking with nerves.
After an early dinner and early to bed I managed to unwind enough to get to sleep early.
Race morning, however, was pretty much all zen - that's the point where there's nothing more you can do except get out there and go, I love that! I was up super early for a big breakfast. Then it was time to pack my transition bags, as this was a point to point bike course there were two transitions so you had to pack accordingly. I had a big bag full of my swim gear (this would later by my warm up/dry gear bag), a big T1 bag full of bike gear and a T2 bag with just my runners and a hat. The T2 bag looked so underfull that I threw in a couple of gels to pad it out a bit.
I got to the shuttle area in time to catch one of the first buses, despite the fact that my swim start was an hour after the first wave - I like to have lots of time to set up in transition and I also wanted to give myself some breathing room in case there were SNAFU's with the shuttles.
We dropped off our T2 bags then got on the buses. Lots of quiet, tired and nervous folk on the bus. Turned out the woman sitting next to me was only nervous, not quiet or tired. We chatted the whole way up to the lake (probably to the dismay of everyone seated around us!). She was doing this as her first ever triathlon, I'm a firm believer in doing small tris before taking on something big but as this was the morning of the race of course I was telling her she'd have a great race.
I was in early enough to pump up my tires, walk through transition and hit the loos without much crowding or waiting. The closer it got to the race start the harder it got to move around transition (it was super tight) and the longer the lines got for the porta-potties. I was happy to have missed some sleep in the morning to avoid dealing with the craziness.
My swim time was coming up so I dropped off my T1 bag (checking for the 50th time that I did, indeed have my helmet), got into my wetsuit and then dropped off my dry goods bag. There was space to the side of the swim start/exit for a warm up swim, although very few people were making use of it. The water was cold enough to be shocking when I got in but turned out to be the perfect temperature for a wetsuit swim.
The swim was okay. It was a very small wave (supposedly 120 but as only 78 finished I think there were a number of DNS's) but somehow I started too far back as I couldn't find a decent set of feet to draft off. I decided to go for speed rather than sit behind someone too slow. Mentally I stayed focused the whole way, a big accomplishment especially after my Squamish day dreaming.
Somewhere along the way the line "No excuses" popped into my head - meaning I'd trained all year for this race and there were no excuses for doing anything less than my best. I don't usually have mantras like that but it was pretty cool, anytime I wanted to back off it'd pop up. I didn't have a rocking swim time but I ranked pretty high overall so either I had a great day or the majority of racers were bad swimmers. Also, the water got a bit choppy as I was getting out, so that likely affected later waves.
T1 was slow as we had to put our bike shoes on prior to entering the bike enclosure - a long way to run in cleats. After the fact this made sense as there was no space in transition so people sitting down to put on shoes would have blocked other racers, but it was annoying at the time.
Getting on the bike was great. I felt good from the get go, I have photographic evidence that I was immediately working on my calorie debt - the photographer at the T2 exit caught me sucking on a gel.
The tailwind on the bike was great, somewhere near the start I was on a false flat going 41km/h without putting in a ton of effort. I tried to get into a rhythm without going to hard at the start, which I usually do at Oliver.
The turn onto Grand Valley Road put us heading directly into the wind and on the long ascent. It wasn't a steep climb but it was very long and steady with no real breaks or changes in the incline. I could deal with the headwind as I knew it meant a tailwind the rest of the way ("no excuses") and I tried not too go too hard, save it for the later part of the bike.
The first of the aid stations was giving out regular bottles of Powerade, not sport tops, which was annoying, and the race's biggest screw up that I saw, but not insurmountable. Once I got onto the fresh pavement I could drink without spilling too much, although I did end up with a fair amount of Powerade on my bike.
My swim wave started after the 6065+ and M5055 waves so I got to pass a lot of people on the bike. Nothing like getting pumped at passing someone then seeing they're 71!
There were some wicked crosswinds coming down Horse Creek Road as it neared the A1 hwy but after that it was a strong and steady push to the finish. I played leapfrog with a couple of people and tried to joke with one, she didn't quite know what to make of it but I was having fun. When Jean-Yves passed me near the top of a hill I tried to chase him and failed miserably, unsurprisingly, but hit my race speed max of 67km/h.
The course was beautiful and mostly on quiet country roads, but there seemed to be no transition from that to Glenmore Trail with a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam (caused by us!), it was a bit strange.
I had a much quicker T2 as all I had to do was change shoes and head wear and go. Unfortunately my legs felt toasted and heavy on the run. That just-off-the-bike deadness never went away.
I may have gone too hard on the bike, or I may not have eaten enough, but I never really felt light and quick on the run. It was also quite humid, which did not make breathing fun. I tried to initially walk only the aid stations but the run course was surprisingly tough and my lungs weren't cooperating so I had to walk quite a bit. I also had cramps but they faded fairly quickly.
I kept going forward and ran when I could, walked when I couldn't and tried to stay positive. "No excuses" meant I couldn't lose it to panic attacks and frustration like I did in Oliver. I got caught by my bike leapfrog buddy and tried to heckle/cheer her on but she didn't seem to see the fun in it. I beat her in the end, in case that matters!
The last few km were super tough but I realized that I had a PR pretty much guaranteed so wasn't too upset at having to walk most of the last 2 km. I did manage to run for the last few hundred meters - got to impress the fans!
It was an interesting race. Considering the logistics and the fact that it was the first time they ran the race, I think the organizers did incredibly well. There were a couple of things they could definitely have done better, but I'm confident they'll have that figured out for next year. I think it would be a good race for someone who was training for their first Ironman as the race mimics the IM experience quite a bit in terms of the racers prep with the transition bags and level of support. I still like the independent races though!
I enjoyed the race and may well do it again next year, much as I don't like supporting the Ironman brand. If the wind is the same and I have my breathing figured out I could have a pretty skookum time.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Had a great time with the folks in Chilliwack - lots of good food and, of course great company.
Corn is in season and you have to get it fresh-picked. Apparently you can fit two ears per jersey pocket, I should have bought half a dozen.
We did a lot but we took time to stop and sniff the gladioli. Sadly they didn't smell of much but they were pretty.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Sorry about the lack of race results here. I've been a bit busy visiting family, touring Drumheller, finding a belt to go with my shiny new finisher's buckle, and generally spending my time drinking, ahem, recovering.
Rank: 471 of 1079
Rank in AG: 20 of 78
My swim was pretty par for the course for the past few years and my run was unspectacular but way better than Oliver, especially as it was quite humid so breathing was difficult. My bike split, however, was ridiculous. I believe this was the longest HIM bike course I've done but my time was about 20minutes faster than any I've ever done. Alan told me not to mention the wicked tailwind that pushed me 90% of the way so instead I'll just chalk my time up to superior biking skills.
Overall a great race, the only thing I think they really screwed up was giving out regular Powerade bottles as opposed to sport top ones - not everyone uses an aerobottle! In the grand scheme of things the result weren't too tragic: I got mad for about a minute then dealt with it and ended up with a lot of bugs stuck to the Powerade spilled on my downtube.
My regular uber-wordy race report will follow shortly. Unless Dad offers me a beer. Gotta hydrate!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Hello loyal (and very patient readers), here's my trip report of what's happened thus far, in point form as I'm tired:
- Successfully took my bike apart and got it in the box and, as a bonus, packed everything else and made it to the airport on time
- Took a minor "scenic" side trip from the Calgary airport on my way to Turner Valley
- Had a very fun time with Raye, Andy and Soxy
- Met up with Duane (cousin), Susan (cousin in-law), Brittenay (first cousin once removed), Andrew (fc1r) and Cam (cousin). I haven't seen most of this crew in many years so this was fantastic - the fc1r's are super big and really neat kids!
- Drove around Kanaskis Country. Never knew there were provincial parks for horses (and their owners).
- Almost successfully put my bike together - discovered what happens if you don't tighten the headset and hit a big bump.
- Tightened the headset on my bike.
- Swam in the T.V. outdoor pool - on Monday it was the temperature of soup that needed another minute in the microwave. On Wednesday the pool soup only needed 30 seconds (it was 30 degrees C! In the pool!!)
- Toured Spruce Meadows - very beautiful.
- Got addicted to an evil Starbucks drink (Raye always introduces me to highly addictive junk foods).
- Talked non-stop with Raye - especially the day I had to drink her coffee as well as mine.
- Ate vast amounts of very good food.
- Drank tons of Raye's coffee and evil Starbucks drink.
- Made it into Calgary and to Leah's, despite the complete and utter lack of logic in the road/Trail system here.
- Ran in North Glenmore Park - gorgeous!
- Met Leah's beau, Chris, and his very cool kids - Emma and Joseph.
- Ate a fantastic curry chicken dinner (if I get the recipe it'll go on the food blog).
- Got seriously caffeinated with Leah.
- Picked up my race pack and got a professional to check out my bike.
- Drove to Ghost Lake, with a scenic detour to the North. All I had to do was drive straight yet somehow I took a right turn and went a far bit out of my way. It was pretty though.
- Met up with a club mate and her crew at Ghost Lake and swam with them. The supposedly freezing cold lake was lovely - very cold when you first get in then a perfect swim temp.
- Drove the first half of the bike course - stunning!
- Made it back to Leah's without getting lost - yay! (Maybe the road system here isn't so nuts?)
- Biked along the Elbow River Trail.
- Ate another massive meal.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
As running has been an issue recently I decided to do a tri without running. I conned, ahem, convinced Barton to be my runner for the Squamish Tri, a race I've wanted to come back to since first doing it in 2006.
Do you ever find yourself wondering what happened to all the heads crazy people who died in the '80's had cryogenically frozen? Are there still freezers somewhere full of headsicles or have they quietly been dumped while no one was looking? It's an interesting question, however if you find yourself wondering this in the midst of a triathlon swim you probably aren't as focused as you should be.
The relay wave was a pain. It was hard to find a draft in the small group and, as we went last, we had to navigate through the slowpokes in the previous waves. Once I stopped pondering cryogenics, I ended up using the slowpokes to my advantage in the second half as every time I sighted I'd find a swimmer from the previous wave and tried to pass them by the next time I looked. I went off course due to brainlessness (tried to swim to the wrong buoy on the return leg) but nothing major.
1:18:38 (including T1 & T2)
The bike is an 8km loop that you do four times - it's crowded, in places it's narrow and there are four 90 degree turns. There is one long steep climb and some fun stuff like train tracks that were seriously jarring to cross. Definitely a technical course, which played to a lot of my weaknesses, I'm nervous going around tight corners with people barrelling down behind me and I didn't want to be an ass and overtake right before the corners then jam on the brakes while turning, especially as there were some seriously squirelly cyclists, so I lost a lot of time on three of the corners (x 4 = 12 big slow downs).
On the first lap my legs felt dead and sore, second lap was a little better, by the third lap I hit a rhythm and I had fun cranking up the hill all out on the last lap, repeating my mantra "I don't have to run. I don't have to run."
A major stress was that my bike computer doesn't really work anymore, according to the Sigma I'd only gone 33km when I finished the bike, and counting was proving to be mentally taxing. I really didn't want to miss a lap and get us DQ'd.
Barton was not a fan of the run course but set a PR on a course that most people seemed to find challenging and most people seemed to have slower than average runs. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
It was fun hanging out at the finish and catching the fast guys crossing the line. And seeing the confusion on the LETC boys' faces as they saw me there! (Immediate post-race brain - didn't consider DNF or relay, just "Alison beat me??")
Very impressive showing by LETC - lots of podiums and Natasha and Doneen did their first ever oly.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
I managed to cram quite alot into my day off yesterday.
Part 1 - VOWSA Canada 2km Swim
2008 time - 40:02
2009 time - 40:06
I felt like I was flying on the swim this year, I even drafted the whole way, but did pretty much the same time as last year. I'm taking this as further confirmation that my swim improvements in the pool are entirely due to improving my kicking off the wall skills!
After the swim I spent time with the LETC folk and, for yet another year, didn't win a draw prize.
I was surprised to bump into Jed, someone I played ultimate with and against for years. He was volunteering and we had a good chat and a bit of a catch up session.
Part 2 - Crazy bike repeats
We brought our bikes so Teresa and I headed out (sans everyone else as I managed to waste enough time they left without us) and did the evil "Belcarra Loop."
For EBL you head to the Belcarra Picnic Area, go to the end of the parking lot, turn right onto Bedwell Bay Road then back to the road at the base of the hill heading back to Belcarra. There is only one long hill but the short hills are evilly steep to climb, as in stand on your pedals and hope you don't have to get off your bike and walk level of steep, then it's twisty enough on the way down that getting too much speed is nerve wracking as there are lots of blind corners.
My program said 6 loops but as the loops were taking me 20min I decided that Alan didn't mean for me to do a 2+ hour intensity workout and Teresa and I stopped after 4. The traffic was also increasingly nuts as the day went on - picnickers headed for Sasamat and Belcarra were parking on every available piece of shoulder and being fairly oblivious to cyclists. By the time we got back to the car to load the bikes we had no desire to fight our way through the crowds to cool off in the lake, we couldn't get away fast enough.
Part 3 - Yaletown Grand Prix
At home I had a quick shower and lunch then headed out to meet up with the LETC folk and watch the Yaletown Grand Prix criterion and running races. The crit's were fun to watch - lots super fast cycling action, although the men's pro race was a blow out as two guys lapped almost the entire field.
Two women from our club were in the elite women's running race and they blew the rest of the field away, taking 1st and 2nd. It's hard to cheer when it's neck and neck you you want both people involved to win! Tall Dave was in the men's race and I saw my second random/misplaced-ulti-player of the day as Vince was in the race too. He did a double take as he heard me yell his name, not sure if he knew who I was.
Cheering for Rachel & Martina in the women's elite/pro (I think) bike race was fun too. Luckily for us Rachel was in pink and yellow and therefore easy to spot - you don't have much time to catch people as they whiz by. Martina got lapped out of the race but as she'd hit the podium in the two previous races she done that day I'm thinking she could consider it a good day of racing!
By the time I got home I was pooped - super early morning, a race, a hard workout, then standing around in the sun with not hat and yelling loudly can take a lot out of you!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
In an attempt to see the world in a positive light I've decided to come up with upsides about my bike computer.
My wireless bike computer has all the functions of the regular version. YES! 80% of the time it will display speed, distance, cadence, average speed, etc. What this special edition has that others lack, however, is that 20% of the time it displays nothing. Yes, nothing. And for no dsicernable reason.
Now, you may be asking yourself - why this is a good thing? How would this benefit my training? Well, let me tell you.
The Special Edition 80% Bike Computer offers the following fantastic benefits:
- Vigilence - We all know how important it is to be alert while riding. The fact that the SE 80% bike computer stops working on a completely random basis means you need to exercise constant vigilence if you want reasonably accurate data.
- Excitement - Add the element of surprise and excitement to your rides! Will it be working next time you look? Will you have an accurate record of your ride? With the SE 80% you never know!
- Heart rate management - Have trouble keeping your HR up? With the SE 80% you'll be in a state of constant frustration, helping to keep that ticker going at just the right speed.
- Freedom from boredom - Long rides can get tedious and you can run out of things to think and/or talk about. With the SE 80%, when you are 3 (or is it 4?) hours into your 6 hour ride you can occupy your mind by contemplating creative ways to destroy this useless piece of $#!&!
- Maintain your bike - Keeping your machine in good working order is important. SE 80% components frequently fall off or readjust while in transit, encouraging you to thoroughly check your bike before, after, and often during, every ride.
- Stimulate the economy - In these tough times, every dollar you spend is helping your fellow man/woman. The SE 80% helps you stimulate the economy - because it's wireless there are 3 batteries to replace, not 1 like in some econo-unfriendly types, allowing you to contribute THREE TIMES MORE to the economy. Plus, the fact that parts sometimes drop off means you get to invest more money by replacing them. SE 80% - the philanthropist's choice!
- Time-saving for crazy people - Are you an anthropomorphizer? Do you like co-dependent relationships? Are you tired of wasting time cultivating these psychoses separately? With the SE 80% you can enjoy the best of both worlds at the same time! Give the SE 80% a name and personality and when it stops working assume he/she hates you and wonder what you ever did to deserve it. Then when he/she starts working again, just as you are about to dump him/her and switch to a Cat Eye, realize that he/she really does love you and you were meant for each other.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I met with the crew this morning at Bean around the world with the intent of going up Cypress, or as far as my lungs would let me go. I made it almost to the top of 15th Street in West Van then decided a flatter ride would be smarter.
Riding alone left me lots of time to think. Luckily I'm generally entertained by what goes on in my own head so I wasn't bored. I have my Walter Mitty moments - envisioning how I save the universe through judicious application of my towering intellect, spectacular super-powers and awe-inspiring mastery of kung fu - but generally I just let my mind wander.
Some random thoughts that occurred to me on my ride, brick run and farmers' market shopping (a brick shop?):
- What's the point of meeting at a coffee shop if you're there before it opens? And what self-respecting coffee shop opens after 7?
- Stressing about things you can't change is a waste of time. Better to figure out how to deal with them and move on.
- Thinking that those people/that person wouldn't be passing you if your lungs weren't acting up is also a waste of time. And really, who cares?
- I've lost that cynical feeling I had at the begining of the week. The glass is half full again.
- Could we have some sort of rule where the folks who train in crappy weather get right of way on sunny days when all the fairweather folk deem it nice enough outside for them to block the roads??
- I need to but a new bike computer (ride time = 3:?? hours, current speed = ???)
- I'm happy to run 5 minutes at pace but I have no idea what my pace currently is.
- I am thrilled at the success of the Trout Lake farmers' market. I just wish there were less people there! (Can we apply the weather rule again?)
- Shopping while hungry is a bad idea (lots of sweet stuff came home with me).
- At farmers' markets I try to suss out who the regulars are, stand behind them in line, then figure out what I'm in line for. The people behind me in the bakery line got all stressed that the "Market Bread" was going quickly so I bought some. I didn't buy it to be a jerk (there was lots left, btw) but because I had to see if it was worth lining up for. It was indeed, I'll be back!
- I will have to remember to use the simile "Stinkier than a garbage can at a dog park on a hot day." I guess it's good to know the Trout Lake dog beach users clean up after their canines.
- Eating a huge lunch, reading my book and drinking coffee #2 (#1 is pre-ride) is an awesome way to spend the afternoon.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
- Anger – “My time was what?!” “I didn’t get a PR?!” Often accompanied by hat throwing, stomping, glaring, a protruding bottom lip, and a refusal to talk about the race.
- Recriminations – “I should have eaten/trained/slept/cleaned my ears more/less/not at all/three times on Tuesdays.”
- Long-winded emails to the coach – “… and then 37.25 km into the bike my cadence dropped from 95 to 93.2 but my HR stayed the same and I ate a banana-salmon-crunch gel. I think this is where it started to fall apart. Should we refocus my training plan so that blah, blah, blah…” (Sorry Alan)
- Depression – “I don’t want to train. I’m going to stay home, watch So You Think You Can Dance and eat microwave popcorn.”
- Desperate attempts to find the positive – “Not qualifying for Kona means I don’t have to spend all that money on a trip to Hawaii. In these tough economic times that’s a good thing!”
- Acceptance – “Ah well, bad races happen.”
- Moving on – “Coach, do you think we could incorporate tango lessons into my weekly program? I want to try out for SYTYCD!”
I will eventually post an Oliver race report, but right now I'm busy trying to learn to rumba.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
First open water swim of the year - I lurv swimming in Sasamat. It was almost too bad we had to get out of the lake.
I did the long swim/10km ride workout option but skipped the hard run. Once the folk who were recovering and/or tapering for the half next week were done our one set we took off for a run around the lake while the others set off for another swim/bike/run. This run was fine on my lungs, making me think I'll go for it in Oliver. I'll take it super easy out of T2 and see where I end up.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
- I'm not used to leaving the house at 7 for ride. Actually, I'm not used to leaving at 6:50am for a ride, which is likely why I left at 7.
- It only takes me 20 minutes to get to Bean Around the World on Cornwall when there's no traffic.
- Biking when there's no traffic (cars or bikes) is great, makes getting up that early worth it.
- Seeing Dave head up the mountain for the second time made me feel less studly for going up once.
- I haven't been to the top of Cypress in a long time. It was great.
- It takes me longer than 15 minutes to get home from the top of Cypress (I may have gone over my prescribed bike time).
- Descending is FUN, even if I'll never be as fast as Bronwyn.
- Randomly meeting friends and clubmates along the way is all part of the fun.
- I've found a new source of post-ride cinamon buns at the Trout Lake Farmers' market.
- I shouldn't buy more than one sweet thing after my long ride. I won't save the second (or third) item for later, I'll eat it as soon as I'm done the first.
- My legs hurt.
In non-biking news - tomorrow is our first open water swim - helloooo Sasamat Lake! I've missed ya.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I frustrated and trying hard not to get into a pity party, although the only other option right now seems to be anger and that isn't terribly productive either.
2/3 of my training is going great - swimming feels awesome and although I haven't set any crazy PR's overall I seem to be faster. Despite missing a fair bit of training I'm comfortable on the bike, Amy was accusing me of being a mountain goat on Wednesday when I kept dropping the pace line any time I was leading it up a hill.
Unfortunately I can barely run. Anything faster than a slow jog and I'm toast. Running 500m off the bike on Wednesday was extremely hard, I finished it after the first TTT but the second time I had to stop after 100m as I was out of breath and my HR was close to 190 going downhill. Before last night's 1 mile track TT Andrew told me the word from Alan was nothing under 7min was acceptable. Like an idiot I paid attention to that rather than how I was feeling.
Did the first mile in 7:14 and felt like hell the whole way through. Did the first lap of the second mile on pace for 7 (1:45) then my lungs quit. Followed shortly after by a mental meltdown. Ventolin didn't help so I did a cool down run, with my HR through the roof the whole way, then watched the group finish their miles.
I've been in a foul mood the last few days - nasty anxiety punctuated with spells of anger or sadness. I have no idea if this is queuing the breathing issues or the mental stuff is because I'm not getting enough oxygen. Right now everything is pretty bleak so I'm just trying to keep my head down and wait for it to pass.
Monday, May 18, 2009
North Shore Tri was my first race of the year. I had a temper tantrum about UBC ("I don't wanna race in March!") and was sick for Delta so this was my only other in town option for a race prior to the Oliver half.
After being sick for so long in the winter/spring I was going into this race with low, low expectations. I decided I'd try for a PR swim as my breathing is okay in the pool, a decent pace ride as it's only the hills that kill me and survival run as that's where my breathing is the worst.
I biked to the race as my new abode is super close to the shore and I've now discovered the secret to riding over the Second Narrows (look ahead, if you look down at the sidewalk you'll get sick from the seizure-inducing strobe affect of the railing supports flashing by). I got to the race in good time and was happy to find out the only thing I forgot was a pair of pre-race shoes. Turns out that was nothing compared to other LETC'ers.
Club members and the things they forgot:
- Bronwyn - bike shoes
- Doneen - timing chip
- Stephanie - timing chip
- Natasha - bike helmet
- Dave - ITU legal aerobars
- Alan - lap 4 of the bike :(
The Swim - 740m
On the ride over I thought about a survival strategy for the swim. I tend to get ticked off when people are in my way, and a pool swim is all about people being in your way. I decided it would be swim-dodgeball and I'd lose points by being hit by other swimmers. Turned out that the swim wasn't that bad. It was still annoying but I've become much more comfortable with contact and more assertive in general in the water.
No other excitement in the swim as my lap counter got it right (or we both got it wrong), although I did lose a ton of dodgeball points.
Swim time: 14:17
The Bike- 20km
When I got to transition Stan was already at his bike. I whipped on my shoes and taunted him "You can't let me beat you out of transition!" Apparently he can.
Stan caught me on outward leg of the ride and I figured he'd disappear but I managed to keep him in my sights and eventually pass him. We ended up playing leapfrog the entire ride. The bike course is four (boring) laps of a 2.5km stretch of Mt. Seymour Parkway, one of my least favorite bike courses but chasing/being chased by Stan made it fun. I went super hard on the return of the last lap, my mantra being "Must. Beat. Stan."
I may have received a drafting penalty, I deserved it but in my defence it was right before the messy turn around that's also the course entrance/exit where everyone was getting squirelly on their bikes so I didn't really have anywhere to go. But rules are rules ...
Bike Time: 38:29 (includes both transitions)
The Run - 5km
I beat Stan out of T2 as well. He must have had a very slow transition - he's a super fast runner and he took a long time to catch me on the run.
The start of the run was tough, I haven't done any real brick workouts so far this year so I'm not used to running hard after a hard ride.
As I expected, the run was a challenge. I had to walk a few of the hills as my breathing was out of control but then I'd think "I'm NOT walking in a sprint" and I'd start running again. The last km was great as we lost all the elevation we'd gained in the first four or so km so I could pick up speed and breath easy.
Run Time: 26:27
Total time: 1:19:15*
*unless I got a drafting penalty
I think this is my fastest ever sprint. The last one I did was Delta in 2007 and that was 1:31:?? I'll take that!
Nest race - Oliver Half.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Maybe I'm lucky that my friends haven't suffered much, or maybe Dave is just one heck of a writer:
Dear family and friends,
We are writing you on behalf of Tyler.
We will never forget that day – October 1, 2008 – Tyler 's doctor called us late that night and said "Tyler has Type 1 diabetes". Our family's life (and especially Ty's) changed forever after those words were spoken. First we cried and then we were thankful that it wasn't something a whole lot worse...and then we stepped into a world of constant 'needles and poking' our little three year old.
Next came three intense days at Children's Hospital learning to give injections to our baby and check his blood sugar. It was unbearable holding him down and listening to his pleas and screams to not hurt him anymore and begging us to stop. It is something that we hope no other parent has to go through.
We learned to check his blood sugar 5 times a day, which requires using a pen type device to poke his little fingers to draw enough blood for the glucose meter to read his sugar levels. Already his little fingers are riddled with small holes and calluses.
Tyler is not old enough yet to really tell us how he is feeling or indicate if he is high or low ... we constantly watch and listen through the day and night for indications that he is out of his target range. Most children sleep peacefully at night, but no longer our little guy. Tyler must endure another finger check at night while he is sleeping and if it is a low reading, we must wake him up and give him food to eat. Imagine how tough that is for a little person! He no longer sleeps soundly through the night as his body will often naturally wake him if his blood sugar is going low.
We have learned to count carbohydrates to calculate the quantity of insulin to inject. He must eat 6 times a day of carefully monitored meals...and he must eat, even if his little tummy doesn't feel like it. Learning what he can eat and only at specific times has been challenging...birthday parties, holidays, special days, dinners at friends, or eating out has to be well planned and discussed. Gone are the days of grabbing a quick bite to eat or just showing up somewhere and letting whatever happens, happen. A chunk of his childhood is just not the same as it is for most children.
To this day, every time we calculate the insulin we second guess ourselves as we struggle to keep his blood glucose in his target range. There are so many additional factors to consider such as sickness, activity level, time of day, stress and previous blood glucose level. Simply put, we have had to learn what to do to prevent Tyler from going into a coma from a low blood glucose level as well as prevent him from suffering from a high blood glucose level which can lead to ketoacidosis. Even simple stomach flu can cause plummeting sugar levels which require emergency hospitalization; a virus which results in simple bed rest for the rest of us. Although somewhat in denial, we also have to face the possibility of other complications that Ty may have to deal with such as:
- kidney failure
- nerve damage
- heart disease
- reduced life expectancy.
We refuse to go there!
Reality sets in each day when we see the sharps container on the counter full of needles and lancets. To date, Tyler has had:
- 1,350 finger checks
- 540 needles
- 1 low-blood sugar seizure
and it has only been 8 months since diagnosis. It is not easy giving an injection when your child begs "Please don't hurt me."
THIS IS NOT A CURE!
We have learned that every high and low is not life or death but still very serious for his health and how he feels. We have also learned how very strong our little boy is. He IS the strongest member of our family.
So, we are asking for your support to help change this. We understand that these are tough economic times for everyone but those factors will not stop this disease. Research into Type 1 Diabetes is making huge progress. If you are able to help out, we greatly appreciate it. Just click on the 'support me' button below. E-receipts will automatically be issued for online donations of $20 and more. We want to thank you for your support and would also be honored to see you at the Telus Walk on June 14th at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Let us know if you'd like to join us and we will get back to you with more details.
If you would like to join Team Tyler and raise pledges yourself, please let us know and we will send you pledge sheets and more information.
much love, Lonnie, Dave, Tyler and Sydney
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I finally made it out to a bike workout last night - my first outdoor w/o on the bike all year.
It was also my first outdoor bike w/o heading from my new place so I gave myself lots of time to get there. For the record, it takes significantly less than an hour to get from my house to 4th & Highbury.
I thought I was well prepared as I brought leg warmers and a Buff to add layers in case I needed them on the way home and wore gloves. Leaving the house I figured the gloves would be too much in about five minutes and that I would be overheating. Instead I was chilly most of the way out, a light drizzle didn't help matters much.
The workout was hill repeats - the out of shape and/or recovering from racing/plague crew were to do two repeats of a steep hill (as opposed to the wall of doom the fit folk climbed) then two to four repeats of Spanish Banks hill.
As we road to the hills (doom & not-quite-doom) the rain went from drizzle to downpour and I was enviously eyeing clubmates' booty covers and rain jackets.
Doing the second not-quite-doom hill repeat I was thinking how stupid it was to be cold and soaking wet when I was recently recovered from the plague. Then I thought of biking home in the gloom when I didn't have adequate lights on my bike for long ride home. Poorly prepared and recently recovered - not a stellar combination. At the top of the hill I figured it wasn't my night and headed for home. (Apologies to the riders behind me who ended up following me several blocks out of their way before they figured out I was bailing.)
It was frustrating and a bit of a waste of time but entirely my fault for showing up unprepared.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I've been in my new place for five days and I'm wondering when I get my copy of the rules. Or, considering the political leanings of many of the denizens here, perhaps it's a manifesto? Regardless of whether it's a manifesto, guidebook, contract, etc. I know there has to be some sort of 'Rules of Living in East Vancouver', with a specific section dealing with not telling the rest of the city how cool it is.
C'mon, how else is it that there are so many incredible little parks, pretty houses, crazy gardens, wicked bike paths, neato stores and no one tells the residents of the sunset side of the city? Couldn't possibly be that the West-siders ignore their Eastern peers!
Until I get my copy of the rules I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about the great running track around Trout Lake, all the Co-op cars super close to me, or the bike route I discovered yesterday that could quite possibly be the coolest in the city (down by the tracks and the docks no less, who'd'a thunk it?). Oh yeah, what about New Brighton Beach Park - a beautiful outdoor pool hidden out of view close to the Second Narrows - can I talk about that? Someone in Safeway yesterday even spoke to me in line then let me go in front of her because all I was buying was an onion (when would that ever happen in Kits?) - will that treatment stop if I spill the beans?
So, until I know what I'm allowed to say I guess I'll just have to not say anything at all.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
So another post talking about how I'm getting back into training after being off sick. Hopefully I stay healthy and don't have to write another one of these for a long, long time!
The last week was a total wash as far as training went, I didn't do anything more energetic than pack and walk to/from the bus. As the week went on I kept feeling better and by moving day I was feeling pretty good but by that point I had a move to deal with so two more days of no workouts.
I went for a ride yesterday, I felt okay on the flats but any hill was tough. It felt like my lungs had shrunk! Craig (UBC rowing coach) assured that it'll take just over a week to get my lungs back to normal.
Today's swim was a nutty workout but it started well. We did six sets of:
- 100m with band (a.k.a. Alan's trying to kill us)
- 100m with pull bouy
- 100m free
- 100m free
- 100m free
The intervals for each set were based on our long distance pace - the first set was our LD pace plus 45 seconds, the next LD plus 35 seconds, the next LD plus 25, then 15, then 5, then 0. Craig and I decided our LD pace was 2:00 so the first set we went every 2:45. I could hold my pace for the first three sets but started falling off in the 2:15 set then had to give up leading the lane (Justine should have been in front anyway, it took wacking my toes for 100m to make her do it!) on the 2:05 piece. I picked it up a bit for the last set but it was tough.
Normally I'm all about the pacing and this would be frustrating but today I was just happy to be in the pool and completing a 3,150m set.
The run was hard but I was expecting that. My HR was way to high for most of it but I was enjoying running with the group. Alan has me getting back into the swing slowly so hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.
And how about the move? It went well. Paying for movers and someone to clean my place was totally worth it. I even managed to find someone to take all my boxes!
My Mum came out for two days to help out, having her there made a big difference. She did more lifting than I had intended but she's hard to stop! By Friday I was almost entirely unpacked and as of today I just a have a few boxes waiting to be sorted. I need some furniture (TV stand, shelving, etc.) so I have space to put the rest of my stuff. I'm also looking for a futon couch for my office so I can have somewhere for guests to stay. Know anyone looking to get rid of one?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
It's been a rough week - the cough I've been trying to kick for about two months got worse on Sunday and things kept going downhill all week. I went back to the doctor on Friday and she sent me for chest and sinus xrays and also changed the drugs I'm taking.
I decided against racing the Delta Tri as my attempt at running on Thursday was painful and I really needed my energy for packing.
I bottomed out yesterday - after a rough night I couldn't breath or stop coughing for the entire morning. Physically and emotionally I was toast. Any other weekend I'd snooze on the couch all day but I'm moving on Thursday so that wasn't an option. Luckily I have some pretty amazing friends - Helen and Julie answered my call for help and spent a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon inside helping me pack.
I'm still wiped out today but the cough is better. I'm picking away at the packing that's left, it's frustrating as I have very little energy and have to stop frequently but after all the work we put in yesterday I'm feeling more confident I'll get it all done in time.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I was searching for something in my Gmail account and found this email from my good friend Jason in response to a half iron race report:
Just read your report. wow, darlin'! Just... wow. I think you're so very cool for doing all this. I dug this up the other day...
So, yesterday I signed up for a triathalon. I am a truly terrible swimmer and I have a totally useless bike - can't wait to start!! I'm doing a sprint triathalon on March 13 so I have six weeks to be able to swim 750 metres continuously. Currently I can do 3 25 metre lengths then I have to stop otherwise I start inhaling the pool (not a good tactic for increasing your speed). Despite sucking at two out of the three disciplines I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. "
You've come a long way, no?
If nothing else I've learned to spell triathlon correctly!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Coach Drew has been keeping track of our time trial times, which is good as I seem to have given up entirely on documenting my training. The following looks pretty impressive, and I think the last time is a PR, but please keep in mind I was plague-struck for the Feb and Mar TT's:
1 mile (Feb 5/09): 7:28
2x1mile on 10min R (Mar 12/09): 7:24, 7:15
3x1mile on 8min R (Apr 9/09): 7:17, 7:18, 7:01
On the topic of plague, I've been taking Advair and Flonase for the past two weeks to deal with the flu/sinus infection/allergies trifecta that slowed me down in Feb/Mar. I figured at two weeks I was fine and quit taking them on Monday, now I'm (just a little) wheezy and short of breath - darn it I hate the idea of being reliant on drugs! However I do want to breath. Grr.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I had a decent ride yesterday, 1:15 when my schedule called for 1:45. I got cold and a bit tired so decided not to run afterward. When I'm coming back from an illness I'm always torn as to whether I'm taking the smart route or being a wimp, hopefully yesterday was the former!
Today's swim was time trials. A long warm up then 100m free, 50m kick and 1,000m free. I had low expectations, especially for the short stuff, but did okay:
100m free - 1:35
50m kick - 1:01
1,000m free - 19:33
I was shocked by the 100m time - I really didn't think I'd be under 1:40 considering the state my lungs are in. I'm thinking Lord Byng is either a short pool or the YWCA is long as I've only ever once been under 1:40 in Masters (of course we do two sets of 3 x 100m on TT day so maybe I don't go as hard?). The kick set hurt start to finish but a minute is pretty decent for me. The 1,000m was a bit slower than I would have been happy with if I was totally healthy, I'd like to be able to hold a 1:55 per 100m pace, but as swimmeister Bronwyn did 19:03 I'm thinking that goal might be unreasonable!
In non-training news - I had a fantastic afternoon at Joanne & Torbin's yesterday. Joanne threw an open house to celebrate Torbin's 40th and I headed over with the triathlete wave of party goers and, in typical me fashion, stuck around for most of the day. It was great to see a bunch of the ulti folk I haven't seen in ages - you stop looking for a couple years and they start to reproduce!
Today's post workout routine was coffee and a bagel-wich with Marie & Michelle at Solly's then a nap. Now I'm onto the laundry part of the weekend - live the excitement!!
Friday, March 27, 2009
I got fed up this morning with my lack of access to oxygen and hit the medical clinic. Told the doc I know the post-cold/flu cough can last forever but I would really, really like to be able to breath. Happily she took me seriously, however she also gave me a laundry list of drugs to take (no, no antibiotics). The multiple drugs with multiple doses to be taken several times a day begins to sound like, well, one of Alan's workouts.
I'm afraid I might get confused, take two puffs, run 400m, rest 3min then take one puff, run 800m ...
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The month started off well. Then the allergies kicked in. And then the allergies either weren't actually allergies but a virus or they morphed into one. Regardless, I've spent the last week sick and seriously annoyed about it.
I had the brilliantly stupid idea of trying to run on Friday. Exercising in the cold with hardcore chest congestion - not so smart. After that I gave up on anything more energetic than trying to keep up with my nephews. Tonight I will join the club for a track workout, probably a good thing I forgot my watch as that should encourage me to go slow(er).
The good news is that I spent a great weekend with the family out in the 'Wack. My Mum acted as my spending enabler and I ended up leaving the city with a lot more than I came with. I loaded up at Anita's Organic Mill, picking up two kinds of quinoa, nuts, raisins and cranberries. We then hit Chilliwack River Honey so I could replenish my buckwheat honey (dark as molasses and seriously yummy) and pick up a bunch of samples. We went to the eco clothing boutique and I grabbed some bamboo shirts, one for me and one for each of my nephews, then we tried to go to the new art gallery but thankfully it was closed - no telling what Mum would have encouraged me to buy there!
I had a blast with the boys. My cupcake kits were a hit and everyone got into the act decorating them. Dad went minimalist (one smartie to prove he tried) while Oscar's approach seemed to be more about eating the decorations than putting them on the cupcake. We hit the pool, the cool new park, Oscar tried riding without training wheels, both boys showed off their roller blading prowess, and Mopman was foiled. A pretty good weekend if you ask me.
Monday, March 16, 2009
It's pretty awesome to have a variety of friends with a variety of interests and experiences: it keeps conversations interesting, I can add to my store of little known facts, and I can get advice on all number of topics.
Say, for example, I needed to know the best way to create a ceremonial headpiece, why I'd call up sistersola. Or if my life depended on knowing something about bioinfomatics (like, what is it?) I would shoot penneydog's Mom a line. And if I somehow lost my life by not knowing about bioinfomatics, well then Captain Pants could figure out how it all went down, who was to blame and whether or not anyone gets a settlement.
So yesterday when a prospective roommate who seemed like a great fit in all categories except for one looked at my place, I took a lifeline and called friend. "Captain Cactus," I queried, "what does a hockey player who lives in an apartment do with their stinky gear?" "Not," I was quick to add, "that I am implying or in any way suggesting you currently have, previously had or ever will be in possession of stinky hockey gear." From his answer I deduced that a hockey player could share an apartment without 1) stinking out his roommate or 2) ticking off the other residents.
Yes, I have a Stinky Hockey Gear Consultant. The best thing about friends is they don't charge consulting fees!
Despite the fact that for the last week the average temperature in Vancouver has been at or below freezing I have spent the last seven days dying of allergies. What kind of stupid plants bloom in this weather!!
Just for fun, because allergies alone are so 2008, I have a mild sinus infection. Yay me!
I've never been great at getting out of bed and when I feel like I'm suffering from the worst flu in world it's even harder. Both Saturday and Sunday this weekend it took a serious effort of will-power to drag my sorry butt out of bed. After the standing up spins died down and I got a bit of water and breakfast into my system I felt more like it was just regular ol' flu, maybe with a dose of strep throat thrown in. It was not the death's door experience I had when my alarm went off but it was certainly not something that left me fit enough to exercise or, for that matter, to leave the house.
By the time I got my bike set up or my swim bag packed and I was heading out the door it was more like a nasty cold, limited risk of it leading to pneumonia but definitely something that should be coddled with warm tea and chicken soup, not a workout.
Half an hour into my bike or swim I felt fine (except for trying not to be lapped by Joanne & Kristina in the swim) and forgot how miserable my morning was. On Saturday I had a great 2.5 hour ride with some folks from the club, followed by a short brick run. I was pooped when I was done and allergies came back in full force in the evening but a batch of crepes with raspberry jam, lemon and sugar made it all okay. Sunday was an awesome 3,100m (3,200?? I didn't count) swim workout with an 1,800m main set followed by 1:15:00 run. Once we lost all sight of the fast folk on the run our group's speed became reasonable and we had a nice LSD pace run. I had a couple of kids from the club over for brunch as my crepes craving was still strong - with various contributions it turned into an impromptu feast.
Ignoring the first couple hours, both days were great! My coworkers don't understand why I come into work when I'm sick only to turn around and go home 30 minutes later - it takes me about 2 hours to figure out if what's killing me is allergies or a virus.
Hopefully the early start to the allergy season means an early end!
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Thanks to everyone for putting up with me as I have my little housing meltdown. Diane talked me off the ledge on Sunday and I decided to rescind my notice for my place and redouble my efforts to find a roommate.
Aside from convincing my landlord I'm a flake, it seems to be working well. I realized that more people look at housing ads with pictures so I added a bunch to my Rentsline and Craigslist ads and have had a lot of responses, mostly from people who don't seem to be crazy and one who seems like a good match. Either it's the pictures or more people want to move in March than in February. Diane might say it's also the power of positive thinking.
Keep sending those positive vibes!!!
Sunday, March 01, 2009
I haven't posted lately because I've been focussed on non-tri stuff.
My roommate's moving out (no surprise, it's been a long time coming) so I decided to stay here and find a roommate - hardly anyone even responded to my ads and no one wanted to take the place. Now I'm stuck with paying double rent and trying to find a place to live - so far the pickings are slim so I'm feeling pretty down as to my chances to find a places.
I don't want to move. I don't want to pay double rent for March (too late). I can't afford to live alone. I'm seriously stressed.
Kindly send some good vibes my way.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I know I'm an annoying morning person but that doesn't make it okay to take a swing at me!
Okay, I might be sensationalizing. Today was butterfly day in masters and when you have a crowded lane of swimmers all doing fly someone's likely to connect. And connect we did! I ended up with a fat lip and Rod walked away with bite marks on the back of his hand. Luckily triathlon has got me used to being kicked in the head (explains a lot, don't it!). The lip will go down, although I am hoping it's thoroughly impressive at tonight's club spin, and my TM joint will get back to normal soon so it's all good.
I think it made the lifeguard's day - he insisted on checking for concussion and making sure my neck was okay. We definitely added some excitement to the morning.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I haven't aged a bit! At least my eyes haven't changed in the last five years. I visited the eye doctor this afternoon to find that out. I also got the drops that made my pupils dilate so I looked like I'd just dropped acid. Fun stuff.
I'm working on my diet. No, don't mean diet in terms of restricting food intake to lose weight. I mean diet in terms of the overall overview of what I eat.
My big diet/eating success came sometime last year when I realized that having breakfast everyday had become a habit. Until last year I hadn't regularly eaten breakfast since high school and only then because my mother had made it a habit when I was growing up. When I moved out, eating breakfast everyday went out the window as quickly as vacuuming weekly did.
Strangely enough it was my early morning swims that got me back into eating the "most important meal of the day." I realized I had way more energy if I had something to eat prior to swimming. There was trial and error - gels, energy bars and anything with lots of dairy proved to be very bad ideas while oatmeal was perfect. Oatmeal had the added benefit of needing more time to make thus requiring me to get out of bed in time to make it, thus making me more able to catch my bus (don't ask me to explain Alison Logic, just accept that it works for me and move on).
Then it occured to me that if I could make and consume a bowl of oatmeal in time to leave the house at 6am I should be able to do the same when I was leaving at 7:30. Voila, a habit was born!
My second diet project was to spend less money on food. No, I didn't start dumpster diving or coupon cutting, I stopped buying lunch. For those people who are lifelong brown baggers this may not sound like a big deal, but for someone who is organizationally challenged and also happens to work in the midst of the lunchtime Mecca that is downtown Vancouver, this was a challenge. I stocked the work freezer with bagels, the fridge with veggies, made mega slow cooker meals and other dinners that produced lots of left overs and so far have managed not to buy lunch once in 2009. Not only have I been saving money, I'm eating far healthier meals.
Having had success with the no buying of lunch I decided to cut back on other unecessary dining out. You know, the take away Thai on nights when I just didn't want to cook or delivery pizza because I survived Tuesday. I'm giving myself one dine out meal a week (no carry over from past weeks and no borrowing from future ones), be that lunch, brunch, dinner, what have you so I can't waste it on something pointless. Exceptions to accommodate events such as the March/April birthday-o-rama (I have too many friends who're Aries) will have to be made but in general it's working to get me to spend a bit less. Oh yeah, and eat healthier food.
So my new dining challenge is fruit. I need to eat more. I've been trying to incorporate two fruits per day but haven't had much success. I manage lots of vegetables, just not so much on the fruit front. I'm not quite sure how to get this campaign to work, maybe I need some good Maoist sloggans or a serious incentive, I'm just feeling a little uncreative. Suggestions are welcomed.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Tonight's spin isn't going to happen. I got a call on my way home - my friend, sounding very quiet, asked me what I was up to and if I could hang out with her. Oh s#!#, she's been dumped was my immediate thought. One of those times that it sucks to be right.
My dealing with the freshly dumped solutions are alcohol and/or ice cream, neither of which are likely to be wanted so I've settled on dinner and renting a really dumb movie (Tropic Thunder). Maybe not the best solutions but my friends are almost as chronically single as I am so I'm not very practiced at this. Maybe getting her to pick up the food wasn't terribly sympathetic?
So, apologies to the men out there but tonight I will likely be cursing all mankind and listing off your shortcomings and failures as a gender. I don't really mean it!
Monday, February 02, 2009
I'm back into working with the coach on the personalized plan - today was the first workout from him of '09 and my reaction to Alan's plan was "What is he thinking!"
The workout was:
10 x 1SL(quick change)
2 x 2SL(quick change)
8 x 1SL(quick change)
where 1SL is one minute pedalling with one leg and 2SL is two minutes. NO WAY I could do 2 minutes single leg pedalling, I wasn't sure I could do 1 minute. I phoned Alan to confirm that he did indeed want me to do this and to explain to him the absolute impossibility of it.
But, brave and disciplined triathlete that I am, I set out to try my very best to do this insanity of a workout, knowing that failure would be an undeniable result but I would adapt and soldier through. And then I did the workout. As written.
One day in and I've already lost all credibility.
Most of January was very anti-social for me but I certainly made up for it this weekend.
I saw the Wrestler on Friday - great movie but very, very depressing. When it ended most of the theatre sat unmoving and silent through the credits, staring blankly at the screen. We ended up laughing because the four of us looked at one another, looked away, then did it again a couple of times, not knowing what to say. As I said, it's a great movie but I wouldn't recommend it if you can't stomach movies about unhappy people with messed up lives.
On Saturday I went for a spin at Teresa's and caught 3.85 episodes of Battlestar Galactica - I'm trying desperately to catch up on the current season so no one wrecks any of the surprises. Of course Saturday was the nice day on the weekend, but I'll have many weekends outside this summer so I'm not feeling guilty for staying in and watching BSG. That evening I went for dinner at Marie's and watched Mama Mia. The movie was actually really fun, I didn't expect to like it. I'm not sure how comfortable I am admitting I like it, sort of up there with being caught reading People Magazine (not that that would ever happen).
Sunday was swim and Super Bowl. It was the last day of our easy week so we didn't do any epic distance for the workout, I think it was 2300m for my lane. We finished the practice with a crazy relay where we had no idea who was winning but it was fun. That was followed by a run in miserable wet snow, luckily it was short (40min).
That afternoon was the big game chez Team Pink - football and a potluck tailgate feast. The theme for the potluck was Tex Mex so one of the guys decided he'd deep fry a turkey. Not sure how that fits the theme but what man is going to say no to deep frying a turkey? No one died and the building didn't burn down, which surprised some of us but made everyone happy. I went against the theme and the spirit of Super Bowl/tail gate partying by bringing a salad - everything else on the table was meat or fried or a dessert. I ate way, way too much but it was a fun day.
As usual, the team I decided to cheer for lost. It was a surprisingly close game and quite an exciting finish - I actually watched significant portions of the second half, possibly a first for me!
I haven't logged my training for the past week yet so no idea what the totals. I'll get around to that sometime soon.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I remembered my iPod (more specifically the armband for it) this morning and it made all the difference in my treadmill run.
One song had me tempted to rock out a la Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading (go to 1:54 in this clip to see what I mean) but I chickened out. Probably a good thing as my chances of tripping and flying off the thing, always high, would have tripled. I'll have to remember not to run in the gym to the Beastie Boys - I might get kicked out for shouting "No! Sleep! Till Brooklyn !"
Aside from having to crank the speed for one song, I kept an even pace and my HR was much more sensible than last week, averaging 159. That's still too high but I'm getting there.
Last night I did an easy 45 minute spin, doing a ten stroke excelleration every five minutes and I'm currently procrastinating and putting off my core workout. Alright, I'm off to crunch!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Phew - my first full training week of 2009 is done! I seem to have survived it - no real humbling moments as I've learned to check my ego at the door for the month of January. If I'm going to take time away from biking and running I have to expect to take some time to get back into shape.
One big thing I realized this week is that 2009 is my fifth year doing tri's. Five years! I still feel like a novice, there's so much still to learn and so many areas still to improve in that it's hard to think of myself as an experienced vet of the tri world.
Today's club swim was fantastic. I like the longer pieces that are all about pacing so today's main set of 6x200m at 1500m pace was right up my alley. I tried not to be too openly happy about it though as Teresa may have fed me my pull buoy!
Unfortunately Marie, ex-varsity swimmer and ex-swim coach, has injured herself and can't swim right now. Her loss, however, is our gain as she's coaching us folk in lanes 3 & 4. She's a fantastic teacher - super positive and great at keeping it simple.
4x25m build in the 25 on 25m easy
4x50m at pace
Um ... yup there were drills. A bunch of 'em.
6x200m at consistent 1500m pace:
1 - untimed
2 - 3:55
3 - 3:55
4 - 3:50
5 - 3:51
6 - 3:50
200m - mix of back, breast, free and dolphin dive.
Total distance - 3050m
I felt I was going too hard on the first couple of 200's but as I descended on the second set I guess I was doing something right.
Apres swim I was smarter than last week and only went for an hour as opposed to following Teresa for 1.5 hrs. My HR was still too high but lower than last week so I think I'm either better with my pace or kicking the dregs of the flu. Or both.
According to the Slowtwitch training log the following are my weekly totals:
other 1:12 0 mi*
bike 2:57 14.7 mi**
swim 3:30 7,822.8 yds
run 2:28 13.7 mi**
walk 0:45 2.5 mi
Total 10:52 35.3 mi
I can't figure out how to change the weekly totals to metric (hey, it's free so who am I to complain) and can't be bothered to do the math right now. As imperial measurements mean nothing to me the numbers are a little pointless!
* This is mostly core and shoulder work but I also threw in some sidestepping.
** Much as I'm tempted, I don't include distance for spins.
*** Except for my 30min dreadmill run, all run distances are a guess
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Thursday night's run was my first run back with the club since sometime in October and my first intensity workout outside of the pool in about the same time. The long layoff plus the flu hang-over made for a tough evening.
The workout was 15 minutes running a continuous one block loop - going hard on the two uphill sides of the square and easy on the two downhill sides. Halfway through my lungs hurt - partly from the cold and partly from being unaccustomed to working so hard. Teresa, also recovering from the plague, and I ran together and tried to keep at a reasonable pace. Once we finished and Andrew was explaining the next portion my lungs rebelled and I went into a coughing fit. I've decided to count the hacking as a core workout (hurts like one) and may enter it in my training log as such!
We ran back to the community centre and did A', B's and C's then a long stretch session inside.
I tried an easy treadmill run yesterday at the Y and realized that going slow on a treadmill is ridiculously hard. Treadmills are fun when you want to do all out sprints and hard running, not simply because you (think you) look cool but it's just way more interesting. Going slow, however, is nothing but boring. In the end it wasn't a terribly effective workout - my heart rate stubbornly stayed at about 80% of max and I stubbornly refused to run slower so it was really 30 minutes of junk miles.
This sucks right now but give me two or three weeks and I'll be where I want to be.
So the snow is pretty much gone and I can finally ride outside now - I hate the tedium of trainer rides so this is fantastic news!
It's 2 degrees (C) outside. Not quite freezing but still way too cold for an enjoyable ride, no way I want to go out in that.
I've spent the morning waffling, trying to decide which is the lesser evils - I'm feeling too wimpy to dig up the perserverence to do a trainer ride but too wimpy to head out into the cold. I may have to brew up another cup of coffee and read one more chapter in my book before I make the final decision.
By the time I finally got myself psyched to ride I looked outside and the fog had lifted for the first time in three days. The choice was obvious so I layered up and headed out.
It was great to be off the trainer but definitely chilly. When I was near the furthest point out I lost feeling in fingers but happily had some uphill to get my blood pumping. The plan was to go 1:20 and I was close at 1:16, it was too cold for me to bother looping around the block for four minutes so I ended it there.
After coming in I was so focussed on warming up (made coffee and a hot lunch) that I sort of forgot to stretch. Eventually I'll get back into the swing of things and remember all these key details of training.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This week will be my first full week of workouts. I still have the post-flu cough but otherwise feel mostly normal.
Masters has been good but, annoyingly, everyone who signed up is showing up so the lanes are a bit crowded. I'm sure it will thin out in February
On Monday we worked on recovery - Paul said I need to get my elbows higher, which meshes with Marie on Sunday telling me I'm swimming "flat." Fixing one should fix the other. Yesterday was working on the catch, specifically the start of the catch. Wonder if the next swim will be pull finish day?
On Monday I got on my trainer for an easy 45min spin. Of course this would be the one rare evening when my roommate shows up, I was fairly antisocial as my trainer is pretty loud. As always, the last five minutes seemed to drag forever.
Last night I decided I didn't want to deal with going to the club spin (involves signing out a Co-op car, possibly digging it out of a snow bank, loading and unloading and getting to bed late. Yes I'm a wimp!) so I spun at home. Alan gave me a crazy workout that the other club coach had kiboshed for last week's club spin. I knew I wouldn't get to the end but it seemed like an interesting challenge and, equally important, would be simple to figure out. Here it is in all its glory:
- 15 sec single leg change sides 15 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 30 sec single leg change sides 30 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 45 sec single leg change sides 45 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 60 sec single leg change sides 60 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 75 sec single leg change sides 75 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 90 sec single leg change sides 90 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 120 sec single leg change sides 120 sec other leg 30 sec easy·
- 2:15 min single leg change sides 2:15 min other leg 30 sec easy·
- 2:30 min single leg change sides 2:30 min other leg 30 sec easy·
- 2:45 min single leg change sides 2:45 min other leg 30 sec easy·
- 3:00 min single leg change sides 3:00 min other leg 30 sec easy
I was okay up to 75 seconds then the wheels started to fall off (figuratively). I tried for 90 and failed epically. Knowing that continuing would be a waste of time I decided to start from the beginning again and do three repeats of the 15s to 60s build. Alan says he wants me to be able to do a smooth 3 min OLD by September so I guess I'll be pulling out this workout again. Actually, I think would be a good benchmark and worth doing once a month or so.
I join the club for the run tonight, I have to remember to take is slow, slow, slow, then tomorrow morning will either be core or an easy long swim in the am and a movie in the pm. Maybe a even dreadmill run before the movie?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
After making potstickers last week I had head of sui choy in the fridge that I didn't quite know what to do with. Google to the rescue - I love the internets!
Sui Choy (Napa Cabbage) Salad
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar [I think 1/3 or less would do]
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tblsp soya sauce
1 cup slivered almonds
1 package instant noodles (toss the flavour packet)
1/8 cup sesame seeds
One head Sui Choy (Napa cabbage)
Bring dressing to a boil and then let it cool. Make sure sugar is dissolved.
In a seperate pan, place all the crunchy bits. On medium heat, move them around in the pan unitl they are toasted. Remove, and cool.
Chop up the siu choy thinly and put in a big bowl.
Stir in the sauce, then the crunchy bits..refrigerate and then eat.
Number of Servings: 6
On a different note, I'm reading Epictetus' "Discourses" and came across a quote that seems apt for this time of year:
We must endure a winter training, and can't be dashing into situations for which we aren't yet prepared.
A few firsts today:
- First club workout of the year
- First run of the year
- First ice bath of the year
- First time ever running in a swim suit
The club workout was great, although 45 minutes in I was wondering if the new 1.5 hour swim format was a good idea. It's a long time to be in the water. We did a whole pile of drills (I've already forgotten most of them) and the main set was 10 x 100m on 30sec R, descending 1-5 and 6-10. It was a fun set, one I'll do again on my own for sure, and it was nice to know I wasn't as out of shape as I'd thought.
The run was an overly ambitious (aka - stupid) 1:16:00 with Teresa. Considering that my last run was before Christmas and I've been sick or post-sick since the 26th it probably would have been smart to start with a shorter distance. The run was super slow, frustratingly so at points, but Teresa and I had a great conversation - things got philosophical, which is always cool (I also had a few rants, not so philosophical but I'd had a lot of coffee this morning).
The ice bath was 1 minute of hell, 8 minutes of "I don't like this" and 1 minute of "am I done yet?" As I hadn't prepared my usual "ice bergs" (water frozen in 1L yogurt containers) I didn't think the bath would be too cold. I didn't take into account, however, the effect of cold weather on my aparment building's water supply. It took about an hour after I was out of the bath until I stopped shivering.
And the last first? No, I'm not preparing for minimalist tri attire this season. And yes, I did wear something on top of the bathing suit. Lots of layers of something.
This morning I forgot my towel, which was survivable, and underwear, which was a bit more of a challenge. Joanne offered to lend me her bathing suit (dry & clean, she brought two this morning) and I figured as I was only planning to run 20-30 minutes it was worth a try. The swim suit was great to run in, in fact I forgot I had on something different and it was only when I went to take off my heart rate monitor strap when I got home that I remembered. I'll have to try biking in one and see how that feels. Maybe I will go minimal in a race this season?