Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lazy Days

It’s been a while since I last wrote… I suppose it’s because I haven’t really been doing any training and therefore haven’t had much to write about. Actually, come to think of it, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I haven’t been going on any long runs or rides where my mind starts to drift and I start penning the latest entry in my head. Regardless here I am. I'm finding I have missed writing on the blog as much as I have missed training... well, almost.

The week after the half marathon was a pretty typical recovery week I think. It consisted of some easy spin sessions on the trainer as well as some equally easy swims. I hadn't been in the water since the Sooke tri on September 13th so it felt both great and weird to be back in the pool. Actually, it really felt like it had been forever! My swim times were incredibly slow… and while I know I was supposed to be taking it easy , it still kinda made me gasp when I’d hit the lap counter after 500m and be 40 to 50 seconds slower than I knew I could be. Hopefully I was just having an off week… yes, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.

After that nice recovery week, training got derailed (although, this was a planned derailment) once again as I had to have a minor surgery to remove a lovely little foreign object floating around in my abdomen (long story). The surgery did come pretty much at the perfect time though (one week after the half and thankfully not before it), as it has allowed for a bit of a rest, relaxation and recovery before we really get going with training, you know, for that little race next August.

Last week, immediately following my ‘procedure’ I found myself laid up, sitting on the couch – incredibly antsy at one moment, but not wanting to do anything at the same time. The rest was welcomed with open arms.

But that was last week… this week I’m ready to get back at it. The 'guilt' of not exercising every day is starting to hit me. I find myself thinking about setting up my bike in the living room and watching a movie while I pedal to my heart’s content as the rain pounds down outside… thinking about that lovely lingering chlorinated smell on my skin after a morning swim session (am I the only one that loves that?). Heck, I’m even ready to break out Rusty’s new reflective run vest (it is sooo cool – and functional!) for an early morning jaunt around the neighbourhood. I suppose I should enjoy this down time though as I’m probably going to be longing for my nice warm bed as I slog through the early morning rain in the not so distant future.

Kirsten has also been taking some time off these past couple weeks. Her 'rest' wasn't quite as scheduled however, as she is forced to deal with what I believe is her first experience with Plantar Fasciitis. I’m sure she’s tired of hearing how it’s better to rest now and get healed than push through and make things worse. I will say though, that it’s a crazy (and really really hard) thing to go from working out every day, planning your life around your next training session to being told you can’t (whether by a doctor, a physio, your coach or even your own body – shouting at you to just STOP!). So Kirsten, I feel for you.

All that said, I think I had a much easier go of it during this down period than Kirsten did, as this isn’t the first time I’ve been told to take a break and well, this time mine wasn’t so unexpected. I had been aware of my impending surgery for about a month and new the game plan would be a few weeks off post RVM to take care of things before the initial build that will be November and December…

I guess, sometimes it’s nice to sit down, eat some Halloween candy and not worry about your missed interval session… and well, sometimes it’s nice to get back at it! I can’t wait for this ‘lazy’ period to be over!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I wish...

... I was more like Chrissie Wellington.

For the obvious reasons of course [if you don't know who she is, Google her], but also for the fact that she seems to have a smile - a genuine smile - on her face through every race.

I need to smile more while I'm racing. I do enjoy it, so why not show it?

Anyway, heading into a bit of a rest and recovery period over the next two weeks before we really start training for Ironman. After chatting with Kelly last night it made me even more excited for the year to come. I can't wait :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Race Report – RVM Half Marathon

I'm incredibly happy to report that I met my goals for this race!

Some of the smaller goals were:
- Making it to the start line – check!
- Making it to the finish line – check!
- Staying positive throughout – check!
- Getting a decent race photo – yet to be confirmed ;)

But my biggest goal for this race was to finish under 2hrs and I’m so happy to put a big CHECK! beside that one. My official clocking was 1:54:23!

I think if I looked back at my emails sent to Kelly [my coach for those who are reading this and asking, “whose Kelly?”] last year after the half, that I had said to him my new goal was to go sub 2hr, even if it was 1:59:59. So to come in more than 5 minutes below that 2hr mark, and more than 12 minutes faster than my previous PB, it felt pretty good.

Of course, it’s not all about the time is it?

I don’t think you could ask for a better morning, it was sunny and warm, but not overly so. I got up about 5am to have breakfast and a small cup of coffee and to just relax a bit before having to get in the car and drive. We met at my parent’s about 6:15 and headed into town. It was nice to have enough time to get to the starting area and wait in the porta-potty line without feeling rushed (last year was a much different story). I waited as long as possible to take off my warm clothes and finally around 7:20 I did so and headed into the masses on Menzies. I had a nice chat with a girl beside me about triathlon and before I knew it, we were off.

Around the legislature and onto Wharf felt a bit slow, just navigating through the crowds, but soon enough I found a spot and settled into a nice pace. I went out a bit quicker than I expected, although not so quick that I felt like I should slow down. I had a couple moments where I thought to myself "can I really sustain this pace the whole race?" but every time I thought that I just told myself to sustain it as long as possible and if I got to the point where I couldn't, I would deal with it at the time.

I had written down my pace times for the 5, 10 & 15k markers on my hand, but hardly looked at my watch after the first few km's when I realized I was a bit ahead of my goal pace and so I just ran. I had read an interesting article from the Vancouver Sun the day before the race about the power of positive thinking and the use of repetitive thought and so decided to give it a try. My mantra throughout the race (which I repeated to myself who knows how many times) was, "short quick, short quick..." on every uphill and "enjoy the down" on every downhill. Luckily I was repeating this is my head or everyone around me would have probably thought I was crazy.

I had a few moments of self-doubt and negative thoughts around the 15k marker when I experienced a bit of pain, but managed to pull myself out of it fairly quickly and carry on. I think I did slow down a bit in the final 3-4k as my legs got a bit heavy on the last little uphill right by Ogden Point, but I knew I was going to make it under 2hrs unless something went terribly wrong, so that pulled me through all those final turns and into the finish line.

After making my way through the food tent I was congratulated by Shane, my friend Laura who was visiting from Vancouver, Tyler and my parent’s. We chatted a bit before Mom, Dad and Tyler headed to the car to drive out to Oak Bay Marina and locate Kirsten on the marathon course. Shane, Laura and I met up with another friend, Robyn, and the four of us spent the next couple hours cheering on all the racers from the day (Laura and Robyn, thanks for coming out, it was so great to see you guys). Kirsten came in around 4:20 on the marathon. I know she would have liked to have been faster, but I think she did an absolutely amazing job (especially since she was battling some major hip and foot pains).

All in all, it was a great day.

A big thank you to all the volunteers and to everyone who came out to cheer!

Friday, October 9, 2009

In honour of Alex Trebek ~ "Potpourri"

If you don't watch Jeopardy, you probably have no idea what the title of this post refers to, even if you do, you still might not get it because maybe it's just one of those things that I found funny in my head and really makes no sense at all…. Anyway, to sum up this little bit of rambling (and explain the title), this post is just like the "Potpourri" category on Jeopardy, it is simply a mish-mash of all the things running through my brain as race day approaches. So here goes...

Thought 1: Survival of the brightest?

Yesterday morning I headed out for my last easy run before the race on Sunday (aside from race prep on Saturday that is) and it sure felt like it took everything I had to survive it… but I’m not talking about survival from a running standpoint. There are definitely those days when your legs just feel heavy or you can’t seem to find your breath, yesterday wasn’t one of those days. I felt okay, a bit tired and heavy footed out of the gates, but okay.

The survival I’m talking about was different. Yesterday morning it seemed like every person in Shawnigan decided to head to work about the time I went out for my run. Every car was in a rush, flying down the road with high beams on (thank goodness I was brightly illuminated and highly reflective), hugging the shoulder like they don’t normally do (the guys in the pick-up trucks are the worst!). Top all that off with a dog who not only decided he needed to pee on EVERYTHING this morning, but suddenly had a new fascination with trying to turn (into traffic) to look at each and every car as they whizzed by. What the heck Rusty? An interesting outing to say the least, but *knock on wood* I did survive and am now ready to race on Sunday. Which leads me to....

Thought 2: Nerves and Excitement

I'm really looking forward to this race. It's an odd mix of feeling nervous and excited. I know I can do the distance - there is no doubt in my mind - I can do it. But, I have moments where I think the goal I have set for myself is realistic and moments where I'm not so sure, which makes me nervous.

Thought 3 – List It

I'm a bit OCD when it comes to lists. I probably make more lists than I need to (packing lists, to-do lists, grocery lists). So, it seems fitting that I have my pre-race checklist (in no particular order).

- Clip toenails
- Get some good rest (I had a fabulous sleep last night - hoping for the same tonight)
- Eat some “carb-y” things without unintentionally "fat-loading" instead
- Pick up race package and check out the race expo (Yay! I love this part of race weekend... hopefully there is some good free 'swag')
- Enjoy a nice epsom salts bath
- Think positive and visualize myself finishing the race in my goal time
- Hydrate, hydrate and then hydrate some more
- Plan out the timeline for race morning so I don't feel rushed or stressed heading to the start line

Thought 4 – Thanks

Last but not least, I just wanted to thank everyone who has been reading this and has commented (whether directly to me or in the comments). It’s really great to know I have so many people supporting me and it’s also really special to have someone tell you that your words have made them laugh, or cry, or even helped inspire them in some small way. So thank you.

And I think that is all for now. Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend! (especially Kirsten, you're gonna kill it in the full).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ode to the Carbo-Load

As 'marathon week' is now upon us and the RVM-half is less than 6 full days away, I find myself thinking about the good old carbo-load. As such, an ode... (be sure to sing it in the tune of "These are a few of my Favourite Things" please)

Perfect spiced potatoes and roast veg risotto
Raviolis in rose sauce with bottom less bread
Peanut butter on bagels and a baker’s creation
These are a few of my carbo-load things

Rice cakes for snacking and sushi a plenty
Perogies in garlic with fresh pesto pasta
Cool berry smoothies and choco-chip Clif bars
These are a few of my carbo-load things

Cheerios and chai tea and cinnamon oatmeal
Apples in caramel with yogurt and banana
Baked spinach rotini and herbed focaccia bread
These are a few of my carbo-load things....