Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Miscellaneous Mumbo-Jumbo

Well, it’s that time again ~ time for a random assortment of my thoughts and happenings from the past couple weeks.

As I sit here thinking about what I’ve been up to and what to write about, these are the words and ideas that popped into my brain: Training, Orlando, TessiNERDian 5km, Sri, First Oly, Poop-y Water, Sooke, Le Tour Withdrawl, and finally, long weekend!

Random, non?

So, where to begin… Well, how ‘bout Orlando?

Shane and I spent last week in sunny Florida, getting our Disney on. Well, it wasn’t exactly a vacation, as I was in Orlando for a conference with work. The Tessitura Learning & Community Conference to be exact. Tessitura is the ticketing/development software we use at work and it is used by hundreds of other arts organizations through North America, Australia and the UK. So, imagine a group of Arts nerds mixed with a group of IT nerds, and well, you have the Tessitura Conference. Shane has accurately nicknamed the attendees of this conference – TessiNERDians. He would be correct. Sadly, I suppose I am one of these nerds eh?

Anyway, I digress… The conference is pretty full on with training and info sessions, but this year the organizers scheduled in a fair bit of downtime as well, so Shane and I took advantage of this and spent many an hour at the Disney theme parks.

We road tested cars, soared above California, and travelled the world at Epcot; won the golden Fast Pass at the Magic Kingdom which allowed us to easily launch into space (mountain) before splashing back down to earth. We rock n’ roller coastered our way to terrifying towers and saw stunt spectaculars at Hollywood Studios before venturing into the African Safari and climbing Mount Everest at Animal Kingdom! Phew, that was a lot of stuff to pack into 8 days! It was hot, it was crowded and it was EXPENSIVE, but it was also a lot of fun. I’m definitely a sucker for Disney (and lego bull dogs).

As for training while in Orlando, well, not a lot happened. I did get in a few (HOT) runs and even participated in a 5km fun run/walk that the conference puts on, but really not much else (other than a heck of a lot of walking) took place. I think the downtime may have been needed though and I’m hoping it helped recharge me as I head into the later part of the tri season.

Now, back to the 5km fun run/walk. Last year I was the 4th female overall (just missing out on the prizes) so I vowed to make it to the (virtual) podium this year… and I did! I was the 1st female overall (and top 5 or 6 overall, overall). While the competition really wasn’t that challenging (and the race was only 4.5km according to my Garmin), I had a good run in very very HOT and HUMID weather. I was on pace for a PB and, in all honesty, I wasn’t even pushing as hard as I could have. So yeah, it was my first win, and well, I’ll take it! Oh, and I guess that means I’m the fastest female TessiNERDian, haha.

Back in Victoria and back to reality, I’ve settled back into my regular training routine over the last couple days.

This weekend I will be racing the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Triathlon. This will be my first time participating in this event, and will be my first Olympic distance triathlon ever! It kind of shocks me sometimes that I’ve never raced this distance. That said, the CRD has posted a health advisory notice regarding Hamsterly Beach at Elk Lake and the lake may get closed due to high levels of fecal coliform (yuck). So, I guess I could potentially be racing in my first Duathlon this weekend. Either way, I guess it will be something new. Regardless of what the race turns out to be (tri or du), I’ve been approaching this event more as a hard training day and don’t have much expectation. In the end, I’m just hoping to get out there, have fun and feel good at the end of it.

I’ll admit, the following weekend in Sooke is when I really hope to pull things together and have a kick ass race!

Other random notes… I’m totally going through le Tour withdrawl. So, a picture of Johnny Hoogerland’s cut up white butt is in order I think. Getting slammed into a barbed wire fence by a French media car really upped this guy's prominence on the internet eh?

And finally, just yesterday I realized that this coming weekend is BC Day and a long weekend! What a great surprise.


Friday, July 15, 2011

J’adore le Tour de France!

I will admit that a large majority of my bike workouts have been on the trainer lately. This is not because of the bad weather, but more so, because I find the best way to start the day, is to pop the bike on the trainer, turn on le Tour and spin away.

I can’t get enough of the Tour really; it has that similar all-encompassing appeal that I feel when the Olympics are on. How can anyone possibly want to watch anything else?

Anyway, other than spending too much time on the trainer and not enough time on the road (although, I did have a great 2hr ride last weekend), training has been going pretty well. The aerobic block has been a nice change from the mass quantities of speed work and I am actually starting to feel slightly refreshed.

I feel like I should be blogging more, but really, I don't feel like I have anything super important, witty or interesting to say.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Simulation Race

July 3rd I had originally planned to race the Vancouver Sprint, but after having been sick again (the stupid cold that I had fought a few weeks earlier had reared its ugly head once again), I realized it might be good to stay home for the long weekend to relax and try and get better once and for all. A bonus to this was that I figured I might actually get some chores done (nope), and even save some money (nope, I bought new bike shoes – although I did refrain from buying the $50 Lululemon tank top so that's something right?).

So, instead of racing in Vancouver, Kirsten, Tyler (a.k.a. T-Rex) and I did a sort of mock triathlon – a “simulation race” if you will.

We started our day at Thetis (with the swim, naturally). The plan was to get in a bit of a warm up, then swim one loop of the small island. For timing, the first person out was to start the stopwatch when their wetsuit was fully removed, and then stop/lap it when the next person was fully out of their suit, etc. etc. so that we knew our intervals for the start of the bike/run portion.

After our warm up (if you can call a few arm swings and a very short swim a warm up) was complete, we lined up, three wide, chest deep in the waters of Thetis lake. On a count of 3-2-1-GO we were off!

I knew I should be able to beat Kirsten and T-Rex in the water, but I also knew that I needed to build up a good chunk of time if I wanted any chance of holding them off on the bike and run (especially the run) so I tried to find a good pace and rhythm right from the start. It seemed to work and I was pretty comfortable through the majority of the swim. I was fully peeled out of my wetsuit in a time of 17:48.

Kirsten emerged next, followed shortly after by Tyler.

What can you say about T1? Well, longest T1 ever! If this was an Ironman, you would have been disqualified for staying in the tent too long, haha. All jokes aside, it was actually planned out to be a bit of a break between swim and bike, as we headed out to CY Hampson Park in Sidney for a 2 loop bike TT and an out and back 5km run along Lochside Drive.

Since I was first out of the water I got a head start for the next leg of the ‘race’. The bike leg started with a quick transition and then it was time to hammer! The 2 loop course Kelly had laid out was relatively flat and for the most part felt fairly fast (aside from the fact that it felt like we had a headwind no matter which way we were riding – somebody please tell me, how does that happen?).

The course was just shy of 20k (I think about 17.5-18km) and seemed to be over before I knew it (it was definitely a confidence boosting ride). Because of the layout, I was able to catch glimpses of the other two at various points on the route, although it was hard to tell if they were gaining on me or not, so that kept me pushing as hard as I possibly could. Thankfully, I made it to the end of the bike without being passed. *Mini, self-congratulatory fist-pumping ensued

In a perfect world we would have been able to go straight from bike to run like in a real race, but since we needed to lock up our bikes, we had to do the whole finishing time/stopwatch interval thing like we did with the swim. So, needless to say, T2 was also long and not uber-realistic (although, it was not “change of venue” long).

So, now, it all came down to the run. I again got a bit of a head start due to how we finished the previous legs, but I knew both Kirsten and Tyler were (well, are) much stronger runners than me. If they passed me on this leg, that was it, they would have won the ‘race’. Even though it was just for fun, my competitive nature still took over and I was shaking in my sneakers as I began to run.

It was hot and the course felt like it had a few more (long gradual) hills than expected. I tried to run as fast as I could and just hold my pace for as long as possible. At one point a guy riding by on a funny little bike told me I was running 16km/h. I don’t know why, but I found this interaction quite funny. I made the turn around and knew there was only 2.5k to go. I saw Kirsten, and then Tyler and while I had a good distance on them, I also knew they were both totally capable of reeling me back in. The final 500m to 1km of the run felt like it took forever! I will admit to going from being afraid to look over my shoulder to see where they were, to having quick peeks, to finally within about 25m of the finish line, having a good look and realizing I had made it!

I was gutted, but wow, what a fun day. I think it was just what I needed – working at race effort, without the same pressure as a race.

From here, my training is going to focus on more aerobic level work for the next couple weeks, as I was starting to feel a bit of a burn out from all the speed work (and obviously, from all my sickness lately, my immune system is a little stressed). After chatting with Kelly, I think it will be a nice change of pace and should be good for me both physically and mentally.

At this point, I’m planning to close out July with the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Olympic Distance Triathlon. I’m more interested in doing this event for the length and will probably treat it more as a hard training day than a full out race. The following week, I plan to race in Sooke (sprint) before getting back into the final push before Kelowna at the end of August.

Fingers crossed it all goes according to plan :)