Friday, February 24, 2012

I’m running Boston!

The Boston Athletic Association 5k that is.

I was recently cruising the B.A.A. site, trying to buff up on some of my Boston Marathon trivia for when we are in the City of Champions this April to cheer Kirsten on, and noticed they have a little 5k the day before the big show. (I say little, but the number of entrants will probably rival some of Victoria’s biggest races).

Since I’ve never run a stand-alone marathon (I prefer to get a good 3.8km swim and 180km bike warm up done first) I don’t think running the Boston Marathon is, realistically, anywhere in my near future. So a fun, fast and flat (I think the website said that somewhere) 5k finishing at the Boston Marathon finish line will have to suffice… and you know, I think it will be pretty cool and I’m actually quite excited about it. (Oh, and I’ll be gunning for a PR of course).

Other than registering for 5k races, this past week of training has once again been quite solid. I had to cut one run slightly short due to time constraints, but otherwise, I have managed to get in all my workouts (even strength training, which is usually the first thing to get cut even though I know it is important).

[Note: this wasn’t intended to be a ‘Random Friday Fact’ style post, but if it turns out a little random and all over the place, well, please don’t hold it against me].

So, let’s see…

Last weekend the skies seemed to open up and let forth a fury of rain and wind just in time for my bike workout. Unfortunately that meant I got to spend 2.5 hours on the trainer wishing it would get sunny (which it did – once I was done my ride). Fortunately, Shane joined me for the majority of TrainerFest 2012 and we got to spend some quality time together on our anniversary. Also fortunately, I think long(ish) trainer rides are good for working on one’s mental toughness, so that’s a win.

Speaking of, I’m pretty sure I will likely get to work on this mental toughness again this coming weekend (TrainerFest 2012 part deux?), as the forecast of rain and snow does not bode well for a long ride outside. Crashing on icy roads and anticoagulants usually don’t mix.

Aside from long trainer rides, I’ve had some moderately sized runs and longish swims this past week as well – most of which have gone really well.

Take this morning’s run for example – wind, rain and even a little sleet, and it was still pretty fabulous. I think because I actually kept a nice positive outlook and didn’t worry too much about pace or anything.

That said, Thursday morning I was just about ready to kill one of the women at the pool whom I ended up sharing the lane with. I wasn’t quite as fired up as this hilarious blogger/mediocre athlete, but sometimes the lack of pool etiquette really does irk me. Thankfully, my angst did offer some distraction and my 3.5k workout felt like it went by in the blink of an eye (although I would have preferred to finish the workout feeling happy and not murderous, but whatevs).

So, as always, there have been ups and downs to the week, but for the most part, I’m pretty happy with it on the whole. Once again, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Let’s Get Random!

aka. Random Friday Facts

1) The title of this post was inspired by the Tostitos commercial where the guy is standing in the lineup at the grocery store and he is daydreaming and says out loud "Let's Get Naked!" However, I have searched "Tostitos Commercial _______" in various different ways on YouTube looking for a video of this commercial and could not find it anywhere. So now I am wondering if I am the only person who remembers it.

2) No matter what time I leave the house on a swim morning, and no matter what time I arrive at the rec centre, I feel like I have trouble actually getting into the pool before 6:10 and I have no idea why.

3) I have my very first swim cap worn in a triathlon (Tri of Compassion 2007) saved in an old shoebox. It is alongside my Ironman Canada swim cap from 2010. I doubt I will ever wear either of these caps again.

4) The best banana I have ever tasted was from Grenada. It was purchased by our tour guide, Martin Lawrence (yes that was his name) ~ aka. Mellow Yellow, during an Island Tour.

Fun fact: Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" due to the production of nutmeg and mace crops of which Grenada is one of the world's largest exporters.

Martin "Cat Eye" Lawrence. aka ~ Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow purchasing the BEST bananas ever! He was a great tour guide.

5) The best mango I have ever tasted was from Mexico. It was provided by our tour guide, Pablo (can't remember his last name - he definitely wasn't as special as Mellow Yellow), during a visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It was an Ataulfo mango.

Fun fact: Ataulfo mangos are golden yellow and generally weigh between 6 and 10 ounces, with a somewhat oblong shape and a gold-blushed yellow skin. To eat "the best mango I have ever tasted" we peeled it like a banana (see how I tied that into number 4).

I could not find a photo of the mango or Pablo, but this was the view from the reserve's guest centre. The lagoon is on the right, with the ocean on the left. It was beautiful.

6) Sometimes when I think about going to New Zealand in October, I feel kind of overwhelmed. Not so much by the race, but more so when trying to decide what to do with our time exploring the country after the race. New Zealand looks amazing and I feel like we won't have enough time!

7) Kirsten is going to race the Boston Marathon in 2 months minus one day. I'm pumped. I would imagine she is more pumped, but also more nervous.

8) I sometimes think I like training more than I like racing, but races definitely motivate me to do the training. Interesting how that works isn't it?

9) Often, when I am running I come up with great ideas/thoughts for a blog post, but can rarely remember those thoughts once I am actually in front of a computer.

10) I ran this morning along the waterfront. It was rainy and grey and my legs felt a little heavy, but the temperature was perfect and the world was wonderfully quiet and I just really enjoyed being out running. It was a great way to start the day.

11) Golf umbrellas do not belong on crowded sidewalks. Just saying.

12) Tomorrow Shane and I will celebrate 6 years of marriage and 13 years of being a couple (gawd, how old am I?). Our day and weekend will definitely include some swimming, biking and running. I may be more excited about this then he is.

13) I saw Peter Reid downtown twice in the last two weeks. The first time I was with Shane and his reaction was "Who is Peter Reid?" Obviously we don't share the same tri-geek sensibilities. When I mentioned Shane's reaction to Kirsten, she was just as appalled as I was. Who is Peter Reid? Really Shane? Really?

14) I think it is pretty cool to live in a city where you can just happen to see some of the stars of our sport (past and present), walking down the street, grabbing a coffee at your favourite coffee shop or out on the trails running around the Lakes.

Well, I suppose that is enough randomness for one day. On the training front, I can say that this week has been really good. I would say if I had to pick two words to describe it, they would be solid and consistent. I’m feeling like I’m in a good place mentally and physically right now and have been pleased with how strong I feel lately. That has got to be a good sign.

And.... I'm out! Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pumped Up Kicks

I found my motivation again!

Turns out there are many different things that help to motivate me (Rusty, new shoes, quicker pace times, Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked…).

Last Thursday night, after dropping Shane off at the airport for a whirlwind weekend trip to Calgary, I could not bring myself to get out the door to do my tempo run. It was dark, it was rainy and it was cold. I opted for a night at home with the pooch and gave into the couch and some seriously bad television (Jersday anyone?), with the promise to myself that I would do my tempo run Friday morning before work.

And that I did. I woke up early and headed down to Colwood to do my run on the more well lit sidewalks of the Western Communities. Headlamp on and Rusty in his finest running harness we headed out for what would be a great tempo effort. My legs felt fresher than they had all week and I was very thankful for my decision to stay in on Thursday evening and listen to my body’s plea for a night off.

Being able to run with Rusty was a real help as well. He always just looks soooooo happy when he gets to get out and move those little legs. He’s a good little run buddy.

Who wants a kiss?

With that run, I felt some training enthusiasm creeping back in and was looking more forward to Saturday’s workouts (and Sunday’s rest day – that in itself was a motivator. A whole day with nothing to do? Say what?).

I also stopped and got a new pair of runners on Friday night on my way home from work. New shoes definitely help with motivation. At first, I thought the colours were a bit boring, but the more I look at the new kicks, the more I like them. I want to run in them and get them a bit dirty, but I also want them to stay shiny and new.

So, Saturday morning Kirsten and I met for a run around the Lakes (in my old shoes – I couldn’t bear to get the new ones that muddy quite yet) followed by a bike around the Peninsula. The run ticked by and at moments felt effortless. Of course, there were a few moments that didn’t feel quite so effortless, but for the most part I felt like it was really really good. Lately I have been pleasantly surprised by my pace times on runs. I actually feel like I am getting faster, maybe not by a lot, but faster none the less – and more consistent too, which is nice. Another motivation win!

The feeling of getting faster is definitely a good thing, but food can also help drive a workout. Whenever Shane goes away for a weekend I treat myself to a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked. I DO NOT like to share with Shane (he always digs out the brownies and leaves everything else) so I only buy it when he is not around so that I don’t have to share (very mature, I know). Anyway, knowing that there was a pint of the delicious frozen treat in my freezer waiting for me to devour while watching Spirit of the Marathon on Saturday night was a pretty good little incentive.

Oh, and knowing that I downed about 1500 calories in, oh, 5 minutes of pure ice cream bliss, will serve as a little push to make sure all my workouts get done this week too, haha.

So my lovely readers (all 3 of you) I'm curious ~ what motivates you?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Motivation Where Are You?

As I sit here, looking out the window at the rain pouring down from the grey skies above, I realize I need some outside motivation today.

Tonight I have a tempo run to do, but I feel tired, I’m freezing cold and my legs (and my eyelids) seem heavy and weak. I just want to curl up beside the fire and have a little nap and pretend I ran an amazingly good tempo run (maybe I should do that – it’ll be like working on my visualization skills right? right?)

My level of training this week has been different than the previous two weeks or so. I suppose it is toned down a little, as it is technically a rest week on the ol’ calendar, but unfortunately, my body hasn’t really felt like it is in the middle of a rest week (go figure). I guess I’m slightly surprised by my ongoing level of fatigue this week, and of course, that freaks me out a little.

So, now I have all sorts of thoughts running through my mind. They go a little something like this… Have I gotten soft? Why does my body feel like this? Is this all mental or does my body just need a break? Do I just need to HTFU? Why am I so neurotic? Did I feel this way two years ago when training for IMC the first time?

Thankfully, I have a training log and a blog to reflect back on to help me answer that last question. Turns out that yep, I had ups and downs this early in the training cycle two years ago too, much like I am having now.

(From March 2010) “... and while I’ve had days of feeling tired, days of bruised and cramping calves, and even a few days seriously lacking motivation, in the grand scheme of things, the last block of training has gone quite well and the positives definitely outweigh any negatives.”

And you know, I think I can safely say that even though I feel worn out and unmotivated today, the positives are still outweighing the negatives. I know my motivation will come back...

I just hope it is in time for my tempo run this evening.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Random Friday Facts

I’m kinda digging this random Friday business. I mean, it’s Friday. Short quick thoughts are about all I’m good for today. So, let’s get to it shall we?

1) I’ve noticed lately that I have quite a bit in common with my Dad. It seems that when I do one of these “random things” posts or even just verbalize some random thing about myself, often these are things my Dad does or likes as well. Anyway, I think that is really neat. Both of my parents are really amazing people and did a great job raising Kirsten and I, and well, I get almost oddly proud when I discover quirky little things that my Dad and I share. He’s a pretty awesome guy and a super Dad.

2) I love when you do an out and back run and have a headwind on the way out, because unless some freak shift in the weather happens, that means you get a tailwind on the way back. Knowing I’m likely going to get rewarded with a tailwind motivates me. This headwind/tailwind phenomena has happened to me the last two times I’ve gone for a run at lunch during the work day.

3) While running, I like when people smile at me. It makes me feel good. Although, there was this creepy guy the other day on my lunch run who smiled at me. That creepy smile did not make me feel good, but it did make me run faster.

4) I watch too many crime shows (ahem, Criminal Minds) and as such, have developed quite an overactive imagination. Perhaps the creepy guy mentioned above was just friendly (and a little strange looking) and not a serial killer after all?

5) When I set a clock or an alarm, I cannot set it to end with a zero or a five. I don’t know why, but I can’t.

6) Eating hummus after a 45’ aerobic run when not fully recovered from a bout of the stomach flu may not be the smartest idea.

7) I've just discovered Larabar - the Coconut Cream is ah-maze-ing!

8) I’d love to do a study on people’s thought processes when they are deciding what lane to join when they get to the pool to swim. Why does the person who is doing a double armed, frog kick style backstroke feel they should be swimming in the fast lane? Why would you join a lane that has two people in it that are obviously faster than you, when you could join a lane with only one person in it who is about the same speed? Really, I don’t get it. I will almost always choose the lane with the least amount of people – or – if all the lanes have the same amount of people, I will watch for a few minutes and join the lane with the people who are swimming a similar pace to what I will be doing. I don't think this is a hard concept.

9) Sometimes words get stuck in my head. Not music or songs, but words - occasionally it will be short phrases, sometimes maybe even foreign language words or odd last names, but usually something I have trouble pronouncing. I will repeat it in my head, over and over and over and….

10) Sometimes I think I have a lot of random "obsessive" behaviours (see #5 and #9).

11) I ran this morning. It was beautiful out and I saw a gorgeous sunrise over the water. This afternoon, I’m getting a massage. Lysanne is a miracle worker. I can’t wait!

12) I’m teaching yoga at Feel Good Yoga & Pilates this Sunday night (Feb 5) and next Sunday night (Feb 12) at 5:15pm. It is a Karma Class with proceeds going to the Greater Victoria Animal Crusaders (GVAC). I think I’ve got a wicked good class planned for this week and hope I get a good turnout.

And on that note, I'm out.
Happiest of Happy Friday’s to you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Ironman Year and a Butt-kicking Cousin

Last Friday night as I prepared my riding gear for the next day’s ride, I strapped my bento box (or is it speed box? maybe feed box?) back on my bike and thought “You know it’s an Ironman year when the bento box gets put back on the bike.”

That thing didn’t see my bike for all of 2011, and as I strapped it back on, I came to the shocking realization that gosh, I’m doing IMC again and the training is really just beginning. It’s become such a way of life that sometimes I don’t even think about the time and commitment it takes.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to do a little list. So, without further ado...

You know it’s an Ironman year when…
(Some of these are my own, some I’ve stolen from the internet – all apply)

1) You put the bento box back on your bike.

2) You realize 2.5hrs on the trainer is really nothing and that 4-5hrs in the saddle isn’t really that long of a ride.

3) You can’t walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like your legs are a little bit dead and you know this feeling will last from now through the end of August (or whenever your IM may be).

4) You go for a 10km cool down run after a 10km race just so that you can call it a training session.

5) You think about signing up for a local half marathon, but realize you should probably turn it into a brick by riding 40k (or more) as a warm up.

6) You consider work to be recovery time between training sessions.

7) You co-workers don't ask you if you're going to train this weekend, but how long and how far.

8) You are up every day by 5:00am, but still have trouble making it to work on time at 8:30am.

9) That charming "perfume" you wear to work is chlorine.

10) You take more showers in a locker room than at home.

11) 6:30am is sleeping in.

12) Your car smells like a locker room.

13) You feel like you took the day off because all you did was swim 3000 metres.

Anyway, all that said, training last week went really well. My schedule was a little different than it has been and the shakeup was really nice. It helped keep me feeling fresh and excited about the workouts.

I also happily met my goal of not cutting any workouts short – not even by 1 second! I did them as they were supposed to be done and didn’t cheat once. It’s amazing how writing something on the internet for the entire world to see can really hold you accountable, even if no one actually reads it.

Of course, when you map your route slightly wrong and end up back at your starting point with 2 minutes left on the clock, you do look a little silly running back and forth up the road or around your office building, but whatevs.

The only minor hitch in training came on Sunday morning, when, after an awesome day of exercise on Saturday I was cruelly woken up at 4am with a pounding headache, feeling like my stomach muscles were spasming and like I was going to puke everywhere. Unfortunately I couldn’t seem to actually get anything out of my system, so I spent the morning alternating between dry heaves and “sleep” (if you can call it that).

I attempted a ‘Yoga for Athletes’ workshop in the afternoon that I had paid for long ago, but realized after the fact that I probably should have just not worried about the money and stayed home – because when I did finally get home, the fever hit. I’m thinking now I must have had a bit of the stomach flu or something.

Anyway, long story short – I didn’t do my long run on Sunday, then spent Monday at home in bed. By Monday night, I was definitely starting to come around and actually wanted to eat something. I think Shane could tell I was feeling better (and antsy) when I was up in the kitchen doing dishes, haha.

Yesterday the guts were still a little rumbly, but I managed to get my workouts in and feel good while doing them, so I think that is a great sign. Today I’ll be heading out for a run at lunch (and I can’t wait – it is really beautiful and sunny outside) and then I’m sure to get my butt kicked at trainer class tonight.

Now, off topic, I’ve got to sing the praises of my AWESOME and AMAZINGLY FAST cousin ~ Cam Levins.

Cam kicked some serious arse this weekend at the 2012 UW Invitational, setting meet records in both the 3000m and 5000m. Not to mention, his 3000m time is currently the WORLD's fastest time at that distance!

You can watch videos of both of Cam’s races here and here. Do it. You know you want to!

Watch for this kid in London. I’ve no doubt he’s going to make it.

Anyway, everyone in the family is definitely very proud. Great things are coming your way Cam! Keep up the hard work.