Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shawnigan Sprint 2012 – Race Report

Ahh, Shawnigan ~ my home race.

I definitely hold a special place in my heart for Shawnigan and am happy once again to have been pretty pleased with my race.

As always, there were definitely a few areas that could use improvement, but I felt pretty solid through the whole thing and was pretty joyful when I crossed the finish line. I even made a point of trying to smile for the finish line camera instead of that inevitable shot where I am looking down stopping my watch. (My finish line photos have yet to be posted, so I’m yet to see if I was successful or not).

The weather for race weekend was pretty beautiful and the atmosphere at the race site was pretty great (especially when they announced that Ryder had won the Giro!!!).

Anyway, here’s how my race played out...

The Swim.
I started pretty close to the front on the swim and got into semi-clear water (or so I thought) pretty quickly. Then, out of nowhere I got kicked in the goggles and had a few moments where the one side of my goggle filled with water and I thought I might lose a contact lens.

I didn’t want to stop though, so I just kept going (keeping that one eye closed tight) and luckily (miraculously) my goggle seemed to re-suction to my face and shortly after making the first turn, all was good.

After that, the swim went by in a flash. I tried to focus on staying relaxed (but not going too too easy) and other than going a bit wide on the last stretch and running over a “white capped” swimmer from the men’s race, I felt good. I definitely wasn’t “killing it” but was pretty steady and solid.

I felt like I got out of the water and into transition fairly quickly. I had a bit of trouble getting my wetsuit over my timing chip which was a little annoying, but thankfully I remembered to put my helmet on before un-racking my bike (unlike in Kelowna last year) so you know, I’ll chalk that up to a win, haha.

I glanced down at my watch as I was running out of transition and saw an 8:55. I was pumped! I wanted to swim under 9:00 for the 500m and had obviously done it. It didn’t hit me until looking at the final results that the swim course was very obviously short, because there is no way I actually busted out a 7:32 500m. I think the short course was also confirmed by the fact that everyone I know who did the sprint seemed to have had the swim of their lives from a time perspective. It was still a decent swim though.

The Bike.
Usually I’m pretty confident and happy with my bike mounting skills. Unfortunately on Sunday, my mount sucked the big one! There was so much congestion in the mount area and even with running well past the mount line; there were a tonne of people just stopped. I completely and totally flubbed my mount. It must have looked ugly and was totally inefficient. (Also, I may or may not have let out a very audible “F*ck Me!” in that moment ~ so, umm, apologies to any kidlets in the vicinity). Thankfully once I got up to speed, my feet slipped into my shoes nice and easy and I doubt I actually lost too too much time with that disaster mount.

Once I started moving, I had the weirdest sensation in my legs. I’m guessing it lasted for about the first 5k or so and the best way I can describe it is like my quads and hamstrings were just lactic acid filled jelly. Everything burned and I felt like I had no power and was just spinning kind of wildly. My brain and my legs weren’t talking to each other quite yet I suppose.

Thankfully, by the time I hit the hills on Renfrew Rd, my body/legs seemed to perk up a bit and it was time to just try and go.

I know I’m not the fastest cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, so I just tried to push as hard as possible and maintain that effort for as long as possible… and you know, for how much I think I am a horrible climber, I seemed to pass a lot of people on the uphills. Unfortunately, it turns out the downhills and the flats are where I really suck, as I would inevitably get passed back by all the people I had just out climbed.

For most of the bike leg I spent a lot of time jockeying back and forth with another girl who looked about my age [turns out, nope – she was in the 20-29 age group], so she was a good motivator to keep pushing. It was interesting too, when she finally pulled away from me for good toward the end of the bike, my thought was “just keep her in sight and run her down.” I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I could “run someone down” before, but I was totally confident that I’d be able to (even having no idea what kind of a runner she was). And you know, it was pretty nice to actually have that confidence.

Anyway, I’d say the bike was good. Not spectacular, but good. I once again felt like I was pretty steady and like I was giving it all that I could, but at times felt a little disheartened as I watched people pass by me with ease. I guess I just wish I were faster, but am not quite sure how to get to that place. (I suppose if I keep having to chase Shane through training rides that might help).

I had a good dismount and a pretty good T2 aside from a minor flub trying to rack my bike. Also, I think I made up a bit of time in transition, as I ended up running out with 2 other girls that had entered ahead of me.

The Run.
The run was interesting. Plain and simple, it was pretty slow, but I can’t say I’m unhappy with it. I think for the first time ever, I didn’t get passed on the run by any women (and only a few men), and I was actually the one doing a fair bit of passing.

I always find the initial run out of the park up to the TC trail really challenging, so I just stuck with the two girls I left transition with, as their pace was quite manageable. Once on the trail I overtook one of the girls right away and just stuck right behind the other one (which was actually the girl I had been jockeying with on the bike).

We passed a number of women and while I knew I could be running faster, I also got to the point where we had passed everyone that I knew I could realistically catch (I’m pretty sure the next woman was like 3’ ahead).

It’s weird, but I just felt really in control the whole time on the run. Like I absolutely knew that I was going to beat the girl from the bike that was just in front of me, so I let her set the pace until just after the turn around, and then I finally passed her and focused on trying to build through to the end.

[I guess I knew running :30 to :60 faster was not going to get me a higher placing and I was quite happy to run comfortably. Maybe that is not the best attitude to have (especially in a sprint where I should be leaving it all out there) and I should have been trying to push myself to my max through the whole thing, but what's done is done.]

Anyway, when I did finally pass the girl from the bike, I knew I had her, but I also didn’t want to look back because I was afraid she was right on my shoulder, haha. As I came down the little connector trail and into the park I peeked over my shoulder a couple times and tried to pick it up into the finish. Happily crossing the finish line under my goal time (and beating my time from last year at this race by more than 3’) and feeling pretty good.

I guess, in the end, it was nice to be in the moment on the run and feel totally confident, and know that I had more to give if I needed to and that I was completely in control of what was happening.

As always, I still need to work on embracing the hurt a little bit more, but it is definitely coming along.

Shane, Kirsten and Tyler all ran great races in the sprint as well... With Shane kicking my butt on his very first triathlon ever (not that it's a competition or anything).

Overall, it was a pretty great day at the races. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Friday Facts & Fotos

1) I don't like gum. Never really have. I'll chew it if my mouth is tasting really bad and someone offers me a piece (because that probably means they are trying to tell me something, right?) but I'd much prefer a mint.

2) I don't own an iPod or any form of MP3 or portable music player. As such, I do not listen to music when I exercise.

3) When I see people riding their bikes and they have their helmet hanging from their handlebars and not on their head, I want to scream at them "PUT YOUR F'ING HELMET ON!" I also feel the urge to scream at people who listen to their iPods when riding their bike (especially when in traffic, it just seems so unsafe to take away one of your most important senses), though my urge to yell at the iPod people is not as fierce as it is to yell at the stupid helmet people.

4) Songs I'm into right now: The Decemberists "This Is Why We Fight", Of Monsters And Men "Little Talks", M83. "Midnight City", La Roux "Bulletproof", Tragically Hip "Nautical Disaster", Foster the People "Helena Beat".

5) Ryder Hesjedal is a BEAST! The level of stress/excitement I feel while watching the Giro is unexplainable. Although, I remember feeling a similar "off the couch, jumping up and down, screaming at the TV" level of excitement while watching Simon Whitfield secure the silver in Bejing. AMAZING!!!!!

6) I really like this. If you've got a dog, or like dogs, take a moment and have a read.

7) My road bike (Scotty) got a tune up today. I get to pick it up after work and I’m quite excited because it will be all shiny and clean. Also, it looks oh-so-wickedly-awesome with my race wheels on. Oh, and new bar tape! Woo Hooo. It’s kinda like getting a new bike right?

8) I bought this onesie (photo below) for baby Liam today. He belongs to our good friends Sean & Kelly. He is only one month old, but I am already attempting to turn him into a triathlete. The onesie will go well with his baby Nike Frees.

First step: Wear bikes on clothes. Second step: Ride bikes with "Aunty".

9) I left Rusty in the car the other day for a few minutes. When I came out, this is where I found him. Looks comfy doesn't it?

10) Because 99.9% of the photos I take are of the Rust-beast. Here is another one of him looking comfy while sleeping on the couch.

11) Friday’s are awesome. Sunny Friday’s are even awesomer... and yes, awesomer IS a word.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Snap Shot

I have too much in my head right now… so, buckle up and get ready for a bit of a mental vomit. Join me as I attempt to clear my mind through my fingertips.

Ready. Go!

1) This past weekend Shane and Kirsten were both away on the West Coast Trail (with Kirsten’s class) so I was on my own for training. I do enjoy having to conquer the odd big weekend by myself, as I know that come race day, I’m on my own. I also know that lots of people train for Ironman on their own all the time, but well, I’ve been lucky enough to always have at least one training partner. So, all that said, big solo blocks of training are a little out of the norm for me.

Anyway, Saturday I had a 5hour bike followed by a 30min easy run off the bike. It went AMAZINGLY well. I was so happy with it. The weather was perfect (blue skies, not too hot and not too cold) and the roads were surprisingly quiet. The time flew by and I felt really pleased with myself when it was all done.

Sunday was long run day. I wish I could say it went as well – and really, it didn’t go that badly – however, I realized that it was the longest run I’ve ever done by myself. Ever.

2.5hrs of circling the Lakes is a bit draining. I missed not having someone to talk to and not having any distractions. I’ve never run with music, but I think I could have used some on Sunday. Also, admittedly, I probably didn’t consume enough calories and by about the 2:10 mark, [Mom, stop reading now] I found myself a little dizzy and just hoping I’d make it through to the 2:30 mark without running into a tree or falling over into the lake.

Luckily, I made it through and treated myself with a glorious 10minutes of standing in Elk Lake up to my waist, drinking chocolate milk and shivering while the cold water soothed my legs. It was a pretty great end to a so-so run.

2) I think I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes get words stuck in my head. (See #9 here). Before I left on my ride on Saturday I was watching that day's footage of the Giro before heading out the door, and I could not get the following words out of my brain: Damiano Cunego, Colnago and Campagnolo.

3) I’m reading The Runner's Rule Book right now.

On Saturday’s ride I decided to give myself the title of “Master Snot Rocketeer” due to all the goo that I was expelling from my face (with extreme precision I might add). When I got home that night and read Rule 1.18, well, let’s just say, I had a very good laugh.

Rule 1.18

Farmer’s Blow \ fär-m?rz blo \ n: a process by which one clears a nostril of mucus by pinching shut the opposing nostril and exhaling forcefully
[syn: Snot Rocket]

4) This coming Sunday is the Shawnigan Lake Sprint. I’ve done this race many times. I know the roads around Shawnigan almost too well. I know the lake will be cold, but I know I will have fun.

Once again, I find myself starting to become a bundle of nerves.

I think one of the reasons for this is that I feel like I am finally figuring out how to run fast [for me] in road races, but now I find myself wondering – can I translate that into running fast [for me] off the bike?

It’s that whole “embracing the hurt” thing again. I really really need to learn how to do that.

5) On Sunday I ate a small Oreo Blizzard in the afternoon. I followed that up with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “if I had 1,000,000 flavours” in the evening.

It was magical.

I thought about saying something like “I’m writing this to assuage my guilt” but I don’t feel guilty. I worked hard all weekend and enjoyed every moment of ice cream bliss.

6) I’m swimming in Thetis tonight. Open water for the first time this season. I am already cold....

7) Last but not least, I know these "Shit blank Says" things were going around the inter-webs many moons ago now, but I really really love the part in this video where the guy says “who says soda, it’s pop” (or something like that). It cracks me up and I find myself saying it with a nice thick east coaster accent all the time. I don’t think anyone really ever knows what I’m referring to – so here it is.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Under 100

At the time I started writing, we are now 99 Days, 12 Hours, 57 Minutes and 3 seconds away from Ironman Canada 2012.

Anyway, I feel like it has been a while since I actually recapped my training and, so I figure it is time. Mainly so I can reflect on the past couple weeks, but also so that when I’m training for my next IM [oh yes, I’m sure there will be more - especially since Shane has mentioned IM Cozumel more than once recently] I can reflect back and see where I was at.

So, let’s get to it shall we?

Last weekend was JAM PACKED with training. On Saturday, Kiki and Ty came up to our place for a nice long bike. We headed down around the lake, out through Cobble Hill and continued along the Island Hwy until we got to Chemainus, where we turned around and headed back in the same direction.

The bulk of this ride, being on the highway, isn’t that strenuous. The roads are good and all the hills are pretty gradual and manageable. However, once you get back to Cobble Hill and start heading back toward the lake and up to our house, well, let’s just say there is a lot more uphill than there is downhill. All this climbing is then capped off with the 'Christmas Tree Farm Hill' that climbs you out of Shawnigan. It’s definitely a decent climb - no Richter or Yellow Lake - but substantial all the same… and made all the more challenging at the end of a 4-5hr ride.

Last time Shane and I did this ride, I had a bit of a mental breakdown. I’m pretty sure I had not taken in enough food or drink and often when I begin to bonk, my mental state goes before my physical body shuts down.

Happily, Saturday's ride was about 100x better than the last time! I can’t say I climbed the 'Christmas Tree Farm Hill' fast, but it was definitely steady and smooth and I remained pretty positive the whole time. We continued on with the climbing all the way up to the top of Stebbings Rd. It was a good confidence boost.

Following the ride we did a nice easy 25’ run and then returned home to eat!

Sunday was an equally big day of training, starting with a 2:15 run. Shane and I met Kirsten at her place and headed out along the Lochside Trail. The day was pretty hot, but there was enough shade on the trail that it didn’t feel too too bad. Unfortunately, about 1:30-1:40ish into the run I got the worst side stitch. I haven’t had a cramp like this in a long time and it definitely made the final 30-45’ of the run a bit of a challenge. To say I have felt better would be an understatement… but, we finished.

Post-run it was time for bike and swim technical sessions (lasting just over an hour each) with Kelly and some other LiveFit athletes. I’m so thankful we were working on the technical aspects of the bike and swim and not having a super hard workout, as my body was feeling pretty cooked at this point.

Monday I had a day off from training. A GLORIOUS DAY OFF! It was my first day off in a couple weeks, and man-oh-man, I needed it. My body was tired.

Tuesday I was supposed to do a swim and a run, but on Monday I had decided to substitute my run with a bike workout, as I've been having some ankle issues since the TC 10k and wanted to give the ol' ankle a bit of a chance to rest (especially because it was absolutely killing me on Monday).

My plan for the day was to get up and bike and then do my swim after work. But umm, yeah, that didn’t happen.

When my alarm went off I could not believe how exhausted I still felt – even after a rest day! I figured, no biggie, I’ll still swim after work and all will be good, but well, that didn’t happen either, haha, oops.

My motivation was at an all-time low on Tuesday. I’m generally not in the habit of skipping two workouts without an extremely good reason or some serious guilt. However, on Tuesday, the guilt was barely there, so I knew I probably needed the extra bit of rest.

It’s funny, because I’m really good at reminding Kirsten and Shane to listen to their bodies, but usually have trouble taking my own advice. However, on Tuesday - I did just that. I listened to my body and took the extra day of rest and I really do think it has paid off, as my workouts the rest of this week have not felt like a chore and have generally been pretty good.

One particularly noteworthy workout since my unplanned double rest day was a pretty darn good interval run yesterday morning before work. I had to get up flippin’ early to fit it in (4:45am – ugh), and while it was a tough one and my ankle still hurt a bit, when it was all over, it was really really satisfying!

This weekend I’ve got some serious volume to put in as well, but I’m really looking forward to it. Even more so, I’m looking forward to another day off on Monday - from training and work! I don’t know the last time that has happened.

From there, it is a lighter week as we head into Shawnigan Sprint on May 27th. The season opener, dun-dun-duuuuh.

Speaking of racing, we (we being Kirsten, Shane and I) got new tri-suits recently. We wanted to have matching suits and wanted something that would stand out on the IMC course. As such, we opted for some Frontrunners gear. I really like the suit, however am struggling with the shorts a bit on the bike – as they don’t have the silicone leg grippers. Weird right?

Currently, we’re trying to figure out the best way to add the leg grip to the shorts. Any suggestions on the best way to do this would be greatly appreciated.

Ahhhh, silly self-portraits with The Colonel.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Three Years

Last night on the drive home from work, there I was (singing along to some terrible pop song I’m sure) when out of absolutely nowhere, something hit me.

“What day is it?” I thought to myself.

I quickly looked at my watch to check and realized that tomorrow (which is now today) is May 16. Three years since my PE diagnosis.

My eyes welled up with tears. I felt relief. I felt happy that the date completely snuck up on me this time around (unlike years one and two).

This may sound morbid, but I like reflecting on this anniversary. It is neat to see how far I’ve come in the last three years and to think about all that has changed.

For one, I’m an Ironman. Hopefully by the end of August I’ll be a 2x Ironman. I qualified for the Age Group World Champs and will be representing Canada in Auckland come October [sometimes this still sounds really really crazy to me]. I’m fit and I’m healthy and while some days I still get some phantom pains in my left lung, and I continue to struggle with my anticoagulation decision, I have even more days where I don’t think about my PE at all.

Life is good.

Anyway, I didn’t feel like I could not address this day. So, that is that.

May 16th – it is so nice to see you again.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Some days it is hard to be honest with yourself.

Some days it is even harder to be honest with your training partner – especially when that training partner is your spouse and the things you need to be honest about are not your most flattering qualities.

I tend to be a bit competitive. Over the years, this has lessened (thankfully), but it is still there.

No denying it, there will always be a hint of sibling rivalry with Kirsten. I want her to succeed and I want her to do great, but I still like beating her when I can (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t actually happen that often).

But this post isn’t about Kirsten. Over the years, we’ve developed a great dynamic and a great bond and can really feed off of each other in training and in life. We have an unspoken honesty that no one can take away.

Now, enter Shane.

We’ve been together for a little over 13 years, married for 6 of those. Triathlon was not a part of my life when we met. Hell, competition wasn’t really a part of my life anymore when we met. Sure I still played soccer, but it didn’t really mean much to me. The competitive basketball player of my youth had faded and I only really exercised to stay in shape. Shane had never known the girl who would get so worked up in a basketball or soccer game that she’d throw herself into an asthmatic fit or be ready to punch out her opponent.

As I’ve grown up and fallen in love with triathlon, my competitive edge has snuck back in from time to time. Not to the same extent as it was during those basketball days, but it is there. I suppose I am competitive with myself more than anything.

Within my own limits, I like to do well. I like to push myself, and while I may never be “fast” I take my training pretty darn seriously.

Over the years, I think it is fair to say that Shane has, at times, resented the amount of time and energy I put into triathlon. He didn’t get it.

Last August 29th in Penticton that began to change. There we stood, signing up for Ironman Canada – together.

And let me just say, training for an IM with your spouse definitely brings a whole new dynamic.

At first, it was really weird. It took some time for Shane and me to realize that we had different training styles. I like to work out in the morning, him, not so much. I’m pretty “by the book” when it comes to my training calendar, whereas he has the ability to be a little more flexible and roll with the punches.

Now, bear with me, as here comes the unflattering part.

Our differences frustrated me (as I’m sure they did him as well).

I found myself feeling competitive with Shane (even if he didn’t know it). I wanted to beat him. At first, I didn’t feel like he was working as hard or as consistently as I was, and it didn’t seem fair that his fitness was making such huge gains. I suppose I was jealous. In my mind, I didn’t feel like he really loved triathlon and the training and I didn’t think it was fair for him to be faster than me when, in my mind, he wasn’t working as hard.

I realize these are unproductive and unflattering thoughts… and obviously, I need to get over myself.

Last week while we were out on a long run, we had a good chat about these things. We were both honest, with ourselves and with each other.

There are so many positives to having your spouse be your training partner (umm, like a built-in long run buddy for one). I realized that I needed to let go of my competitive feelings toward Shane. I needed to be okay with him being faster than me (because, quite frankly, he already is and will only continue to get faster. He does have a Y chromosome after all – and yes, I am totally using genetics as an excuse, haha). I needed to be happy for him to be dropping weight like a mo-fo and getting stronger. I needed to be glad that he took up a sport so he could spend more time with me.

And you know, it’s weird, in that moment, on that run, I let go of my jealousy and my competitive attitude. My "frustration" all but disappeared.

I’m embracing the fact that we are in this together and I’m totally and truly thankful that my partner (in training and life) actually likes to spend time doing the things I like doing. We get to ride our bikes together for hours at a time. We get to commiserate over sore muscles and crazy long workouts. We get to talk about our “racing weight” and then pig out on pizza and ice cream and pie. We get to curse Kelly’s name and shake our fists at our training calendars with a laugh when the hours and hours continue to build.

We get to share our different strengths and weaknesses with each other, and most importantly, we get to share our time, and I think that is a pretty beautiful thing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five for Friday

The following are some things that have been on my mind lately that I’m not sure how to get into one succinct post… so, how about five mini-posts instead?
1) Shane hates the trainer with a passion and so, in an attempt to not kill himself from boredom when indoor riding is required, he borrowed some bike rollers from Kelly to give them a try.

Of course, I couldn’t resist and had to try them out too. What a great new challenge! During my ride on the rollers on Tuesday evening (only my 3rd roller ride ever), I only “fell” (aka. bounced off the wall) once during the 60' ride and was even able to make numerous successful water bottle grabs (trust me, that is a marked improvement from my first attempt when I may have bounced off the walls about 6 times in the first 5 minutes).

So today, Shane and I bought our own set of rollers. I’m looking forward to many more rides on these bad boys, and hopefully one day I will even be able to move them out of the hallway and away from the safety of the narrow space between two walls.

For anyone who doesn’t know what rollers are, check out this compilation video.

I can assure you that none of my falls have looked like any of these, although I did wear my helmet the first time I tried them out, haha ~ you know, just to be safe.

2) Last weekend at the TC 10k, 5k and 8k splits were recorded during the race (of course, I can’t find these splits online now) but I know from when I first looked, my 8k split was over 2’ faster than my current 8k PB (I think about 2:20, but not 100% sure).

Anyway, I want to know – can I count this as my new 8k PB? My theory is that it was in a race and was “officially timed” so technically, I should be able to, whereas Shane says no.

So I ask you, loyal blog readers, does it count?

3) Speaking of the TC 10k, I just had a really good laugh at some of the official race photos. All I have to say is, YIKES! I cannot take a good picture when I’m running, haha.

Case in point...
Man, this TRULY is awful, but I suppose if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?
For some reason, I also get an extreme case of the giggles each time I look at this photo of my Dad from the race. I love it. Sorry Dad, I couldn’t resist.

Well, I guess if you can’t laugh at yourself, maybe you can laugh at your family?

4) I’ve done a lot of swimming this week. It’s been good, but I’m ready to have a shower in my own bathroom and not at JdF. Anyway, yesterday, the main set of my workout was “2km continuous for time” - so essentially, a 2000m TT.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a straight 2000m and even longer since I’ve done it as a sort of time trial. It went okay. I felt pretty smooth and steady, but realized at the end that I definitely had more in the tank.

I find there is such a fine balance for me with swimming, if I try too hard, I slow way down, but I still need to push myself. It can be frustrating, but I still really enjoy it.

I suppose it is kind of like perfectly pacing a half marathon vs. going out and crushing a 5k? Regardless, I suppose swimming will always be a work in progress for me.

5) I’m super stoked it is Friday today. Thursdays are often very long days for me. I usually start the day at the pool at 6am (which means leaving the house by 5:40). From there it is onto work until 4:30, and then I often have a run workout to do before teaching yoga at VI at 7pm. If I’m lucky, I roll into our driveway about 8:30pm.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love getting in my workouts and I really do enjoy teaching the yoga class (especially last night after an awful and frustrating run). Some days it just makes a Thursday feel like it has lasted an entire week. Although, I suppose it does make Friday that much sweeter.

TGIF indeed!