Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Smile and Laugh

I feel I’ve been a tad negative in my last few posts, as the final big push to Ironman is upon us. I know the exhaustion is somewhat normal at this phase and I know I’m going to come through it just fine, but figured it was time for a random smattering of things that have made me smile or laugh lately.

1) I had a great run last night. A simple out and back that took me along the waterfront and onto a new(ish) route through Esquimalt that ended up taking me past the house that I started my life in. I didn’t really know where I was, so it was a nice surprise. Anyway, I believe we lived there until I was 3 or 4 years old? It made me smile.

It looks a little different than I remember.
(thank you Google Street View)
2) With about 20’ left on my run, my guts trembled and my tummy started to cramp. To say I was a little worried would be an understatement, as I didn’t think I had passed (or would pass) a public bathroom. Then, like an oasis in the desert, I turned a corner near the marina and there sat a lovely porta-potty [smile]. It was actually pretty clean too.

However, it got me thinking… I’m pretty sure one of the worst things in the world might be getting splash-back from a porta-potty. Thankfully, that didn’t happen to me, but man, could you imagine the horror, a “wet cheeks poopie” in a porta-loo, blech.

*Also, if you’ve never seen the poopie list and enjoy some good bathroom humour, see the bottom of this post.

3) Sometimes, when I need a good laugh and I’ve already re-read the poopie list for the 8000th time, I will go back and read this post over and over. Never fails to make me snort. Two words: Leather. Cheerio.

If you have never visited Mediocre Athlete’s blog before, it is a must read (in my opinion).

4) I can’t say I was laughing at this article, but definitely smiling. Way to go Ryder.

5) Which brings us to the Olympics. I am an OLYMPIC JUNKIE! The Olympic Games definitely make me smile. Can’t wait. Getting to cheer for my awesomely-fast cousin, Cam Levins, in both the 10,000m and the 5,000m makes it all the more thrilling.

Send positive and fast vibes in Cam’s direction on:
  • August 4 ~ 10,000m Final @ 21:15
  • August 8 ~ 5,000 m Preliminary race @ 10:45
  • August 11 ~ 5,000 m Final race @ 19:30
           [these times are London time, I haven’t done the conversion yet]
6) Oh, also, these t-shirts from Cam’s alma mater = awesome!

I need to figure out how to get my hands on one of these bad boys.
7) And last but not least, sunny days and impromptu lunch-time Qoola dates make me smile. Mmmmm, frozen yogurt with self-serve toppings.
Ghost Poopie
The kind where you feel the poopie come out, but there is no poopie in the toilet.
Clean Poopie
The kind where you poopie it out, see it in the toilet, but there is nothing on the toilet paper.
Wet Poopie
The kind where you wipe your butt 50 times and it still feels unwiped, so you have to put some toilet paper between your butt and underwear so you won't ruin them with a stain.
Second Wave Poopie
This happens when you're done Poopie-ing and you've pulled up your pants to your knees, and you realize that you have to Poopie some more.
The kind where you strain so much to get it out, you practically have a stroke.
Gassy Poopie
It's so noisy, everyone within earshot is laughing.
Drinker Poopie
The kind of Poopie you have the morning after a long night of drinking. Its most noticeable trait is the skid marks on the bottom of the toilet.
Lincoln Log Poopie
The kind of Poopie that is so huge you're afraid to flush without first breaking it into little pieces with the toilet brush.
Corn Poopie
Gee-I-Wish-I-Could-Poopie Poopie
The kind where you want to Poopie but all you do is sit on the toilet and fart a few times.
Spinal Tap Poopie
That's where it hurts so badly coming out, you would swear it was leaving you sideways.
Wet Cheeks Poopie (The Power Dump)
The kind that comes out of your butt so fast, your butt gets splashed with water.
Liquid Poopie
The kind where yellowish-brown liquid shoots out your butt and splashes all over the toilet bowl.
Mexican Poopie
It smells so bad your nose burns.
The Surprise Poopie
You're not even at the toilet because you are sure you're about to fart, but oops.......a Poopie!!!
The Dangling Poopie
This Poopie refuses to drop into the toilet even though you know you are done Poopie-ing it. You just pray that a shake or two will cut it loose.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Head Case

This past week has been a battle. Not quite “The Worst” (because, I’ll be the first to admit, I was maybe a touch dramatic in my last post) but I have definitely been feeling the effects of some very big volume weeks in training and a general fatigue has set into my body.

I guess, in short, I’ve been feeling a little beat down this week. I know it is normal, and I know with a few more unscheduled naps on the couch with the pooch (see photo below), a few days of compression tights under my pants at work, etc. I will begin to bounce back and I will be ready for race day. I know this, but it is still hard to convince myself of these things in the present moment.

I have found myself trying to remember what I felt like at this time two years ago, but I think I’ve blocked it from my mind. So, I decided to go back and read a few of my posts from late July and early August 2010, and well, let me just say – it is a touch freaky. Is this Groundhog Day? I’m apparently reliving the same events over and over, haha.

Anyway, one thing that is different is my expectation. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sort of time expectation for myself for this race. I mean, I have something to compare it to, which I never had before.

The same blissful ignorance that I had going into IMC 2010 is not there, and of course I want to have a better time than I did in 2010. I think that is only natural. I would guess most people who participate in sport want to improve, want to get better, faster, stronger.

Thankfully, I know I am stronger and fitter than I was two years ago, so realistically, I should be able to accomplish this… right? Of course, doubts still creep into my mind.

One word that keeps coming into my mind is just “believe”. I know a huge part of anything is just believing you can do it, so I just need to believe in myself and my training and my ability. I need to work on being stubborn and telling my aching muscles to shut up. I need to work on embracing the pain and staying mentally tough. I need to believe I have this ability.

All that said, ultimately, my goal for race day is to once again finish. You never know what can happen out there and so, I just want to enjoy the day and most importantly, be smiling throughout.

Okay, rambling self-motivational speech is now over.

On another topic, I’ve just now been hit with how crazy August is going to be with two exhausted, stressed-out, tapering IM athletes in one house. Hopefully we don’t kill each other.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Worst

The title of this post pretty much sums up how I felt this Saturday as I made my way around the IMC bike course. Dramatic? Perhaps, but also very accurate on that day.

We were in Penticton again for our 2nd mini-training camp style weekend of the season. The weather was HOT HOT HOT, but that is exactly what we had hoped for, so you won’t get any complaints about that. I will whine and complain about a few other things however.

So yeah, I’m pretty sure that Saturday may have been one of the worst days I have ever experienced on the bike. No joke. It sucked. From the very moment my chaffed crotch touched my bike seat, I knew I was in for a world of hurt.

We started the day with a short 30’ aerobic swim at Okanagan Lake. The water was warm and the swim felt great, and you know, I was actually kind of looking forward to the bike that was to come. My last two long rides have gone relatively well and I was ready to keep that wave of awesomeness flowing out onto the IMC course.

Then I got on the bike.

Enter the Suck.

As we pedaled through town my legs and my body felt like they just had nothing to give. My tummy started growling and within the first 15’ I was already eating a banana, hoping to stop the grumbling in my gut. I was struggling to keep up with the others and really, it was still early and it wasn’t like they were moving that quickly.

Just before Mclean Creek Rd, a coach from LifeSport who was out with a training-camp group rode up beside me and asked me if I was okay. I tried to smile and shrug it off, but at that point, I realized I must have looked as bad as I felt. When a second, different coach from that group asked me the same thing about 10' later, I really had to laugh.

From there it was just a struggle for the whole day. As much as Shane won’t believe me, I did try to get myself out of the funk and think positive thoughts, but I just had no energy and my body was so tired and achy. On top of that (and probably TMI) my crotch/butt has never been so chafed ~ I was having so much trouble even sitting on my seat!

Richter came and went and while it wasn’t fast, I didn’t feel like that climb was too horrible.

Then the rollers hit and I just about fell apart. The headwind was INTENSE! Of course, this should not surprise me, but when you are already struggling, it just takes that much more out of you. I had trouble turning my legs over and felt like times I was going backwards – even on the descents.

The next while is a bit of a blur. We took lots of stops in order to regroup and refill water bottles, etc. Our last stop was at The Bear fruit stand, and as I got off my bike, I had to sit down.

I had thought I did pretty well with hydration, but I think I may have slacked off a bit on actual calories, especially as we got longer into the ride as my stomach was kind of unhappy. By the time we hit The Bear in Keremeos, I pretty much felt like a zombie. Sitting on that picnic table was perhaps the best feeling in the world. I actually think if some wonderful person had offered me a ride back to Penticton in that moment, I would have taken it. Would I have felt guilty after the fact? Of course, but in that moment, I was done.

Alas, we had to get back on the bikes and finish the final 45km-ish stretch back into town.

Shane stuck with me as we headed toward Yellow Lake (which was probably a good thing as I was feeling pretty zoned out). He’s definitely a trooper for putting up with my whining and complaining. Encouraging me and yelling at me like a drill sergeant to drink and eat. He got me up and over Yellow Lake and even tried to get me excited for that beautiful “lane ends 200m” sign. While I may not have shown it in the moment, I was very thankful for his encouragment.

Oh, and might I add, it's really hard to climb when you are holding back tears [total girl moment ~ crying for no real reason but not really being able to do anything to stop it].

The descents back into Penticton are always my favourite part of the ride, and while they were still fun, they weren’t fun enough to erase the rest of the day. Really, you know it’s bad when even going downhill was a struggle.

I was happy to be off the bike. Happy to know that even though we were out on the course for a tortuously long time, we still would have made the bike cut off in the actual race.

Anyway, I guess, looking back on the day, I know every day can't be a good one. I would have liked to have been tougher mentally and fought through the bad feelings a little better, but as much as I tried, I just couldn't shake it while I was out there. I felt like a bag of crap and I let that eat away at me all day long.

Today, I’m feeling better about it. It’s done. It’s behind me. Hopefully I got all that bad biking mojo out of my system before race day. And hell, I don’t think it can get much worse than that, so at least I know I can survive, even when I don’t really want to.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Solo 160

This past weekend I had a 160km bike to do on Saturday, and as mentioned in my last post, I was on my own.

And let me just say [hit me with a virtual high five here] this ride was awesome!

BUT, But, but... Before I go into too much detail about that, one of the reasons I was on my own was because Shane was racing the Cowichan Challenge Sprint on Sunday morning.

He did so freakin’ great – 6th place overall, 1st in his age group, and 2nd fastest bike split of the day! Not bad eh?

It was fun to be up at the race site cheering, and admittedly I only wished I was racing a few times. I’ve never experienced the Cowichan Challenge before, but after spectating, I can say that it definitely seems like a really great, low-key, community driven race. Oh, and Fuller Lake is absolutely beautiful.

In fact it is so beautiful that around 10:45ish, as I was sitting with Shane waiting for the awards ceremony, he convinced me that I should check out the lake and that I totally had time to get my swim workout done for the day (it was a short one). Something to keep in mind, the awards were scheduled for 11:30. There were multiple signs all over the park, as well as numerous announcements that it would in fact be at 11:30. So I had plenty of time, right?

The lake was warm enough to not need a wetsuit, so I borrowed Shane’s tri-shorts, swim cap and goggles, and stripped down to my sports bra and went for a quick 1000m-ish swim. Of course, probably about 5’ after I entered the lake, they started the awards early and I missed seeing Shane on his first podium. *sad face*

I think it bugged me more than Shane, but I’m still kinda bummed I missed it.

So, instead, we took photos at home on the deck.

Now, back to Saturday’s long ride.

I started the day nice and early, getting on the road about 5:45am. My plan was to get on the ‘hat and head north. As I had hoped, the roads were super quiet. I was also treated to one of the best sunrises I’ve seen in a long time. I almost stopped to take a photo of the big golden sphere as it rose above the Saanich Inlet, but knew my crappy old phone wouldn’t do it justice. So I will just have to keep it in my memory I suppose.

The ride itself was fairly uneventful (which is always a good thing on a long bike, non?). I cruised along, trying to keep my cadence and my average speed up without killing myself or trying to crush any hills. I ate and drank as planned and just kept spinning. Honey Stinger Waffles are my new favourite thing.

As I passed the Nanaimo airport I realized I desperately needed to refill my water bottles, and also desperately needed to pee. Luckily, like a little oasis on the horizon, the next place to pull over was the Cassidy rest stop and it also happened to coincide with my planned turn around mileage.

I was the only one there aside from a maintenance worker, and I only had one moment of irrational fear that he might be a serial killer (too many Criminal Minds episodes again I suppose – see #4 here).

I emptied my bladder, made the turn to head south back to Victoria, made a quick stop for water and Gatorade at the next gas station and was once again on my way.

Traffic picked up as the day wore on, but it never felt too busy. The hardest part of the day was climbing back over the Malahat, but since I was carrying on past home and down to Juan de Fuca Rec, I was rewarded with a great descent. I love Love LOVE riding fast down hills!

I rolled into JdF with a riding time just under 5:50 and an average speed of 27.5km/h on the day. This may not be fast to some, but for me, getting in under 6hrs definitely helped boost my confidence a little and definitely made me want to do a little happy dance.

46 DAYS – 9 HR – 43 MIN – 4 SEC TO GO!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tour Love

I’m in one of those head spaces right now where I can’t seem to put the thoughts that are in my head into a succinct flowing blog post and as such, figured a nice numbered list might be the way to go. No need to flow one thought into the next right? Bullet points for the win!

1)  Last week it was made official at work that we will close the office at 1pm on Fridays for the duration of the summer. It is awesome and makes the weekend feel slightly longer (which I guess, technically, it is).

Thankfully, last Friday (the first day of our official early departure), I had gotten my workout out of the way before work and so had the afternoon free to do whatever I pleased. Shane met me for lunch, and we proceeded to consume burgers (veggie for me) and beer. I don’t typically drink a lot, but for some reason I was sure craving a beer that day (and a couple other times throughout the weekend too ~ mmmmm summer wheat beer). This unusual beer craving made me wonder what I was lacking in my diet? (Other than barley and hops that is).

2)  It’s Tour season!

I love watching le Tour de France. Love it. In fact, Shane and I love it so much we recently changed our cable provider in order to get a PVR, pretty much just so we can PVR the tour and watch it whenever we please… and let me just say, it was so worth it!

My days now look like this: wake up, train, eat, work, train, eat, TOUR, bed. Repeat.


3)  Last weekend was a pretty big volume weekend on the training front. I won’t bore you with the details of ‘Sufferfest’ but can say that, for the most part, it went quite well and left me feeling mostly confident and pleased with where my training is at right now.

The most exciting thing was that Monday was a complete rest day. With the Canada Day stat and a day off from training, our schedule was wide open. No Work and No Training! Say what? A full day off-off rarely happens and so when it does, man does it feel magical. We spent the day doing one of three things: eating, lying on the couch (watching the Tour of course) or napping.

The one downfall to all this rest however, was that it made it very hard to sleep on Monday night.

4)  I’ve been dealing with a bit of an ankle issue for the past couple weeks. Actually, I have kinda been dealing with it since the end of April, but was able to manage it on my own with some ice, self-massage/stretching and good dose of denial.

Unfortunately, at the end of the Victoria Half IM, I could not ignore it any more, as my ankle pretty much seized up as I crossed the finish line and made it difficult to walk for a few days post-race.

I had a massage scheduled for two days after the race and my wonderful RMT Lysanne was able to give the ol’ ankle a good adjustment and get it moving again (it seems that my ankle is very loose and that my talus bone tends to slip/rotate out of place ~ thankfully it is just a joint issue and there aren’t any tears or fractures or anything like that).

While the adjustment helped immensely with my ability to walk, unfortunately, the pain didn’t go away and eventually it even starting moving up my leg and into the back of my knee. At that point, I realized I needed to deal with the issue once and for all and have since been seeing a great new physio (Andrew) who is helping to put me back together.

I’m on a strict stretching schedule [I’m sure my co-workers think I’m nuts when once every hour I get up from my desk and do the same 4 stretches], have been getting regular adjustments and even experienced my first taste of acupuncture the other day.

I think things are progressing well and even though there is still a bit of pain, it is definitely lessening. I’m able to do most of my workouts without having to really adjust much, so I think that is a win.

5)  This coming weekend’s training schedule includes a 160km bike. Shane is racing on Sunday and Kirsten is otherwise involved, so I will be going it alone.

160km solo. Gulp.

For some strange reason, I’m feeling a little nervous about being out there all on my lonesome for so long, but also know it will be a very good way to work on some mental training. So, I suppose, while nervous, I am also kind of looking forward to it.

And wow, I think that might actually be it.

Happy Belated Canada Day to all my friends and family up here in the frozen North!
Happy 4th to our neighbours down south!
And of course, Happy [almost] Weekend!

Good luck to anyone racing this weekend! I’ll be thinking of you as I pedal my way to 160k.