Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Day in the Life ~ Last Tuesday

I wrote this last week before a whole bunch of unexpected things (including a very sick pup, a snowstorm and a never-ending power outage) derailed life and training a bit. Other than the fact that we are still without power, things are starting to get back to normal. So here’s a look at one of those kind of ‘normal’ days.

4:30am Wake up, look at clock and realize I have just over an hour to sleep.

4:53am Geez, it’s only been 20 minutes. I tell myself to go back to sleep.

5:05/5:21/5:25am ^See above, with slight variation on “geez, it’s only been….”

5:31am Screw it. It’s time to get up. Alarm or not.
Hit the washroom, floss, brush teeth, and put my swim suit on. Quietly say goodbye to Shane and head downstairs where I give Rusty some cuddles before getting ready to head out the door.

5:35am [I actually take longer than 4 minutes to do the washroom biz, but I set my alarm clock ahead by about 12 minutes, as I don’t like the idea of getting up before 5:30, even though I clearly am – this means I often make it downstairs with the same time on the clock as when I get up]. As today is mine and Shane’s anniversary I set up the coffee so it will be ready for him when he gets up. This isn't something I usually do, but since it's a special day, I act the part of a nice wife. Set up a card and anniversary present on the counter; slug back some water and juice, do one final bag check and give Rusty one final snuggle before I head out the door.

5:45am Hit the road on route to the pool.

6:05am Have a quick chat in the change room with “lady-who-has-been-swimming-there-for-as-long-as-I-can-remember-but-have-no-idea-what-her-name-is” about the fact that the parking lot is really busy today and how we are both hopeful that doesn't mean the lanes will be busy.

6:12am Walk out onto the pool deck to the glorious sight of EMPTY LANES!

6:13am Get going on my swim workout. It’s just a short one today, which is quite nice as my body is feeling a bit sluggish from the big weekend of training that just past. I flip turn through my warm up, do some drills, chat with Roger [an older guy who is about the same speed as me but likes to tell me how slow he is and how quick I am – really, I’m pretty sure he’s just fishing for compliments] before getting to work on the main set. Good, consistent times. I still feel a bit lethargic, but am happy to be swimming and notice a few moments that really click. I make it through the whole workout without having to share my lane at all, even though the lanes around me have begun to fill up.

7:04am Workout done! I head over to the leisure lane to stretch out a bit and find myself creepily watching “IM-Florida-swim-cap-guy” cranking through some 100m repeats. I’m not sure why, but I feel the need check his times and stroke count. For the record, his stroke count is similar to mine, however his 100m time is definitely quicker. I am not a stalker. I swear. 

7:10am Hit the showers and get cleaned up for the day ahead.

7:37am Sit in my car and eat my breakfast while listening to the “Awkward Tuesday Phone Call” on Brooke & Jubal, before joining the rest of the cattle on the way to work. Notice I’m following my Dad into town today. I wave at the next stoplight, but I don’t think he saw me.

8:05am The Colwood Crawl was pretty good today and I make it to town pretty quickly. I park and wander through the alleyways and side streets to Habit for an Americano. I’m not sure what it is, but I always find that a Habit Americano is pretty much the best thing on earth after an early morning swim.

8:15am Get to work a bit early and just kinda get to it. Do some work. Some Twitter and Facebook (which is actually work related now). Check emails. Work some more. Facebook some more (non-work related now).

10:00am Head downstairs to Starbucks with the coworkers. I haven’t had a double coffee day in quite a while, but I’m feeling rather ravenous and think that maybe drinking some calories might help. I green tea latte it up and head back to work. Eat some snacks and do the usual everyday tasks.

12:17pm Look out the window at the driving rain and contemplate skipping my run.

12:25pm Suck it up and go get changed.

12:30pm Head out the door for my lunch run. This truly was one of those days that getting changed and getting out the door was the hardest part. It was windy and it was wet, but it didn’t actually feel too bad once I got moving. My legs were a little tired and my pace wasn’t super quick, but it turned out to be a decent run. My inner monologue went something like this: “head winds suck” “tail winds are awesome” “oh man, I have to poop” “yay tail wind” “this isn’t so bad at all” “oh man, I’m going to get blown away” “I’m glad I didn’t skip this.”

1:24pm Get back to work a little later than I meant to (oops) and quickly get showered for the afternoon. Remember I ran out of deodorant this morning and make a mental note to pack a new one in my bag tomorrow. Cross my fingers that I won't start stinking too much as the afternoon progresses. 

1:40pm Back at my desk. Munch on my lunch. More usual everyday work tasks. More Facebook and Twitter. Read some blogs. Work some more. Eat more snacks (this is pretty much a constant). Play some radio contests. Kill some time. Work a bit more.

4:30pm FREEDOM! Hit the road home to spend the night celebrating 8 years of marriage and 15 years of togetherness with my favourite person. Stop at the wine store and the Thai restaurant on the way home, as I don’t feel much like cooking and figure it is okay to splurge a little on a special occasion.

5:45pm Home. Home at last. The evening really wasn’t much different than normal. We ate. We chatted. We watched the Olympics. I fell asleep on the couch sometime around 9:00 and missed all of MasterChef Canada. You know, the usual. 

Sometime in the early 10:00 hour Make my way to bed and doze off with Shane and the Rustbucket beside me. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Race of Death

^No, I’m not referring to Ironman, although I think some of my friends probably consider that a death race.

What I’m actually referring to is the Canadian Death Race. Aka: the only other race I’ve signed up for this coming season besides IM CdA.

I’m not quite crazy/brave enough to sign up for this bad boy solo (yet?) and so, I will be taking on this challenge as part of a relay team with some of my favourite peeps ~ my family!

In all fairness, this race was never really on my radar and I figured the summer months post CdA would be spent doing what I felt like. You know, perhaps some shorter races, maybe a few trail adventures (running and hiking), filling my gut with yummy food and summer brews, and generally just enjoying a summer free of strict training plans. That said, the Death Race is something Kirsten has been itching to do, and when Shane told her that if she did IM CdA with us, he would do the Death Race – well, she called his bluff.

And so, team “Till Death Do Us Part” was born.

The team will consist of me and Shane, Kirsten and Tyler, and my Dad (who was nominated and named the 5th member of the team without much warning or chance to decline. Good thing he is a good sport and always game for a new adventure).

I don’t have much to say about it so far, as I haven’t done much research. I think my summer post CdA will still consist of all the things listed above, just with a little bit more trail running thrown in the mix... which definitely isn't a bad thing.

One thing I do know about the race is that I will be running the 3rd leg.

I also know that the race takes place in Grande Cache – a town that I have very limited experience with, but a town that I won’t soon forget.

Years ago, as Shane was going into his second year of college in northern Alberta, he decided it would be best to drive back up to school rather than fly and so I accompanied him on the road trip. I think we had planned to try and make the trek in one day, but as the sun began to set and the realization that we would be the sore losers should there be a collision with a moose, we decided to stop at the next town. 

The next town? Yep, you guessed it, GRANDE CACHE!

I have only ever spent that one frightful night in Grande Cache, in a motel that I am pretty sure Norman Bates was running. I still shudder when I think about it. 

Let me tell you, when the creepy desk clerk gives you the ‘only room left’ and lets you know it is a ‘special one’ you kind of wonder. When you enter the world’s creepiest room and realize it is located right next to Norman Bates’ private residence, you start to think about taking your chances against the moose on a dark highway.

I don’t think I slept a wink that night, nor did I remove any piece of clothing or unpack anything from my bag. I was ready for a quick getaway should psycho make an appearance.

Anyway, long story short, we’ll likely be camping during the Death Race, cause I can’t remember the name of the hotel and I’m not taking any chances the second time around.  


Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Five

1) Rolling Rolling Rolling… I've been riding the rollers about once a week this winter. We've had them for a couple years now I think (although I didn't spend much time on them at all last year). I have progressed from the confines of the hallway, to the entrance of our kitchen (it's a slightly wider space than the hallway, but still has something on each side: a counter on one side and a fridge on the other). I would say I am much more confident and comfortable on them than I was in the early days (I don't feel the need to wear my helmet anymore like I did the first time I rode them, haha), but I still am a little shaky at times and do like feeling there is a bit of a safety zone with the counter/fridge situation.

On Wednesday night at trainer class we had some of Kelly's Kids join us. One of the girls rode rollers for the class. She was beside the wall, but it was just on one side. I was kind of in awe. The poor girl probably felt a bit awkward, as I think I spent the majority of the class staring at her. She was quite impressive – one leg drills, high cadence drills, strong efforts – she seemed to handle it all with ease. Never once did she look like she was going to hit the edge or slide off. Perhaps it is the fearlessness that comes with youth or maybe she has been riding rollers for a long time, but whatever the case, I was impressed.

2) Last weekend Shane was away and Kirsten was in a conference, so I spent a bit of time training (and living) solo. The weather was great on Saturday afternoon, so I tackled a 90km ride around Greater Victoria. My folks joined me for the first 30km which was nice and then I peeled off on my own to head down around the waterfront. The sun was shining and the roads were quiet. It was a good day.

Sunday, my motivation to run long on my own was lacking a little, so I joined the wonderful Trail Guys and splashed around Thetis and Stewart Mountain. I didn’t hit the kilometers that I was scheduled to run (25km) but I did spend a solid 2.5 hours running through the forest (so probably around the same amount of time it would have taken me to run 25k on the road). 

It was one of those outings that was good for your soul. At times I found myself lost in conversation, and at times I was equally lost in the quiet. My legs were pretty fried by the end, but I was happy with the day and the weekend as a whole (and I was finished early enough to be able to get all my chores done ~ something that often gets neglected during IM training).

3) This week has been a bit of a “regeneration” week. (I've noticed Kelly called it this, rather than a “step back” week or a “recovery” week in one of his emails). So, what that means is the week has been a bit lower volume, but with some higher intensity stuff mixed in. On Wednesday, I tackled my first interval run in a while.

The main set was 6x 1km at 10km RP with :90 recovery. I was a little worried about this workout, as it has been a while since I actually ran at a true 10km race effort. Thankfully (and maybe a little surprisingly) it went really really well (despite the shockingly cold weather, one urgent bathroom break, and my stupidity in hitting the stop button rather than the lap button at the start of my last 1km effort). I managed to hit times that I think are realistic of my 10km RP at this time (and they were pretty consistent to boot), and while it was a hard effort, it was definitely a maintainable effort.

4) As mentioned above, it has been ridiculously cold in Victoria this week (central Canadians and east coasters can start laughing at me now). Each morning when I've left the house the thermometer has read somewhere around -8 and I don't think the day time high is getting much above the freezing mark. It's dry and my skin in cracking and I can't seem to get warm – EVER! While I absolutely love the sunshine that comes with this cold weather (and even though my last couple sentences may say otherwise, I don't actually mind it that much), I have realized that I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to the cold. Also, it has made me ever more thankful that I don't live somewhere that “polar vortex” type weather is the norm. So, I guess what I'm saying is... Island living for the win!

5) I tackled one of my New Year's goals recently. I swam 800m with flip turns. I did a 600m “steady strong” effort in one go and then was feeling so good about it, I carried the flipping through into my 200m cool down. I definitely am still not flip turning consistently throughout the workout, and I do notice that if I don’t really focus on what I’m doing, they can get a bit sloppy, but I think it’s a good start. Yay me!

And with that, I’m out. Happy Friday everyone!