Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy Photo Dump

Day 41
The awesome hand tan I got while on an epic bike ride.
Photos do not do it justice. 
Day 42
My attempts (yes, there were many) at taking a photo of Rusty
and myself while he awkwardly slept on my lap. 
Day 43
A day off from work and training meant a fresh coat of nail polish.
Long weekends are the best!
Day 44
This guy.
Day 45
A sign spotted on my lunch wanders.
Day 46
My fastest run ever! *just kidding*
I forgot to switch from running to cycling mode, so my
commute data looked like a really fast run. 
Day 47
A beautiful day and full harbour in prep for Swiftsure weekend.
Day 48
It's a major award!
Fancy new Maui Jim sunglasses that I won on a radio contest.

Also, if you didn't get the reference to the 'major award' above, I give you this gem...
Mr. Parker: What is the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse?
Mother: Ah... Victor! His name is Victor.
Mr. Parker: How the hell did you know that?
Mother: Everybody knows that!
Day 49
 Race Day!
While I wasn't there to see it, it was also race day for Dad,
where he earned a new Half Marathon PB!!
Day 50
Summer = Hefeweizen.
 Day 51
Remnants of race day still lingering on my hand.
(Plus, don't you love that this post starts and ends with a hand pic?)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Update + Shawnigan Sprint Race Report

I was looking at my blog the other day and realized I haven't actually written much (or anything at all) about training lately. Since a training blog without any training deetz doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, I figured a little quick and dirty recap is in order, before jumping right into some details about my latest race (which happened to also be my first race since Auckland in late 2012 ~ yowza!).

Thankfully, the rest that I took while doing battle with the sickness that hit just before (and again during) our weekend in Coeur d'Alene did the trick and I started to bounce back fairly quickly. 

To be honest, there are a few more X’s on my calendar than I would usually like to see, but now that Shane is back working a regular job and our schedules aren't quite as fluid as they once were, finding a work/life balance and focusing on solid workouts has become a bit more of a priority lately. Quality vs. Quantity I suppose? (Not that the quantity still hasn't been pretty darn high, there has just been more juggling as of late  but I digress...).

I've had a couple really solid, BIG VOLUME, weekends that have left me feeling pretty confident in my ability to conquer the course in CdA. On top of that (and as mentioned above), I raced this past Sunday for the first time in ages. Plus, I've got another gigantic weekend on tap before things start to back off a bit, as IM CdA is just around the corner. (Ummm, how did that happen?)

That said, one area that I feel has suffered a little since my cold, is that I haven't been getting in the lake/pool as much as I would like and have been experiencing a bit of anxiety about the swim lately. Swim anxiety is not something I've ever really dealt with, so it is a bit of a foreign feeling to me. I know I can do the distance and I'm not actually that worried about contact with other swimmers, I just feel like I need to get in the water a little more in the coming weeks, so that will definitely be a priority. 

That's about that on the training front. I'm swimming (although maybe not enough), biking (and bike commuting) a fair bit, and running strong and consistent.

So, onto the race!

The race that I did this past Sunday was the sprint distance at the Subaru Shawnigan Lake Triathlon.

Overall, I was fairly happy with how the race went. Of course, after the fact there is always lots of “well, I could have done this better” and “I could have shaved off a bit of time here” but for the most part, I thought I accomplished what I set out to accomplish going into it, and it definitely served the purpose I was hoping it would.

So, what was it that I was looking to get from this race?
Two things: swimming with a group & ‘reigniting the flame’ so-to-speak.

More specifically put, the fact that it got me swimming in a group and not freaking out about being bopped around by other people was a biggie. Also, more importantly, I had fun and I think it did help re-spark a bit of my competitive spirit.

Oddly enough, I was SUPER nervous before this (go figure). All day Saturday my guts were a bit off, I barely slept Saturday night, and by the time I got in the water on Sunday morning I was literally shaking (and not because it was cold). Not sure if it’s just because I hadn't actually done a race since Auckland or what, but I was anxious to.the.MAX!

[I should specify when I say I haven’t done a race, I mean a triathlon, as I've done plenty of running events in the last year and a half].

Anyway, the swim... I did not swim as hard or as fast as I know I am capable of, but I really just wanted to get in the mix and feel comfortable while getting scratched and clawed and kicked and generally beat down. It was pretty congested, and I probably should have started a bit farther ahead of where I was, because I had to pass a lot of people right out of the gates (and got kicked in the chest multiple times by a woman who decided to line up front row and then breast stroke - wtf?), but I felt like it simulated what Ironman will feel like really well, in that I was constantly surrounded by people (until the last 100m or so) and so I was pleased with that. Also, I was really happy with how relaxed I was while I was getting kicked and smacked and what not.
Lovingly 'borrowed' from FinisherPix.
The parts of T1 that I was able to control were good. I was relaxed and smooth. That said, trying to run my bike out was frustrating! There was so much congestion and only a single file lane going up to the road. Because of the way it was setup, I was stuck behind people just sauntering along. It was super annoying as I knew I was losing time, but there wasn’t much I could do about it in the moment without being a total dick or being totally unsafe.

Let me clarify on that. You may be reading that and think, “what’s the big deal, it’s only a few seconds?” but transitions are one of my stronger areas (I can own that), and because of this, it is where I often make up some much needed time on my slightly faster competitors (especially in short course racing), so to get ‘stuck’ just kinda sucks. (It sucked even harder when after the race I realized I missed my age group podium by only 9 seconds ~ womp womp).

The bike was also bit frustrating, but not because of other people this time, more so because my body wasn't cooperating with my head.

I felt like I got a decent start and got into a groove pretty quickly, but then when I tried to push harder it was like my body would not shift into a higher gear and I could not seem to make myself go any faster (and sadly, I got passed A LOT!). My legs were just kind of jello-y. Zero Power Jell-O (trust me, this is not a flavour I would recommend). I was trying to push and trying to ride hard, and yet, I felt like I was a slug!

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with my overall time on the bike leg, as I know I have ridden (and can ride) that course much faster (I think this year was almost 3mins slower than when I did the race in 2012 ~ ouch). That said, I still had a lot of fun and really, if I rode that pace during Ironman, I'd be thrilled, so there’s that, haha.
Frustrated, but still smiling.
As with the one above, 'borrowed' from FinisherPix.
T2 was good (aside from having a bit of trouble getting my bike to stay on the rack – oops – which ate up a few seconds). It was all very methodical and relaxed and I felt like I was in and out pretty quickly.

Onto the run… well, I’m not sure I've ever said this in a triathlon before, but it was easily my best leg of the day and I was really happy with it!

I felt like I ran steady and comfortably, but was still pushing myself. I did not get passed by a single woman and actually managed to pass quite a few who had passed me earlier on the bike (even chasing one down in the final 500m or so – it felt pretty bad ass). Needless to say, that was a very new and very fun feeling for me.

More importantly, mentally, I never gave in and never let up. This is new for me. I often cave to the pain and allow myself to phone it in a bit. Specifically, my calves were bugging me quite a bit on the way out, but I was actually able to ignore it and push past it until I was just cruising. For me, that is a huge win and in a weird way, proves to myself that I am stronger and tougher than I was the last time I did an Ironman. (I’m pretty sure I have the TransRockies Run to thank for that).

I'm not very photogenic while running, but I liked this one because I'm smiling (kinda).
As with all the photos, FinisherPix.
So, while the swim and bike were both a bit 'meh', the run was GREAT! It was amazing to cross the finish line feeling strong and finish the race on a high note. 

I finished off the day 4/15 in my age group, and 17/81 of the women. Maybe a little slower than I would have liked, but it was a pretty great start to the season and a nice way to blow out the cobwebs.

Super random, and I don't know these guys, but I saw this photos when I
was going through all the pics from the race and, well, I love it!
Especially because if you look at their bibs, these guys weren't even in the same race. 

ps. Don't think I forgot about #100happydays. Photos will follow in their own post.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five Glorious Years

Year 1 (required two posts)

Year 5
Is today. It is now. It is and will continue to be full of beauty and wonder and emotion and love.

It is also Day 40 of #100happydays

Day 34 
Getting to meet this handsome little devil.

Day 35
(He's a bit of a recurring theme over these 100 days, isn't he?)
An ice cold Coke at the end of a long hard bike absolutely saved me this day.
Day 36
The best show I've seen in a long time!
Photo 'borrowed' from snapd Victoria.
Our ATD's dog Tuva catching his big break by being featured on Steve Martin's Twitter (@SteveMartinToGo).
 Day 37
The summer-like temps in Vic.
Day 38
I managed not to take any photos this day, aside from Rusty awkwardly sleeping on the couch.
Day 39
Calorie bomb! (... and it was so freaking good!)
Day 40
A lovely morning run with the Rustbeast. One of the best ways to start the day.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Nearly two weeks ago (on a Monday), everything seemed pretty normal. I had a bit of a sore throat, but was in complete denial that I could possibly be getting sick. I tend to stick with the “if I pretend I’m not getting sick, I won’t get sick” mentality when I feel a bit of a scratch in my throat or stuffiness in my head, and usually, that tends to work and I don’t actually succumb to the bug.

Kelly and I met at lunch that day and discussed the fact that I haven’t felt much desire to race or any real competitiveness lately, and so we came up with a few ways to get that fire lit and planned out some of the races that I will do between now and IM CdA.

We talked about how training would play out over the next few weeks and about an upcoming trip down to Coeur d’Alene that Shane and I had planned for that coming weekend.

I left our little get together feeling a bit more energized and not at all worried about my scratchy throat. All seemed good.

That night my parents delivered some pretty unexpected and fairly life changing news. News, that two weeks later I’m still processing. Emotionally, some days are good. Some days are not so good, and on those not so good days, there is a slight guilt for not being stronger (hard to explain). What I am sure of, is that there will be a positive outcome. Anyway, I always hate on blogs when people vaguely reference stuff that is happening in their lives, but then don't give details (I’m nosy) but, at the end of the day, this is not my story to tell, so I’m going to leave it at that for now. My blog, my rules.

What I can say is… BOOM!

Mix in some emotional stress, and that little tickle in my throat transformed into a full on body-shut-down, can’t-get-out-of-bed, kinda cold. Fun stuff. Anyway, that has meant that over the last couple of weeks training has been pretty eff’d up and mostly non-existent.

I spent a couple days in bed with absolutely no desire to do anything but blow my nose and watch trash TV. I thought things were getting better and so I made my return to work for one day before heading down to Coeur d’Alene.

The trip had already been planned (with another friend) and the time off from work was already booked, so we decided it was best to still go – and I was feeling better (for the most part) so thought the worst of the sickness was behind me.

On Saturday, we rode the bike course. We had wanted to do a full 180km, but after the first loop, I was coughing a lot and my chest was getting pretty raspy. Shane wasn’t feeling super hot either, and the wind was absolutely INSANE, so we decided to do one more loop of the small out and back section and then called it – for a total of 110km on the day.

[Side note: Does anyone know, is it always windy in Coeur d’Alene?]

It’s funny, because while we were riding, I felt great, but as the afternoon and evening wore on, I started to feel progressively worse. I was coughing a lot and my chest hurt.

Early Sunday morning I was woken from a dead sleep with some pretty intense pains in my chest and back (it was like all of the muscles in my torso were spasming and I couldn't get a really good breath). I tossed and turned for a couple hours before it was time to get up.

We had been planning to run one loop of the run course, but because of the weird chest pains, I wasn't sure how that would go and realized it probably wasn't super beneficial to run myself into the ground.

My new plan: start the run and see how it goes. Walk if I have to.

So, that's what I did. I struggled through about 5km before deciding I wasn't doing myself any good. At that point, I stopped and walked (on the course) for about an hour while the guys carried on and completed the out and back. Once they got back to me, I ran the final 4-5km with them back to the car. It wasn't ideal, but at least I still got to see the course and take in the beauty of it all. Also, we didn't get rained on, so that was a definite plus.

Anyway, the trip turned into more of a sightseeing getaway and course recon than the big training weekend I had originally hoped for, but it was still amazingly worthwhile and I’m so happy to have been able to see the course and the town – we even got to check out the house we will be renting while down there, so that was a huge bonus.

Upon our return I was feeling a bit crappy again, so I talked with Kelly and we decided a few more days off was probably my best option before easing myself back up to the our regular volume. So, this week I’ve swam once, run once and am planning to hit the bike for an easy spin tonight before tackling a bit of a larger weekend.

My body is responding well, and although I’m still a bit raspy and still cough up the odd chunk of lung gunk, I’m hopeful that by next week this little blip on the training map will be behind me.


Day 23
Napping on the deck in the sunshine. One bonus to being sick on a nice day.
  Day 24
Bridesmaid dresses selected and ordered.
 Day 25
Sunset from our bedroom window.
Day 26
Testing out Shane's new neoprene swim cap upon our arrival in CdA.
Day 27
Chilling with Mudgie and Millie.
Day 28
Solitude while walking the run course.
Day 29
The way Rusty stretched and then fell asleep in that position cracked me up.
 Day 30
Day 31
Morning snuggles. He loves my harassment.
Day 32
Celebrating Mom's birthday.
Day 33
Impulse buy - some sweet little kicks for my best friend's new bambino.