Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oliver Half Iron Grudge match - 12 days and counting

The Oliver Half Iron is less than 2 weeks from now where we will have a rematch between me and my hubby - Joe. Last year he beat my by 15 min and more frustratingly grrrrr - still annoyed - by 2 seconds on the bike. This year that is NOT going to happen - no way - no how. (nope I am not even slighly competitive (LOL)).

However victory will not be easy - Joe is also competitve AND one of those darn "natural" athletes - so annoying - you know the kind - oh I guess I will run a marathon - and starts to train 3 weeks out and still pulls a 4 hour off. But I am confident - last year he quasi trained - he swam a few times and rode with me pretty much every weekend from February on and ran a lot on his own and only pulled out 15 min on me. This year he has barely trained. Actually about 5 weeks ago I asked him if he felt so confident about last year's success that this year's plan was to not train at all (LOL) - which I guess goaded him because he started running and while he does not go out on his road bike much he is out on his mountain bike for a couple of hours every second day or so. Should have kept my big mouth shut and my victory would have been assured...

However I should be okay because he has not swam a lap since last year - I am not even sure he has been in water besides to have a shower since then. So I am going to have to swim faster than him and then get on the bike and ride like the wind and hope I build enough of a lead to stay in front of him on the half. He is a super fast runner. I am also counting on that he has not done any bricks - hopefully this will all play in my favour. Not to mention all the riding I have been doing 4 days a week with a mountain climb at least once a week and 3 hour rides on the weekend. I just hope it is enough.

On other news outside the tri bubble - Baby watch 2009 is almost over and going as scheduled. As I said to my BFF don't worry nobody is going anywhere until the scheduled C-Section on May 27th and Voila tomorrow it will be. I should have bet her and the doc's $$$$. So tomorrow morning I will put on the hat of birthing coach - not sure what I will be doing since it is a C-section but I am excited to meet the twinkies all the same. And we are also waiting on my niece to have her babe - she is about a week overdue. It would be very interesting if they both delivered tomorrow that is for sure!

But in the interim I have to take Alley Cat to the vet later today because she is not keeping anything down and just very quiet - not like her at all. Good thing it is a rest day.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Inside track to the Ironman Bike course

This weekend I went up to the interior to ride portions of the Ironman Course. Coach had me down for a 3.5 hour ride/1/2 hour run on Saturday and then a 15 OWS (open water swim) with a 2 - 2.5 hour ride and a 15 min run on Sunday.

Judith and Cindy - 2 ladies I ride with, were also going up and agreed to take me under their wing and show me the course. They have both done Ironman a couple of times, they are absolutely amazing women. Riding with them is always empowering as it shows me I am capable and they are always full of great tips. The plan was to ride from the Bear in Keremeos backwards along the rollers and down Richter’s to Osoyoos meet up with some other ladies riding the entire course and head back up Richter’s and over the rollers back to the cars. The reason - I was not supposed to be out for more than 3.5 hours, this would let me see the much talked about Richters hill and rollers, stay close to time and get me back to my car. As well by riding backwards over the course I would be tired and well not a perfect simulation of race day – I would not be fresh for Richter’s.

Going out to Osoyoos was tough – we did pace line for the start and I was holding my own for the most part but did get dropped with about 25 km left. The ride into Osoyoos was fun with the 11 km descent. It took us about 2 hours and then we got to have a nice break while we waited. The girls showed up about a ½ later and I am very envious of their kits – TFNB – Team Fun Nice Bum – in PINK!!!! From shoe covers to shorts, arm warmers, jerseys, and tri shirts they looked great. They all refilled their bottles, had a bite to eat and when the whole group had arrived (they had about 8 ladies) we started out again.

Riding up Richter’s, honestly, not bad – it is long but it was very anticlimactic when we got to the top and regrouped I was like really that is it? I am not trying to be a smarty pants but to hear others talk about it for years you get this picture in your head - it really is not that bad. As Cindy, Judith and the others said – riding up Cypress every week is way worse than Richter’s and they are right. The rollers are also not so bad – they are kind of fun because you get a run at them and way easier on the way back then out – that is for sure. We also did the out and back portion – only one way – but I am so happy I did. The ladies were all like you have to ride it – everyone thinks it is not a big deal but it is – it is uphill one way and if you are not prepared it will mess with your head. They were right – as usual. The run afterwards was not bad either but I was pretty warm so need to remember that. Total time 4 hours on bike – 25 min run.

Sunday I was kind of wondering how it would go because we had done such a long ride but it was pretty good after the ride on Saturday I went and stood in the ice –cold lake to help the legs recover and it did the trick. We did not do the OWS because it was far too cold. I wanted to look at the front half of the course – I heard about this Maclean’s hill and that it was a little nasty and wanted to see it so again my tour guides and I set off. Maclean’s even more anti-climatic than Richters – but important to ride. As the ladies pointed out do not hammer this hill – just get up it because it is early in the course and don’t waste your energy conserve it for the headwinds and Richters. Other point, the road is crap and coming down is not a comfortable ride so I am happy to be aware and as they pointed out there will still be bunching here and 2 types of riders, cautious and overly aggressive so I need to think of my game plan to get down safely and quickly. When we got to OK falls we rode back along the marathon course so I got a bird’s eye view of the back half of the marathon – there are a few hills – nothing big but nice to know about. Total time out 1:45 “ish” on the bike with a 15 min run follow up and a stand in the icy lake before the drive home.

I feel a lot better about the ride now. In just under 3 weeks I will be riding the Oliver course which is a portion of the course out to Osoyoos – I have ridden it before so it will be a refresher and then in July I am going out to ride the Yellow lake portion – the ladies say again nothing to complicated but just mentally nice to see and do so you can plan your race. I am so in debt to these gals – not only did they ride with me but all the tips and just their thoughts on their experiences are going to be totally invaluable. I am not sure how I am going to repay them. One way will be to rock the race but I just might have to throw in a bottle of wine for each….

Friday, May 15, 2009

Did someone say Spa Day?

Ironman training - is all about balance and time management. I have always been one to do a 1000 things at once - yep in the dictionary under Type A - there is a little picture of me.
Last year when I said I was going to register for Ironman my father-in-law, god love him, said to me very seriously,” you are going to have to quit your job if you want to do this.” I took a deep breath and said there are women with children and full time jobs that do this don't be ridiculous. But there are times when I do feel like it is all a bit much. There are times I feel in a constant level of not exhaustion but stress/anxiety trying to juggle it all. I love my sleep and find when not working or training I will nap whenever I get the chance. I really believe that this is one of the best ways to allow my body to recover so I am good to go the next day and it seems to be working. Now though it is even tough to get naps in.
I train 6 days a week a minimum of 2 hours a day - weekends are, of course, longer. I work full-time and while I don't have children I do have a gorgeous border collie who needs to be walked and played with at least an hour a day, usually longer. There the general house hold items – grocery shopping, cleaning, gardening and such and I have also for the last 9 years been very involved with the BC Lions Society working as a volunteer committee member for several of their big fundraisers and my responsibilities to this group are ramping up as we get ready for the biggest fundraiser of the year for them – The 24 Hour Relay, and until 2 weeks ago I was coaching/leading half marathon clinics.
Rest day is Tuesday but lately does not feel like rest day – as that is the only day I can see physio, chiro and/or massage therapists so I still don’t get home until 7:30pm or so. And I seem to have a lot of social obligations and such that are cropping up. In behind all of this my best friend is pregnant with twins and is going to be a single mom. I am to be her birthing coach - or was going to be. As of the start of this week she is now on bed-rest at the local hospital and they could pull the boys out by C-section at a moment’s notice.
My dilemma right now is this weekend - I am to go to the interior and ride portions of the Ironman course. I am driving up tonight, riding tomorrow with a group of ladies and then Sunday doing a brick and driving home Sunday afternoon. I need to get this training session in but I feel guilty because she is in the hospital and I feel I should be here. She assures me that she is going to chill and “ride” it out until Tuesday when the boys are 34 weeks but I am still worried.
Thankfully mutual friends from the Shaunette’s have agreed to be on baby watch till I get back. With only 3.5 months left until race day I am trying to keep it all under control and in perspective. Fortunately while I feel a smidge overwhelmed coach says my numbers show that I am handling the training well – I just hope I can maintain.

I feel a spa day coming up. Now I just need to figure out how to fit it in....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grinders - you've gotta love them!

Yesterday morning I woke up and just did not want to ride. You know you wake up and revert back to 6 years old - I don't wanna go for a bike ride!! (stomp feet, insert pout). Yep today was going to be a grinder- crap.

I looked at the schedule and thought crap ride 3 hours: intervals on the North Shore knowing that meant we were riding out to Whytecliff (rollers followed by more rollers) then probably up the steep hill to the highway followed by a climb up to the first lookout (at minimum) on Cypress. Hmmm I think my throat is itchy - cough cough. Then I look at the back of my bedroom door - my Ironman poster my husband got me in 2007 and crossed out the date to read 2009 – was hanging there.

Right no, I don't have a cold. Grumble grumble. This went on for the next hour and a bit as I got ready and walked the dog. Fortunately, I have strategically placed notes and autographed posters of idols such as Michellie Jones and Dean Krantz, Ultramarathon Man, around my house for just such times. As well when me and the pup headed out for a walk the weather was gorgeous.

So I got dressed and hopped on the bike and headed over to meet the group. The whole time thinking shoot I am soo tired, my leg hurts, it is cold and on and on. I was getting myself worked into a real tizzy about how hard and difficult this ride was going to be.

Even the “pep” talk before we headed out about the workout, the drills, the reasoning- was ominous. Barb and Larry were like it hurts, tough, it is going to hurt but you push through. If it hurts, push and it will hurt some more but that is what makes winners. You think this will get easier it never really gets easier because you move the goal when you get there. A bunch of us looked at each other and "M" whispered "S...t" guys don't sugar coat it - I was like let’s just get this over with. Time to grind it out – coach says these are the workouts that build personality. Personally I think I have more than enough personality, really I am a legend - at least in my own mind .

Off we went and I was right it was hard, especially at the start, it was a tough ride, remembering the gearing drills for the rollers, pushing when you thought you were done and getting a little farther/faster. But then at one point while I was busting a lung and my legs were burning pushing up yet another bloody hill - I realized that I was having a great time. Yes this was hard but really it was not that bad. (LOL)You just have to love it when you realize that you are having the time of your life. I was so glad that I came out because I would have missed that experience AND I would not have taken a min + off my cypress climb time to boot! A running friend said it best – I never regret going for a run (swim/ride) but I ALWAYS regret not going.

Truer words never spoken and hey one can always develop more character….

Peace out


Friday, May 8, 2009

Change is in the air - trust the coach.

It has not even been 24 hours since I officially took a LOA from my clinic coaching duties and I already miss it!

The Running room has been my second home for the past 8 years I have pretty much been there EVERY Sunday and Thursday or Tuesday depending on the clinic over the last 8 years with a few exceptions. I have evolved from a wide eyed new half marathoner to marathoner, triathlete, pace leader and finally clinic leader. These people are an integral part of my life, they are some of the closest friends I have made in my life, they are like family to me and an integral part of my support network.

The rational part of me knows this is absolutely necessary for me to take a break from leading clinics - it takes up a lot of time. I know that I need to focus on myself and the goals I have personally set. It is just hard.

I have hired cycling coaches (wife and husband team - zimichcoaching.com - the best in BC - and it is time to actually work with them full-time so that I can get the full value of their experience and wisdom. Up until now I have been riding with them every 2nd Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Coach designs my training schedule and has been very patient working around my obligations to the clinic. It was very nice to see on this week's schedule for Thursday run = SHAUN - runs for herself now! And then an awesome workout of 1km repeats. I am excited to take it to the next level and nervous.

I am nervous because I am a runner - it is my first love. I am developing a real love for the bike but I love my long runs and the big thing over the next month is that Coach has cut back my runs to two a week (OMG!!!) in an effort to allow my leg/hip to heal properly and to build strength on the bike. She also says that I have proven I can run so drop the distances and times down. Plus the bike will allow me to rehab better - at least that is how everyone is selling it to me. I am freaking out - twice a week, only twice a week?!?! However as I know and have often said trust your coach - they have been where you are, they are there to help you excel that is why you hired them. Trust the coach.

While I might not be running with the gang for awhile I know I will chat with them via email and such, they are furiously making plans for their Ironman Shaunette outfits. My cycling group is great with lots of veteran Ironman peeps that are full of advice and tips and I have Team Nathan of course so it will be okay. I still miss them though wonder if anyone in the cycle group knows the Manananana song like Kirsten and June bug do, no one likes to sing alone....



Monday, May 4, 2009

A great day to be a Pace Bunny.

Bunny Assignment Pace time: 2 hours 30 min, Race: Vancouver International Half Marathon

Weather was awesome – nothing but sunshine. Got down to the meeting place to grab my sign and found a bunch of anxious faces with a complete look of relief – I knew about half of them as they were from the clinic I coach/lead out of the Denman Running room. We headed off to the start chute a few asked for my bunny resume – I assured them that yes I had run a “couple” of half’s and was pretty sure I could get the 2:30 time and yes we would be running the 10 and 1 format.

During the first few km the group for the most part stayed with me- a few ran off ahead convinced I was going too slow. Off and on I would sing a few bars of the Sesame street tune – you know the one Mahnanah- doot doot de doot doot, Mahnahnah…. And tell a bad bunny joke every couple of km to keep spirits up. As we hit the half way mark the group all checked their watches and advised me that I was on time – whew that was a relief - actually we had a 10 second cushion but I was not about to point it out. In the Vancouver half around the 13km mark there is a 1km climb - it is the nemesis of a lot of people and so as we hit the bottom I started to sing the song my clinic sings during hill climb sessions – I feel good by James Brown. We got to the top and I looked around not bad 5 had stuck with me – pace up the hill 6:57/km. The five with me did a quick watch check and again assured me that I was still on time – they thought I had picked up the pace but now that they had checked they wanted to let me know I had not. (LOL)

When we hit English bay which is just under 4km I had 7 or 8 of the original group with me – I told them to get going. There was a moment of panic but we can’t leave the bunny – yes you can get going - get a sub 2:30! So with a firm but gentle push off they went. From this point on I started looking for people - I would jog backwards and just scan the crowd behind me – when I spotted someone I would start calling them and wiggling my finger – come on get up here. Then when they got to me I would say less than ….. km go and tell them to go. Then I would turn around and jog forward for a bit to watch them – if I came up on anyone that I knew I would jog up and talk to them -ask them what their power word was and if they did not have one I would remind them – you are an athlete – you have trained for this, you are strong and then give them a gentle push sending them off. I continued this for the entire last 2 km to the finish line. I crossed at 2:28:20 and then stood and waited calling from just beyond the mat – come on let’s go. I am pleased to say that
pretty much everyone crossed in 2:30.

It was a great day to be a bunny and I am super proud of everyone especially my clinic members - what an honour and treat to be able to share in their triumph. It was also great to run into fellow team Nathan member Lillian and learn that she had a great race with a Personal Best in the Full. Team Nathan rocked it. Going forward I will be focusing on me – Oliver Half Ironman is 4 weeks away time to start visualizing my own triumphant finish!

Peace out Shaun