Monday, June 29, 2009

Bringing up the rear

Yesterday was the annual Cypress Mountain Hill Climb race.

The whole club was supposed to ride it but the green goddesses had to cancel due to work and other life commitments so that left the Amazing Miss M and me to represent the recreational womens "tri" section of the group. Miss M is faster than I am - she is actually where I was last year before the accident so I had a pretty good feeling I would be bringing up the rear.

Coach and me talked briefly and she said just go hard and treat it like a training ride so that is what I did. They started the Cat 3 and 4 women with the Masters I was able to hang on to the group for about 300 metres (LOL) and then they dropped me like a bad habit. I was able to see Melinda until we reached the first look out about 5.5 km up and then I lost sight of her as well.

My total time up was an hour and 4 minutes to get up 10 minutes or so to get down. You would think I would feel pretty bummed about this but honestly I don't. Over the past 9 years or so I have learned to just go with it - now if I could apply that to the rest of my life, but I digress. I always think back to where I started and where I am and where I can go and I try to focus on the where I am going. The point is I finished and I did not quit. The total climb is 12km - Richters pass is 7 km, this was my 3rd time ever doing that climb. I had run 2 hours 15 min the day before and then ran around an amusement park for 8 hours so overall I am okay with the result.

I remember the first 1/2 marathon I ever ran I was so far at the back of the pack that I did the majority of the training completely on my own because I would get dropped so quickly - I finished my first half in 2:36 and some change. Prior to the accident I could comfortably run a 2 hour half marathon. When I went to train for my second full again I was dropped very quickly by the group and did all the runs on my own - 4 hours on the trails by yourself you solve a lot of the world's problems, it ended up I did not get to run that full because of a late injury 4 weeks out but it showed me that I could do the runs on my own and allowed me to have the confidence to actually be a pace leader for the next group and do a 4:33 marathon - taking 20+ minutes of my previous. So riding up a mountain against some of the best women riders in the province and even the country/world I am okay with my performance because it means I have lots of room for improvement and I can learn. Plus it was awesome to see Club Zimich rock it and pretty much podium if not win each division.

This week I start an 4 week clinic with a new swim coach that specializes in open water and triathlons - everyone I spoke to speaks highly of him so I am excited to learn how to be calm and efficient in open water. Oh and Wednesday is the 2km Canada Swim race at Sasamat lake. Should be good - hopefully I will get enough tips at Tuesday's class to help me on Wednesday but again in the end it is a training session and I need to remember that.

Peace out Shaun

Friday, June 26, 2009

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I work in administration but I am a trained nuclear med tech who has not actually done that for over 16 years. I enjoyed the Nuclear medicine but being a casual on-call did not pay the bills or put food on the table so I went into office administration.

However over the past 2 years I have come to realize I don't want to do that anymore- well that is not completely true - I like some parts of it but other parts I don't.

Currently where I work is OK - I made a major change 7 months ago mostly for $$ reasons and am regretting that decision more and more. There were other reasons but the main reason was $$ and I knew they could not pay me more where I was. I loved the people and the actual work gave me purpose this position not so much. Plus I work with someone who is a lot like me and it has been a little eye-opening and unsettling. This person is great at their job, efficient, accurate, focused but they are also abrupt, intense and impatient - it is like walking on egg shells around them - it makes for a very uncomfortable work environment most days. I now realize how hard it must have been at times to work with me when I was in the "zone". I never meant to be abrupt or impatient but I now see that it comes across that way and I apologize to all my former co-workers - thank you for not stapling my hand to the desk - I now see the light and will change my ways.

But back to what do I want to be when I grow up???? I don't know - I try to think about what I love and what makes me feel happy and it is when I am training or leading or coaching - I love that and have fun at it. So I guess what I need to do is win the Lotto so I can retire and I can take some courses to be a tri-coach (for beginners) and go from there.

This weekend is the Cypress Hill Climb - Coach has all registered in it - should be good. The climb is just under 13km from start to finish - the Green Goddesses and I are meeting at Park Royal to ride up to the Start line as a warm-up - it is steeper than the actual climb. Hoping for nothing but sun and warm temps.

Will report on Monday how it went.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Juggling all the balls

Well I got through the weekend none the worse for it and only missed one workout so feeling pretty good about that.

Friday I had to be up and at the hotel to set up for an all day section by 6:45am so I did not get commute to and from workout on the bike in. I was able to get my endurance swim in before I headed off to the stadium to help set up the Kids Zone tent for the next morning at the 24 Hour Relay of the Kids. Pretty sure I must have counted laps wrong because I did 2500 m (or so I thought) and when I hit my timer at the end it read just under 51 minutes?!?! does not seem right but hey maybe a miracle did happen and suddenly became faster. One can certainly hope so!

Saturday I had to get a 2 hour run in so I got up at 6 had a bite to eat loaded shower stuff and clothes for the day in the car for Joe to take to the stadium and ran down to the Stadium from the house. The run felt good and leg only started to ache around 1.5 hours and then I started to struggle with the pace a bit.

The relay was fun - it was a different experience for me as in previous years I have been very involved in preparation from January onwards and weekend of I have moved into the stadium Saturday morning 6:30am and left the Sunday at around 11am. The Society decided some changes were needed and part of that was to have me help with kids Zone instead of running the Volunteer operation as in previous years. I have to admit I have struggled with this decision and have found it hard at times to not take it personally as I had poored my heart and soul into this and other events for the past 8 years on planning committee and previously as a team member and captain. This year I basically arrived to help set up the zone Friday eve and then helped in the Kids Zone from 10am - 7pm, we tore it down and then I got to hang out for a while. I got to have a tour of the campsites - first time in 9 years and meet some of the teams and got to participate in the half time show - (did that once before but left immediately after song was over to get back to my duties at the Volunteer tent). So really enjoyed that aspect of it - face painting was a lot of fun and helping with crafts but it was very weird to leave Saturday night and sleep in my own bed for the first time in 13 years and then not to be there for the closing ceremony or final total Sunday morning - I still don't know what the total raised was - it just feels odd. However times and priorities change - everything happens for a reason and really I have not had the time this year with all the training so intellectually I know it is for the best but I can't help but feel a little sad.

However I was able to get a great ride in on Sunday morning out to Lions Bay and back. I was a little concerned because I was on my feet most of Saturday and well I had a few wobbly pops at the relay after our shift ended so I knew I was not doing myself any favours for the ride and was relieved that overall I held my own but I am back on the wagon till after Ironman now.

Coach told us all yesterday after the ride that she wants us to register for the Cypress Hill Climb Race this Sunday! Should be interesting.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


While I am now a sponsored athlete - YEAH TEAM NATHAN - I am not able to retire from my full-time day job just yet...

When I signed up for Ironman I went in with my eyes wide open about the time commitment that would be required and that I would have to learn to compromise - not one of my strongest suits at the best of times.

I am a by-the-book kind of gal - if coach says ride for 3 hours and gives me zones I will do that workout as precise to time and zones as possible and I hate having to adjust or change anything but I am learning because more importantly I need to get the workouts in.

The next 2 weeks are going to test me to my limits as we have family coming from overseas tomorrow and I have a long standing charity event that I have volunteered at for over 10 years this weekend. My brain almost friztes out when I try to figure out how I am going to do the workouts, play hostess, go to work and do the charity event. Something is going to implode - I am just not sure what.

In my first act of compromise instead of doing the weekly ride up the mountain (which I have not done for the past 2 weeks...) I said I would move my bike ride to today so that I could go to the airport and meet them - see compromise. I forgot my shoes today so now I must compromise again and will now go home get my shoes and ride the "hill" mountain by my house - argggghhhhh. That is 3 of no Cypress - panic starts to build.

Hubby was saying something about Thursday evening and family but I have a brick on Thursday to do.... I suppose I could get up at 4:30am to do the workout and then go to work. Again compromise. Friday I have to attend a BBQ function which I am seriously considering bailing on so I don't miss my swim workout.... I suppose I could get up early again but I may have to be at work for 6:30am - don't know yet.

For the weekend I will run down to the 24 Hour Relay event site on Saturday to get my run in and I have scaled back my participation for the weekend. In previous years I arrived at 6:30am Saturday and stayed right through until Sunday at 10:30am with NO SLEEP. This year I feel a bit guilty in that I have done none of my usual pre-event stuff and will basically be showing up the morning of and leaving Saturday evening around 8pm to sleep in my bed. I also have no plans to be at the stadium on Sunday at all - it will be weird I am always there for the closing ceremones but I will be doing my long ride with the group.

I have taken a stand in some ways - I have told hubby I will not go camping or out of town unless he buys a bike rack for the car. I will not miss my long rides and we can not fit gear, 4 adults and a dog as well as my bike in the car.

My eye is starting to twitch when I think about all the hoop jumping I am going to have to do for the next 2 weeks. But I am determined to not miss a single workout - somehow someway I will get them in. And well if push comes to shove the hostess duties will suffer - sorry peeps it is Ironman and everyone knew I had registered for it in September.... I guess I still need to work on the compromise thing...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Staring my nemesis in the face

After the weekend and a volley of email exchanges between coach and myself we have agreed that I need to become more comfortable in open water race situations. So to that end I have registered for 2 open water races and 2km, July 1st and a 3km on July 25th.

Just thinking about them causes my anxiety level to rise which is silly because I know how to swim and am perfectly fine in a pool so I am frustrated that I get so nervous in open water tri races. If I am just swimming in the lake or ocean I seem fine just seems race situations I get freaked. I don't know if it is not being able to see the bottom, or the thrashing of the group around me or what.

I swam in lakes and rivers all my childhood - you could not get us out of the lake as soon as we were given the all clear by my grandparents, me and my sister were down and jumping off the dock and playing in the lake until we were called for lunch. Once we got the all clear after lunch we were back in the water and sometimes if it was a special day and we had been exceptionally well behaved we were even allowed to have a short evening swim. Those days were the best. So it seems ridiculous that I get so anxious in a tri setting.

The one thing I take away is that once I calm down and the crowd thins I seem to find my rhythm and am good to go but it would sure be great if I did not have to waste 5 minutes going through the panic attack. Hopefully doing these races will allow me to create a feeling of calm and confidence.

Keep your fingers crossed.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Holy Head winds Bat Man!

I wish I could say I crushed the Boy and PB'd Oliver this weekend but it was just not to be. Last year 6:46:31, this year 7:05 on the nose. Now for the post race analysis – Coles notes version – HOLY HEADWINDS BATMAN!!!

Swim - last year 51:13 this year 54:13 which now when I look at it I feel better - I had a panic attack. I thought I had started at the back like last year but after 10 or 15 women swam over me it became apparent I had not. This caused me to panic a bit nothing like having your entire body and head shoved under water again and again - I have never been through it - heard stories - and I can confirm I do not like that! So I flipped on my back for a couple of minutes to calm myself down. Once my breathing slowed to normal again I flipped over and made it my mission to spot a yellow cap and pass it. I take from this that if I had not had my moment I would have actually been faster – so something to work on for Ironman.

T1- I wanted to improve on this because last year was 7:45 but did not know if I could since this year we had a 700m run from the lake to the bikes. Last year I had to go maybe 50metres. I did improve though T1 – 5:58 overall I was on the bike this year in 60:10 last year 59:01 so the panic attack did not set me back to far.

Bike – the first lap was great it was warm but not too bad and there was a small breeze to keep you cool. I was relieved because the day before the wind was insane. I kept my cadence high and my heart rate in the Steady State as coach and I discussed– I passed a lot of people and did the first loop in about an hour and 28min – great on target. Then I made the turn for the second loop and holy headwinds batman. What the …. It was brutal but I was like what are you going to do? – suck it up princess and ride. I thought I was doing okay I kept passing people and I felt good my average kph dropped a bit but to be expected. I maintained heart rate and kept doing system checks everything seemed in order. On portions where there wind was at my back – few and far between – I would take advantage of it. With about 20 km my leg started to ache but I just kept muttering not today, not today. I tell you I was very relieved to get off the bike just to take the pressure of my leg for bit. Last Year – 3:13:56, 28.8 kph average speed. This year 3:24:34, 27.3 kph average speed. So I lost 10 minutes here. I did not know this at the time.

T2 – Again wanted to improve on last year’s 5:08 which I did with 2:34.

Run – this is where I let my head mess with me a bit. My legs actually felt pretty good especially after the ride it was great to take the pressure off my right hip/leg. But I looked down as I headed out and saw 4:28 or something like that on my watch – quick math meant to do 6:30 I would need to do a 2 hour half…. It was hot but the headwind helped a bit – I was feeling okay and then nature called – insistently so I did a pit stop – got out and had a bit of trouble finding my rhythm again but got back into the swing of it and kept surveying the crowd for Joe’s red shirt – he said he yelled at me but I did not see or hear him. On the second loop my body demanded another nature break and again it took me a bit to get back into the swing of it. Then I did see Joe and realized that I was not going to catch him – I am not going to lie it took some of the wind out of my sails. I tried to refocus but then I started to listen to folks around me – how tired they were, and so on and I started to let that drag me down. My bad – so I regrouped mentally and thought just get this done already - quit it - let’s go! Left right, left right at about 16/17km my hip and leg started to protest but it was not as bad as last year with the ankle lock-up and I refused to stop – LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT RIGHT. Half time – last year 2:28:28, this year 2:37:14. 8 minutes slower . So we know where I lost time.

Now when I look at the comparables and take into consideration that I am in active recovery from the accident I guess it is not so bad but shoot I really wanted a PB…. Everyone keeps telling me I am stronger than last year and I guess in some ways I am but it is a little disheartening to not see the same numbers or better than last year. I know, I know I was hit by a car, I am in active recovery, blah, blah, blah - I let my head beat me yesterday on the swim and run – I need to keep my head in the race at all times- I need to stay in the race until the end.

Oh and to answer your question Joe's time 6:21 - grrr sometimes I dislike that boy - I train and train and train and he quasi trains and not only beats me soundly but improves on his time. He says that I gave him a lot of tips that helped him on the bike and run - should have kept my big mouth shut.

12 weeks to Ironman – still time to work on it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Good to go

I will keep it short and sweet. Isis (yes I name my bikes - I am sure y'all have weird things to...) is ready to go. Took her to the shop and they torqued on the quick release and got the back wheel off. Since we were there I had them change the tube and just got a new tire since it was the 5 flat on the back tire and there were lots of nicks and punctures.

Bags are packed, hotel is confirmed so only thing to do now is do the race - er I mean training session. Anyhow will send out a report early next week. Wish us luck - here is to cool temps, low winds and no flats.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oliver - the bike curse

Not sure if it is the race, or the the time of year or the fates just messing with me but I say "UNCLE". Seriously this is not funny. It is like deja vu of last year all over again when my bike's back end blew up 2 weeks before Oliver - I did not get it back until the Thursday before the race and it still needed to be tweaked then. Looks like I am on the darn roller coaster again.

Had the bike in for a total tune-up last week - rode her Sunday and Monday no issues. Later I was washing the bike and the back tire was flat - no biggy it has been known to happen. So last night after my run I went to change the back tire. Released the quick release - it released right away - sometimes the shop goes a little too tight and I have to fight with it. Then I went to turn the quick release and nothing it will not budge a mm either way then I thought I will push it back in nope nothing....

we take this moment to warn you of explicit language - SON OF A B************!

Seriously are you kidding me? Bigger problem bike shop is on the other side of town and we are a one car family with the car out of town right now. There is a shop close to the house but they close at 6 and since I am on the proletariat chariot for the next few days there is not enough time for me to get home, and haul the bike down to that shop.

Last night I was freaking out big time, today I am more accepting - I have decided that I will get it sorted out before Friday, not sure how but I will and try to be zen about it for now.... I am pretty positive in another 4 hours I will have another melt down but for now I am accepting. I mean really I can ride the hybrid during the race - how bad can THAT be? (insert hysterical giggling -HAHAHAHAHAHAHA).

Seriously if anyone has any tips out there please share because I need to get this bike thing sorted out.


Monday, June 1, 2009

When did this happen????

I am not sure how or when it happened but I agree with my friends that I am officially nuts.

I was at my masters swim on Friday night and one of the gals said you are racing next weekend aren't you and I said yes but it is ONLY a half Iron. The look on her face made me realize what I had just said. Oh no I didn't! I said to her did I just say it is only a half-Iron?!? Yep apparently I did - how did this happen? When did I officially lose my mind and cross the threshold? Was it not just a year go I was like do you know how far a half Iron is? I guess it is a good sign in that I am feeling more comfortable with the distance.

Yesterday's ride went well we were doing Tempo and speed intervals and I was able to stay with the "speedy" girls - don't get me wrong I was hurting but not so bad that I stopped. Afterwards at coffee Judith said it best - that is the difference between a 6 hour and a 7 hour half iron. WOW! I think what surprises me most is the training I am actually enjoying the workouts and while it takes up a lot of time it does not feel like a lot of work.

The big thing as I get ready for the weekend is to think about the process - coach says remember the process not just the final result. There are a lot of things that you can do wrong during each phase and they will affect the rest of the day.

In other news - 3 boys - my BFF had 2 little men - Nathan Rhys and Corwyn Mathew - aka Bert and Ernie and my niece had a healthy little boy Logan Alexander...... (can't remember the rest of the names). The twins are still in NCIU but they were 5 weeks preemie so not unexpected and they are getting stronger by the day. Logan is great and expected to go home tomorrow.

Today I still have to ride home and a hour and half swim tonite, easy peasy.

Peace out