Thursday, July 30, 2015

Small Victories - Bala Falls Race Report

This would be the 3rd year in a row I've done this race and the 4th time overall doing it.  It is one of my favourites in the Recharge with Milk Series.  The last 2 years I've won my AG.  I'm always gunning for the number one spot but this year has not been ideal in terms of my training and what I've been able to do.  I was most worried about my run, which is normally my strongest leg.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've run this month.  ONE HAND.  That's not a lot.  And I think the last time I did a brick was at Eagleman.  So there was that as well.  I knew this race wasn't going to be pretty.  Period.  All I could do was go out there and give it everything I had and see where I netted out.

G and I usually drive up and back the day of, which makes for a very early morning as Bala is about a 2 hour drive from the city with no traffic, of course.  We hit the road around 5:40 am and the race started at 8:30 am so we had a *bit* of time.  Of course, leaving that early you get to see this.


Not too shabby.

I was super tired so I napped on and off.  It was during one of these naps that my eyes suddenly flew open and I blurted out "I forgot my helmet!"  I glanced at the clock, hoping we might have time to turn around but no.  I asked G if he had an extra one in the trunk.  Apparently not.  Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck was all I could think.  I'm such an idiot.  I had put my aero helmet on the dining room table, in it's bag.  I had meant to tie the bag to my tri bag but forgot.  So when we rushed out of the house, I grabbed everything BUT the helmet.  G gave me crap and asked my it wasn't IN my tri bag given there's a spot for it.  I said I couldn't make it fit.  When we got home, I got specific instructions on how to properly pack my triathlon bag, ha ha.  Anyway......

G reminded me that they usually have retailers at the races and worst case scenario, I could get John Salt to make an announcement that someone was looking for a helmet.  So I figured either way I'd find something.  We made a pit stop that ended up being a bit longer than I would have liked.   Because I had forgotten my helmet, I was anxious to just get to the race and figure out what my options were going to be.  I also wanted to make sure I got a warm up swim in.  I don't like feeling rushed before a race.  I'm already a little wired up, rushing just makes it worse and I generally forget something.

We pulled into Bala with about 45 minutes till race start.  Not ideal for me but it was what it was.  We walked into the park and went to rack our bikes.  I spotted Du, Tri and Run and saw that Steve had some helmets there.  I decided that I was going to be the owner of a new helmet, rather than rely on someone to go to their car to get one.  So once I had gotten all my race stuff sorted out, I ran over and bought a helmet.  Steve just laughed at me when I told him my predicament.  At least the helmets were on sale so I wasn't paying full pop.  It still ended up being close to $200 though.  GULP.   That hiccup dealt with, I went and got my race bib, timing chip and my body marking done.  I double checked everything in transition and then grabbed my wetsuit.  G wandered over and said he was going down to the water so I went with him.  We were in the second wave together so I wanted to get into the water sooner rather than later.  I got myself into my wetsuit and then zipped G's up.  He was busy trash talking with our friend Pat so I went in and started swimming.  It was perfect, albeit a touch warm. I did my warm up and made my way back to shore. 

My wave was huge.  For some reason us 40-44 year old women were grouped with the 45-49 y/o men and the men 50-55.  Normally we're last or second last at least.  This is the second time this year they've done that.  Woodstock was the same.  At least we'd be on the road before everyone else so I figured that would make for a less chaotic bike.   The Elite wave went off and my wave started to file into the water.  I stood at the back and off to the side.  As usual, I didn't want to be a part of the melee.  I found G and kissed him good bye.  The horn blew and I stood there while everyone waded in.  I hit my watch and waded in slowly.  I watched the pack pull away and then I started swimming.  I made my way to the outside of the group, closer to shore.  This was probably my best decision of the day.  I got into a groove and just swam.  I didn't run into anyone.  I worked on my sighting and was surprised when I passed the first marker.  It came up quicker than I had anticipated.  I kept plugging away, keeping my breathing even.  The next thing I knew, I was at the first turnaround buoy.  What, already?   The best part?  I got there without stopping or panicking.  This was HUGE for me.  To be able to swim that first 250m of a swim calmly and in control, well, I can't remember the last time I did that, if ever.  I rounded the buoy smiling to myself and telling myself that I was doing awesome and that I was going to do this entire swim without freaking out. 

I motored along at a comfortable pace.  I was very conscious of keeping my breathing in check so that meant not pushing the pace too hard.   I figured I'd wait until I rounded the second buoy and was making my way back to shore, then I'd think about picking up the pace.  I made my way around the second buoy with minimal jostling.  I kept my head down and just swam, when I did sight I realized I was off course a bit so I corrected and started to push it.  I was passing a lot of people through here as well as some of the folks from the first wave.  I kept swimming until my hand scraped the bottom, then it was time to get up and go.  I started running and fumbled with the zipper on my wetsuit.  I got it open and realized I still had my goggles on so I pulled them off and then squirmed my way out of my wetsuit.  The sleeve got stuck on my Garmin but I eventually pulled it off. 

Swim:  13:48

I ran up to the rack I thought my bike was on and realized it was the wrong one so I ran back around and found the correct rack.  Ugh.  There was another girl there getting ready to head out on the bike.  I had no idea if she was in my AG or not as there were 3 women's AG's grouped together in my wave.  I struggled with getting my wetsuit off.  I was totally off my game.  I finally got it off and tossed it on the ground.  I grabbed my newly purchased helmet, put it on, slipped my shoes on and off I went.  My legs felt crappy running through transition.  I could only imagine what they'd feel like when I started riding. 

T1: 1:12

The Bala bike course is hilly.  The worst part is that it starts on a climb.  But that climb means that you can rip it on the downhill and fly up to the dismount line on the way back.   I hopped on the bike and started spinning my legs.  That climb never feels great but today it felt particularly crappy.  I could feel the lactic acid in my legs almost immediately which is never a good sign.  I kept it in my small chain ring and spun up this climb.  Once I got to the top, I flipped to the big chain ring and proceeded to hammer.  I tried to really give it on the down hills so I could use the momentum to get me up the climbs.  My legs were really not liking this.  Normally I can give it on the bike, but today it felt like a struggle.  I didn't want to go all out either because I wanted to save something for the run.  I chugged along, passing people from the first wave.  I didn't see anyone else from my AG at all.  Eventually I saw a woman going the other way wearing number 136.  I was number 137 so I figured she was in my AG.  She had a pretty good gap on me.  I pushed on, hoping that no one was coming up behind me.  I hit the turnaround and unclipped to make the turn.  Yup, my bike handling skills still need work, ha ha.  I had seen my friend Pat pass me a few minutes earlier and I was wondering where G was.  Either he had a really awesome swim and was on the road ahead of me or he was having an equally crappy day.  It was the latter.  Shortly after the turn around, G caught me and passed me.  But he didn't get that far ahead of me.  I kept him in my sights and eventually caught him and passed him.  A few seconds later, he passed me again and that was that.  But I never lost sight of him, which meant that he wasn't having the best day.  Just before the 25km mark, I could see a girl up ahead and I pushed it up the hill to catch her.  As I rode up to her I saw her bib.  #128.  Jordie.  It was Jordie Seaton who raced in the 35-39 year old category last year and has now aged up.  She was always on the podium.  I had yet to race against her this year.  I knew her run was strong so I was going to have my work cut out for me.  I caught her and rode as hard as I could for the next 5km.  I wanted to put as much time as possible on her before the run.  I flew down to the dismount line and jumped off my bike.  My legs felt like jello.  The run was definitely going to be interesting. 

Bike:  53:25

I ran into T2, racked my bike, yanked off my helmet and pulled on my shoes.  Again, struggling a bit to get them on.  I ran out of T2, missing the usual pep in my step.

T2:  53s

The first part of the run course is on grass and then you run up the same hill you bike up.  I think the run course is tougher than the bike because you go off the main road and onto the cottage roads.  There is one very steep nasty climb but, everything is shaded which is nice.  It was already baking hot and it was only about 9:30.  I shuffled up that first hill, gasping for air.  I felt AWFUL.   This run was going to be ugly for sure.  I made it to the top of the hill and turned down the first cottage road.  This portion was an out and back so it gave you the opportunity to see where everyone was.  As I was making my way out to the turn around, I could see a female coming back.   I got closer and saw her bib number - 136.  And then the name.  Fiona.  I then noticed the NRG race kit.  Aha.  Well.  Fiona is a rock star and has been racing tris at a high level for a long time.  She was looking strong, I figured there was no way I was going to catch her.  I just had to hold off the girls behind me.  I cheered her on as she went by.  I also saw G just up ahead.  I wanted to try and reel him in but I had started to develop a stitch so it was making my running even more painful.  I slowed down and tried to control my breathing.  As I made my way out of the first cottage road, I spotted Jordie making her way in, passing a LOT of people as she went.  Crap.

I made my way out on the road and felt the heat slap me in the face.  My right glute was starting to bug me and I could feel the familiar pinching as I ran.  I dug my thumb in as I ran.  I slogged it up the next climb, my running legs slowly starting to find their groove.  I grabbed water at the aid station and sucked it back before I turned onto the next cottage road.  This was the one with the big hill.  As I started to make my way down it, Fiona was on her way up.  She was working.  I just wanted to be done.  I could see G up ahead of me once again.  My stitch was starting to subside, thankfully.  I made it down the big hill to the turn around and then it was back up the big hill.  G was literally just ahead of me so I picked up the pace.  I caught him and tickled his butt as I ran up beside him.  We both mumbled something about how hard this was and I passed him and continued on.  I saw Jordie once again and she had gotten a lot closer.  I figured she'd catch me soon. 

I turned onto the road and started climbing again.  My nerve pain flared up and I dug my thumb into my glute again.  I ran and worked at poking around in there.  I could hear someone coming up behind me and sure enough, it was Jordie.  She blew by me.  I hoped that pass had only relegated me to third and not anything lower than that.  Since I"m only racing 4 of the series races, I really need all the points I can get.  I knew there was no way I was going to catch her so all I could do was just run as hard as I could for the remainder of the race.  I hit the turn around and knew that it was mostly down hill from there.  I have lost so much speed this year.  There are sections of that course where I would normally run sub 4 min km's.  This year I was lucky if my Garmin saw 4:10's.  But, that's my reality right now. 

Thanks to Mike Cheliak for making me smile and getting the shot.  :)

I was totally dying by the time I got to the 6km mark.  All I could think about was getting to the finish line.  My legs were screaming at me.  I crested the last hill and let it rip on the downhill.  I turned into the finishing chute and could hear Steve Fleck announcing people.  As I came down the chute he announced my name and said that I was the 4th woman to cross the line and would probably be one of the top 5 ladies of the day.  What?  I thought about it and realized that I hadn't seen very many girls in front of me.  Sweet. 



Run time:  34:28.  Almost a full minute and a half slower than last year.   That is the face of exhaustion right there.

G crossed the line shortly after I did and then we stood under the misting tent.  It turned out to be a scorching hot day.  I saw Fiona and congratulated her and we stood and chatted for a bit.  G and I then went to transition to pack up our stuff.  I went to the results board to see where I ended up overall and was shocked to see that I was 2nd in my AG, and 3rd place over all.  I looked down the list for Jordie's name and she was listed several spots below me.  I'm not sure how that was even possible unless she started in the first wave.  Which is what must have happened.  I made up all my time on her on the bike.  Riding with Morning Glory is paying off.  Now I just need to get back to regular running with some speed work thrown in.  Maybe come Toronto Island in a few weeks, I'll be almost back to my old self.  Hopefully I won't forget my helmet, ha.


It was a tough day but it's always a lot of fun.  And, it was nice to see a fellow "Old Broad" on the top step of the podium.   Of the top 5 women, 3 of them were in the 40-44 year old AG.  Pretty darn impressive.


Tomorrow we're off to Newfoundland for a mini vacation so things might be REALLY quiet around here.  I'll be back just in time to race Bracebridge.  Woohoo! 





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday - Training in the Heat

Summer is here in full force in the GTA.  This past weekend was a scorcher and the rest of this week looks like it's going to be even hotter.  Where were these temps in June when I was training for Eagleman?  If I had weather like this leading up to the race, I probably would have been fine on race day.   But I digress.  It is perfect timing for our Tri Talk Tuesday link up though!  Today Courtney, Cynthia and I are talking about training in the heat.


Training in the heat is hard enough, add in humidity and that's where things get really ugly.  Especially when you're in a big city as the air quality usually takes a nose dive when the humidity gets too high.  Everyone's tolerance is different so what might be too hot and humid for one person might be tolerable for another.  The key is to know your body and play it smart.  That being said, it sucks to run inside on a treadmill when the sun is shining.  So, here are a few tips to help you deal with the heat.

1.  Adjust your expectations / pacing.  This is the main piece of advice I give to my athletes when running in the heat.  There are physiological changes that happen to your body when training in the heat.  You sweat more, which can lead to dehydration.  Your heart rate is also becomes elevated in the heat.  This elevation generally means that what may normally feel like an easy pace for you becomes a bit harder.   This becomes even more apparent when attempting speed work in the heat.   Listen to your body and don't be afraid to back things off.  Most importantly, don't beat yourself up over how hard the workout felt or how slow you were.  The heat does that.   A better tactic would be to switch to perceived effort vs. pace.   If the workout is a pace based workout and you really want to hit your paces, head to a nicely air conditioned gym and get it done on the treadmill.

2.  Stay hydrated.  If you're planning on working out in the evening this may mean increasing fluid intake overall during the day so you don't start your run dehydrated.  Or, it may mean you need to bring an electrolyte drink with you depending on the length and intensity of your workout.  For a moderate intensity workout that is under an hour, you should be fine with water.  If it's going to be longer than an hour, or if you're a heavy sweater, bring an electrolyte drink.  If I'm doing any sort of high intensity workout in the heat, I always bring a bottle of either Nuun or Gu Brew, even if it's only a 30-40 minute workout.  For longer efforts, especially on the bike, I use Salt Stick tablets.  Compared to my husband, I'm not the saltiest sweater but I still have a fair bit of salt on me after a longer race.  Even more so if it's a hot one.

3.  Go early or go late.  This may not be the most ideal situation but if you want to do your workout outside and the forecast is brutal, you may want to look at either getting up really early before the sun is up or heading out after the sun sets.  Personally I'd take the morning.  I like having my workout done before my day starts.  Plus you get to see the sun rise.



4.  Listen to your body.  Pushing yourself in the heat can be dangerous, especially if you're not used to it.  Even if you are, you can still suffer heat related health issues so always err on the side of caution.  If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, it's time to pull the pin.  Getting that workout in isn't worth compromising your health. 

Do you have any other hot weather training tips? 

I'm looking forward to checking out all
the other posts given the scorching weather we're experiencing now!

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Weekend of Races

It only seems like yesterday that the Pan Am games started and now they're over.  As is the Tour de France.   How is it that it's almost the end of July already?  Time is flying by way too quickly these days.  Thankfully we have a bit of down time coming up this weekend.  On Friday morning we're off to Newfoundland for a friends wedding.  I'm really looking forward to that as I've never been to Newfoundland.  We're going to be there for 5 days which will be a nice little break.   Looks like I'm going to have to pack some warmer clothes though.  Apparently they didn't get the memo that it's summer.


At least it will be nice for running!

Speaking of running, I think my sciatic issues are almost sorted out.  I ran on Saturday and raced yesterday and while both runs weren't awesome, I didn't have the pain I usually have so that is a huge plus.  I'm off to see the osteopath again tomorrow so hopefully with a few more treatments, I'm back to normal.  I really need to get back to regularly scheduled running.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've run this month and it's really done a number on my speed.  But I know that will come back once I make a concerted effort to work on it.

This week wasn't too bad work wise but my plans to get to the gym twice didn't happen.  I made it once but that was it.  I went on Monday and I think it fried my legs because I had nothing in them for my Tuesday morning ride with Morning Glory.  I'm starting from the basics once again.  I've decided that for now I'm going to stick with body weight stuff until my race season is over and then I'll get back to heavier lifting and working on building my power back up.  I think that will be helpful for both my cycling and running next year.

Speaking of cycling, G and I went out to watch the men's and women's Pan Am road races on the weekend.  Now THAT was pretty freaking awesome.  Part of the course was a loop that I've done with Morning Glory so it was amazing to see these guys just fly up the climb that I grind up.  The Canadian women did really well - we got Gold and Bronze and we got a Bronze in the men's road race.   Canada did really well overall and broke the previous Pan Am medal count record with 217 medals, second to the U.S who had 265 medals.



I'm not sure spending all afternoon on our feet in the sun was the best thing for our race on Sunday but it's not every day you get the opportunity to watch races like this on your home soil.  We skipped our long ride so we could sleep in a bit and then make our way out to High Park.  Best. decision.  ever.

With two rest days this week and a low volume Saturday, my sweat equity time was quite low.  Although what I lacked in time, I made up for in effort that's for sure.  This is how things went down last week:

Monday:  2700m swim + 40 minute strength workout
Tuesday:  33km bike, followed by a 4.75km run  shuffle
Wednesday:  2300m swim
Thursday:  OFF - long day at work
Friday:  OFF:  had planned on swimming but slept in
Saturday:  8km run
Sunday:  RACE:  750m swim 30km bike, 7.5km run.  Race report to follow this week, I swear.

Total time:  6h 6 minutes.  Much lower volume week but most of my activities were high intensity as evidenced by my Training Stress Score in Training Peaks.  This week will have less high intensity work but more volume.  At least that's the goal.  I know once we get to Newfoundland, the only thing I'll be doing there is running, weight training, walking around and eating copious amounts of seafood.  As one does when they're on the East coast.

And....tomorrow is Tri Talk Tuesday and we're talking about hot weather training, which is perfect timing as Toronto is entering a heat wave.   Swing by tomorrow to add your post to the link up!

Happy Monday! 








Friday, July 24, 2015

Kicking it with Two Turntables and a Microphone - Muskoka 70.3 Relay Race Report

After Eagleman I didn't have another race planned until the end of July.  That changed about 3 weeks before we left for Maryland.  My friend Kiki had signed up to do Muskoka 70.3 but hadn't spent much time on her bike so she was thinking of not doing the race.   We were going to be up there anyway to cheer her and some friends on.  Irina had posted on Facebook that she was looking for relay team members to do the 70.3 with her.  I offered to do the run leg but Robin beat me to it.  I had totally forgotten they had relay options, so I asked Kiki if she wanted to do the relay.  She was all over it.  I asked G if he wanted to ride and he reluctantly said yes.  He hates the Muskoka course, ha ha.  I would do the run.  I'd never done it but I've done most of the Huntsville Half Marathon course and according to my friend David, that course is apparently harder.  So, I figured I'd be good, despite my lack of hill training.

We arrived in Hunstville around dinner time on Friday, checked in to our hotel and then went off to Deerhurst to see if we could pick up our race kits.  No go on that as we needed our third member.  Kit pick up would have to wait until Saturday.  We went back to the hotel and unpacked then went off to find a place for dinner.  We went down to the river, thinking we'd hit up the pub right on the water.  Turns out it's become a Boston Pizza.  It was in a perfect spot on the river and it had a huge patio.  So of course we sat outside.  They had a guy playing live music who was actually quite good and really set the tone for a perfect summer evening.  And it wouldn't be Friday without a #beerstagram.


While G and I were eating, I got a text from Irina asking if we were staying at the Comfort Inn.  I replied yes and found out that they were there as well.  We then started texting back and forth, only to find out that they were literally across the river from us at another restaurant.  When they finished up, they came and joined us for dessert.  Which I didn't snap a picture of.  It was so much fun.  We parted ways and G & I went to my friend David's to hang out for a bit.  It turned out to be a fun evening.

Saturday morning Irina, Zin and their friend Louis, joined myself, G, David and Heather for a short pre-race ride.  I did about 50 minutes and that was enough for me.  I didn't want to tax my legs too much. 

Pic courtesy of Irina
After the ride, we cleaned ourselves up and went over to meet Kiki at the race expo to register and pick up our kits.  While we were walking around the expo, G mentioned that he saw some people giving massages.  I made a beeline for them and signed up.  20 minutes later I was on a table having my glute worked on.  My piriformis muscle is tight and I had a couple of knots in it.  She worked on them as much as possible without going too hard.  When I got off the table I felt almost 100% better.  She told me to put heat on it so once we finished up at the Expo and got back into the car, I put the seat heater on.

Our friends Heather and the other David were staying at Casa Lamy so we all got together there for dinner.  David's parents were great hosts and dinner was awesome.  We called it a night around 9:30 and made our way back to our hotel.  We didn't have to be at transition too early so we at least got to sleep in a bit.  We packed up the car and made our way over to the shuttle bus parking.   We got on a bus quickly and were in T1 getting body marked shortly thereafter.  We found our swimmer and made our way down to the water.    Of course there had to be a team picture. 


G and I watched a wave go off and then made our way back up to transition.  We saw some of the male pros come in and the first female pro.   G went into T1 to wait and I stood outside cheering people on.  The relay wave was last so we figured we'd get to see everyone we knew that was racing.  I saw all my friends come in except David L.  G and I were estimating that Kiki would be anywhere between 30-35 minutes.  She's a good swimmer but she hadn't been swimming in weeks, which I think she was a bit concerned about.  I saw the first relay swimmer come running up in about 26 minutes, which is insane.  She looked like a swimmer.  Her cyclist took off and we waited and watched.  A few more relay athletes came in.  And then a few more.  Then I saw a familiar face.  Kiki was booking it down the mat into transition.  I didn't know what her exact time was but I knew she was under 35 minutes.  G was ready to go as soon as he saw her.  He grabbed the timing chip, fastened it around his ankle and ran out of transition.  Now I had some time to kill. 

Kiki and I went to find some coffee and then we sat around for a while a chatted.  We checked results and she had come out of the water in 32 minutes and was in 17th place out of 74 teams.  Not bad.  I started sorting things out and getting myself ready.  We checked the athlete tracker and I saw that G had gone through the first 35km of the bike with an average of just over 33kph.  He was cooking.  I figured he was on pace for a 2:45-2:50 bike which on that course is amazing.  I got myself sorted and went out to do a warm up run.  My glute felt a lot better but there was still a bit of nagging tightness that slightly limited my mobility.  I ran about 2km and then made my way back into transition.  It had gotten really hot.  Not Eagleman hot, but it was definitely toasty.  I did some drills and worked at stretching out my glute.  I made my way into transition and Kiki stood waiting outside.  I watched the first team come in.  The cyclist was completely spent.  The runner took off and a bunch of us watched in awe.  He had perfect running form.  He looked so strong.   About 5 minutes later, another cyclist rolled in.  The runner, a girl, took off.  She looked really strong as well.  A couple of minutes later another cyclist came in.  I could feel my adrenaline starting to build.  I wanted to start running.  There was another cyclist almost right on his heels.  That was 4 teams out on the road.  Then I saw the socks.  G had put his Ironman socks on and I could see them underneath a bunch of trees.  I ran over to the rack and waited, jumping up and down.  He got to the rack, racked his bike, I grabbed the chip from him and kissed him before I took off.  He brought us up to 5th position with his killer bike split.  He was just over 2:46 on the bike.  I now had people to chase.  I figured there was no way I was catching the first two people.  But I figured I might be able to get us up into third. 

I started booking it.  I could see the 4th place relay guy about 700m or so ahead of me.  I worked at reeling him in, slowly but surely.  I was averaging between 4:25-4:30's which I felt might be a bit too fast for my current level of ability for that distance. But I was determined to catch the guy in front of me.  I kept telling myself to watch my form - with every step I said chest out, knees up to myself.  If I didn't do that, I could feel myself slipping into my old form.   At the 4km mark I was passed by a guy in running shorts and compression socks.  I figured he had to be in the relay if he was dressed like that.  But since his calves were covered, I didn't know for sure.  Drat.  Drat.  Drat.   I kept my pace.  He was in front of me for a bit but then seemed to be fading.  Just before 7km mark I caught him.  2km after that I caught the 4th place guy.  Now, all I could do was hope that I didn't get caught by a super fast runner.  There were two guys that were doing drills in transition that looked like serious runners.   I had no idea how far behind they were, I could only hope that I put enough distance on them that they couldn't make it up.  I chugged along, hi-fiving and cheering on several friends that I passed along the course.


The run course makes is way from Deerhurst, along highway 60 into some residential areas, then back out in to downtown Huntsville.  I knew David's family and his partner Elyse would be there cheering and sure enough I saw them as I was running up yet another hill.  I gave them a wave and a a bow as I rounded the corner.  I was stopping for fluid at every aid station.  This one happened to have ice so I grabbed it and dumped it down my top and my shorts.  I was totally overheating.  I was almost at the half way point.  My legs weren't feel too bad which was surprising.  I was still running between 4:35-4:40's.  I had hoped to come in around 1:40.  I felt that was reasonable given my complete lack of speed or hill work this year.  I had seen David and Lauren earlier and was curious to see how much closer David had gotten to me.  I hit the turnaround and saw him not too far behind me.  Shit.  I didn't want him to catch me.  We high fived as we passed each other.  I made my way back into town.  Saw the Lamy cheering section again and made my way through town. 

Much to my dismay, I saw one of the runner type guys absolutely cooking just before I hit Main Street.  He was flying.  I didn't know how long I'd be able to hold him off.  I pushed the pace.  It took him just over 4km to catch me.  He caught me at 15km mark or so.  And he blew by me like I was standing still.  We had now dropped down to 4th.  I couldn't let anyone else pass me.  I didn't want to negate G's hard work on the bike.  So I busted out the proverbial shovel and dug deep.  At about the 18k mark,  the hills had taken their toll on me.  My legs were screaming.  Only 3 more km.  Less than 15 minutes.  You can do anything for 15 minutes.  Suck it up.

And then I saw her.  The girl from the second place relay team.  She was running but not as fast as she had been when she left transition.  That gave me a burst of energy and I caught her and said Nice work relay, as I passed.  We were back in third place!  I could smell the finish line.  That last climb up the road into Deerhurst just about killed me. I actually slowed down to a shuffle up that hill.  It was horrible.  Once I made the turn onto that road, I knew I was almost home free.  I was going to leave everything I had left out on the course.  I chased down two guys as we made our way down hill.  I could see the crowds around the entrance to the finishing chute.  Then I saw G, Kiki and a few other familiar faces.  G was yelling at me to chase down the guy in front of me as he was apparently a relay guy.  I didn't think so but I pushed the pace anyway.  My lungs were burning.  I made my way around the finishing chute.  An older gentleman saw me coming and sprinted hard to the line.  He crossed just in front of me.  I glanced down at my Garmin and saw 1:38:45.  WHEW.  I wasn't sure if I'd make it in under 1:40 with the way I was feeling around the 18km mark.

I collected the team medals and then went to get our shirts and hats and was greeted by Irina who congratulated me.  It's always nice to see her smiling face.  G and Kiki made their way into the finishing area, G grabbed himself an Erdinger alcohol free beer but I took a pass.  I wanted water.  And a shower.  I got both, courtesy of the lovely Margaret Menzel who had a condo that she was staying right at Deerhurst.  After I showered, we went off to get some food and G admitted that he ended up having a lot of fun that weekend.   I don't know that I'll be able to convince him to do another relay any time soon but at least I know it's still a possibility at some point in the future, ha ha.

I checked the results and the guy that blew by me like I was standing still ran a 1:19 half.  1:19!!!  On those hills.  Seriously. 

It turned out to be a super fun weekend.  Unfortunately we weren't able to stick around for the awards so we didn't get any hardware, which was a bit of a bummer.   Doing the run leg of that race has officially affirmed that I have ZERO desire to do the entire thing. 

This Sunday I'm racing in Bala Falls again.  Hopefully it doesn't take me almost 3 weeks to get THAT race report up! 

TGIF!














Monday, July 20, 2015

Ride to the Hills

What a weekend.  It was hot and steamy and so completely awesome.  G and I went up to Collingwood to train with one of our friends who has a place out there.  I thought Muskoka was hilly.  Wow.   This was a whole other level of hilly.  We rode 102km on Saturday and climbed just over 1000m.  Sunday we did 65km and climbed just over 700m.  My legs took quite the beating.   But it was AWESOME.  The roads are lovely and there were cyclists everywhere.  It was really nice to ride somewhere different.  Our routes don't change much when we're in the city.  I knew we'd be doing a lot of climbing so I left Tom Sawyer at home and busted out Snow Dog.  I had no desire to climb on my tri bike.   I spent more time riding this week that I have running.  My glute is still not happy.  I have a giant knot in it that is clearly putting pressure on my sciatic nerve.  My pelvis is slightly rotated on the right side so my hip is hiked up slightly.  I'm totally out of whack.  I had an appointment with an osteopath last Thursday which helped a bit.  I felt a bit more balanced afterwards.  But the knot is still there so I'm heading back to see Peter again this Wednesday.   I'm hoping his thumbs of steel can crush whatever is left of this knot.  I've been doing my best to work on it a bit every day but it's super stubborn.  So, instead of running, I've been on my bike.  Not ideal given that I've signed up for the Scotia half and I'd really like to run that in under 1h 30.   I'm going to try running tonight.  Fingers crossed it's relatively pain free.

Due to all the riding, this past week was pretty epic in terms of time.  I had wanted to ride on Tuesday morning but pinched a nerve in my neck on Monday at the pool and had to take 2 Robaxacet to relax the muscles.  That totally knocked me out and left me feeling really drowsy and out of it on Tuesday morning.  So, I slept in and took the day off.  I felt better by Wednesday so I made it to the pool.  I had also wanted to get to the gym last week but that never happened either.  Had I been ok on Tuesday morning I could have gone and Thursday morning I had to be at work early so I only managed a ride.  That seems to be the story of my life these days.  That would also explain why my weight has been slowly creeping up and I've lost a fair bit of muscle.  I am aiming to get back to the gym this week.  Twice.  

Despite my lack of gym time last week I still managed to pack a lot into 5 days of workouts.  I'm really enjoying riding with the Morning Glory crew.  The rides are tough but everyone is super nice and very encouraging.  And it's always a big group that comes out so I'm never totally on my own.
This was a special East Meets West Edition...and Michael Barry came out to join us.  So the pace was INSANE.


This is how last week went down:

Monday:  2300m swim
Tuesday:  OFF due to neck
Wednesday:  2400m swim + 7km run.
Thursday:  25km ride
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  450m OWS (didn't feel like swimming so mostly mucked about in the water) + 102km bike over many many hills.  It was STINKING hot out so it made this ride exceptionally tough.  But I loved every second of it.  Check out that elevation profile! 
It poured on us over the last 5km so we got totally soaked and covered in grit and dirt as you can see by my jersey.
I managed to work on my multicoloured tan lines.


And I re-hydrated with some local beer.


And then we got up to do it all over again. 

Sunday:  65km "recovery ride".  My legs were NOT happy for at least the first 35 minutes or so of that ride.  Then they bounced back and I felt much better.  We still managed 700m of climbing on yesterday's ride.  The descent back to Collingwood was worth it.  I almost managed 70kph going down hill on my bike.  If I wasn't such a fraidy cat, I probably could have hit 75kph.



Total time:  9h 36 minutes.  Total bike distance: 193km.  Run:  7km.  Ha ha ha.  Now THAT is an unusual turn of events.   A huge thank you to our friend Carrie and her pal Justin for dragging us around all those climbs.  I'm looking forward to doing it again at some point!

This weekend we're racing again in Bala.  I always look forward to this race.  Hopefully it doesn't rain this year!  The last 2 years I've done it, it's rained.  Right now the forecast is calling for a bit of rain at least in Toronto so we'll see what happens up north.

How was your weekend?  Was it a scorcher?  









Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Taking if Off Road - Xterra Trail Race Report

This race wasn't even remotely on my radar.  It was one of those total last minute decisions.  G had always wanted to do an XTerra race so when he saw this was fairly close to home and that we didn't have any plans that weekend, he jumped on it.  I wasn't terribly interested in racing on my mountain bike so I figured I'd go along as a cheerleader.  G then told me they had a 12km trail run as well as 2 open water swim races.  Huh.  Ok.  I figured if I was going to get up early on a Saturday, I might as well get a run in.  So, I signed up for the trail race.

I feel like I should do more trail running.  I raced one 5 Peaks race a few years ago and really enjoyed it but triathlon always seemed to win out.  After doing this race, I'm thinking trail running should be a regular part of my routine.  It's so much more challenging and fun to run on trails that it is on the road.  The surface is a bit more forgiving but you also need to be on your toes more, both literally and figuratively.  I can't plod along like I normally do.  I really had to focus on picking my feet up and keeping my cadence high, which is probably better for my form in the long run.

The race was at the Kelso Quarry, which I didn't even know existed.  It's a lovely little spot right on the Escarpment.  The quarry itself is fairly small but there is a ton of land around it as well as a lot of trails.  The triathlon was the first event so G had to get there early.  His race started at 8:00 am and my race didn't start until 9:30 am.  I figured he might be close to being done by the time I started, ha ha.  This particular race was the Canadian Championship so there were a lot of heavy hitters out.  Sean Bechtel had won it last year and he was back to defend his title.

It wasn't terribly warm out given that it was the last weekend in June and I wished I had brought pants or something with me.  I stood around in every single layer that I brought, trying not to freeze.  I helped G get into his wetsuit, watched the swim, cheered G on when he came out of the water and then went to the car to sit for a while and warm up.  The bike was a two loop course so I thought I'd see G again before my race started.  I did not, which worried me a little.  It was almost go time so I went out and did a little warm up.  My sciatic nerve issue was still lingering post Eagleman.  It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either.  It was just enough to be annoying.


I did some drills and a light jog to get my legs moving.  It was still pretty chilly and I was thinking that the singlet I decided to race in wasn't going to be warm enough so I had put my Eagleman finishers shirt on underneath it.   The trail race started at the base of the trail that went around the edge of the quarry and then made it's way up the Escarpment, into the forest and then back out and around the edge of the Quarry again.  I wasn't expecting to go very fast, especially since I wanted to make sure I didn't trip and fall because THAT is something I'd definitely do.

The small group of us that were doing the trail race all milled about at the start line.  I think there might have been 30-35 of us.  They took us through the route and then told us we'd have to wait a bit to start as the triathlon leaders were going to be coming through.  Sure enough a few seconds later the men's leader came barreling down the road and blew by us.  We all gave him a big round of applause as he ran by.  We all made our way back to the start line and then proceeded to say to each other, "No, you go ahead, No you go ahead".  I started laughing and turned to one of the guys at the front and said that this would NEVER happen at a road race.   Nobody wanted to be right up front.  I didn't because I didn't really know where we were going.  I wanted someone to follow.  I sidled up to the one guy that decided to stand up front and I stood slightly behind him.  I wasn't going to go off super fast.  My plan was to see what pace the guys were running and stick with them unless there was another woman that was up at the front and then I'd stick with her.

The gun went off and the guy beside me took off like a shot.  I mirrored his pace and stayed just off his left shoulder.  I stuck with him for the first 500m but my legs wanted to go faster and we were on relatively flat ground so I figured I'd go ahead and try to put time on people before we got into the trails.  I passed him and was in the lead until we hit the 2km mark.  I could hear someone coming up behind me and was passed by a guy in black.  He went by really quickly and put a bit of a gap on me.   I didn't hear anyone else behind me.  I chugged along, thinking about how hot I was getting in my double layers.  We got off the trail and onto some pavement.  We were also climbing.  I was sweating buckets so I pulled off my singlet, then pulled off my t-shirt and put my singlet back on.  All while running uphill.  I balled my t-shirt up in my hand and held onto it until I found a place I could drop it and come back for it.

Once we climbed the driveway there was a path off to our right.  This was single track and I found the footing be challenging to say the least.  It was slanted and narrow.  I slowed down a fair bit through here until I could find a rhythm. It was still pretty open though and I could see the man in black just ahead of me.  I kept him in my sights until the path started to curve.  After that, I lost him.  There were so many twists and turns it was impossible to know how far ahead or behind anyone was.  Which is kind of a good thing as it forces you to never let up.  All of a sudden I came across two girls standing just off the path.  They were holding cups.  I then realized that this must be an aid station.  Sure enough I turned the corner to find a small table.  I grabbed a cup of Gatorade and continued on.  I couldn't see anyone in front of me and I had no idea who was behind me.  It was a little strange.

I turned into the woods at this point.  It was so quiet, all I could hear was my breath and the pounding of my feet on the dirt.  I caught a guy from the triathlon here.  He moved over and let me pass.   I came up on another guy who managed to stay in front of me for a bit.  I'd catch up to him on the flatter parts but lose him on the more technical, rocky sections as I'd tend to slow down.  Eventually I caught him and had room to pass so I did.  I had no idea where the man in black was because of all the twisting and turning the path was taking.  Rounding each corner always had me wondering if I'd catch a glimpse of him.  It was like wondering if I'd see Bigfoot.  I came to much more open part under the tree canopy and was able to see a few people a head of me as well as someone on a mountain bike.  But no man in black.  I caught the two people in front of me and was gaining on the biker girl but she hit a down hill and sped away from me. 

I picked my way over tree roots and rocks.  I leapt over logs and tried to stay as light on my feet as possible.  When the path was clear, I ran hard.  When it wasn't, I slowed down.  There were a couple of good climbs that had me quite winded by the time I got to the top.  I zig zagged my way through the woods, checking over my shoulder every so often.  No one was behind me, at least that I could see.  I could feel my legs starting to fatigue a bit, actually lifting them up was hard work!  I still had 4km to go.  I could hear the announcer so I figured I should be heading out of the woods soon.  Sure enough I could see the path opening up into some single track which then turned into a wider rail trail.  There was a really nice down hill that I just let loose on.  I had hoped to be able to do this race in 1h - 1:05 but I was actually on pace to be faster than that.  I had lost some time on the technical sections is the woods so I aimed to make it up wherever I could.  I knew we had one last loop around the quarry and that was flat so I should be able to make up some time there. 

I came flying down the hill towards the final aid station, grabbed a Gatorade and stopped to suck it back.  I glanced back and didn't see anyone else from the trail race.  I took off and started to pick up the pace.  I knew I had less than 3km left.  I got out onto the path around the quarry and could see a few people spaced out ahead of me.  They were all in the triathlon.  There was lots of "good run, nice work" exchanged as I passed people.  Now that I was on flatter ground, I started to pick up the pace.  I took a slight misstep and rolled my ankle, which freaked me out a bit so I slowed down for a bit.  It seemed ok so I started to pick up the pace again.  I could see the finish line on the other side of the quarry.  I finally spotted the man in black about 300m in front of me.  He became the carrot and I worked at closing the gap.  I started to reel him in but realized that I was going to need a bit more real estate than what I had left.   I saw him cross the line and followed hot on his heels 20 seconds later in 57:25.  Better than I hoped for!  To top it off, I came in second overall and I was the first place female.  I was pretty happy about that.  The XTerra folks give out some decent swag too!  I got a medal for 2nd place O/A and a box of Clif Bars and then another medal for 1st place over 40 female as well as a cool knapsack.


After the race I took advantage of the free physio sessions they had.  My sciatica was really bugging me after running on so much uneven surface.  The girl that worked on me worked wonders.  After I got off the table I felt like a million bucks.  I'm never missing out on free post race massage / physio ever again.

I finally saw G come in, much later than I had anticipated.  Turns out he had wiped out and had 2 mechanicals on the bike so he was actually BEHIND me on the run.  He was pretty banged up but happy.  He also rocked the new WTP tri suit nicely.  I think they look awesome and I may have to wear it for my next race. 

I know G had fun and he'll probably do another one of these if it works in his schedule.  It will probably be a few years before I decide to tackle an off road triathlon.  I need to learn how to handle my mountain bike a lot better before I venture into racing on it.  I will think about doing a few more trail races though, especially an XTerra race.  It was really well organized and the course was definitely challenging.  





Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday - Getting Aero

Hello Triathlon Peeps!  It's another edition of Tri Talk Tuesday.  Join myself and my co-hosts Courtney of the Tri Girl Chronicles and Cynthia from You Signed up for What? as we chat about all things triathlon related.  Today's topic is all about getting "aero".


Being aero doesn't just apply to the bike.  It can apply to all disciplines in triathlon.  Being aero is all about reducing drag.  The less drag you have the faster you can go.  Reducing drag also means you don't have to work as hard to move forward so it helps conserve energy.  A wetsuit makes you more "aero" as it puts you in the most optimal swim position in the water and it covers your clothes, which reduces drag, wearing tight fitting clothes on the run also helps with that as you don't have things blowing in the wind.  All of those things help but since the bike leg is the biggest component of a triathlon and the one most affected by things like wind, it stands to reason that there have been many inventions over the last few decades that have focused on getting the bike and the rider as aerodynamic as possible.

Here are 5 ways to get more aerodynamic on your bike.  Unfortunately most of them are pricey.  But good technology ain't cheap.  I'll start from the least expensive to the most expensive.



 1. Aero bars.  If you're on a tri bike then you don't need to worry, your bike came with these.  But if you're on a road bike, then these would be a worthwhile investment.  It will give you the opportunity to tuck into the wind vs. sitting upright in the wind.  It makes a big difference in the amount of effort you're putting out.  All for about $200.


2.  Aero Helmet:   I'm pretty that at event the smallest triathlon, there will be at least ONE person wearing one of these on the bike.  You know, the pointy helmets that make you look like a praying mantis?  Well, good news, they no longer have to be pointy looking!  Aero helmets these days are getting rounder.  Giro, Kask and POC have made some good ones that don't make you look like an alien. 

Source
These can run you anywhere from $250-$350.  Many people have said that an aero helmet gives you the most bang for your buck.

3.  Clothing.  If you watch the riders in the Tour, they are almost all wearing these one piece skin suit type outfits now, not just for the Time Trials but during the race itself.  Cycling jerseys are no longer these semi fitted tops that go over bib shorts.  This seems to be the way of the future for the pros:

Source
If you've seen Lionel Sanders race at all, you've also seen him wearing one of these.  Apparently covering up your shoulders and the top of your arms reduces your drag coefficient ever more.  Who knew?  These retail for about $350.  How much time will it save you?  I'm not really sure but you'll look pretty bad ass. 

4.  Bike Fit:   Making changes to your bike fit can also help you to get more aero.  Watching the pros race I'm always amazed at how aerodynamic they look on the bike.  Their backs are fairly flat, and their position is quite low at the front end - they're tucked as much as they can be.  I don't know about you but I can't bend that way.  If I could, I'd slam those bars as low as possible.  If you're lucky enough to be really flexible, especially in the hip, lower back and hip flexor area, then you might want to look at lowering the height of your your aerobars.  Talk to your bike fitter and see what they think is possible.  You may try it and not like it.  In the end for us age groupers, it's all about what our bodies will let us do.  Especially for us over 40 people.   Bike fits range anywhere from $250-$500 depending on the type of fit.

5.  Wheels:  These are the BIG ticket items.   But they can also help you pick up 1-2 kilometers an hour so the dividends are also pretty decent.   Even just forking out the $$ for a more aero front wheel will help.  Wheels come in a variety of different depths depending on how aerodynamic you want to get.  The deeper the rim, the more aero the wheel.  Thus disc wheels are considered to be the most aerodynamic wheels as long as you're not dealing with crosswinds.  Then they just become dangerous.  A decent carbon wheel set (front & back) usually starts around $2400 and goes up from there.  I saw a Campagnolo wheel set for $3300.  You could buy a decent bike for that price!   A front wheel on it's own usually starts around $700.  There are plenty of second hand wheels on the market as well so if you know what you're looking for, you can get yourself a pretty good deal.   And of course there is the "cool" factor.  Triathletes are always checking out gear.  I know when I roll into transition, I"m always ogling bikes, especially ones that are totally done up. 

The ever popular Zipp 404's

A disc wheel.  Source


Do you have anything else you'd add to this list?   What item would you choose to spend your money on?

Join us every other Tuesday to chat about all things Triathlon related!  The next Tri Talk Tuesday is Tuesday July 28th and we'll be talking about hot weather training. 




Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer's HERE

Oh Monday, you are difficult at the best of times, let alone after a glorious weekend such as this.  Temps were in the high 20's and the sun was shining all weekend long.  I had planned to do so many things (like finish my Xterra Race report) but alas, that didn't happen.  We had a tough training day on Saturday and then I had to spend some time figuring out what was wrong with my power meter when we got home.  It wasn't reading at all.  In doing that I realized just how gross my bike was so of course I had to clean it.  Then I made dinner, and sat down to actually do some writing.  Wrote a couple of paragraphs and packed it in.  I was tired and I just didn't have the focus.  Sunday was the Men's Triathlon in the Pan Am Games and it was only about 10km from our house so we hopped on our bikes and rode out to watch it.  THAT was awesome.

 
Sunday afternoon we went out to my Uncle's place in Markham for a family gathering.  I haven't seen them or my cousins in quite some time so it was awesome to catch up with everyone.  One of my cousins works as a sous chef at North 44 so he cooked dinner for us.  Needless to say, it was amazing.  We sat out by the pool for the entire afternoon and early evening and we didn't leave until 9:00 pm!   It was a lovely afternoon.


I'm slowly working on building my volume back up and I'm trying to get back into the gym.  I've lost the leanness I had going into Eagleman and I'm chalking that up to just not lifting.  So it's time to rectify that.  I made it to the gym once last week.  This week I'm hoping to get there twice.  It will all depend on work.   Once again things have gotten busy.  I have two shoots this week and another one next week.  No rest for this producer.  Is it bad that I want another holiday already? 

My sciatica is still lingering which is annoying but I feel like things are loosening up.  I'm going to see an osteopath on Thursday so we'll see what she has to say.  I took this past week off running to give my legs a break after the brutal hills of the Muskoka 70.3 run course.  I'm going to go for a very short easy run tonight to see how they feel.  If things are still not feeling great, I'll give myself another week. 

Despite my lack of running, I still had a pretty good week of workouts.  I got back into the pool and the open water - YAY!

Monday:  2500m swim in the OUTDOOR pool!  Loved that even if it was like bath water!
Tuesday:  OFF - was still feeling a bit tired.
Wednesday:  2750m swim.   This was a GREAT swim.
Thursday:   TWO bike rides 25km in the morning, then another 13km to work.  Followed by a 35 minute strength workout in the p.m.
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  1300m OWS, followed by a tough 76km ride.  The swim was lovely.  The water at the quarry was fairly warm and it was calm which was a nice change of pace from the last couple of times we've been there.  Post ride we stopped and replenished all our lost calories at a local diner. I think I probably burned more than 8 despite what my stupid Garmin said.



Sunday:  20km ride with a stop to watch the Pan Am triathlon and a stop for coffee.  It was very civilized.

Total time:  7h 49 minutes

This coming weekend we're heading up to Collingwood to ride with some of the WTP crew.  THAT is going to be a blast.  It's going to be lots of hills peppered with stops for butter tarts.  At least that's what I've been told.  Bring it on!

How was your weekend?  Have you gone to see any Pan Am events?




Monday, July 6, 2015

Race, Recover, Race, Recover, Race, Recover

Good Morning!  I'm coming to you from the comfort of my couch, watching yesterdays stage of Le Tour.  G and I had decided to take today off after racing yesterday but then he had to go to Cincinnati for work last night so, I'm sitting in his spot on the couch with my feet up, enjoying a coffee.

Thank goodness for dark nail polish. 
Even though it didn't really feel like it, this week was pretty action packed workout wise.  It was a short week because we had the Canada Day holiday right in the middle of the week.  That made for a weird week.  Tuesday felt like Friday and Thursday felt like Monday.  But it also meant that we got to do a nice long ride in the middle of the week.
Katherine making it "rain"

I did my first ride with Morning Glory on Tuesday morning.  Holy smokes did I ever get my ass handed to me.  Those guys are a whole other league.  I worked so hard, harder than I would have worked on the trainer.   But I loved every second of it.   So much so that I joined the club.  They were nice enough to give me the Yellow Jersey as well, ha ha.


 My legs definitely felt Tuesday's ride on Wednesday's ride.  I think my legs were just starting to come back when I rode on Tuesday and then I beat the crap out of them.  Surprisingly they felt pretty good on my run on Thursday other than the sciatica that's been plaguing me.  I had someone work on it right after the XTerra race and that helped a bit.  Then at the Muskoka Expo they had massage therapists there so I had a lovely woman really work on getting some of the knots out that are deep in my right glute.  I couldn't believe the difference.  I was REALLY worried about racing yesterday but she really helped loosen things up.  I'm going to have to keep on top of that if I want to keep running.

 I certainly didn't expect to do 3 races in the span of 4 weeks.  Race, recover, repeat, ha ha.  Although the XTerra trail race was a last minute decision.  That race report is coming, it's partially written.   I'm going to have to really take it easy over the next couple of weeks.  Thankfully our next race isn't until the end of July.  And it's short.  This week will involve very little, if any, running, lots of swimming, foam rolling, stretching and maybe a couple of short easy bike rides.  I'm sure we'll do a long ride on Saturday but it will be fairly leisurely.  We're heading up to Collingwood mid July for a training weekend with a bunch of the WTP crew.  That should be fun.

So, on to last weeks workouts:

Monday:  2300m swim
Tuesday:  35km ride with Morning Glory + 40 minute gym workout
Wednesday:   75km ride + 400m open water swim
Thursday:  6km run
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  20km ride
Sunday:  Muskoka 70.3 run leg.

Total time:  8h 30 minutes

I definitely need to get back into the pool a little more regularly.  My swimming has been next to non existent since Eagleman so it's time to rectify that!  Which I will do this afternoon when I head down to the outdoor pool by my house.

How was your week of workouts?  Hope all my American pals had a great long weekend! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday: Why I Love Wetsuits

Happy Tuesday Triathlete Peeps!  It's Tri Talk Tuesday so that means I get to geek out with my fellow triathletes and talk about all things tri related.   My lovely co-hosts, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Courtney at the Tri Girl Chronicles are going to be chatting about wetsuits a.k.a my safety blanket for when I'm open water swimming, ha ha.


Living in the Great White North, it's not often that I swim without a wetsuit.  Ok, how about never.  Up until Eagleman, I had never done an open water swim without a wetsuit.  I was completely petrified about swimming without a wetsuit.  But, looking back, it wasn't that bad.   However, if I had the choice, I'd always choose to wear a wetsuit and here's why:

1.  Increased buoyancy.   It is almost impossible to stay under water in a wetsuit, which is great if you get panicky and need to take a break to catch your breath.  You can roll over onto your back and float with little effort.  Try doing that without one.  You'll tire out fairly quickly.

2.  Warmth.   Most of the time, the water in Canada is fairly cool.  So wearing a wetsuit keeps you warm.  USAT and Triathlon Ontario have rules about water temperature and wetsuits.   I'm pretty sure that the rules are the same for temperature guidelines.  The rules state that anything 78 degrees F (25 degrees Celsius) and under you are able to wear a wetsuit.  Most bodies of water here don't get that warm unless they're small.  If it's between 79 and 84 degrees you can wear a wetsuit but you won't be eligible for any sort of awards.  If it's over 85 degrees wetsuits are prohibited.  The water at Eagleman was 80 degrees F on race morning and I couldn't imagine wearing a wetsuit in that no matter how freaked out I was without one.  It was warm.  In most of the lakes and rivers I swim in here, the temperatures don't get much above 72-74 degrees F.


3.  Speed.  This is the BIG plus for wetsuits.  A wetsuit puts your body in the most optimal position and it's a smooth uniform surface with a very low drag co-efficient.  If you're swimming in your tri suit or whatever you may be racing in, there are pockets, a neckline etc - all places that water can get into and cause drag.  A wetsuit generally fits tight so it eliminates this sort of drag.  I swim much faster in a wetsuit than I do without.  Case in point, last year at Luxembourg 70.3 I swam 34 minutes for 1.9k in a wetsuit.  This year at Eagleman, I swam 42 minutes for the same distance without a wetsuit (although I did have a swim skin on).  Granted, there was a pretty strong current as well but I still think I would have been about 37-38 minutes if we didn't have the current. 

Those are the main reasons I love swimming in a wetsuit.  In terms of wetsuits themselves, you have a few different options in terms of style;  long sleeve, sleeveless and two piece.  The two piece ones are less common but they are out there!   When wetsuit shopping, be prepared to SWEAT.  Getting in and out of one is not easy.  If possible, bring what you'd race in with you and try it on underneath so you really get a feel for how it fits.

Do you prefer to swim with a wetsuit or without?  

Head on over to the link up and check out the rest of the Tri Talk Tuesday posts!  And tune in two weeks from now when we talk about "getting aero".  Wheeee!