Monday, May 23, 2016

In Limbo - Weekly Wrap

What. A. Week.  Can someone please stop this emotional roller coaster?  I'd really like to get off thankyouverymuch.

If you've been reading along you would have read this post on Friday.  About an hour after I published that post, I had a call with my chiropractor for an update.  The conversation didn't go the way I had hoped.  He told me he wanted me to take a week off.    That sent me into a complete tailspin.  I hung up the phone and started crying and I stayed in a funk all day.  I already feel like I'm behind the eight ball.  This has been going on for FIVE weeks.  My training has been haphazard to say the least.   I've given up on my top five goal and I feel like I'm dangerously close to having to give up on the idea of even starting the race.  I still can't run and my cycling is falling behind big time.  I have lost a lot of fitness.

This weekend was going to be the test.  If I could ride for 2.5 to 3 hours pain free, then I would have known that I could get in a couple more long rides and be good to go for Tremblant, even if I had to walk the half.  But that didn't happen and now I'm left wondering if I'll even make it to the start line.

What's bothering me the most is that no one can figure out exactly what's wrong.  It's been 5 weeks of treating various symptoms.   Granted I had a BUNCH of different things that were bothering me and with each treatment, various things have gotten better.  The one thing that remains is my hamstring issue.  I haven't had any imaging done and I think that needs to happen in order to eliminate any more guess work and come up with a clear plan of action.

G has been trying to cheer me up and he's been very supportive but I can't seem to get out of this funk.  He even bought me this amazing cycling kit.

It doesn't help matters that the weather has been nothing short of spectacular this weekend - FINALLY.  With all my spare time, I finally dealt with the garden in the back and did some planting.  It's nice to see some flowers in there vs the bits of weeds that were there last summer, ha ha.

I didn't get up to much this week but I'm still going to link up (a day late) with Holly and Tricia for their weekly wrap.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday: OFF.  I was still really sore from my ART / Acupuncture treatment and I worked a long day.

Wednesday:  1600m swim

Thursday:  31km ride outside

Friday:  4.2km run - not good + 2000m swim

Saturday:  OFF.  Did some gardening.   That has to count for something?

Sunday:  OFF.  I even skipped my swim as per my chiro's orders.  I don't get why he wants me to not swim.  I'm going to see if I take my legs out of the equation (i.e use a pull buoy) if he'll let me in the pool.

Total time 2h 49 minutes.

I really hope that this week is better.

How was your week?  If you're in Canada, how did you celebrate the long weekend? 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Re-Evaluating Goals

Happy Friday!  It's especially happy for me as I am off.  I still have some work to do but I get to do it from the comfort of my own home.  WOOHOO!

I wish I was able to report some good news on the injury front but things are still the same as they were last week.   I was hopeful that my ART and acupuncture appointment on Monday would have sorted things out once and for all but it did not.  I'm able to ride my bike so that's at least a positive but I am still having a hard time running.  I went out this morning and managed 3x5 minutes but it was not pain free.  I'm still experiencing nerve pain in my upper hamstring area.   I feel it through the entire gait cycle, which makes me think it's coming from my glut.

I am beyond frustrated.   This has proven to be a bit of a puzzle for my physio and my chiro.  I've tried to remain positive about everything but I think it's time for me to re-evaluate my original goal.  My goal this year was to crack the top 5 in my age group at Tremblant.  I honestly felt like I was on track to do that before this happened.   Everything was coming together and I felt really strong.  Now I can't even run 5km.  Suffice to say, I've thrown in the towel on that goal.  Even if I miraculously get better in the next week, I don't have enough time to get the work I need to do in.  And really, I'm in no condition to push myself either.

I'm really bummed right now.  I almost feel like giving up completely - like if I'm not going to be able to chase my original goal, then I don't want to even bother.  But I know that's silly.  I've paid for a race and if I'm able, I want to do it, regardless of how fast or slow it may be.   I have a bunch of friends racing and G will also be racing so from that perspective I know it will be a fun day.  It's really hard for me to race with no expectations when my entire mindset from the beginning of the year was focused solely on working towards this goal.  Shifting gears isn't something I'm very good at.  It takes me a little while to adjust.

I haven't signed up for any other races this summer.  I think if I make it through Tremblant, that will probably be it for me until I can figure out what is causing all of this.  There are obviously biomechnical and strength issues at play, I just have to figure out what they are.

On the plus side, I managed to ride my bike yesterday.  Yes, I felt like I hadn't ridden in a week (it was almost a week) but, it was amazing to be outside watching the sun come up.

I am going to ride tomorrow as well and see how that goes.   I need to remind myself that the bike is the most important part right now.  If I can't do that, then I really need to think about not racing at all and I'm not ready to do that just yet.  So.  I'll work on the cycling and see how that goes.  It's going to be a spectacular weekend so I plan on getting out and enjoying every minute of it.

Have you ever given up on a goal due to injury?  How did you deal with it?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

#OperationTop5 - Week 19: Hanging on by a Thread

What a week.  I thought I was off the emotional roller coaster but apparently not.  I'm in a much better head space than I was last week but I still think I have a ways to go.   This week started off ok then went downhill but quickly got better.

The body really is an amazing thing.  This time last week I was still uncertain as to whether or not I'd be able to do anything other than swim.  Even early this week I wasn't sure how things were going to go.   I saw my chiro / ART guy on Tuesday morning and did ART on my left IT band and my glut med as well as my hamstring and adductor magnus.   That seemed to help and I felt a lot better.  I managed a 40 minute ride on Wednesday morning, totally pain free.  Thursday was the day I was waiting for though.  That was the day I was scheduled to go back to see Lauren.  I was hoping I'd get the ok to start running again.  Thursday morning I felt so good that I actually went outside and rode.   I saw Lauren that morning and she did a bunch of tests and did some work on my left hip flexor as it was tight and then she gave me the green light to ease back into running.  So that night I laced up my shoes and hit the trails.  It was awful.  Absolutely awful.  The nerve pain I had been feeling was still there.  I had somewhat limited range of motion as well which of course compromised my gait.  I ran / walked 4.2km and even though I was smiling for the first bit of the run, by the time I got home, I was in tears.  I was ready to throw in the towel.  As soon as I got in I called my Chiro's office and managed to get his last opening for the next day.  I emailed him that night to give him an update and suggested that perhaps it might be time to do some acupuncture.

I swam on Friday morning and that seemed to loosen up my legs but I still didn't feel great.  I went in to see Peter and he brought out the big guns.  He did some more ART but moved my leg differently than previous times.  He then did some acupuncture, which was quite uncomfortable.  You know things are tight when just the needles going in hurt, never mind when the stim is added.  Holy moly.  My hip and hamstring were throbbing and I was so achey afterwards.   I think that, combined with everything from this past week took a toll on me because I was in bed asleep before 9:00 pm on Friday night.  I slept almost straight through until 7:00 am  Yup.  I was spent.  But I clearly needed it.  I got up Saturday morning feeling like a new woman.  The tightness in my hip was GONE and my hamstring and adductor felt a lot better.  

Saturday I had opted to join the folks at Watts Up for an inside ride.  I couldn't face sitting upstairs on the computrainer in the bedroom, watching a TV that I couldn't really hear.  No thank you.  Instead I hung out with some friends I haven't seen in a while, had a few laughs and worked up a really good sweat.  A pain free sweat I might add.  I set myself a goal of 2 hours.  I told myself if I had any pain or discomfort (other than muscle fatigue) I would get off the bike.  Amazingly I made it through the ride.  I actually felt really good.  I was pretty sure my legs would feel it later in the day.   But I left feeling much better about my chances of getting to the start line in 6 weeks.  I'm not sure I'll be able to run, but we'll see.  The main goal is to be able to ride my bike.  If I can't ride, I can't race so I'm crossing my fingers that I'm on the up and up in that regards.

This weekend was a busy one.   We had orders from our contractor to pick our bathroom tiles, paint and toilet for the bathroom as well as a lighting fixture.  So there was a LOT of car time.   But, we've picked out and purchased everything now.  I don't think we'll need to make another trip or another decision.  I hope, ha ha.  I can't wait to see how it all comes together.  I love everything we've chosen.

Progress!  The walls are up!

Our flooring kinda looks like driftwood!  Big rectangular white tiles for the shower & a dark grey floor.

We were told this would take 6 weeks but I think it's going to be done sooner than that.  Which is great because I can't take the mess in the house, ha ha.  I'm dying to get things back into the basement.

Looking back on this week, I can't be upset with the way things went, other than my run on Thursday.  I am getting a little impatient but I really did a number on myself so it's going to take a while for me to get back to 100%.  I know I don't really have a lot of time but I can't worry about that.  My coach isn't worried.  She says that all I really need is 3-4 weeks of really focused hard work and I'll be totally fine.  Which is great, because I only have 6 weeks left, 2 of which will be taper weeks.  So, here's hoping I can make good use of the 4 weeks I have left.

Once again I'm linking up with Holly at HoHoRuns and Tricia at Mississippi Piddlin for their weekly wrap.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  OFF - Chiro appointment and VERY long day at work

Wednesday:  40 minute ride followed by a 2500m swim

Thursday:  25km ride outside in the early a.m..  I was so excited,  I wore my inappropriate socks - they summed up how I was feeling.  Pardon the language, and the drywall dust that is all over my floor!  

P.M.  I tried to go for a run.  Like I said, it sucked.  But I was happy to be out so of course I was smiling.

Friday:  2400m swim

Saturday:  2 hour indoor ride on the Mont Tremblant Course, followed by ALL THE SHOPPING.

Sunday:  3100m swim, followed by another test run.  Lauren told me to run / walk so I did a 5 minute warm up walk and then ran 5 minutes, walked 1 minute x 3.  I covered just over 4km.  I am happy to report that my range of motion was much better.  There is still some stubborn tightness hanging around my hamstring insertion point but I think with a few more acupuncture treatments, I hope I'm good to go!

Total time:  7h 30 minutes.  Not too shabby!

I'm looking forward to a 4 day work week this week - it's going to be busy but it will make it go by that much faster.   Maybe I'll even finish one of my many drafted blog posts!  Ha.

Hope everyone had a wonderful week!  Don't forget to check out the Weekly Wrap Link Up!  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

#OperationTop5 Week 18: The Roller Coaster Ride

It's amazing what a difference a week can make.   On Monday I was thinking that my season was over and that I wouldn't be able to do anything except swim for the next few months.  I left my appointment with Lauren in tears because I was so uncertain.  She reassured me that I would be fine but I went down that dark hole of self pity.  By Wednesday I was starting to feel better about things, especially after my Osteopath appointment.  My back had stopped bothering me and the sciatic pain I was experiencing was gone.  I was still having some weird hamstring pain but after I visited my chiro on Friday, he did a full assessment of me, tested me for any disc issues (there were none) did some ART on my cranky hamstring and adductor and told me I would be fine.  Those words were music to my ears.  Especially because I was actually starting to FEEL fine.

Since I had so much free time on my hands this past week,  I took the time to take care of myself.  Lauren said it was important to bring my stress levels down so every night I'd have a nice hot bubble bath with some lavender epsom salts and I'd read.  Needless to say I slept like a baby every night this week.  I really needed that.  I also started using the Headspace app.  I've wanted to try meditation for a while and I had heard a lot of great things about Headspace so when I heard they were conducting a month long experiment in exchange for a years free subscription, I thought, why not, let's give it a go.  I've only been using it for a few days now so I can't really report back on anything just yet, but I will post a review in about a months time.

I also went and had coffee with a  friend of mine who had some serious back issues.  I had reached out to her earlier in the week to pick her brain about what worked for her and we made plans to get together.  I hadn't seen her in ages so it was really nice to sit down and catch up.  No Saturday long ride also meant I had time to do some shopping.   I hit up Sherway Gardens bright and early before it got busy and went to Lush to get more bath goodies.  I wanted to get out of the house because our contractor had arrived at 7:00 am to start working in the basement.  He's at our place 7 days a week working away in the basement.   Which is awesome but it makes for a very noisy home.  Thankfully he'd given us a few tasks to deal with this weekend.  We had to go and pick out flooring for the basement as well as a vanity and mirror for the bathroom so that got us out of the house and away from the noise.  He's made pretty amazing progress in a week though!

Sunday I was able to get on the bike to test things out.  While I didn't feel 100% - my back was still a bit tight, I didn't have any hamstring pain so that was good.  I managed 45 minutes on the trainer and probably could have ridden longer but I had to get ready for swimming.  Sunday was a pretty low key day.  We did some grocery shopping and then I did some meal prep in the afternoon in between dealing with our contractors.   All in all a nice relaxed Sunday, other than the banging around in the basement.

So, I do feel much better about things now than I did this time last week, however, I don't know that I'm out of the woods just yet.  I'm still very tight through my back, gluts and hips and I don't feel like I'm in alignment.  I feel like my pelvis is slightly twisted which could explain the tightness and slight tingling I've been feeling on and off.  I did a fair bit of mobility work after my swim on Sunday and that seemed to provide some relief.   So here's hoping things are moving in the right direction.

It was a quiet week workout wise but I still got my swims in and a lovely morning walk so I'm linking up with the lovely Holly at Hoho Runs and Tricia and Mississippi Piddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  OFF

Wednesday:  2300m swim.  I got moved up to a faster lane and I just about died.

Thursday:  4.5km walk.  I decided it was time to stop moping and start moving.

Friday:  2600m swim

Saturday:  OFF

Sunday:  45 minute bike ride + 3500m swim

Total time:  4h 5 minutes

I feel like I've kind of been on a taper.  I guess that's not a bad way to look at it but it's not like I'm going to be jumping back into crazy workouts either.  My coach said she only wants me doing easy zone 1-2 bike workouts and I can't run until I get the a-ok from Lauren.  So hopefully this week I can focus on cycling and then next week I can get back into running.  I've got 7 weeks left until race day.  And really only about 5 weeks of solid training time before I have to start to taper.  Here's hoping I make it through that in one piece.  At this point, I just want to get to the start line healthy.  That's my number one goal.

How was your week?  How do you keep yourself from going down that "woe is me" path when you're injured?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

#OperationTop5 Week 17: Redefining My Limits

Well, this week wasn't what I had hoped for.   I had hoped that I would be toeing the line of another race with my friends but that didn't happen.  Instead, I was a spectator.  Which was fun in itself but definitely left me with a huge case of FOMO (fear of missing out).   However, I finally got to meet one of my out of town athletes who came to Toronto to run the Goodlife Marathon.   A bunch of us went out for a very early dinner on Saturday night.  It was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones!  
photo courtesy of Carmy Do
I had other athletes racing both Goodlife and Mississauga so I was checking Sports Stats regularly all morning.  All of my athletes that raced here had P.R's.  And a good friend of mine qualified for Boston.   So it was definitely a good weekend from that perspective.

Oh and we started our basement renovations so that was exciting.   And messy.  Our house looks like a bomb went off in it.  Everything that was in the basement has been moved to other areas of the house.  Needless to say I think I'm going to need to purge things after the reno is done.

After my appointment with Lauren last week, I had high hopes that I was getting better.  I actually felt really good after I saw her and then I felt even better after my massage that evening.  I thought for sure, I'd feel great by the time the weekend rolled around.  But alas, I did not.  And of course that has triggered an "It's the end of the world" mentality.  I have shed several tears this weekend.  Tears of frustration and worry.  I always go to the worst case scenario and in my mind that is, "I'm not going to be able to race in 8 weeks" because of this disc issue.  Health practitioners always say don't look at Dr. Google but most of us can't help ourselves.  Some of the things I've read have freaked me out and made me worry even more.   So I've promised myself to stop googling my symptoms.   Lauren said that nerves get irritated very easily and they have to be calmed down so that is what I'm going to focus on right now.  

I can swim without pain and I usually feel ok after a swim so that's a good thing.  Cycling is somewhat questionable.  I rode outside on Saturday and that might have been too much.  I think staying on the trainer might be a bit better so I'm not dealing with wind, hills, bumpy roads etc.  Running is completely out of the question.  I ran for 2 minutes today towards the finish line at Mississauga and I'm pretty sure that's probably why I'm having pins and needles all the way down my leg now.  So, no more running until I am cleared to do so.  And honestly I'm not terribly worried about missing out on my running, other than the fact that I love doing it.  I know that my speed is still there and it will come back.  I am worried about not being able to ride but I don't want to jump to any conclusions there just yet.

Moving forward, I really have to watch my training load.  I can't do hard workouts without adequate rest.  I can't strength train on hard days either.  My training now will have to be very finely balanced.  If this disc / nerve issue get sorted out fairly quickly, I'm going to have to be very diligent about taking rest when I need it, and looking after my body.  I'm going to have to learn to ignore my 25 year old brain that still thinks I can do anything.  I think that will be the hardest part of all this, ha ha.

Anyway, despite this setback, I still did get some workouts in this week.  So I'm linking up with the lovely Holly at HohoRuns and Tricia at Mississippi Piddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  25 minute run.  Leg still wasn't good.

Wednesday:  2650m swim

Thursday:  45 minute ride + a run around the block to test the leg.  Still not great.

Friday:  2650m swim

Saturday:  35km ride

Sunday:  2300m swim

Total time:  5h 31 minutes.  Better than nothing I say!

The goal this week will be about focusing on what I can do vs. what I cannot.   Easier said than done but I'm going to do my best.

Hope everyone had a great week!  Who raced this weekend?

Friday, April 29, 2016

DNS = The Theme for 2016

So, those of you that have been reading along know that I've had some leg issues.  More specifically nerve related issues.  My chiro thought it might have been my piriformis and we worked on that but I was still experiencing pain and range of motion issues even after two treatments.  I went to see Lauren yesterday for a "check in" appointment (that I almost canceled) and I filled her in on everything and she did an assessment and figured that I was having some disc issues.  Specifically my L5.  UGH.  So she did some work to release things and did some nerve tension work which made me feel a lot better.  Sore, but better.  And then she said those 6 dreaded words:  "I don't think you should race".

Cue sad face.

She said I could if I wanted to but I could risk doing more damage to my nerve / disc and advised me not to.  She's right.  I have to keep my eyes on the BIG prize, which is Tremblant in June.  That being said, I was really looking forward to racing on Sunday.  I have a couple of friends racing as well as one of my athletes so I figured it was going to be a blast.  Oh well, on more race fee down the toilet.  That will be number THREE this year.  I will be there at the finish line though.  And I'm not down for the count, so there's that.  I "should" be up and running (ha ha) hopefully by late next week.  I have a follow up next Tuesday to see where things are at.  If I'm ok, then I slowly work back into running and limit my really intense speed work to once a week.  Or, if I'm going to have a couple of speed work sessions, then ideally there's 3-4 days in between them that I'm NOT running.  I can't do a hard long run, have a day off and then do another speed work session.  I might have been able to do that 2 years ago but it turns out that my body doesn't like that any longer.

So, let's chalk that up to learning what my body can handle as it gets older and move on to some fun stuff.  Like this amazing outfit from Zoot.

I can't wait until it's warm enough to wear this!  Speaking of which, the temperature these days is KILLING ME.  It's downright COLD right now.  Mother Nature, get your shit straight, it's almost MAY.  I should be going sock less now!

But enough about the weather.  It's Friday.  That is reason enough to celebrate.  I'm not sure what my coach will have planned for me over the weekend now that I'm not racing.  IF there's a ride, it's going more than likely to have to be outside because our Pain Cave has been dismantled.  Yup.  G went nuts and cleaned out the basement because we have someone that is going to start working on it right away.

We now have a mini Pain Cave in one of the spare bedrooms upstairs.   Not really ideal but it's better than having nothing!  He even managed to set up the TV.  It only gets Netflix but that's ok.  There are plenty of things to watch on Netflix!  He was only able to set up one computrainer in there due to space so that means only one of us can ride at a time.

Oh well.  Now I get to live in chaos for 6 weeks.  I just have to keep telling myself Florida will be worth it, Florida will be worth it......ha!

Anyone else racing this weekend?  This seems to be THE weekend for racing in Toronto!

Monday, April 25, 2016

#OperationTop5 - Week 16: Things Were Good, Until They Weren't

OH hey Monday.  What a weekend.  It flew by so fast!  As did most of this month.  Yesterday was our 12 year wedding anniversary.  We spent it at a race, of course, ha ha.  G was racing Paris to Ancaster, this crazy off road bike race that he likes to do every year and I went along to be his Sherpa and cheerleader because that's how we roll.  Honestly, I don't know where the time has gone, all I know is that I wouldn't trade any of that time for the world.  G totally gets me, he's always 100% behind all my crazy plans and he's 100% supportive of everything I do.

Sans Make Up, Pre-Race Selfie!
To celebrate, we kept things low key and went out to dinner at a local restaurant.  We've eaten out every other night this weekend so we figured why not, ha ha.  We were out Friday night for a friend's 40th birthday, then we went out again on Saturday for another friend's 39th birthday and then we were out last night.  We're also out again tonight with one of G's co-workers from Europe.  4 nights out in a row, I think I'm going to need a day off after all that action!  Well, at least I'll probably get to sleep in a bit this week given that I don't have much in the way of training on my schedule.

My good friend David celebrated the big 4-0 this past week.  I picked out the saying for this shirt, haha.
After last week's stellar week of training, I had high hopes for this week.  I was looking forward to my big weekend ride and another long run.  But my body had other plans.   Seems to be the story of my life these days.  The older I get the more limits I seem to have.  Things that I could do 2 years ago, I can't do now because I end up with some kind of injury or tweak.  I'm trying not to get too frustrated with my body but it's hard not to, especially when I had gotten into such a good groove.   I'm hoping this little issue gets resolved with a few trips to my ART guy.   I had a day off on Monday and then on Tuesday I had an interval workout.  5x1km intervals.  My legs didn't feel great when I started but I had a good warm up so by the time that was done, I actually felt pretty good.  I hammered out my intervals and I felt really strong.  I was getting close to paces I was running 2 years ago (4:17km, 4:01km, 3:57km, 4:02km, 4:04km).  I felt great.  By the end of the workout, during my cool down, I could really feel tightness in my hamstrings, especially my left one.  I stretched well and didn't think anything of it.  I had a massage on Tuesday night at the massage school by my office.  I've been going there a couple of times a month, in addition to seeing my RMT as I feel I need that extra TLC.  The poor girl was so nervous because her supervisor was going to be sitting in on the session.  Needless to say, it wasn't much of a massage.  I swam the next day, hoping that would help my legs feel better.  They felt ok.  In the evening I had a ride and they felt so/so during the ride but not great.  Thursday morning I went out for an easy run and by the end of that run, my left leg was totally messed up.  I could barely walk due to the pain in my leg.  My sciatic nerve was being pinched.  I figured it was my piriformis again so off I went to see my ART guy.   He did a lot of digging around my glut and hamstring and said I'd probably be sore for a few days.  He wasn't kidding.  Friday I still hurt.  Saturday, I was a bit better but still tender in some places.  I managed a short ride.  Sunday I felt somewhat better and thought I'd try to go for a run while Gary was out racing.  I ran 1.5km and had to turn around I hurt so much.  I cried all the way back to the car.  That was not what I had hoped for and it really bummed me out.

I'm going back to see him this afternoon for some more work as I'm still sore and I can still feel a bit of pins and needles in my leg.  I really hope he can get this sorted out because I'm supposed to race the Mississauga half this weekend and I really DO NOT want to have another DNS this year.

I'm linking up a bit late with Holly & Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.  It's a chance for active women to connect and share their training and racing experiences.  Check it out!

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday: run with 5x1km intervals in a.m.  40 minute strength training session at lunch.  Mostly upper body & core.

Wednesday:  2600m swim.  I felt pretty good.  45 minute zone 2 ride in p.m.

Thursday:  8.5km easy run to test out my new Zoot Solanas.  Everything went to hell after this.

Friday:  1650m swim.  Still sore and very disinterested in swimming stroke work.

Saturday:  45 minute ride on the trainer.

Sunday:  NADA.

Total time:  5h 36 minutes.  I had 12h on the schedule but that never happened.  *Sigh*  One step forward two steps back.

On the plus side, this has helped me figure out what I CAN'T do so moving forward my coach has a better idea of how to schedule my workouts.  At least there's an upside, ha ha.

How was your week of workouts?  Who watched Game of Thrones last night????  I did not, but it's on the PVR so I will be tuning in as soon as possible!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Zoot Makai - Not Just for Triathletes!

I've been wearing Zoot products for as long as I've been doing triathlons, which is a long time.   Their products used to be geared 100% to triathletes but over the years they've really branched out embraced all 3 sports by creating top notch gear for each leg of the race.  Where they've really made some inroads is in their shoes.  For years, Zoot shoes were what were known as a "quick entry" shoe that had elastic laces and a seamless upper.  It was something you could literally just pull on and go.  No need to tie up laces.  Because transitions are where you find free speed!  You don't want to fuss with laces.

Some of their shoes do come with the option for regular laces and speed laces.  The old Ultra Kiawe was one of them.  Others, like the Solana and the Diego have regular laces.  The Solana was actually voted  Best Debut by Runner's World when it was launched back in 2015.  It's been my go to Zoot shoe since it came out.  I just replaced the regular laces with race laces and BOOM, I'm race ready.

I was content to continue training in my Solanas this year until I saw pictures of the new Zoot Makai.  Oh boy.  Now I know you're not supposed to pick a shoe based on how it looks.  But lets be real, good looks help, right???  Being a Zoot sponsored athlete, I get the opportunity to purchase items at a substantial discount so I thought, why not?  Let's give these puppies a go.

I'm a sucker for brightly coloured shoes so these ticked that box right off the bat.  

I slipped them on and adjusted the laces.  The first thing I noticed was the smoothness of the upper.  Zoot does seamless technology really well.  This shoe completely nails it.  There is not a single seam anywhere across the top and sides of the shoe.  Some other shoe brands do a seamless liner but there are still seams / detailing on the outside of the shoe and those can irritate your feet and cause hot spots.   Zoot kept it clean with this shoe.

Look Ma, no seams!!!

Secondly, the lacing system is really easy to use.  You just pull the toggle and adjust as required.

It is surprisingly secure without having to be done up too tightly.   I was a little concerned when I first put them on and started to walk around but with a few toggle adjustments, they were perfect.  The true test was when I went out for my first run in them.  They didn't budge.  And I didn't have a single blister.

Now let's talk about the things you DON'T see here, namely the technology in the shoe.  The shoe has a molded 3D heel counter for excellent heel support.  Zoot's seamless technology is called BareFit and it is one of the things that makes this shoe so good.  The shoe, like most Zoot shoes, fits like a glove.  It fits close to the foot and it feels supportive and stable while remaining light and responsive. It doesn't feel sloppy or soft.  My foot felt snug and secure, even through a 2 hour run.

Zoot's shoes have always felt very zippy and responsive and I'm chalking that up to the other proprietary technology in their shoes.  It's called Z-Bound and it's found in the sole of the shoe from the heel to the toe.  Z-Bound essentially rebounds a runner's energy reducing stress and fatigue.  I can honestly say this stuff works because I did my longest run in 2 years in these shoes and I thought for sure my legs would feel brutal.  They didn't.  I was especially surprised at how good my legs felt the next day.

A few other key features to note:  the mesh upper is incredibly breathable.  There is a medial post for some guidance and the shoe features an 8mm drop.   The shoe is geared towards a runner with neutral foot mechanics and a medium arch.   It also comes with regular laces if the quick lace system isn't your thing.

This is going to be my go to shoe for my A race in Tremblant this year.  I haven't tested it barefoot yet  but will do so once the weather gets better.  If my feet stay blister free when I go sock less, I'll be using it for my short course races as well.

Even if you don't swim or bike before you run, that doesn't mean that you should over look Zoot as a shoe option.   I can't say enough about their shoes (or their other products for that matter).  I've been wearing them since I started in triathlon over 10 years ago.  If you're in the market for a new pair of racing shoes, take a look at Zoot!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

#OperationTop5 - Spring is Finally Here!

Another weekend, gone...but never mind that, we are already halfway through April!!  Holy Moly, time is flying by like crazy this year.  I blink and the weekend is over.   What a glorious weekend it was though.  Spring finally showed up in Toronto.  Just in time for my longest run this year (and in the last two years as a matter of fact.)  Wooohooo!

This week was a flurry of activity.  Work has been busy and I had another full week of training.  This would have been my biggest volume week if I had managed to do all my workouts but I didn't.  A boiling hot pool (90 degrees!) on Wednesday made for a shortened swim workout and a splitting headache on Thursday kept me off my bike after work.  But other than that, it was a pretty successful week.  My coach has introduced speed work back in my life.  Holy smokes.  It's nice to open it up a bit, even if it is for shorter distances.

This weekend started with a visit to a townhouse that our real estate agent sent us.  We've also had two different contractors come by the house to give us an estimate to finish the basement.  So the Florida plans are kind of moving along.  The townhouse we saw was beautiful but priced a bit higher than we really want to be and we figured it would go for even more than what it was listed for.  We're happy to look around and see what's what for the next little while, until we at least get the basement sorted out.  Once that gets going, then I think we'll be in a better position to put an offer in on something.  But for now, we're just checking things out.  Going from a large detached home to a smaller town home will be a change that's for sure.  But if it means no more winter, then I'm ok with it!  As for Florida, Holly (Hoho Runs) asked where we were looking and we're aiming to be in the Clermont area.  Once we figure out how much we have to spend on a place down there, then we'll take a trip down and do some more exploring. about that training week???  I'm linking up with Holly (HoHo Runs) and Tricia (Mississippi Piddlin) for their Weekly Wrap.  This is how my week went down.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  50 minute weight workout, 60 minutes of hills in the a.m.  60 minute ride in the p.m.

Wednesday:  1650m in a disgustingly hot pool.  I couldn't do the workout it was just too hot.  Our coach said we should just do what we could.  I had to get out every 200-250m to cool down it was just too much.   I did, however get this.  Yup, I finally hit 1 million metres since I started tracking my mileage back in 2012.

Thursday:  9.5km run with 20 minutes at tempo pace.  This was tough.  My legs were feeling Tuesday's workouts.  But I still managed a decent pace for the 20 minute section.   Thursday night I came home to this package of awesomeness from Zoot.

Friday:  2300m swim

Saturday:  89km ride with 2x10 minutes in zone 4,  followed by a 20 minute run off the bike.  Holy moly this was a tough day.

Sunday:  3000m swim, 2 hour run with the last 20 minutes at tempo effort.

Using the GoPro to check my form 
Total time:  11h 36 minutes vs. the 13h 35 minutes that was scheduled.   But I'm ok with that!

Next week is my last big week before my mini taper for the Mississauga half.  This coming weekend is going to be a big one, we've got 2 birthday celebrations and it's our 12 year wedding anniversary next Sunday.  ANNNNDDDD....Game of Thrones starts that day as well, ha ha ha.

Hope you guys had a great week!  What sort of fun did you get up to?  Did you have awesome weather?  It was sunny at 20 degrees in Toronto today!  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

#OperationtTop5 Week 14: Pump Up the Volume

I am exhausted.  This was a monster week.  The first of a few monster weeks to come.  It was so big,  I didn't have much time to do anything else.  These next two weeks will be much of the same.  But that's ok, this is what I've wanted.  My body finally feels ready for the volume.  Now if only I could sleep.....

It's funny how when I'm back home and back at work that my sleep patterns change.  I get up in the middle of the night more often and sometimes I have a hard time falling back asleep.  When we were away, I slept like a baby.  Probably from being outside all the time and not being stressed.  Stress is just as bad as sitting.  Combine the two and you have a recipe for disaster.  I'm working on the not sitting thing but the stress, well that's why I run.  

Anyway, we didn't get up to much this weekend as last weekend was totally jammed so it was nice to stick close to home.  I did some meal prep and puttered around but most of my weekend was spent training.  And looking at houses.   Yes, G and I are thinking about moving.  When we re-did the house we said we'd never move but after going to Florida and seeing how cheap places were down there, we started thinking, and more importantly, doing the math.   The housing market in Toronto is INSANE right now.   We could get a good chunk of change for our place.  Enough that we could afford to downsize into a townhouse and then have money left over to buy a place in Florida and have a very small mortgage.  G can work from anywhere, the US being the ideal spot as that's where all his work is.  So, if we can swing this, we'd essentially be Snowbirds.  We'd spend 4-5 months of the year in Florida and the rest of the time in Canada.  That would mean I'd have to quit my full time job and get a US work visa so I could work part time in the US.  It's pretty exciting to think about.  G is a bit like a dog with a bone when it comes to things so I've had to put the brakes on him a bit.  These next few months are going to be super busy with training and work and I don't want to add finishing the basement, cleaning out the house and listing it into the mix.  After Tremblant, would be better as we'll have the time and the housing market will be picking up as it always does in the summer.  Something to look forward to for sure!

So that's the exciting bit of news.  Now on to my crazy week of training.  I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday:  OFF - I had thought about swimming but got up and looked outside to see snow so I went back to bed.  My coach had given me the option to do a recovery workout or sleep.  I chose sleep.  ATB did a bit of a number on me and I was still pretty tired.

Tuesday:  12km recovery run with my friend David.  It was freezing cold but it was nice to have the company.  

Wednesday:  2300m swim, 40 minute strength session in the a.m.  60 minute ride in the Pain Cave in the p.m.

I'm really tired of this view.  Thankfully I still have a whole season of Breaking Bad to watch!

Thursday:  Back on the bike at stupid o'clock in the a.m. for 75 minutes including 4x6 minute intervals in Zone 4.  I was SOAKED by the time I got off the bike to go do my 4km run.  My legs felt surprisingly good off the bike.  I was quite pleased.  I rewarded myself with a 90 minute massage that night, ha ha.

Friday:  2100m swim - and time to play with the GO PRO  :)

Saturday:  60 minute strength session with my trainer - all upper body and core, then 2h 45 minutes on the Computrainer in the basement, followed by 5km off the bike.  Followed by eating ALLTHEFOOD.

That face you make when you realize you're only halfway through your ride and your legs still feel like crap.

Longest trainer ride this year.  That was a test of my mental fortitude.

Sunday:  2600m swim,  directly followed by an 18km run (longest run this year!).  Never again.  I bonked so hard towards the end, it was a struggle to maintain my pace.  I needed real food in-between my swim and my run.  Next week, I'll go home and eat and then hit the road.  It was also FREEZING cold out.  I was completely frozen when I got back.  So much so that I had to sit in front of the fireplace and defrost.  It's APRIL for Pete's sake.  There should NOT be a WINDCHILL.  

Total time:  12h 45 minutes.  Second highest training week this year.   Boom. 

Swim:  6800m
Bike: 151km
Run: 39.4km 

Only 11 weeks left till Tremblant!

I'm bracing myself for a busy week at work.  The last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet but I've got 2 large projects on the go and another one that should come in tomorrow. Time for me to buckle up!

How was your week?  Did you do anything fun?  Don't forget to check out the other posts in the Weekly Wrap link up!