Sunday, June 30, 2013

#GoalGetter2013 - June

I had high hopes for June, really I did.  But looking back on the month, I think I was being a bit unrealistic.  I had 4 races in the span of 5 weeks and I think that really threw me for a loop with my regular training routine.  I basically raced, then recovered, raced, then recovered.  There was no real opportunity for me to get into a regular routine with my training as I needed the time to recover.  I ain't no spring chicken anymore so I need the down time after hard efforts.   I tried to squeeze things in where I could but needless to say, the things I had wanted to accomplish didn't really happen.  Let's take a look at where everything panned out.

My #plankaday goal.  Never happened.  I think I can count on both my hands the number of times I actually did planks.

Riding twice a week.  Also didn't happen.  The weather had been quite wet and thunderstormy this past month which, in my books, isn't conducive to riding outside and setting my bike back up on the trainer just seemed like too much trouble.

Getting back out with my run group.  This happened a couple of times but again, not as much as I would have liked.  I'm chalking that up to all my racing.  This past week I felt the need to slow things down and while I could have gone and run with the group, I just felt like my body needed a break from the hard efforts so I didn't go.

Yoga.  Ha ha ha ha.  Never happened.  However I am still stretching and foam rolling regularly.

My swimming has stalled as well.  I think because I've been racing, I've missed my normal third day of swimming.  What a difference!  Our Sunday swims have stopped for the summer so now I'm going to have to swim at the public pool at the bottom of our street if I want to get a third day in there AND still have a day off.

Speaking of Sunday swims, now that those have ended, I will be focusing on building up my run mileage again.  I will be taking things very easy pace wise for the month of July and then ramp things up come August.  Given that I'm not racing again until July 28th, I should be able to get back into a good solid training routine.

Here's hoping that July will be a bit better in terms of incorporating more of my mini goals into my routine!

How are you doing with your 2013 goals?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My 3 Week Love Affair

It's starting.  The day that signifies the real start of summer for me.  Today is the opening stage of the Tour de France.  Of course, I'm going to go celebrate by riding my bike.   Then I get to sprawl out on the couch and listen to the sweet sounds of Paul and Phil.  Music to my ears I tell you.

Yes, I know cycling is riddled with cheaters.  It's been tainted for years, most famously by HeWhoCannotBeNamed a.k.a Lance Armstrong.  It still doesn't take away from the fact that it's an incredibly exciting sport.  The power, skill and sheer grit of these men really is amazing.  I have watched a small peleton fly by and I can only imagine what it must be like to see one the size of the Tour go by. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Le Tour so I suspect there will be all sorts of pomp and circumstance.  There are 6 mountain stages with 4 summit finishes.  Of course Alpe D'Huez is in there.  They have also brought back the team time trial which I absolutely LOVE.

To say I'm excited would be an understatement.  I guess you could say that this would be my Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If you're looking for me over the next 3 weeks, you'll find me parked on the couch, glued to the TV fully enjoying my little love affair.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

History in the Making at the Welland Tri

Those of you that know me, know I'm pretty competitive.  I do my fair share of joking and trash talking, especially with G.  A few years ago, that never would have happened but these days, I have become quite confident in my abilities.  To be fair, G is not totally racing at the level he used to either.  He had knee surgery 3 years ago and took his time getting back into running.  He's quick but not as quick as he used to be.  So I have become the fast one on two feet in this relationship.  Throw in a swim and bike and it's a whole other ball game though.  G is a strong swimmer and a pretty good cyclist.  But, like myself he hasn't been training a lot on the bike.  That is slowly changing and I suspect that by the end of the season the gap between the two of us on the bike will be much bigger than it is now.  I'm sure his running will also start to improve as well so I'll have to step it up a notch.  For now, I'd say our abilities are somewhat comparable.  We are similar in speed when it comes to open water swimming however, G is way faster than me in the pool. G is definitely faster than me on the bike and I am faster than him on the run so lately our races have been close.  But I've never actually beat him.

Until this past weekend.

Yes my friends, history was made at the Welland Triathlon.  G got chicked by his own wife.

We have been pretty close in our finishing times over the three triathlons we've done together.  As close as 1/100 of a second, but G has always come out as the faster one.  Saturday that changed.  I beat him by 29 seconds.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's see how the day unfolded shall we?

I had wanted to be at the race site an hour early so I could set up in transition, do a warm up, find Krysten and help her out if she needed it.  That did not happen.  We were late leaving the house, got slowed down in construction on the highway and ended up getting to the Welland Arena with about 40 minutes to spare.  Still enough time to set up and get registered but not at the relaxed pace that I like.  So there was a little bit of rushing around on my part.  I kept my eyes peeled for Krysten but never ran into her.  Before I knew it, G was herding me down to the water to do a warm up.

The water was chilly at first but once you got in it was actually quite nice.  You swim in the Welland Canal which is fairly narrow so it was a long swim along the banks short swim across and then another long swim back.  I like swimming in rivers and canals because you always have a place to sight with the shoreline on either side of you.  A bonus considering I can't seem to swim in a straight line to save my life. 

Because this race takes place in a canal and it's fairly narrow, MSC made this a time trial start.  That meant that the elites and pros would go first, then everyone would line up from youngest to oldest and we'd start 5 seconds apart.  I liked the idea of that immediately because it would alleviate all of the panic and chaos that I don't like about most swim starts.   I wouldn't have anyone beside me and I'd have a fairly clear path in front of me until I caught someone.

Warm ups done, G and I reunited on the bank and waited for our respective numbers to come up.  I was in front of him by 23 people.  I hoped that was enough space to keep him at bay for a while.  I got my customary good luck kiss and jumped in line.  The rest of us 40-44 year old women made our way down to the dock and got in the water.   The girl in front of me went and the fellow on the dock counted down 5-4-3-2- GO.  Off I went.  It was so nice not to have to contend with flailing arms and legs.  I had open water in front of me for about 2 minutes then I caught my first person.  And then another.  Before I knew it, I had swam into a small pack of people.  I had to stop and breast stroke a bit to figure out how to get around them.  Got around them and was back into clear water.  A few minutes later, I came up on 2 other people.  One of them was a guy who was breast stroking.  The other was a woman who was swimming.  I slowed up and tried to figure out if I could go through the middle of them or if I had to try to swim around the breast stroker.  I opted to go through the middle.  There seemed to be enough room.  The breast stroker didn't like that and I got kicked and punched.  That just spurred me on to move a bit faster.  I got through them and came upon another small group as I made the turn around the buoy.  I went wide so I could get around them.  More clear water.  Amazing.  I hit the second buoy and came up on a little bit of traffic.  Got through that and it was smooth sailing all the way back to the beach.  I pushed the pace heading into the beach.  I really wanted to get out of the water.  I was hoping that I was around the 13 minute mark.  I looked down at my watch as I stepped onto the bank and it said 12:48.  YES.  I still had to run up to the timing mat though.  I hit the mat and glanced at my watch again.

Swim:  13:02

The one annoying thing about this race is the very long run up to T1.  It's so long, they actually time it separately from your transition.  It's close to 500m.  I made it up into T1 in 1:37.  Yeah, I hustled.  I got out of my wetsuit quite quickly and managed to get myself sorted a lot faster than normal.  I knew exactly where I had to run out so as soon as I was sorted, I was off. 

T1:  1:30.  Getting faster!

I hopped on the bike and started hammering.  My legs didn't like that so I backed off a bit and let them settle down before I started to push again.   I caught a few people here and there but never came across any large packs like I did at Binbrook.  So much nicer!  I was just getting into a groove when I came up on Krysten.  She looked good and was moving at a good clip.  I yelled Gooooo Krysten as I went by. I settled into my pace.  I was definitely working.  The bike seemed harder this time around than it did at Binbrook, even though the course was completely flat.   It was nice to be able to just get into my aerobars and ride though.   I settled into that sweet spot, toeing the red line and stayed there for the entire 30km.  My friend and RMT, David, was also racing.  He's 5 years younger than me so he had a pretty good head start.  I wasn't sure if I'd catch him on the bike or not, but I kept my eyes peeled.  Sure enough, just past the 10km mark, I caught sight of him.  I reeled him in and as I passed him I said "See you at the finish line".  I was greeted with a whole lot of "yeah yeah yeah".   One dude down, another to try to keep at bay.   I was racing scared, wondering when G would catch me.  I had a feeling it would be around the 20km mark but I figured I'd have a better idea at the 15km turn around.  I hit the turn around, went out a little further than I needed to and settled back into my groove.  Shortly after that I saw G.  Crap.  I put my head down, rode like a mad woman and waited.  The km's clicked by.  No G.  I hit the 20km mark.  Still no G.  What the?  I was closing in on the 25km mark when I heard "On your left Team Running Free".  Aha, there he was.  G flew by me.  I responded to him just like David had responded to me.  "Yeah, yeah yeah".  Although, I have to say, I was quite pleased with myself.  I figured he'd catch me a whole lot sooner.  I only had to cover 5km before I could try to chase him down on the run.   I pushed the pace a bit harder on those last 5km.   It was also starting to get really warm out, which I figured would make the run really tough.  I made a last minute decision to bring a couple of salt pills and I'm glad I did.  I took one before the race and then took my last one just before I got off the bike.  I figured it wouldn't hurt.  I jumped off my bike at the dismount line and ran as fast as I could into transition.

Bike:  53:48 - once again I averaged 33.4 kph.  This time around it felt a lot harder.

I racked my bike, took my helmet off and grabbed my visor.  I started putting that on while trying to take my cycling shoes off.  Kind of stupid but whatever.  I yanked my running shoes on and made my way out of transition.

T2:  00:52s  Not bad. 

I've run the Welland course in a relay so I know it's very flat with very little shelter.  I figured this was going to be a scorcher and I wasn't wrong.  My legs felt a little rubbery but that didn't stop me from seeing sub 4 min km's on my Garmin for the first half km.   In fact my first km split was 4:00 on the nose.  I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain that for the rest of the run, especially given the heat but it was a good start.  They changed the run course slightly and made it a bit more winding so it was hard to get a gauge on where people were.  I didn't see G at all until just past the 1km mark.  He had made it to the first turnaround and was heading back.  I wasn't sure how far up the first turn around was so I didn't know if I'd be able to catch him or not.  Much to my surprise, it wasn't too far up.  I started to think that perhaps I just might catch him.  

Sure enough just as I made my way toward the 2km mark, I spotted him.  That spurred me on to move a bit faster.  I caught up to him and smacked him on the butt.  He said his calves were cramping.  I said my right one was as well (it was getting ominously tight) and then I said "See you at the finish!" and passed him.

Now I just had to hope I could hold him off.   Talk about running scared.

It was stinking hot out on the run course.  I took fluids at almost every aid station.  Mostly just to dump on my head.  There was an awesome aid station manned by a bunch of 12-15 year old girls (I'm guessing) that were dumping water on folks if they wanted it.  I didn't take them up on the offer the first time but I told them they were all awesome and that got a big woohoo back from them.  I chugged along at roughly a 4:10/km pace.  Sometimes slower, sometimes faster.  I was definitely having a better run than at Binbrook.  The course was also flatter and all on pavement which is helpful in terms of maintaining a relatively consistent pace.   I could feel my face getting really hot.  I didn't even want to look at my heart rate as I figured it would be way up there.  I was running at what felt like 5km pace.  I hit the 2nd turnaround and started with the self talk.  I was really hurting.  As soon as I hit the 5km mark, I started doing finishing calculations.  I figured I had roughly another 10 minutes or so to go.  I could suck it up for another 10 minutes.  I saw G at about this point and we exchanged a high five.  I knew at that point that he wasn't going to catch me.  Shortly after I saw David and another high five was exchanged.  I kept trying to relax my shoulders because I could feel them starting to drift up to around my ears.  That always happens when I'm really pushing the pace.  I decided to ease up a little bit.  I was heading towards the Awesome Aid Station again when I saw 2 old ladies in their scooters sitting on the edge of the path watching everyone.  As I passed I thanked them for coming out and they laughed out loud.  Gotta thank the spectators too, they are an integral part of any race!  

As I came towards the Awesome Aid Station the girls were ready with cups of water.  I yelled out "Go ahead, give me all you've got! Bombs away! and was promptly doused by 3 enthusiastic volunteers.   I can't even begin to tell you how good that felt.  I was soaked but I didn't care.   I glanced at my Garmin and saw 29 minutes and change.  I was really close to the finish.  I was hoping to come in under 32 minutes.  I figured I should be able to do it but it might be close.  I turned onto the path and really started to push the pace again.  I almost missed the entrance to the finishing chute on the grass.  At that point I knew I was going to go sub 32 minutes.  I didn't even look at the finishing clock when I crossed the line so I had no idea what my finishing time was.  As soon as I gave my timing chip back, I paid a visit to the sponge man and had him completely soak me.  I was drenched, so much so that my shoes were squishy.  I grabbed 2 cups of Heed and wandered over to the finish line to watch for G.  Just because I passed him on the run, didn't mean I actually beat him.  This was a time trial start so I had no idea how he did in the swim.  I knew his bike was faster than mine and I knew my run was faster than his but how would that pan out overall?

Run:  31:26

G crossed the line and we wandered over to transition, gathered our stuff and went into the arena to change out of our sweaty clothes.  We then headed over to Hero Burgers to get our usual post race burger, found a place in the sun and flopped down.  Food inhaled, we went back to transition and took everything back to the car.  Just as we finished, I spotted Krysten with her mom.  I asked her how her race went and she seemed quite happy.  She was very happy to have been able to borrow a bike from Christina (The Athletarian).  Now that she has sampled the kool aid, I think she's a convert.  I suspect I'll see her at another race or two over the course of the summer.  It's always so nice to hear that someone had a great first experience!  I could tell by the smile on her face that she was really pleased.  Welcome to the club Krysten!

I figured the results would finally be up so we went back to the finish line area.  Sure enough I spotted the crowd as soon as we walked back in.  I edged my way in and started looking at the first page of results.  To my surprise I found my name on it!  That was a bit of a shocker.  I was actually 34th overall.  WTH??  I looked across to see where I was in my AG and to my surprise I saw a 1.

YES!!  FINALLY!  An AG win.  I had been really hoping that today would be the day.

Next I looked for G's name.  It wasn't too difficult.  He was listed directly below me in 35th position.
Say what?  I couldn't stop laughing.   I finished in 1:42:13 and he finished in 1:42:42.  29 freaking seconds.  I'll take it.

I may actually print this out, laminate it and put in on the fridge because I'm not sure it will happen again.

I looked again and realized that I had made the top 5 female finishers overall.  Another first.   I was the oldest woman in the top 5.  All the other finishers were under 35.  Gotta love that.

Overall Winners
Age Group Winners
All in all a great day for me.   I really like this race course, especially the swim.  It will definitely be a part of my race calendar next year.

I don't have another race in my schedule until Bala on July 28th.  A whole MONTH away.  I am contemplating doing Belwood on July 20th but we'll have to see what happens with work.  July could potentially be a very busy month and I don't want to commit to a race unless I know for sure I'll be able to do it.  I'm really looking forward to Bala.  I'll have another solid brick of training under my belt (hopefully) and that race is always a lot of fun.  It's a great venue with a nice hilly bike course and it's Retro Day, which means speedos and neon.  Good times.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Welland Triathlon Teaser

I have been so freaking busy I haven't actually had time to sit down and write my race recap.  However, I do have a few teaser images to share that will probably give you some idea as to how the day unfolded.   Needless to say, I had a very good day.  You'll have to come back and see just HOW good. 

The raccoon eyes is such a flattering look!

This pic doesn't tell the full story......

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer's Here and the Time is Right for Yet Another Race!

It's the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.  I used to like to stay up late-ish and appreciate the fact that it stays light till almost 10:00 pm.  Notice I say used to.  These days I'm in bed by 9:30 and tonight will be no exception.  I've got triathlon number 3 in Welland tomorrow morning which will mean another early morning wake up.  I've been up stupid early almost every day this week trying to get my training in before work (when there is a 4 at the start of your wake-up time, that is considered stupid early in my books).  Work has been getting busier and busier and I suspect that come next week, chaos will ensue just in time for the long weekend, which is par for the course in my line of work.

I feel completely exhausted so tomorrow's race should be interesting to say the least.  I did hill repeats on the bike yesterday followed by a very short run and my legs just felt flat.  Could have been because I was dehydrated from the day before.  Could have been because it was FREEZING cold out (12 degrees, which on a bike seems more like 2).   Who knows.  I took it easy last night and took today off, partially because I had to be at work for 7:00 am.    So we shall see.  At least the course is flat so I won't have any hills to sap whatever energy I have.  It's also going to be humid so I think some salt tablets or Margarita shot blocks might be necessary.  I'll have to make sure I pack both tonight.

Regardless of how tired I may be tomorrow, it should be fun.  I know a few who are people racing and the lovely Krysten of Darwinian Fail is doing the race as well.  It will be her first triathlon so I've offered to help her set everything up in transition.   I suspect that she will cross that finish line with a HUGE grin on her face.  You can bet that there will be some tweeting and instagram action pre and post race so watch for it! 

Who else is racing this weekend?  Anyone?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Crank Factor

1. A device for transmitting rotary motion, consisting of a handle or arm attached at right angles to a shaft.
2. A clever turn of speech; a verbal conceit: quips and cranks.
3. A peculiar or eccentric idea or action.
4. Informal
     a. A grouchy person.
     b. An eccentric person, especially one who is unduly zealous.

For this post, we'll focus solely on number one and number 4a.  I find it incredibly ironic that number one can result in number four.

What am I talking about you ask?

The Crank Factor.

What the heck is The Crank Factor?

The Crank Factor is what sets in after you reach a certain point on your bike.  That point is usually signaled by tired achey legs, a sore crotch or butt, general discomfort and an overwhelming desire to get off your bike and throw it in a ditch.  We've all been there.  Once the crank factor sets in, the ride is no longer fun for me and those around me.  Just ask G. 

Yesterday I did my longest ride to date this year.  I rode 88 fairly hilly km.  The last long-ish ride I did was a month ago and that was 62km.  My cycling endurance has improved since then but not enough that 88km would have been easy.  It wasn't.  By about 65km, the Crank Factor had started to creep in.  By 75km, it was full on.  I kept trying to tell myself that it was a beautiful day, it was great to be outside, blah blah blah, but my legs were giving me the big F.U.  Luckily for all those involved, it set in when we were 2/3 of the way through our ride so I didn't have that long to be miserable.

Riding up Mississauga Rd.  It's a grinder.
 Such is life.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get it done.  Part of training is learning to work through the discomfort.  Work through those achey legs and find that other gear.  Some days you have it and some days you don't.  Finding that other gear isn't always easy and it's always going to hurt.  But each time you find it, you'll be going that much faster and you'll be able to tolerate it just that much longer.

I call that "getting better" and in the end, isn't that what training is all about? 

Longest ride of the year to date. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Binbrook Triathlon Race Report

This was the final event in my triple header and the first time I'd actually done this particular race.   I wasn't sure what to expect after having raced the two previous weekends.  My legs took quite the beating at the Bread and Honey 15km the previous week so I took it really easy in the week leading up to the race.  I felt completely exhausted as well.  So much so that I skipped running with my group as well as my Thursday morning gym workout.   I hadn't ridden my bike since the previous week either.  I was hoping that would actually be a good thing and that my legs would feel fresh.  The bike was 10km longer than Woodstock so I figured I'd need all the help I could get.

Saturday morning rolled around and I was up at the ungodly hour of 4:45 am.  So wrong for a weekend.  But I wanted to be at the race site early so G said we had to hit the road at 5:45 a.m.  I'm not one of those people that can just roll out of bed, get dressed and go.  I need to wake up before I get rolling.  That hour also gives me time to re-think everything I've packed and make last minute wardrobe changes.  The temperature was going to be similar to Woodstock although it was supposed to remain overcast, which can sometimes mean it can feel a bit chillier.  So, at the last minute, I packed my Team RF jacket just in case.

It took us slightly under an hour to get to Binbrook, which is just outside Stoney Creek.  We pulled into the conservation area, parked in one of the grassy lots and got our stuff out of the car.  As soon as I stepped out of the car I noticed two things.  One, the air was chilly, which made me happy I brought my jacket and two, they had obviously just cut the grass the day before because the ground was covered with cuttings.  This meant that it was going to be a really messy day.  As in grass getting in everything kinda messy.  A-ma-zing.  Sure enough by the time I got my bike into transition, my wheels were covered in grass cuttings and I had a pile that had formed around my brake pads.  Oh well, nothing I could do about it and everyone else had to deal with it as well.   I just made sure I cleaned off my brake pads once my bike was racked in transition and I did my best to not get grass all over everything.  I figured I'd probably be picking it out of strange places by the end of the day (I wasn't wrong).

Race registration was a breeze so I opted to hop in the porta potty line while it was still small-ish.  Then it was off to finish organizing everything in transition.   It took me a while to get myself sorted as I kept forgetting to do things.  For example, I placed my cycling shoes nicely on the towel with my helmet on top and then forgot about my sunglasses.  They were still in my bag, which I had placed away from my bike by the fence.  Off I went to get those.  After I put my glasses in my helmet, I did a short little run.  When I came back I looked down at my towel and realized that I hadn't undone my cycling shoes.  Ugh.  I went over everything twice before I decided things were good and I could do my swim warm up.

I couldn't find G in transition so I figured I'd slowly make my way down to the water.  Just as I left transition, I saw him in the porta potty line.  He said he'd come and find me.  For once we were starting in the same wave so I knew I'd see him before the gun went off.  It's just wrong to start a race without my good luck kiss.

I had read the Binbrook pre-race report so I knew the water was cool-ish.  It was 64 degrees which made it wetsuit optional.  I saw ONE dude with no wetsuit.  64 is cold by this little lady's standards so I opted for a wetsuit.  Really, who am I kidding?  Given the choice, I will ALWAYS opt for a wetsuit, even with my newly improved swimming abilities.  I wandered in and let the cold water seep into my suit.  The first part of the lake was sandy but within about 5 steps the bottom turned into this disgustingly slick mess.  It was so slick I almost wiped out.  I used that misstep to propel myself into the water.  I figured I might as well get it over with.   It was cold.  Given that it was overcast, I figured I might very well need my jacket on the ride.  I swam about half way out to the first buoy and floated around for a while.  I swam back to shore and did that all over again, a bit harder this time around to really get the blood flowing.  When I got back to shore and came out of the water, I started to shiver and my fingernails started to get a little purple.  Back into the water I went.  I stayed submerged for a bit until I saw G.

He had done his warm up so we moved off to the side to watch the first two waves go.  My plan was to stay off to the side but to at least move to the front this time.   G's plan was to go right in the middle and take the shortest line.  No thanks.  I got my good luck kiss and wandered over to the outside of the right hand start buoy.  Not the most direct line to the first turn but then again, my ability to swim in anything resembling a straight line is pretty much non existent so I hoped that perhaps it would somehow balance itself out.  The horn sounded and we were off.  I dove into the water and started swimming.  I had open water in front of me, which was good, I didn't have to worry about swimming into anyone's feet.  I had a few people around me which wasn't too bad for the first 50m or so then it seemed like those few people multiplied to lots of people.  I started taking in water like I did at Woodstock so once again, the panic set in.  I rolled over on to my back only to see a horde of white capped swimmers coming at me.  CRAP.  I tried to find clear space but I couldn't.  I ended up accidentally kicking some guy in the head while I tried to get to clear space.  A few seconds later, I found a pocket and immediately put my face back in the water and started swimming.  I didn't want a repeat of Woodstock.  I knew I was capable of a decent swim.  I followed a set of feet to the first buoy and made my way around the turn.  I was starting to get into a rhythm.  This was good.  I got into a really good groove heading towards the second buoy.  A little too much of a good groove.  When I looked up to sight, I had swum way off course.  I had to literally turn myself 90 degrees to go in the right direction.  Once I re-oriented myself, I found that same groove and rode it all the way back to shore.  At one point when I was breathing, I thought I might have seen G but I wasn't sure.  Everyone kinda looks the same partially submerged in a swim cap and goggles.

I stood up and started running ashore.  I glanced down at my Garmin and it said 13:23.  Sweet.  10 seconds better than Woodstock.  Just as I started running up onto the beach I heard "Hey" and I turned around to see G.  We had come out of the water at pretty much exactly the same time.  Awesome.  I yelled Let's Go and then bolted away into T1.  It was a 225m run up to transition so that added a bit of time to my official swim time but it was still sub 15 minutes

Swim:  14:49

 I struggled with pulling my wetsuit off my left arm on the way into transition but I finally got my arm out just before I hit the timing mat.  I ran as fast as I could to my bike.  Instead of trying to do a million things at the same time like I did at Woodstock, I got my wetsuit off first, then put my helmet on, then dried my feet, pulled on my socks and then fumbled with my shoes.  Turned out that I hadn't completely undone my left one so I was trying to wedge my foot in and it wouldn't go.  I was pushing so hard my calf almost cramped.  I realized what the problem was and undid the strap some more, shoved my foot in, grabbed my glasses and un-racked my bike.  I was actually warm so I didn't even bother with my jacket.  I took off and ended up running the wrong way around the racks which probably added about 10s to my transition time. I need to work on remembering where the exits are.  I also think I'm going to forgo socks on the bike and put them on for the run.  That way my feet will be dry by the time the run starts and I won't have to waste time drying them.  I'll experiment with that in Welland and see where that gets me.

T1:  1:48 - MUCH better than Woodstock's 2:25! 

I ran out of T1 into a pile of other folks.  It was busy!  I got on my bike and eased into the ride.  I didn't start pushing the pace until we got out of the park.  I was passed by a girl in my AG just before we got out of the park and I thought crap, I hope no one else catches me.  As soon as I hit the open road, I went into my big chain ring, got into the aero bars and just hammered.  I had heard that the bike course was fairly flat and fast.  It didn't seem too windy so I hoped that there wouldn't really be any wind to contend with out in the open areas of the course.  I took half Roctane at about 5km into the bike.  I was also drinking the GU Roctane drink.  G had picked up some in the States that week.  I know it's a race and I shouldn't try anything new but I figured the bike was only an hour, if this bothered my stomach it would take a little while for my body to figure that out.

There were a lot of packs early on in the ride and I was doing my best to get by them or let them get by me.  I yelled on your left so many times, I wish I had a loudspeaker with a recording just so I didn't have to keep saying it over and over.  There were a couple of incidents where I'd yell on your left to a couple of people riding not quite two abreast and the one would come over to pass the other and almost force me over to the yellow line.  I really yelled at one guy because I said on your left about 3 times as I came up to him but he still came over to pass the person he was behind so I had to slam on my brakes to let him go.  I passed him right after that.  It was like that for about the first 10km and then things started to spread out a bit.  I finally got into a good rhythm.  I toed The Line a lot during that ride.  I'd push to the point where I could feel lactic acid building up in my legs and I'd keep going to see how far I could take it, then I'd back off.  My mind wandered a bit and I started thinking about a passage in blog post that my virtual runner friend Chris had written the day before.  He was talking about finding the "push off point" when running uphill.  It's the point where you go from struggling to fine in a matter of seconds.  I like to call that the sweet spot.  You could be totally dying and then all of sudden the hurt subsides ever so slightly and then you're good to go.  I rode that entire 30km playing hide and seek with that sweet spot.  I'd get to a point where I thought I was going to implode, then I'd ease up ever so slightly and let the lactic acid subside, only to do it all over again.  My cycling ability is not at the point where I could push through the lactic acid and keep working but I'm getting there.   I had no idea how long that ride took me, I knew it was under an hour but my oxygen deprived brain couldn't do the math.

Official Bike Time:  53:54 for an average of 33.4 kph.  I have NEVER gone that fast on my bike during a race EVER. 

I ran into T2 as fast as I could.  I knew I had to catch at least one woman, perhaps two.  I had a bit of a stitch, probably because I drank my entire aero bottle of GU Roctane during the bike.  I was definitely well hydrated.  I racked my bike, pulled off my helmet and my glasses went with it as one of the arms got caught in the strap.  I didn't bother grabbing them as it was over cast anyway.  I pulled off my cycling shoes and yanked on my Saucony's.  I grabbed my visor and I was off on the hunt.

T2:  48 seconds - getting better!

The run was a mix of grass, trail, gravel and pavement, so pretty much everything.  There were a few muddy spots and and some points the trail was so narrow that it wasn't easy to pass people early on.  Of course I went out guns a blazin' like I normally do.  That extra 10km on the bike definitely did a bit of a number on my legs.  They didn't feel as fresh as they did at Woodstock.  Although that could also be the result of doing a race each weekend leading up to this.  This run course was slightly rolling.  There was a short kind of steep hill that brought you out onto a dam.  I got caught behind a few slower runners here as it was single track so it was hard to pass if there were runners coming in the opposite direction.  Once you got off that path, it was onto the road. Much better.  I didn't have to worry about my footing so much and I could just let loose, which I did.  People could hear me coming as my breathing was pretty hard.  I came up behind an older man who turned just before I caught him and said Wow, go get 'em!  I smiled, said thanks and pushed on.  I could see the girl who passed me on the bike about 500m ahead of me and that spurred me on to push harder.  I caught her on the downhill at about the 2km mark.  I kept looking for G as well.  I didn't see him at all on the bike but I had a hard time believing that he was behind me.  I finally saw him just before the turn around.  He was looking strong.  I was running almost all out but I think he put enough of a gap on me on the bike that I wouldn't be able to make up.

I kept passing people.  I even caught one of the women in the 45-49 AG who passed me on the bike like I was standing still (she started in the wave after me).   I was also hurting quite a bit.  My pace slowed a bit as I climbed the hill back to the dam.  I entered the Conservation area again, raced across the top of the dam, passing a few more people and then flew down the hill.  I was trying to see where the finish line was but the course twists so much that I couldn't see it.  I came up behind a younger guy who didn't seem to like getting passed as he tried to hang with me for a bit.   I kept pushing and looking for the finish line.  I wanted to be done, I was mentally starting to check out.  I knew as soon as I hit the grass that the finish line wasn't far off.  The crowds around the pylons started getting bigger and sure enough there it was.  I ran across, completely spent, to be greeted by John Salt who congratulated me and shook my hand.  Always a nice touch.  He really goes the extra mile at his races and that's one of the reasons I love doing them.

Official Run time:  32:46.  I didn't manage to have the fastest overall women's run split today but, I was in the top 3.   The woman with the fastest run split was in the Elite category and the woman was the second fastest split was in the 30-34 AG.  Not bad for an old broad!

Overall time:  1:44:02.  Which is a PB for this particular distance.  The last time I did this distance was at Toronto Island last August and that bike course is completely flat.  Things are moving in the right direction.  That time netted me 2nd in my AG.  Woohoo!

In terms of the venue, it was alright.  I quite liked the bike course.  I wasn't crazy about the water, it kind of reminded me of Guelph Lake as did the long run up to T1.  I didn't mind the run once I got out onto the road.  I quite like running on trails but I'm not a fan of running on grass.  Too much potential for a twisted ankle or a fall.  I know there will always be some running on grass at these races but this was just a little too much for my liking.  But because it's John Salt, I'll probably be back again next year. 

Next up is a weekend off of racing and then Welland on June 22nd.  Good thing because I need some time to recover.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Good Things Come in Threes: The 2013 Edition

Yesterday was the last race in my triple header and, much like my 2011 version, I came away with 3 podium finishes in three weeks.  The only difference between the two was that the 2011 version was 2 running races with a triathlon in the middle whereas this years version was two triathlons with a running race in the middle. 

Gotta say, the running race was the hardest.  I hurt way more after that race than I did after either triathlon.    Must be the really good warm up I get before I hit the run portion of the race, ha ha.

To say that I'm thrilled would be an understatement.  I'm PUMPED.  Yesterday's race was a little longer than the previous one I did in Woodstock.  The swim was the same distance, the bike was an additional 10km (30km instead of 20) and the run was 7.5km instead of 5.   That extra 10km on the bike totally put a beating on my legs.  The little work I've been doing on my cycling seems to have paid off though.  I managed to average just over 33km per hour on the bike, which I've never been able to do so I must be doing something right. 

I got through the swim with only one minor panic episode which was HUGE for me.  I swam off course multiple times which probably added about 50m to my swim but whatever.   This time around I situated myself at the front off to the side and I think that was a good option for me.  I'll do that again next time. 

It was my first time doing this particular race so there will be a separate race report hopefully in the next couple of days.   Suffice to say I'm pretty tired.  I opted to take today off and just be lazy.  I'll pick things up again tomorrow at the pool.  I'm also looking forward to not having to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning next weekend to race.  As much as I love to race, I need a bit of down time as well.  G and I will be back at it the following weekend (June 22) to race another triathlon in Welland.  Apparently that one is very flat and fast so I'm looking forward to seeing what I'm capable of with few more weeks of cycling as well as some good solid rest.

Did you race this weekend? 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Meat in My Triple Header Sandwich: The Bread & Honey 15km

The last time I did this race was in 2011.  And much like this time around, it was also the middle race in a triple header  for me.   The week before I had just run the Toronto Women's Half and the week after I was scheduled to do the Woodstock Sprint Triathlon.   MSC shuffled the date of Woodstock around last year so now it's the last weekend in May which made that the first race of this year's triple header.  Good thing as my legs felt a whole lot fresher today than they did the last time I did the race. 

This is not a big race by any stretch.  I think there were just under 400 people that ran the 15km.  That doesn't mean there aren't some seriously amazing runners that come out to race.  It seems to be very popular with a lot of run clubs so there's always a good turn out of very strong runners.  This year was no exception.

In the days leading up to the race, I was feeling a bit run down, almost like I was fighting a cold.  The Friday before the race I woke up with a sore throat, headache and slightly stuffy head.  I thought oh no, here we go.  G had been really sick a couple of weeks before so I figured it was just a matter of time before I got it.  I started in with the "hard stuff' right away.  Advil Cold & Flu to the rescue.  I took a couple of those over the course of the day.  I left work early, went home and fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.  I got up, ate something, watched a bit of TV and then was in bed asleep by 9:30 pm.  I slept right through till 7:00 am.  Whoa.  I felt better when I got up.  Not 100% but close.  I took another Advil Cold and Flu and got on with my day.  By the end of the day on Saturday I felt good enough to race. 

Sunday morning I got up to the sound of rain.  Awesome.  It was also incredibly muggy.  Double awesome.  On my way to the race site, the skies opened up and it started pouring HARD.  I thought about turning around and heading back home but I kept going and shortly after I turned off the highway onto Mississauga Road, the rain stopped.  Thank goodness.  I got up to the race site nice and early, found parking very close by, picked up my race kit, dropped everything off in the car and proceeded to do a warm up.  I had a lot of time to kill.  G was going to ride his bike up to the start so he could get a ride in while cheering me on.  Smart fella.  I sat in the car for a bit after my warm up and debated about what socks to wear.  I had my injinji's on but my calves were feeling a bit fatigued so I thought maybe I should switch to my compression socks.  I wavered back and forth and finally opted for the compression socks.  In hindsight it was totally the wrong call but whatever.

G arrived and I hung out with him for a bit.  At that point I was kinda wishing I hadn't signed up for this.  I wasn't really feeling it.  But, I was there so I figured I was just going to make the the best of it. I then ran into another friend of mine, David, who was just coming off a bad case of the flu but opted to race anyway as he's training for a late summer marathon to try and qualify for Boston.   I said goodbye to G and David and I made our way over to the start line.  I muscled my way through the crowd towards the front.  There is a 5km that starts at the same time as the 15km so the start line of this race can get pretty congested. 

I didn't really have a race plan, all I knew was that I hoped to come in around 1:05:00 or so.   I hoped that was possible given my lack of speed work over the last few weeks.  The gun went off and we all shuffled across the start line.  All the really speedy ladies took off.  I figured there was no way I could hang with any of them and I wasn't about to try.  Of course I started out way too fast.  My first two km were both 4:04's.  Then I dropped to 4:13 and hovered between 4:12-4:18's for the next 4km.  Then we hit the rollers.  It was at that point that the sun started to poke through the clouds and the temperature felt like it doubled.  I could feel myself totally overheating.  My shins were hot and I cursed myself for changing my socks at the last minute.  Nothing I could do about it at that point.  This was the first race I did without my fuel belt as well so to say I was dying for a drink of something was an understatement.  I was parched.  I grabbed at least 3 cups of fluid at each aid station.  2 to drink and one to pour over my head.  That offered a temporary respite from the humidity for about 5 minutes.

As I headed into the rollers, a course marshal told me I was the 5th place woman on the course.  What what??  I found that hard to believe.  I figured I'd find out at the RBC turnaround.   My km's through the rollers dropped to 4:24-4:30's.  Solid evidence of my complete lack of hill training as of late.  It was around the 6km mark that I noticed I had company.  I glanced to my right only to see my buddy from Around the Bay.  Small world!  Once again he paced me.  He'd pull in front and check over his shoulder to see that I was still there.  Amazing.  Between the heat and my effort level, I couldn't really get any words out but on hung on to him for as long as I could.

Me and my ATB Buddy!
This course is not easy by any stretch.  The first 4km or so is fairly flat but then you hit a series of climbs, some short and steep, some long and gradual.  It can also get really windy, which it happened to be.  So after you finish climbing you usually get slammed with a headwind.  At this point I was totally dying.  For once my legs actually felt ok, it was my lungs that were suffering.  This was new for me!  I was heading towards the turnaround so I figured I'd have a chance to see where I really sat position wise.  As I turned onto Financial Drive and headed towards the turnaround I got the first glimpse of the woman's leader.  A short woman with an awesome mohawk-ish hair cut.  She was cookin.  Right behind her was a woman that had passed me early on in the race and right behind her was speedy Michelle Clarke.  Those were the top 3.  I counted 3 more women after they passed, which meant that I was in 7th.  Two positions ahead of where I was 2 years ago.  Not bad.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to catch anyone but we still had 6km left so anything was possible.

Shortly after I made the turnaround, I saw my friend David.  He was looking pretty strong.  We exchanged a wave and a few words of encouragement.  I took advantage of the slight downhill and picked up the pace.  I figured once I got back out onto Creditview, I'd have wind at my back and that would help.  It didn't.  All it made me feel was hot.  As I ran towards the overpass, I could see a woman about 500m in front of me.  Sweet, a bunny to try and catch!  I needed some kind of motivation because I was completely dying and I could feel myself easing up so it wouldn't hurt so much.  I climbed the overpass, pacing off my Around the Bay friend and hammered down the other side with a new found determination.  I was going to catch her.  We turned off Creditview and on to Argentia, heading into the wind once again as well as a long gradual climb.  I inched closer and closer to her.   Just past the 11km mark, I caught her.  She stayed with me for a bit and then I pulled away.  At 12km we hit and aid station and I actually stopped to grab 2 cups of Gatorade and drink them.  She caught me and passed me and the chase was on again.  I reeled her in again and passed her on the downhill on Kitimat just before we turned onto Mississauga Road.  She ran with me for a bit and then I started to pull away.  It was flat here so I felt like I could push it.  My ATB friend was still out in front of me a bit but he started to pull away.  He glanced back over his shoulder and slowed up a bit.  We were coming up on the turn onto Brittania and I knew we'd have to climb another hill before we hit the turn onto Joymar and the last 500m of the race.  He started to pull away from me on the climb.  I didn't have anything left.  I struggled up that climb and turned onto Joymar.  I was afraid to look back, I didn't want to know if anyone was coming up behind me so I just ran for all I was worth.  I glanced at my Garmin and saw that it had just ticked over to 1:04.  I figured I'd break 1:05 but that it would be close.  I finally got close enough to see the finish line clock as it counted down.  It was at 1:04:20 and counting.  18 seconds later I crossed the finish line, completed soaked and totally spent.  In hindsight that was not the best way to race that day given the humid conditions.  It took me longer to recover from that effort, which in turn affected my training this week.  Hindsight is always 20 / 20 and all I can do is learn from my mistakes.

I knew I was the 6th place woman over all but I wasn't sure where I ended up in my AG.  This race usually has a lot of fast "old broads" so who knew where I'd end up.  G and I wandered into the school gym so I could get some post race food.   My feet were cramping like crazy so we went back to the car so I could get out of my compression socks and my running shoes.  I wished I had brought a pair of flip flops.   I wriggled into my injini's and slipped on my Zoot Ultras.  I had a massive blister from my compression socks too so walking was not easy.  Shoulda stuck with the Injini's.

By the time we had gotten back to the gym, the results were up so I went to check.  To my surprise I was first in my AG.  I then though that perhaps I might get first place Masters female because the second place woman over all was 45-49.  I somehow missed the 4th place woman who was also in the 45-49 year old age category.  She ended up getting first in the Masters category and I got second.   First or second, didn't matter to me.  The fact that I placed over all was awesome.  I knew it was a course PB for me as well but I didn't know by how much.  Turns out I took over 8 minutes off my time from the last time I did it.  Yowza.

I'll probably be back again to do this race again.  It's a good little race to help keep your training sharp after a spring marathon / half marathon. 

You know I'm dying when I'm looking down at the ground.  My face is also a nice shade of red.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reflections on Running

I probably should have posted this yesterday since it was National Running Day but these thoughts were only seeds until last nights run when they actually bloomed.  That is one of the many things running does for me.  It somehow allows me to magically shut out all the daily chatter in my brain and just be.  It's in those moments of "be-ing" that many of my blog posts come to fruition. 

When I started running 15 years ago, all I really hoped for was to shed a few pounds.  It slowly crept its way into my heart and my life until it became part of who I was.   The pounds fell away and were replaced by a level of confidence that I never thought I'd have.  Running helped me come out of my shell.  It also gave me focus and purpose.  I had finally found something that I was passionate about.   It played to my ADD tendencies.  It was ever changing and every run had the potential to be a new experience.  Some days were great and some weren't and that's what kept me coming back.  You never knew what you were going to get. 

Running introduced me to a host of amazing people and a whole new world of sport.  If I hadn't started running, there is a very good chance I never would have met G.  My love of running hooked me up with my Running Love.  If I hadn't started running, I may never have ventured into the world of triathlon.  I would have missed out on the friendship of some amazing women.  Thankfully I made the choice 15 years ago to lace up my shoes and take that first step.

It's amazing how much we can take something as simple as running for granted.  As runners I don't know if we actually really think about that until we're in a situation where we can't run.  I've had a few injuries in my life and it's awful to have to sit on the sidelines.  In 2009 - 2010, I had to sit on the sidelines for a very different reason.  G and I decided to try and start a family.  We actually started trying in 2007 to no avail.  I suspected there were problems but nothing was addressed until mid 2008 when we discovered that I had stage 4 endometriosis.  I had scar tissue on almost every single internal organ.  My fallopian tubes were completely blocked.  Our doctor said there was no way I'd conceive naturally.  I remember lying in the recovery room after my laparoscopy and just crying while G held my hand.   I was heartbroken.  In the days following I wanted nothing more than to be able to go for a run but I was so sore and tired that all I could do was dream about running.   Little did I know that that would be the beginning of 2 year long roller coaster ride where everything I loved doing would take a backseat to trying to start a family.

After our last round of IVF failed in May of 2010, I immediately turned to running to ease the pain.  There were many tears shed on those runs, many curse words uttered to the universe.   I vowed to regain control over my body so I signed up for a fall marathon.  I had to have something to distract me, to change my focus to prove to myself that my body was not a failure.  After almost 2 years of early morning clinic visits,  weeks of no activity after each procedure, it was freeing to be able to lace up my shoes whenever I wanted and go for a run.   That fall marathon didn't go as I had hoped but it made me realize just how much I missed running.   In hindsight, if it wasn't for that heartbreaking journey, I can honestly say I don't think I'd be the runner that I am today.  After our emotional roller coaster ride and that disappointing fall marathon, I focused on rebuilding myself both emotionally and physically (part of that rebuilding process was starting this blog).  The physical part didn't take too long, and the emotional part, well that's still a work in progress.  Running has given me so much in the last few years, more than I could ever have dreamed.  It's given me a new found respect for my body and what it is capable of.  Instead of feeling like a failure as a woman, I now enjoy the strength that I have been able to develop.   I was given the opportunity to re-discover that initial confidence that running brought to me.  What's that saying again?   When a door closes, a window opens somewhere..?   Closing the door to having a family was not an easy choice and it wasn't without some regrets.   As the years have passed, the window that opened as a result of that choice has grown in leaps and bounds and I can honestly say, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  With every step I take, the pangs of regret and sadness grow fainter and fainter.   I look forward to a lifelong relationship with running.  As long as I'm able to walk, I'll be running and you can bet that I will be grateful for every single step.

What has running brought to your life?  How has it changed you?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

B&BT's Peanut Butter & Banana Amazeballs

I had been thinking about this combo since I made my first round of Amazeballs (that's what I'm calling these little bites of joy) but I didn't actually get around to making them until this weekend.  I had all the ingredients on hand but then I kept eating all the banana chips.  After going through 4 packages of them in the last 3 weeks, I figured enough was enough and that I had better actually MAKE these before I ate a 5th package of banana chips.  If I really like something, I have a hard time NOT eating it.  That's why I don't keep ice cream in the house. 

I'm really happy with the way these turned out.  Very peanutty with a hint of banana.  If you want to amp up the banana flavour then I suppose you could add banana extract in place of the vanilla extract.  Or maybe go 50/50 with the extracts, half banana and half vanilla.  It's your call!

B&BT's Peanut Butter and Banana Amazeballs

1.5 cups of puffed quinoa
3/4 cup of quick cook oats
3/4 cup of banana chips, whizzed through the food processor into really small pieces.  I prefer to use unsweetened banana chips, sweetened ones are too sweet for my liking.
3 TBSP of ground flax
1/3 cup of brown rice syrup
1/3 cup of peanut butter (I used organic smooth)
1 tsp of vanilla

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Put the rice syrup and vanilla in a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.  Add the peanut butter and mix well.  Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix well.  Let mixture cool slightly before rolling into balls.  Store in a container in the fridge or put in the freezer and thaw as necessary.  Definitely let them come up to room temperature before eating them otherwise they are chewy.  Makes approximately 24. 

The next time I make these I may actually add a bit of salt to them.  They aren't overly sweet but I think the salt might make the flavours pop a bit more.

I can't wait to get out on the bike for a long ride so I can eat these! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Triathlon 101: Transitions

This is the other part of a triathlon that a lot of people are apprehensive about.  There are a lot of things to remember to do in transition and since you're doing 3 different sports, each transition is going to deal with something different.

When you get to the race site, I'd recommend find your bib number (there is usually a chart posted) and then go directly into transition and find your spot to rack your bike.  Bikes are generally racked by bib number.  Sometimes it's done by AG (age group).  The series I race in usually does it by bib number and they try to keep age groups together by bib number i.e in the race I did last weekend my bib number was 282.  The girl that won my AG was bib 281 and the girl that came in second was bib 286.  

I like to do this before I pick up my race kit or get body marked because transition can fill up pretty quickly so I like to be able to have the room to set all my things up before I go and do all that other stuff.

When you rack your bike, rack it with the seat hooked on the bar and the front wheel facing out.    You can then start to set up all the other things you'll need.  I always set up my gear to the right of my bike (it doesn't really matter which side you set it up on, I just seem to like the right side).  I usually bring a small towel to lay everything out on.  That also doubles as a place to wipe my feet when I get out of the swim if I have forgotten to bring a small hand towel.  I then lay out everything in the order that I will need it.  That means bike stuff first, followed by running stuff.   Note:  keep your helmet unbuckled so you can put the helmet on without having to undo the buckle.  I also usually keep my cycling shoes undone (they aren't in this picture) so I can just slip my feet into them.  The less you have to fuss with in T1, the faster you will be.  You're also going to want to remember where you racked your bike.  Sounds silly but if you don't pay attention to what is around you and where you are situation in transition when you're racking your bike you could run right past it (I've done that).  It's like remembering where you parked your car when you go to the mall.  G usually looks for a landmark that is somewhere near where his bike is.  I just remember the numbers posted at the end of the racks (i.e bib numbers 200-225).  Pick something that you think you'll remember. 

Swim to Bike:  Also known as T1 (transition one)

This is the toughest because you have to get out of your wetsuit.  That can be a struggle.  My first ever transition was just over 4 minutes.  I couldn't get out of my wetsuit.  I had the worst time trying to pull it off.   Fortunately I've had a lot of practice over the years and I think I've got it down pat (for the most part) Here's a short little how to video on wetsuit removal 101 and yes, that's me in my first ever vlog!   Sorry about the audio it's not the best, we're still trying to figure out how to shoot video on the camera, ha ha.

Once I'm out of my wetsuit, the first thing I do is grab my helmet, put it on and do it up.  As I'm putting my helmet on, I'm wiping my feet off on the towel I have laid out.  If I've brought a small hand towel, I'll give my feet a quick all over wipe before I put my socks on.  Then I put my cycling shoes and sunglasses on and then I'm good to go.  I usually wear my race number on a race belt under my wetsuit so that's one less thing I'm trying to put on in T1. 

Bike to Run:  Also known as T2 (transition two)

This transition is generally much faster than T1.  As soon as I've racked my bike, my helmet comes off and then my cycling shoes.  G does the opposite.  As soon as he gets into T2, he racks his bike, takes his cycling shoes off, puts his running shoes on and then takes off his helmet.  To each his own.  Figure out what way works for you and stick with it.  Once my cycling shoes are off,  I put my running shoes on, grab my visor and make my way out of transition.  I will put my visor on as I'm running.  There's no need to stand by your bike and do that, it's easy enough to do while running. 

Race Day Extras you may want to have with you:

An extra towel (something small) to dry your feet with in T1.  And if it's raining, another towel to dry yourself off with after the race.
A race belt -instead of using the supplied safety pins so you're not putting holes in your nice fancy athletic wear.
Flip flops for post race wear.  You're probably going to want to let your feet breathe after all that.
Wet Wipes for post race clean up.  If it's super hot, it's nice to be able to wipe the salt off.  And they smell nice so if you clean yourself up with a couple, you probably won't stink to high heaven.
A change of clothes.  Not really necessary but given how much I sweat and how much I generally stink after a race, it's nice to get out of my smelly clothes and I'm sure everyone around me appreciates it.

I hope that you've found this series helpful!  Happy racing!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Goal Getters 2013 - May Update

Well here we are...June 1st.  Half way through 2013.  WTH??  When did THAT happen?  I had a few goals in May to try to keep me accountable and well, let's just say this month wasn't the best in terms of hitting goals.  I'm not really sure why, perhaps I just needed to take a mental break from being so goal oriented.  This month wasn't a complete wash out.  I still incorporated some of the things I wanted to, I just didn't do as much of them as I had hoped to.

My big goal was to work on my flexibility and start going to yoga on regular basis.  I went ONCE last month.  I did, however, really focus on stretching and foam rolling after every workout, especially weights.  That has to count for something, right?

My next goal was to get back on the bike on a regular basis and I'm happy to report that has happened.  I now try to ride twice a week.  One long ride on the weekend and a shorter more intense one during the week.  That seems to be working out well.

I've also been trying to aim for at least 2500m every time I swim.  I started off really strong at the beginning of the month but I've now been bumped up a lane again and I'm swimming with folks that are a whole lot faster than me so of course, I'm dying a whole lot sooner than I normally would.  My last two swims I've only managed 2200m and 2100m respectively.  But I know that will change.  I'll get used to the pace and be able to hang on...eventually.

As for getting back on the #plankAday bandwagon...well that has been sporadic to say the least.  I was good for the first week of May and then the wheels feel off that wagon.  I think I was averaging 3, maybe 4 times a week vs. every day.  Oh well.  Something to improve on for next month.

Speaking of which, I suppose I have to work on the above listed items before I can move on to anything else, really.  However, I'm going to add one more thing in - get back out and run with my run group on a more consistent basis.  October will be here before I know it and if I want to break 1:30, I've got to get some speed in the bank.

Make sure you check in with the rest of the ladies in this group.  I know they've all been pretty busy chasing their goals!