Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#GoalGetter2013 - July Edition

If I thought June was less than ideal then July was an EPIC FAIL.  July was so insane I don't even remember what I had set out to do.  I do know that the month chewed me up and spit me out just in time for my vacation.  All my grand plans flew right out the window as work came flooding in just before the long weekend.  I still managed to squeeze in 2 races though despite having to work on one weekend.  Yeah it was that kind of busy.  Who wants to work weekends in the summer?!  That's right....NO ONE.  But it had to be done because deadlines can only apparently move so much until they drop dead.

The one thing I definitely managed to do this month was start doing my long runs again.  Everything else I had hoped to do such as:

* get the third swim in a week

* get on my bike twice a week

* do a plank a day

*get back out with my run group on a regular basis

never really happened.  I think I can count on ONE hand how many times I managed to ride twice in one week (I think that happened twice).  I think I made it out to my run group a total of 3 times and the third swim a week was only in my dreams.

But whatever, things don't always go according to plan.  All you can do is pick yourself up and get back on the horse, wagon, bike or whatever it was you fell off of and keep moving forward.

It looks like August will also be somewhat busy but, given that I'm taking the first week of it off, I may not have to deal with some of the jobs that are coming in now so I might have a bit of a reprieve when I get back (fingers crossed!)

I'm not going to overwhelm myself with too many mini goals this month.  The big one is to make sure I get my runs in because I've officially registered for The Scotiabank Half on October 20th.  This is my second "A race" of the year.  This is the one where I try to break 1:30.  So it's time to start cranking things up. 

How are you doing with your 2013 goals? 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Crazy for Clif! Review and My First Ever Giveaway

Disclaimer:  I was given these products by Clif Bar in an exchange for a review.  I was not compensated for this post in any way.

When I started riding, usually just used gels for fuel because I never rode much longer than about 50km.  Once I started training for Ironman, my rides because progressively longer and I found myself bonking on a regular basis on the bike.  I wasn't riding hard, I just struggled with getting through my rides with enough energy.  Gels didn't seem to be working for me.  My coach at the time recommended that I experiment with solid food to see if that helped.

Enter Clif Bars.   I swear if it wasn't for these nuggets of goodness, I don't think,  I know,  I wouldn't have made it through my first Ironman.  The thought of eating gel after gel after gel for 6 hours straight on the bike was so unappealing.  I needed solid food.  

I have A.D.D. when it comes to my food.  I don't like to eat the same thing over and over, especially when I'm training.  Clif Bar to the rescue!  They have so many amazing flavours, there was no way I was going to get bored.  For my long rides, I would take a few different bars, cut them up into bite size pieces and put them in a ziploc so I had my own personal grab bag of Clif Bar goodness.  Each time I reached in, I never knew what I was going to get but I knew it was going to be good.

My fave Shot Bloks & my Clif Bar grab bag
 Over the years Clif has continued to set the flavour bar high.  When they came out with the White Chocolate Macadamia nut a couple of years ago, I lost my mind.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, they came out with Coconut Chocolate Chip.

Are you kidding me?  Amazeballs.

The other product of theirs that I quite enjoy are the Shot Bloks.  Yet another genius idea.  They are blocks that have the consistency of jujubes.  So if you don't feel like having a gel but don't want the density of a bar, these are perfect.  The range of flavours is also pretty amazing as to be expected.  They even make a margarita flavoured one with extra sodium.  I use those on days when it's super hot out and I'm sweating a bit more than usual.  Nothing like having a margarita on the bike!  The best part?  I don't have a hangover the next day. 

You can imagine how jacked I was when Alex from Clif sent me a bunch of product to try.  These guys really do cover all the bases from racing to recovery.  Don't even get me started on their Builders Bars.  Oh my. 

Are you a fan of Clif Bar Products?  Well guess what?  Today is your lucky day! Clif has given me an "All Inclusive Workout Pack" to giveaway to one lucky winner.  It includes:

4 new Clif Bar Flavours (2 White chocolate Macadamia Nut & 2 Coconut Chocolate Chip)

A pack of Cran-Razz Shot Bloks


3 Builders Bars

Are you excited yet??  I know I am!   Contest is open to Canadian Residents only.  Sorry U.S. pals, I hope to host another one in a while that will be open to you guys too!

What do you need to do to enter?

Tell me what flavour of Clif bar you go crazy for in the comments below.  

For bonus entries:

* Follow me (or already follow) me and Clif Bar on twitter.   Leave a comment telling me that you do.

*Follow me (or already follow) me and Clif Bar on Instagram.  Leave a comment telling me that you do.

*Share this giveaway via Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or your blog and tag me and Clif Bar.   Leave a separate comment for each share!

I would have added a bonus entry for liking my Facebook page as well as Clif Bars Facebook page but apparently it's against the Facebook rules for contests and promotions.  It won't get you an entry but stop by and show some love anyway!

Contest runs from today until this Thursday August 1st at 11:59pm EST.  The winner will be chosen on via on Friday August 2nd just before I run away on my holidays!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Week of Crazy

Well I've made it to the end of another crazy week of work.  This week had me in Montreal for a day of shooting.  We flew in on Tuesday evening, shot all day Wednesday and flew out Thursday morning.  I went straight from the airport into the studio and have been playing catch up ever since.  I don't think it's a coincidence that this week of crazy has coincided with a full moon.   It always seems to be the case.

Despite the traveling, I only missed one day of workouts while I was away.  My one day on set managed to kick my sorry butt from here to Sunday so I skipped my swim workout this morning and opted to sleep in.  Which is just as well as the swim ended up getting canceled because the pool supervisor never showed up.  Full moon nonsense wreaking havoc once again.

When I'm on set my eating habits suck.  Plain and simple.  My 4:00 am wake up call on Wednesday didn't help matters by completely screwing me up.  I slept like crap the night before (maybe 4 hours?) because I couldn't turn my brain off.  I hate that. Anyway, it took me 4 cups of coffee (!?!) to feel even quasi normal.  I'm usually a one cup kinda gal.  Any more than that and I get twitchy.  Not on Wednesday.  And of course, being a travel job, you can't just go back to your hotel and do a face plant into bed once you're done.  Nope.  You must go out to dinner with the client.   All I wanted to do was go to sleep when we were done.  I had to fight for an early dinner (7:15) knowing that it was probably going to be a long-ish affair.  Sure enough it was but it was so worth it.  We went to Le Club Chasse et Peche and I've had one of the best meals I've had in a long time.  I didn't take any pictures but I did snap a shot of the menu.  Oysters with Charisma and Vegetables with Panache anyone?  I didn't have either one but I'm sure they both would have been a-ma-zing.

 The food was excellent and the conversation was great.  The agency guys we worked with are a fun bunch and boy oh boy can they drink.  Oh my.  It was 11:00 pm by the time I fell into bed.  I had been up and going since 4:00 am.  19 hours straight.  Geez.  It's no wonder I felt like I got hit with a Mack Truck the next morning.  I don't think the 5 bottles of wine we shared had anything to do with that at all *ahem*.  Amazingly, I actually made it out to my Thursday night run group workout.  I think my body really needed to sweat.  I didn't feel amazing but I stuck it out and I'm glad I did.  I slept like a baby last night and I feel 100% better.  Good thing as we've got yet another race on tap this weekend.

In fact this weekend promises to be pretty action packed.  My fearless swim coach Kim Lumsdon is doing her big Lake Ontario swim from Niagara on the Lake to Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto.  If she does this (which she will) she will become the oldest woman to make the crossing for the second time.  Yes, she's done it once before in 2006.  C-R-A-Z-Y.   She's also raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.  You can donate here.  We are hoping to be able to be there when she arrives, which will probably be sometime late in the evening tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes given that we are going to have be on the road by shortly after 5:00 am to get to our race on Sunday.

Oh the things I do for fun!

On another note, I've only got 4 more days of work to get through before G and I hit the road for our holidays.  We are off to Lake Placid for a week of R&R.  Of course we're bringing our bikes, wetsuits and running stuff.  We haven't been to Lake Placid since we did Ironman in 2006.  I am really looking forward to going back.  And in typical P & G fashion we will end a monster week of training with yet another wee little race (Bracebridge Sprint Tri).  Might not be smart, but it will be fitting.

Who else is racing this weekend?  

Who has a vacation coming up?  Where are you going?

What's the best meal you've ever had?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day of Discombobulation: The Belwood Triathlon

G and I made a last minute decision to do this race and sometimes that works out well and sometimes not so much.  G was in Chicago for most of the week.  He came back Thursday and then took our nephew out to the Jays game on Friday night.  They didn't get in until around 11:00.  I think it was 11:30 by the time G came to bed.  I had fallen asleep on the couch around 8:30 while trying to watch the Tour.  Oh yeah, I know how to live it up on a Friday.  And that was without my customary frosty beverage.  I finally pulled the pin and went up to bed around 9:00 pm.  I had packed my bag as soon as I got home from work so I knew I had everything ready.   I think I was sound asleep by 9:30.

Like I said I know how to live it up.

It was just as well as my alarm was set for 4:45 am.  We had to be on the road for 6:00 at the latest and I need time to wake up.  I'm not a jump in the car and go kinda gal.  I got up, spent about 10 minutes trying to force my hair into 2 pigtails.  2 elastics and 11 hair clips later, it was all secure.  I had a quick shower, got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast.  I was so not feeling it.  All I wanted to do was go back to bed.  But we had spectators coming out so there was no bailing now.

G got up, made breakfast and then woke up Drew.  While Drew got ready, G packed up the car and I double checked everything in my bag.  Drew gobbled up some granola, I made up my water bottles and we headed out the door.  Quick stop at Tim Horton's for coffee and then we were off.

The humidity had finally broken and it actually felt cool out.  It was 20 degrees Celsius.  Funny how your tolerance changes after a week of scorching hot temps.  We drove up the 427 into ominous clouds.  I hoped that it wasn't going to rain.

Not looking very promising
As we started heading along the 401, the clouds seemed to be clearing.  Once we started driving north, the weather looked much better.  As the clouds lifted, so did my spirits.  It looked like it was going to be really nice day.

We pulled into the Conservation area, found parking, unloaded all our gear and made the long walk back to transition.  We found our numbers and then went to rack our bikes.  To my surprise my rack was already quite full, probably because transition was quite small.  There weren't a lot of folks racing, probably because the majority of folks were doing the Toronto Triathlon Festival the next day. We picked up our kits, chips & caps, got body marked and went back into transition to finish setting up.  With all that done, it was warm up time.  On our way down to the water we ran into G's family.  Of course my folks were nowhere to be seen yet.  They have a slight issue with punctuality.  There is a running joke amongst some of my cousins that all of our parents run on R.S.T also known as Rodrigues Standard Time.  If you want a Rodrigues to be on time for something you need to tell them it starts an hour earlier than it actually does.

G and I headed down to the water to do our warm up.  As I got close to shore I had the sneaking suspicion that the water was not going to be nice.   The algae and weed covered beach and brown water kinda gave it away.  Sure enough when I walked in my feet got sucked into muck.  Muck with rocks strewn through it.  So. freaking.  awesome.  It was also really warm.  They had announced that it would be a wetsuit optional swim due to the temperature.  I am much more comfortable swimming in open water in a wetsuit so if I have the opportunity to wear it, I will, regardless of how hot it is.

I did my warm up swim and floated around for a bit, trying to let water into my wetsuit to cool me down a bit.  I found G and we swam back to shore.  As I was swimming back I saw my new found friend Heather coming into the water.  We chatted for a bit and she went off to do her warm up.  I got out of the water to see if I could find my folks.  After a quick look around and no luck, I got back in.  My wave was the last to go so I gave G a good luck kiss and wished Heather luck - they were in the same wave before me.  Once they left, I wandered into the water to try and find a good spot.  I wanted to situate myself off to the side but out front again.  That worked well for me at Binbrook.

The gun went off and I hit start on my Garmin.  I had a nice clear path so I made the best of it.  Shortly after we started swimming, someone behind me grabbed my ankle and pulled on my timing chip.  Normally I have it partially covered by my wetsuit but for some reason I didn't today.  It felt like it was almost off so I stopped and grabbed it.  It seemed to still be hanging on somehow but because I was in the water, I couldn't actually see it.  I pulled it tight and hoped that it wouldn't come off.  I purposely didn't kick hard with that leg.  About 200m in I ended up catching a couple of people so I took the opportunity to draft.  I think that actually slowed me down.  I tried to get around them but to no avail.  I figured I'd try again at the first buoy.  Once I got around the buoy, I managed to pull around them and get ahead.  I got into a nice groove through here.  There was no one in front of me and one person off to my right.  Perfect.  I kept waiting for my watch to buzz at the 500m mark but it never did.  I thought that was weird but put it out of my mind.  I felt like I swam really well so I was a little bummed when I hit the shore and saw 13:19 on my watch.  Those couple of stops mid swim obviously slowed me down.  Little did I know that gear issues would be the theme of my morning.

Swim time:  14:33 includes the run up to transition.

I ran up the shore along the mats towards T1 and got stuck behind some dude who was taking a leisurely stroll.  I managed to get around him and sprint into transition.  I looked down at my timing chip and saw that it was turned upside down and somehow twisted around.  I pulled it off, pulled my wetsuit off, put it back on then got all my other things on.  I pulled my bike off the rack and hit stop on my Garmin when I was supposed to hit lap.  Ugh. I hit start again and then saw it switch to "run" mode.  WTF?  I then realized that it hadn't read any distance.

T1 time:   1:32.  Not bad considering the amount of messing around I did.

Awesome.  Apparently that's what happens when you turn it on inside.   It doesn't automatically pick up satellites as soon as you go outside.  Nope, that would be too easy.  It has to be re-started.   I was mildly annoyed but figured I'd have the data on the SRM to guide me.  As soon as I hopped on my bike I hit what I thought was "start" on the SRM.  I started pedaling like mad.  A few minutes later I looked down only to see that the SRM wasn't reading anything.  Occasionally the time would flash up on the screen but that was it.  GAH.   So, I turned my Garmin off, let it sit for a bit and turned it back on.  It located a satellite and I promptly re-set it to "bike" mode.  All while riding.  Obviously not as hard as I could but pushing none the less.  With that sorted, I put my head down and tried to make up time.  The first part of this course is flat and fast.  There were a few rollers but I'd say it was definitely more downhill.  Sure enough as we hit the first out and back I saw the first of 3 climbs.  It was short and not terribly steep.  I hit the turnaround at the out and back and started to climb.  Shortly after I was passed by a woman in my AG.  Crap.  I tried to hang on to her but she was really strong on the hills.  So the best I could do was try to keep her in my sights, which I did for most of the back half of the course.  Until we turned north into the wind.  That's when the chute came out.  The wind was blowing right out of the north.  I suck in the wind.  Really I do.  I hate it.  Add that to the fact that we were climbing pretty much the entire way back and you had one unhappy little lady on the bike.

I was so uncomfortable that I actually zoned out for a while.  I started thinking about work, what I was going to do on Sunday, anything but what I was actually doing.   I happened to glance down at my Garmin and saw that I was only doing 22km/hr.  I immediately got annoyed with myself and started to pick up the pace.  It hurt but I didn't care.  I kept pushing.  I just wanted to get off the bike.   I knew that once we crested the hill, we'd make a turn heading west and then the wind would be mainly at my back.  Once I made that turn, my legs finally said alright let's go.  I was already in my big chain ring so I pushed it to my hardest gear and went.  I got as aero as I could and hammered.  I am pretty sure I was cooking along at about 40kph through that stretch.  I passed a whole bunch of people.

As I made my way towards the dismount line, I put it in my easiest gear and tried to spin the lactic acid out of my legs.  I probably should have done that earlier.  When I got of the bike my legs really felt like jello.  I heard someone yelling Go Phaedra and I looked up to see my mom and dad right by the entrance into transition.  They were yelling Go Go Go Girleeeee and my dad was fist pumping everywhere,  which totally made me laugh.  I racked my bike and noticed that there weren't really many others around.  Sweet.   I switched shoes, took off my helmet and grabbed my visor.  I stopped my Garmin and re-set it as I was running out of transition.  Again wasting time.  I need to learn to not be such a data junkie.  Realistically I should have been fine with just my time and heart rate data but nooooo, I am stubborn so I actually slowed down the first 500m to fiddle with my watch and re-set it to "run" mode.

Bike:  56:40 - way slower than normal.

T2:  00:59s - a bit slower than normal, probably due to my watch fiddling.

With that done, I started to push the pace.  My legs were having none of it.  My shins hurt and that hardly ever happens.  It was weird because we were running on a soft packed gravel trail.  I figured that would be a bit more forgiving than pavement.  I felt like I almost hadn't done a warm up.  I wasn't sure how that was possible given everything I had done up to that point.  I chugged along, hoping that it would pass.  At about the 2km mark I caught a woman in my age group who I don't recall seeing on the bike at all.  Turns out she is a super fast swimmer and was on the road well before I was so I never actually saw her.  That kind of caught me by surprise so I started to wonder if there was anyone else out there that I wasn't aware of.  That made me push harder.  I didn't get a good look at the woman who had passed me on the bike, all I knew was that she was wearing black and white and her number started with a 2.  I thought I might see her at the first turn around but I didn't.  I am pretty sure I saw her at the second turn around but I didn't know what she looked like so I was just guessing.  Once I saw her afterwards, I realized it was her that I had seen.  There was probably only about 500m or so that separated us.  If the course had been longer I probably would have caught her.  But alas, it was not.  I came barreling across the dam and into the finishing chute right behind another woman in the 35-39 year old age category.  I saw 1:53 something on the clock and started doing the math.  I figured I was around 1:45 and change.  I knew I was in the top 10 females overall because the announcer was counting them down out loud.

Run:  31:59

I met up with G after who had a horrible day.  He looked green.  I saw him on the run and he said he was feeling sick.  He ended up dropping out of the race.   I found my folks and G's family and we said we'd meet them over by the post race food after we packed everything up in transition.

We made our way over there and couldn't find anyone.  Surprise!  My dad was probably wandering around the park, checking out the public beach area.  We put our bikes down and G flopped down on the ground while I went and got food.  Then G went off and I stayed on bike watch duty.  Once he got back I went over to the results board.  There was one page up and I thought I'd be lucky if I was actually on it.  Much to my surprise, there I was!  I had just made it into the top 20 finishers overall.

Say what??  

I then looked to see where I finished in my AG - 2nd place.  Lo and behold the woman that passed me on the bike finished literally right in front of me.  27 seconds difference.  27 seconds that I'm sure I could have made up if I wasn't so busy messing around with my Garmin.   You live and you learn right?  Next time I'm just going to leave it well enough alone.

What really surprised me was the 3/72 stat that I saw.  I made the podium for overall women's finishers in 3rd place.  Amazing.  The best part was that of the top 5 women, 2 of them were over 40.  The rest were 34 or under.  Go Old Broads!

I wasn't the only one that had a great day.  My new found friend Heather netted herself a 3rd place AG finish in only her second triathlon.  She did Huronia a couple of weeks ago and got 2nd in her AG!  Look out ladies in the 30-34 year old age category, you've got some up and coming competition.
Me ruining a perfectly good picture by being a goof.
 Even though I had what I thought was a less than ideal day, I can't complain about the end result.   I do know I probably won't be back to do that race again.  I really didn't like the swim.  The water was incredibly gross.  G thinks that might have been why he got sick as he swallowed a bit of water during the swim.  I didn't particularly enjoy riding uphill into the wind on the bike, but if it wasn't windy, that bike course would have been alright as the roads were nice and smooth.  I didn't mind running on the rail trail but it was really isolated, there were no spectators at all which makes for a bit of a lonely run.

We've another race this Sunday in Bala.  This is always a fun one.  It's going to be a super gross early start for us though as it's a 2 hour drive from Toronto.  Looks like I'll be going to bed at 8:30 on a Saturday night.  Sadly it wouldn't be the first time.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another Race? Don't Mind if I Do!

Yes folks this crazy little lady is at it again.  I'm racing again this weekend.  Realistically it's already been a month since my last race so I'm kinda chomping at the bit to get back out there.  I think I've given my body a bit of a break so it's time to get back to it. G and I have registered to do the Belwood Triathlon.  I toyed with the idea of doing this one when I was registering for all my races at the beginning of the season but decided to leave things open and see how I felt.  I'm feeling pretty good so it's off to the races we go.  I'm also looking to defend my first place standing in the overall points ranking for the series.   One of my more quiet goals this season was to try and get in the top 3 in the overall points ranking for the triathlon series that I like to race in.  I figured with the amount of races that I was going to be doing I should at least be able to get third.  I didn't expect to be first.  It is still early in the season though and there are lots of races left so we'll see where I net out.  Right now I've got a pretty good lead.

This time we're going actually have our own cheering section as well.  Belwood Conservation area is in Fergus which is about a 15 minute drive from my folks place in Guelph.  So they're going to come out and cheer us on as is G's sister and her family--so the entire fam damily will be out.  It's going to be like Ironman all over again, minus the lime green t-shirts and the super long day.  After the race we're all heading back to my folks place to hang out for a bit and have some lunch.  The weather is looking good too.  The insane humidity we have now should break by Friday evening so I won't melt on the run which is good because last nights tempo run just about killed me.

Anyone else racing this weekend?  Tell me about it! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Boston 2014: Why I'm Going Back

Yesterday I was surfing facebook when a friend request appeared.  I clicked on it and didn't recognize the woman at all.  I went to her profile, looked around and saw she was from Boston.


A few minutes later a message pops up and it's from her.  Her name is Barb Hudson and she lives in the Cleveland Circle area.  She comes out almost every year to take pictures of the race.  She sent me a note saying that she had taken a picture of me and that I was welcome to tag myself in it.   I accepted her friend request and went looking for the album.

Sure enough I went through all the pics and there I was.  Up close and personal.  And still smiling.   Sort of. 

I was amazed that someone had actually taken the time to go through all their pictures, find out the name of each runner and then reach out to them to let them know there was a picture of them from the race.

This is how our conversation unfolded:

I'm going back because of people like Barb.  Folks like her make Boston the race that it is.   I consider it an honor to have these people cheering for us crazy runners.  I'm sure that most people would agree, the spectators make the race.

To Barb and all the other spectators that will be lining the streets next year, I look forward to coming back and celebrating with you.   As Barb so aptly puts it:

She's right.  Goodness WILL prevail.  Of that I am certain.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Horseshoes Anyone?

I'm normally not one for entering contests but once in a while I figure why the hell not.  I never think that I'm actually going to win anything.  Imagine my surprise when it's happened not once but 6 times this year.  Seriously.  I'm thinking I should probably start buying lottery tickets. This is taking the January hashtag of #lucky2013 to a whole new level for me.

My first win was 2 pairs of injinji socks from Lisa at Yo Mamma Runs.  That was a couple of months ago.  At the beginning of June I won a $200 gift certificate for Rudy Project gear at the Binbrook Triathlon in the post race draw they always have.  A week after that, I won a $500 gift certificate from CP24 (local news station) for playing the hashtag game.  The hashtag of the day was #whatwasIthinking and this was the picture that landed me that prize.  It was my Grade 12 Grad and it was in the 80's.  Need I say anything else?  Those of you that follow me on Instagram would have seen this on one of my Throwback Thursday posts.  Yes, I have no shame and I am totally not above laughing at myself.  
Flock of Seagulls anyone?
The big roll started to happen a couple of weeks ago when I won an Allied Metal Displays medal holder from Danielle at Work It Wear It Eat It.   I had been meaning to get one because the amount of medals I have from various races is ridiculous.  They are all piled into a vase on our book shelf.  It looked nice when there were a few in there, now it just looks messy.   Now I have this awesome piece of hardware.  I just need to find a place to hang it, dang it.

 Fast forward to the first week of July when I get an email from the editor of Canadian Running informing me that I won a pair of Senneheiser headphones for entering the 3 Favourite Running songs contest they had.  Sweet!  In case you were wondering, my song choices were:  Beautiful Day (U2), Red Barchetta (Rush) and I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor (The Arctic Monkeys).

The icing on the cake was winning a pair of these babies from Christina at The Athletarian.  I did a little happy dance in my office when I found out.

Yup, those are the new Mizuno Wave Sayonaras.  I took them out for a good hard 5km yesterday and they completely blew my mind.  Expect a review in the coming weeks.   They are going to be my go to shoes for my next few tri's as well as my half marathon in October.  I sense that they have some serious goal crushing potential.  Bring on the mezamashii. 

To say that these past couple few months have been lucky for me would be a bit of an understatement so I'm heading out to go get that lottery ticket.  

Do you enter contests often?  Have you ever won anything?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

All Work + No Play = One Cranky Little Lady

To say that this last week has been insane would be an understatement.  I knew I was going to be busy but I didn't factor in a major storm into my week of crazy.  Toronto got hit with a huge rain storm on Monday evening.  126mm of rain fell in ONE hour at Pearson Airport.  Streets were flooded.  Underpasses turned into lakes.  Cars were stuck.  Highways were shut down.  It was nuts.  And to top it all off, almost the entire west end of the city lost power.  I happen to live in the west end.  What's normally a 20 minute drive home took almost an hour.   To make matters worse, I was supposed to try and source some white cloth napkins for a shoot that was scheduled to happen the next morning.  Nothing in the west end was open.  Nada.  I was so desperate I went into pretty much any restaurant that was open and asked if they had a couple of cloth napkins that I could buy for $20. No luck.  I ended up calling 2 of the assistants I had booked for tomorrow and asked if they had power and if they did could they please go out and find some napkins.  Luckily both of them did so I didn't end up having a nervous breakdown standing in the pouring rain on Lakeshore Blvd. 

Problem number one solved, but not without a whole lot of anxiety.

I got home to a candle lit house and G sitting on the couch reading on his phone.  We looked through the fridge & cupboards trying to figure out what we could eat.  We have a gas stove so G turned on the gas and lit a match while I crossed my fingers and stepped out of the kitchen.  Nothing blew up so at least we were able to make dinner.  My phone was close to dying so I pulled out my laptop and plugged it in to charge there because I knew that things were changing by the minute with our Tuesday morning shoot.  We had agency and client flying in from Montreal and I don't think any of them realized just how bad things were until they tried to fly out on Monday night.  That's when the emails started flying and my phone started ringing.  The lounge we were supposed to shoot in at Pearson had become a holding zone for stranded travelers, all of which I'm sure would NOT have been thrilled to see us at 8:00 am the following morning.  So at 10:30 at night, I'm sitting on my front porch in my pj's (the only place my cell was getting reception) making calls to my crew and photographer to tell them that our 7:00 am call time had been postponed.

My gym didn't have power so a workout wasn't going to happen.  I thought about running but sleep won out.  I hoped that maybe I'd be able to swing a run on Tuesday night.  

I tried to drive into work and it took me 30 minutes to get about 3km so I turned around, went home and worked from the comfort of my couch.  At 12:30 pm I get a phone call that our client has secured a plane for that evening and the Lounge for the next morning.  It was go time once again.  Cue rising stress level.   So much for my Tuesday run and my Wednesday morning swim.  We shot in the plane (a Boeing 777) until almost midnight (I have to say, that was pretty freaking cool!) and I had to be back at the airport for the Lounge shoot at 7:00 am. 

Seats I'll probably never sit in!
 There were so many variables that hadn't been addressed for our Lounge shoot that I hardly slept.  I went to bed at 12:30 am and woke up every hour on the hour until 4:30 am when I just said screw it and got out of bed.  Needless to say but the time I got home on Wednesday evening, I was a zombie.  There was not going to be a workout.  I went to bed at 8:30 and slept straight through until 6:00 am, missing my Thursday morning gym workout.   Ugh.   I packed my run gear into a bag and brought it with me.  Thursday was not much better.  I was Little Miss Cranky all day.  I really needed to get out and do something.   Our bodies are made to move.  A run was in order.   It was a necessity.  I could have gotten sucked into the black hole of work but I could hear my Yellow Birds chirping.  The sun was shining and it was a beautiful summer day.  I knew I had to turn my frown upside down.   What better cure for that then a run on a gorgeous summer night.

How could I possibly be in a bad mood after this?
 I finished that run in a much better frame of mind than I started it and I woke up Friday morning in a fantastic mood.  I'm not sure if it was because it was Friday or if it was left over endorphins from my run.  I'm going to go with the latter.

All Work + No Play x One Run = A Much Happier Lady.  That's some common sense mathematics right there.

Have you ever had those moments where you are so stressed that just NEED to get out and DO something? 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Saturday Tri-Fecta

Yesterday G and I opted to dice up our normal Saturday training routine.   We have two places we normally go and ride;  out in Bolton and then out at Lake Wilcox in Richmond Hill.  Yesterday we went to Caledon, which, if we're going to get nit picky, is not that far from Bolton.   However, we normally just get on our bikes and go.  Sometimes we'll do a short run after the ride.   Yesterday we decided to throw an open water swim in there as well.  Both of us need the practice and short of swimming in Lake Ontario (which is kinda gross), there isn't really too much opportunity to get much open water swim training done when you're in the city.  So to find out that there was this amazing little spot in Caledon, which is about a 40 minute drive for us, made us both pretty happy. 

The swim course is set up in an old quarry.  They open the gates at 7:00 am and it goes until 8:30 so if you're there right at the start and stay until the end, you can get a lot of swimming done.   There were a lot of folks out and I'd say 99.9% of them were triathletes.  There are buoys set up that mark a 1030m loop.  There are 2 other green buoys a little further out that mark a 1300m loop.  You can see the shore at all times, which always makes me feel better, even though I know how to swim.  The water had a slightly green-ish tinge to it which is apparently normal for quarries.  It was the perfect temperature too.  A little chilly when I first got in but once I got going, it was perfect.  I swam one loop in just over 18 minutes.  I wasn't sure if I was going to do a second loop as my shoulders were feeling tired.  I wandered back to shore and then saw G who said he was going to do another lap so I said I'd probably do another partial lap so I followed him out.  My partial lap turned out to be another 1000m because I can't really swim straight.  I could really feel the fatigue setting in in my shoulders.  They are incredibly tight right now and when you don't swim in a wetsuit very often, that extra resistance really makes a difference.  I started to feel sloppy as I made my way towards the shore.  I swam into shore, stood up, stretched and watched for G.  He came in and said he was going to do another lap (!?!?)  Crazy man.  I opted to go back out and swim along the roped off area on the beach.  As soon as I started swimming my shoulders said um, no more please.  But me being the hard head that I am, I kept going and swam out to the first buoy and turned around.  That gave me another 300m for a total of 2310m in just under 40 minutes.  2 years ago that same distance would have taken me at least 45 minutes.  So I was pretty pleased with that. 
Not a bad place to be at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning
After the swim we packed everything up and drove about 15 minutes to a nearby community centre.  Many of the folks that had been swimming at the quarry were there.  It had started to get really hot.  I grabbed my Team Running Free tri top as an after thought.  I put it on without much of a struggle which made me a little suspicious.  It was also waaayyy longer than normal.  Hmmm...I quickly realized that I had somehow grabbed G's top instead of mine.  Ha ha ha.  It still fit kinda tight, just not as tight as it should.  Oh well.   We hopped on our bikes and headed out.  We planned on riding between 2-3 hours.  I figured it would be a hilly ride but thankfully it wasn't too bad.  I wasn't sure if my legs would be able to take 2-3 hours of climbing, especially in the heat.  My legs are in desperate need of a massage (scheduled for tomorrow!) so I just wanted to survive this weekend without totally killing myself.  It was a lovely ride that took us into the town of Glen Williams and through farm country.  I'd definitely ride that route again.  About 1:45 in I started to get uncomfortable.  I can't seem to find a good position on my bike when I ride longer than 90 minutes.  The constant pressure on my girlie bits is not nice.  I definitely need a new saddle and I think I probably need to be re-fit on my bike.   G could tell that the Crank Factor was setting in so we started to make our way back to the Community Centre.  Both of us were sweating buckets by the time we got back.  We logged just over 62km in 2:14 and I happily managed to keep my heart rate in zone 2.

G decided he wasn't going to do a run but I figured I might as well so I laced up the Yellow Birds and hit the pavement.  Nothing like doing a run at high noon on a insanely hot and humid day.  My legs felt like tree trunks.  I figured I'd keep it short, somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes.  After about 5 minutes I figured I'd probably only run for about 10 minutes.  I wasn't feeling it at all.  I was ready to turn around and walk back to the car.  But I didn't.  Homey don't play that.  Once I set out to do something, I usually suck it up and do it no matter how much I may not want to.  Instead,  I ran a whopping 2.52 km for the win.  

 Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.   Needless to say I was pretty tired by the time 4:00 pm rolled around.  Add to that a frosty Innis & Gunn Rum Finish beer and it was pretty much nap time.  I had a hard time keeping my eyes open while watching The Tour.

All of that activity made for some very heavy legs this morning.  Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing as it forced me to run slower than normal.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm trying to keep my heart rate below 145.  I had a couple of points during the run where I got a little carried away and I hit the low 150's.  I could feel the difference in my breathing and I didn't even have to look at my Garmin to tell me that I was over 145.  Even though my legs didn't feel great, I still managed to keep a decent pace.  Once again I ran for time instead of distance.  The goal was to run for 90 minutes.  I covered 17.20 km in 1:31:15 for an average pace of 5:18 km's.  The best part?  My average heart rate for the run was only 140 bpm. 

I'm liking those numbers. 

Do you train on the same routes or do you change it up?  I have to admit, I'm a creature of habit.  I do all my long runs on the same path. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Getting Back to Base-ics

Last Sunday marked my first long run since the beginning of June.  I thought it might be ugly but it actually wasn't too bad.  Probably because I went out really easy.  Much slower than my normal long run pace.  I've been operating in my anaerobic zone for a large part of my weekly mileage these days and I feel like it's time to slow things down.  I honestly feel like I've lost some of my aerobic base.  Sounds weird given the amount of endurance activities I do over the course of a week.   I guess you could say I have a good overall endurance base but in terms of specifics, my run base has suffered a bit over the last few months.  Given that it's the middle of race season, I'm not ready to stop everything and focus on completely rebuilding it.  That will come in November and December.  I will do the same with my cycling because that REALLY needs some work.  I have to credit Miss Zippy with putting this idea into my head.   She wrote a series of excellent posts on rebuilding her base.  She wanted to get to the bottom of why she was always crashing and burning in marathons.  I had similar problems, until this year with Boston.  It was the first marathon I actually ran from start to finish, no stopping, no walking, nothing.  Yeah, it hurt but I never felt like I couldn't continue or that I had to stop.  Every other marathon I've run, I've had to stop and walk at *some* point during the race.  Including my two Boston Qualifiers.   Perhaps I've finally gotten myself to the point where I have developed a good base, I don't know.  But I also figure it wouldn't hurt to take the time to lay off the speed and be kind to my body before I go back into marathon training mode at the beginning of January.  Sure, I'll lose a fair bit of speed if I take that time off but I know it will come back once I get going again.

So last Sunday I laced up my Yellow Birds and ran for time instead of distance.  I ran just under 15km in 1:17: and change.  Normally I would have been around 1:15:00 or even a bit faster if I trained in my "normal" zone (zone 2)

The goal is to keep my heart rate in zone one.  If I base my HR on my lactate test from 2011, my heart rate zones pan out like this:

Zone 1:  < 150 
Zone 2:  150-160
Zone 3:  161-170
Zone 4:  171-180
Zone 5:  180++

I trained for Boston mainly in zone 2.  If I look at following Miss Zippy's program I'd be running with a heart rate of roughly 143.  Which is safely in my zone one.   I tried that on last week's run.  It wasn't easy especially since it was so hot out.  Tomorrow is likely to be the same.  But I think it will be worth it in the long run.  See what I did there? 

One thing I may do in the off season is get my lactate threshold test done again.  Especially since I've been racing consistently for the last couple of years.  I'm sure it's probably changed a bit.  In the meantime, I'll spend the next month doing my long runs with my heart rate in zone one, then it will be time to ramp things up for my Scotia Half training.  Sub 1:30 or bust baby!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Music Monday & Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

I hope you've got something fun planned to celebrate!  I'm heading out for an open water swim and bike ride because you know, that just what we do with an extra day off in the summer!  It will be a good way to recover from my first long run in a month, ha ha.  July is going to be the month of the long run.  It's time to get my base mileage back up.  I ran just under 15km yesterday, a whole lot slower than I normally would but the goal was to keep my heart rate in zone two, which I did.  YAY!

Speaking of running, a few weeks ago I decided that my running playlist needed some refreshing.   Luckily that happened to coincide with a free preview on Sirius XM.   I don't normally listen to the radio but when there's a free preview on satellite radio, I'm in.   I especially love Alt Nation, which is not surprising given that I grew up loving all the alternative music of the 80's and 90's.   Once an Alt Rock / New Wave girl, always an Alt Rock / New Wave girl.  I also peruse the iTunes store a fair bit.  That's how I discovered that Atlas Genius finally released a full length album (it's pretty freaking awesome in case you were wondering).  Believe it or not, twitter is also a good source of new music if you follow your favourite bands.  That's how I discovered that Franz Ferdinand FINALLY released a couple of new singles.  Talk about making my day.  Unfortunately they're not available on iTunes yet so they haven't made it into my playlist rotation yet.  You can bet that as soon as I can download them, they will be put on the shuffle. 

I've pulled a few oldies but goodies out as well and put them back in rotation.  Most notably, House of Pain's "Jump Jump".  Such a good running song.

These are a few of my new favourites.

Two Door Cinema Club:   "Sun"
A fantastic summer song if you ask me.

Spoon - Don't You Evah
This song just makes me want to dance.

Blind Pilot - We Are the Tide
Yet another awesome summertime song.  Just puts a smile on my face.

Atlas Genius - If So
Off their new album.  Just as good as Trojans or Symptoms.  Love!

 Franz Ferdinand - Right Action
It may not have an official video yet but who cares.  It's really all about the music anyway!  I had my own little kitchen dance party on Saturday night with this song on repeat.  Drove G nuts, ha ha.  Just wait till we go see them live.  I'm going to be a sweaty mess from dancing all night.  I.  Cannot. Wait.

What tunes are you loving right now?