Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Recap: Pre-Amble + Swim

We had originally planned on heading to Tremblant on the Friday but a few weeks ago G thought it would be better if we left on Thursday so we booked an extra night at the Tour des Voyageurs where we had booked the rest of our stay.  That actually worked out really well as we got into Tremblant by about 5:30 which gave us time to check in and pick up our race kits.  Picking up our kit on Thursday meant that we avoided the complete insanity that we saw on the Friday and Saturday.  The line up to get race kits was ridiculous both days, probably due to a few things 1) the fact that there was a sprint and olympic race on the Saturday and the fact that they increased the number of people racing the 70.3.  We looked at the numbers in comparison to last year and last year there was just under 2500 people that finished and this year there was almost 2900.  That's HUGE.

As usual, the check in process was smooth and efficient and the volunteers were amazing.  So friendly and enthusiastic.  This years swag ended up coming in very handy.  It was a small over the shoulder pack which I ended up using pretty much every day.  The race t-shirt was kinda gross and was actually too big for me, even though I ordered a small.  I think they do that on purpose so you go and buy Ironman branded race stuff, ha ha.   We went for dinner and a beer at La Diable and then went and met up with Irina, Zin and Louis at La Forge.  We were sitting on the patio and the bugs were brutal and the temperature really started to drop so we called it a night and headed back to the condo.

Friday was overcast and rained on and off for most of the day.  We lazed around in the morning while it rained and as soon as we saw a break in the weather, we walked over to the swim start and went for short swim to test the water.  It was chilly but once you got used to it, it was lovely.   We swam about 600m and packed it in.   It was looking like it was going to rain again.

After the swim we went back to our condo and got ourselves sorted to head down to do some shopping at the Ironman Village.   I have gotten to the point where I don’t feel I need anymore Ironman branded race gear, I’m happy with whatever swag we’re given in our race kits.  That being said, IF the race shirt design is really cool or I really like the colours, I’ll buy it.  The stuff at Tremblant wasn’t bad but I didn’t love it.   I was happy to see a bunch of Women for Tri stuff there so I ended up buying the trucker hat I had been eyeing on the IM website.  I had also wanted to try Roka goggles and there were a TON of them there so I ended up buying a pair.  I liked them so much I wore them on race day (I did a short swim the day bfore to test them out and I loved them so much I opted to wear them).  We wandered around the rest of the booths that were set up and G scored a sweet pair of Zoot Solanas for $70.  There were a ton of Zoot shoes on sale probably because Zoot has stopped making every model except for the Solana and the Ali’i.  So there were deals to be had for sure. 

We hit up Le Shak for lunch and I got a message from a fellow instagrammer / blogger that she was heading into the Village.  I have been following Nathalie on Instagram for a while (and just started reading her blog a couple of months ago) and we had said we should try to meet up.    So G and I wandered over to the Grand CafĂ© for a post lunch cappuccino and she met us there.  What a lovely woman.    I felt immediately comfortable with her.  It’s funny when you meet online people for the first time, sometimes it’s just awkward.  You feel like you know a lot about the person but then when you meet them, they seem different than what you see on social media.  Nathalie was exactly the same as her social media voice.   We chatted for quite some time about where things are at for her in terms of her health.   She wanted to talk to me about the potential of working together once things get sorted out with her health.  I hope that I we get that opportunity.  

We parted ways and then G and I went back to the condo and started organizing our race bags.  This was a new thing for this year.   We had done a couple of races where you had bags for each leg of the race and while it keeps things organized, it was a bit of a pain in the ass having to rummage through each one in transition.   We made up all our race day bottles, lounged around and then went out to dinner. 


I slept like a log on Friday night.  I don’t think I got out of bed until 7:30 on Saturday morning.  I could hear the  sprint and Olympic distance races happening.    G and I made breakfast, had some coffee and generally lazed about for a couple of hours.  I had wanted to do another swim to test out my new goggles but we couldn’t get into the water until after 11 am so we opted to take the bikes out for one last spin to make sure everything was a-ok.   We rode up Montee Ryan and turned right at the roundabout  and made our way into the old village of Tremblant.   There’s a bike / coffee shop there that does excellent cappuccinos so we stopped to have a coffee on the deck.   We ran into Irina and another FMCT athlete, Mellen.  We chit chatted a bit and then I went out on the patio to sit in the sun.    After our little pit stop we rode back into Tremblant, took the bikes back up to the room, threw on our running shoes and did a 2km run off the bike.   My legs felt good.   4:45-4:50/km pace felt comfortable.  That’s exactly what I was hoping for.    When we got back in, I grabbed all my swim stuff and we booked it down to the beach.  I had to be at the 70.3 sign for 1:30 for the Toronto Triathlon Club picture   I did a quick swim, which totally sucked and put me in a foul mood.  It was choppy and I swam really slowly, even though I felt like I was swimming well.  On the plus side, the new goggles were awesome.   I put the bad swim out of my head and we hustled back to the condo so I could change and run downstairs to join the group.   My swimming had been bothering me as of late, I felt like I was struggling in open water and I was swimming so much slower than I normally would.  I was trying not to let it bother me too much.  There was nothing I could do about it at this point except give it my best.

I met the TTC group and we got our shot done.  It was nice to meet a few more club members and see some familiar faces (hi Brenda, Nancy, Clare & Andy!).    

We ended up winning first place in the Division 1 Tri Club points!  woohoo!
I went back to the condo and G and I got our bikes and brought them down to check them in.   With that done, we were off to the 4:00 pm athlete briefing.  We met up with our friend Deanne and her friend Barb.  It had to be the fastest athlete briefing ever because it was going to POUR.   

We found out that we only had to use the transition bags to bring our gear into transition.   They wanted to avoid having big bags and boxes etc around bikes.  We were allowed to have a mat or towel by our bike with our stuff on it.   WHEW.  With that done, all that was left was a nice dinner at Coco Pazzo and hopefully a good night’s sleep, then it was GO time.   In retrospect, I would have saved dinner at Coco Pazzo for post race.  It was a great meal and one that definitely warranted a glass or two of wine.  Next time, ha ha. 

I was actually pretty tired so I went to bed at 9:30 and fell asleep right away.   I woke up at 1:44 am to go to the washroom and that was it.  I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning.  I couldn’t turn my brain off.  I’ve finally figured out that the stressful part of racing for me is race morning and remembering all the things and making sure I leave myself enough time to get to the start to warm up.  Once I’m down at the start, I’m good.  There is sense of calm that comes over me.  It’s like my brain says ok, you’ve got everything, now it’s time to get down to business. 

The Swim

Despite getting up really early, G and I still had to hustle down to the swim start.  I felt a bit rushed and freaked out a bit about the possibility of not getting a warm up in.  They were singing the National Anthem which meant that the pros were going to start right after.  I was wedging my wetsuit on in the parking lot while G was in the porta potty line.  I ran into Irina, Zin. Mellen and Louis and wished them good luck.  G finished up and we ran over to the last pick up truck and tossed our swim bags in there.  We made our way down to the beach and had to shove our way through all the spectators.  The beach was packed.  This year they had decided to try a rolling start vs. wave starts so there were signs all along the beach where you needed to seed yourself according to your expected swim time.  It was a bit chaotic.   G and I made our way through the crowd.  I wanted to get into the water so I kissed him good bye and gave him a hug and we wished each other good luck.   I went into the water and got acclimatized.  I swam out a few hundred meters did some pick ups, breast stroked a bit, swam some more and then turned around and made my way back.  I ran into my friends Linda and Lois and we swam back into shore together.   As I stood up, I heard my name and turned to see Jody, another friend I’ve met through social media and whom I’d see regularly at MSC races.  I gave her a hug and we wished each other good luck.  I turned to give Linda a hug and high five and I gave Lois a big hug and wished her luck.   Her and I were both injured last year so we sat on the sidelines together and cried at the start.  Not this year.  Both of us were grinning from ear to ear. 

I scuttled off to try and find out where I should seed myself.  I wove my way through the dense crowd on the beach.  It seemed so much bigger than last year, especially when you were looking at it from the water.   My plan was to seed myself with the 32-35 minute group, towards the back.  Well, there was one problem with that, I had no idea where the back of that group was.  So I pushed through a few people along the shore until I could see the 32-35 minute sign, I then stopped and asked a couple of people around me what they were planning on swimming.  One person said 36 minutes, someone else said 35 minutes so I thought ok, I’ll just stay here.    The next thing I knew I was being funnelled into a smaller chute and we were making our way to the edge of the water.  We stood under and arch and there were three openings that looked like subway turnstiles.   There were two volunteers with long flags that were letting people through.  Before I knew it I was standing there waiting for the flag do be raised.  1-2-3.  Go.

The two athletes with me took off into the water.  I waded in and started my watch.  Once the water got up to my waist I started swimming.   I gotta say, the start was very civilized.  Yes, there were people around me but not once did I feel like I was caught in pack or boxed in with slower swimmers.  I got into a good rhythm right away.  I was remarkably calm which made me smile.   Of course I had a Rush song going through my head – I had the chorus of Roll the Bones on repeat  .  Those of you that follow me on Strava were probably wondering WTF I meant with my post titles.  Those were the lyrics I had on repeat throughout the swim and the bike.  “We go out in the world and take our chances, fate is just the weight of circumstances, that’s the way that lady luck dances…”  I can honestly say that was probably one of the best swims I have ever had in a race.  There was ZERO panic.  None.  I was relaxed, my breathing was regular, there was no gasping, nothing.  I was really surprised when I started catching people.  I can only assume that people didn’t really seed them selves all that well.  Realistically I probably should have seeded myself a little further up, but, I never felt like I got held up by anyone slower.  It would have been nice to have some fast feet to follow though.  My watch buzzed signalling 500m and it seemed be really fast.   I wanted to look but that would have meant stopping.  So I kept motoring on.  I didn’t sight much because we basically swam up inbetween a row of boats.   I would sight every so often to see how far the red turn buoy was.  As I got closer to that buoy, I could feel the chop in the water increase.  I’m not sure what was going on there but I was getting smacked in the face every time I tried to see where I was going.  I slowed down a bit here to get my bearings.  I got around the buoy and got back into my rhythm.  I was staying a bit far out from the buoys.  There were a few other folks that were out with me, the majority of people were sticking closer to the buoys.  My watch buzzed again and I couldn’t believe I was already at 1000m.   I came up on a guy that was breast stroking and as I passed him he decided to start swimming.    He swam right up beside me and got right in my bubble.  He then started swimming at me.  I don’t think he had any idea that I was even there.  I stopped, popped my head up and waited for him to pass then I went around him and settled back into my groove.  I felt like I was swimming really well.  I felt strong and I felt in control.  I’d feel the occasional twinge in my right calf but nothing major.  My last long open water swim at Barrelman, my right calf cramped so hard I had to stop swimming.   I could feel that starting to happen when I swam at the quarry the week before so I was a bit worried that would happen again.  I stopped kicking with my right leg for a bit and that seemed to help.     My watch buzzed again to signal 1500m.  Only 400m left.  I started working a bit harder.  My right calf started to get crampy.   I stopped kicking and just started pulling to try to hold off the cramp.  I could see the shore and hear the announcer.     I started kicking again and my calf cramped.  Not super hard but enough that it hurt and I couldn’t kick with that leg.   I could see the water was getting shallower.   I was so close.  I could see people starting to stand up.  I felt that the water was still too deep so I kept swimming until my hand almost touched the bottom.  I stood up but it was still a bit too deep so I did a dolphin dive and that caused my right calf to really cramp.  I stood up and started to unzip my wetsuit.  I glanced down at my Garmin as I touched the shore and I saw 34 minutes and change – YESSSS!!!!  I got the wetsuit off my arms as I came out of the water and luckily got the first two wetsuit strippers.   They yanked it right off me and I grabbed it and ran.   I sprinted by so many people on my way into transition.   The hard part was over and now the fun was going to begin.

Official swim time:  34:56  1:48/100m - squeaked in just under my goal time of 35:00 minutes!

I’ll be back tomorrow with the bike and possibly the run.  We'll see how long winded I get!

Thanks for reading!  

~ Coach PK 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Musings: The Post Race High

Happy Monday Gang!

This is going to be short and sweet because I'm still processing yesterday's race.  All I have to say is what a day.  What a day and what a race.  The full report will come in pieces over the next few days, I promise.

Tremblant is an amazing place.  They do this race up right for sure.  The volunteers are amazing and the course is fantastic.  It's tough, but it's absolutely beautiful.

Yesterday went far better than I ever expected.  I seem to under estimate my ability A LOT.   I still can't believe I pulled off what I did.   I'm really proud because the field was incredibly competitive this year.   The top woman in my AG went 4:36 and finished 11th OVERALL female.  Behind her was an ex-pro, Darlene Hall, whom I used to swim with.  In fact the top 3 women in my AG all went sub 5:00 hours, whereas last year, NONE of my AG went sub 5:00.  So to even crack the top 10 against talent like that makes me feel really proud.

I went into this race with zero expectations.  I didn't think I was going to be that competitive, especially because I feel that my training wasn't where I had hoped it would be, especially with my swimming and running.  My run was just starting to come around but I still feel like I have a little more work to do.   And my swimming, well, let's just say yesterday really surprised me, ha ha.

It was so nice to race with friends and G of course.  G also had a spectacular day, taking a whopping 18 minutes off his time from last year.  Gone are the days of me beating him at races, ha ha.  His cycling is super strong and his run is coming around.  I'm going to have to bust my butt to keep him at bay on the run in Lake Placid!

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all the well wishes and the congrats!  Stay tuned for the race day play by play later on this week.

~ Coach PK xo

Happy Finishers!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Five: 5 Reasons why Tremblant 70.3 is going to ROCK!

It’s the Friday before race day and the vibe in the village is pretty freaking awesome.  It was last year as well, I just didn’t want any part of it.  This year I say BRING IT ON.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Sunday and regardless of how the day unfolds, it’s a win because I’ve made it to the start line.  That was all I wanted, everything else is just gravy.

View from our condo
Since it’s Friday and all I’ve been thinking about is race day, I figure it’s time for a little Friday Five.


1.     I made it to the start line in one relatively healthy piece.

2.     I get to race with my hubby and about 10 of my friends (can you say PAR-TAY??)

3.     I have the best bib number (360 – which is what I feel I’ve done over the last year, ha ha and the funny math I do with my bib numbers makes this a really lucky number for me)*

4.      The weather looks like it's going to be pretty much perfect (21 degrees celsius, cloudy with some sunny periods)

5.     There is poutine and beer at the finish line!

So yeah, I think Sunday is going to be an awesome day.   Now, about that bib number and the “math that I do”.  I don’t know when I started doing this or why, but whenever I get a bib number, I add the numbers up and reduce them to one single digit.   This particular bib number adds up to 9, which is awesome because 9 happens to be 3x3 and 3 is my lucky number.   I know, I know, I’m weird.  But there’s something about this that I find oddly comforting.   

Anyway, time to go explore the race expo!  Happy Friday peeps!

Anyone else have a pre race ritual they'd like to share?  

~ Coach PK

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Musings: Race Week & The Usual Doubts

Well, it's finally here.  I've made it farther than I did last year and barring any stupid accidents this week (knocking on every single piece of wood I can find), I will FINALLY be toeing the line in Tremblant.

It doesn't quite seem real.  I know as soon as we drive into Tremblant, reality will hit me.   I'm excited.  I'm nervous.  I'm a little bit of everything and most of all, I'm SO grateful I've gotten through this training cycle in one relatively healthy piece.   That meant playing it safe on the running front for most of my training, but that's ok.   I have the rest of the summer to work on building a bit more speed if my body feels up to it.

Saturday was our last triple workout and I'd be lying if I said it went well.  We went to the quarry to do an open water swim and it took me almost 38 minutes to swim 2km.  Normally I'm around 35 minutes.  Of course this put me in a foul mood but G pointed out that my wetsuit wasn't pulled all way up (I did feel like I was struggling while swimming) I had only done one big loop of continuous swimming and two small loops which means more sharp turns.  Love him for trying to make me feel better and he did have a good point.  I know I'm a bit faster than that.  Maybe not much, but I'm definitely faster than that.

We left the quarry to do a short ride and it felt so much harder than previous rides, which of course got me even more down.   But then I realized that I hadn't ridden my TT bike in almost two weeks.  So of course it was going to feel hard.   My cycling fitness is solid but switching between the two bikes is not easy.  My TT bike puts me in a much more quad dominant position and my road bike has me using my gluts and hamstrings more.   Since I've been on that bike more than my TT bike, my legs really feel it when I get on the TT bike.  So, of course I started to worry that I haven't ridden my TT bike enough.  I've been riding it for every long ride since the middle of May, with the exception of  the second weekend of June.  At this point, it is what it is.  I know I've got some good fitness for sure, but will my legs be able to handle the push in that position?  I know when I did Spin the Lakes, I killed myself on that ride and only managed to average just over 30kph.  Tremblant and Muskoka have similar total elevation gain but Tremblant is a much nicer course in that you aren't constantly climbing and you can get some momentum on the descents vs. Muskoka where you have to work for pretty much every damn hill.  Tremblant has that horrible last 20km, much like Muskoka but at least you get that screaming descent back into the Village to gain some more time back.   So, Sunday will be a test to see where my legs are at on my TT bike now vs. in May.

The one thing that is finally coming around is my run.  I'm not even close to where I used to be but there's still a little bit of speed in these legs and hills don't seem to slow me down that much so there's that!  I vowed that I would play it smart and not do anything too hard.  My hill work and the occasional tempo seems to have helped.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, if all goes to plan, I hope my day unfolds something like this:

Swim:  35-37 minutes

T1:  5 minutes including the run up to transition

Bike:  2:45-2:55

T2:  2-3 minutes

Run:  1:45-1:50

Total time:  5:12-5:30

Realistically I'll be thrilled with anything around or under 5h 30 minutes.   If the weather is good, then anything is possible.  The current race day forecast is 25 degrees, cloudy with very little wind which is pretty much perfect.  A little cooler would be nice but at least the sun won't be beating down on us.  There is rain in the forecast but not until the overnight so hopefully that doesn't change.   It's also supposed to go down to TWO degrees celsius overnight (race day evening)  Yup.  You read that correctly.  TWO.  WTF.   Looks like I'm going to have to pack for all the seasons, once again, ha ha.

Well, this will be my last Tremblant training update!  The next big post you'll have from me will more than likely be a race report, unless I manage to process all my thoughts and get them out on virtual paper before the race.

So with that, here's how my last week of training went.  Once again, I hit all my weekly time / mileage goals.  It's probably only the second or third time this year but whatever, ha ha.

Monday:  2850m swim

Tuesday:  33km with Morning Glory in the a.m and probably the best ride I've had with them so far this year (or at least that's what Strava says, ha ha)!  In the p.m. my tired legs led the West End TTC group up and down Centre road in High Park for just shy of 15km.

Wednesday:  OFF (unplanned) I was so tired, I actually skipped swimming.  I struggled with fatigue a lot this week, probably due to PMS.  This getting older BS is HARD.  Men, you have no idea.  But that's a post for another day.

Thursday:  30km ride with Morning Glory around Ellis, followed by an 8km run with my friend David that got progressively faster.  We ended with a 4:31/km.  Yes!

Friday:  1500m swim.  I had to keep this short and easy as I was going to U of T for a study later on in the day and they specified no strenuous exercise so, I went to the back of the lane and got out after 30 minutes. I felt like crap so it was just as well that I had to leave early, ha ha.

Saturday:  2km open water swim, followed by a 40km bike, followed by a 4km run.  I like to keep things even, ha.  Although my ride was actually only 39.5km.  Not sure how that happened when I did an out and back route and actually went OUT farther than 20km....?  #GarminFail  Tested out my race suit again and my matching fluorescent yellow socks.  Now I just need a matching hat and I'm good to go!  You won't be able to miss me on the course!


Sunday:  12km run in the windy sauna.  

Anndddd....that's all she wrote.


Swim:  6353m
Bike:  117km
Run: 24.2km 

Total time:  8h 11 minutes.  

And now, I rest.  Well, we'll see how much rest I actually get given the TO DO list I have, ha ha.

Anyway folks, here's to an awesome week and a Monday that is almost over!  YEAH!

Who else is racing this weekend or raced last weekend???

~ Coach PK

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Musings: Summer is HERE

Hey!  It's finally HOT!  YEAH!  I think everyone has been waiting for this since oh, I don't know, MAY??  We've had multiple days of sunshine and multiple days of heat and, NO RAIN.  That's been the big stumbling block this spring.  I've missed more Morning Glory rides this year compared to last year due to questionable weather.  It's been two weeks since I've done any morning rides with them.  I had high hopes for this week and G and I actually got up early on Tuesday only to look outside and see rain.  Normally I'd say you should ride in all conditions because you don't know what you're going to get on race day BUT, given the type of riding we do with Morning Glory, riding in the wet is very risky.  So, we resigned ourselves to another missed workout.  I knew I'd be riding in the evening as long as there was no thunderstorms.   I thought perhaps I'd get on the trainer and do an interval ride but after running errands, my day totally got away from me.

I had big training plans for this week as this was going to be my last big week of training before Tremblant but weather and my body decided that wasn't going to happen.  Not that the week was a total wash out.  I did have an absolutely stellar run on Wednesday (which also happened to be Global Running Day).   And I tested out a new pair of kicks for my trail running adventure that is happening in July (more on that another day!).   Wednesday night we were out late and I had a couple of drinks but I felt totally fine.  I woke up on Thursday feeling tired but otherwise ok.  By mid morning, I had started to go downhill rapidly.   My sinuses got congested, I had a wicked headache and I was so overcome with fatigue that I actually slept for about an hour on the couch in the afternoon.  I had planned on going to the Real Deal Time Trial that night but that didn't happen.  It was a perfect night for it as well.  Not a lot of wind and it was sunny a warm.  Oh well.   I'm sure I'll make it out to a few after Tremblant.

I felt the same way on Friday but I managed to get a swim in and some work done but by the time the afternoon rolled around, my head got foggy again and I started to get a headache.  I had another short nap.  I've got to get this sinus stuff sorted out because when these things happen, I'm a mess, I can't function.  Needless to say I was in bed super early on Friday night.  I hoped that I felt better for Saturday as we were off to my cousins wedding.  I really didn't want to feel like crap.   Thankfully I woke up Saturday morning feeling much better.  I made it through a Morning Glory ride, stretched, showered and headed out to Oakville by noon.  But once again by late in the evening, my sinuses were bugging me again.  I took a Tylenol sinus which helped a little.  And again after my run yesterday, they were bugging me again.   So frustrating.   I was glad that I made it through most of my cousins wedding feeling ok.   It was a beautiful ceremony and the reception was a blast.  And it was nice to dress up for a change!

We didn't get home until after 12:30 a.m. and I think it was close to 1:00 am by the time we got to bed.   We were both totally exhausted as we had gotten up at 4:45 to go ride with Morning  Glory.  Needless to say, I didn't drag my butt out of bed until almost 9 am, ha ha.   I can't remember the last time I slept that late.

Anyway, the week I had hoped to have as my last big week of training didn't happen.  I had a couple of solid workouts but there were a lot of red boxes in Training Peaks.  Such is life.  This is how my last big week rolled out:

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  23km ride in the wet and rain with the Toronto Triathlon Group.   It was so wet and muddy out, I looked like I was wearing flesh coloured socks after I took my real socks off, ha ha ha.

Wednesday:  2700m swim in the morning, 11km run at lunch in my new kicks.

Thursday:  NADA

Friday:  2050m swim in the struggle submarine, ha ha.

Saturday:  101km with Morning Glory - this was a fantastic ride.  The sun was shining, it was warm out and there was very little wind.  I felt great until close to the end when my right knee really started to bother me.

Sunday:  16km run.  My plan was to run for 1h and 40 minutes.  I didn't get out the door until 11:30 am.  By that point it was already 31 degrees.


Swim:  4750m
Bike:  124km
Run:  27km

Total time:  8h 15 minutes

I missed all my mileage totals for the week.  Oh well.  I'll just be going into Tremblant very well rested.  Nothing wrong with that.  Today marks the start of another week to get things done!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and got to have some fun in the heat!  Did anyone race this weekend?  If so, where?  

~ Coach PK

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MGCC Ladies Take on the Adirondacks

I had this post almost all ready to last week but was waiting on pics from our guide.  Sadly I have only gotten a couple of shots from the 5 days we were there.  So once those come, you can expect a "Wordless Wednesday" post, ha ha.

I've been to two training camps, both led by coaches that were coaching me.  They are an excellent way to hone your skills as well as socialize with like minded people.  Both times I've gone with G so I've known someone.  When I signed up for the Morning Glory Ladies Camp, my friend was going so I knew I'd know at least one person.  When my friend had to cancel a couple of weeks out, I thought about cancelling as well.  But then I thought, "No, this year is all about putting myself out there."  So that was that.  I was going to spend 5 days riding my bike with people I'd never met before.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous but as the emails went around the week before the camp, it became apparent that a few people were in the same boat as me.  YAY!

My friend cancelling also meant that I now needed a way to get out to Lake Placid.  I thought about driving but didn't really like the idea of driving all that way by myself.  So I reached out to Sharon (the trip coordinator) to see if I could get a lift with someone.  She put me in touch with Elaine who was also taking one other girl, Liz, out to the camp.  She had more than enough room for me and my bike so last Wednesday morning, G dropped me off at Elaine's place.  I knocked on her front door as G unloaded my bike and was greeted by a wee Australian woman who introduced herself as Liz and brought me inside.  I met Elaine and then we all went out into the back to load up the car.

On the Road / Day One

We started chatting and didn't really stop for the entire ride.  Nothing like a 6 hour drive to get to know people!  I felt 100% comfortable by the time we got to Lake Placid.  When we got to High Peaks Cyclery we met up with a few of the other ladies and then Karen and Brian came out to greet us.  Elaine was staying in the High Peaks house and Liz and I were going to be sharing a room in the Base Camp house.  The last time I shared a room with someone other than my husband was at summer camp when I was 13 years old.  G is used to all my quirks (I like to sleep in the cold and I like to have a fan on when I sleep) so being in a room with a total stranger is a little stressful.  What if they don't like to sleep with the window open?  I run hot at night and I don't sleep well if I overheat so I was praying that Liz wouldn't mind sleeping with the window open.

We were the last group to arrive so we ended up in the most claustrophobic room.  It had 3 bunk beds jammed in it and no dresser or closet.  Since we had it to ourselves we used the top bunks as make shift dressers.  It was a bit messy but it worked.  We got ourselves sorted and then got changed to get out on our bikes.  We were going to do a short shake out ride so Brian could give us some pointers and evaluate the groups skill level.  We practiced group riding, cornering and descending as well as riding through sand as there was a lot of it on the roads we were on.  It was an excellent way to open up the camp.

Getting ready to roll out on Day One!
Dinners were happening in High Peaks house as that was where the big kitchen was.  Karen and Margie were our cooks and they had dinner on the table when we got back.  We were all so hungry that we didn't bother showering and just sat down for dinner.  Conversation was easy and we all got to know each other.   It was dark by the time we made our way back to our house.  I had a shower and collapsed into bed.   Liz asked if it was ok if she put the fan on and I said absolutely and I asked if she wouldn't mind opening the window and she said absolutely.   I said WHEW - I was a little worried you didn't want to get cold.  She said she can only sleep in the cold.   I said me too!  Good score in the roommate department!

Day Two:  Northern Mountain Loop Ride

We had a later start to the day due to the very brisk temps in the morning so Erica offered to lead a yoga class to start the day.  I didn't go to the class as I was on the slow to wake up boat, ha ha.  None the less, a lot of the girls took advantage of it.

This ride was going to be a mixed bag of climbing and flats over 85km or so.  We were going to be doing the climb up Whiteface to the toll road.  I hadn't been up that climb in over 10 years.   We weren't going to descend it but there was going to be another big descent later in the ride.  I was looking forward to exploring some new roads.

This is the elevation for the ride.  Yup, there was over 1000m of climbing!

This ride definitely showed me that my descending skills have improved immensely.  I had said that one of the things I wanted to work on was descending.  I had even gone so far as to say that I was a nervous descender.  It's funny how old habits and perceptions can stay ingrained in your brain until someone tells you other wise.  When we got to the bottom of our big descent, Liz rode up beside me and said I was a much better descender than I give myself credit for.  I was definitely feeling a lot more confident, so much so that I got into a tuck even around the wide sweeping corners.  That is something I never would have done a few years ago.  I finished the second day ride feeling pretty good.  Liz and I thought it would be a good idea to dip our legs in the lake the help with recovery so we wandered over to Mirror Lake and waded in.  It was frigid but once your legs got used to it, it wasn't that bad.

We were on our own for dinner and I had offered to look into restaurants for us.  After presenting the group a bunch of options, we decided to walk over to the local brew pub.

Good food, good company and good beer!  What more could you ask for!  Definitely a fun night.

Day Three:  Saranac Lake / Western Lakes Region

This was supposed to be our Saturday long ride but the weather wasn't looking awesome for Saturday so we opted to switch this ride to Friday.  We were blessed with sunshine and warmer temps which was absolutely fantastic.  I had never ridden around Saranac Lake so this was a treat.  There were some incredible roads on this ride, including a newly paved stretch of rolling hills that wound through the trees like a smooth black ribbon.  It was spectacular.

We got back to Saranac Lake just shy of 100km so we had Brian take us around on a tour of the town to make up some of the distance.  Even then, a few of us had to ride around in circles to hit the 100km mark, ha ha.

Best bike gang ever!
Day Four:  Ausable River & THE descent into Keene

We woke to overcast skies and cooler temps and there was also rain in the forecast for the afternoon so we opted to start this ride early.  I was so glad to have a SAG wagon because dressing for these rides was a bit of a challenge so it was nice to know you could bring everything and then drop it in the van if you didn't want to wear it anymore.    Today was the day I was a bit nervous about.  The last time I went down Keene in 2013, it was a bit rainy and I was totally petrified.  I rode the brakes for most of the descent and started crying about half way down.  So I didn't have very fond memories of it.  The plan was to go down it, ride around and then climb back UP it into Lake Placid.  I'm not sure what I was more worried about - the descent or the climb back up with just over 250km in my legs already.

We took it easy on the climb out of Lake Placid and practiced our echelon skills.  I had forgotten how darn hilly that first bit of the course is.  When we got to the top of the descent, Brian coached us through it and reminded us of the things we learned on day one.  Then we were off.   I had butterflies in my stomach.  As my speed started to pick up, I actually started to relax.  I felt in control of my bike.  I put it into my hardest gear in the big chain ring.  I wanted my legs to be able to keep up.  The first part of the descent is rolling and it actually flattens out a bit and then you get to the real meat of the descent when the grade changes and the road starts to turn.  The pavement at the top isn't awesome but they've repaved the bigger part of the descent which is great.  Once we got to that part, Brian pulled back and let us go.  Myself, Elizabeth and Jennifer started pedalling like mad.  I got into a tuck.  I felt ZERO fear.  None.  Nada.  I started grinning and I actually got a little emotional.  This was HUGE.  All I could think about was telling Gary.  I continued bombing down the hill, barely touching my brakes.  WHO AM I??? I marvelled at the difference 4 years makes.   We rolled into Keene just before the turn into Jay and waited for the group.  Apparently we were supposed to turn off earlier as Brian had to come and find us.  We had a bit of a pit stop and then we headed out on the tour of Jay and Upper Jay.

Brian took us to this beautiful river with a covered bridge and then we went along some backroads that featured a lot of short steep climbs.  My legs were really starting to feel the miles.  We came to a stop sign and Brian gave us the option to do another "wicked climb".  I was out.  I wanted to be able to make it up Keene so I opted to go with the other group while he took Liz, Marilyn and Erica to this crazy climb.  I didn't realize just how much climbing we had done until we started to descend.   This was descent was pretty much straight down with a somewhat tight left turn at the bottom.  I let it rip and whipped around the turn.  I was actually quite chilly by the time I got to the bottom, so much so that when we met up with the SAG wagon I put my leg warmers back on.  I knew that I wanted my legs to be warm when I was climbing.  I think part of my issue was that my legs were cold so they felt a bit fatigued.   We made it back to the meeting point in Keene and stopped to refuel, change etc.  Heather and I started to feel a little chilly so we opted to go ahead and start the climb.  One of the guys in SAG wagon said he'd come check on us to see how we were doing so I knew I had an out if I didn't think my legs were going to get me to the top.   Heather and I started out.  I immediately flipped into the small chain ring and just spun my legs.  The climb starts out at about 4% and then jumps to 8-9% for the next little while.  It's a grind.   I was chugging along when I heard my Garmin buzz.  Not the normal buzz of me hitting another 5km, nope, it was the buzz of my Garmin powering down.  ARRGGGG.  I had forgotten to turn it on as we left the rest stop.  I have no idea how long it was off for, probably about 5 minutes, which meant that I didn't get the start of the climb recorded.  GRR.  I quickly hit start and settled back into my pace.   I got through the steep part of the climb and picked up some speed through the rollers.  I had gotten quite warm and had to take my gloves off.  My legs were actually feeling pretty good.  The climb itself is a bit hairy in places due to the road.  Some of it has a beautiful shoulder and then that shoulder pretty much disappears.  It's not a heavily traveled road but none the less, there are cars on it.  The pavement in some spots is also pretty dodgy so you have to be mindful.  It's not a smooth ride through the rollers, that's for sure.

I got through the rollers and zipped up the remainder of the climb, my legs not feeling too bad.  I knew the remainder of the ride was mostly downhill so I was going to burn every single last match I had and let it rip.  To say I had a blast through this last section would be an understatement.  I hammered every downhill and pushed the pace as much as I could.  It was exhilarating.  By the time I got back to High Peaks, I was pretty much spent.  I looked at my Garmin and saw almost 93km.  No way I couldn't find another 7km to ride so instead of turning into High Peaks, I turned left and rode up Main Street to Mirror Lake Road.  I knew that was flat so I rode around the lake until I got to the top of Main Street then turned around and made my way back.  I knew the lake was roughly 5km around so I'd have to find a bit more road.  I turned down a side street and rode to the Lake Placid marina and did a loop in the parking lot.   I came back out along Mirror Lake and then turned right onto Parkside drive, did another loop there and then crossed the street to continue on Parkside, past High Peaks and over to Morningside Drive which looped around to Main Street.  As I got here, I heard my Garmin finally beep.  WHEW.  I was tired.  I cruised back to High Peaks to see that pretty much everyone was back.  It had also started raining so Liz and I opted to skip our post ride dip in the Lake.  We were all starving so a handful of us didn't even bother showering, got changed and went straight to the pub.  I'm not sure I even tasted my burger I was so hungry.

Saturday Night / Sunday Morning / Day Five

Saturday night was our last big group dinner so Brian, Karen and one of their sons, Matt, joined us.   We also had a little awards ceremony which was hilarious.   This was my award.

We chatted about what we liked (all the climbing), what didn't like (too much stopping) and talked about other potential places we could look at for next year.   There was talk of Mont Tremblant or the Gatineaus.  And of course, Lake Placid again.  The set up there is great in terms of location and providing a great group training space.  In terms of comfort, it was lacking a bit (bunk beds and very firm mattresses, not the best when you're an "older athlete").  The wifi was also sub par.  If you had any work to do, you had to be close to the source of the signal, which was the store itself.  I eventually gave up trying to log on to my laptop because it just wouldn't pick up the signal.  First world problems for sure, ha ha.  It ended up being nice to be somewhat unplugged.

Our last day was going to feature some yoga followed by an easy spin.  We had two groups, one that was going to be heading home a bit later and the other that was leaving earlier.  I was in the latter group.  I wanted to get out and at least spin my legs a bit before I had to sit in the car for 6 hours.  As soon as I started pedalling my legs felt heavy.  Good thing it was an easy ride.  We toured around some back roads of Lake Placid and got a history lesson from Brian.   I really enjoyed his snippets of info as we rode along.  He's been in Lake Placid for a long time and he knows pretty much everyone.  Someone would drive by us and wave and he's say "Oh that's so and so and they do this...."  It was hilarious.  That's country life though I suppose!

It was a fantastic 5 days of cycling and the company was exceptional.  We had such a great group of women and that can make or break a camp.  We all seemed to get along really well and everyone was so nice.   Sharon was hoping that this trip would become a yearly event again.  It happened a few years ago for a couple of years in a row but then interest / organization petered out and it fell by the wayside.  So here's hoping that we get another group of ladies interested for next year.  The best part was, that you didn't have to be a member of Morning Glory to go.  So female readers / riders in the GTA, if you're looking for a fun camp, I'd definitely recommend considering this one!  I know I'll be back next year.

Have you ever gone to a training camp?  What would your ideal training camp look like?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Monday Musings: T-Minus 3 weeks

Oh hello June!  Here we are half way through 2017.  Time is just whizzing by.  We have THREE weeks left until Tremblant!  THREE.  Holy crapamole.   We've been occasionally checking the water temperature in Lac Tremblant and a couple of weeks ago it was a balmy 6 degrees celsius.  Thankfully it's now gone up to 15.2 which means that hopefully in another 3 weeks it's closer to 18 degrees which would be perfect.

Not to sound like a broken record (I'm going to) but the weather really isn't helping in terms of warming things up!  The Caledon Quarry that we normally swim at delayed it's opening slightly because the water temps were still quite cold.  It finally opened earlier this week and we opted to head out there Saturday morning for our first open water swim in Ontario.   Luckily the weather was in our favour (thank you Mother Nature!)  It was sunny, with very little wind and it was 14 degrees.  So not totally balmy but not cold either.

There was a small group of us, pretty much all women, save for G, ha ha.  We got ourselves suited up appropriately.  And by appropriately I meant with booties and a neoprene cap for good measure.  I had stuck my hand in the water when I arrived and it was FRESH.  So I could only imagine what it would feel like when I fully submerged myself.   Pro tip:  to help keep the cold at bay, I was told to wear ear plugs.  Apparently your ears have receptors in them that are sensitive to temperature so if you wear earplugs, it helps keep your temperature regulated in cold water.  I tried this on Saturday and it worked.  So much so that I ended up having to take my neoprene cap off part way through the swim.  It also helped with my balance when I was getting out of the water.  Normally I feel a bit woozy after an open water swim but I felt totally fine.  I'm a CONVERT.

G and his Angels and his fancy new Zoot Wetsuit
We waded in and took our time getting used to the temperature.  It did take your breath away for the first little bit.  I walked in to just past my waist and then dunked my head.  That really made me gasp but I was ready to start swimming so I swam out to one of the buoys and then swam across to the start buoy.  I was going to stick close to shore so I could swim in quickly if I got too cold.   As you can see by my Strava map, I did NOT manage to swim in any semblance of a straight line.  I swam back and forth for a bit and then stopped to adjust my wetsuit.  I hadn't pulled it up high enough so the range of motion in my arms felt very limited.  Once that was fixed I was good to go.  I swam two
400m loops before my hands felt like they couldn't really do much anymore.  My arms were tired and it felt like I was swimming in slow motion.  I had covered just over 1200m total so that was enough for me.  The best part?  ZERO panic.  None what so ever!  I think I'm finally getting comfortable with this open water swimming thing.  :)

That was the big adventure this week!  I'm hoping to get a few more OWS in before we head to Tremblant on the 22nd.

I'm heading into my last big week of training this week as well so here's hoping that it goes as smoothly as this past week went!

Last Week's Workouts

Monday:  43.5km ride.  Normally I take Mondays off as a rest day but G had the day off (Memorial Day) and it was so beautiful and sunny out that we decided to go for a ride.   We drove out to Guelph Line and did a little rip around Campbelville.  It had been a while since we'd ridden out that way.  My legs were still feeling a bit tired from the weekend but I wasn't about to turn down an outdoor ride with G in the sunshine.

Tuesday:  8km run - hill repeats in a.m. and 22km ride - TTC hill clinic in p.m..  Since I rode on Monday and I knew I'd probably riding that night, I opted NOT to ride with Morning Glory and I slept in.  I don't think my legs could have handled the beatdown they would have gotten doing 5 laps of Edenbridge.  Instead I opted to do running hill repeats at lunch.  Holy sweaty.  My hamstring was still proving to be bothersome so I made the call to Pivot to go see my ART guy.

Wednesday:  2200m swim.  I actually felt pretty good today despite the fact that it was short sets of sprints.  I'm definitely not a sprinter but I like trying to go fast.

Thursday:  8km run with my friend David.  My hamstring was still kind of bugging me even after some dry needling the night before so we kept the effort fairly easy.  David was still pretty wiped out from the weekend and the previous days workout.  My legs actually felt really good other than my hammy.

Friday:  37.5km ride - High Park Hot laps in a.m. and 2100m swim at lunch.  I had originally planned on doing the Real Deal Thursday night Time Trial but just couldn't get my ass out of the house so, I got up early with G on Friday and we met up with the Morning Glory development ride.  Holy crap was it ever a big group.  I managed to hang on to the first group for about 5 laps and then I caved.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  I did 12 laps in total.    I missed my masters swim because I went and rode instead so I made up for it with a swim at the York Rec Centre at lunch.  I felt really good today and swam about half my workout with pull and paddles, which is not normal for me but I need to work on my upper body strength so those have become a necessity.

Saturday:  1200m open water swim, followed by a 75km ride, followed by a 4.2km run.  This was the BIG day.  I actually felt really good for all of these elements, with the exception of the end of the ride.  I have been complaining to G that my hamstrings seem to be doing all the work even when I'm on my tri bike.  I honestly can't seem to get my quads to engage.  I have seen someone about that and there will be a post about it in the future.  But towards the end of the ride, I really felt that my hamstrings were fatiguing.  On the run, my legs felt a bit better, it felt like I was using all of my muscles but it took a while for that to happen.  Very strange indeed.

Sunday:  3000m swim, followed by an 18km run with 8km at Z3 building to Z4.  This was hard but I felt strong and my pesky hamstring was no longer bugging me.  The only thing that was bothering me was my left glut.  And even then, towards the end of the run, I didn't really notice it until afterwards.  Then it was uncomfortable to sit on that side.  That's my good old piriformis doing all the work.  But I was pretty happy with these workouts and I was definitely ready for a rest day because that was 13 straight days of training.   I'm actually surprised I felt as good as I did these last few days.  I was definitely fatigued on Sunday morning, but once I did my run, I was a-ok.  I slept like a baby last night and got a full 8 hours so I feel very well rested today.  My legs are a bit sore but that's to be expected after a hard run yesterday.

This is the first time in a VERY long time that I've actually done all my prescribed workouts for the week!  Here's hoping I can carry that momentum over to my last big week of training!


Swim:  8562m  <---- Biggest weekly total in a VERY long time
Bike:  178km
Run:  38.5km 

Total time:  12h 30 minutes

How was your week of training?  Anyone else wonder if summer is ever going to show up??   

Have an awesome Monday!

~ Coach PK