Monday, August 1, 2016

250km on Two Wheels + An Update

Well, where do I start?  So much has happened since my last post.  The big one being:  WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!  Yahoo!  And we bought a new one.  Double Yahoo!!!  Unfortunately we couldn't get the closing we wanted on the new house so we had to find a place to live for a month.  We've found a furnished rental so now we have to start packing!   This is one reason why I've been so darn quiet.  I've spent so much time house hunting vs. training.  When we haven't been house hunting, I've been working like crazy.  I can't wait until the end of September when all the house things will be settled.  As for work, I have no control over how busy it is so I'll ride the insanity out and hope that things calm down a bit soon.

Now, on to the FUN part of this post.   I casually mentiond in this post that I was planning on riding to Huntsville with two of my friends.  Huntsville is roughly 250km from Toronto and it's pretty much all uphill.  It had been on my radar for months.  I did ONE  ride over 100km but that was it.   To say I was scared was an understatement.  I was petrified.  So much so that I hardly slept the night before.  It was actually worse than the night before a race! Luckily I wasn’t the only one that didn’t sleep well.  My friend David slept just as poorly for similar reasons.  Although I don’t think he was as freaked out as me, because he’d done this before!

The plan was to leave David’s house at 5:00 am.  I ended up running behind because I had to actually send a couple of emails once I got to the studio and I didn’t really give myself enough time to get everything loaded into the car when I planned my wake up time.  An extra 15 minutes at 3 something in the morning is a BIG DEAL.  I rolled up to David’s place at about 5:20 and we hit the road about 10 minutes later.

It was a surprisingly busy ride up Jane street at 5:30 a.m.  But we had lots of lights so we were very visible.  We were riding single file for the most part as well.  The plan was to go up Jane Street to Highway 9, cross the highway and head into the Holland Marsh.  We’d then ride through the marsh to the West side of the 400 and take Concession 5 all the way up to Barrie.  We’d stop there and refuel.  At least that was kind of the plan.

As it got brighter out, I realized that the sun was not going to come out.  It was overcast and humid but damp.   There was a slight chill in the air.  I knew the forecast had called for a 30-40% chance of showers around 7am and sure enough as we made our way into Vaughan, it started spitting a bit.  It did that on an off all the way up Jane and into the Holland Marsh.  As we left the Marsh and started heading north towards Cookstown, I noticed some very dark clouds not too far off in the distance.  I started spitting again.  The drops got progressively bigger and bigger and before we knew it, the rain was coming down in sheets.  We were completely soaked in a matter of minutes.  We couldn't see where we were going either.  I had water running down my face, all over my glasses, everywhere.   We pulled off into a nearby driveway so Jordan could put a vest on.  There was a little river rolling down Concession Five.  Awe-some.  We thought it would be good try to wait it out as we figured it wouldn't rain that hard for that long but then we started to get cold.  So, we got back on our bikes and rode into the rain.  I tried to hang back a bit so I wasn't getting totally drowned in the guys rooster tails that were flying off their back wheels.  At one point it was so bad, I was riding with one eye closed because water wouldn't stop running into it.  Had I worn one of those stylish cycling caps under my helmet, I wouldn't have had that problem apparently.  Good to know for next time.  

We motored along, praying for the rain to let up.  It eventually went from sheets of rain to a steady drizzle which finally petered out into a few drops here and there.  I knew I should have brought my rain jacket.  Or at least something to shove down the front of my jersey to keep the wind off my chest.  I was familiar with the part of the route we were on as G and I used to ride up there al the time when we were training for Ironman so I knew there was a restaurant coming up when we got to Cookstown.  

We rolled up only to see that it was closed and didn't open until 10 am.  Boo.  They had a bunch of picnic tables outside so we rolled up and took a break.  David had graciously made some PB&J wraps which we devoured.   We relaxed for about half an hour and then got ourselves organized to hit the road again.  But first, SELFIE!  

68km in.  Only 182 km to go.  No biggie.

I had gotten chilled so Jordan gave me his vest, which was essentially a sail as he is like 6ft 2.  But I was wearing a camel back so that helped keep it from flapping around.  It definitely helped keep the wind off my chest, which in turn kept me warmer.  As we left our shelter, the rain started up again.  This time it was only a slight drizzle which wasn't too bad.

Our next stop would be Barrie.  We rolled along in relative silence and then the next thing I knew I saw a sign for Barrie.  Seriously?  I thought it was so much farther!  That buoyed my spirits as I knew we'd be stopping for some real food soon.  We hit up a Tim Horton's so I could use the facilities.  I was wearing bib shorts and I was drenched so I knew that getting out of my shorts was going to be a production.  Thankfully I had brought my tube of chamois cream with me because everything I had put on in the morning got washed away in that downpour.  Gotta be nice to my lady bits!  I think it took me almost 15 minutes to get out of my shorts, go pee, reapply my chamois cream and get back IN to my ensemble.  Bibs are way more comfortable but even with the easy removal hooks in the suspender parts, they are a pain in the ass to get off.

With that business all taken care of, we were off again.  This time in search of food.  We made into downtown Barrie and rode around trying to find a place that 1) was open and 2) that had a patio to put our bikes on.  We had hoped for burgers and fries but we left so darn early that nothing was open for lunch yet.   David asked a local woman where she'd recommend we go and she suggested the Farmhouse, which we had passed on our way in.  So we doubled back and went in.  We parked our bikes on the patio and sat down.  We took the opportunity to charge all of our devices.  I took off my Garmin and popped it on the charger.   I heard it beep but didn't think anything of it.

We had an amazing brunch.  Sadly I didn't take any pics.  I was too busy laughing and talking.  I had the most delicious french toast and a whole pile of salty bacon.  SO GOOD.  I think we were there for about an hour.  I took my Garmin off the charging dock and saw that my screen had been re-set.  DAMMIT!  I was really hoping I'd get the entire ride in one go.  Stupid Garmin.  I checked to make sure I didn't lose the data - thankfully I didn't.  I was just starting from "square one" even though I had almost 100km in the bank.  Boo.  This also meant that I wasn't going to be in contention for Morning Glory's longest ride award for the week.    Oh well.

As you can see, we did a lot of climbing on our way out to Barrie.

After we fuelled up in Barrie, we skirted around Kempenfelt Bay and followed the edge of Lake Simcoe.  I thought we'd enter no man's land but the road we traveled was still fairly residential.  It was a really nice ride along here and we got some decent speed happening because it was fairly flat.  We had to stop once to figure out directions but the boys remembered everything once they looked at a map.  We stopped again a bit later to put on sunscreen.  The sun had started to peek out just as we were leaving Barrie and now it was out in full force.  I had a gel at this point because I could feel my legs just starting to get a bit cranky.  This was a bit worrisome as we were only about 120km in.  I still had a long way to go.

As we made our way into Orillia, I started to crash.   My legs were really hurting.  So we stopped at Tim Horton's and fuelled up with some Timbits.  I stretched, drank a bottle of water and took a salt tablet.  It was starting to get hot and I was worried I'd start cramping.    The Timbits helped a bit and I was good to go.  Jordan said we'd stop again when we got to Washago.  I had no idea how far that was but I figured I'd be ok for the next little while.

Orillia was fairly busy and it was also surprisingly quite flat.   We made up some good time through there as well.  The sun was out and it was hot.   I was really glad I wore my camel back.  I drank all 3 litres of it and was now on to the bottles on my bike.  Jordan had said we'd need to fuel up once we got to Washago because once we got through there, we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere for a while, which kind of worried me as I was still feeling a bit rough and figured that things were only going to get worse.

We hit Washago a short time later and stopped at a little variety store.  We turned quite a few heads when we pulled up.  I'm guessing that cyclists aren't a common sight in this little town, ha ha.  We parked our bikes out front.  The boys went in to get some goodies while I stayed outside and watched the bikes.  David came out with a couple of bottles of coke, a couple of snickers bars and who knows what else.  I had a coke and one of the snickers bars.  OMG.   I can't even begin to tell you how amazing that was.  It was exactly what I needed.  I refilled my camel back and topped up my bottles.  I also grabbed some Swedish berries.  I needed pure unadulterated sugar to get through the rest of this ride, ha ha.  We reapplied sunscreen, tossed our garbage and got back on our bikes.   We were just over 160km in.  Only 90km left to go.

When we left Washago, we were entering cottage country, which meant that we'd probably have stretches of road that we wouldn't see anyone or anything.   The landscape changed from little homes amongst some trees to more and more trees.  Before we knew it, the homes had disappeared and the road was treelined.  Which was beautiful but it also meant that the bugs were plentiful.  Thankfully there was a bit of wind so the deer flies had to really work to land on us.  They swarmed us constantly.  I ended up getting bitten a couple of times but didn't realize it until much later.  This stretch was mentally taxing for me.  The bugs drove me nuts and the road itself was awful.  It was very rough, which when you've been on the bike for 170+km, can really make your body hurt.  Despite all that this section delivered some beautiful moments.

Once we got off this road, we ended up on Doe Lake Road, which I recognized from signs on the highway.  It was a busier road with less trees so we weren't being swarmed by bugs.  YAY.  I was surprisingly feeling ok.  I think it was the coke and snickers.  I had officially surpassed my longest ride ever (180km)!  There was a bit of woohoo-ing and then we settled into quiet again.  I started to recognize some of the road names that we were passing so I figured we were getting close to Gravenhurst.  Sure enough, we rolled through and I knew exactly where we were and what road we'd be riding on.  We were going to ride parallel to Highway 11.  This road was amazing.  It had been recently paved so it was a welcome change from the bumpy cottage roads we had been on.  As we pulled on to this road we ran into a bit of a traffic jam.  As we got closer we realized that there was a parade of tractors.  They were all orange.  We joked that they were Dutch tractors.  The guys driving them seemed surprised to see us.

Once we passed the tractors I had to pee, which meant finding a place to pull off that had a bit of shelter.  Luckily there was a small side road that branched off the main road that was fully tree lined.  I left my bike and camel back with Jordan and ran off into the bushes  Getting out of my ensemble was a challenge.  And I was in the bushes so there were mosquitoes everywhere.  Awesome.  I did my thing, yanked up my bib shorts and jumped out of the bushes to put my jersey back on.   The boys took a moment to check directions and we got back on our bikes.   The next little while was passed in silence.  We were all feeling a little tired.  Not too tired to be silly though.

We motored along, and made our way into Bracebridge.  I had officially crossed the 200km mark!  We were at about 210km when the boys decided we should stop and figure out the best way to get into Huntsville.  I was starting to struggle, especially on the hills so the boys had to slow down for me.

Figuring out our final approach
Just after this picture was taken, the wheels officially feel off my wagon.   The last 30km of this ride was HARD.  It was hilly and the roads were rough.  My legs hurt.  My muscles were totally fried.  Jordan and David took turns pulling me the rest of the way.  They knew there was a big climb to get into Huntsville and they tried to find a way to avoid it but, I don't think it would have mattered which was we went in, there was always going to be some kind of big climb.  We were in Muskoka for Pete's sake, there is no such thing as flat.  I tried to really use the downhills to gain momentum and it worked for the most part.  Until we came across the big one.  It was a stepped climb and I got up the first bit and then said to David, I can't get up this part, I"m going to walk.  David said no way and he rode up beside me, put his hand on my camel back and pushed me up the hill.  It was a bit precarious and I could feel us rocking back and forth a bit too much so as we got closer to the top I said "I'm good, I'm good, I'm good..." then he let go and I said "Oh crap, I'm not good!"  ha ha ha.  I gritted my teeth, got out of the saddle and creaked my way to the top of the hill.  Holy crap.  The rest of the ride was a blur of up, down and bumpy.  The next thing I knew I started seeing some familiar sights.   We had arrived in Huntsville.  WOOOHOOOO!  I was so close I could almost taste it.

Because I had ridden from the studio to David's house, I already had 5km in the bank.  The boys had to make up the distance so David pointed the way home and the boys turned off to add 5km to their route.  I pulled into Casa Lamy and walked my bike around to the back.  I was greeted by David's wife Elyse.  I made myself a recovery drink and chatted with her while we waited for the boys to return.  I wanted to lie down but figured if I did, I may fall asleep.   A few minutes later, the guys showed up and it was picture time.

After this was taken we all jumped in the pool.  So awesome.

I am still amazed that I actually managed to do this, given that my longest ride leading up to this was 115km.  It took us 9 hours and 30 minutes.  I thought for sure it would take us longer.  The boys immediately started talking about next year and wanting to do 300km.   I found myself saying Yes.   I had so much fun that I wouldn't hesitate to do it all again.  Although I think if we're going to do 300km, 50km of that needs to be done BEFORE we get out of the city because I know that if I had to do another 50km in the Muskoka hills, I'd be out.

As for my running, it's slowly getting better.  There are still some nerve issues happening so I"m trying to be careful and not push things too much.  So I've been spending a lot of time on my bike.  I've got an MRI scheduled in a few weeks so hopefully we'll have some answers shortly after that.

As much as I'd like to say that I'll be back to regular blogging, I think it's time for me to take a bit of a break until life settles down a bit.  I've got another busy few weeks at work, plus we have to pack the house to get ready to move on August 27th.  I don't forsee a lot of free time in my life over the next little while.   But that doesn't mean I'm not writing.   Michelle Clarke and Carmy Do have launched an online magazine called Destination Outside.  It's written by women for women.  Issue one is live and they're currently working on issue two.   I get to talk about all things triathlon!  WOOHOO!

Thanks for reading along.  I'll be back soon with more stories to tell, reviews on things I've tried and other fun things!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's All About The Bike - Weekly Wrap

Happy Sunday and Happy Early Fourth of July to my American readers!  I hope you're all enjoying a glorious long weekend.   We also had a long weekend this weekend.  It was Canada Day on July 1st.   The studio also happens to be closed tomorrow so I don't have to go back in to work until Tuesday.  It's been a nice long vacation as I've been off for over a week.  It seems like a lot longer.  That's definitely a sign of a (mostly) good vacation .  I feel well rested and ready to get back at it.

My 3 favourite weeks of summer started yesterday:  the Tour de France is on!   This will be the only thing I watch over the next three weeks, ha ha.   For me, it signals the real start of summer.   July is always all about the bike and this year will be no exception, given the fact that I'm still not really running regularly.  I went out earlier this week and there was still a bit of discomfort but it's much better than it was.  I don't know that I'm ready to start building things up just yet though.  Since I'm not spending time on two feet,  I've been spending more time on two wheels.  I haven't swam in over a week but I'm going to get back into the pool tomorrow, which is not going to be pretty.  Watching the US Olympic swimming trials has inspired me to get my butt back in the water, ha ha.

I've also made a pact with myself to get back into the gym on a regular basis.  I'm not loving the way my clothes are fitting these days (a little TOO tight around the waist and thighs!) and my arms have become toothpicks again so it's time to put some muscle back on them!

I've go no races on the horizon so I'm just being active for the sake of being active.  Which is a refreshing change of pace for me.  I don't need to follow a plan or watch my power numbers or anything like that right now.  If I don't feel like doing something, I don't.  Like on Saturday morning, we drove up to the Quarry, thinking we'd do an open water swim but it was cold and windy out.  So, we didn't bother.  We hung out with some friends that were there, had our coffee and then got ready to ride.  I probably should have just slept in but whatever.  I got this cool shot and I got a big hug from my friend Irina so it was worth it.

So given I've gotten back into a bit of a workout groove this past week, I'm going to link up with Tricia and Holly for their weekly wrap.

Monday:  OFF  - spent a fair bit of time walking around Mont Tremblant, played mini golf and did some shopping.

Tuesday:  61km ride in Tremblant with the hubs.  I can't believe he rode all the hills with me two days post half ironman.  If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Wednesday:  OFF - Drove home from Tremblant

Thursday:  4.2km run followed by 45 minutes of strength work at the gym (!!!)

Friday:  50km ride out to Mississauga and back.  We literally sprinted home to beat the rain.

Saturday:  62km in the wind on my tri bike.   I felt REALLY good which was a nice change of pace!And I got to ride with some friends I haven't seen in a while.

Sunday:   76km around the 'burbs in the wind, again.  Just G and I, which was nice.  I was pretty happy to get 3 decent rides in over 3 days.

Total time: 10 hours 8 minutes.  Whoa.  Nice to know that I can still have a solid week of training!  It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to work, ha ha.

This week I think I'm going to join the Morning Glory crew for my first ride with them this year.  I hadn't been feeling very strong on the bike but I think a lot of that was in my head because of my injury.  So, I'll see how my legs feel on Tuesday and see if I can hang on for one or two laps with the MGCC Crew.  Friday will be the BIG test as to how much I love my bike, ha ha.

How was your week?  How did you celebrate the long weekend? 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Ultimate Coffee Date - July is Here

Howdy!  I'm linking up with Deborah,  Lynda and Coco for the July edition of their Ultimate Coffee Date.  I promised myself I'd get back to regular blogging this month so here we go!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I've actually adjusted to NOT having running in my life.   Do I miss it?  Of course.  But I don't feel LOST without it like I did a couple of months ago.  Probably because I've gotten on my bike more.  And probably because I no longer have a goal race on the horizon.   I did my first run in over 3 weeks on Thursday and while it wasn't pain free, it was pretty close so, I think I may be able to reintroduce running back into my life soon.

If we were having coffee,  I'd tell you that this whole selling the house business is STRESSFUL.  We staged the house so there are all these lovely things around that we can't use.   Which means we are  kind of living in a museum.  We have to put everything away, make the bed in the morning so it looks perfect, use different towels than the ones that are in the bathroom and generally keep things shoved in the cupboards or closets.    I DO love the way the house looks when everything is put away, but that's just not how we live.

Our bed NEVER looks like this!  
If we were having coffee,  I'd probably say that this time off is exactly what I've needed.  I feel relaxed, I'm sleeping well and my head feels clear.  I definitely needed this break. The best part?  I don't have to back to work until TUESDAY so I still have a few more days of vacation!  WOOHOO!

If we were having coffee,  I'd confess that I'm a little unhappy with my body these days.  More specifically with how my clothes fit.  I've lost a lot of muscle in my upper body and my hips and thighs have gotten very "soft".  I can tell by the way all my pants and shorts fit.  I've also lost a fair bit of power in my legs.  I know I'm not out of shape but the shape of my body has changed and I know it's because I've stopped lifting regularly.   So, as part of my rehab, I'm making a point of getting back into the gym.  I'm going to work at getting my muscles back!  Cause it's summer and when the suns out, the guns should be out.  Except that right now I have no guns, ha ha.

Moving along....

If we were having coffee, I'd let you in on a little adventure that I'm going to be taking on next week. A couple of my friends and I are planning on riding from Toronto to Hunstville next Friday "just because".   For those of you that aren't familiar with Ontario, it's roughly 250km (155 miles) from Toronto to Huntsville and it's pretty much all uphill going north.   The farthest I've ever ridden is 180km (112 miles) so this should be interesting.  We're not in a rush and we plan on stopping to refuel.  The end goal is to volunteer at Muskoka 70.3 on Sunday so we thought why not ride up on the Friday, lie around on the Saturday, volunteer on the Sunday and head home in the afternoon after the race.   G will drive up on Friday afternoon with all my stuff so when we get to Huntsville at some point in the early evening (hopefully), I'll have clean clothes and most importantly, my pjs.  Because I'm pretty sure I'm going to shower, eat all the food and pass out.  This will definitely be documented in a future blog post.

What things would you share if we were having coffee?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Mystery Continues

Hi hi hi hi....

I'm still alive and somewhat kicking.  With my good leg anyway, ha ha.

I've had a few people message me asking me how I'm doing, what did the Doc say, etc.  Well, the ultrasound showed NOTHING.  Nada.  Zilch.  That's not to say that there isn't anything there.  Dr. Galea said he thinks something is there, we just have to find it.  So, I'm now going for an MRI.  He suspects that there might be some nerve entrapment happening.  How did that happen?  That's a good question.  My chiro thinks that I may have torn something and then scar tissue started to form and trapped the nerve thus the pain I was feeling when I was running.  I am a bit surprised that I don't feel it on the bike as well but I'm not taking any impact when I'm riding so that's probably one of the reasons.  If it is nerve entrapment then I'm looking at a nerve blocker and a PRP injection.  Hopefully that will help.  I'm going to see my chiro this week for some more ART as I think that there is still a fair bit of scar tissue around.  My RMT commented on how "crunchy" that area was so I figured it wouldn't hurt to address that.

Life has been incredibly busy these last couple of weeks.  Work has been ridiculous but, the big news is we've put our house up on the market, finally!  Our real estate agent said that it would be best to do it while we were away so we had a mad scramble to try and get it ready for showing this weekend.  Along with packing for a vacation.  This past week was pretty darn stressful.  I had sworn up and down that I didn't want to deal with this stuff before we went to Tremblant but once I got injured, it just seemed to happen.  And really, when they're showing the house, it's not really yours.  You have to make the bed every day, you have to hide your laundry and you can't leave anything on the kitchen counters.   Meh.  That's no way to live, ha ha.  We will be accepting offers when we're back on Wednesday so fingers crossed it sells!

As happy as I am to be on vacation, being here in Tremblant amidst all the hype that is Ironman 70.3, I'd be lying if I said I was ok.   Saturday morning they had a sprint and an Olympic race and as I watched people race down the finishing chute, tears welled up in my eyes.  Not racing yesterday was  really hard.  There were more tears shed at the start when I handed in my timing chip as well as after the race was done.   Listening to everyone talk about their race was tough.  I was happy for all my friends, everyone seemed to have a great day.  Inside, I was heartbroken.  I wanted to out be out there gutting it out.  I had such high hopes for this race.   I put my goals out there and I never got the chance to realize them.  It sucks.   I don't even know that I'll race at all this season.  I'm feeling pretty shitty.   I can't complain about the view though....

It's been 10 weeks since I've run any sort of distance.  I managed to run 3.5km on Saturday and that was my first run in 24 days.  I went slow and I didn't really notice the pain until I tried to pick up the pace a bit so I suppose that is a plus.  I will try to run again later on this week and see how that goes.   I think it's too early to say that I'm on my way back.  There are too many other aches and pains in this body to say that I feel good.  I don't.  I think this issue is affecting other areas of my body, my back in particular.   In fact, I'm pretty sure they're probably connected.  So we'll see how things go moving forward.  I do know that I need to do a lot of work on my core and hip stability.  So in addition to getting better I will need to be diligent about the little things.

Despite the super busy last few weeks, I have managed to squeeze in a few workouts.  Most notably a 115km bike ride on one of the hottest days of the summer so far.  I rode with a Strava friend that I had only met once before.  Liz dragged my butt all around Kleinburg, through Hockley valley and up all the hills.  It was a tough ride but it was fun and I learned a few things about road riding.  I have to say, the internet has definitely expanded my training circle.   She's organizing a 120km group ride in July that I'm hoping I'll be able to do.

These last few weeks have been really hard emotionally but I think now that the race is behind me, I can mentally re-focus and really put the effort in to getting better.

I have so many things I've been working on physically and mentally that I want to share with you guys so I'll work on getting those things on to "paper" and getting them up here.

Happy Monday - hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!  Who raced this weekend?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Checking Out

Last week I was so hopeful that I still might be able to toe the line at Tremblant.  I'm not sure what happened this week, but a switch flipped.  I'm chalking it up to feeling not quite like myself.  I've felt very overwhelmed these last couple of weeks, mostly due to work and some family issues.  Last week, I had contemplated doing the swim / bike at Woodstock this weekend but by the middle of the week, I just wasn't interested.   My hamstring was bothering me a bit after my ride on Tuesday, then I didn't sleep well on Tuesday night.  I woke up on Wednesday feeling tired and by the end of the day, I had the worst sinus headache that stuck around until Friday.   This week had been incredibly trying because of work and by the end of the week, I had nothing left.

I haven't felt physically good or strong since just before this injury happened back in April.  Since April I have been on a physical and emotional roller coaster that has finally done me in.  I never thought that I'd get to this point, where I have become apathetic and disinterested, but I have.  I thought I'd be able to refocus and just work on my swimming and cycling but I haven't been able to do that.  I've checked out.  Perhaps after I see Dr. Galea on Wednesday, I will have a better idea of where things are at and maybe that will make me feel a bit better, who knows.

Yesterday was the first race of the season in my favourite race series and it was the first time in FIVE years that I haven't toed the line.  I went out to support G and my friend David who were both racing. All the big guns were out, including Lionel Sanders (yes, THE Lionel Sanders a.k.a  The Green Flash).  He was a race ambassador years ago for Multi Sport Canada so once in a while he will come back and do a few sprint races.   He is so fast it's insane.  He ran a 16 minute 5km OFF THE BIKE.  Seriously.  And, he's super nice to boot.  He hung around afterwards and chatted with people and answered questions.  I managed to snap a few shots as he was booking it towards the finish.

That is one serious pain face.
So many people I knew were racing.  It was a little difficult for me to just sit and watch.  As I was standing by the water, taking pictures, a woman came up to me and said "You're not racing?"  I said that I wasn't because I was injured, and I racked my brain to figure out where I knew her from.  We chatted for a bit and she said she read my blog.  She looked familiar but I couldn't figure out where I knew her from.  I wished her luck and then wandered off to check out the vendors outside of transition.  It wasn't until I was watching people come out of the swim that I realized who she was.  As soon as I saw her come out of the water,  I remembered her name.  It was Jordie Seaton, the woman that had me running scared last year.  She aged up from the 35-39 AG into the 40-44 AG last year and boy can she run.  I was touched that she came to talk to me at the start of the race and I felt like and idiot for not recognizing her.  I reconnected with her after the race and we had a great little chat (Jordie, if you're reading, THANK YOU, it was lovely chatting with you!)

Swimmers getting ready
G and David had good races and all in all, it seemed to be a pretty good day.  Another friend of mine, Miranda Tomenson, placed second overall.  She was a pro a few years ago, had knee surgery and took a good year off to rehab and rebuild.  She is SO strong, it was great to see her out there killing it.  And, it gave me a glimmer of hope that with some patience and diligence I will come back from whatever this is that I've done, stronger and more determined.  While I'm not looking forward to sitting on the sidelines at Tremblant, I am looking forward to getting away.  I really need a break.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with friends and not working.  

In other news, our basement is finished (and it looks AWESOME), which means that we're ready to list our house.  G is pushing to have that happen sooner rather than later.  The goal would be go have it listed just before we go to Tremblant so our agent can show it while we're gone and we don't have to worry about keeping everything in it's place or having to stay out after work because there's an open house.  That's kinda stressing me out because these next two weeks are going to be STUPID busy at work.  But, G works from home when he's not traveling so he said he could tidy things up and pack up all the little odds and ends that need to be put away.  

This is where the old pain cave was!  
We also found a place that we quite liked.   I didn't totally LOVE it (mostly because of cosmetic things like floor colour, counter top colours)  but it ticks a lot of the boxes we're looking for.  The bedrooms are big, there's good closet space, it's got a huge tub in the master bathroom and it's got a 2 car garage.  We're going to take another look at it tomorrow night and if we still like it, then we'll put in an offer on it.  AHHHHH!

Despite my low workout mojo, I did manage to do a few workouts this week.  So, I'm going to link up Holly and Tricia for their weekly wrap.  And in July I'm hoping that I will be able to start posting a bit more regularly on here.  I have so many partially written blog posts it's ridiculous.  

Anyway, here goes:

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  21.5km ride in the morning.  Never a bad way to start the day.

Wednesday:  Slept in

Thursday:  Went to work early

Friday:  1500m swim

Saturday:  Spectator and Cheerleader duties

Sunday:  43km windy as heck ride!

Total time:  just under 3 hours.  Yup.   Hopefully this week will be better.  

How was your week?  Head on over the the link up to check out what the rest of the Weekly Wrap crew got up to!  


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Where It's At: An Update + A Weekly Wrap


I'm still alive.  This has been a very strange and emotional two weeks.  I went from going a million miles an hour to a dead stop at work, which is nice as I feel like I can breathe again.  Things were starting to feel like they were getting a little out of control so to have some calm back in my life is a good thing.

To add to the strange and emotional vibe, last week, it was announced that Gord Downie, singer of the Tragically Hip has terminal brain cancer.  He's only 52.   The Hip have never been one of my favourite bands (I should probably be kicked out of Canada for that) but they are Canadian icons.  For some reason, this news really upset me.  I'm not really sure why.  Perhaps because he's not much older than G.  And perhaps because his passing will mark the end of a band (and a voice) that helped shape the landscape of Canadian music.

On the injury front I have been wavering back and forth like a yoyo in terms of my race.  A week ago I had decided that it wasn't worth stressing over and that I wasn't going to do the race.  Then I went up north last weekend, got on my bike and rode 96km of hills in the scorching heat and thought, maybe, just maybe, I could do it.  This weekend, I slogged out 88km brutal km's on my tri bike and lamented my loss of strength and speed.   So right now I'm still not 100% sure what I'm going to do.  I think a lot will depend on what the ultrasound I'm having done tomorrow shows.  And, I still can't run so there's that.  I tried earlier on this week and the pain was still there.  Which leads me to believe that I have really done a number on myself.

Getting ready to tackle 96km with a whole bunch of other like minded folks.
These last 7 weeks have not been easy.   At the start of all of this I figured I'd be out maybe a couple of weeks but as time went on and the pain with running didn't really stop, I became concerned.  To make matters worse, my two chief health care practitioners don't agree on what the issue is.  My physio believes that what I have is proximal hamstring tendonopathy and my chiro still feels like this is all stemming from my piriforimis muscle.  The not knowing is killing me.  Everyone I've spoken to is shocked that I haven't had any imaging done.   Thanks to an amazing friend of mine who made some inquiries for me, I managed to get in to see Dr. Tony Galea on Friday.  Dr. Galea is one of the top sports medicine doctors in Canada.   He listened to my symptoms, had me get on the table and promptly poked my hamstring insertion point, which in turn made me almost fall off the table.  The pain was excruciating.  He manipulated a few spots further down from the insertion point and asked me if they hurt and I said no and that seemed to be a good thing.   Perhaps I tore something and it hasn't healed properly, who knows.  All I know is that I just want to get better.  

Injuries have a way of breaking you down mentally and I can honestly say that this injury has broken my spirit.  I haven't been myself for the last several weeks.   It kills me to sit on the sidelines and it kills me to watch the fitness I worked so hard for slowly disappear.   Everyone is getting excited for our upcoming race in Tremblant and I'm trying to keep my shit together and not break down in tears every time it comes up in conversation.  I'm sure I'll feel better once I have some definitive answers.  I'll get those on June 15th when I go in for my follow up appointment with Dr. Galea.  In the meantime,  I'm keeping up with my physio exercises and I'm working on strengthening my core and hips.  I haven't stopped swimming and I'm continuing to ride as my body will allow so there's that.  

Since I'm actually able to do some things, I figured I'd link up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap.  And, it's given me an excuse to get back on the blog.  I haven't felt very motivated to write to be honest.

Anyway....this is how my week went down!

Monday:  OFF.  I really needed sleep after two days in a row of cycling but I did my physio exercises!

Tuesday:  20km ride.  My legs were still feeling the weekend so I cut this short.  It was a beautiful morning for a ride though and I'm glad I made the effort to get out.  Physio work in p.m.

Wednesday:  2800m swim in the a.m. and then I laced up my shoes in the p.m. and went out for a short jaunt to celebrate Global Running Day.  3.88km.  Not pain free.   :(

Thursday:  40 minutes of strength training / physio work.  I was going to ride but my glut was still sore from the shockwave treatment I had the night before so I went to the gym instead.

Friday:  2350m swim + physio exercises

Saturday:  88km ride + physio exercises

Sunday:  2500m swim + physio exercises

Total time:  7h 40 minutes.  Most of that was spent on the bike, ha ha.

I know things could be worse but being a very focused and goal oriented gal, I sometimes find it difficult to get back on my feet and re-focus - when you invest so much of your self and your time into something you love, only to have it go sideways, well, it really sucks.  This is definitely the biggest set back I've had in all my years of racing so this is new territory for me.  I've never missed a goal race and now that's looking like a strong possibility.   But that's all I'm willing to say right now - a "possibility".  It's not definitive.   It ain't over till it's over, right?

How has everyone been?  It looks like summer has finally arrived in Toronto which is FABULOUS.  We've had fantastic weather for the last few weeks and it's only going to get better.  Bring on Summer!

Monday, May 23, 2016

In Limbo - Weekly Wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday:  OFF

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

Wednesday:  1600m swim

Thursday:  31km ride outside

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

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

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

Total time 2h 49 minutes.

I really hope that this week is better.

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Re-Evaluating Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

#OperationTop5 - Week 19: Hanging on by a Thread

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

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

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

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

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

Progress!  The walls are up!

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

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

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

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

Monday:  OFF

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

Wednesday:  40 minute ride followed by a 2500m swim

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

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

Friday:  2400m swim

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 8, 2016

#OperationTop5 Week 18: The Roller Coaster Ride

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  OFF

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

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

Friday:  2600m swim

Saturday:  OFF

Sunday:  45 minute bike ride + 3500m swim

Total time:  4h 5 minutes

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

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