Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Musings: The Final Days

Well, I've gone from weeks left to just days now.   We've met so many great people here over the last two months, I'm definitely going to miss them.  I'm REALLY going to miss the weather and the fact that I can just walk outside with my bike and start riding without having to deal with much in the way of traffic.   The two month stay was going to be a test to see if we'd like being here and the answer is a resounding YES.  Now if only the dollar would rebound a bit!!

As I mentioned last week G was on holidays this week so we did some exploring.  I had every intention of getting my race report done but alas, that has yet to happen.  Once again, it was too nice to sit inside.  With the exception of one day where it rained but I happened to be outside in that anyway, ha ha.  

On Monday we drove out to St. Augustine, which is apparently the oldest city in the US and spent the  afternoon walking around.  It's quite beautiful.  Very touristy but still really lovely.  It was a gorgeous sunny day so it was just nice to be outside enjoying the weather.  Both of us really needed to move around as we were both pretty stiff from the race the day before.  I think a couple of hours on our feet helped get the blood flowing.   By the end of the day we both felt a lot better.  I think the sunshine and lobster & shrimp tacos helped, ha ha.

Totally reminds me of Europe.  

Castillo de San Marcos - built by the Spanish in the 17th Century

On Tuesday G was hell bent on going for a ride as we both ended up sleeping in and skipping swimming.  I wasn't sure if I'd be recovered enough but I didn't want to sit around doing nothing so I agreed to go with him and just said I'd keep my HR in zone 1-2.  Which is exactly what I did.  We ended up riding WAY longer than we had anticipated.  It was just so perfect outside, it we didn't want to stop.  

On Wednesday G had a little bit of work to do and he wanted to ride again and go for a run.  I wasn't ready to run and I wanted to give my legs another day so we did our own thing.   I ended up going to the pool for a short swim and a very short weight workout.   For some reason on Wednesday night I developed a brutal sinus headache.  It woke me up at about 2:00 am so I used a bit of nasal spray and tried to go back to sleep.  That didn't happen.  I tossed and turned for another hour, my head pounding.  I resorted to taking Sinex Night, which is kinda like NyQuil.  Needless to say, I missed my Thursday morning swim AND my normal ride.  I finally got myself out the door around 9:30 and opted to ride to the top of the Apopka Trail.  I didn't quite make it there because the clouds were rolling in fast so I turned around and hammered back trying to beat the weather.  It didn't happen.  I got caught in my first Florida downpour.  Holy CRAP.  I was soaked.

Friday we planned on heading into Dunedin to see if we could get perhaps get Jays tickets but it was totally sold out.  They were playing the Red Sox and it was March Break.  We probably should have tried to get them before hand.  G was hoping to pick up something for our nephew but since we couldn't get tickets, we couldn't get inside to see what kind of merchandise they had.  We made the most of our trek and wandered around downtown Dunedin.  We stopped for lunch and once again I had fish tacos.  So.  GOOD.  We took the scenic route back to Clermont and I had a monster nap in the car.  Not sure why I was so tired but I was.

Saturday we had signed up to do the Clear Air ride.  They had multiple distances and we chose the 160km.  Mainly because you got a little finishers medallion at the end, ha ha.  And because I really wanted to get out and do a really long ride.  The ride started in Inverness, which was about a 55 minute drive from Clermont.  We got out there for about 7:30 am witnessed the most beautiful sunrise, got ourselves registered and started riding.

We were cooking along comfortably at about 28kph.  I felt good.  G felt good.  The sun was playing hide and seek in the clouds and then at around 10:30 it finally came out.  It was a stunner of a day.  At the rate we were going I figured we'd be done the 160km in under 6 hours, especially since the way back to the finish was mostly downhill.  We were motoring along, almost at 95km, when all of a sudden I heard a small pop followed by what sounded like steam escaping a bag.  I could feel myself slowing down.  CRAP.  I had a flat.  So I yelled to G to stop and we pulled off to see what the damage was.  He checked the wheel and couldn't see anything so out came the pit stop and he tried to fill up the tire.  I could hear air coming out of somewhere.  So we spun the tire around and sure enough, the pit stop was coming out of the sidewall.  With no spare tubular, I was done.  When you're riding tubulars, it's generally a good idea to bring a back up so you don't get stuck doing what I had to do, which was ride back on a flat tire.  When your tire is flat and you're on carbon rims, you cannot move quickly or you risk potentially damaging the rim.  I went from averaging just over 28 /kph to 10 kph.  It took me 26 minutes to cover the first 5km back.  I could have run the 5km faster than that.  I picked up the pace to about 13 kph and stayed there.  It took me almost an hour and 15 minutes to go 17km.  I was hungry and disappointed by the time I met up with G.  I had really hoped to be able to ride the 160km but alas, I'll have to save the century for another day.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities this summer!

My Garmin Connect speed file from Saturday's ride.  Gee, wonder where I got the flat??

Anyway,  it was a pretty action packed week of fun in the sun.  The weather cooperated for the most part (save the rain storm I was caught in) and we got to explore a few more parts of Florida.

In terms of training, I had a pretty big week even with taking two rest days.  This is how it went down:

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  74.3km ride in zone 2.

Wednesday:  1829m swim (2000y) + 35 minutes in the gym.  I REALLY need to get back to lifting regularly again.  I had just gotten into a good groove then I slacked off again.

Thursday:  87km ride including a hammerfest back to the house.

Friday:  OFF

Saturday:  112.5km ride.

Sunday:  16km brutally hot (but stunning) run on the Clay Trail + 28km spin for coffee in the afternoon + obsessively checking Sports Stats for my athletes results from Around the Bay!  :)

Swim:  1829m
Bike:  301.5km - my biggest week of riding since I've been here!
Run:  16km

Total time:  14h 56 minutes.

Our days are numbered here and while I'm sad that this adventure has come to an end, I'm excited for the next round of adventures!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! I'm going to try to bottle up this Florida sunshine and bring it back with me!

Coach PK

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Musings: Holidays & Shaking out the Cobwebs

Well that weekend went by in the blink of an eye!  We are getting closer and closer to packing up and heading home.   We have one last weekend here and then it's time to go.  Boohoo.   The house hunt will have to continue from afar.  We've gone to see a lot of places since we've been here and there have been a couple that have been pretty good, but we're still not ready to bite the bullet simply because of the dollar.  If the dollar drops, then I think making a decision on a place will be much easier for us.  Right now paying an additional 35% (give or take) in exchange makes things a bit challenging.  And so, we wait.

I suspect we'll probably do a bit more looking around this week as G is off (YAY!) so we'll have much more free time.  We're going to do some touristy things as well.  Today we're off to St. Augustine to check it out.  Later on this week G wants to try to get to Dunedin to see a Jay's game so fingers crossed that happens.  If we manage that then we will have seen 3 of 4 Toronto teams while we've been here!  We saw the Raptors play the Magic just after we got here and last Thursday we went into Tampa to see the Leafs play the Lightning.  I'm happy to report that the Leafs CRUSHED them.   That is the first Leaf game I've seen in a very long time.  The last time I saw a game it was at Maple Leaf Gardens.  Yeah, when I said a long time, I meant a LOONNNGGG time.  We had really good seats and there were a TON of Leaf fans, probably due to it being March Break.  

This was the first week I didn't really schedule much in terms of workouts.  I've been playing things by ear since I've been down here, with a few goals for each week, but there's usually some structure to my week.  This week, there wasn't much.  All I knew was that I was going to take things easy this week as I was racing on Sunday.  A cold front rolled in on Tuesday, stuck around until Friday and made it down right chilly here.  And VERY windy.  Which made riding not awesome.  But I did it anyway because 1) I'm going to be back home in my basement before I know it and 2) I'm Canadian, what's a little cold???   I probably would have done my swim on Thursday morning with an on deck temperature of 4 degrees but the NTC closed the pool until 9:00 am so our swim got cancelled.   I went out and did a ride mid morning and it was still only 9 degrees.  It's amazing how cold that feels when your average daily temps are around 25 degrees.  I admit it, I've gotten soft.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to freeze when we get back home.  Whawha.  

So, let's get down to my week of training, shall we?

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  2377m swim, 45km coffee ride with Lori-Ann - so many Canadians down this week!

Wednesday:  13km very easy run + 45 minutes of strength training / physio work.

Thursday:  20.5km hilly, windy ride.

Friday:  OFF

Saturday:  56km ride + 600m open water swim

Sunday:  RACE: 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run.  Report to come this week.   If you've seen my Instagram post then you all know how that went.  :)

Total Time:  10h 48 minutes

The next few days are all about recovery and some down time.  A little sight seeing today is exactly what we need.

How was your week of training?  

Some Monday humour for you......

Go out and BE AWESOME!

Coach PK

Friday, March 17, 2017

Redefining my Why

As my first triathlon of the season approaches,  I've been thinking a lot about my goals for this race.   Actually, I've been thinking about my goals and expectations for the SEASON.  Normally by now my race calendar is full and I've got goals for each race.  This year is different.  I actually feel like I'm starting over in a sense because of my injury last year.   Being sidelined really messed with my head.  Looking back now I'd say that perhaps it was a blessing in disguise.   As I posted on Instagram earlier this week, before my injury, if you had asked me what my main motivation was for racing, I would have said, without hesitation, "to get on the podium".  That was the main reason I raced.  I liked winning.  I liked knowing I was strong enough to come out on top.  I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to win but when it's your main motivation (and you're not getting paid to race), I think it can take the enjoyment out of the process.

After I got injured, I lost my mojo.  The desire to compete withered up for a little while because I felt like I'd never get back to my old self again.  As I started rebuilding my running base, I began to realize that I didn't necessarily want to get back to my old self.  Instead I decided to focus on the process and the enjoyment of being able to move my body.  I stopped obsessing about paces and watts and just went out to play.  I'm continuing to do so.  As I get closer to my goal races, I know the more structured hard work will come.  The why behind the workouts has changed.  My WHY has changed.  I want to be able to go out and know that I have given everything I had on the day,  NO MATTER WHAT THE END RESULT and BE HAPPY with that.

The older I get the more I realize that I am my only competition.  Don't get me wrong, if you have a 45 - 49 written on your calf, I will still do my best to chase you down, because that's part of the fun of racing. But ultimately, it's about being the best I can be on that day, regardless of what the end result is.  I used to think this way when I started racing but lost sight of it when I started having success in the sport.   I used to get so anxious before races because I felt I had to perform.   That's not an enjoyable way to train and race.

That being said, I am a competitor, it's part of who I am and I am comfortable with that.  I'm not comfortable with the way it shaped my attitude towards racing so I'm changing that.

Sunday's race promises to be a fun journey.   I haven't raced an Olympic distance race in over 10 years (Guelph Lake 2005 was my last Olympic!)  I honestly don't know HOW to race this distance effectively.  I'm either going all out in a sprint or I'm pacing myself in a half Ironman so this will be interesting to say the least.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to consciously hold myself back on the bike so I don't completely cave on the run.  I haven't run more than 7km off the bike, nor have I done much targeted speed work.  Being in Florida has been all about playing, mostly on the bike, not so much on the run.

So how do I think I'm going to fare on Sunday?  These are my thoughts:

Swim:  27-30 minutes.  This will all depend on my state of mind / calmness level race morning.  I am in the first wave that goes off at 7:30 am.  It's still a bit darkish at that point of the day here.  And the water we swim in is BLACK.  It's really dark.  It's hard to see your hand extended in front of you it's that dark.  So yes, I find it scary and unnerving.  It can also get quite choppy.  Florida is super windy. The last few mornings here have been very windy so I'm hoping that perhaps it will die down by the weekend.

Bike:  1:13-1:15.  It will all depend on the wind and how my legs are feeling.  There are a few good little climbs on this road along with some nice quick descents.

Run:  47-50 minutes.  This will all depend on how well I execute my nutrition on the bike and how hard I go on the bike.

Factor in 3 minutes total for transitions since it's my first race and I'm more than likely going to be totally discombobulated.

If I nail everything and don't freak out on the swim, I'll break 2:30.  If I have a few hiccups then I suspect I'll be closer to 2:35-2:40 or so.  Considering my last Olympic was 2:42,  I'll be happy with anything under that!  But most importantly, I will be out there in my happy place, giving it my all.

I'm curious to know what motivates YOU?  What's YOUR why?

Happy St. Patrick's day and, Happy Friday.  I wonder how many people are skipping off work today to celebrate, ha ha.

~ Coach PK

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Musings: 3 Weeks Left

I look at this title and find it hard to believe.  It's funny when you say you're going away for three weeks it seems like such a long time but when you've been somewhere for a while and you realize you have three weeks left, it doesn't seem THAT long.  Why is that???  Seriously, our time here has flown by so quickly.  We are planning on coming back next year for sure and we may even look at coming back at some point in the fall for a few weeks.  We'll see.  I am going to miss it here for sure but I am looking forward to going back to the comfort of our own home.  Sleeping in my own bed.  Having a nice hot epsom salt bath.  There is no tub in the house we've rented so that is one thing I've REALLY missed especially with all the miles I've been logging on the bike.  First world problems for sure.

G was away again this past week so I was flying solo again.  Thankfully his travel is done for the next little while and we get to hang out together again.   The one week trips here and there are ok but when he's gone two weeks in a row, that's hard.  I really miss him.   He's booked next week off so we get to really play tourist!  I think we're planning on taking a trip to St. Augustine and after that I'm not sure what else we'll do.  I'm sure there will be a big ride in there somewhere as both of us will be doing the 160km Clean Air ride on our last weekend here. 

The weather here this past week was HOT.  Apparently it's been unseasonably warm here for February and March.  Training in the heat when you're not used to it definitely taxes your system and I think the temps this week in conjunction with a bit more volume than normal, tuckered me out.  I finally got my butt back into the gym twice.  I've been doing a brick once a week (actually a triathlon with long transitions ha ha) and I managed to get into open water again this past week.  G and I are going to try to get into the lake again this week before our race on Sunday.  

I'm feeling pretty good these days although my knees have been acting up here and there again.  Mostly after I ride my tri bike, which is a bit of a problem considering that's the bike I race on.  I may have to get my fit looked at again when I get back.   Speaking of my tri bike, I took it for a 90km rip with my Tuesday morning ride crew.  I'm glad I was on that bike instead of my road bike because the wind was ridiculous.  That's one thing I've noticed about Florida.  It's REALLY windy.  If the sun is out, it's going to be windy.  If it's cloudy, there isn't usually much wind.  That being said, it's been good for me to ride in the wind.  I've got my race wheels on my tri bike and G's deep rim Fast Forward wheels on my road bike so that's been helpful in terms of reducing drag when I'm riding into the wind.  It's also helped me improve my confidence in the crosswinds in terms of my bike handling skills.  I no longer get freaked out by gusts of wind blowing me sideways and I've learned to control my bike a bit better.   My group riding skills have improved a little as well.  I'm getting better at accelerating out of turns which is a big one for me.  I still struggle with uphill accelerations.  I just don't seem to have the leg power for that but I'm working on it.   My goal coming back from Florida was to be stronger on the bike and I think by the time race season rolls around, that should be the case.

With so much cycling, my running has slightly taken a back seat.  That being said I had two really solid runs this week.  I had planned on doing a longer run off the bike yesterday but my body just said no way.  So I opted to give it an easy day on the bike and then I took today off.   If I had done the ride I was planning on doing I would have died for sure.  And I would have ended up at over 300km of cycling for the week.  Which is double where I was the week before.  Not smart training.  

So let's see how things went this week:

Monday:  OFF.  I think I was still recovering from my birthday weekend celebrations, ha ha.   I still had birthday leftovers that had to be consumed as well....

Tuesday:  2377m swim, 90.5km bike, 7km run off the bike.  I forgot to start my Garmin so I only have 6.33km listed.  Grrr....

Wednesday:  60 minutes of strength work.

Thursday:  2300m swim, 47.7km bike in the a.m.  Then Swim Like A Pro had a Splash N' Dash in the evening so I got the chance to swim in open water (400m) and to let it rip on the run (5km)  I also got to test out this piece of AWESOMENESS....

This is the 2017 Zoot Team Kit.  I am IN LOVE.  I am supposed to get shoes as well but I haven't received them yet and I have no idea what they look like.  All I hope is that they match, ha ha.  Back to the event....I had an ok swim.  There was a fair bit of gasping for air and flailing around even after standing on the beach and letting everyone go.  I managed to average 1:53's/100m which is not awesome for me BUT given the fact that I stood on shore and walked in to the water vs running in like most of the other people, I will take it.   What really surprised me was my run.  I ran 5km in 21:19.  WTF.   Not close to my PR but substantially faster than I thought I'd be.  And that was with a stop at an aid station for some water.  I think it was my new Zoot Suit, ha ha.  

Friday:  60 minutes of strength work

Saturday:  65km ride with the Cycling Hub.  It was super windy today and my legs were feeling the gym from the previous day.  

Sunday:  55km ride along the West Orange Trail

Swim:  5077m 
Bike:  259km (yesssss!)
Run:  12km

Total time:  14h 18 minutes.  Now THAT is a big week.  Don't think I'll be repeating that kind of volume anytime soon.  I've found it hard to dial things back because there is always someone who wants to ride or do something and the weather is beautiful so you WANT to be outside.  It would be easy for me to do something every day but I'm trying not do to that and I'm paying close attention to my IF / TSS scores in Training Peaks.  I've also started working HRV (heart rate variability) training into my training and I find it to be very helpful in determining intensity levels every day.  I will do a more detailed post on this after I've gathered a bit more data.  

I hope everyone back home manages to stay safe today - I know there is a big storm coming.  Those of you that are on March break in warmer climes, ENJOY!

How was your week of training?  

What do you prefer, a one piece tri suit or a two piece tri suit?  

"New Monday, new week, new goals....."

Be Awesome!

Coach PK

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday Musings: The Best Birthday Ever

I'm sitting here writing this in an eerily quiet house.  24 hours ago it was filled with the chatter and laughter of 3 fabulous women that I am lucky to have in my life.  This weekend was exactly what all of us needed.  Some time together and some time away.   The shenanigans started on Thursday night and went through the entire weekend.  I honestly don't remember the last time I went to bed at 4:00 am only to get up 3 hours later so we could hit the road.  I don't know how I made the two hour drive to Clearwater without falling asleep at the wheel but I did.  I'm 99.9% sure it was the company.

En Route to Clearwater after 3 hours of sleep.  
While I'm sad that G wasn't here for my birthday, it was really special to share it with my girlfriends.  They all have young kids so getting together is challenging.  Weekends away are even more so but, when a girlfriend is going to be solo for her birthday, well, that's not going to happen on their watch.  And thanks to G, we all got treated to some awesome down time at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater.

Charlie's Angels ain't got nothin on us!  Afternoon beach walk....
I honestly didn't think I'd do much in the way of workouts this weekend but, the girls wanted to get out and enjoy the weather so I managed 2 runs in 2 days, which I normally wouldn't do but they were both short and one was nice and easy.   Two of the girls I trained with all the time during my Ironman days and one of them I currently train with from time to time in the summer.   We are all at different levels of ability now but we still love to get out and move and the fact that we got to do it together was awesome.

The girls flew in on Thursday night and we stayed up until 4:00 am drinking and talking.  The only reason we actually went to bed is because we wanted to get to the beach before noon, ha ha.  That didn't end up happening as we were all moving a little slowly the next morning.  40+ year olds need more than 3 hours sleep to function properly.  But we made it to Clearwater around 12:30 and went straight to the hotel.  We couldn't check in yet but they let us go to the pool.  We had all put our bathing suits on before we left the house so we were pretty much ready to get our lounge on.   I haven't spent a day lounging by a pool in a very long time.  It was divine.  Add to that, the conversation, the laughter and the cocktails and it was a perfect way to spend my birthday.  We had big plans for the evening but, the previous nights shenanigans killed us all.  We like to think we can still party with the best of them but alas, we can't at least not two nights in a row, ha ha.  I was sitting at dinner and I could feel the wind leaving my sails.  It had also gotten very cold and we were all underprepared for that.  So we were back in the room by 10:30 pm and I think we were all in bed asleep by 11:30, ha ha.  But not after I had my "cake".

Ice Cream Sandwich for the WIN!!!
Saturday morning we all wanted to get out and do something so 3 of us went for a run and one of us went for a walk.  Sue and I didn't want to run on the beach so we opted to run together.  She was my training buddy when we did Ironman together and we had matching everything.  So it stood to reason that we'd match today.

Team Awesome out for a run in Clearwater
We spent a large part of Saturday lounging by the pool.  The girls really wanted to go to Target so we said we'd do that on our way home.  Apparently we treat shopping like any other endurance sport ha ha.  We were in Target for over 2 hours.  We went in when it was light, came out and it was dark.  The drive home was good until we got closer to Clermont and the street lights disappeared.  Nothing like driving on a pitch black two lane highway.  I missed one turn but the GPS corrected itself and we were back in business.  We got back to Clermont and made it to 12:30 am before we all pulled the pin.  G got home about 30 minutes later so I saw him for about a minute before I fell back asleep.  I slept for about 7 hours.  G was up when I got up so we got to hang out together for a bit before the girls got up.  The plan was to go down to Waterfront Park and The Energy Lab so we could go for a little run and have a coffee.  It was a cooler day and the wind was brutal.  But that didn't dampen our spirits.

Then it was another trip to Target to pick up things that they opted not to get the day before, ha ha. We hit up Panera for a late lunch then it was back to the house so the girls could pack up.  Then we all hung out on the couch with G and chatted.   There was so much snacking and drinking this weekend, I think I put on all the weight I lost after I got here, ha ha.  But, it was worth every sip and every bite.  I had SO much fun.  It was exactly what my heart and soul needed.

To top it all off, I got a text from one of my athletes telling me she nailed her race at the Chilly Half this weekend.   That was a great way to cap off an already amazing weekend.

I knew that this weekend would be all about the hang time, not the training time so I tried to make sure I got most of my volume earlier in the week.  We had a lot of humidity earlier in the week so I got totally killed with most of my workouts.  I was also due for a recovery week so the timing was pretty much perfect.  This is how my week rolled out:

Monday:  2286m swim

Tuesday:  2544m swim, 90km bike at pretty much tempo effort in the wind and humidity, then a 5km run off the bike at noon in 32 degree temps.  Yup, I died.  My Garmin said it was going to take me 48 hours to recover from those workouts.

Wednesday:  31.9km ride.  10 minutes into this ride my Garmin recovery advisor beeped to tell me that my recovery was only "Fair".  Ha.  No kidding.  I could feel it in my legs.  I had hoped to ride 50km but realized that was ambitious so I cut it short.

Thursday: 10.77km run.  I was up super late on Wednesday so I skipped my swim (again!).  I at least managed to get another run in with Shannon.

Friday:  OFF

Saturday:  7.5km run with 3km at tempo pace.  This felt pretty freaking awesome other than the wind.

Sunday:  Easy 6.5km run with the girls.

I didn't manage a single strength training session which is disappointing but this week I'll get back on track.  On Tuesday I'm planning to ride with the same group I rode with last week, this time I'm going to take my tri bike out so we'll see how that goes.  And I need to get back to swimming.  I also need to get some more open water swims in as we have a race coming up in a couple of weeks and I know that water can get really choppy so I need to practice.

Swim:  4830m

Bike:  122km

Run:  24.77km

Total time:  8h 33 minutes

How was your week of training?  What was one of your most memorable birthday celebrations?  I think this one will go down as one of the best ever.

This quote perfectly sums up my weekend:

"Best friends are people you don't need to talk to every single day.   You don't need to talk to each other for weeks but when you do, it's like you've never stopped talking...."

Have an awesome Monday!  

Coach PK

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A New Start + Another Trip Around the Sun

Remember my sneak peak from Monday?  Well, I'm happy to say that my new website is LIVE.  You can check it out here.   You may also notice a slight change in the header of my blog as well to tie in with my coaching website.

Everything was done by Chick and Owl Design.  They are a brother and sister duo and the sister, Katie, happens to be friends with my little sister for what seems like forever.  They were great to work with and I am thrilled with the end result.   I highly recommend them.  

The original plan was to launch on my birthday but they delivered early so I launched yesterday (happy early birthday to me!).  Quite frankly it's just as well because I spent a lot of time on social media yesterday and given that my girlfriends are coming in tonight, I don't think I would have been able to devote the time to do much if I was playing hostess. 

Tomorrow is my 46th birthday.  Forty Six.  WTH.   I still feel like I'm 30 something.  My body tells me otherwise every damn day but that's part of getting older, right?  Normally I'd have something clever to post like last year but alas, I do not.   Perhaps later on next week so I can reflect on turing 46.  

I did get a second early birthday present in the form of a meeting (along with an actual present - yay!).  It's not every day you get to meet Instagram / Facebook friends from another country but today I got that chance.  I finally got to meet my IG friend Shannon.  Today was an absolutely fabulous day.  We went for a run (as you do!) and she took me around her neighbourhood.  The conversation was easy.  I felt like I've known her for years.   It's funny how social media makes you feel that way about people.  And of course, as social media runners do, we had to document it.  You can see Shannon's post here.  So much laughing.  It was a lovely way to spend a morning and I'm grateful I got the opportunity.   I also can't believe that I got that much air!  ha ha ha.

Happy Almost Friday!

Coach PK

Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Musings: Birthday Week & A Sneak Peek

Hey hey hey, it's Mon-DAY and I cannot believe that we've been here for a MONTH already!  February has pretty much flown by.  Normally I'm not a big fan of February but I'm not gonna lie, I'm LOVING February this year.   We're really enjoying the weather, the people and the fact that we can hop on our bikes and ride right from our front door.  G said he thinks he could live here.  I'm not sure I could, as much as I love the warm weather, I know I'd miss the changing of the seasons.   Not to mention my family and friends.

Speaking of my family,  my amazing sister made it on local TV to talk about a project that she has been working on for the last year.   To say I'm proud would be an understatement.   And I realize that it's been a while since I've mentioned my dad.  His heart attack back in November was quite serious but he's finally in cardiac rehab and he's on the mend.  He's changed his diet and he's now allowed to play some badminton and he's in the gym lifting weights.   So things are moving in the right direction!

We didn't get up to much this weekend as G had to jet off to Paris for work so there were no tourist escapades this weekend.   He's gone for the entire week and won't be back until late this Saturday.   So, I'm going to play tourist without him.  But I won't be going solo.  Nope.  It's my birthday on Friday so a few of my girlfriends are flying in from Toronto for a long weekend and we're road tripping to Clearwater Beach.  WOOOHOOO!  Nothing like a beach weekend with your gal pals to celebrate another trip around the sun.   I can pretty much guarantee that the only thing that will get a work out will be my dancing shoes.   Dancing counts as cardio right?  Ha.

And in other BIG NEWS, I'm finally getting ready to launch my website!!!!  We're getting so close and I'm SUPER EXCITED.   For now,  you can check out my Facebook page and you can get a sneak preview of my logo there.  WHEEEEEEEEEEE!

Ok ok, that's enough squealing.   Let's get to how this last week of training went down shall we?

Monday:   57km bike + 5km run G and I met up with my friend Deirdre and her hubby Jonathan as well as our friends Ruth and Keith for some TT intervals, followed by a run off the bike.  We drove out to Silver Lake in Leesburg and proceeded to create perfect circles in Strava, ha ha.

We did a really good warm up (3 laps) then hammered one lap all out so Jonathan could get the Strava KOM (he AVERAGED 48.5 kph.  BEAST!).  Then we did a couple more easy laps and did a one lap TT.  Then another couple of easy laps and then a 3 lap TT.   Given that it's only February and I haven't really put in a lot of high intensity interval work on my TT bike just yet, I'm SUPER happy with how that all went down.  To see those speeds this early makes me happy.  My normalized power (NP) for this part of the workout was 192W and my 20 minute power average was 215W.   My average watts per kg for each lap of the 3 lap TT were, 3.70, 3.60 and 3.86 respectively.   I'm pretty pleased with that and hope to improve on that over the next few months.

By the time we finished riding it was 12:30 and it was scorching hot.  But I had said I wanted to do a brick so G and I laced up.  He took off like a shot.  I shuffled out of the parking lot, legs and knees hurting.   I wanted to stop.  I figured it would probably take about 1km before I felt ok.  Sure enough just past the 1km mark, everything stopped hurting and I got into a groove.  I caught G and proceeded to bang out a 23 minute 5km.  Not even remotely close to what I used to be able to run off the bike but, you've gotta start somewhere.  It wasn't pretty that's for sure but I was pleased with the effort.
Target acquired!  
Tuesday:  Swim 2377m + 60 minute strength workout.  I knew I was going to need some serious recovery time after that workout so I skipped the Centre Hill ride.  I swam and went to the gym with Dee.

Wednesday:  This was supposed to be a big ride day with Dee but Mother Nature decided to pour rain for most of the day so we didn't ride.  I figured I'd switch things around and run but I missed my window of opportunity to get out.  And I really wasn't feeling that great so nothing happened.

Thursday:  22.5km bike. I hardly slept on Wednesday night so I missed my morning swim.  I was still pretty sore from the gym on Tuesday so I had figured I'd do an easy ride vs. doing the Centre Hill ride.  I got up and ate breakfast but felt so crappy I went back to bed (thank you "Aunt Flo")  It was raining in the morning and then cleared up around lunch so I went out at that point.   Not the best idea, I still wasn't feeling awesome.  But at least I got outside.

Friday:   8km run.  I slept much better Thursday night and had big plans for Friday but we ended up cleaning the house in the morning, then going to see another rental place that we might book for next year.  By the time that was done it was just past 11 so G and I laced up our shoes and went out for a run.  It was 32 degrees celsius.  I was a big sweaty mess by the time we finished.  But I was glad we did something.

Saturday:  77.5km ride with the Cycling Hub group in some crazy dense fog.  We climbed Sugarloaf Mountain again this week.  My legs were definitely feeling these last few weeks of bike time.

Sunday:  76.9km ride with Epic Cycles + a 5.8km easy run off the bike.  I love that there are two different group rides we can choose from!   The Epic Cycles group is a big one. They have a race team so there were some very speedy guys leading the front of the pack.   But the point of this ride was to put in some base miles so it was a nice easy pace.

Swim:  2377m ( I really need to work on improving this, ha ha ha)

Bike:  234km

Run:  18km

Total time:  12h 13 minutes

This week will be a very nice scale back week.  I had a deep tissue massage yesterday and I'm actually quite sore so I will be taking to the pool today which means I should be able to get 3 swims in this week!  I will have a nice 3 day break from training which should have me rested and ready to tackle another big week.

How was your week of training?  It's been a while but I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for their weekly wrap!  Head on over and check out some of the other posts!

"It's Monday, don't forget to be awesome!"

Coach PK  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Experiments in Eating

When I started this blog oh so long ago, I posted a lot about what I ate.  That's why you'll see a recipes tab.  I used to share some of my favourite creations.  Over the last two years, in particular this past year, my normally healthy eating habits fell by the wayside.  I became too busy and too tired to put the effort into properly fuelling my body.  Of course, I gained weight, despite the same level of training volume as the previous year.  I'm chalking some of that up to changes in my hormones (there will be a whole separate post on that fun!) but I suspect that most it was due to poor food choices and not lifting regularly.  I know when I ate "clean" and lifted 2-3 times a week, maintaining my weight was easy.  Hormonal fluctuations didn't dramatically alter my physique either.

Once the insanity of the holidays ended, I was determined to get back to regular meal prepping.  I was somewhat successful at that over the month of January and G and I sort of got back on track.  What really kicked me in the pants was after G's annual checkup.  His cholesterol has been on the higher side for a while due to genetics.  Never to the point where it was dangerous, just that it had to be monitored.  Over the last 3 years it has steadily increased to the point where this year his doctor wanted to put him on medication to control it because it was much higher than it should be.   So G got his prescription and started taking the medication.  I think he lasted 3 days before he said screw this.  The medication gave him headaches and he generally felt pretty crappy.   He said he wanted to try to control it with diet.  So we started looking at what he ate.

His breakfast was normally some kind of flavoured yogurt with a store bought granola and berries.  Sounds fairly healthy right?  Not really.  Flavoured yogurt is filled with sugar as is store bought granola.  He used to eat oatmeal all the time so we've gotten him back on that and he adds berries and maple syrup to it.  He still likes some crunch on it so he still buys store bought granola but doesn't use that much.  I made some granola before we left for Florida and that got eaten up in less than a week.  So I plan on making some more of that and doubling the recipe.  Eliminating dairy should be very helpful for him.  I've got him drinking cashew milk in his smoothies and we've found a coffee place here that does the best almond milk cappuccinos.  That being said, both of us still use dairy in our coffee.  I haven't been able wean myself off of cream in my coffee and he likes milk in his.  I'm trying to find a substitute that offers that same creamy taste in my coffee that cream gives me.  So far, I haven't found anything that quite fits the bill.   The best thing would be to find a coffee that I like the taste of just black.  I've only had that happen once and it was at a wedding.  It was the most amazing cup of coffee I've ever had.  I get that it's an acquired taste but the coffee also has to be good for it to be enjoyable. I gave up sugar in my coffee about 3 months ago and haven't looked back on that!

The biggest change for us has been a significant reduction in our meat consumption.  I had been gradually reducing my consumption and turning to beans, legumes and soy products like tempeh.  G was the big meat eater.  Normally his lunch would consist of a couple of sandwiches with some kind of sandwich meat and cheese.  Processed meat has become a no-no as has red meat so now he'll grill a bunch of chicken breasts and have them in either a wrap with some mustard and tomatoes or he'll put them in a salad.   I'm trying to wean him off meat altogether but I'm not sure that will happen.  When he's left to his own devices, he will always choose an animal protein over a legume or plant protein because it requires little effort to prepare on his part:  salt, pepper, fire = done.   We'll see if that is enough to help keep his cholesterol in check.  I'm a bit more adventurous in terms of what I'll eat so I will happily cook up some marinated tempeh and put that in a salad or sandwich.

I'm looking at alternate ways of getting protein into our diets without consuming meat or seafood.  G is allergic to shellfish to we don't eat that at home.  We do eat fish, at least once a week.  The rest of the week I'm turning to grains, beans and other vegan products.  Thankfully the inter webs is chock full of great resources.  I'm also not opposed to winging it like I did last night.

This was roasted sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli (SO GOOD) and roasted red onions, with quinoa, and grilled Fieldroast Smoked apple sausages and a maple dijon dressing that I made up.  I will make it again and post the recipe for those that are interested.  It was DELICIOUS if I do say so myself!

Another go to that I love to make is this noodle salad with peanut sauce.    You can add as many different types of veggies to this as you want.  My typical go to:  red and yellow peppers, match stick carrots, cucumber, edamame, green onions and cilantro.

For breakfast, I will alternate between oatmeal with some quinoa or buckwheat mixed in for added protein.  Or, I will make a chocolate peanut butter chia pudding.  It looks disgusting but it tastes so good.  My fave oatmeal combo is peanut butter and banana.  I think I've gone through 2 jars of peanut butter since we've been here and I'm almost done my third! (that's roughly a jar a week - you could say I have a bit of a problem, ha ha).

There are several things I've noticed since changing changing my diet.

1) I don't experience an afternoon crash any more.  My energy level is consistent throughout the day.  I'm also eating 3-4 large meals a day vs. having mid morning and mid afternoon snacks and I think that has helped as well because when I get hungry, my energy wanes a bit so eat something to bring it back up.  Now I just make sure I eat a bit of a larger meal and I find that it keeps me satisfied for at least 4 hours until I'm ready to eat again.

2) My skin is much better.  Not that I had bad skin to begin with but usually once a month without fail, I'd get some kind of nasty cystic acne around my jawline and forehead.  Now, I may get one or two minor bumps but they're gone in a day or two.

3)  My PMS symptoms, specifically bloating, seem to be less severe.  That alone is enough to keep me eating this way.

G goes back to his doctor in May so we'll see if this change in diet has helped his cholesterol levels.  I'm hoping it does.   If not, I think we may engage the help of a registered dietician.

Have you made any dietary changes due to health issues?  If so, what were they?

"Today is as good a day as any to make a change...."

Coach PK

Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday Musings: Playing Tourist


Happy Family Day to all my friends and family back home!  From what I've heard, the weather has been absolutely lovely there these last few days.  Hopefully it continues!  It's Presidents Day here so it's also a long weekend, which means that G is off work.  Once the fog burns off, we're going to take our tri bikes out and do some group TT practice with my friend Dee, her hubby, her brother in law and two of our local friends.  I may even do a run off the bike!  

Once again I seem to have fallen into the once a week post.  Which is sad because I've still got a bunch of posts in my draft folder.   I have so many things flying around in my head that I want to "get down on paper" but I can never seem to sit still long enough to get things out.  It looks like we're going to get some rain this week so perhaps I'll spend a few hours writing vs. riding.  

This past weekend we played tourists again and went back to Daytona to watch a couple of races.  We went to watch the Arca race and The Clash.  The Arca race went off without a hitch.  The weather was slightly overcast and the rain held off.  It actually looked like it was going to clear up as well.  We bought passes to be able to go over to the garage side and check things out so after the first race, we went over there and wandered around.  We got to see the pit crews working on the cars, we watched a few go through inspection.  Inspection is serious business.  It was pretty cool to see all the behind the scenes.  The passes we bought allowed us out on the infield for driver introductions which was fun.  People go nuts for their favourite driver.   I took a ton of pics.  Here are a few.

Obligatory selfie! 

Drivers "drive by" - this is Kyle Bush

Kurt Bush

The legendary Jimmie Johnson
 As the drivers were doing their drive by, it started to rain.  You can kinda see it in the pictures.  It wasn't too heavy just a light drizzle.   We made our way back to our seats and then the rain started to really come down so we went back inside.   The race was supposed to start at 8:24pm.  It was pouring at that point.  They had the track driers out trying to dry the track but it just wasn't happening so at 9:30 they called the race and rescheduled it for 11:30 the next morning.   We had planned on staying the night anyway since it's about 90 minutes from Clermont to Daytona.   When we got up the next morning it was overcast and cloudy.  The forecast called for sun and clouds by 11 am.  Sure enough, that's what we got.  It also go REALLY hot.  I sweat buckets sitting in the stands.

Another obligatory selfie!
The race was fun and LOUD.  I took a few videos but can't figure out how to get them to load properly on here.  All the crazy action happened in the last lap of course but it was still pretty exciting.  Check touristy thing #2 off our list!  Next up will be a trip to Clearwater Beach in a couple of weeks for my birthday!

In terms of training I had a pretty big week.  That being said, there are still a few red boxes in my Training Peaks account.  Yup, those are both runs.  My mileage goal last week was a whopping 15km of running and I couldn't make that happen.  I had one of those runs scheduled earlier in the week but I shuffled things around so I could ride with Dee.  My goal for the rest of my time here is to average between 200-250 km per week on the bike.  Which means my running is going to probably net out at roughly 20km per week max vs. the 40-45km per week I was running.  Once I get back home, the cycling mileage will be dialled back a bit and I'll be able to bring up my running mileage a bit more.

I've been making a concerted effort to get to the gym at least twice a week and I can really feel that's been paying off.  My legs are starting to feel strong.  I even managed to hang on / pull in the Centre Hill ride last Thursday.  Sure I died towards the end but I think that was due to improper fuelling post swim.  I'm going to change things up this week and see how I fare.

This is how my training rolled out this past week:

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  2583 m swim (we were back in the yard pool) + 50 minutes of strength work.

Wednesday:  81km ride with Dee and some of our local friends.

Thursday:  2500m swim (Garmin was way off due to running in and out of the pool), followed by a 90km hammerfest on the bike.

Friday:  Just over 60 minutes of strength and physio work at the gym.

Saturday:  84.7km with the Cycling Hub, one of the local bike shops here.  This was a super hilly ride.

Sunday:  OFF

Swimming:  5083m
Cycling:  256km
Running:  Big fat ZERO.

Total time:  12h:  51 minutes

"It's Monday, the perfect time to reboot your mind and have a fresh start"

How are you spending your holiday Monday?   

Coach PK

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Musings: Random Observations

Well it took me a week but I finally got my race report done.   Staying inside to write when the weather has been sunny and warm is a challenge.   I know, I know, I'll shut up.  I think all my friends back in Toronto hate me right now.   I don't blame them.  I've seen all the pictures on Facebook.  It's been a messy few days.

It's safe to say that G and I are totally settled in our wee little rental.  It doesn't have all the comforts of home (there's no usable bath tub) and it's a little bit small, but we're close to the lake and it's about a 5 minute drive to the NTC so we're in a great spot.  I can get on my bike and ride without having to deal with too much traffic and we're about a 10 minute bike ride from Waterfront Park and the trail system.  

When I'm traveling and staying in new places, there's always going to be a bit of comparison that happens.  Especially somewhere that is somewhat similar to home.  I have a few random observations from being here for a couple of weeks.

1.  People here are SO NICE.  You could be standing in line in the grocery store and the person behind you in line will strike up a conversation with you.  People always say good morning or smile and wave.  I can count on one hand the number of times that someone HASN'T smiled or said hello.   In Toronto it would be the opposite.  Maybe it's southern hospitality, maybe it's the fact that Clermont isn't a big city, I don't know.  But whatever the case, the folks here are absolutely lovely.

2.  Food here is EXPENSIVE.  Most of the time the prices are the same as at home.  Sometimes more depending on the item.  Since our dollar is so crappy,  I'm mentally adding 35% to pretty much everything we're buying, which always makes me think twice about what we really need.  I'm proud to say that we haven't thrown out any unused food!  We're actually doing some of our grocery shopping at Target & Walmart because the grocery stores here are so expensive.   We just discovered the local Farmers market so we'll be getting our produce and seafood from there moving forward.   I was amazed at the prices there.  Funnily enough, it's cheaper than Farmers Markets back home.

3.  There are a LOT of people that have permanently moved here from other climates.  In fact most of the people I've met are transplants vs.  born and raised in Florida.   I ran into a guy from Timmins at the local bike shop -he's been here for over 20 years. On the weekend I rode with someone from New England and someone else from Colorado.  One of the ladies I met last year is from North Carolina.   All of them love it here, but they've also said that summers here can be pretty gross.   Given that it's been an average of 27 degrees for the last week, with a little bit of humidity and it's only February, I can only imagine what the summer is like.

I'm sure there will be a few more things I notice over the next few weeks.  Suffice to say we love it here and are already planning on coming back again next year, probably for 2 months again.

I had planned on taking things easy this week, and I did in terms of effort level.  My volume went up a fair bit, probably a bit more than I would have liked but, the weather was great and G had Friday off so we opted to go out and play.  This is how my week rolled out.

Monday:  OFF.  My legs were pretty stiff from the half.  Not as sore as I thought they'd be but definitely "heavy" feeling.

Tuesday:  2800m swim + 45km easy ride.  My first swim with S.L.A.P (swim like a pro).  I was nervous but once I got there,  Coach Sarah made me feel totally welcome.   It was also my second time swimming long course.  OMG it was amazing.  I love that pool anyway but being able to swim 50m was fantastic.  It makes such a difference in being able to get into a rhythm.  And when we finished, the sun was coming up.  What a perfect way to start the day.

Wednesday:  6.7km run + 50 minute strength work.  This was supposed to be an 8km easy run but my legs still weren't feeling awesome.   Went back into the gym and did some light weight work.  Looking forward to getting back into heavier lifting this week.

Thursday:  2350m swim with S.L.A.P.  I had a ride planned but opted to give my legs the day off.  They were slightly sore from my gym workout and I knew G wanted to do a longish ride on Friday.

Friday:  100km ride on the Van Fleet Trail.  This was hard.  The effort was easy but because this trail is completely flat, you don't get a break.  We rode it from top to bottom and back.  But we did our 100km and I got the Strava Gran Fondo badge for February.  :)

Saturday: 60km moderately hilly ride with the Cycling Hub group.  I was the only gal on this ride but it didn't matter.  The pace was very comfortable and the people were great.   G and I will probably go back and ride with them again this Saturday.

Sunday:  12.6km run and an 800m open water swim.  My legs felt pretty crappy so I took some of my run to the trails in the Hiawatha Reserve.   I think the two days of back to back riding tuckered my legs out a bit.

Swimming:  5950m
Cycling:  206km
Running:  19.5km

Total time:  12h 31 minutes

The plan moving forward is to shift my training focus to the bike and scale things back in terms of volume with my running.  I probably won't run more than 12-16km for my long runs and I don't suspect that my run mileage will be more than 20-25km per week for now.  Once I'm back from Florida and more than likely back on the trainer, I'll bring my running volume back up a bit more.  But for now, the bike is going to be queen.  My goal over the next two months is to average between 200-300km per week of riding which shouldn't be difficult to do at all.

How was your week of training?  

"Monday is the perfect day to correct last weeks mistakes.."

Make it a good one!

Coach PK