Wednesday, September 21, 2016

That's A Wrap!

I suppose I could have titled this post the Season That Never Was, but that would be looking at this race season in a negative light.  I'm trying to stay away from that mindset and look at the good things that came from this season.

Yes, I got injured and didn't compete in my A-race.  Yes, that sucked big time.  There were tears.   But, after that race day came and went, I focused on what I could do and that was swim and ride my bike.  I spent a lot of time in the saddle this summer.  I worked on my swim stroke.  And I worked on fixing all the little things that contributed to my injury in the first place.  I'm not 100% sure that everything is fixed but I'm definitely feeling and moving better.  

I went back to Dr. Galea last week to go over the results of my MRI.  I finally got an injury diagnosis and it told me what I suspected all along:   "Mild tendinosis at the origins of the hamstrings bilaterally.  Low grade partial tear of the posterior fibres of the semimembranosus tendon origin from the left ischium"

Essentially, I tore my hamstring tendon at the insertion point.   It was small tear but it was painful.  There is some scar tissue kicking around in there still so that will have to be worked out because I still feel like there is some restriction of movement through the gait cycle.  I also still feel some pressure in and around my glut / upper hamstring.  So it looks like I'm going to be working on strengthening my hamstrings for the next little while.  The good news is that Dr. Galea thinks that this is all fixable via gait retraining.  He said that my left glut either doesn't fire or fires late (previous gait analysis has shown that it fires late).  Right now it's not even firing and that's probably due to the injury.  He's recommended that I go see a physio by the name of Laura McIntyre at The Urban Athlete so that's where I'm off to tonight.

I am hoping that I come out of this stronger and more aware of my body and how it functions.  

On to the really positive things!  

Despite not running, I still managed to get a couple of races in.  And because of all the riding I had been doing, I actually set a new 20 minute power record on the bike at the Ontario Women's Triathlon.  That really surprised me.  I went from 221 watts to 233 watts.  I still can't believe that.  Once I got injured, I stopped training with power and I just rode.  Paolina always told me not to be a slave to the numbers.  I figured I wasn't training for anything anymore so I didn't need to pay attention to the data.  It paid off.

This past weekend, I did the swim leg of The Barrelman Half Ironman with my two friends David B and David L.  Or the Double D's.  Our team name was Phaedra and her Spectacular Double D's.  Yup.  We went there.  The guys thought it was really funny.  I was a bit upset at first (I had suggested PK vs. my actual name) but, I couldn't deny it was pretty hilarious.    

If you've been reading this blog for the last few years, you know that open water swimming is not my favourite and that it gives me a fair bit of anxiety.  I have slowly been getting better at dealing with said anxiety.  I know I could have said "No" when David asked me if I wanted to be the swimmer but I thought 1) it's a chance to race 2) I get to spend the day with a couple of my favourite people and 3) it's only the swim, not the entire race.  I figured I'd be fine.

Leading up to the race, I was ok but the day before I could feel the nerves setting in.  I didn't sleep well the night before.  Race morning there was a fair bit of griping.  I was nervous.  I hadn't swam more than 1800m in open water in my wetsuit this year and that was with stops.  This would be 2km straight.  Although I could have stopped if I wanted but it's a race.  I don't like to stop.

I knew a ton of people that were going to be racing so race morning was very social which really helped to alleviate my anxiety.   There was so much chatting and hugging and laughing that I could feel my nerves easing.  David B got all set up in T1 and I started getting myself sorted.   I wedged myself into my wetsuit gave the Double D's hugs and made my way into the water to do a good warm up.  My wave went at 9:05 and I was in the water by 8:45.

Me and my spectacular Double D's.

I swam to the other side of the canal and then back to the middle.  Off to the other side, back to the middle.  I floated for a bit, swam over to the edge, got out to fix my wetsuit and went back in.  Everything felt fine.  My wetsuit was comfortable.  My goggles were snug.  I was ready.  I tread water, listened to the National anthem and smiled.  I felt relaxed.  There were some nerves but not the anxiety that I normally felt.  The pros went off to a loud cheer from the crowd.  Then wave two went off.  My wave was up next.  I fell to the back and off to the side a bit.  No need for me to be up at the front in the fray.  The horn went off, I hit start on my Garmin and let the crowd go.  A few seconds later I started slowly swimming and caught my first pair of feet.  I navigated my way towards the shoreline of the canal away from the pack.  I figured I'd be better off out here for the first little while.  I may not get the benefit of the draft but at least I could get into a good rhythm.

There weren't too many buoys along the course so instead of playing the count your strokes between buoys game to keep my brain occupied, I just counted strokes, period.  I focused on making sure I exhaled as soon as I put my face in the water so there was no panicky breathing.  I swam at a very comfortable pace for the first little while.  Not pushing it but not too slow either.  I had had a massage on the Thursday night before the race and David had really worked at freeing up my T-spine and getting a bit more mobility through my ribs and shoulders.  I felt really good.  I actually felt like I could breathe better as well.   I chugged along comfortably.  I came up to the 250m mark sign on the embankment and had one small moment of "holy shit I'm only at 250m???" .  I quickly dismissed that thought and started counting strokes again.

I hit the 500m mark and thought ok, I'm 1/4 of the way through and knew that I would be coming up to the first green buoy soon so I started sighting properly.  I didn't bother for the first bit as I just used the riverbank as a guide.  I started to swim in towards the buoy and surprisingly didn't get caught up in much of a crowd.  WOOHOO!

As I swam towards the other turnaround buoy, I remember thinking to myself that I was feeling really warm.  And I was hungry.  The water was 24 degrees, which is pretty toasty for a full wetsuit.  I lamented the fact that I probably should have drank my entire bottle of Roctane before I got in the water.  Oh well.  I got around the second big green buoy without incident and thought "Woohoo, I'm halfway done!"

Shortly after I passed that buoy, I kicked a bit hard to pass someone and my right calf cramped.  Shit. I stopped kicking with that leg and just used my arms and my left leg for a bit until the cramp subsided.   I picked up the pace again.  I had gotten into a really good rhythm and was now working a bit harder.  I could see the 500m sign on the embankment and thought "Awesome only 500m to go!"  I felt like I was swimming really well.  I had caught a bunch of people from the wave in front of me.  Just after I passed the 500m mark my right calf cramped again so I went back to the one-legged kick. It eventually went away and I went back to kicking normally.  I could see the final green buoy coming up so I started to swim harder.  As I came up to the finally buoy my left calf cramped so hard it stopped me in my tracks.  I felt like someone kicked me really hard in the calf.  I stopped swimming and yelled OUCH.  I couldn't point my foot.  It hurt way too much.  Even when it was flexed up, it hurt.  I reached down to massage it and that hurt.  I was almost in tears it hurt so much.  I kept saying ouch, oh fuck, ouch ouch ouch.   I was so close to being done and I was swimming so well.  I was pissed.  I tried moving forward but my calf spasmed some more.  That resulted in a very loud FUCK. A swimmer stopped and asked if I was ok and I said no.  She asked if I wanted her to flag someone down and I said yes.  She waved and I think she got the attention of someone on a paddle board.  I tread water for a bit more and then put my face in the water and just used my arms.  My entire left leg was hurting at this point.  Eventually I tried kicking with my right foot.  That helped.  The cramp started to subside enough that I could kick but my calf still really hurt.  I swam as hard as I could to the swim exit.  As soon as my hands started grabbing gravel, I stood up.  I hobbled out of the water and started pulling off my wetsuit.  I was boiling hot.  I ran by David L and my friend Jen and David was yelling that I didn't have to get my wetsuit off.  I was so hot, I just wanted to get out of if.  I ran into T1 and found David B.  I yanked the chip off my ankle, passed it to him and he was off.   I hobbled out of transition to find the other David.  My calf was sore for the rest of the day and it's STILL sore today.  At least I'm almost walking normally now.

I hit stop on my watch as soon as I got out of the water.  Even with my stop for cramping I managed to swim 36:23 for 2km.  Not a PR by any stretch but pretty darn good given that I haven't focused on any real speed work in the pool.   The best part?  Not one single moment of panic.  I felt in control the entire time.  I'd call that a race day win and it's something I'm going to make sure I remember going into next year's race season.  I feel like maybe, just maybe, I've conquered the swim anxiety  demons that have plagued me for the last few years.

With my portion of the race done, I was able to chill out and spend the rest of the afternoon cheering people on and socializing.  I couldn't think of a better way to end my season.  In the car on the drive home, I was thinking about all the fantastic people I've met because of this crazy sport.   As I said on Instagram the other day, I feel pretty darn lucky.

Now it's "maintenance mode" time.   Time to really focus on fixing all the little things before I start to get back into the swing of things in January.   Next year there is another huge group of us heading to Tremblant do to the 70.3 and then myself, G, Irina and Zin have signed up to do Lake Placid 70.3  Yup, two half Ironmans in the span of 2.5 months.  If that isn't motivation for me to get better, I don't know what is.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Girls Weekend!

What.  A.  Weekend.   I know it's Thursday but I finally got around to putting my thoughts on "paper"

Seriously.   It was filled with so much awesomeness.   G was away at his annual Fall Classic golf weekend with the boys so I decided to have my own girls weekend in the city.  On Saturday, I did my first multi-sport event of the year in Georgina at the Ontario Women's Triathlon and then on Sunday I drove out to the east end to do my second D'Ornellas Girlz Ride.


I feel like I've been toeing the "sick line".  I've dialled things back a bit this week so I should be healthy for my portion of Barrelman.  I don't think the Double D's would be pleased if I bailed.


On to the first fun part of my weekend:  the RACE!

I had been watching the weather for the week and hoped that the rain that was forecast would magically disappear.  At one point Saturday didn't look too bad.  But on Friday the forecast was back to being kinda crappy.  Overcast with rain.  Boo.  At least it was going to be warm.   I packed everything up on Friday night so all I had to do Saturday morning was roll out of bed, eat breakfast and pack up the car.

I headed out at around 7:30.  Thanks to the awesome 10 am start, I didn't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn.  YAY.    It was overcast and a bit muggy.  But cooler than it had been.  As I made my way up the DVP, I noticed the clouds breaking up a bit.  Would the sun come out?  Ohhhh...I was hoping it would!

I pulled into the parking lot to overcast skies.  The sun had decided to hide again.  Nothing I could do about the weather.  And besides, I was going to be RACING...FINALLY!   I parked the car and went in to find my bib number and pick up my race kit.  I went back to the car to grab my bike and made my way into transition through the swim exit.  I found my rack area and got myself set up.  I went to walk out of the bike entrance and realized that I forgot to check my bike in with security.  Ugh.  So I had to run back to where I set myself up, grab my bike, run out of transition and around to the bike entrance to go through security.

Whoops, ha ha.

With that sorted, I left transition to go see if I could find a race belt.  I have about 7 of them SOMEWHERE  (more than likely in a box in storage) and I could have sworn I left one in my tri bag but alas, I didn't.  I got one and made my way back to transition when I ran into Deirdre.   Can I just say that I love this girl?  She is so sweet and so lovely.  I feel like I've known her forever.

Pre-race selfie snagged from her IG account.  Thanks Dee!   Oh and you guys should check out her You Tube channel!

Speaking of people that I love, I also ran into Irina.  I have been so pre-occupied that I completely forgot that she would be racing.   Pre-race we didn't get a chance to selfie so it happened afterwards.  This picture makes me laugh.  So good.

There was so much socializing and chatting going on pre-race, there was no time to be nervous.  I think the fact that it was a Women's Only event contributed to that big time.  There's such great energy at these sorts of events.  It's a much more relaxed vibe than at a regular triathlon.   Deirdre and I spent so much time yammering that we didn't realize people were making their way down to the water.  Gotta love that.

I wedged myself into my wetsuit and Dee and I made our way down to the water.   I wanted to do a warm up so we headed into the water and started swimming.  I stayed relaxed and focused on my breathing.  Stroke, stroke, breathe.  Stroke, stroke breathe.  The water was beautiful and fairly shallow.  It got deeper as you got closer to the first buoy but I don't think it ever got too deep.

I did just under a 10 minute warm up and got out of the water to find Dee.  I found her, wished her luck and watched the waves go off.   My wave was up next.  I found Irina and got a big hug.  The 40-49 year old women all lined up on the beach and waited for the horn.  It went off and as per usual, I let the crowd go.  I wandered in slowly so I didn't get my heart rate up too high.  Eventually I dove in and started swimming.  I stuck to the outside so I wasn't in the fray.  I paid attention to my breathing and made sure I wasn't holding my breath underwater.  So far so good.  No panic.  I was sighting fairly well.  I think I've finally gotten the hang of it.  Before I knew it, I was at the first buoy.  I had passed a lot of ladies.  I could see a few more orange caps ahead of me (other ladies in my wave) so that spurred me on to push a little harder.  I caught a few more ladies and then hit the next buoy.  I could see one more orange cap so I pushed the pace a bit harder.  I was definitely working.  But I felt surprisingly in control.

I passed that last orange cap but she stayed on my heels for a bit.  I swam until I was almost crawling along the bottom.  Then I got up and ran.  As soon as I got up, I started pulling off my wetsuit.  I ran like I was being chased by a rabid dog.  The run up to T1 was a long one.  I forgot to glance at my watch as I exited the water so I don't really know what my actual swim time was.  All I knew was that this long transition was going to be added to my time.

I ran into T1 and quickly found my bike.  It had started to rain while I was out on the swim so my helmet had gotten a bit wet.  I pulled off my wetsuit, grabbed my race belt, yanked my shoes on and put my helmet on and then I grabbed my bike and started running.  There was a fairly large group of us getting on our bikes at the same time so it was a bit chaotic.  I skirted around the group, ducked int my aerobars and started pedalling.  Every time I yelled on your left, I made sure to say thank you and  nice work or looking good.   I did that until I couldn't get words out anymore.

The rain had started to come down quite hard.  I was really glad I wore my aero helmet with my visor as well as my sleeved Louis Garneau top.  It was just cool enough that I felt totally comfortable.  The visor kept all the water out of my eyes and off most of my face so I didn't notice the rain too much other than the fact that I was soaked.

The bike course is a big flat rectangle so I was really looking forward to seeing how hard I could push it on a flat course.  I haven't done any really targeted training since April but I have been riding my bike a lot.  I've been riding without my power meter, just my heart rate monitor, which I've only been using to record the data so I can look at it afterwards.  I've been riding on feel for all my rides.  Power wise, I felt pretty strong so I figured I'd crank out some solid numbers for the 15km TT.

I got through the first half of the course feeling pretty strong.  I was hurting like hell but I was loving it.  I made the turn onto the back half of the course and kept hammering away but I could feel my lack of top end fitness starting to affect me.  The lactic acid build up in my legs was making them scream.  I was breathing so hard I was almost gasping for air.  So I slowed up a bit.  I had to recover a bit before I could dig deeper.  I hit the 5km mark and figured I had about 8 minutes or so left.  I could hang on for 8 minutes.  It wasn't going to be pretty but I could do it.

The odd few times I glanced down at my watch I saw 35-36 kph, which was great.  Better than I had anticipated.  I pushed hard that last stretch.  The road has a few gentle curves so I kept hoping that the finish line was just past the curve I was coming up to.  After 2 curves, it was around the 3rd one.  THANK GOODNESS.  I was dying.  I sat up as I got close to the dismount line and then pumped my brakes a bit.  I love my hydraulic brakes!  Makes coming to quick stop very easy.  I jumped off my bike and felt woozy and a bit nauseous.  Wow.  That was new.  Guess I went really hard.  I started to run into transition and my legs felt like jello.   For the first time ever, I was honestly glad that I didn't have to run.

I stopped my watch as soon as I crossed the line.  The 500m swim and 15km bike took me just over 35 minutes.  I then paraded out to the finish line and did a little dance.  Dee had already crossed the line - no surprise there, she is a monster on the bike!  So we hung out and chatted with Paolina for a while.  Dee asked me how long my bike took so I then went through and looked at everything.  It took me just over 24 minutes to ride 15km.  The bigger deal for me was the fact that I set a new power threshold of 233 watts.  My previous power threshold was 209.  WOW.  I managed to average 36.7/kph for 15km.  AVERAGE.  In the pouring rain no less!  I am still in shock.

We chatted for a while and then I went off to find a something warmer to put on.  I then did a bit of shopping at D'Ornellas (new cycling socks, yay!).  I ran into a few other ladies post race - two of whom I met at the free clinic that Paolina had.  They had stopped me pre-race to ask me a few questions so I was happy to see them both post race.  They both had a lot of fun and, one of them ended up on the podium as well! Pretty awesome for a first triathlon!

I packed up all my soaking wet stuff, changed into a dry top, got my jacket and went in search of food.  The awards were starting soon and Dee and I were told that we were the top two finishers, we just didn't know who beat who.  I didn't really care one way or the other, I was just happy I was on the podium.  It meant that I still knew how to race.  I felt that because of my mystery injury, that I would have lost that competitive desire, that fire in my belly.  But I was very happy to see that it's still alive and well.

I went in to the pavilion, grabbed some food and found Irina.  A few minutes later Dee came and said she had been looking for me everywhere.  She told me that I had won the swim bike.  I had beat her by almost a minute.  Um.  What?  Ironically the swim was where I made up all my time, haha.  Our bike times were just over 30s apart.  I can't believe I got to within 30s of her on the bike.  That made me happy.

In the end, Dee and I both ended up with first place medals as they split the race into women 39 and under and women 40 +.    The finisher medals were super cute and the new Multisport Canada medals were also really nice!

Afterwards we stayed and chatted with Paolina and then of course there were photos.  Dee and I were some of the last people that left, ha ha.

On my drive back to the city, I couldn't help be smile as I thought about the morning.  There was so much good energy and everyone was smiling and happy despite the horrible weather.  I loved it.  It was such a popular even that MSC will be adding two more women's only events to their calendar next year.  WOOHOO - nice work Paolina and kudos to John Salt for seeing that the triathlon world needs more events like this.

Next up, the swim leg of the Barrelman Half Ironman.   This should be fun.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Getting Into Race Mode

Happy Friday!

It seems so weird to be titling a post "Getting Into Race Mode" in September.  Normally that would be something that I'd probably write about early in the season.  But, given that I haven't really had a season and my first (but amazingly, not last) race of the season is tomorrow, it's appropriate.

Tomorrow I will be toeing the line at the Ontario Women's Triathlon for the swim / bike.  I could probably tough out the triathlon as the run is only 4km but, I know that when I push the pace when I'm running, I aggravate the nerve in my leg.  So, I figured I'd play it safe and not risk doing any more damage.

I have to admit, I'm feeling a little rusty and more than a little nervous.  Of course, I broke my goggles this morning at the pool so when I get home I have to dig through everything and try to find my spares.  Or I take G's, which I think I should be able to find relatively easily.  I'm going to take my tri bike out for a spin tonight to make sure everything is running smoothly now that my race wheels are on my bike.   And of course, I can't forget to pack my wetsuit.  I also need to find my race belt.  I have no idea where that is, although I'm not sure I need it for this I'm not running.

SO MANY THINGS.   I feel like a newbie all over again, ha ha.

I am looking forward to racing this, even with the less than ideal forecast for tomorrow.   I went out to the free swim / bike clinic that Race Director, Paolina Allan held on Monday so I could check out the course and get another open water swim in.  The water is lovely!  I am hoping that it's not windy so the lake doesn't get too choppy.  The bike course it pretty much pancake flat so I can't wait to let Tom Sawyer fly.   I'll be curious to see what I can do given my lack of any sort of targeted bike training this summer.   Especially on my tri bike.  I've been riding my road bike on a regular basis since May!

Paolina and all  the ladies that came out to the clinic
I took my tri bike out a couple of times last weekend and it felt weird at first.  It just doesn't handle the same as my road bike.  But I got used to it fairly quickly.

I gotta say, I still think it's a pretty sweet bike.  I'm really hoping that it sees more action next year.

Speaking of next year, I've signed up for Tremblant 70.3 again.  Hopefully I make it to the start line.  There is also talk of doing Lake Placid 70.3, which falls on THIS weekend next September.  Could be a chilly race!  Finishing on that Olympic Oval is something pretty special.  So, we'll see what next year brings.  I have to fix my broken body first!

Anyway, good luck to everyone that may be racing this weekend and I'll be back next week with a race report.  Woohoo!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Farewell Summer + Moving On



Stage one of Operation Florida is done.  Last Saturday we said goodbye to the home we lovingly rebuilt just over 4 years ago.  We had spent a total of 12 years in that house.  To say that we're going to miss it, would be an understatement.  I had a really tough day.  I would burst in to tears at the drop of a hat.   I'm still a little emotional when people ask how the move went (it went REALLY well thanks to the awesome crew from Tippet Richardson).  I think if we had moved into our new place right away, it wouldn't be so hard.  Unfortunately we couldn't make the closing dates align so we are in temporary lodging right now.  Nothing like living out of a suitcase for a month to keep your life pretty simple.

What this move had made me realize is that I hang on to a lot of shit.  I've never thought of myself as a hoarder like the ones you'd see on Intervention, but I do tend to put a fair bit of emotional attachment to certain things so they end up hanging around for sentimental reasons.  I'm also fairly practical in that I don't like to see things go to waste.  So, if I paid good money for something, I don't want to just throw it out.  I try to re-sell things as much as possible.  If I can't re-sell it, then it gets donated, eventually.

This move forced me to purge so much crap.  Honestly, it feels SO good to get rid of things.  Moving forward, I am going to think twice about what I purchase or bring home from work.  I work in a photography studio and sometimes we have leftover props or wardrobe that the client or agency doesn't want.  Sometimes they get donated, sometimes we keep them.  I have brought home so many things from shoots over the years and I"m pretty sure I've only used about 10% of what I've brought home.  So from now on, I'm going to ask myself:  Do we really NEED it.  Will we actually USE it?   If it's a maybe, then I don't need it.  Period.

Our goal with this move was to downsize into a townhouse.  We wanted a maintenance free lifestyle and we got it with this new place.  We no longer have a lawn to mow or a driveway to shovel.  We have a small back patio and a deck off the dining room so we have some outdoor space which is perfect for us.  Surprisingly this new place is bigger than our house by about 300 square feet, so we actually have more living space.  The best part was that we significantly downsized our mortgage as well.   Which means that we will be mortgage free much sooner.  Wahoo!

What have I been up to this last month....?

When I last left off,  I was still not really running often.  That hasn't really changed.  I go out once, maybe twice a week.  Running feels hard.  Although once in a while I have glimpses of that "flow" that I used to feel and that's what keeps me going.  I'm thankful I've been on my bike a lot this summer, I at least still have some good cardiovascular fitness!

So what's the deal with the injury?  Well I don't have answers yet.  I had my MRI last week.  I go back to Dr. Galea in two weeks.  Some days I feel fine and other days, I don't.  I know I've aggravated the nerve this week because I've felt that twingey-ness a lot.  I think I actually did it in the pool of all places.

I've been seeing a variety of health care practitioners to keep me from completely falling apart.  I seem to fix one thing and something else crops up.  My back has been a problem for the last few months and I'm chalking that up to poor mobility through my T-spine and weak chest muscles.  All the more reason for me to get back into the gym (which I have been doing).   I've had a couple of interesting treatment experiences that I will elaborate on in another post.  I do know that I really need to work on my mobility and flexibility.  It's absolutely atrocious.  I make a point of stretching every day, even if I haven't worked out.  I've definitely got a long way to go to undo all of this though.  That's ok, I've got nothing but time....

A few months ago I was chatting with my friend Lauren, and she commented that with all the things going on my life at the time, it was probably just as well that I wasn't racing as that would be one more thing on my plate.  I agreed wholeheartedly with her and I've thought about that often over the summer.  It's been strange not racing the MSC circuit this year.  Had I been healthy, I still may not have raced much simply because we put so much time and energy into house selling, house hunting and moving.   Did I miss being out there?  Of course.  I love to race.  But I feel like the universe gave me as much as I could handle this summer and racing just wasn't in the cards.  That being said, I couldn't let a perfectly good summer go by without toeing the line in some form or another.  I had a $25 credit from Multisport Canada for being a series award winner last year so I put it towards my entry fee for the Ontario Women's Triathlon on September 10th.  My old coach Paolina Allan is the race director so this is going to be AWESOME.  I'm in no condition to race a 5km so I opted for the swim / bike.  My swimming has gone to shit but my cycling seems to have improved a fair bit over the summer, even without following a specific training plan.  It will be fun to get back on my tri bike and see what I can do.  I was also roped in to being the swimmer in a relay team at The Barrelman Half Ironman.   I had wanted to do the bike but the boys I'm racing with are both lousy swimmers so I get to do my least favourite thing of the three sports, ha ha.  I am looking forward to swimming in the Welland International Flatwater centre though.  It looks amazing.

While this summer may not have been what I had hoped for in terms of racing, it hasn't been a total bust.  There have been some wonderful moments.  Most of them spent on two wheels with great people and spectacular weather.

The 100km Crew from the D'Ornellas Girlz Ride

Hanging on for dear life with the MGCC Butter Tart Boys. 

Cruising around the Burbs

Goofing around at Professor's Lake with Irina

Riding to Erin for butter tarts.  That's how we roll....

Chasing the MGCC Boys around High Park

The MGCC Sunday Cannoli Crew

Sticking to G's wheel during a Thursday morning MGCC Ride

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!