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