Friday, April 29, 2016

DNS = The Theme for 2016

So, those of you that have been reading along know that I've had some leg issues.  More specifically nerve related issues.  My chiro thought it might have been my piriformis and we worked on that but I was still experiencing pain and range of motion issues even after two treatments.  I went to see Lauren yesterday for a "check in" appointment (that I almost canceled) and I filled her in on everything and she did an assessment and figured that I was having some disc issues.  Specifically my L5.  UGH.  So she did some work to release things and did some nerve tension work which made me feel a lot better.  Sore, but better.  And then she said those 6 dreaded words:  "I don't think you should race".

Cue sad face.

She said I could if I wanted to but I could risk doing more damage to my nerve / disc and advised me not to.  She's right.  I have to keep my eyes on the BIG prize, which is Tremblant in June.  That being said, I was really looking forward to racing on Sunday.  I have a couple of friends racing as well as one of my athletes so I figured it was going to be a blast.  Oh well, on more race fee down the toilet.  That will be number THREE this year.  I will be there at the finish line though.  And I'm not down for the count, so there's that.  I "should" be up and running (ha ha) hopefully by late next week.  I have a follow up next Tuesday to see where things are at.  If I'm ok, then I slowly work back into running and limit my really intense speed work to once a week.  Or, if I'm going to have a couple of speed work sessions, then ideally there's 3-4 days in between them that I'm NOT running.  I can't do a hard long run, have a day off and then do another speed work session.  I might have been able to do that 2 years ago but it turns out that my body doesn't like that any longer.

So, let's chalk that up to learning what my body can handle as it gets older and move on to some fun stuff.  Like this amazing outfit from Zoot.

I can't wait until it's warm enough to wear this!  Speaking of which, the temperature these days is KILLING ME.  It's downright COLD right now.  Mother Nature, get your shit straight, it's almost MAY.  I should be going sock less now!

But enough about the weather.  It's Friday.  That is reason enough to celebrate.  I'm not sure what my coach will have planned for me over the weekend now that I'm not racing.  IF there's a ride, it's going more than likely to have to be outside because our Pain Cave has been dismantled.  Yup.  G went nuts and cleaned out the basement because we have someone that is going to start working on it right away.

We now have a mini Pain Cave in one of the spare bedrooms upstairs.   Not really ideal but it's better than having nothing!  He even managed to set up the TV.  It only gets Netflix but that's ok.  There are plenty of things to watch on Netflix!  He was only able to set up one computrainer in there due to space so that means only one of us can ride at a time.

Oh well.  Now I get to live in chaos for 6 weeks.  I just have to keep telling myself Florida will be worth it, Florida will be worth it......ha!

Anyone else racing this weekend?  This seems to be THE weekend for racing in Toronto!

Monday, April 25, 2016

#OperationTop5 - Week 16: Things Were Good, Until They Weren't

OH hey Monday.  What a weekend.  It flew by so fast!  As did most of this month.  Yesterday was our 12 year wedding anniversary.  We spent it at a race, of course, ha ha.  G was racing Paris to Ancaster, this crazy off road bike race that he likes to do every year and I went along to be his Sherpa and cheerleader because that's how we roll.  Honestly, I don't know where the time has gone, all I know is that I wouldn't trade any of that time for the world.  G totally gets me, he's always 100% behind all my crazy plans and he's 100% supportive of everything I do.

Sans Make Up, Pre-Race Selfie!
To celebrate, we kept things low key and went out to dinner at a local restaurant.  We've eaten out every other night this weekend so we figured why not, ha ha.  We were out Friday night for a friend's 40th birthday, then we went out again on Saturday for another friend's 39th birthday and then we were out last night.  We're also out again tonight with one of G's co-workers from Europe.  4 nights out in a row, I think I'm going to need a day off after all that action!  Well, at least I'll probably get to sleep in a bit this week given that I don't have much in the way of training on my schedule.

My good friend David celebrated the big 4-0 this past week.  I picked out the saying for this shirt, haha.
After last week's stellar week of training, I had high hopes for this week.  I was looking forward to my big weekend ride and another long run.  But my body had other plans.   Seems to be the story of my life these days.  The older I get the more limits I seem to have.  Things that I could do 2 years ago, I can't do now because I end up with some kind of injury or tweak.  I'm trying not to get too frustrated with my body but it's hard not to, especially when I had gotten into such a good groove.   I'm hoping this little issue gets resolved with a few trips to my ART guy.   I had a day off on Monday and then on Tuesday I had an interval workout.  5x1km intervals.  My legs didn't feel great when I started but I had a good warm up so by the time that was done, I actually felt pretty good.  I hammered out my intervals and I felt really strong.  I was getting close to paces I was running 2 years ago (4:17km, 4:01km, 3:57km, 4:02km, 4:04km).  I felt great.  By the end of the workout, during my cool down, I could really feel tightness in my hamstrings, especially my left one.  I stretched well and didn't think anything of it.  I had a massage on Tuesday night at the massage school by my office.  I've been going there a couple of times a month, in addition to seeing my RMT as I feel I need that extra TLC.  The poor girl was so nervous because her supervisor was going to be sitting in on the session.  Needless to say, it wasn't much of a massage.  I swam the next day, hoping that would help my legs feel better.  They felt ok.  In the evening I had a ride and they felt so/so during the ride but not great.  Thursday morning I went out for an easy run and by the end of that run, my left leg was totally messed up.  I could barely walk due to the pain in my leg.  My sciatic nerve was being pinched.  I figured it was my piriformis again so off I went to see my ART guy.   He did a lot of digging around my glut and hamstring and said I'd probably be sore for a few days.  He wasn't kidding.  Friday I still hurt.  Saturday, I was a bit better but still tender in some places.  I managed a short ride.  Sunday I felt somewhat better and thought I'd try to go for a run while Gary was out racing.  I ran 1.5km and had to turn around I hurt so much.  I cried all the way back to the car.  That was not what I had hoped for and it really bummed me out.

I'm going back to see him this afternoon for some more work as I'm still sore and I can still feel a bit of pins and needles in my leg.  I really hope he can get this sorted out because I'm supposed to race the Mississauga half this weekend and I really DO NOT want to have another DNS this year.

I'm linking up a bit late with Holly & Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.  It's a chance for active women to connect and share their training and racing experiences.  Check it out!

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday: run with 5x1km intervals in a.m.  40 minute strength training session at lunch.  Mostly upper body & core.

Wednesday:  2600m swim.  I felt pretty good.  45 minute zone 2 ride in p.m.

Thursday:  8.5km easy run to test out my new Zoot Solanas.  Everything went to hell after this.

Friday:  1650m swim.  Still sore and very disinterested in swimming stroke work.

Saturday:  45 minute ride on the trainer.

Sunday:  NADA.

Total time:  5h 36 minutes.  I had 12h on the schedule but that never happened.  *Sigh*  One step forward two steps back.

On the plus side, this has helped me figure out what I CAN'T do so moving forward my coach has a better idea of how to schedule my workouts.  At least there's an upside, ha ha.

How was your week of workouts?  Who watched Game of Thrones last night????  I did not, but it's on the PVR so I will be tuning in as soon as possible!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Zoot Makai - Not Just for Triathletes!

I've been wearing Zoot products for as long as I've been doing triathlons, which is a long time.   Their products used to be geared 100% to triathletes but over the years they've really branched out embraced all 3 sports by creating top notch gear for each leg of the race.  Where they've really made some inroads is in their shoes.  For years, Zoot shoes were what were known as a "quick entry" shoe that had elastic laces and a seamless upper.  It was something you could literally just pull on and go.  No need to tie up laces.  Because transitions are where you find free speed!  You don't want to fuss with laces.

Some of their shoes do come with the option for regular laces and speed laces.  The old Ultra Kiawe was one of them.  Others, like the Solana and the Diego have regular laces.  The Solana was actually voted  Best Debut by Runner's World when it was launched back in 2015.  It's been my go to Zoot shoe since it came out.  I just replaced the regular laces with race laces and BOOM, I'm race ready.

I was content to continue training in my Solanas this year until I saw pictures of the new Zoot Makai.  Oh boy.  Now I know you're not supposed to pick a shoe based on how it looks.  But lets be real, good looks help, right???  Being a Zoot sponsored athlete, I get the opportunity to purchase items at a substantial discount so I thought, why not?  Let's give these puppies a go.

I'm a sucker for brightly coloured shoes so these ticked that box right off the bat.  

I slipped them on and adjusted the laces.  The first thing I noticed was the smoothness of the upper.  Zoot does seamless technology really well.  This shoe completely nails it.  There is not a single seam anywhere across the top and sides of the shoe.  Some other shoe brands do a seamless liner but there are still seams / detailing on the outside of the shoe and those can irritate your feet and cause hot spots.   Zoot kept it clean with this shoe.

Look Ma, no seams!!!

Secondly, the lacing system is really easy to use.  You just pull the toggle and adjust as required.

It is surprisingly secure without having to be done up too tightly.   I was a little concerned when I first put them on and started to walk around but with a few toggle adjustments, they were perfect.  The true test was when I went out for my first run in them.  They didn't budge.  And I didn't have a single blister.

Now let's talk about the things you DON'T see here, namely the technology in the shoe.  The shoe has a molded 3D heel counter for excellent heel support.  Zoot's seamless technology is called BareFit and it is one of the things that makes this shoe so good.  The shoe, like most Zoot shoes, fits like a glove.  It fits close to the foot and it feels supportive and stable while remaining light and responsive. It doesn't feel sloppy or soft.  My foot felt snug and secure, even through a 2 hour run.

Zoot's shoes have always felt very zippy and responsive and I'm chalking that up to the other proprietary technology in their shoes.  It's called Z-Bound and it's found in the sole of the shoe from the heel to the toe.  Z-Bound essentially rebounds a runner's energy reducing stress and fatigue.  I can honestly say this stuff works because I did my longest run in 2 years in these shoes and I thought for sure my legs would feel brutal.  They didn't.  I was especially surprised at how good my legs felt the next day.

A few other key features to note:  the mesh upper is incredibly breathable.  There is a medial post for some guidance and the shoe features an 8mm drop.   The shoe is geared towards a runner with neutral foot mechanics and a medium arch.   It also comes with regular laces if the quick lace system isn't your thing.

This is going to be my go to shoe for my A race in Tremblant this year.  I haven't tested it barefoot yet  but will do so once the weather gets better.  If my feet stay blister free when I go sock less, I'll be using it for my short course races as well.

Even if you don't swim or bike before you run, that doesn't mean that you should over look Zoot as a shoe option.   I can't say enough about their shoes (or their other products for that matter).  I've been wearing them since I started in triathlon over 10 years ago.  If you're in the market for a new pair of racing shoes, take a look at Zoot!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

#OperationTop5 - Spring is Finally Here!

Another weekend, gone...but never mind that, we are already halfway through April!!  Holy Moly, time is flying by like crazy this year.  I blink and the weekend is over.   What a glorious weekend it was though.  Spring finally showed up in Toronto.  Just in time for my longest run this year (and in the last two years as a matter of fact.)  Wooohooo!

This week was a flurry of activity.  Work has been busy and I had another full week of training.  This would have been my biggest volume week if I had managed to do all my workouts but I didn't.  A boiling hot pool (90 degrees!) on Wednesday made for a shortened swim workout and a splitting headache on Thursday kept me off my bike after work.  But other than that, it was a pretty successful week.  My coach has introduced speed work back in my life.  Holy smokes.  It's nice to open it up a bit, even if it is for shorter distances.

This weekend started with a visit to a townhouse that our real estate agent sent us.  We've also had two different contractors come by the house to give us an estimate to finish the basement.  So the Florida plans are kind of moving along.  The townhouse we saw was beautiful but priced a bit higher than we really want to be and we figured it would go for even more than what it was listed for.  We're happy to look around and see what's what for the next little while, until we at least get the basement sorted out.  Once that gets going, then I think we'll be in a better position to put an offer in on something.  But for now, we're just checking things out.  Going from a large detached home to a smaller town home will be a change that's for sure.  But if it means no more winter, then I'm ok with it!  As for Florida, Holly (Hoho Runs) asked where we were looking and we're aiming to be in the Clermont area.  Once we figure out how much we have to spend on a place down there, then we'll take a trip down and do some more exploring. about that training week???  I'm linking up with Holly (HoHo Runs) and Tricia (Mississippi Piddlin) for their Weekly Wrap.  This is how my week went down.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  50 minute weight workout, 60 minutes of hills in the a.m.  60 minute ride in the p.m.

Wednesday:  1650m in a disgustingly hot pool.  I couldn't do the workout it was just too hot.  Our coach said we should just do what we could.  I had to get out every 200-250m to cool down it was just too much.   I did, however get this.  Yup, I finally hit 1 million metres since I started tracking my mileage back in 2012.

Thursday:  9.5km run with 20 minutes at tempo pace.  This was tough.  My legs were feeling Tuesday's workouts.  But I still managed a decent pace for the 20 minute section.   Thursday night I came home to this package of awesomeness from Zoot.

Friday:  2300m swim

Saturday:  89km ride with 2x10 minutes in zone 4,  followed by a 20 minute run off the bike.  Holy moly this was a tough day.

Sunday:  3000m swim, 2 hour run with the last 20 minutes at tempo effort.

Using the GoPro to check my form 
Total time:  11h 36 minutes vs. the 13h 35 minutes that was scheduled.   But I'm ok with that!

Next week is my last big week before my mini taper for the Mississauga half.  This coming weekend is going to be a big one, we've got 2 birthday celebrations and it's our 12 year wedding anniversary next Sunday.  ANNNNDDDD....Game of Thrones starts that day as well, ha ha ha.

Hope you guys had a great week!  What sort of fun did you get up to?  Did you have awesome weather?  It was sunny at 20 degrees in Toronto today!  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

#OperationtTop5 Week 14: Pump Up the Volume

I am exhausted.  This was a monster week.  The first of a few monster weeks to come.  It was so big,  I didn't have much time to do anything else.  These next two weeks will be much of the same.  But that's ok, this is what I've wanted.  My body finally feels ready for the volume.  Now if only I could sleep.....

It's funny how when I'm back home and back at work that my sleep patterns change.  I get up in the middle of the night more often and sometimes I have a hard time falling back asleep.  When we were away, I slept like a baby.  Probably from being outside all the time and not being stressed.  Stress is just as bad as sitting.  Combine the two and you have a recipe for disaster.  I'm working on the not sitting thing but the stress, well that's why I run.  

Anyway, we didn't get up to much this weekend as last weekend was totally jammed so it was nice to stick close to home.  I did some meal prep and puttered around but most of my weekend was spent training.  And looking at houses.   Yes, G and I are thinking about moving.  When we re-did the house we said we'd never move but after going to Florida and seeing how cheap places were down there, we started thinking, and more importantly, doing the math.   The housing market in Toronto is INSANE right now.   We could get a good chunk of change for our place.  Enough that we could afford to downsize into a townhouse and then have money left over to buy a place in Florida and have a very small mortgage.  G can work from anywhere, the US being the ideal spot as that's where all his work is.  So, if we can swing this, we'd essentially be Snowbirds.  We'd spend 4-5 months of the year in Florida and the rest of the time in Canada.  That would mean I'd have to quit my full time job and get a US work visa so I could work part time in the US.  It's pretty exciting to think about.  G is a bit like a dog with a bone when it comes to things so I've had to put the brakes on him a bit.  These next few months are going to be super busy with training and work and I don't want to add finishing the basement, cleaning out the house and listing it into the mix.  After Tremblant, would be better as we'll have the time and the housing market will be picking up as it always does in the summer.  Something to look forward to for sure!

So that's the exciting bit of news.  Now on to my crazy week of training.  I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday:  OFF - I had thought about swimming but got up and looked outside to see snow so I went back to bed.  My coach had given me the option to do a recovery workout or sleep.  I chose sleep.  ATB did a bit of a number on me and I was still pretty tired.

Tuesday:  12km recovery run with my friend David.  It was freezing cold but it was nice to have the company.  

Wednesday:  2300m swim, 40 minute strength session in the a.m.  60 minute ride in the Pain Cave in the p.m.

I'm really tired of this view.  Thankfully I still have a whole season of Breaking Bad to watch!

Thursday:  Back on the bike at stupid o'clock in the a.m. for 75 minutes including 4x6 minute intervals in Zone 4.  I was SOAKED by the time I got off the bike to go do my 4km run.  My legs felt surprisingly good off the bike.  I was quite pleased.  I rewarded myself with a 90 minute massage that night, ha ha.

Friday:  2100m swim - and time to play with the GO PRO  :)

Saturday:  60 minute strength session with my trainer - all upper body and core, then 2h 45 minutes on the Computrainer in the basement, followed by 5km off the bike.  Followed by eating ALLTHEFOOD.

That face you make when you realize you're only halfway through your ride and your legs still feel like crap.

Longest trainer ride this year.  That was a test of my mental fortitude.

Sunday:  2600m swim,  directly followed by an 18km run (longest run this year!).  Never again.  I bonked so hard towards the end, it was a struggle to maintain my pace.  I needed real food in-between my swim and my run.  Next week, I'll go home and eat and then hit the road.  It was also FREEZING cold out.  I was completely frozen when I got back.  So much so that I had to sit in front of the fireplace and defrost.  It's APRIL for Pete's sake.  There should NOT be a WINDCHILL.  

Total time:  12h 45 minutes.  Second highest training week this year.   Boom. 

Swim:  6800m
Bike: 151km
Run: 39.4km 

Only 11 weeks left till Tremblant!

I'm bracing myself for a busy week at work.  The last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet but I've got 2 large projects on the go and another one that should come in tomorrow. Time for me to buckle up!

How was your week?  Did you do anything fun?  Don't forget to check out the other posts in the Weekly Wrap link up!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Gong Show Goes Around The Bay

Fun Fact:  Around the Bay is North America's oldest road race.  True story!  I've run this race so many times as an individual participant and I have to say 30km is a perfect race distance.  It's longer than a half so it's still pretty challenging to train for and even more challenging to race well.  It doesn't beat me up as much as a marathon does.   That last 12km in the marathon is what does me in.

This year I decided to do the race as part of a two person relay and I convinced my friend Kiki to do it with me.  We called ourselves the Gong Show because that's usually the happens when we get together.  I took the back half of the race which is where most of the hills are as I figured it would be good prep for the run at Tremblant.  After all I went through in January and February I was genuinely concerned I might not be able to race this.  But when I banged out a pain free 16km run in Florida two weeks before, I knew I was good to go.   I texted Kiki when we got back from Florida to let her know I was 100% in.

My coach's instructions were to race it and to negative split it.  We settled on a goal of 1:10 for 15km.  I figured the hills would slow me down for sure and I wasn't 100% sure I'd be fully recovered from training camp.  So many doubts.  But I didn't let them get to me.  I filed them away and focused on the fact that this would be a test of where my running fitness was at.  Plain and simple.   Sometimes you have to take the emotion of out it because it can mess with your head.

I had an optional 2h and 30 minute ride on Saturday.  I opted to ride for 45 minutes just to spin my legs out.  I wanted to be as fresh as possible for Sunday.  We spent the afternoon at my parents having a belated Easter dinner and we drove home in a snow storm.  I hadn't figured out my race day ensemble yet so as soon as I got home I checked the forecast (again) and then checked Instagram to see what other people were wearing, ha ha.  I came up with this.

It was supposed to be cold and windy.  I had originally thought about wearing my Zoot wind tights but knew that I get really warm in them so I opted for my Zoot biowrap tights with another thin pair of tights underneath.  I wore a long sleeve with sleeves underneath it - I figured if I got warm, I could pull them off easily enough.  My vest is completely wind proof so I knew my core would be fine.  I brought my wool Buff along and wore another one to hold my hair back and cover my ears.  I hoped it would be warm enough.

Race morning, Kiki came by my house and we loaded up the car and headed off in search of coffee.  We hit Tim Horton's and when I tried to roll down my window, it was frozen shut.  So going through the drive through became a bit of a debacle.  But we managed.  Thankfully there wasn't anyone behind us.  I'm pretty sure there would have been some honking, ha ha.

We whipped along the QEW and made it out to the Hammer by just after 8:00 am.  We found some primo parking and sat in the car and stayed warm.  We were just down the road from our secret bathroom stop so we each had a washroom stop in the warmth before we had to head out to our respective spots.  I was carting all of Kiki's warm stuff with me as we'd do the hand off of everything at the relay exchange point.  That meant I got to keep my toasty warm jacket on and that she'd have it waiting for me after.

Around 9 we made our way over to the relay buses and Kiki got on for a few minutes to keep warm.  It was SUPER windy out and the wind was COLD.  She jumped off as it started to fill up and before I knew it, we were on our way.  I was chatting with a lovely woman from Brantford who was my seatmate.  We were at the exchange point in about 15-20 minutes.  The bus pulled over and we were able to stay in the warmth until we wanted to get out.  We sat there for a while, a bunch of us trying to figure out when the best time to get over to the exchange point would be.

We watched the leaders come flying by and eventually people started to trickle out.  I had wanted to do a warm up but didn't really have much opportunity to do so as I was wearing a heavy coat and carrying a knapsack.  And, I had to use the porta potty again.  So I got in the line up and hoped that I wouldn't miss Kiki.  I was watching for my friend David but I never saw him.  I can only assume he ran by when I was in the porta potty.  I got out and ran up the road, watching for Kiki's Boston jacket. A few minutes later I saw her and waved her down.  I grabbed the zip ties and toenail clipper to remove the chip from her shoe and transfer it to mine.  My hands were so cold, I couldn't get the zip ties on so she did that while I shed my layers.  I shoved my jacket into the knapsack and took off.  I booted it up that first hill and had to calm myself down.  I was passing people all over the place.  The wind was brutal through those first 2km but I knew as soon as I turned onto North Shore that it would be fine.

My legs felt a little rough, probably due to the lack of a proper warm up.  But once I got warmed up, I felt really good.  My first two km were sub 4:30.  My goal pace was 4:40.  But, this was about seeing what I was capable of.  So, I figured I'd aim to stay just below that for the first 10km.  And I did, with the exception of the climb just after the 20km mark, which is a long grinder of a climb.  That km was 4:45.  I was amazed at how strong I felt going up hills.  All that glute work paid off.  My form work has also paid off (for the most part).  Normally I'd over stride on the down hills and totally fry my quads but I didn't.  I focused on landing under my body and leaning forward.  There was so much form check chatter in my head the entire race it was crazy but in the best way possible.  I kept telling myself to keep my chest out and arms back.  I have a tendency to drop my right shoulder / arm out a bit so it's almost like a chicken wing, ha ha.  It wasn't hard for me to do at the start of the race but by the end, I was getting fatigued and I could feel my form starting to go.  You can see it in my race photos too.  It's crazy.  My entire right side just collapses.  But that's another post for another day.

This would be the first time I'd run the course without the big hill in it so I was looking forward to NOT having to run up that lung buster.  I figured that would also help me in terms of my negative split.  I am horrible at doing running math so but I figured if I picked up the pace in the last 2-3km I should be good.

I made it through the hills and rollers feeling pretty good.  My legs didn't feel sore or tired at all, which totally blew my mind.   The only thing that hurt were my feet.  I could feel blisters happening, which annoyed me as the socks I had on were ones I had worn multiple times before.  No matter, I was still catching people as I went along.  When we turned onto Plains Road, we had a fair bit of wind to deal with.  I draft hopped people as I went along.  I'd get up behind someone, sit behind them for a bit to break the wind, then pull out and move along to the next person.  The road started to change direction so the wind ended up being at my side, which is much better than running into it.  The big hill had been replaced by flat so I was really happy about that!  I kept checking my pace and doing the math.  I was definitely going to make it under 1:10, the question was, by how much?

I started to push the pace with about 4km left, gradually increasing my speed with every kilometer.  Of course I had to high five the Grim Reaper at the 28km mark as I flew by.  This year there were TWO of them!  I was starting to feel tired and I could feel my form falling apart.  I had to force my shoulders back as I was staring to slouch.  I could see the 29km mark and I really started to push.  I wanted that last km to be the fastest of the day.  I heard someone call my name as I ran towards the entrance to Copps Coliseum (or First Ontario Place as it's now called) but I didn't see who it was.  I took my sunglasses off as I made the turn onto the ramp.  I turned onto the finishing chute and as I came towards the finish line, I heard the announcer call out our team name which made me smile.  I hit stop and glanced at my watch:  1:07:55.  WOOHOO!  I booked it hard those last few hundred meters to try and get under 1:08 and I squeaked by.

I ran into my friend David as I left the arena area and we chatted for a while.  Kiki called me to find out where I was so I went to grab our medals and then went off to meet her.  I changed out of my sweaty shirt and bundled up in my nice warm jacket. Kiki was checking sports stats and said we finished 14th.  I thought that was pretty good.  I texted G to tell him we were leaving and he told me that we were 4th in the open female category and 14th overall.  We missed the podium by 32 seconds, ha ha ha.  If this race went by chip time we would have been on the podium but they use gun time (old school) and the 3rd place team beat us by 31 seconds.  Oh well.  I didn't have any expectations for that so it was a pleasant surprise!

After I downloaded my Garmin, I went back and checked my splits.  Sure enough, my last km was my fastest.  My 2nd last km was my 3rd fastest km.

I was beyond happy with my effort.  I feel like I actually raced smartly for a change instead of going out too fast like I normally do.  And, more importantly, it proved to me that these legs still have it.  There is nothing wrong with the engine, it just needs a bit more fine tuning and that will come.

I had a blast doing the relay and it's definitely something I'd consider doing again.  Especially that early in the season.   The bling ain't that bad either.

My next race will be the Mississauga Half on May 1st.  Can't wait for that one!

Monday, April 4, 2016

#OperationTop5 Week 13 - First Race of the Season!

Happy Monday!

I had every intention of writing this post yesterday but my weekend got away from me.  As did much of this week.  If life continues to be this crazy, I may have to look at taking a break from the blog for a while.  But we shall see.

This past week was pretty low key in terms of workouts.  I put in a huge amount of work the week before and I really needed to recover so I didn't have anything on the schedule until Wednesday.  I took full advantage of the no workouts and got as much sleep as possible.  My body needed it.  I slept really well almost every night last week.  No middle of the night wake ups.  It was solid, uninterrupted sleep.  SO good.  Wednesday I went back to my Masters swim and barely made 2100m.  It was pretty sucky.  I felt sluggish and slow.  I worked on my new stroke but that tired me out quite quickly so I had to really break it down and focus on ONE element (reaching forward).  I was pretty tired when I got out of the pool and I think I was in bed asleep by 9:00 pm that night, ha ha.  I had a brick scheduled for Thursday and I opted to do it in the morning.  I got on the bike and did my 60 minutes with 30 minutes at 80% of my FTP.  I'm not going to lie,  It was hard.  My legs still felt pretty heavy and it took them a while to warm up.  I had to work really hard to stay at that 80%. 

My Garmin has a feature called "Recovery advisor" and I do believe it uses the data from your heart rate / power to determine how long it will take you to recover from a workout.  It usually beeps about 10 minutes into a workout to alert you.  During my ride it beeped and it said "Recovery / Good".   Sometimes when it beeps good, I have to wonder what metrics it's measuring because there are times when it says good and I certainly don't feel it.  This ride was one of those times.  When I laced up my shoes to go out for my run, I started my watch in run mode and took off.  I actually felt really good on the run.  My heart rate felt a tiny bit high but not too bad.  10 minutes into my run, my Garmin beeps again and I look at my recovery advisor.  It says "Fair".  Ha.  Ok.  Clearly I wasn't recovered just yet.  Luckily I only had to run 20 minutes so it wasn't too taxing.  After uploading that workout in Training Peaks, I was given the option to skip my masters swim on Friday if I wanted to.  So I did.  I had a 2h 30 minute ride on the schedule for Saturday and my coach had said I could skip that too if I wanted to.  It was all about being healthy and fresh for Sunday.  I opted to ride 45 minutes just to spin my legs out.  That was about all I felt like doing.  After riding outside every day, being back inside on the trainer is horrible.   We had a belated Easter dinner at my parents in Guelph so we headed out there around 2:30.   We didn't plan on staying too late as I had to be up early and there happened to be a snow storm that rolled in.  Thank you Mother Nature.  We got dumped on again last night as well.  Seriously, it's APRIL.  Ugh.  Can I go back to Florida please????

Anyway, yesterday was my first race of 2016.  After 2 DNS, it was nice to finally get a race under my belt.  I did Around the Bay 30km as part of a two team relay.  What a blast.  There will be a race report later on this week but in short, it was EXACTLY what I needed.  I held a good solid pace, even on the hills.  My knees didn't hurt and I felt strong the entire time.  After everything I've been through with this injury nonsense, I was uncertain of what I'd be capable of, especially coming off of the massive week of training the week before.   Having the race I had, gave me a huge confidence boost.  So much so that I signed up for the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 1st.  I've done the 10km twice and the marathon once so I figure it's time to do the half!  And I have a bunch of friends racing as well as two of my athletes.  So it should be a blast for sure.

With all that, this is how my week actually went down - I'm linking up with Holly (HoHoRuns) and Tricia (Mississipi Piddlin) for their weekly wrap (a day late but hey, better late than never!)

Monday:  OFF
Tuesday:  OFF
Wednesday:  2100m swim
Thursday:  60 minute ride, 20 minute run

Testing out the remote control app on my phone for the GoPro - nice shot of the Pain Cave!

Friday: OFF
Saturday:  45 minute ride
Sunday: 15km race

Total time:  4h 8 minutes.  

I'm 99.9% sure I will not see a week this easy until my taper week for Tremblant.  My coach just updated my training plan for the next three weeks and it's massive and I have to admit, I'm excited.  I must be crazy but I can't wait to start tackling some bigger distances and some solid running mileage!