Monday, July 28, 2014

Cue the song from every kids favorite show about dinosaurs and trains…Get outside, get into nature! (Or, I love to run when I'm camping)

This past week was much better training-wise after my insight and change in goals the previous weekend. I refocused on running, which for me meant returning to the gym for hip/glute strength and core work. That was Monday. Tuesday after getting my bike back (got the front brakes fixed) I had my usual Tuesday ride. It was a little shorter than usual (only 25 km), but I discovered a new connecting route that will enable me to up my bike mileage easily. Then Weds was a planned rest day, which is good, because I had a migraine on Tuesday evening. Thursday I hit the gym for some bike time (it was raining) plus another core workout. I haven’t worked that hard on a spin bike in a while, and I really really didn’t want to finish my 40 mins. At around 35 mins I started thinking how I’d already done enough, and so I could just quit. But I reminded myself that you can’t just stop a race when you feel like it (well, you can, but not if you want to actually finish) and kept going. I so didn’t want to, and every second of that last 5 minutes was a physical and mental effort. But I felt so good mentally for having stuck it out. It was a good reminder that, no matter how good quitting might feel in the moment, finishing feels much better in the end. (Baring a real reason to stop, like injury of course.)

Friday was another planned rest day. The family took off early for a maybe camping trip. We didn’t have reservations, and so we were either going to drive for 2.5 hours to spend the day at a lake, or to spend the weekend camping. We left the city early enough that we got lucky and got a spot, and it was right next to another family with a 5 year old boy, so my little guy had a new best bud for the weekend. Saturday I went for a 70 min run on a dirt road. I’m starting to up my mileage slowly, building up for the half marathon in October. I figure I did about 11 km, but really, I don’t know. I ran out for 35 mins and then back to the campsite. It was a beautiful rutted hilly logging road that had two long hills on the way back. They were very challenging, but in a great way. The views of the lake and mountains were stunning, and the sound of several creek waterfalls invigorating at just the right spots in the road. Mentally and physically it was a fantastic way to spend a bit of the afternoon. Then it was off to the very cold Chilliwack Lake for a bit of a clean-up (I was really sweaty after the run, and thanks to the fire ban having been lifted for the weekend, was carrying quite a bit of ‘eau de campfire’ too). Then on Sunday I spent an hour playing support car for my husband while he did a ‘time trial’ around a little town called Yarrow. All in all, a good week for my training, and for my family.

Monday, July 21, 2014

New goals = renewed energy

So last week was a tough one training-wise. I expected to need a bit of time for recovery, and built it into my plans for the week. I took Monday completely off, and then Tuesday had my first ever therapeutic massage. (I loved it, and will definitely make a habit of post-race massage. It helped that I had a line on a very good massage therapist, someone my husband has been seeing for years. He's really picky about massage, so if he gives someone the thumbs up, it's a good sign.) I was back at it, but more for my mental health than anything else on Weds. I went to the pool, something I can easily do while tired, and did some speed work. It was 50m repeats, with 1 min rest in between. I did 10, and they were all between 55 and 57 secs. Very consistent, and for me, decently fast. So I was happy. And on Thursday I went for my usual 10 k trail run. I did it with fartleks, as I often do to keep it more interesting. I finished in a hair over 58 mins. My fastest time for the route from just a few weeks back is 56 minutes. So I was quite a bit slower, but still, I wasn't upset about my time, it had only been a few days since my race after all, and I was faster than I had been on Sunday, but not too much. Interestingly, my time on Thursday's run made me feel better about my time on Sunday. Anyway, Friday I took another rest day. And then on Sat I went and swam 750 m at a relatively hard effort to see how fast I might be in an upcoming sprint pool swim tri I'm considering adding to my schedule. I wasn't really into going, but I don't feel good if I go 2 days without doing something physical. I hadn't eaten enough (more on that below) so I popped a half a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter while convincing myself to head out to the pool. Discovered a new motivational trick in that: It's what I eat before I race, and so is correlated in my mind with exercising. Enough so that my mindset immediately changed and I was raring to go! I'll have to remember that one.

On Sunday I went to the track and did 400s. And things fell apart. My legs still felt like lead, 1 week after my race. My fast 400s were over 2:00, and my slow recovery ones were over 2:30! I haven't been this slow in years. I was frustrated, and couldn't figure it out. I am taking iron supplements which usually help with this (on a doctor's advice) and have been trying to eat more iron rich foods too. My sleep has been OK. My son has sleep issues, so I rarely get a full nights uninterrupted sleep, but this week has been a relatively good one. I wasn't feeling any post-race blues, and was evening thinking of adding another race into my schedule. So why was I running so poorly?

I realized after 8 laps that despite the fact that I still had 2 maybe 3 races on my calender, I had no goal any more. The race last weekend had been my goal race, the one I had been working towards for months. It gets more complicated than that though. Last year I ran a 10 k road race after my last tri, to see if I could do it. I was sort of feeling out the possibility of doing an olympic distance tri. It went well, and so I did (decided to do the oly.) I had a similar plan this year. I decided to run a half marathon in the upcoming fall to see how it goes, testing out the possibility of doing an even longer distance tri next year (a half-iron). But I have already decided that that is not in the cards for me. I can't commit to the amount of training required. So having decided to not up my distance, the half marathon has lost its purpose for me. So my motivation to do it waned. Add that to some fueling issues, and bingo, a recipe for problems.  I am currently walking around with a mouthful of plastic temporary crowns, making it hard to eat. I got them on Friday (that's why Friday was a rest day - I spent 2 hours in a dentist's chair, and another couple still frozen afterwards). I can't bite very well, and so eating the things I normally do is challenging. It was a perfect storm.

All of this became clear while I was running my recovery lap after my 4th slow 'fast' 400. It was a weight lifted off. I did my next 400 in 1:51, my next fast one in 1:48, my next in 1:49, and my last in 1:49! Mostly it was my form that changed. I ran upright, with my core engaged, and felt my muscles working on every stride. I wasn't trying to just move my feet faster, I was moving my body the way it was supposed to move. I was knackered at the end of the workout, but feeling great.

And now I have a new goal. It is the half-marathon. After what I just wrote it might seem strange to make that my goal, rather than the Cultus Lake tri in September.  It's about weight. I have gained a lot of fitness in the past 2 years, and my body has changed shape and size, but I haven't lost a single pound and I would really like to. I don't want to lose much, 6-8 lbs would be ideal. Running is the best way I know for my body to lose weight. So my plan is to cut back a little on my intake (not too much) and slowly increase my distance on my long runs. At the same time, I will be increasing my cycling distance a bit, with an eye to next year's plans to do 2-3 olympic races. Making the half marathon my goal race also makes sense in that it is later in the year than Cultus Lake, so it'll keep me going for longer.

It was rather amazing to me how much difference all of this mental activity made in the middle of a training session! The first half and second half were like night and day.

And my day just kept getting better. I went home, had a shower, and asked the little man (my son) if he wanted to go for a bike ride in the back alley. The rain had finally let up and he was going stir crazy. When we got outside I asked if he might like to try his pedal bike instead of his run bike. He said yes. So I yelled up to my husband to get it out of the bike room, and the rest is history. He can only do it downhill so far but he thinks he can do it now, so he had his own mental breakthrough. And the pride on his face was so much fun to see.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pictures from my Vancouver Subaru race

Bike uphill (again)


Run some more


Clearly running is my favorite part. I felt awful during the run. But I look like I'm enjoying it, so I must have been.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I need to be nicer to myself

I was so frustrated with my run time in my race last weekend. Mostly, I was bummed about going over 60 minutes. But really, if I take out my pitstop, I was likely pretty close to being under. And yesterday when I went out to do a 10 k trail run, it took me a hair over 58 mins. Longer than it should have, but I was still pretty tired from my race. Anyway, my point is that I only started running that route in under 60 mins about 2 years ago, so I need to let up on myself. I had just biked 40 k for goodness sake. So while I would still like to have an official run time of under 60 m in an olympic race, I'm feeling better about my race now than I was before. I was only about 18 secs/km slower than I was yesterday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Subaru Vancouver Triathlon (Olympic distance) Race Report

Overall time: 3:20:47; Swim: 40:16; T1: 4:33; Bike: 1:33:12; T2: 1:52; Run:1:00:56; Age group (F 40-44) 11/15; Gender 94/112; Overall 279/305

After a few days of reflection, I am ready to write this. Not because my feelings about the race needed time to sort themselves out, but because my feelings about me and another olympic distance race needed time to sort themselves out. But I’ll get to that later. First, the race. But even before that, the events leading up to the race. Feel free to just skip down to the actual race report if you want to. (The various sections of the race are discussed after bolded headings, so it's easy to see where the actual race report is.) But I need to put the whole in thing context for myself.

I have always had trouble putting air in my tires, or rather, my front tire, which for some reason I always do first and which leaves me feeling like a total incompetent. I mean, what business do I have racing if I can’t even put air in my own tires. Well, a few weeks ago my husband helped me, knowing it would take me longer than he would like (we were on our way out and needed to get out the door rather quickly). He never really said it, but it was clear that he thought I was incompetent with tires and was a bit exasperated by it. So, it turned out that he couldn’t really do it either. Something was wrong with the valve in my front tire. So he offered to change the tube. Since I didn’t know how to do that either, and had been asking him to show me, we made it a two-fer. He did it very slowly, and I assisted, and felt like I could change it in an emergency. (I wouldn’t bother changing a tube for a sprint race, but the olympic is long enough – and frankly I’m slow enough – that to me it would be worth losing the time, fixing the flat, and being able to finish the race.) So that was Monday night. I had wanted to get out for a short ride, just to make sure the new tube was in correctly, no pinch spots, etc., but the rest of the week was really really busy work-wise (good busy), and I didn’t manage to get the ride in during the week. So Saturday morning I headed out for a short, easy ride. It felt good, I adjusted the cleats on my new shoes a little, and they felt better. But I discovered that my cyclo-computer wasn’t working. I don’t have a power meter, cadence information, or GPS, but I do use the kph. I ride the race course enough that I know how fast I can go on various parts of the course. But I need the information from my computer to know how I’m doing. I also know how fast I wanted to do the course, but doing that required knowing how fast I was going along the way. So I need to take care of this issue before heading to the race site to drop off my bike. So I was extra glad that I had taken that ride. So, quick trip to the hardware store to pick up new batteries later, we got it back on and properly adjusted. Turns out the batteries were likely fine, and the sensor was just not quite close enough to the spokes. But getting it back on and working was an adventure in and of itself. We finally got it working, but only when the wheel was turning backwards for instance. And getting it on the right direction and close enough to the spokes took a while. Turns out the thing is really finicky. Who knew?

So we finally got it working at 3:30, and the race meeting was at 4. I knew I couldn’t get to the other end of town, park, and bike to the site in 30 minutes, but I did my best. In the end, I missed most of the race meeting, but between a careful reading of the athlete updates and chats with some fellow athletes, I felt like I knew what I needed to know. I was quite happy I wasn’t doing the sprint at package pick-up let me tell you. The sprinters were waiting in a very long line to pick up their packages. Not so the olympic distance racers. It all took less time that I had anticipated, which was nice.

That night I got everything set up and ready for the next morning, race bag, breakfast stuff, bathroom stuff in the downstairs bathroom so as to not wake the rest of the house before 5 am. I am not a morning person. So the thought of getting up at 4:45 was not one I relished. I had intended to get to bed early, but given the heat, my head didn’t hit the pillow until about 11:30. It took me a while to get to sleep, but I wasn’t terribly anxious so I slept well. Until my eyes sprang open at 4 am. I stayed in bed for about 30 minutes before getting up, thinking I might be able to catch a few more winks, which of course, I didn’t. So I got up, showered, had my coffee and regular pre-race breakfast (pb and banana), got dressed, and headed off to find a Car2go at about 5:30. The roads were pretty empty, except for a lot of cars obviously headed to the triathlon. I parked pretty easily (since I didn’t have to worry about parking time limits/resident only vs. open parking, etc.), and headed to get marked and grab my timing chip. I put it on, and headed in to set up my gear in transition.

I checked my tires for air, they seemed fine. I spun the front wheel to make sure the cyclo-computer was working. It was. And then I got everything laid out. The guy next to me in the rack (facing the same way, so 2 numbers away I guess) was a bit of a space hog. He laid things out in a way that took up a lot of ground, and that trend was apparent throughout the race as it turned out. I got my wetsuit on, and got it adjusted much better than I had been able to recently (in the arms and shoulders) so I was looking forward to a decent swim. Add in a few trips to the lou, some water drinking and protein bar eating, and that’s pretty much my morning. I was ready in time to head down to the beach and watch the last wave of half athletes get started, and get in a bit of a swim warm up. Lots of people were commenting on the cold, but compared to Shawnigan Lake, it was positively balmly. The water was really cloudy. You couldn’t see a thing even close to shore. I like that though, as it avoids the moment where you cross over from being able to see to not being able to see, a moment that makes my heart race a little from irrational fear (of man-eating sharks and sea monsters – I said it was irrational). I got out, and was ready to go just in time.

I moved over to the start area and chatted a bit with a poor woman whose wetsuit had split while she was putting it on a few minutes earlier. She seemed mostly perturbed about being seen in her swimsuit upon coming out of the water. I told her people would just think she was tough. She was heavier, and was embarrassed by how she looked. Funny how how we see ourselves is not how others see us. What I saw was an inspiring athlete. Both because I generally find heavier triathletes inspirational. At some point I will write a post about that. But also because she was getting on with the race anyway despite the unexpected setback, and I was impressed by that. And then we were off. I didn’t see her again that morning, but I hope she had a good race in the end.

The Swim: I left the beach near the back of the pack, but not completely, and passed a few people who had started in front of me, but not too many. I went out slow. I swam at a comfortable pace. After what had happened at Shawnigan Lake, my plan was to just take my time, so that I could stick to freestyle, and finish. I bumped and got bumped a few times, but not too many. I swam a less than direct line to the first buoy to get away from/around some people. I rounded the first buoy and then went a little too far out to sea while heading in the general direction of the second buoy. But I didn’t get as far as the paddle boarders and boats, nor was I the farthest out person, so not too back. I rounded the second buoy and somehow didn’t notice how strong the current was, despite knowing the direction. But it was carrying me too far west. This time, I did have to swim back around the paddle board, making a bit of an s-shape as I wound my way towards the shore. But I was feeling pretty good, and confident I could finish the swim and make it onto the bike. I got shore, got out and ran around the inflatable back into the water and started the second lap. This time, I was able to swim in a straighter line to the first buoy, and worked hard to take a more direct line to the second one as well. Rounding the second buoy was a challenge. The current seemed stronger this time. Maybe it was (it was later) or maybe I was just more tired (despite still feeling really good). I tried to stop and turn, but I only managed to turn my body. The current kept me going, in the wrong direction. For a while I was swimming hard to pretty much stand still in the water. But I made it to shore without having to be redirected by the paddle boarder a second time. I got out of the water feeling really proud of myself for my swim. I managed the current, controlled my breathing, and exited feeling really strong. That despite swimming what must have been at least 100 extra meters. It was a long run to transition. Time: 40:16

Transition 1: In transition, the wetsuit of the guy near me I mentioned previously was strewn out in front of the bikes. It was sort of in the way, but if he doesn’t care about people stepping on his wetsuit (I didn’t) then why should I care. It took me longer than I like to get my feet clean and my socks on. And I forgot to take my cleat covers off my bike shoes. Doh! At least I noticed that before I tried to get on my bike. And I had to put on a shirt. I decided not to wear my tri suit. It doesn’t fit me quite right, and the zipper has been giving me a little sore. I have psoriasis, so little sores often quickly turn into plaques that I can’t get rid of. Anyway, I wore some 2XU tri shorts I like, my racing bra (it dries quickly), and a not-too loose running shirt, which I had to put on after the swim. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it’s harder to put on clothes when wet, and it did take me a little longer than I had anticipated, but it wasn’t too bad. And I was comfortable, which is what really matters. I popped two cliff blocks in my mouth and took off. Time: 4:33

Bike: The bike portion was going pretty well. I didn’t go out from transition too too fast. I was mindful of the hill that was quickly approaching and I didn’t want to hit it with my heart beating like crazy before I even started the climb. I hit the hill and went up in quite a cheery mood. That hill is my friend, I ride it quite often, and it was nice to see a familiar ‘face’. I know where to shift, what gear to be in, where I need to go slow, and where I can speed up. I was happy at the top, and feeling like I could do the ride. Something I think I haven’t mentioned before – I had never actually ridden 40 km before (not counting the 50 km bike a thon I did when I was 12). The longest training ride I had managed previous to the race was 33 km. I wasn’t too worried, as I knew the route, and I also knew that some schools of thought for other forms of endurance athletics, particularly marathon running, don’t endorse training the full distance anyway. So this wasn’t worrying me, I knew I could finish the bike course. (I hadn’t thought about what it would do to my running legs, which was a definite oversight.) Anyway, about half way to the turnaround I heard a clunk sort of sound, and felt something fly up. I figured it came off the road. It turns out I was wrong. It was almost certainly the nut from my front brake, the one that’s on the bolt that holds the whole braking setup on the frame. I discovered this about 2 km after the turn around, when the whole braking apparatus came flying off my bike. It bounced off the spokes (and possibly the fork) on the right side a few times before I caught it. I passed it over to me left hand. Thankfully, I was on a flat portion of the course, not braking and slowed down immediately. I didn’t stop suddenly, and I don’t think it impacted anyone else. I was over to the right anyway, where I was less of an obstacle to the faster cyclists. I wasn’t scared at all by it, I was just mad. Mad that I was going to have to abandon my goal race, the one I had been training for all season, all off season too as a matter of fact. This was the race I had been working toward for months, the one that kept me in the gym when I didn’t want to be there. I had even learned to change a tire for this damn race. And here I was, having to abandon it because my bike fell apart. Then I realized I still had my shifters, all my gears worked, and my back brakes were fine. I had had it serviced about a month before and knew that it was in good shape from that. (Clearly not, you might say. But that wasn’t how I was thinking, nor should I have been.) So I started pedaling again, and decided to power on and try to finish the race. I still had to go down the big hill, twice. But 1) it’s really not that steep, and 2) I have not only been working on going up that hill, I have been working on going down that hill too. A few weeks ago I got the point where I could go down without touching the brakes. (I am not the nerviest rider, and if it had been an unfamiliar course I would have stopped.) So I felt OK about the possibility of finishing. Heck, the TdF riders ride with broken limbs. Note, I did make sure my back brake was actually working well before making my decision, so I wasn’t really putting myself or anyone else in danger. 

How I rode most of the bike leg

And it all went fine after that. One or two riders did seem to notice that I was holding my brake in my hand while riding, and it made me a little slower than I might have been, since I had to be more careful about what I was doing with my hands. I was also slower because my cylco-computer stopped working as a result of the brake thing. So frustrating after all that hassle the day before! But at some point I noticed that the little thingy was still attached to my spokes and that the sensor seemed to be too far away again, so I slowed down and adjusted that and got it working again. But I’d already gone quite far in the meantime, so I had been riding without the advantage of knowing my speed for much of the race. But given the brake thing, I actually wasn’t too concerned about my bike time in the end. I was just happy to be able to make it to T2. I also had a bit of a problem with saddles soreness. Heck, my butt was excruciatingly sore. Tri shorts just don’t have enough padding, and I haven’t put in enough mileage to toughen up my sitz-bones. But that just made me really really motivated to finish the bike. And finish I did. I must say that that second time down the hill was the most fun I’ve had on a bike in a long time. I was flying, and loving it. Time: 1:33:12

T2: T2 went pretty well, except for having to rack dude’s bike for him! It was in the spot, but not on the rack. Instead it was leaning over onto another bike, taking up 3 spots. I couldn’t get my bike in without taking the time to move his. I was not happy. He’s lucky he wasn’t there at the same time as me, because after finishing with my brake in my hand and my super sore butt I was not in a mood to be messed with. But the rest of it went fine. I got my shoes changed, my belt on, and my watch on and started and took off. Time: 1:52

Run: I am used to my swims being bad to OK, same with my bikes, and my runs being my redemption. But that was not the case on Sunday, not even close. I don’t have trouble running of the bike. Not that I fast off the bike, but it feels OK. It usually takes me about 1 km for my legs to loosen up, and that was the case on Sunday. I got to the 1 km marker in 6:19, which was a little slow, but I knew I’d go faster from then on in. And I did. Sort of. The next 2 km each took somewhere between 5:10-5:20. Even with a funky knee spasm/cramp thing that hit me at about 2 km. It was horrible. I’ve never had anything like that in my knee before. I stopped and massaged it out, or at least, massaged it enough that I could keep going. I was pretty well hydrated, and was taking in electrolytes, so I’m not quite sure what caused it, unfortunately. It might be related to the back problems I’d had earlier in the week. But I dealt with it. I mean, I had ridden with a broken brake, a little knee cramp that made it impossible to bend my leg wasn’t going to stop me! At about 5.5 km in I was dying. It was clear that I was going to need some energy to finish, so I popped a GU (salted caramel, I highly recommend it). That helped – I could feel the energy boost a short time later. But I also knew that it wasn’t really an energy problem, it was an endurance problem. I had never done so much at one time before, and my body just didn’t have enough fitness for a race of this length. I eventually stopped to walk, not giving up, just a little leg rest. A runner I had just passed passed me and she urged me to keep going. It was something like “C’mon, you can do. Get running and pass me again.” So I did. It was more of an old man shuffle, but it was faster than a walk. I was so happy to see the turn around. I got there at about 43:30. Things were looking good for a sub 60 minute 10 km, which was my goal. But in the end, I didn’t get in under 60 mins. I had to stop for a quick pee. I tried and tried to hold on, but my post-baby body is not as able to do that as it used to be. So I bit the bullet and took the time hit. I did stop again for a brief walk just before that, whereupon another female olympic runner who was still on her way to the turnaround cheered me on and told me I was almost there and could keep going. I wasn’t actually giving up when walking, I was trying to give my legs a brief rest so I could pick it back up again. So while I didn’t really need it to keep going, I really love how I got encouragement from people behind me! It did cheer me up, and it helped me feel happier about the whole situation. Time: 1:00:56

Unlike my previous tri, my family wasn’t planning on being there for much of the race. I was expecting them somewhere near the finish line, but didn’t see them until after I crossed. But they were there as soon as I finished, handing me water and reminding me to drink. Then I had to grab my gear, hop back on my bike and get to where our car was parked. (Husband and son had parked a bit away and biked to the venue.) We went home, I had a quick shower, and then we headed to some friends’ for a bbq birthday celebration for their daughter, which was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Throughout the run, I was very much decided I would never do another olympic distance race. But by the time a few hours had gone by (ah heck, one hour), I decided I wouldn’t do another one this season. So Cultus Lake, if I do it, will be another sprint. I don’t have the fitness yet for the longer triathlon, or at least, I don’t have the fitness to do it how I want to do it. (I mean, I did finish, and wasn’t last in my age group.) But, with the right training, I will next summer. So I’m already planning my race schedule for next year and there’s at least 2 olys in it. I guess all in all, I’m happy I finished given how the race went for me. I actually enjoyed the swim, so I hope I can get to Cultus Lake in September (family things might get in the way). The whole bike thing could have been much worse. And looking back on it, I probably should have stopped. I was too in the moment to be thinking really clearly. It turns out my front wheel was loose too. The bike mechanics (Bikes for All, our favorite) think it might have been bike thieves trying to rip off parts. Not sure where or when though. So I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt, and I didn’t cause anyone else to get hurt. And now me and people who know me will be checking things on their bike they never thought to check before as part of our pre-race routines. I am proud of myself for finishing. It was much more of a challenge than a sprint, which I needed.

Thanks to the race organizers, it was well done, and the volunteers! They were great! Especially the guy at the run cross-over. It’s hard to explain, but there’s a place in the run where the outgoing and incoming runners have to change sides of the path, and last year when I was there cheering and spectating, it was a bit of a mess. The guy there this year was fantastic. He got everyone where they needed to go, even when there were 6+ runners there at the same time coming from all 4 directions no less, and was really encouraging all at the same time. Thanks to him and all the rest of the people who gave up their mornings (and possibly more) so me and the other athletes could be out there testing ourselves.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pre-race jitters

So I'm suffering from a serious case of pre-race jitters this week. Some of it is natural - this is double the distance of my longest previous race - some of it is self-induced. You see, I made the mistake of looking at the times from last year for my age group at this distance and found out that I am quite likely to finish last. I am not a super speedy anything, but I tend to finish in the middle of the pack in sprints, anywhere from 4th (2 times) to the bottom of the middle third. I am comfortable in this range. From the times in the Vancouver Suberu oly last year for women in general let alone my age group, this race doesn't seem to attract too many really really recreational athletes like me. So that was Monday night, and it freaked me out a little bit. Then on Tuesday I went swimming at a local outdoor salt-water pool to get some more experience swimming in my wetsuit. I've swum there before and it was fine. But on tuesday it was filled with very fit, fast looking people, some of them wearing couer d'alene swim caps, so who quite obviously had just done that tri. Some were locals, but others were out of towners. I got more intimidated. I am not that. I am a flabby around the middle mom, wife, and professor who does races to make sure I stick with my workouts. I signed up for this one for 3 reasons. One, I train on parts of the course on a semi-regular basis. So I am comfortable here. Two, that means I didn't have to travel to do my first oly, I am at home where I am more comfortable. And three, last year when I came down to spectate and cheer I saw lots of people like me. I saw them and was inspired and figured, if they can do it, so can I. But it turns out, they were all in the half-iron distance. So all the people like me that made me want to push my boundaries and try a longer race are doing an even longer race. And I am in the race with all the super fit super speedy racer types. So my stomach has been a little unsettled all week, and I had another migraine today. But my husband is being super supportive and encouraging, and knows that just finishing the thing is my goal. Even if I'm the last women to cross the finish line, he'll be proud of me and happy for me. He thinks triathlons are wacky, but he also thinks it's great that I have something I'm doing to be healthy, and so is my biggest cheerleader. So I'll go out there and race my race. At my pace. And I will finish. And then we'll go home and watch the soccer game. At least, that's the self-talk I'm working on this week.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How not to train for an Olympic triathlon - aka training report for June 30-July 6

So this was the week before the week before my goal race (or as my 5 year old would say, the penultimate week, I'm a bit of a language geek, so his vocabulary is a bit odd for a 5 year old...). My goal race is the Vancouver Subaru Triathlon, olympic distance. I've never done anything longer than a sprint, and I am not at all confident about even being able to finish, let alone make anything close to a decent time (more on that next post). So this week was going to be crucial for me. But things did not go according to plan. You see, we had put off any trips until after my race. But my BIL booked a campsite for his family and ours for the July 1st holiday (Canada Day). We really like the family, and enjoy camping with them, and weren't going to say no and miss the opportunity. So despite my really needing to be focusing on my race, and a lot of work stuff that both of us needed to do, we went camping.

And it was the right decision. I've said it before and I'll repeat it here. I tri to live (as in, improve my health both physical and mental), I don't live to tri. The adults had a pretty good time and the kids had a great time. We went to a site that was 1 km away from the house where I lived in HS. I hadn't been back there since I left when I was 18. I wasn't really prepared for the emotion of it - it was a time in my life with lots of happy memories, but the end of my time there was pretty crappy, so lots of negative emotions too. So I was glad that I had planned to do at least a little bit of working out while there. It really helped to clear my head. And that has put me in a decent space mentally for my race this upcoming weekend, even if physically I am nowhere near where I would like to be.

Monday was a travel day. Tuesday I went for a run. I had planned to do some fartleks, but I was feeling really rotten due to my kid having a horrible sleep the night before, so I just kept it at a nice steady pace. Not too easy, but not too hard either. I don't have a GPS watch, so I'm not sure exactly how far I went, but I think it was about 9 km. My SIL is just starting to run again, so she joined me for a little bit, and then worked on some strength training while I continued on. I ran past my old house, and it was OK. Weds I had planned on just doing a bit of an ocean swim (to get used to my wetsuit and the salt water), but the families decided to do a trail ride. I didn't have a bike suitable for that along, so I figured I'd run in the trails while they biked and then meet them back at the cars. Turned out I was needed to help push my 6 year old nephew up the hills in the trails. So I ran behind him and pushed when necessary, and then tried to keep up with him on the downhills and the flats (he's a speed demon, so it was hard). I ended up getting in about 8 km, with some speedwork (the sprinting after him). All in all, a great, fun workout, that was good family time. Then later that day I put on the wetsuit and went paddling around for 15-20 minutes. I was reminded how much I really dislike putting my face in salt water. But I got over it. Thursday was a travel day again. Friday I went out for a good ride with hill sets. Sat I was on kid duty most of the day, and then Sunday I went and did 1500 m at the pool in 37 minutes.

So I managed to get in some important workouts this week despite the trip, and got in a surprise great run. And most importantly, had some good family time. So I won't be super speedy on the 13th, heck, I might even be last in my AG. But my kid will remember being allowed to wander around the campground without grownups and being in the Canada Day kids' bike parade at the campsite for a long long time. And that's more important to me.