Sunday, April 27, 2008

Getting reacquainted with the open road...

This was the first weekend we have been able to get in some real riding time. The snow is all but melted and the weather was double digits- life is good :-)
Saturday the sun was out, and so was the wind. It made for a tough ride, and a slow slog into a fierce headwind on the way home. I managed 94km in 3hrs35- no speed records there, but I am still recovering from the marathon and I wanted to keep my effort comfortable. It was just so wonderful to be outside, with the sun on my face doing what I love with the one I love. After a great day in the great outdoors we went for a sushi feast and spent the rest of the day chilling and watching movies.
This morning we were up early, but had to wait for the temperature to creep up before heading out. Today the sun was in hiding, but thankfully so was the wind. We took a different route today, with more undulations :-) It was nice not to have the wind in my face, but my legs were a bit tired and it was a challenging ride. I also didn't eat and was nearly at my wall with 20km to go. Luckily D was stopped at Sexsmith and I stopped and had a chance to regroup for the last leg home.
I continue to be amazed at how great the riding is around here. Smooth roads, wide shoulders and very little traffic. I was expecting the opposite when we moved here, but we have found tones of routes and loops that start virtually out of our back door. We have a good summer of riding ahead of us.
Looking forward to the week ahead. Registered classes start and I have sold out classes. I also start with another new client in the morning and I am looking forward to that. This business just may just make a morning person out of me...D you are laughing now, right?
Next weekend is UfoA Tri. I am praying for warm weather this week in Edmonton to melt the snow before we get there!

Saturday TFTD: Bike 3hrs 35 93km
Sunday TFTD: Bike 3hrs 20mins 95km

Friday, April 25, 2008

New trick for an old fish

Today I went for a swim. I was just swimming along, feeling great and I had a thought..."I want to do flip turns." It has never really been a big deal for me, that I turn around at the wall. But today for some reason it just occurred to me that if I started learning now, I would soon enough be doing it without even thinking about it. So I got to the end of my lap and did it. It wasn't pretty, but I didn't get a brain full of water like I remembered the last time I tried it. My balance and body awareness had obviously improved in the water! So the next time I tried again and continued for the next 2000m. The first few were clumsy- too close, too far, one leg push off, pushing off into the ropes... but then it happened- the perfect flip turn. And after that I started to make one every 3, then every 2, and then I was only missing the odd one. It felt was as if I had "arrived" as a swimmer! lol.
Small things can mean so much! Anyway, now I have a new fun thing to practice in the pool. I am going to do my best to practice all week so that I can do them in the race next weekend. My speed definitely improved doing them- even though I missed every now and then.
Had a great visit with Alan tonight, chatted about training and upcoming races. I am hoping we get a chance to do some training together over the summer in Jasper and Grande Cache. It takes a true friend to travel this far North for a visit LOL.

TFTD: Swim 2500m 50mins

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Road to Recovery

It was great to have a little holiday, but I am also happy to be home. I love our home... :-D
I am still trying to recover, feeling much more tired than usual and not my normal bounce off the walls peppy self :-)
I am also hungry all the time and eating more than I should be. The combination of not training and eating like a freak is resulting in feeling like a beached whale. I will be happy to have my legs back and get back into my regular training routine.
Our first tri is next weekend- a sprint in Edmonton. We will be training straight through it, we need to get some longer training sessions it. Hopefully the wee skiff of snow here will be all gone by the weekend so we can get out for some riding.
I did a super easy spin just to move my legs, but I can hardly call it training, I didn't even break a sweat.
Tomorrow it is back to the pool and another ride, hopefully the legs will be feeling up to a bit more tension :-)

TFTD: Bike 60mins

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Boston Marathon 2008 Race Report

The day started at 5am, up for breakfast and then off to the Common to catch our bus to the start line in Hopkinton. It is really quite unreal, to see the sheer number of people, buses and the logistics involved in an event of this magnitude. We both grumbled a bit about getting on the bus at 6:30am for a 10:00am race start, but we realized why when the 26mile bus trip took over 2hours! We arrived at athlete village in Hopkinton just before 9am and had time to use the porto john, change our clothes and stretch a little before making our way to our respective starting corrals. I lost track of D on the way to drop off our bags, but I sent him a telepathic hug and high five, all that we needed to say and do had been done and said and I knew that although we would be a long way apart on the race course, we would be together in spirit the entire run.

I made a decision the day before the race that I was going to just run how I felt and not hold back, even though I might pay for it later in the race. I wanted to see what I could do and wanted to give everything I had without holding back anything. My mantra for the day was 'development follows demand'- the only way to see new results and progress is to push the limits, stretch the comfort zone and break through the mental and physical barriers. I knew it was going to hurt and I was prepared to overcome the pain. Good thing, cause it did, and I had to.

At 10am the gun went off, and about 7mins later I made it to the start line. The sun broke through and I was warm enough to take off the sweater I had on and add it to the massive donations for the boys and girls club that were being collected along the start. The race starts out downhill, and it is a pretty steep downhill for about 2 miles. I ran along in the massive 'peleton' of runners, trying to allow the gravity to carry me without resistance. I had a good pace and covered my first 5km in about 23mins. The next 5km were a combination of downhill and flats and went by quite quickly. I hit the 10km mark at about 46mins. The undulations continued and at 20km my legs started talking to me and all I could say back was, we are only half way there... The rolling uphills that cumulate with heartbreak hill were nothing dramatic, but because my legs were already hurting at this point, they seemed bigger than they were. The uphills were a welcome relief from the pounding of the downhill, but I could see my speed slowing and I was beginning to feel nauseous. Mile 20 is where I have always fell apart in previous marathons, and this time it was about mile 23. My legs were in such pain that it literally took every ounce of mental strength I had to continue to push forward. I knew from my time that I needed to hold under 5min kms to break 3:30 and with 5km to go I knew I was not going to make that goal. Despite that, I refused to let myself give up and ease off. I knew that the only way I would finish satisfied was if I gave 100% of what I could, regardless of how fast it was. I managed to rally a bit and get my speed back up, but the last 5km were a true mental battle that I had to fight for each and every step. It is crazy how long that distance can feel! The crowd support was huge- 3-4 rows deep on either side screaming and cheering, but I was in my own world and could barely see or hear them. When I rounded the final corner I expected to see the finish right there, but it was another 800m and it looked like 10 miles! I don't know how or where it came from, but I was able to push myself to a solid run for the last stretch to the finish, crossing in 3hrs 32 mins. Those 2 mins seem so small, but I really could not have run any faster than I did on that day.
Everything they say about the Boston Marathon is true. It is an amazing experience with incredible crowd support and an the energy and intensity of running with 21,000 of the best recreational runners is unlike anything else. It is also an extremely challenging course, it is taxing and grueling and cruel. Even though I knew I would pay the price of the quad tearing downhills, I never knew what kind of pain I would be in for. I have never hurt like that in any race- marathon, Ironman or otherwise. If I could have imagined it, I am not sure I would have had the guts to start.

All of that being said is was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life and I wouldn't change any of it.
I can't say that I am signing up for another go, even though my time re-qualified me. I will have to forget about the pain for a while, and at least be able to walk normally before I can even consider it.

I am happy to have run a personal best on a challenging course, and what made my day truly complete was seeing D after the race and hearing that he not only had a great race, but he too PR'd with a 2:46, beating Lance by 4 minutes and finishing a very respectable 335 overall.

I was so proud and happy for him that my heart felt like it doubled in size. After training together through some of the most stressful times in our lives, through some of the toughest training conditions, and then overcoming the challenge of food poisoning 2 days before the race, his race meant as much to me as my own did.

I am so grateful for my health and the fact that I can compete and train and enrich my life through sport. I am doubly blessed that my life partner is also my training parter and with that, every success is twice as satisfying, and every challenge only half the burden.

Thanks babe :-)

Plugged back in

It has been nearly a week since I have posted, we are home now from our awesome holiday in Boston. Despite lugging our laptops through 8 flights, security checks and all, neither of us bothered to so much as open them while we were away. The time away from the computers was lovely and much needed for us both. It will take me a full day to wade through the overflowing inbox, but I am not complaining. I am happy for the abundance of business that is flowing my way!

The trip was not as we had planned, but perfect just the same. We arrived in Boston Friday night and were stoked with our accommodations. I booked a studio apartment in the historical district of South Boston. The entire area consists of beautiful old brownstone buildings. Our apartment was only about 300sq feet but had a kitchen and everything we needed. The 8 flights of stairs proved to be the only undesirable feature :-O

Friday night we headed out for dinner and found a restaurant above a fitness club that looked good. We both had ahi tuna and it tasted great. After a walk around the area we headed back to our home away from home and hit the hay. About 1am I woke up to the horrible sounds of D getting violently ill. It sounded like something out of the Exorcist and all I could think was "oh god no..." talk about bad timing. This horrible nightmare continued all night, with D up pretty much on the hour every hour. I am sure he woke up the entire building and my entire body was hurting just listening to him. I kept thinking that I would be next, afterall we ate the exact same thing all day. Somehow I was spared. At 8am I was beginning to consider a trip to emerg, even though it would cost us more than our mortgage payment. Thankfully it stopped at that point and D finally fell asleep. He was completely wrecked, he looked like a skeleton and was as white as the sheets we were sleeping in.

We managed a couple hours of sleep, and finally got up around 11am. Although he looked and felt like hell, D sucked it up and came out with me to walk down to the expo and pick up our race packs. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Boston, the sun was shining, the birds were sining and my poor D couldn't even enjoy it. We didn't stay long at the expo, it was jam packed and a lot to take for anyone, never mind someone with zero calories and zero sleep in the tank. We did manage to get new running shoes (2 pair for the same price we would pay for one here) and some Nuun to hopefully replenish some of D's electrolytes. We got 5 tubes for 20 bucks...the prices we pay here are about double for pretty much all the gear and training nutrition we saw there. Can you say rip off?
We headed home and after a much needed nap for both of us I was able to convince D to eat some crackers and Lipton chicken noodle soup (bring on the sodium!) Once I had him propped up with cup o soup in hands and UFC on the tube (anything to make him feel better) I headed out for a run.

It was a gorgeous evening and I was able to see a good part of the city core in a 50 min run. I ran across the bridge into cambridge, past MIT and along the waterfront path. I was taking a map check break when another runner approached me to see if I needed help. We started chatting and ended up running together. I got a guided tour of some of the sights including the beautiful Boston Common and the adjacent park with the Swan boats. Boston is an absolutely gorgeous city- so rich in history and culture. The architecture is amazing, with some of the oldest buildings and structures in North America. My new friend Gerardo told me of all the must sees, and ran me back to the apartment, where I snapped a pic and said good bye.

When I returned D was looking better, and I cooked myself a big pasta dinner and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with D and pushing fluids on him any chance I had.

Sunday the day started much better after a restful night's sleep and a good breakfast. We made our down to Commonwealth Ave to see the start of the Women's Olympic trials. It was amazing to watch some of the fastest runners in the US competing for 3 spots on the olympic marathon team. The course took the athletes on a four loop run which included passes down the place we were sitting 4 times before the finish.

D was not back to his normal self yet, but was definitely feeling better. We had lunch and went back for another nap. Both of us were unsure of what would happen on race day, but we were determined to do everything to try and get him back to a state of health. The gift behind the illness was a real appreciation for our ability to be there, doing what we love and realizing a life dream. We were determined to have the best day possible, to give 100% and be happy and grateful for the experience no matter what the outcome.

That evening we went for a jog and explored a bit of the area. We took it nice and easy and enjoyed the sun and beautiful weather. Then it was off for our pre race dinner and off to bed early, knowing we had a very early wake up call.

Race Report to be continued....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grande Prairie Wind Report

Yup, it is still windy in GP.
Did a good swim today, 2500m, then packed up.
Bootcamp class and off to Edmonton.

TFTD: Swim 2500m 50mins

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ever see an ox swim?

Me neither, but I felt like one during Tuesday's swim. After so many great swims lately, it was frustrating to feel heavy, uncoordinated and slow. I had a rare opportunity to swim with D, and I always enjoy training with him, but having him zip by, lapping me, didn't help :-)
I know that some days, everything clicks, and others nothing does.

Today I was planning to run at the rec center, because once again the wind is over 50km/hr. I ended up running out of time so I just braved the winds and ran outside. I left my garmin at home, I knew it would just frustrate me so see the slow speed into the wind. I actually had a very strong and enjoyable run. The wind was nasty, but it didn't get me down, I just kept thinking of how much stronger I will be because of it. At times I felt like Fred Flinstone- legs churning, but going no where.

Tomorrow after class we will be heading down to Edmonton and we fly out Friday morning. I am pumped for a holiday (yes, a marathon counts as a holiday).

TFTD Tuesday: Swim 45mins 2200m
TFTD: Wednesday: Run 46mins

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blowing in the Wind

Wow. That is all I can say about the wind today. I drove down to the park to try and find a bit of shelter for my run, I expect it was better than it would have been on the open road, but it was still gusty! I heard on the way home it was 50km/hr gusting to 80km/hr.
So maybe the reason my run felt tougher than it should have is the wind. Maybe I am tired, or maybe I am thinking about it too much- the way I often psych myself out before a race. Regardless I managed to run my 15km at race pace. I wish I could say it was effortless, but it wasn't.
One thing about training in the tough weather, is it builds mental tenacity. I am banking on that paying off in a week, somewhere around 35km.

My goals for the week are active recovery, feeling a bit of zip return, and staying calm and positive. As well I am fueling up on the good stuff, and taking my iron diligently. This way I am going in with a full tank and have a better chance of running to my full potential.

TFTD: Run 15km 75mins

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Long Rides Outside....

Are sooooooo much more enjoyable! Even with the wind, the hills and the layers, it is a much welcome upgrade from spinning in the basement. Yesterday we did a great ride from the West side of the city to Beaverlodge. It was 75km roundtrip, and I wish I could upload my garmin profile to this, cause it was a doozy for hills. The way out was into a headwind and mostly climbing. The way back was fast and fun! 2hrs45 ride time plus a little spin with my bro and the fam in the evening made for a 3hrs worth of riding. Yes babe I AM counting that glide around the neighborhood LOL.

Today I took my 3rd rest day of the week- yup I am taking this taper seriously. I want to do my last long run tomorrow, 7 days out from Boston and on somewhat rested legs. My goal is to run at or slightly above my goal race pace. I need to feel some speed and get my confidence up going into the race.

I am stoked for a little getaway with D. I have always wanted to go to Boston, and I can't wait to experience the energy and excitement of the marathon. We have a studio apt about a mile from the conference centre/ finish line and will have a couple days before to chill and try not to walk around too much. We will probably rent some bikes to cruise around.
We also get to see the Women's olympic trials the day before the marathon- talk about inspiration!

D and I received our race numbers in the mail and we were happy to see that we are both in the first wave and start at 10am. For anyone that cares to follow us in the race check the website. I am number 13466, and D is 1476. They will be posting splits every 5km I think. My aim is to run 5min km. If you see me slowing down, send me a virtual kick in the butt!!

Saturday Training: Bike3hrs

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Great Outdoors

Tonight we braved the GP wind and headed out for a ride. It was soooo fun. With a tailwind on the way out I managed to ride 25km in 40mins, averaging 37km/hr. Damn...that was FUN. The way back was a lot slower, right into a head wind. But my mental space was very positive, and although my speedometer showed some ugly numbers, I was lovin every minute of it.
The way back took an hour- that gives an idea of the wind speed. My average speed for the 50km was 32.5, so not bad.

1hr45 outside is a heartbeat, compared to the same time grinding away in the basement!
I am so happy for the winter training we put in though, I feel like my muscles are well trained to spin strong and smooth at a high cadence. I feel completely different on the bike this year, as compared to last year. I finally feel like a cyclist out there. It has taken a few years of consistent training, but finally I LOVE riding. I can't wait to race.

Speaking of, there is a 10km race I really want to do here. It is the day before our Hinton Oly, and would add a interesting challenge to that race, but I am up for it. I want to win. Well, if D races, he will win, but it would be cool to be 1st and 2nd!

Tomorrow the forecast is for 19 degrees. That is summer weather! We are heading out for our first outdoor long ride and will likely get in 3hrs or so, exploring some new territory south of the city. We are looking for hills... wish us luck.

TFTD Bike 1hr45 51km

Right on the mark

My horoscope for today, which is more of an affirmation:

A sense of easy power without display makes working behind the scenes easier and waiting for rewards more profitable. If you know you're going to win, you needn't show it, and all kinds of competition and conflict is avoided. That goes for the rest of the world too, any win-win situation is definitely the way to go.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Two Swims, Two Runs and a Hump in between

Hehe, I make myself laugh.

So Monday was a rest day, Tuesday I did 2500m swim, pulled out some 18min 1000m's, felt great. Then I did a short run that I couldn't seem to get any speed for. Tuesday night was the first bootcamp, I squatted, lunged and pushed up along with the crew and was exhausted by the end of the day.

Wednesday was hump day and I felt exhausted from the time I woke up. As I was getting myself mentally prepared to get on the bike I realized that Boston marathon is 2 weeks away. As much as I am used to training while fatigued, I can't actually remember the last time I didn't feel at least somewhat tired. I decided that training through the fatigue was not the answer today, and if I am going to feel fresh on race day I need to catch up on some rest. So I took another rest day. I need to give my body time to heal, replenish and rest up so that I am in the best shape possible. I did bootcamp with the crew again, but I had them doing circuits today and didn't have to work as hard ;-)

Today I slept in and felt rested when I woke up. I hit the pool for an outstanding swim. I felt so smooth and strong. I did 500m w/u, and then 500m with fins doing 50m side kicks 50m swim breathing 3, 5, 7 strokes.

After the injection of speed, I took the fins off and did 5X200m swimming hard and breathing every 3,5 and 7 strokes. I was happy to see 2min30 2min 29, 2min29, 2min28 and 2min 29.
Then I put on the paddles and pull bouy and did 1700m focusing on strong pull through and low stroke count.
Then 300m easy to cool down. A solid 3k in 60mins with breaks.

Another bootcamp tonight. I have a great crew that is starting to form. Most of the same people continue to come back, and are signed up for the registered session starting at the end of the month. I have one more week of trial classes and then we are off to Boston. Tonight 3 girls showed up and were obviously there to cause problems. There are some people at the college here who run fitness classes and I think are threatened by competition. They were obviously there to test me, and I knew it from the moment they walked up. They ended up just making asses of themselves, and after class my group all commented about it.

It is one of the most disappointing things for me to see. The win/lose mentality some people see in competition. It is especially disappointing that women who are supposed to be leaders in fitness and wellness, would try to take away from a business that is dedicated to supporting women in health and fitness... makes no sense to me. We should be working together to do more for the community we are serving, not wasting energy trying to bring others down.
Anyway, it takes a lot more than 3 immature girls to get to me, I used to teach classes of 20 teenage girls! Not much different.

I am stoked for the weekend, the forecast is for 19 and sunny on Saturday!!!! Finally a long ride outside!

Tuesday Training: Swim 2500m 45mins
Run: 45mins
Strength: 60mins

Thursday Training: Swim 3000m 60mins
Run 40mins

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend Update

Wow, what a weekend. Between working and training we have been busy kids.

Friday was an awesome boost for the motivation tanks. We finally were able to surface from the basement and ride outside. We bundled up and headed out when D got home from work. We are really lucky to live where we do- it is less than 2 blocks to get to an amazing secondary highway- low traffic, smooth pavement and a decent shoulder. It felt so good to MOVE! I have had the resistance cranked on my trainer and have barely used my big chain ring, and almost never see speeds higher than 25. It was gratifying to be able to push the gears and see my speed in the mid 30's without a real effort. I was really surprised at how fast I was riding, and kept thinking I was going to pay for what must be a tailwind and down hill out section. I hit 20km and turned around, at the 38min mark. Instead of a wicked headwind and uphill grind, it was about the same on the way back. My speed averaged 32.5 for the 40km and I finished in 1hr13. The best part is that with the exception of the last 5km I did not exert any real effort. It felt easy and comfortable. The last 5km I decided to push it and was able to hold 35-37kph on the flat and 32-33 on the slight uphill. All this was with the wind resistance that was most definitely caused by the huge grin that never left my face. It was soooo fun. Just what I needed to get me through the last few indoor rides.

Friday night the temp dropped and there was a bit of snow on the ground when we woke up Saturday. It was not a surprise so we weren't too forlorn about our short lived freedom in the outdoors.
We were back underground for our Saturday spin and did a solid 2hrs that was tough with legs that were feeling it from the efforts Friday night. We both really wanted to quit at 90mins, but convinced each other to keep going and finish what we set out to do.

Saturday afternoon was FUN for me. I was finally able to set up my indoor training space that I will use for PT clients as well as for D and I to do our strength work. I have tons of "toys" that I love using for building functional strength. I am not a gym- machine girl and far prefer to play with wobble boards, stability balls and the like. It looks great down there, just in time for my first client Monday morning.

Sunday morning I woke up tired. The day was cool and cloudy and I felt like laying around. D managed to kick my butt into gear and get going for our long run about 10am. I was expecting a real hurtfest with the way I was feeling, but once again my body surprised me and I felt pretty good right from go. I ran an easy pace for the first 10km and hit the 15km turnaround at 1hr17. At about 18km my legs started to protest and I was really feeling the efforts of the week leading up. I managed to push through the fatigue and actually increase my pace. With 2km to go I decided to find a new level and was able to hold 13km/hr for the final 2k. I was spent, but pleased with the 30km run in 2hrs49. That means a negative split by 5 minutes!
I definitely feel good about going to Boston in 2 weeks. I am in my best running shape ever and I can hardly wait to do a run on fresh rested legs!! And hopefully without 5lbs of clothing and ice rinks under my feet LOL.

Things have really taken off with my business. I am super excited at the response I have received after one week of advertising. Most of my trial classes are full and I am adding registered sessions to keep up with the requests for alternate times. I am going to be a really busy girl. I couldn't be happier.

Tomorrow will be the first total rest day in 3 weeks. Looking forward to that.

Friday: Bike 1hr20mins
Saturday: Bike 2hrs
Sunday: Run 2hrs 39

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happy Fish

Today my energy was much better, I ate properly and had a great night's sleep, so my body was happy.
I had an awesome session in the pool. I felt strong and my times were faster. I did 3x1000m and was faster in each subsequent set. 1st 1000m was 19:10, 2nd 1000m 18:10 (paddles and pull bouy), 3rd 1000m 18:03. Sweet! My effort was easy, moderate, moderate and if the lane swim went longer I would have done another set.

Next up was an e-z run. I headed out from the rec centre and did a loop in Muskoseepi Park. The first 5 mins were really rough, my leags felt like lead and I was running right into a headwind. Once I got into the park I was sheltered from the wind and my legs seemed to lighten up. I was able to maintain a good pace at a low effort and felt better as time went on.

TFTD Swim 3000m 56mins
Run 8.3km 43mins.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


90min Spin today. 5min on (harder gear, aero position) 5min off.
Felt good, but my energy is low and I've been getting headaches, which is unusual for me. Time to get back on the iron supplements me thinks.

TFTD Bike 90mins

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Strength in the Pool

Today I did a strength workout in the pool, meaning I used the paddles, focused on a strong pull through and a low stroke count. I felt awesome in the water today- long, smooth and strong..could it be the new swimsuit?
I was really busy today, babysat miss giggles this morning and then I was out passing out free class cards and peddling my wares. I didn't eat lunch until 1:30 and definitely did not get enough calories today. As a result when I got home I was starving and feeling really tired. I decided the bike I'd planned was out, and cooked us a nice dinner instead while D got a good ride in.
Nutrition is such an important part of this whole game, and I know that my body is unforgiving when I don't eat enough. It is like fuel in the tank of a car, without it the car goes no where....
TFTD: Swim 50mins 2500m