Saturday, August 30, 2008

Here we go...

One more sleep until go time. I am ready, more than ready. We checked the bikes in after a swim, bike and run to shake the cobwebs. Packed the gear backs, got our nutrition together and then took a nap. Now with dinner digesting, we are almost ready to go back to bed, as the 4:30am wake up call will come before we know it.
I am so glad we had the chance to swim in the Ohio the past couple of days. I was pretty paranoid about it, but it was fine. The water is really murky though, and you can't even see your own limbs, nevermind the people around you. It is very warm, like bath water warm, which I don't mind at all. The transition from swim to bike will be a long one- it isn't because I am having a nap- there is a 200m run up an incline from the finish, and then over a small bridge and another 300ish meters to the bags and tent. Then another run to my bike and out. I am really looking forward to the bike course, it is beautiful and rolling. My goal is to eat and drink consistently, and to stay relaxed. The run course is also beautiful, we biked it today. But it is going to be hot. Not just hot but STINKING HOT. The forecast for tomorrow is 34...that feels like 40+. Holy Hell.
My goal is to stay as cool as I can, and use the lure of the ice at the aide stations to get me from mile to mile. I have never raced in this kind of heat/humidity, so I really don't know what to expect, but I am prepared to deal with whatever I need to out there.
My goal for the day is to choose to be positive, grateful and present, to give 100% from start to finish, and to enjoy myself. I have time goals, but given the weather wild card I am keeping a wide window. First and foremost, I want to improve on my performance from last year, so anything under 12hrs would be good. Of course, the further under the better :-)

I will miss having my family there this year, it was so great having my parents cheering me on the last couple of IMs. But D and I will be cheering each other on, and I know that there will be lots of positive vibes coming our way from friends and family back home :-)

Lastly, a shout out to Kevin and Rachel from Seattle, who we met at the carbo dinner, and who apparently know us from our blogs! How cool is that??

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lovin' Louisville

After an early morning run, and successfully picking up my passport, we left Edmonton Monday afternoon and arrived in Louisville about 8:00pm EST. The trip went fairly smoothly- the airline didn't charge us anything for our bikes or luggage- said we booked before the bend over baggage charges were implemented. We were pleasantly shocked! The oversize bag screener was out of order in customs so we had to open up the boxes and let them go through our bikes manually. A bit stressful, but the guy was really nice and very careful. Everything went back in fine and we were on our way. We had a super short layover in Chicago and we were starving so we grabbed some McRaunchies and wolfed it down before boarding our short flight to LV. When we arrived we got to the baggage carousel and were stoked to see our bikes come out almost immediately. Then my suitcase...and then we waited. I joked with D that our bikes made it, but his suitcase didn't. Turned out I was right. It wasn't a big deal though, we went to the United Airlines office and were told his bag went to Denver, was currently in Chicago and would be in by midnight. They took the address of the hotel we were staying at and said it would be delivered. At least it was D's bag and not mine- any girl out there knows understands why :-)
We grabbed a van cab and were on our way. The only glitch of the trip came next... the cabbie was talking to us about the race etc and I mentioned that our hotel was a mile from the race start. He said that I might have booked the wrong hotel cause the address I gave him was a long way from downtown....eeep!
When we arrived at the hotel I talked to the front desk to see if we could move our booking to the downtown location. He said I would need to call expedia as I booked through them, and good luck. I called expedia and was pleasantly surprised to deal with someone who was very nice and helpful. She told me to talk to the manager in the morning and call back with the case number she gave me. So, to make a long story longer, the manager was really great, he called expedia, then talked with the downtown hotel, and then the GM to get the ok to switch the booking and bingo we had a new suite, downtown for the same amount we had paid (even though the downtown rates were 60.00 per night more!!)
So we had breakfast and headed to our new home. I should mention that these suites are awesome. The marriott residence inn is like an upscale apartment, with a full kitchen, separate bedroom and bathroom. There is free breakfast in the morning (real breakfast, everything you could imagine!) and free afternoon snacks. We are now a mile from the race start and within walking distance to most of the downtown attractions. We are both happy. Oh yeah, and D got his bag first thing in the morning at the first hotel.
Once we settled into our new digs we hauled our bike boxes 4 blocks to the bike shop to have them reassembled. The guys there were awesome, they said we are their priority this week (we meaning IMers) and they would have them together by the afternoon. Sweet!
We wandered downtown enjoying the heat (and humidity) and the great vibe this city has. It has lots of green, and a ton of historical old buildings (my favorite) mixed in with new. We had some lunch and then walked down 4th Street Live, the site of the finish line- what an awesome place to finish! It is an open air mall type place with restaurants, shops and live music. And a huge guitar jutting out from the hard rock cafe- a great beacon for the finish!
After a few hours of wandering we made our way back to the apartment and had a wee nap. When we woke up we headed downstairs for free snacks, and then grabbed a cab to go and get some groceries. We went to Whole Foods which is my new favorite store, stocked up on groceries for the week, and had dinner from their awesome selection of hot foods.
By the time we got home it was 8:30 so we just watched some tv and hit the hay.

This morning we were up by 7:30 (I am still adjusting to the time change) and had breakfast. We then walked down to the YMCA to swim, but the lane swim was finished until this afternoon. So we walked back, had a snack and watched some TV and then headed out for a bike. We did the first bit of the bike course and rode the biggest "climb". It is not really a climb but more rollers that are just enough to keep it challenging, without blowing apart the legs. The way back was fast, with a tail wind and more downhill than up. The weather today is cold by LV standards- cloudy and about 26. I was still sweating buckets, which tells me I am going to have to drink my face off on race day as the expected high is 32-34! I am pumped though, this course is so different from any I have done before- the swim is in the Ohio river, which we are not allowed in until Thursday. There are barges going up and down all day, and the current is strong! The water is about 28 degrees, so no wetsuits, and it looks pretty brown today...we should be fine as long as we don't drink it :-)

So that wraps up the trip thus far, we are going to have a snack and head out to see if we can find any deals on wedding rings :-)

Thanks to everyone for the notes of support, we appreciate it!

TFTD: Bike 2hrs

Sunday, August 24, 2008

# 842

Our numbers are up and I got an awesome one! As a bit of a numerology nut this one made me very happy lol.
D is numerology needed to know that is a good number too ;-)

We are chillin in Edmonton, getting ready to fly out tomorrow. We had an early morning workout yesterday before hitting the road. D forced me (against my will) to get my butt on the bike by 7;15am. It was so cold we could see our breath!! We got our 3hr brick done though, and made it to Edmonton in time to pick up the bike box before Element closed.

Today we packed up the bikes and there were some stressful moments as D realized his bike was too big for the box. He ended up having to virtually strip the frame of everything to squeeze it in there! Now we just have to hope and pray our bikes make it in one piece, and that they end up in the same location as us :-)

The past couple of days I have been feeling typical for taper :-( That means kind of flat, lethargic and grumpy. I go from 0 - starving in an instant and as soon as the hunger strikes I turn into an ogre. EEP.

We are getting up early tomorrow for a run, then we will be off to pick up my passport (yes last minute) and then to the airport with lots of time to get our big ass bike boxes checked in. We are fully prepared to be hosed by the airline.

We spent the day following IMC online and cheering on our fellow IMers. Great work to the Seitz brothers representing GP! Also to JR and Hallsy, who at time of posting is still out on the run course. I am sending you energy girl, giddy up!!!

Saturday TFTD: Bike 2hrs20 Run 27mins 5km

I almost forgot about an especially cool part of our trip here. On Saturday we went to the Body World's exhibit in the Telus Science Center. It was AMAZING!!! I have wanted to see this for a long time (since I first heard of it in 2005!) and it did not disappoint! Real human cadavers preserved and displayed through a process called plastination. They had different bodies set up to display different systems of the body and it was absolutely fantastic. I am an anatomy junkie, as is D non of it freaked us out. Even the room with the fetus' of various ages and the woman at full gestation was just amazing. It was definitely a way to have even more of an appreciation for the human body!!

We also saw "Wired to Win" in the Imax, which is a movie about the Tour De France and its riders, and the physiological and psychological components of someone who can compete at that level. Seeing the shots of the tour on the big BIG screen was breathtaking. And some good information to take into IM regarding motivation :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Get your sweat on

Well, the weather continues to be craptastic here, so today was another indoor training session with the only heat training I can get. First up was a swim and then onto the tready for a speed session. No fan for me, and it didn't take long for the sweat to begin to pour. The good news is, I was so focused on my workout that I didn't even notice the water pouring off my arms, down my torso and legs. I looked down at the treadmill and it was covered in sweat. I actually looked up to see if the ceiling was leaking. Did I really do that?
Overall I felt great, fast and light. :-D
Last Bootcamp class tonight and everyone ROCKED their fitness assessments. You guys kick ass and you inspire me!!
This is the kind of stuff I get to much does my job rock??

Swim 1800m 40mins
Run 45mins 5.5miles

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting ready for the heat

Today it was cold and raining all day, so I lugged the bike downstairs and set it up on the trainer. It was a good heat training session, with no fan, windows closed and heat on. I was sweating like a farm animal and had a great high cadence spin session.
I felt like a rock star in the pool today, did 3100m in an hour and felt like continuing...unfortunately the lane swim is only an hour long.
The beginning part of the week my energy was in my boots. It has been super tough to sleep at night with the 30 plus degree days creating a virtual oven in our house. Last night was finally cool and I slept like a log for 12hrs! I finally woke up today feeling energetic and happy. I even got the house cleaned finally and am starting to get things together for the trip.

3 days till we leave....just a few more workouts before the day we have been waiting for since October!!

TFTD Swim 1hr 3100m
Bike (trainer) 1hr

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend Fun

Saturday I did a great ride, despite the wind. Did some harder push intervals and felt awesome. Run off the bike was great as well, I was expecting to hurt but didn't at all.
Sunday's training kind of fell apart, we decided to go out to Spring lake with my bro and his family in the am and thought we would get our run in in the evening. Getting home at 3:30 after a day on the beach, in the heat and we were beat. So we had some quality time just hanging out instead. We did get an open water swim in at the lake. I decided to go without my wetsuit since IM Louisville will most likely be non wetsuit legal. I felt good, but got really cold. I turned around after about 500m when my calves started to threaten cramping. I did not want to be in the middle of the lake with no wetsuit, unable to kick.
I feel more confident about the swim though, as long as the river is warmer than the lake was...which I am sure it will be.
Had a lot of fun playing with the girls in the water and on the beach. It is nice to have some fun family time before the summer is over. We don't get to do it very often as most of our weekends are consumed with triathlon related events...
So we will both be running today, and I am going to head out for a swim as well. The temp is cooler today which will make the run easier, but not as great for the heat prep.
Things are winding down now, just focusing on staying healthy, getting rest and tuning up before the big day. My head is in the right place, which is more than 50% of the battle for me :-)
Saturday TFTD: Bike 85km 2hrs 57 T Run 10mins
Sunday OW swim 22mins
Monday swim 40mins
Run 80mins build

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sweet , Wonderful Day OFF

After a hectic and very productive week, I am relishing in my day off today. Day off from work and from training. I have housework calling me, but for the time being I am ignoring it :-)
Had an awesome run on Wednesday, I am feeling ready to race now. I did an hour warm up run with a client then headed out for my last long run before IM. I kept the pace I wanted, despite the wicked wind and heat. I finished 28km in 2hrs 34mins, then hit the ice bath and continued the recovery efforts with an awesome avocado-banana-saskatoon-rasperry-yogurt smoothie. I used a whole avocado and it was so thick I had to eat it with a spoon :-)
It must have worked because I felt pretty good yesterday, other than being tired and light headed from my low blood pressure. I had my usual busy day with clients and classes, and wrapped up with my Learn to Run group's final class doing a 10km run. Everyone did great, it was 32 degrees and not an easy day to run! I also got a short swim in today which was just ok.
I came home to find my D finally back from his road trip. We are looking forward to a weekend at home this weekend, one in 6 isn't bad :-)

The weather forecast is for 30's all weekend. It is already 32 out there and I think I might head out and work on filling in some of the white areas around my terrible bike tan :-)

Wednesday TFTD: Easy Run 60mins
IM Race Pace Run: 28km 2hrs 34mins

Thursday: Swim 40mins
Run 70mins

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Last long ride till the big one

Yesterday morning was overcast and cold, I procrastinated as long as I could, and when the temperature finally hit double digits I headed out for my ride. Originally, I was planning to do a 4.5hr out and back up and down the valley on the way to Wahnam. I thought I would get a couple of repeats of the 15km up, down and up again and then head home. Once I got up the first section of the hill the sun came out and it was warm enough to take off the leg warmers. Then down the other side and back up again. I was heading down the final bit when a HUGE hawk swooped down and scared the crap out of me. I was going 40km/hr since it was a downhill, so I guess it was fast enough to get away. Once my heart came down out of my throat, I realized that I would have to go back past the Hawk, but this time uphill (slow, with plenty of time to swoop and catch me). I have a phobia of big birds when I am on the bike. I have been swooped before and a couple of years ago I was terrorized by a pair of red hawks that I thought were going to pick me up and take me back to their nest. So, I decided NOT to face my fear, and instead continue on to Wahnam and then over to Rhcroft and home via Hwy 2. This 180km loop is TOUGH and the last time I did it I called D for a pickup 20km from home because I was bonking. I did want to conquer this loop, so I guess today would be the day. I was well stocked with fluid- 3 bottles and a camelback- and had enough food to get me to the service station in Rycroft. I did try stopping in Wahnam, but the one service station was closed...on a Monday? I stopped at the town office to ask if I could see a map, just to be sure of where I was going. They didn't have one, and when I told the woman where I was going, her response was "you're not going to make it there today!" she even suggested that I flag down a truck and hitchhike....what a brilliant idea in for a girl in the middle of no where.....egads.
Anyway, I carried on my way, another 20km to Rycroft. The wind was picking up and I was riding straight into it. A bit of a struggle but I knew it was only 20km until I could turn. I stopped for some food in Rycroft, stretched and headed onto the road that chewed me up and spit me out last time. It is a lot of uphill and last time it was into a head wind. This time I had a cross wind which was a lot more tolerable, although my upper body got tired from holding on so tight to stay out of the ditch.
Another 48km and I made it to the spot I bailed last time. I carried on feeling good, despite the wind that was now in my face, and made it the final 20km to my home.
I was so happy to see D's car in the garage- he was planning to be on the road all week, but came home for the night. He had dinner ready....what an Angel!
The 180km took me 6hrs44mins which is a bit depressing, but I did have a few slow patches over gravel roads (trying to find a shortcut) and my legs were not feeling totally fresh despite the rest I have had the last few days.
I am glad to have the last big ride behind me. I am now ready for some shorter, faster rides to get my speed back up.

Today I hit the pool, I was nothing short of delinquent last week, only getting there once! It was packed and half the pool was full of old people doing aquasize. I had 7 people with me in the lane at one point and it was a gong show. I managed to get my 3km swim done, using the obstacles as practice for IM :-)

Tonight will be an easy group run, tomorrow the long one.

TFTD: Monday Bike 180km 6hrs44
Tuesday: Swim: 3km 58mins
EZ run 60 mins

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Recharging the Batteries

This weekend we were off to SK to celebrate the marriage of my cousin Brennan, to his new bride Brita. It was a beautiful wedding, and I am so glad we were able to be there. It was a wonderful celebration of LOVE and commitment, and I couldn't be happier for them.
Training took a back seat this weekend, and gave way to family and rest. I think it was for the best for both of us, to have a rest before our last couple of weeks of training. We did manage to get out for a run in the heat on Saturday...and the wind. It must have followed us.
I have never liked long tapers, and do best when I listen to my body rather than a pre set schedule. This year I am doing just that and am feeling great with 20 days to go. I am going to get some long sessions in this week, hopefully the weather co-operates tomorrow for a long ride and then a long run Tuesday. The forecast this weekend is looking good and hot which would be an awesome way to finish off the training season. We will be in Louisville the Tuesday prior to the race so we will have some days to ride and run in the heat...I am hoping it will be enough to get our systems on board.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Training in the Heat....Finally!

This week has been a scorcher..thank goodness! We are both feeling a bit worried about our lack of hot weather training this year, considering how far south we are going to race...
Yesterday was 32 and today was 34. I was a happy camper out there, although I notice that it is tough to find any speed in the heat of the day!
Yesterday I took it pretty easy, other than my work workouts and an easy 40min run.
Today I headed out in the heat for a ride and had the pleasure of company from a fellow IMer who was out on a training ride and kept me company almost the entire 94km!
I made an effort to do a T run off the bike, and lasted only 25mins. It was soooo hot and I was having stomach cramps due to a lack of sodium.
The bootcampers tonight were troopers on the stairs, a tough day to workout but everyone did great.
Tomorrow we are off to Edmonton in the evening and then to SK for my cousin's wedding. I am really looking forward to seeing my whole family and having some rest before the next round of training.
Tomorrow I need to get my butt to the pool, I had to blow off my swim today to protect the $200.00 haircut/color I got yesterday.... it was the first in 6 months and for that kind of money I did as I was told and didn't wash it for 24hrs.

Tuesday Training: Run 40mins
Wednesday Training: Bike 3hrs 11mins 94km
TRun 25mins

Monday, August 4, 2008

Biking, BIrthdays, Boyfriend and Beauty of Nature

Just a few of my most favorite things that I got to enjoy this weekend. We had a most spectacular and successful training/ celebrating/ training weekend in our new home away from home, Jasper.
Friday I swam for the 4th day in a row and am feeling really strong in the water. Consistency is gooood.
Friday night we arrived in Jasper and headed out for some pre training fueling. We had an absolute sushi feast, and solved the world's political and economic problems over Japanese beers :-)
Saturday morning we woke up to single digit temperatures, cloudy skies and wet roads. No time for procrastination though, so we bundled up in our 'winter gear' and headed out for a ride. We started out by climbing up to Maligne Lake. This 50km ride was one of the most challenging and beautiful rides I have ever done. At one point passing by Medicine Lake, with its turquoise waters reflecting the towering mountains surrounding it, I actually said WOW outloud. It is a ride that literally takes your breath away. There were also a fair number of quad busting, lung burning pitches on the mostly uphill journey to Maligne. There is an awesome coffee shop at the top where we had lunch and warmed up before the chilly decent. Once back to the highway, the skies were beginning to clear and the wind had picked up. We did a short out and back on hwy 16 and fought the wind back to the apartment for a change of clothes and refill of fuels. Then it was more climbing, this time out 93A up to Athabasca Falls (more gorgeous views!!) and back on highway 93. My total ride was 185.7km and 7hrs15mins. I actually felt fantastic right through the ride and could have run a marathon. But D was home and had a beautiful spread of food- salad, chicken, fresh bread and pasta....what a man. Sat night was quiet one and and early bed time.
Sunday was run- day, so we picked a trail from the map and headed out. We chose the "Saturday night lake loop" and it was a great choice for the day. The first 14km were up up up... some pitches that sucked the life right out of my tired legs. But it was so beautiful, quiet and lovely that I couldn't help but love every minute of it. The half way point treated us to a gorgeous waterfall that started higher than the eye could see and ran right past our feet. I took a moment to enjoy the cool mist, sucked back a gel and then headed on my way. Thankfully, the trail began to descend and it was a nice change for my legs to be going down, instead of up. That lasted until about the last 5km when my knees began to beg for a flat section...or even a hill!
We finished up the 27km in about 3hrs 20mins. We walked another 3km back to the apartment where a much needed shower awaited us.
Then it was off to eat our weight in food...again. This time at Earl's. More beers (our training secret haha) and then home to wait for our visitor to arrive.
Shortly after, our great friend, and much missed training buddy Alan arrived on the way back from crewing Neil in the Death Race. They stopped for a lovely, but too brief visit, and delivered our prizes from the cross country series we did in the winter. I finally have my cup! And a great picture of Al and I in the confed relay.
Sunday night was another quiet one, watching a movie on the laptop and crashing early.
Monday morning...happy birthday to me! After a breakfast complete with birthday treats we were off for one last ride. I wanted to head back up to Maligne, this time WITH my camera. The universe gave me what I wanted most for my birthday- A beautiful clear blue sky and warm sun :-)
We both were surprised with how good we felt despite the hours on our legs. It was such a gorgeous day to be out, I enjoyed every moment. At the top, more good food and then down to pack up and head home.
Overall it was an absolutely perfect weekend. Doing what I love, with the one I love, in a place I love.
Friday Training: Swim 3100 60min
Saturday Training: Bike 185.7km 7hrs 15mins
Sunday Training: Trail Run 3hrs 20mins 27km
Monday Training: Bike 98km 4hrs