Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not the weekend I was hoping for...

With one week until GWN I was planning a strong weekend of training to get my confidence up going into the race. I've been dealing with an injury since the half marathon and have been diligent with chiro, massage, ice, rest etc. I was finally feeling like I had a handle on it and was ready to test it out on a longer run.

So Saturday I headed out for my long ride. It called for some hill repeats so I headed out towards the hill at Simonette river. It was just over an hour to get to the top of the hill, I did my first decent and climb, and then was making the turn around (double lane highway) when I got a heavy dose of 'focus the eff up' by the way of some gravel. I hit the pavement hard and my weekend of training was over.

This one came out of my knee...I am even more sore today and the bruising is really starting to come out. So no swimming (due to the open wounds) biking (unless it is one armed) or running (hip and both knees sore and bruised). Until when? Maybe Wednesday? Which sets me up less than perfectly for the race Sunday. My confidence is completely blown. But on a positive note, I am still determined to race and have the best day I can. I may not achieve my goal time, but if I have learned anything in the last few months, it is to appreciate what I can do, rather than focus on what I cannot.

We got a lot of 'other' stuff done this weekend. D has been sick and also not training so we managed to get some to do's complete and even had a date night Saturday (we are usually too tired!). We saw The Hangover. Friggen hilarious and completely innapropriate on too many levels to mention. But it was great to laugh out loud after a frustrating day.

Oh, and I forgot to post these pictures from Harley's birthday party last weekend!

One more week until holidays....Bring.It.On

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Best finish photos...ever!

Yeah Simon! Yes that is the German that beat him in the Olympics. Just imagining how this finish would feel gives me serious goosebumps...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summmmmer Baby!!!

My husband just kindly reminded me that I have been neglecting my blog. It's true. But it is SUMMER and there are so many things to do! It is my favorite season and I plan to soak up every drop of it. I am scared to wish away even a single day as I know it is going to go too fast!

I have one more week of 'work' and then I am off for July and August. Yes, I am taking the summer OFF. Because I CAN!! lol. I hired a great trainer to take over some classes which is awesome and I will do some drop in stuff when I am in town. I am only in GP 3 days in July and 9 days in August. Fun times! We have GWN 1/2 IM, a Jasper mountain biking trip, a trip to Calgary and then Tour BC bike trip, then back to Calgary for the 70.3, and then I am heading back to my hometown in northern SK. Like I said, FUN times :)

Training is going well, I am finally running pain free, but I have lost a lot of confidence. I haven't run more than an hour since the 1/2 marathon and I have done only a handful of runs. I really wanted to have an A race in GWN, but I am not sure I'll have the training under me. Regardless I am pumped to push it out there. I love that course.

By the time the 70.3 in Calgary rolls around I should be ready to really bring it. I will have a week of 850km of biking just prior, so me and my bike will be good friends :)

In other news.... H-dog and I were interviewed tonight as we were running through the park. I didn't get to watch the CTV news because I was teaching a class- but if you saw it let me know! He was hot and his tongue was hanging full out in all its glory :)

I know I have lots of other things I could update on, but for now here are is a picture that represents one of the best parts of summer:
A picture of my cross training activities (read: back breaking manual labor) Yes, our lawn looks THAT bad! The combination of a lack of rain and a copious amount of dog pee will do that! So I am tearing up the edging and going to put down rocks and then plant some trees and shrubs. Maybe he will get the idea and pee there??
Our soon to be finished new deck (check back for new bbq and beer drinking shot). We are just waiting on handrailing.
And an ode to biking and life in Grande Prairie. I know that riding in gale force winds should be making me stronger but HOLY HELL. It has been nasty out there.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Moose Is Loose!

This is the moose that was blocking the highway on my ride today. I slowed down and let her decide when she was ready to go. The picture doesn't do the size of her justice. I could have biked under her.
It was a perfect biking day today and I had an awesome ride. It was hot and sunny and the wind was there but in no particular direction. I pushed hard on my 10min intervals and did the 100km in 3hrs17mins. It is a hilly route so I was happy. I felt great the whole ride and was still feeling good at the end. I did a short t-run and was happy to have NO shin pain!

I've had some massage, chiro and Graston this week which has helped. I also had and xray which showed no fracture, so that was a big relief. I am definitely on the mend.

Friday we took the mountain bikes out for some fun. First we hit the Nordic trails with H-dog.

The trails were great and really sandy which made it tough! Harley loved it and was sprinting for about 45mins until the heat got to him and he bailed on us, taking cover under a building and refusing to go on. He drank and entire water bottle and rested a bit and then we walked him back to the car. We took a little trip to the river and let him have a swim and drink some more which did the trick. We decided to take him home, but we wanted to keep riding so once home we biked down to Muskoseepi and hit the south bear creek trails. It was so fun! I swear, my heart rate is at about 175 the entire time I am riding on those trails! It is such an intense workout and so different from road riding. I am looking forward to playing on the trails in Jasper in a few weeks!

In other news I chopped off the locks on Friday. About 7.5 inches of hair GONE! I love it. It is low maintenance and light.

We are also busy trying to finish our deck. D has been working hard on it and we will both be glad when our project is complete. Today I spent over 4hrs painting the front steps and landing as well as the frame of the deck. It looks great already and hopefully next Sunday we'll be sitting on it drinking a beer!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good Days and Great Days

One of my favorite quotes is from Lance Armstrong "I take nothing for granted, I now only have good days, or great days."
Sometimes I allow myself to take for granted my health, strength and ability to participate in activities I love. I guess the universe thought I needed a reminder, because that is what I got this week.
I have had an excellent early season. I've had success in races and have seen some results in training that are very encouraging. This week I did a particular 80km bike ride that involved some longer race pace intervals and I was flying. I had one of my most impressive training rides and was feeling especially happy with my ability to push hard on the bike. I also had some great swims including some 1500m TT efforts that were my fastest to date. I felt like I was in good shape to have a strong swim/bike in Hinton on Sunday. My running was the big question. I've had some issues with my shin and despite taking the entire week off running, as of Saturday I couldn't run more than a few minutes without pain.
I threw most of my time goals for Hinton out the window due to the state of my leg. But I was sure I would be able to crush the swim and bike and was pumped to test that out.
Race morning I woke up feeling tight, sore and grumpy. It was a really cold morning and on the drive from Jasper to Hinton there was frost on the grass in the ditches and my Jeep thermometer read ZERO degrees. My enthusiasm was definitely lacking and I was seriously thinking of sitting out, the thought of freezing my ass off for 40km was soooo unappealing. I have done my fair share of COLD racing and it is not my thing. I hate the cold. I was also pretty unprepared clothing wise as I hadn't even considered that it might be this cold.
Once at the race site I was still undecided. I got out of the Jeep and saw all the people wandering around transition in down jackets, touques and mitts. June? Really?
I finally decided I would just suck it up and race. I needed to do something with my grumpy energy anyway so I may as well burn it off in a hard swim/ bike and hopefully a run.
With this attitude, it isn't a surprise that I didn't have a great race. I never felt quite right in the swim, the bike was soooo freaking cold I seriously considered stopping several times as my hands and feet were completely frozen and I was in pain! I really wanted to ride hard and fast, as much to warm up as to have a decent bike time. Unfortunately I couldn't get my body to respond. There was just nothing there to push! It was a tough 20km out into a cold wind and uphill. But the 20km back, while faster, was worse because the speed going downhills made it even more bitterly cold.
I got off the bike and fumbled my way through transition and into some shoes. I couldn't feel my legs or feet (which was actually a good thing) and my hands were aching from being cramped up for the entire ride.
I decided I would just jog as long as I could and hopefully warm up! It didn't take long, as the first mile of the course is a long uphill. I shuffled up at a painfully slow pace, unable to push off very well as it aggrivated my shin. I continued to jog along and was not feeling any worse. I started to feel somewhat better in fact, although I was unable to run at the speed I wanted to. At the 5km turnaround I was passed and I wanted to badly to run with the girl who passed me. That is how I normally run and it was somewhat frustrating to be stuck in low gear. I tried to stay positive though and just keep moving and stay grateful that I was still running! With about 200m to go I looked over my shoulder out of instinct and saw another girl bearing down on me. I decided that there was no way I was going to get passed at this point and did everything I could to pick up the pace and cross the line.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed a little. I was 5mins slower than my time from last year and I know I had the potential to PR on this course. In the big picture, it is not important as I know there are more races to come and this was just one day. I was able to compete and complete and for that I am happy!
The really great part of the race was that we had lots of our friends and team mates there and the GP althetes really did well. My good friend Lori (with me in the pic at the top) rocked the bike and had a great race. She finished 1st female and our friend Dennis was 1st male.
D had an awesome race despite a flat that he was able to change and still finish just 3 mins back from 1st place! I have no idea how he did it with frozen hands/tire. I don't think I could have.
It was also great to finally meet Naomi and have a visit with her and her hubby. Having so many great friends involved in this sport makes it even better. There are so many reasons to be happy and greatful, my pity party was very short lived :)
Onwards and upwards, looking forward to some solid training over the next few weeks leading into my A race for the season- Great White North!
The results:
15 2:36:38 Amber Dawn HUNTER Grande Prairie
3/5 F3039
Swim 16 27:22 1:50
Bike 24 1:22:07 29.2
Run 12 47:09 4:43

We had a stellar weekend in Jasper, spent lots of time resting and enjoying the beauty of the place. We did more hiking and walking than we usually do and it was a nice change. Harley thought so too!