Saturday, December 30, 2006

A week is a long time

I started my bike workout today thinking it would be a piece of cake. 1 hour?! No problem! However, about halfway through the workout, my legs were really fatigued. "What is going on?" I asked myself. Then I remembered that I haven't even been on a bike in a week. A whole week! Usually I am on a bike at least twice a day. Usually more. But once a year I am forced to take time away from my bikes and that is at Christmas. Maybe that's the real reason why I don't like Christmas. My workout today was supposed to be a brick workout with a 25-minute run after my bike ride, but I couldn't do it. I forced myself to push through the bike workout, but I couldn't go for a run. I did some core strengthening and push-ups, which I have also lost a lot of. At one point over the last month, I could do 14 full-length push-ups and today I struggled through 4 full-length and 16 knee push-ups. I guess it can be lost very quickly. So here are my "stats":
Time: 1:01
In zone: 45 minutes
Average HR: 129 (how embarassing!)

I guess it'll just take a bit of time to get up to par and I'm sure it didn't help that I haven't eaten much today. Tomorrow I hope to hit the pool, but I might not be able to due to travelling and visiting.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Holiday cheer!

I thought that I would do a lot less training over the holidays than I did, but it still wasn't very much. On Boxing Day I went on a 6-mile run. It was one of the best runs in the past little while. I was at my parent's farm in middle-of-nowhere Saskatchewan and my dad suggested I do a run "around the block." In Saskatchewan, the gravel roads are set up in a grid with 2 miles between them. So it was easy to calculate that 1 block and then home would be 5 miles. I started out thinking that I would run 2 miles, but I had a realization. I never run without time constraints. I'm always trying to fit my workout into my busy life. This was my chance to run for fun. Because I was - I wasn't running because I had to, I was running because I wanted to. This is my hobby. It's not a job and no one is forcing me to do it.

So I lengthened my stride, did some dynamic stretches on that long, lonely gravel road, and set on my way to run around the block. It was such an amazing run. It is very flat where I grew up, so there were no hills and I didn't do any intervals. I just ran at my pace and enjoyed the amazing scenery. From every direction, I could see snow-covered fields and the occasional farm yard. I met very few cars and it was so peaceful. I wore my ipod to keep me company and listened to Amy Millan's new folk album, which was so perfect for this particular run. It was slow and easy... or so it felt. In actuality, I think I ran it fairly quickly, but the time flew by. When I got home, I proudly told my dad that I ran around the block and my family was astonished that I had run it so quickly. I don't know how long it took in terms of minutes, but time seemed to stand still while I was out there. It just didn't matter. It was amazing.

Contrast that to today's run. I got up and just wanted to go for a quick run. Today's brisk temperature of -29 with the windchill almost made me stay home in my warm house and watch a movie, but I got out there. I have not researched the physiological effect of cold on the body while running, but my body was not happy. I actually had to walk some of my 2.5-mile run because I was so out of breath. It felt like I was carrying a backpack full of bricks. According to my HRM, it took 37 minutes and my average HR was 153 with 27 minutes of that in "the zone." I got home and did some yoga to get my blood coarsing through my body. It felt good to stretch, but I shan't run in that kind of temperature again.

Yesterday I bought myself a log book. I have absolutely no idea how much I've run in 2006 or before and I'm extremely curious. From what I can tell, this is the beginning of my real career as a triathlete because this type of record will be looked back on and thought about and studied. I love the thought of it. I have not been successful at keeping an online journal with mileage, etc. So I hope a paper one will help with it. I bought the Canadian Runner's Log and hopefully it will be fruitful for me.

My coach emailed me my workout for the week. I'm glad this is an easy week. Next week is supposed to be a testing week. So that'll be nice before I get into the swing of training in 2007.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Run run running!

Yesterday was my day off. My hamstrings were still a bit sore, so that was good. I didn't do a lot of anything, except walking around trying to get Christmas shopping done. This is what I have found to be most difficult: juggling work, training, AND getting ready for Christmas. Really, it's ridiculous! I'm so exhausted and I'm not even training as hard as I could/should be.

So I took this morning off of work and went for a run. It seemed really early, but really it was only 7:30. I did a good 6km and then did yoga. That's 3 times this week. Nice! I did some walking around again for Christmas shopping. Tonight I'm going to make cookies and maybe chill out. I'm exhausted, but Christmas parties are everywhere. It only happens once a year, but I'm TIRED! Juggling is hard to do.

Next week is going to be fairly chill in terms of training, but I am going to run as much as possible. We also might do some skiing and tobogganing, which will be fun and physically stimulating. And some skating too! I love winter activities! This is the good part about Christmas... doing winter activities with one's family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hamstrings... so ... sore...

I wimped out yesterday. Yep, I did.

I did yoga in the morning, but was so extremely tired after work that I could NOT make myself get on the bike. It really didn't help that I had a brutal commute home and was almost hit twice and had a verbal altercation with a guy driving a huge van. So I was emotionally and physically spent.

My hamstrings are so sore. As I was running on the treadmill at work today, I couldn't help but do some mental training in "the zone." I quickly found myself was running halfway through the Ironman marathon. My hamstrings were sore, but I had to run through it. I imagined people on the side of the road cheering me on and how I had to keep going and breathe into the pain. "In pain there is truth." But then I was brought back to reality by the beeping of my heart-rate monitor as I got out of my zone (I was into the 180s), the whirring of the treadmill, and the tunes in my ipod. I remembered that I have 36 weeks left to train. I can still build up my muscles, I can still work on my hamstrings. I have lots of time and lots of reasons to kick it up with my weight training. It'll be worth it!

This morning I did yoga again and I realized once again that I recover a lot faster when I consistently do yoga as opposed to when I don't do yoga. My hamstrings are still a bit sore, but I can tell that they are mending well. Also, I'm keeping a food log for this week.

Tonight I'll hit the bike for about an hour. I'm still not sure how I will get my Christmas shopping done, but I'll figure it out. I also have a chiropractor appointment today after work. Taking care of myself... check!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Check and Check!!!

Today I did everything I wanted to in the way of training. I feel so accomplished!

This morning I got up bright and early and hit the pool. I did a solid 2500 yards (2286 metres) in the pool. I just did intervals of 500 with a 250 warm-up and 250 cool-down. Simple and easy is the way for me.

This afternoon, we had a killer run session with the tri club. 26 second 100 metre intervals that went like this:
300, 400, 500, 400, 300 rest 5 minutes x3

I ended up doing the second and third 500m interval at 28s 100m. My running coach was a total hard-ass and wouldn't let me do the entire third interval at 28. But my legs seriously felt like shite. It felt like they could not stretch and my stride was so short on the 500m intervals. It hurt a lot. I guess that's the point, but it sucked! I have to remember the quote "In pain there is truth."

Now my lungs feel super oxygenated, which I absolutely love. I feel like I'm completely pure or something.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Better late than never...

So my inspiration came at about 8:30pm, but I took it. I got on my bike more out of boredom than an actual want to train. I suppose my results won't be as good as if I was actually inspired, but at this point I'll take all I can get!

Total time: 1:10 (ie. 2 episodes of Sex and the City, Season Six Part 2)
In zone: 0:56:47
Average HR: 143 bpm

Now I'll do some core and push-ups and I'm going to go for a walk in the snow. Hopefully the streak continues tomorrow!

Also, I tried the Chocolate sample of Vega, the vegan version of protein powder. It wasn't too tastey, but it was definitely worth it for all the good stuff in it! I can't decide what flavour I should invest in.

Inspiration needed!!

The past few days have been pretty sketchy in the way of training. Between feeling a little blue about a friend dying, our staff Christmas party, really uncooperative training, and sleeping poorly, I just have not really felt like training. Last night I biked for about half an hour on my trainer and I did some yoga yesterday. This morning, I slept in and it was snowing so I didn't even run! I'm trying to convince myself to get on my bike tonight and put in some intervals and then go for a walk outside in the fresh snow. I could probably get into that. Tomorrow I'm going swimming with a friend of mine and then running, so hopefully that'll help kick-start my week of getting back into it.

This is a really hard time of year for so many reasons. First, is the darkness and the low energy that goes along with that. Usually Saskatchewan's saving grace is that while it's freaking cold, it is also sunny. But this winter has not held true to that. It has been cloudy, rainy, and snowy. I hate it! I am a sun person for sure. I can deal with cold temperatures as long as I can spend some time outside. Also, Christmas is a bad time because it is super stressful and we're supposed to eat lots of baking, but because I can't eat most of it, it makes me a little more stressed out because I constantly have to figure out a tactful way of saying "no." At the same time, I haven't really been motivated to eat healthy either. This is probably the worst part of being a vegan because there aren't a lot of healthy, easy meals that one can make. Although tonight I'm planning to make burritos, which should be good.

Since I've put all of these plans in my blog, I really hope to follow through on all of this. If any of you all out there have any suggestions, PLEASE leave them! I will report tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A much-needed update!

Wow, I haven't updated for a few days. It's been an emotional little while with a loss of a friend. However, I've still been training.

On Saturday, I did my first long run in a really long time. I ran with a couple of friends for a 12km run. It felt good, but hard at the same time. My left ankle started hurting about 10km in for no real reason. It is totally fine now, so I don't know what the deal was. My chiropractor cracked it and said there wasn't really much in it, so I think it might have just been my body being like "What, exactly, do you think you're doing right now?" So I'll have to increase my mileage slowly, 10% max.

On Monday I did some yoga and not much else. Today, though, I ran this morning for a good 4km in about 25 minutes. That's a pretty good pace for me at this point in the season. This evening I did a 45-minute easy bike ride on my trainer. I've found that doing an easy spin is awesome while accompanied by chatting to friends on the phone. I'm going to get a headset tomorrow so that I can keep doing that. It is definitely motivating.

My non-training activities are also going well. Yoga is great and keeps me limber. I can now do 12 full-length push-ups. And I am learning lots of new songs on the guitar, which makes me happy. My goal for December is to sustain the aerobic capacity that I've built and not lose it too much over the holidays. It shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'm excited to get back into it in January. Now that I have my schedule all set up.

Also, I really hope to get up and running in January. I think I'm going to try to design it myself. That's my holiday project. :o)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A needed day off

Yesterday, I had a day off of training. My body needed that so much. My legs were pretty sore and my muscles needed some time to recover. I love having my recovery day on Wednesdays. It's like in the middle of the week, I have the whole day to myself. Back to the grind today, though. A good swim tonight!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Heavy day

Today I had a heavy day of training. At lunch, I ran 40 minutes and just over 3 miles (our treadmill is in miles for some reason) and did intervals within that. It felt good, but kind of boring. I really need to get a poster to put up in front of the treadmill. Maybe I could learn a language or something. Our treadmill is in the middle of the office and everyone is amazed at my training and such. So they always come in to see what incline I'm set at and what speed I'm at. I like to think that I'm helping to motivate others. One of my coworkers is actually going to start running because of me. She's starting out at 4.5 minutes walking and 30 seconds running. I think it's a start! Right now we just have the treadmill on loan, but it looks like we're going to keep it (I bet that's what the fitness store thought would happen!). That is very good for me because that means that I can train in the very cold weather without having to join a gym! Awesome!

Tonight I went to our coached triathlon club bike session. It was pretty good. We did intervals at HRZ 4, but I didn't actually go that hard because of the testing I did yesterday. Our session went like this:
10 minutes warm-up, dynamic stretching
4 x 2-minute intervals with 1 minute rest in between
5 minute rest
4 x 2-minute intervals with 1 minute rest in between
10 minutes cool-down
Abs circuits (do twice):
* plank hover with alternate leg lifts (hold for 2 secs) (8 seconds - 2 for each leg)
* bum raises (30 seconds)
* side plank left (30 seconds)
+ side plank right (30s)
+ bridges (30s)
+ bicycle (30s)
Ball circuits (also do twice):
* crunchies (30s)
* Russian twists (30s)
* froggies (These kill so bad) (30s)
+ rollout on ball (20 seconds)
+ plank on ball (2 reps at 10 seconds each)

All-in-all, I feel good. But legs are killing me right now. My thighs are still sore from Sunday. It's a good thing that I have a day off tomorrow. Thank goodness!

Monday, December 04, 2006

In pain there is truth?

If this "saying" is true, then I just felt a whole lot of truth. This week is Testing Week! And everybody loves tests, right? Actually it wasn't that bad, which makes me think I should have pushed harder. A kudos goes out to my roomate for being my timer. This is to test my HR, I believe. So I went 8 minutes as hard as I could and at each minute, I told my timer what my HR was. It went like this:
warm-up for 10 minutes
1 minute: 164
2 minutes: 165
3 minutes: 165
4 minutes: 164
5 minutes: 165
6 minutes: 164
7 minutes: 164
8 minutes: 165
10 minute cool-down
1 minute: 162
2 minutes: 159
3 minutes: 164
4 minutes: 164
5 minutes: 164
6 minutes: 164
7 minutes: 165
8 minutes:170
15 minutes cool-down

The last minute really really hurt, but I feel great now! That's the best thing of workouts... feeling so great afterwards.

My thighs are a bit sore from the running intervals yesterday, but mostly I feel pretty good. Yoga this morning really helped stretch everything out. My lower back is still a bit tight, but I'm going to go to the chiro again this week. Hopefully that'll straighten things out again.

My body actually feels really good right now, all-in-all. I'm feeling very strong. Winter training is so weird. I have no idea what my distances are like because I haven't run outside in so long and my trainer isn't set up with distance. And even if it was, it wouldn't be exactly like it is riding outside in the elements. Mother Nature is so non-forgiving - the wind, the sun, the rain... all of them coming down on you as you try to get a workout in. I can't wait for spring! Only 18 more weeks to spring! And 38 weeks to Ironman! Let the countdown begin!!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"In pain there is truth"

So my mantra for the next little is going to be "in pain there is truth." At least, it will be until another one comes along. I have it written in red, capital letters on a card that I put in front of me when I'm biking.

Today I started off my day with my first swim in weeks. It has been almost a month since I dipped myself in chlorinated water. I got a new Sugoi poly Turbo Swim Racer swimsuit, so I was rocking out with that. I basically just did 1500 yards (I was going to say metres, but I swam at a 25 yard pool today) at a pretty easy pace. It wasn't the muscles and it wasn't the lungs, but I had zero motivation. I think I had to start racing myself again. That made everything better. I basically just need to get through December because in January I'm going to join the Masters' swim club. I have such a hard time motivating myself to swim on my own. This week I'm going to swim with the tri club because they got a good time of 8:15 to 9:15 (as opposed to 10 to 11:00pm).

Tonight our running coach wasn't around, but he left our workout with someone from the group. We did time pyramid intervals... good times. I did the intervals at 26s 100s (ie. 100 metres in 26 seconds) and it went like this:
200m, 300m, 400m, 400m, 300m, 200m (with equal rest in between each interval)
10 minute rest
200m, 300m, 400m, 400m, 300m, 200m
cool down, stretch

It was a really good workout. I got new shoes the other day and I could definitely feel the difference. It's funny how new shoes can give you a little extra bounce when you need it. Two weeks ago I couldn't do 26s 100s and this week I was doing more like 24s 100s. It felt a lot better, too. My ankles didn't hurt and I had a lot more "spring" and that's saying something on a concrete track (I think it's concrete).

All-in-all, I felt that today was very productive in terms of my training and it has helped me get back into the swing of things a bit. This week, my goal is to do all of the workouts my coach gives me... including weights!!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Confessions of a vegan triathlete

It's true. It is confession time.
I love to watch The O.C. It is my guilty pleasure. I don't even watch t.v. normally, but I have been addicted to this show for many years now and since it doesn't hurt me that much, I accept it as a weakness. So what does this have to do with training?

I find it really hard to gear myself up to get on my bike trainer. REALLY HARD. I hate biking in one spot and not going anywhere. It is so boring. So the way I get myself to get on my bike (as of tonight) is to promise myself The O.C. So I watch old episodes and new episodes and it really helps me through the workout.

Tonight, for instance, I watched 2 episodes commercial-free for a total of 1:30 on the bike at a HR of 135bpm. [I was supposed to do some HR testing, but I couldn't find my HRM when I needed it. Turns out it was on my bike... figures. So I'll do it on Monday.]

This week was kind of a crap-shoot. On Wednesday and Thursday I was travelling and didn't get a chance to workout and Friday I was recovering. Then I fell off my bike because of the icy roads on Friday afternoon. Thank goodness for chiropractors working on Saturdays.

Tomorrow is a heavy day with me hitting the pool in the morning and then running in the evening. Good times. It's so cold here that I'm not running outside. I've set my lower limit at -20 with the windchill. Right now it's -26 (-36 with the windchill). We live in a crazy place.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just another day of training

Today I ran on the treadmill for the second day in a row and have decided that I've got to get a motivational poster to put up on the wall in front of it. I remember going to the gym for the first time and thinking that the t.v.s were stupid up on the walls in front of the treadmills. Now I know why: when there is nothing to do except look at the clock and analyze how many calories you've burned or how far you've run, you can become quite crazy. It was really really difficult not to look at the clock constantly. So instead I zoned into my legs. I basically just analyzed how each leg felt as it hit the conveyer belt. I tried to keep my steps light, my upper body straight, and my pelvis level. It was actually pretty effective. That is why I don't use treadmills at the gym. So I did 35 mintues in total, with 25 minutes of intervals: 2 minutes at a higher heart-rate (150-160bpm) and 3 minutes at 130-150bpm. With 5 minutes to warm-up and cool down. Oh yeah, and I kept the incline at 4.0.

Tonight my coach schedule me an hour and a half on the bike, but I did 1:10 and then did some core and some push-ups. I did 10 full-length push-ups at one time. It was awesome! The last couple were shakey, but I still did them! All-in-all, a very productive workout day.


Generally I hate treadmills. I dislike running in one spot. However, it sure does beat running outside in -20 oC weather in a snowstorm. So that's what I've been doing the last little while. Yesterday I did 30 minutes on it and today I'm doing some sort of fitness testing that my coach has set up for me. We have a treadmill in the office and it's pretty slick. I don't even have to go anywhere to run! I bring clothes to work and leave them here for the week. It actually works out pretty well.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mental block

Sometimes I have no problem actually doing something, but get hung up on the details of it. Biking on my wind trainer is one of those details. I just got a computer that measures cadence and distance on the back wheel, but I have not put it on. So before today, I had not put my bike on the trainer because I was waiting to do this bike computer thing. It's a motivation issue. I started looking around on the internet for videos on spinning intervals and asked my coach about it. Eventually I called her to talk about it and we talked about how it doesn't matter if I don't do every workout she gives me and that it's just important to get through the winter doing SOMETHING. With it being -20oC outside, winter is here to stay.

So while we were talking about the issues around this, I got my bike on the trainer, changed into my bike clothes, and started spinning. I spun for 60 minutes at a 130BPM heart-rate (I just got my heart-rate monitor working again too). I am so glad that I have such a great coach & friend who will spin with me while talking on the phone for 40 minutes. THAT, dear readers, is why I have a coach.

And stay tuned for bike workouts coming up!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I just kept on running...

So I have been biking to and from work, but I haven't hit the pool in a couple of weeks. I need a new swimsuit and I don't want to use my other one. It's not so much about looks as much as it is about logistics and comfort. However, I've been running a lot. In fact, it's what is keeping me going.

I ran everyday from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday and Friday were short runs that I could barely fit into my busy full-time life. On Saturday, I decided that I wanted to take "the plunge" and break 10km. So I did. It was slow-going and my ankle started to hurt at the end. That is always the first sign that I need new shoes, so I might go tomorrow and pick some up. Then yesterday, on Sunday I went to the tri club's coached session. After a good warm-up, including some accels, I did 2 sets of 4x400m at 26 second 100s. Then we did our hurdle workout, which was so hard. My hamstrings and glutes are super sore, so I did some yoga this morning to stretch it out.

Biking outside has been extremely fun because it's so warm! I mean, right now it's 0 degrees C... that means that biking to work has been a treat instead of a burden. In a way I kind of hope it stays like this. I still haven't put my bike on the trainer... I'm basically avoiding it because I hate it so much, but I definitely have to change my attitude towards it. I have to LEARN to love it!

Tomorrow I wanted to bike with the tri club, but I have a meeting. So I'll try to get the bike on the trainer tonight so that it's ready to go tomorrow after the meeting. Fun times will be had... I hope!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Training in Saskatchewan isn't always easy, but it is often innovative!

This morning I awoke to a blizzard for my Tuesday run. Well, maybe not a blizzard, but a snowstorm for sure. This is the second week in a row that we've gotten dumped on by the snow gods. I have to admit that I don't always love the snow or the winter, but most days I at least tolerate it. So I got up and perservered through the snow drifts and had myself a little run. It was extremely short, but I assure you that I worked my butt off for every single step. No roads were cleared, the sidewalks were snowed in, and the city was dark. While it was really hard and I was sweating a lot, I enjoyed every second of it.

Tonight I was supposed to go to the bike session, but in a whirlwind of leaving the house late I forgot many items necessary to do a spin class (like a water bottle and a towel), so instead of suffering through, I decided to just keep biking outside. It's still snowing and the wind is blowing hard from the NorthWest, but for some reason I'm loving the power that is Mother Nature right now. So I biked as hard as I could through the snow drifts and on the roads and paths. I did a good 40 minute bike ride around my area before I made myself home and could FINALLY have a nice, big glass of water.

I will be the first to admit that training in the winter in Saskatchewan isn't always easy or enjoyable, but it is challenging and sometimes just requires a little bit of imagination and innovation to make it work. Tomorrow is my day off from training. I hope to get my heart-rate monitor going, and my bike computer on my bike and onto the trainer. I'm also thinking about playing badminton again. It would be a nice cross-training sport for the winter.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My coach is awesome!

This morning I didn't lift weights and tonight I didn't go swimming. There are scheduling issues that I'm trying to work out... not to mention motivation issues. Also, there is a snow storm that is hindering my love of cycling outdoors.

So I called my coach. I have been kind of "beside myself" lately with my lack of motivation and scheduling difficulties. However, she was great. My training is not imperative right now and I have lots of time to get the kinks worked out. In later months, I will definitely have to put in my time, but for now enjoying the workouts and getting a schedule that works for me.

But one thing that IS working for me is yoga!!! Wow, thank goodness for yoga. I'm still sore from badminton and it's because of yoga that I'm not walking with a limp. Not only that, but it grounds me in the day. I start my day and week off in a positive manner and that, to me, is the best thing I could do for myself.

Also, even though I'm not training as much as I could be, I'm still biking everywhere and running 3 times a week. So I still have a good fitness base.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cold runnings

Today I FINALLY went for a longerish run (that's a technical term, longerish) of 8.76km with a friend of mine. Motivation levels are definitely not where I would like them to be. My excuses: it's cold out, it's dark, and I really like being at home. Well, maybe those are more like reasons than excuses. However, I've recommitted to myself that day-by-day, week-by-week, I am going to get into training more.

The other day I found all of the parts to my heart-rate monitor. All I need to do is change the battery in the watch and I'll be set to do some testing with my coach. The testing that we do will definitely help to keep me motivated. I love being competitive with myself.

On Friday, I used muscles by playing badminton that I never use in training for triathlons. I'm not sure if it's beneficial or not, but it sure was fun. I used to play competitively, so when I was challenged I had to take the challenge. The next day I could hardly walk. The main areas of soreness: butt, back, abs, calves, arm, shoulder, and neck. There is so much twisting, lunging, and side-to-side motion in badminton that is just not present in swimming, biking, or running. Triathlon is very "up-and-down" whereas badminton is very side-to-side. It was good, but now I'm super sore. I wonder if this would be good to incorporate into my cross-training... I'm not even sure that I need cross-training, but it might be fun to go and play badminton on Friday nights. I'll have to think about that.

Honestly, I think the only thing that kept me going the past couple of days is yoga. Without it, I think I would be in bed, unable to move. Instead, I stretch and do some breathing exercises and I feel way better. I can feel my body recovering faster from workouts because of it. I'm loving being a yogi triathlete.

Today's run was pretty good. It wasn't super cold out (the other day it was -25!!!), only around -11 degrees. The ground was a little slippery and I think I'm going to get those plastic spikes to put on the bottom of my running shoes. Last year I was pretty envious of the people who had them and I kept thinking "When I can afford those, I'm totally getting some!" and now I can! So I'm going to pick some up in the next couple of weeks. Last year I fell a couple of times on the snow and ice, so it'll be good to have a plan.

This week, I'm onto my coach's training plan. I still have to get some things in order: the bike computer on my bike (it measures cadence), my HR monitor, my wind trainer needs to come out of storage, cleats for my running shoes, and starting to use the gym near my work for workouts.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The past couple of days have been difficult, logistically, to working out. With freezing rain yesterday and the snow coming down today, it is difficult to get to where I need to go. Not to mention I fell off my bike twice yesterday on the very slippery roads and I was extremely lucky to not have been killed by a car. So last night after work I went to my chiropractor. He told me to take last night and today off. Done and done! My lower back is really sore from previous injuries that got inflamed from biking on Sunday. Today I have to spend many hours in the car for work (should be fun with the snow), but I will have to stretch frequently.

On Monday, I went for a good little 4km run and it felt great. Easy as pie. This is a good sign for me. I'll up the ani a bit either this weekend or next weekend and start doing some longer runs (in the 10-12km range). By the end of December I hope to be up to 20km. It's not unrealistic I think.

Also, I'm looking into working out at the gym near my work. I think that is the best way to ensure that I workout. I also may switch my swim times from night with the triathlon club to mornings with the Master's Swim Club. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A pain in the neck!

Every year at the beginning of cycling season, I spend a couple of weeks with a sore neck and frequent trips to the chiropractor (actually, the chiro thing just started this year). Today's ride has really messed up my neck. How do I know that my neck is messed up? There is one sure-fire way of knowing that my neck is sore: headaches. I'm not usually a person that takes painkillers, but when it comes to neck-related headaches, I don't really see the point in prolonging the pain. I've been stretching and trying to relax my neck muscles, but the headache is persisting and making my evening and football team's victory seem sub-par. The problem is that it isn't just the muscles, it's the "junk" in the neck that gets inflamed when I spend an extended period of time in my aero-bars, ie. on any ride over 15 minutes. So tonight I'll be babying my neck and trying to stay away from bright lights and loud music, which shouldn't be too hard to avoid on a Sunday night. I'll be seeing my chiro on Tuesday [he doesn't work on Mondays].

Biking outdoors in November?!?

I feel like I robbed winter today. It was +3C this morning, so I had to get out on my bike. It was so great! I thought that I had my last outdoor ride a few weeks ago, but today was awesome. I came home with frozen toes, oxygenated lungs, and super sweaty. It. was. so. good.

There was a tail-wind on my way out of town, so I got kicked coming back. That's all right, though, because I just had a fantastic time. It took me about 10km to get my legs going, but after that it was gravy. However, with that ride, I've decided to skip my running session. My legs are just a little too tired. Plus, I have a report to finish for my old boss.

In summary...
Distance: 34.84 km
Ride time: 1:31:14
Avg speed: 23 km/hr
Max speed: 41. 1km/hr

Tonight I'm going to hook up my new bike computer that measures cadence. I'll put my old computer on my mountain bike. Things never stay the same.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

New job, new schedule

I started my new job on Thursday and I think it is going to be a challenge to do all of my workouts. However, the meeting with my coach was really good and between the two of us, we should be able to figure out how to make it all work. We are going to do monthly "tests" that measure my progress. She said that'll help with motivation instead of a race that is almost 10 months away. I like the idea because I'm very goal-oriented and it will be good to see progress every few weeks.

Yesterday morning I did a 4.8km run. It felt really good and by the end of it, I had the feeling that I could run forever. However, my schedule is all over the place and I'm not even supposed to run on Fridays so that I can do a long run on Saturday. However, it just didn't work out this week. So after I run around the restaurant all day, I'll pick it up on my trainer tonight for an hour or so at an even pace. This weekend is my weekend to organize stuff, but all I want to do is sleep. Perhaps a bit of both will ensue.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spinning my wheels

Last night I went to the triathlon club's spin session, after missing it two weeks in a row. It was a pretty good session. I didn't sweat nearly as much as I could have, but it's all right. My right calf muscle was borderline cramping up on me and it did not feel good. I'm not sure what the deal is. It feels like most of the time, but every once in a while I can feel the top of the muscle being really tight. I stretch all of the time, so hopefully it gets worked out.

Our session went like this:
~ 2 reps of spin-ups... spinning fast and then settling in at a high cadence for 1 minute
~ 2 x 3 reps of 3-minute intervals at Zone 3 heart-rate, 2 minutes rest in between the intervals, 5 minutes rest in between sets
~ stretching and abs

It was a pretty good workout. I will try harder to sweat more next week.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The road to Ironman is long and winding...

I have to say... yesterday was a crap-shoot in terms of training. After such a great day of training on Sunday, my legs were tired and my energy was low. After a long day of being on my feet at work, the last thing I wanted to do was train. So I didn't. The guilt I felt was not what I would like to feel often in the next few months leading up to Ironman. I think there needs to be some leeway in letting me bail from training. Maybe a couple "get out of jail" free cards a week. Or better yet, a realistic schedule. I am meeting with my coach on Wednesday, so I will talk to her about it. Also, I know that I need to set my Ironman a little higher on my priority list. The hard part of training for Ironman isn't just the physical part, it's the commitment part; one must give up certain things in order to train. So I've decided that I won't go to any shows that fall on a weeknight, that includes Sunday.

That being said, this morning I went for a stellar run! A 4.8km run with some sprint intervals in there. It felt good, even if the wind was fairly cold on my face. This morning it is -8oC and a pretty strong 17km/hr wind, making the windchill -15. Winter is here, my friends, and it's only going to get colder. While I'm not always "for" cold, I definitely like the crispness of the air in the morning, as the sun starts peaking over the horizon. Ahhh, winter. There's nothing quite like it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kicking it up a notch!

Tonight at running, we did a lot of short intervals. It was hard, but good. And I didn't even feel like I was going to throw up!

It helped that I ate some good food before I went. I also had a smoothie which helped with keeping my intensity. My smoothies include soy milk, frozen berries, hemp seed, and frozen bananas. So good! I love the smoothie train.

So tonight, we did 4 sets that went like this:
5 x 200m in 26 seconds, 26 second rest
5 minute rest between sets

It was good to remember what it's like to be consistent and find a rhythm that works well. We kept the intensity up and our group even did our last 200s in 25 seconds. While I think that this work is a little "exact" to be doing for triathlons, it really helps with form and finding a rhythm. It also helps to work on form. Apparently triathletes are known for their poor form. I'm definitely working on mine and these workouts will definitely help. My coach used to be a hurdler here, so he is all about form. While some people think that he's too intense and too hard on us, I think that we are lucky to have him coaching our club.

Workout ratings:
Energy level: 9/10
Skills worked on: 8/10
Fun level: 9/10
Overall: 9/10 - a great workout!

Running and swimming... and yoga

Yesterday, I did what I am considering these days as a "long" run. An easy pace for 8.75km along the river. The run started out kind of painfully. My shoulders were tight and my glutes were screaming at me. It must be residual from Tuesdays painful run. After I did a thorough dynamic warm-up and took it easy for the first kilometre or so, I settled in. I haven't went on a longish run like that in a while, so I wasn't sure how I would feel. It took a long time to warm-up and get my rhythm, but I did eventually get it. It was after about 6 kilometres that I felt like I could run forever. I love that point in a run. The point where everything feels loose and good, the breathing is even and uninhibited, and there is nothing that is hurting... and I feel like I could run forever, Forrest Gump-style.

After the run, I did a 40-minute yoga session from my "Power Yoga for Happiness" DVD that I absolutely love. I did the workout called "Daily Dose of Bliss" and it was quite blissful. After that, I felt good and grounded for the rest of the day. Not to mention thoroughly stretched and limber. I love yoga!

This morning, I woke up at the crack of 9:30 and decided to go swimming at the YWCA. I did a continuous swim for 2200 yards. I discovered that either I swimming extremely fast 500m intervals or it was a shorter pool. I think it's the latter. It was a good swim, but nothing really to write home about. Other than my shoulders feel tight now. That'll work itself out tonight at running, I suppose.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Settling In

Settling into a routine is key in training this far in advance for one race. The pot of gold at the end of this very long rainbow is hard to see, so it's important to incorporate the workouts into my daily life.

Lately, I've been having a hard time settling into this routine. It's mostly because of my hectic and chaotic life at the moment. Working shifts and trying to fit in workouts is fairly difficult. This summer it was much easier because everyday I worked the same hours. It's basically a mental hurdle that I have to get over... and soon.

Last night I had a good session at swimming from 10-11pm. I'm enjoying the late-night sessions because they tend to not interfere with the evening, which is nice. The session went like this...
300m warm-up, choice of stroke
4x50m, 25m skull/swim (skull=arms-only)
25m drill/swim
6 x 100m freestyle, 5-10 seconds slower than race pace
200m non-freestyle
6 x 50m, 25m kick/25m swim
6 x 100m freestyle, at race pace
200m cooldown
Total= 2400m

I swim in a lane with 2 other girls who are a bit faster than me. This is a good thing because it makes me kick it up a notch. Last night I started to throw in the ol' flip-turns, which I haven't done in a long time. I basically have to do the flip-turns because the other girls do them. It also makes everything faster and smoother. Plus, I don't get that extra breath of air when turning, which I tend to rely on too often. It's taken me a while to get back into flip-turns because I only do them when I'm truly comfortable with swimming and my stroke.

I go back-and-forth on whether flip-turns are useful or not because they are never used in triathlons. However, I've come to learn that they are useful in the pool. When you're swimming and get to the end of the length of the pool, stopping your whole body to change directions stops the flow of the stroke. When flip-turns are used, it keeps the flow going. This is key in a triathlon and I think that flip-turns might be good for this. At the same time, they are hard and sometimes I get water up my nose. Because I taught myself how to do them and I've never had it verified that they are correct, I'm a little self-conscious about them. I'm worried that I flip crookedly or that my push isn't right and that I'll be judged by the others. Sometimes the ego gets in the way of training. It's kind of weird, but it is a barrier that I need to get over. Perhaps I'll talk to my coach about my flip-turns. That's what she's there for!

This swim session was really good for my form. I actually felt like my stroke was coming together. I've been a fairly good swimmer for most of my life and I've been coached for a while, but my freestyle stroke always needs improving. Last night I tried to experiment with my hand and thumb position in the water. Trying to make it more like a spoon and less like a fork. I am slowly, but surely learning to push the water with my hand, not move my hand through the water. Pushing and feeling the water on my arm and hand is key in accelerating the stroke and pushing the whole body forwards. In triathlon, it is important that one doesn't use up their legs during the swim. It is very important that most of the swim is done with the arms. It's really the only time that the arms should really be tired. The rest of the race, they are just making things less difficult for the legs. It is important that I work on this now so that I can work on speed and endurance in the next phases of my training.

I just wish the biking and running would be at this same point. That's where settling into the rhythm of my workouts is key. Rhythms of the workouts, of the stroke, of each step and breath, and of each pedal. Triathlon is really about rhythm. Three different rhytms put together in one race. I love this sport.

Dear Crystal's body,

It would be really great if we could just get along. Cooperation will get us a long way and right now we're not cooperating very well. I understand that you're a little sore and I can give a little leeway, but soon you're going to have to keep up with me. Especially if we're going to do Ironman in under 13 hours.

Tonight at swimming, you were definitely performing better than in the recent past. Your performance went well with my yogi focus. Soon enough, we will be a swimming machine. Tonight we did 2400m in under an hour. We can do better.

Thanks for listening.

Yours truly,
Crystal's brain

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Doomed to have DOMS

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness... an athlete's enemy. I have been plagued by DOMS ever since Sunday, but I have walked, run, biked, stretched, and swam through the pain. I actually think that it has helped. On Monday I was pretty sore, but I did yoga in the morning, worked all day, and still managed to swim over 3000m at our coached swim session that night. However, I ended up with a headache at the end from my sore neck - a chriopractor appointment was made.

On Tuesday, I got up early and wanted to go for a run. I thought I'd take it easy since my hamstrings and glutes were pretty sore. Just a slow 5km run. It turned out to be THE SLOWEST 5km I've run in a while. My legs were so sore. It took me over 45 minutes to run the short route I had set out. It was brutal. Nonetheless, I had to go to work, where I walked almost the whole day. Most of the day was spent in pain, but by the end of the day I felt a lot better. My legs had loosened up and my back was feeling a bit looser.

I made my appointment with the chiropractor to be after work, so I had to sprint there on my bike to make it on time. He said that considering the amount and type of exercise I'm getting, my body is handling it very well. I give a lot of credit to doing yoga 3-4 times a week. I'll have to tell him that next time. I'm basically going to have to go see him every 2 weeks for as long as I'm training the amount that I am. I'm pretty okay with that because it really seems to help my body recover faster and I have little to no back pain anymore. That is worth it in my books. My chiropractor and I have just had our 1-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary!

I ended up taking Tuesday night off because I was bagged, but I've been doing a lot of biking lately sprinting on my commuting rides so I don't feel that bad. Today is Wednesday and I am taking it off. That's right, another Wednesday off. I think I am going to play Wednesdays by ear. If I feel ambitious and well-rested, then I will do a workout, but if I'm just not feeling it, I'm not going to push myself. 5am is very early to wake up and it really does mess up my body for the rest of the day. However, it's a whole day that I'm not sure I can afford to take off. From past experience, though, I know that rest is just as important as activity. In all aspects of life.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Today was my first workout in over a week. I had a coached running session with the triathlon club. I thought that it would be no problem because I could go at my own pace, which I mostly did. However, the workout was really hard. We did a circuit session with a 200m sprint in between. The exercises we did were split jumps, push-ups, crunches, back extensions, and toe hops. This is how it worked...
30 seconds of split jumps
200m sprint
30 seconds push-ups
200m sprint
... well, you get the picture. We did that twice. I will repeat myself... OUCH! After the first set my stomach was so not happy and I had to sprint to the bathroom to relieve myself. I felt a lot better after our second set, but I still felt like I was going to throw up.

Also, after we warmed up, my chest started to hurt a little. It went away, though. I couldn't help but hear my mom's voice in my head telling me to get my heart checked out before I do the Ironman (I have an irregular heartbeat that I've had checked out before and it is perfectly fine). But I didn't have it the rest of the time, so I think I'll chalk it up to just muscles jamming on me.

After the drills of death, we did some hurdle work. Since I am significantly shorter than most of the triathlets in our club, I had a lot of trouble with it. Luckily, I am extremely flexible and could get my legs up very high to get over the hurdles. However, it's the crotch thing that gets me with hurdles. It's just really uncomfortable. I hope I don't have any bruises! We basically did a lot of leg lifts and leg kicks. I've discovered that I can kick really really high. Good to know.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yes, it has been a week...

A week has gone by and I have barely trained. Sometimes life just gets in the way, making it difficult to train. This was one of those weeks. However, I should be back to training by the weekend.

This weekend is the Kona Ironman. Grant Bryden, Saskatoon's most popular triathlete currently, is down there with his IronMATE Shannon Bews. They are posting blogs on STCI's bulletin board. Check it out. Saturday is the big race, which can be seen at I hope that Grant has a great race!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Late-night swim sessions

While Wednesday was technically an "off" day for me, I ended up biking about 15 kilometres commuting, so I'll count that as a light bike workout. :o)

This morning I did a 5km run with some short intervals in the middle. It felt good to get back to running after not running for about a week. Tonight was a late-night swim session with the Tri Club and it was pretty good:
200 warmup
4 x 50m, kick/swim
4 x 50m, drill/swim
4 x - 150m free
- 50m nonfree
- 50m fast free
- 50m easy nonfree
4 x 50m, kick/swim
4 x 50m, drill/swim
200m cooldown

Today I ran into a fellow Saskatoonian who's going to do Ironman next year. She got an online coach, which she says she likes. It's easier to tell them what she hasn't done. :o) I don't know, I like the fact that I can call my coach and have a chat with her. I'm feeling very motivated right now, which is different from yesterday when I wasn't feeling motivated at all. Having a day off work to organize my life was a good thing.

Another Saskatoon triathlete is doing Kona next weekend. He qualified at Ironman Canada, which is awesome. I can't think of a nicer guy to cheer on. I'm definitely going to be watching it live online. I wonder if some triathletes are getting together to watch it on the small-screen. If so, I'd love to be part of that. Perhaps people could come to my house to watch it. I'm kind of set up for that sort of thing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An After-Long-Weekend Training Update

After a fairly sedentary weekend (but I think hauling wood for a fire counts as lifting weights, right?), I had a couple of good biking days. Normally I wouldn't bike two days in a row, but I could not resist. Yesterday we got back fairly early from our weekend up north and the sun was shining and the road was calling my name. It is probably my last outdoor road bike ride before the snow flies, so I had to capitalize on it. It turns out that the westerly wind was blowing strong at 33-40km/hr giving me an easy ride out to my turn-around point, but a hard workout coming back. Before turning around, I was up around a 30km/hr average speed, but coming back, I probably averaged 17-18km/hr. I ended up with:
Distance: 41.64km
Ride time: 1:48:38
Average speed: 23.17km/hr
Max speed: 46.7km/hr (on a slight decline)
The hill that I usually fly down and have broke 60km/hr on, I felt like I was going backwards and barely made it past 30km/hr. The prairies may not have hills, but we sure do have wind!

This morning, I stretched out my legs with a good half-hour yoga session. Today was my scheduled bike workout with the Triathlon Club. We did 3 sets: the first set had 4 reps of 2 minutes each with a one minute rest; the second and third sets had 3 reps of 2 minutes each with a one minute rest. We did some abs (I hate using the ball!) and some stretching.

I've noticed that the days that I do yoga, my body feels so much better. I can honestly say that my back feels better when I've done yoga and my legs feel more limber throughout the day. It is definitely something I want to continue to incorporate into my life and my training. Maybe I should have named my site "Vegan Yogi Triathlete" ... hmm... not as catchy. :o)

Here is a picture of where I was this weekend in all its glory in northern Saskatchewan:

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lifting it

This morning I did some yoga before hitting the gym. I did a few light sets of the same workout from Monday. I felt really good. After that, I did a good core workout and tried out the ball. I kept on falling off, which was really embarassing. So I gave up and just did some planks. All-in-all, a great workout. The muscles felt good, good energy, but I forgot my music and they played the Grease Remix AGAIN! I must remember to bring my own music! I can't listen to that "song" ever. again.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Racing the sun

I feel like when I go for bike rides, I'm racing with the sun to see who gets home before who. Tonight, the sun won. It really is dangerous to bike after dark, so I try to avoid it, but it gets dark by 7:00. So I try to go faster and faster so that I can get in a little bike ride before the snow starts to fly instead of the leaves.

Distance: 26.82km
Ride time: 1:01:49
Average speed: 26.03km/hr
Max speed: 53.8km/hr

I felt awesome on the ride. Besides the wind blowing in my sore ear, it was awesome. I brought headphones just so that I could use them to block the wind - I've come to dislike riding and listening to music - it distracts me from my pedal stroke. The tops of my thighs were still a little sore, but they are definitely getting better. Note to self: stretch better before sprinting to avoid DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A day off

While I'm not scheduled to take a day off today, I'm going to. I have what feels like the beginning of an earache and/or infection, which is causing me to have a bit of a head achiness that I would like to go away as soon as possible. Also, today was a bit stressful in my life, so I'd rather take it easy. Plus, I'm going to see Kinnie Star tonight!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Crystal's Heartburn 101

Before I becamse vegan, I used to have chronic heartburn. I think it had a lot to do with my being lactose intolerant, more than anything else. When I went vegan, my heartburn pretty much went away. I rarely get it unless I've eaten a lot of greasy foods in combination with inactivity or some other very rare circumstances. So whenever I get heartburn, I can't help but wonder what the cause of it.

A couple of years ago, I swimming at a night swim with the Triathlon Club when it hit me hard. I thought I was going to throw up, which really sucked because I was going hard on that particular swim workout. However, I pushed through it and ended up being all right. Since then, I periodically get heartburn during the nighttime swim with the Triathlon Club. I think this is due to two things:
1) Exercising late at night is not optimal because of eating constraints and energy levels. Timing supper to give one enough time to digest food is difficult. Not to mention recovery eating after the workout. Also, I know I'm not the only one who gets wired after a workout and am left unable to sleep when I get home and want to eat everything in sight.
2) The position during swimming is quite horizontal. According to "Episodes of heartburn can also be precipitated by body position, certain movements, and/or exertion, such as lying down, bending over or strenuous exercise. One of the defense mechanisms limiting the reflux of gastric acid is gravity. In the upright position, gravity tends to prevent gastric contents from moving upward into the esophagus. When the body position is altered, the protective effect of gravity may be reduced. Lying down tends to decrease the effects of gravity. Bending over can also decrease the effects of gravity and increase abdominal pressure, increasing the potential for acid reflux."

This is some food for thought for all those hearburn sufferers out there. I'm definitely going to talk to my doctor about it and see if there are options, that don't include taking ant-acids, to hinder the presence of heartburn in my nighttime swims.

Bike day!

Today, I slept in due to staying up after the late-night swim last night. I worked all day, which is a workout in itself. Anyone who has served in a busy restaurant knows that being on one's feet all day is definitely some kind of workout. My chiropractor concurs. I went and there was definitely some issues with my upper back and neck, as always. My neck is constantly in need of adjustment. Sometimes I get really bad headaches. I've learned to deal with them and know that they are short-lived, but it is usually my body's way of telling me that my neck is out of alignment. It's always from biking. In the summer, it's from road riding and falling on my mountain bike. In the winter, it's usually from tensing up when riding on slippery ice and/or falling on said slippery ice. Going to the chiropractor is a simple solution to my neck and headache issues and with all the training and falling I do, it's necessary.

Tonight I biked with the Triathlon Club and it was pretty good. We did 2 sets of 4 repetitions of 2 minute intervals with 1 minute rest in between each interval and five minutes between sets. Wow, that sounds kind of confusing. It was pretty good. I don't feel like I'm quite getting into the groove of the whole spinning inside thing, but I hope it will come. I just feel like I'm not pushing myself as hard as I can. I'll try harder next week.

As for the heartburn as discussed yesterday, I'm going to try a few things. Yesterday, I ate 3 hours before the swim began, but maybe that's not enough time. So I'll try to make it 3.5 or 4 hours. Also, I have to talk to my doctor about other health things that I am looking into, so I'll talk to her about this as well. Next week I'm getting my blood work done so that I can make sure my nutrient levels are where they should be. Being a vegan triathlete isn't always easy, but it sure is interesting! Last time, my levels were all great showing me to be a very healthy vegan.

So tomorrow I'm doing a run - probably 8-10km with a bit of intervals in the middle. I have tomorrow off from work, so that'll be nice.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Let the training begin - Week 1

Today was the beginning of my new training plan. Susan, my coach, sent me my schedule for the week and, as expected, seems pretty mellow.

My thighs are a little sore from the running workout I had last night, which included some sprinting. It reminded me that I haven't sprinted in a long time and it felt really good. There really is something about pumping my arms and going as fast as I can for a short distance. I'm really built for short-distance and love the feeling of freedom I get at the max pace. Maybe one day I'll do a sprint triathlon. However, there is something really great about long-distance as well.

Today I did my yoga when I got up and it was really great to start off my day and week with the stretching of my power yoga DVD. I ate some breakfast, including my vitamins, and then headed to the gym - my local YWCA. I'm really not a fan of weights. In fact, in the past, I've claimed to hate weights. However, I know that it will help with my training for Ironman and triathlons in general, so I am willing to let go of my hate of standing in one spot doing the same exercise over and over again in order to have better results. One thing I learned today at the gym is that I must MUST MUST bring my own music. Unless I'm in a club, I really don't ever want to hear the remix version of Grease Lightning. Yes, call me a music snob, but I'd rather listen to nothing than listen to songs like that.

So I did my half-hour workout, which included step-ups, squats, seated-row, standing-row, hamstring curls, and a core workout. The thing I love about the YWCA is the diversity of the people there. From the young girls who come in pairs to the body-building guys to the elderly vision-impaired woman, all workout at the same time. I love it! So i had a great workout before heading off to work. Tonight I have an hour and a half swim workout with the Univesrity Tri Club (called STUC for short). I look forward to kicking it up a notch in the pool tonight.

Tonight's swim was really good. However, halfway through I got a nasty case of heartburn. This has happened before. It only happens when I swim at night. Sometimes it happens in morning swims, but I only get it when I swim. I'm not sure what my body is trying to tell me, so I'd better figure it out.

Tonight's workout:
300m warmup - freestyle, breast stroke, back stroke, and butterfly
4 x 100m IM (butter my back until my breast is free)
8 x 50m kick (alternating flutter and dolphin kick)
3 x 200m free
8 x 50m sprint free
500m free
100m cool down
= 2700m, time: 1:20
I felt pretty good. The sprints were hard; the last 10m of each interval was really hard - I felt like I was dragging a brick in the water and I felt like I would lose my form. However, the rest was really good. The tops of my thighs still hurt... in a good way.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What goes up, must come down - the law of gravity

August 26, 2006

Today I thought a lot about the law of gravity. After a slightly stressful morning with my dog attacking my cousin’s 13-year-old dog, Kathryn and I headed up to Penticton. Our mission: to check out the bike course. I was told by a friend of mine who grew up in Penticton that the bike course was brutal, but I only half-believed him because often people who don’t bike like I do overestimate the difficulty of many biking extravaganzas. However, in this case, it is true.

Richter’s pass is a big one. I’ve biked in the Rockies before and have bike passes with a loaded bike. However, I know that the experience that I’m going to have one year from now will be very different. In the beginning-middle of an already fairly difficult bike course isa difficult 50km consisting of a pass and many ups and downs after that. I couldn’t help but be brought back to my first-year physics class where we learned the law of gravity: what goes up, must come down. It seemed so easy then – a simple law that Newton came up with because an apple fell on his head. However, I’m not sure he would have been so quick to make that law had he biked Richeter’s pass… and the 30km after that. This is not Sunday evening bike ride material. We’re talking hardcore. We’re talking major hills. We’re talking going up at 10km/hr (I wasn’t really warmed up) and flying down at 55km/hr (not pedaling because a) I was scared shitless and b) I was tired after going uphill for 10km). The law of gravity seemed ridiculous to me at this point, but I could have just been dizzy from the altitude too.

As for me, I was pretty stressed today. I mean, I can’t help but wonder if I can actually do this. Physically. It is not uncommon for someone to not finish... not only that, but to endure serious health problems along the way. I hope that watching the race tomorrow will inspire me a lot. So I was feeling really stressed out about the whole thing, but after I got on my bike and started pedalling, things felt okay. Even if I was going up a huge-ass hill. I mean, I’m fairly certain that I can finish it and I think that if I work really hard I can do it in 12 hours (ahem... make that 13). That’s a realistic goal for me. Hopefully I’ll get a coach and it’ll all be good.

When we got home from the bike ride, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I haven’t had it feel like that since I threw it out playing volleyball in grade 12, almost 10 years ago. When I originally injured it, I literally couldn’t move from the court and they had to drag me off using a gym mat. I could hardly walk for 2 weeks and went to the chiro for 3 months once a week. Hopefully this is not that situation. I’m pretty sure it’s from sitting in a car for 14 hours, being slightly stressed out, and then getting out and without a good warm-up, biking up a fairly significant hill, and then getting back into the car. When I think about it, it seems like a really dumb thing to do. Oh well, live and learn.

On the bike ride, it felt like I got a sneak preview of the route. All the way up the pass were various chalkings from people there to cheer on the athletes. There were signs saying "Go Mighty Mouse Go!" all along the bike route. It was really cool to see the course the day before the athletes competing would, like I was making sure the course was good enough for the 2300 people competing the next day. I am excited to see the race tomorrow, and to sign up for next year!

The new year begins here... from Saskatchewan to British Columbia

August 25th, 2006 –
Today's trip started off a little rocky. After very little sleep and a whole car to pack, not to mention bikes to put on the rack, I tried to get everything together and out of the house by 6am. One hour behind already. Crap. I had to stop by work to grab my day planner, which I had forgotten the night before. Then I was off to pick up Kathryn. I can find solace in the fact that I am sure that I didn’t forget anything. There will be no repeat wet suit-forgetting incidents. All sports accounted for... and that’s the really important stuff. Plus, I have enough food to feed a small army of vegans!

I picked Kathryn up and as we were loading the bikes onto the rack, Zoe (the stray dog I rescued off the street) decided that she wanted to explore Kathryn's neighbourhood. However, she was not on a leash and my bad-mother-syndrome came out. We spent almost an hour searching for her, calling her name, and biking around trying to find her. I was almost starting to cry when I saw Kathryn in the car waving at me and pointing. She had found Zoe. Thank goodness. I’m not THAT bad of a mother! We were off at 7:30… 2.5 hours behind schedule. Damn.

The drive went fairly well. No real problems or incidences. Zoe sat quietly in the back, Kathryn and I chatted about our lives, I drank pop and ate junk food, and we listened to music. It was good.

So now I’m here in Vernon at my cousin’s house and I’m starting to get super scared about this whole Ironman thing. I mean, holy shit!!! What am I thinking?!? I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve come all this way in order to sign up for the hardest day of my life thus far. Is this masochistic? Or am I just a little crazy? I am more and more seeing that most triathletes are a little crazy. Not necessarily in a bad way, it’s just so frigging hardcore. No matter what, though, I’m signing up. It is going to be one year of grueling training and careful nutrition analysis and I’m going to learn so much about myself. It’s going to be one hell of a year. New Year’s will no longer be the day to celebrate the first day of the year. My New Year is coming up in 2 short days. Let the countdown begin.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The beginning

This could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.