Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I just felt like running

Tuesday I was out of town for work, so I knew that I had to get a workout in before we left at 7:30am. I woke up at 6:09 and was out the door by 6:15. It wasn't the best for my performance, but I just wanted to get it in. I got in a good 30 minute workout. It felt great to be out in the fresh air and I'm glad I did because the weather has taken a turn to being really wet. Wet rain and snow has been coming down since last night. I didn't get home until 7:00 last night, so I was way too tired and hungry to do a workout before the 10:00 bedtime I've been trying to adhere to.

Today, being Wednesday, is my day off and I'm glad. So I'm enjoying being inside, watching the wet drops come down and I can know that I'm not missing any workouts due to weather. Work is busy and I'm on out of town on Thursday and Friday. I guess my running shoes will be used while I'm away and I might be able to get in a swim on Friday afternoon somewhere. I kind of miss the pool... I never thought I'd say that!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sprinting vs. Long-distance

This Saturday I did a very sprint triathlon. It was a 500m swim in the pool, 8km on the bike, and 3km on the track - no transitions. Overall it was great, but I really noticed how different it feels to do short distances as opposed to long-distance training. It's funny because I felt like I was hitting my stride at about lap 8 of the swim, the last kilometre of the bike, and about lap 11 of the run (although I was getting tired for the last lap because I sprinted trying to keep up with the girl in front of me - thanks for the race, Chantelle!). My times were as follows:
500m swim: 9:07
8km bike: 16:44
3km run: 16:14

However, afterwards my neck was KILLING me. It created a very bad headache. So bad that I actually went and purchased some ibuprofen, which I never do. It helped a lot and the next day was not as bad. I just kept on stretching out my neck in hope that it would go away, which it mostly have. Upon doing some reading, apparently triathletes are more likely to have back and neck pain because they train a lot for this multisport.

On Saturday night, I went curling at L's work social. It was great, but I sure haven't used those muscles very much! So I'm a bit sore in my upper back and my hip flexors. It kind of feels good to be sore, though.

Sunday was kind of a bad day and I kept a low profile. My neck was sore and I had a headache and decided to suffer through the day. It ended not to badly and I just kept stretching it out.

This morning I decided to skip swimming because of my neck and went for a nice 5km run. I have to sign up for the marathon at the end of May, which I'm pretty stoked about. I have never run just a running race (since high school) . It will be a good experience, I think. Either that or it will scare the crap out of me for Ironman. Either way, it will probably be beneficial.

Food Diary for the Week
run for 5km
: Smoothie
Snack: Clif bar
Lunch: 2c. pasta with tofu and veggies (leftover)
Supper: Tempeh burgers with home fries from regular and sweet potatoes

* a short 30 minute run
Breakfast: smoothie
Lunch: leftover pasta (AGAIN)
Supper: a wonderful stirfry made by my parloqual!

Breakfast: smoothie
Snack: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover stirfry

Friday, March 23, 2007

Like a dolphin!

Last night I had an event for work, which included supper. The staff did "all right" accommodating for me. However, think of this scenario:
A room full of "the good ol' boys" club of agrologists (ie. fairly conservative farms who all have trucks and absolutely LOVE their Canadian beef) mingling with alcohol and talk of the disappearing family farm. The announcer then asks the TWO people who requested vegan or vegetarian meals to please raise their hands. I am not usually meek about my diet, but I did not want to raise my hand. I'm not sure if lynching is outlawed for herbivores! So I felt a little silly after that, having had everyone judge me based on my choice of diet. However, I went on as if nothing happened and I got my food first.

The staff then brought out this TINY bit of couscous with some tofu on top of it. I have to admit the tofu was very tasty (apparently much more tasty than the salmon that everyone else ate), but there just wasn't enough. I even loaded up on salad and veggies from the buffet. Plain and simply there was not enough protein to fuel my ever-increasing training. However, there was not much I could do about it. I got home after 9:30 from the boring-ass meeting and bedtime these days is 10:00 in order to easily facilitate the 6:00 wake-up time.

So I went to bed hungry and got up hungry. I didn't eat until after swimming, which is probably why I felt so sluggish in the pool. Actually, sluggish doesn't quite describe it. It was more like I felt completely unmotivated to keep up with my lane-mates. So I lagged behind and barely pushed hard enough to breathe hard at the end of a lap. I did slug out about 2900m, but I didn't even feel like I had worked out by the end of it. It could also be that my muscles just aren't where my lungs are, in terms of endurance.

Tomorrow is my first race of the season - a short indoor triathlon. The weather is supposed to be beautiful so I can't help but feel tempted to just skip it and do my own duathlon outside, but I helped to organize it so I can't really bail even if I wanted to. It should be fun anyway. It's always a nice reunion of the triathlon community. I am going to eat so much food tonight! Here I come with carbo-loading and lots of protein!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wilderness in the city

This morning I went for a good half hour run along the river. It felt great, like I hadn't missed 3 weeks! My base must be really great for me to just be able to do 3 km in half an hour. My lungs now feel completely oxygenated and my mind is completely clear. I'm ready to get working!

On my run, I realized how wonderful it is to run in the light. Dawn was just breaking when I headed out and the sun was fully out by the time I got home. How wonderful!!! As I was 3/4 done my run, I saw a little bunny skirt out from the bushes it had been hiding in. It came out, hopped around, and went back in. I stopped in my tracks to watch the animal. She looked at me, I looked at her. We stood there for what felt like an hour, just checking each other out. This is the first time, in all of my years of running by the river that I had ever seen a bunny. I felt lucky. The bunny decided it had had enough of my staring and hopped to a spot where I couldn't see her. So I kept on my way and hoped that I wouldn't forget to write about it. It felt really special. How often do you get to see such a creature in a city? Not often enough!

The roads are clearing up and I biked to work this morning. It was a great ride in the sunshine. I am so happy to be back on the bike! I could feel my lower back protesting this morning as I periodically stretched it out on the ride. The chiropractor will get much use in the next few weeks, I'm sure.

Yesterday I got my road pedals put on my bike. I purchased triathlon shoes, which have road pedals. They're pretty crazy! Very different from SPDs and my touring shoes that I have been using. I'll have to give it a try tonight on my trainer. This weekend is supposed to be very nice, so I would love to get on the highway with my bike. Wow... what a great day! This weekend is also the Indoorman race, which should be a good time. I love this sport!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Days off just feel good.

Getting back into training is really hard on my body. I never really realized it before. I guess it's because I don't usually stop training once I start, but two colds in the last 3 months have really kicked my butt. So I'm really trying to get back into biking to work everyday, training on top of that, working hard at work, and having an active social life. I have come to realize that I may just burn out and that is exactly why it is important that I have days off like today.

Wednesdays are mixed for me. I am up at 5am (or 5:09 after I press snooze on my alarm clock) to do my radio show at 6. It's a lot of work and dedication, but I love it. It energizes me, at least for the morning. I have been driving to my show, which makes the whole thing more enjoyable because then I don't have to worry about clothing to wear while I'm biking, music that I want to play, and anything I need to take to the office. This way I load my car and away I go. It also saves me a lot of energy, which is what Wednesdays are all about for me right now. I get to catch up on my protein and iron.

Yesterday I felt extremely weak after biking home from work and this is what I've been experiencing for the past few days. I was craving greens and made a huge salad. I couldn't help but wonder if I'm getting enough iron these days or if my body is just in a period of adjustment to new schedules and immense, intense exercising. I'm going to give my body until the end of next week and if nothing happens, I'm going to go get my vitamin and mineral levels tested, go to the naturopath, and see if there's something else I can do.

Basically, I'm really happy for my day off today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Testing, testing... 1,2,3...

Last night I biked a good 45 minutes after work on my way home in a round-about way. It was good, but I was exhausted by the time we got home. This boded well for L and my new leaf of going to bed early. Sure enough, I was sleeping by about 9:30!

This morning I did some VO2 Max testing at the University. I signed up to be part of a study of female vegetarians, partially so that I could help out and partially so that I could get some testing done of my body for my training. Two birds, one stone... or the vegan version would be feeding two birds with one scone! So I was there at 7am at the very dead and eerily quiet university campus. Today is supposed to be a nice day and I do not want to spend another nice day that could be spent riding, in a car. So I biked to the test, warmed up a bit, and then strapped on the head-gear involved in the test. Basically, there is a mouth piece like a snorkel (not that I've ever snorkeled) that is held on by what looks like a 1980s night-retainer headset. The nose gets plugged and the person starts running on the treadmill with a heart-rate monitor. The speed is decided beforehand by the speed that one could run for 20 minutes without stopping. At that speed, at 2-minute increments the incline increases 2% and the test must go at least 8 minutes. I went for over 10.

VO2 Max, according to Brian Mac:
Fitness can be measured by the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen in milliliters, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. Those who are fit have higher VO2 max values and can exercise more intensely than those who are not as well conditioned. Numerous studies show that you can increase your VO2 max by working out at an intensity that raises your heart rate to between 65 and 85% of its maximum for at least 20 minutes three to five times a week. A mean value of VO2 max for male athletes is about 3.5 litres/minute and for female athletes it is about 2.7 litres/minute.

Factors affecting VO2 max:
The physical limitations that restrict the rate at which energy can be released aerobically are dependent upon:
  • the chemical ability of the muscular cellular tissue system to use oxygen in breaking down fuels
  • the combined ability of cardiovascular and pulmonary systems to transport the oxygen to the muscular tissue system
At my VO2 Max, these were my results:
Time: 10:20
Heart Rate: 179
VE (BTPS) (L/min): 106.5
VCO2 (L/min): 2.980
VO2 (L/min): 2.727
VO2/kg (mL/kg/min): 45.5
RQ: 1.09
FEO2: 17.47%
FECO2: 3.54%

Apparently the ideal VO2 Max for endurance runners and cyclists is over 75mL/kg/min and is much lower for other sports like volleyball (50mL/kg/min). So I obviously have a much lower VO2 Max than a pro runner and cyclist, but according to this particular website, I am "superior" in my age range:

Normative data for VO2max
Female (values in ml/kg/min):

Age Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
13-19 <25.0 25.0 - 30.9 31.0 - 34.9 35.0 - 38.9 39.0 - 41.9 >41.9
20-29 <23.6 23.6 - 28.9 29.0 - 32.9 33.0 - 36.9 37.0 - 41.0 >41.0
30-39 <22.8 22.8 - 26.9 27.0 - 31.4 31.5 - 35.6 35.7 - 40.0 >40.0
40-49 <21.0 21.0 - 24.4 24.5 - 28.9 29.0 - 32.8 32.9 - 36.9 >36.9
50-59 <20.2 20.2 - 22.7 22.8 - 26.9 27.0 - 31.4 31.5 - 35.7 >35.7
60+ <17.5 17.5 - 20.1 20.2 - 24.4 24.5 - 30.2 30.3 - 31.4 >31.4

This doesn't really come a surprise and I think it is similar to my VO2 Max that I had tested a couple of years ago. I am going to get tested again in a couple of weeks. I find all of this stuff very fascinating because it is so scientific for something that is so hard to measure.

After my test, I biked to work and I'm going to do some time on the trainer tonight. I'm loving the Vega protein powder these days! L and I drink it in the morning.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Here is my racing schedule for the 2007 summer (italics mean "tentative," bold means "confirmed"):
March 24 - Indoorman in Saskatoon, U of S Tri Club
May 13 - Regina Beach MTB race in Regina
May 27 - Saskatoon Marathon in Saskatoon, Saskatoon Road Runners
June 3 - Moe's Triathlon in Saskatoon, Bike Doctor
June 10 - Prince Albert MTB race in Prince Albert, Fresh Air Experience

June 17 - Spin Off Spadina in Saskatoon, Saskatoon Triathlon Club
June 24 - Mountain bike race in Saskatoon (Blackstrap), NBR
July 1 - Great White North Triathlon (Half Ironman) in Stony Plain, AB
July 21-22 - Prince Albert road race in PA
August 12 - Frank Dunn Triathlon in Waskesiu
August 26 - Ironman Canada in Penticton, BC

Last year I did less races than this, but I have a big goal at the end of it. I always feel great after a good race and I figure that I'll use the bike races as training days. The triathlons will be for practice because I'll need it! It is going to be a busy summer... I may just burn out at this race.

It's been a month?!

As my lack of posting confirms, my training has been sparse these days. I got sick again and it took another two weeks to get over. Now that I'm back to 100%, I'm back in the pool and back on the bike. It's taking a bit longer to get back into running for no real reason.

This week I'm hoping to be back to 100% training. I was looking at my races coming up for the season. I have a busy summer ahead of me, starting off with a marathon at the end of May. This weekend is my first "race" with an indoor triathlon, with short distances, but should be a lot of fun. It's a 500m swim in the pool, 8km bike on a Computrainer, and 3km run on the track; no transitions. I haven't run 3km in a couple of weeks, though, so I should probably do a bit of running in the next few days. As per usual, my goal for this race (even though it's extremely short) will be to finish and have fun. I'll have to look up my times from my past year's races so that I can try to beat my personal bests (PBs).

I was thinking of ways that I could motivate myself to consistently post on this blog since it is unlikely that it will turn into a website anytime soon due to monetary constraints and a lack of a website designer. So I'll try to post my food on here as well as my training.

Breakfast: tofu scramble (~1/4 of a block), and fruit
Lunch: 2 pieces of leftover vegan pizza (1 veggie pepperoni, one vegetarian)
Supper: 1 bowl of African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with ~ 1/2c. quinoa

Snack: 1 apple with ~1 Tbsp peanut butter
* Swim for 1 hour (~3000 m), bike to work ~15 minutes
Breakfast: 1 smoothie with ~1/2 c. soy milk, 1 scoop Vega protein powder, some frozen strawberries and bananas
Lunch: 1.5 cups of pasta with tofu
* Bike home from work ~45 minutes
Supper: 1 serving of stew, 1 bowl of stirfry veggies

* bike slowly to University ~ 15 minutes
* VO2 Max testing
* bike to work ~ 15 minutes
Breakfast: 1 smoothie as per usual with ~1/4c. hemp hearts
Lunch: 1c. stew, 2 lentil rolls
Supper: 2 samosas, 4 chilli bites, a huge salad with tahini dressing
* too tired to do anything after that

Day off training!
Breakfast: 1 smoothie as per usual with hemp hearts, 1.5c of oatmeal with hemp hearts and apple, soy milk, and 1 tsp brown sugar
Lunch: falafel pita
Supper: Veggie burger and very bad for me fries and deep-fried vegetables from the Yard 'n' Flagon

* ran for 30 minutes ~ 3km
Breakfast: smoothie
* bike to work ~30 minutes
Mid-morning snack: oatmeal with hemp hearts, soy milk, and b. sugar
Lunch: split-pea soup, lentil rolls
Supper: ~ 1 c. of tofu and couscous with veggies and salad with a strawberry vinegarette.

* swam for 1 hour ~2900m
Breakfast: smoothie
Mid-morning snack: oatmeal
(side note: I am very hungry. Last night's supper was not sufficient for today's swim workout, but I didn't have a choice because I was at a meeting and I just ate what they provided. More protein was definitely needed.)
Supper: We snacked on some nachos with VeganRella and green peppers on it. We had a wonderful stirfry with quinoa. Very tasty!

Saturday - Indoorman Race Day
Pre-Race Breakfast: smoothie
* Race: 500m swim, 8km bike, 3km run
Lunch: 2 pieces of vegan pizza, some veggies and fruit
Snack: We shared the rest of the stirfy from the night before. I really could not eat enough. I was hungry the rest of the day it seemed.
Supper: We went out to Szechuaun 2 cold rolls with peanut sauce and shared a birds nest with hard noodles on the bottom and lots of veggies and tofu on the top. So good!

Brunch: Tofu scramble with two pieces of homemade bread toast
Supper: Pasta with tofu and veggies, including zuccini!

This week will hopefully look like this:
Tuesday: VO2 max testing, run afterwards, bike to work, train with tri club
Thursday: Run in AM, bike to work
Friday: Swim in AM
Saturday: Race
Sunday: Run