Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Going Long

I can't believe it has been so long since I updated. Sometimes blogging just slips my mind.

Easter weekend was basically a write-off. Between family, moving, and relaxing, training was minimal. I did do a lot of lifting and reaching - I'm sure that can be counted as weight training. I did go on some long walks with my partner and my family's dog, but it was really cold that weekend and it was Easter. A good time for some time off.

The week after Easter was crazy. I did do some biking on my trainer, but I have been having some back and neck issues. Last Thursday I tried to run on the treadmill, but I had a shooting pain down my right hamstring. I have since learned that it was probably my piriformis muscle pinching my sciatic nerve. Whatever it was, it made me literally stop running on the treadmill, go to the chiro, make an appointment with my massage therapist, and now it is gone with a little bit of muscle soreness in my lower back and butt area from the massage yesterday. So now I'm stretching my butt and my lower back a lot. I must have had a minor issue because I went for a short, slowish run this morning and I felt pretty good, except for the tenderness of my butt.

On Saturday I went for my first outdoor road ride of the season. Yep, April 14th was the day. It was the hottest day of the year so far and it was GORGEOUS! I didn't got far or long and only got in 30km, but it felt good. We are very busy preparing for our trip to California, so I'm trying my best to balance life and training. All I have to say is that I'm very lucky I have good employers that allow me flexibility.

Monday morning saw me hit the pool for a nice 3000m workout with the Masters' swim club. It felt good. And that brings us to today. This afternoon I'm going to head out for a bike ride (again, the good employer thing). I'm excited to hit the road and trails in Oregon, California, Utah, and wherever else the wind takes us.

The other day a triathlete that I know suggested a book to me that I probably should have bought last year when I signed up to do IMC. Better late than never, right?! I've read Gordon Byrn's stuff on the internet, but hadn't heard of Joel Fried. Apparently, he is also renowned in the world of triathlon. So I ordered Going Long off Amazon and it came today! I am so excited to be able to read it on our trip. I hope that it will inspire and educate me on this journey of training for my first Ironman.

Also, I have made another decision lately. I am going to sign up for IMC 2008. I figure that since I will work so hard to get my base for the first one, it would be great if I could build on that for a second one. So that's the tentative plan. It may sound crazy, but I also figure I should make this decision now rather than later because once I do IMC 2007, I may not want to sign up for IMC 2008!

So that's where I'm at. I'm having lots of fun and can't wait to go on holidays. This blog will likely be dormant until after May 7th.

Things to look at:

This is a good image of the piriformis muscle:

The Stretching Instititute has some good stretches to do.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's official... marathon #1, here I come!

For the past three or four years, I have wanted to run the Saskatoon marathon. For a mish-mash of reasons, it has not happened. One year I had a stress fracture in my foot, one year I chose mountain biking over running (which I will do most days of the week), and other various reasons. However, I have decided that this is my year. The run of Ironman scares me the most, so I figure why not curb that fear by torturing myself with a marathon first? I mean, so what if it will be my first running race since the 1500m race in grade 8... it'll be fun, right? RIGHT? Whatever. So on May 27th, I will be running 42.2km in Saskatoon. I will be wearing number 107! I love it when I get good numbers; first of all, #7 is my favorite number and second of all, it's my extension number at work! How cool is that?! Well, I am excited.

Last year on marathon day, it was COLD and RAINY. I remember this because I decided to mountain bike in it. While the weather was not ideal for either sport, I would probably have chosen running over mountain biking the sloppy, cold Silverwood race. I remember biking home, almost crying because my hands were frozen, I was covered with mud from head to toe (literally), and I was very hungry because I forgot to bring food and they forgot that I was vegan. I was very happy to be home after that one.

To be honest, I don't feel even close to being prepared. A friend of mine kind of panicked on my the other night when she found out that I wasn't increasing my distances right now. My coach and I have talked about our strategy for training for Ironman and it applies to the marathon as well. We're focusing on doing intervals, zone 4+ training as opposed to training in zone 3. Thus far, I can easily run 10km at a relatively slow pace. Before the marathon, the biggest distance I'm going to run is 20+km (ie. two laps of the Idylwyld-Circle Drive loop). The rest of my training is going to be shorter distance, accumulated over the week, at a higher intensity. Zone 3 is for suckers!

To get back to my training update, last week I did one run while I was in North Battleford for a conference. However, the weekend was a black hole. The only real exercise I did was dancing, helping Luke move, and some extended walking. I wonder if they would let me dance the Ironman?

Monday I was back in the pool and it felt so good! I was a little pouty on Monday morning because I was late and I sat on the deck outside with my bike helmet on, my stuff packed, and looked at Luke like the 3-year-old defiant child I used to be and said, "I don't WANT to go swimming! I want to go back to BED!" Of course, being an adult, I knew that I didn't HAVE to do anything I didn't want to and Luke echoed this sentiment. While I was still quite sour on the whole idea of spending so much energy in the pool so early in the morning, I always love the first push off the wall and feeling like a dolphin as I do the dolphin kick underwater halfway to the other side. The swim turned out to be great. I had the lane to myself (it's paper time for students) and my coach let me use the flippers for the butterfly. "I'm a TRIATHLETE - what do I need to do the butterfly for?" is what I used to think, but I've changed my sentiment to "Swimming is fun and keeping freestyle and swimming fun is to try new things and learn." I find there is so much to learn about swimming. I've been lane swimming for the past 7 years or so and I still feel like I have so much to learn. I get water up my nose when I do flip turns, my pull for freestyle definitely has to be worked on (it would help if I had some biceps), and I always have to work on my breathing.

Life has been settling down a bit and I'm starting to find my training rhythm and I'm biking to work 4 out of 5 days. Last night I wanted to make some phone calls so I got on my trainer and dialed away. I only got in one short call with my brother and one with a friend that I don't talk to enough, but that meant I spent 45 minutes on my trainer. Tonight I'm hoping to get in over an hour because tomorrow is REST DAY!!!! At lunch, I hit the treadmill and did 2.11 miles in 25 minutes and burned 218 calories (like I care how many calories I burned). Life of training is good right now.