Monday, June 18, 2018

Ironman training week 24 - recovery

Much needed recovery week this week. And due to starting my plan a week early to allow for potential issues (mostly I was worried about getting sick), I now have a free week in my schedule I have to figure out, which is really a good problem to have. Next week I'll start the specialty plan for the final push to Tremblant, so this week is about a little more recovery and maintenance. And then doing my first tri of the season on Saturday!

Swim: 7400m
Bike: 154 km
Run: 43 km

A down week but still 12 and a half hours of training. Yeah, this whole thing is really dumb. As I told the girls this morning, for the fall I'm just going to train for 5ks.

(probably not)

(but that's a bit appealing right now)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 2100m swim; TR Jobs -2

Just a girl in her paincave with a mini crockpot lurking over her shoulder.
Nothing too exciting. With it being recovery the Trainerroad workout was only 4 intervals long, which felt super manageable. Still a good workout, though.

Wednesday: 8.5k run

This felt like a slog. I was really glad I wasn't doing any sort of mid week long run this week! I didn't even stop to take any pictures!

Thursday: 2750m swim; TR Sill + 8.5k brick run

Bricks = freezies. Or creamsicles, which the kids had all finished, which was quite the DISASTER.
Technically wasn't supposed to do a brick but it got all hot and garbage and no way I was going to try and run at lunch. Then the run felt kind of amazing so I was really glad I did it!

Friday: 10.5k run

Managed to get like 10 good pics out of 20 seconds of video. Gotta love a nice sunrise.
Another great feeling run, which is unusual at 5:30 in the morning! Extra pep in the step is always nice to have.

Saturday: 99k bike; 2700m open water swim


Fab was supposed to do a 3 hour ride and I was supposed to do 4, so we split the difference and did 3:30. Also, I should have mapped it at 102 km because what was supposed to be 100 even was a km short, and I am not going to ride around a parking lot for a km to even out a bike ride. It was a nice ride overall, especially given neither of us was really enthusiastic about doing it. I think we are thinking ahead to the long ones we have coming up...

This girl! I've been following Krista on instagram for a while as she trains for Placid and we finally managed to get together for a workout. She inspires me so much and it turns out she's super cool and funny and awesome in person, too. 
Then in the evening I met up with Krista to try swimming at Christie Lake for the first time, as an alternate to Gullivers. It has advantages (as a conservation area, the water is actually tested for e coli, the staff are a lot friendly and happier to see you, real bathrooms) and disadvantages (more expensive if you don't buy a pass, the swim area is about 350m long so it's real easy to talk yourself into a shorter swim than planned - with Gullivers you are kind of locked in to a 1 km long loop once you get started). The water was super murky, but that's kind of expected this time of year anywhere other than Lake O. I'd happily swim there again and would probably pick it over Gullivers for any swim where I wasn't planning to bike after (the exit being onto Dundas/Hwy 5 makes it, IMO, not a great location for a brick, although it has lots of trails so it would be much better than Gullivers for running after swimming).

Strike a pose. Ignore the fact the tri suit feels a lot like you aren't wearing anything at all...
The swim felt good, but the real good news was my new tri suit felt great under the wetsuit. So it'll be getting a full try out at Welland on Saturday.

The scenery is prettier at Christie than gulliver's, too.
Sunday: 15k run



Up early before the whole 'feels like 43 degrees' thing could set in. Drank a good liter and a half on this 15k and was still 2 pounds lighter at the end. hot weather running is the worst.

Things you see on long runs that are very confusing. But Y tho?

so, pretty solid, and feeling a lot more rested today than I have for a while. Gotta rejig the schedule a bit this week because it's RACE WEEK! Back to Welland this weekend for another crack at the long course. Aiming to go under 4 hours this time, although so far the weather looks like it'll be raining so that's not super ideal. But lots of time for that to change...

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ironman training weeks 22 & 23 - including Moon in June 5k

A little bit of catch up - my heart wasn't in doing a recap last week so just a brief summary of week 22 to keep things complete.

Just about done the build plan now, which means I have to figure out what to do with the extra week in my schedule, and get ready for the Welland long course tri!

Week 22

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 2650m swim; Mt Hale +3
Wednesday: 16k run; 3000m swim
Thursday: 8k run; Picket Guard
Friday: 2100m swim; Petit
Saturday: 20k long run; Moon in June 5k
Sunday: 75k ride + 6k brick run

Just under 15 hours total on the week.

Moon in June was fun. I've done that race a few times now and it's a late start time (8 pm) which is kind of difficult to deal with (do you eat dinner?!), but the course is really nice for a 5k. A slight downhill to start, about 2k of very gradual uphill, and then the last km is downhill to the finish for a nice assist on your final push.

Trying and failing to get artsy photo of bib pre-race.

With the husband, who ran his first race in over a year and a half and kicked my butt. Both looking pretty fit if I do say so myself :)

Start line

Total time: 25:01 (chiptime: 24:56)
Place: 98/600
Gender: 37/427
Age group: 7/66
Splits:  4:53/5:04/5:02/4:54/4:47

Really, super happy with that. Considering I'd done a 20k long run in the morning, and didn't bother doing any sort of warmup before the race, going sub 25 minutes felt like a solid accomplishment, and I was pleased with the pacing. It felt tough but doable, and I even felt like I got a bit of a second wind around the 3 1/2 km mark and was able to push a little harder.

and there's medals now! It's silly but it makes me more eager to come back - I like getting a memento from a race, what can I say.
Week 23

Last big week of the build plan. Let's get to it.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 2700m swim; 8k lunch run; Dicks +1

One thing with Ironman training is time management. I am fortunate enough to be able to go out on my lunch break to get in workouts (when it's not ungodly hot out), and that I have a very short commute so my evenings and mornings have more time available. With that, and having kids who are old enough to not need to be supervised 24/7, I've been able to find a lot of time in my day.

File under: pic angles that didn't really work out well
Still, three workout days are tough. This was a tiring one with the big threshold workout in the evening. 5x8minutes over FTP ends with some suffering, especially the last interval. but I got it all done and was happy I pushed through it.

Wednesday: 16k run

I think this is from this run. I'm wearing a hydration pack so most likely. Eh let's just go with it.
Very early start to get this one in. The whole theme of this week was early starts, which has caught up with me a bit as I write this today. Definitely going to bed early tonight!

Thursday: 2800m swim; Polar Bear + 8k run

Trying to finish before sundown
Ah the 2 hour bike tempo ride followed by the 45 minute run. That's a WEEKEND workout Trainerroad, you jerks! Stop making me do this stuff on a Thursday!

Brick = frozen treat, obviously. Creamsicles for the win! Also, treats must match the outfit, I guess.
Friday: Lazy Mountain

That ride lived up to the Trainerroad name. Average heart rate of 109? I think I hit that standing up from my desk. Very very easy spin but I was glad to have an easy one knowing the two big workouts on the schedule for the weekend.

Saturday: 27k run



Up early to get this in before Jeff's funeral. Solo. Long. But surprisingly pleasant. There's such a mental component to the longer runs. Set out to run 20, and I start to feel tired at 15. Set out to run 27 and I didn't really start to feel it until 23 or so. All in the brain if you've got the base to run those distances.

Later in the morning I went to Waterdown for the funeral service.

Preparing for the memorial procession
Jeff's family requested an escort of cyclists, and it was really moving. Someone counted and it was over a hundred who made the trip from the funeral home to the church for the reception after the service. It was beautiful and touching. It's still a little hard to accept what happened, to be honest, but seeing everyone put some smiles on our faces in among the tears.

Sunday: 145k bike

Sunday morning I met up with Fab and we rode to Danielle's house to join a group ride of people who knew Jeff (some who had come in from out of province). Between the tailwind and hanging on to the wheel of the ultra strong cyclist Ted, I managed to pick up a solid QOM on a segment with over a hundred other female riders on it, which was pretty satisfying.

(I give it a week before I get the 'you lost your crown email')



Plus there were fritters!

Photo courtesy Ted
Fritters courtesy Stephen

I didn't manage to find the time to get in a third swim for the week, but overall, happy with that as a peak week! However, with all the very early mornings, I am looking forward to a week of recovery and a cut back in the hours. I feel like I need it this week in order to be ready for what looks like a still pretty solid weekend of workouts.

And then, prep for Welland!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sometimes there are no good words

This was a difficult week, but it wasn't due to the workouts, which all went fine.

This picture is from a few years ago, when I helped as a lead cyclist at the Road to Hope for the first time. The guy on the end (left side) with the cowbell is Jeff.


I didn't know Jeff super well, but I saw him at Gulliver's a lot for team swims, rode with him a bit on at least one of the Brian Smith charity rides, and had one very memorable long ride with him, Laurence, and Fab while we were training for Muskoka/Barrelman two years ago. Laurence always liked to call Jeff Big Diesel - if you didn't grab his wheel and hang on, you were going to be left in the dust watching him vanish over the horizon. After the ride, when I griped I'd just barely missed out on a couple of Strava QOMs, Jeff immediately said we'd ride again soon and he'd help me get them. That ride never ended up happening, but that was just sort of the challenge Jeff was always ready to tackle. He'd probably have been able to pull me on his fat bike and pull it off!

On Monday last week we started to hear there'd been an accident on the 7 days in May charity ride, and at least one rider was in critical condition in hospital.

It soon became clear that rider was Jeff. On Friday, he passed away due to his injuries.

It's hard to know what to say about it all. A completely senseless tragedy caused by an impatient, careless driver. Jeff was planning to do IMMT this summer, and there's going to be a big empty space there that no one can fill.

RIP, Jeff. If I ever get those QOMs, I know it'll be because your wheel was there.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Ironman training week 21

I'd say something boring like 'wow this was a big week' but at this point they are all big weeks, so what would be the point? Usual sort of week. Did a lot of stuff. Feeling good. Very hungry.

(the amount of food I am eating these days...oh man. Post Ironman is going to be quite an adjustment.)

Swim: 6220m
Bike: 245 km (8:32)
Run: 56k

Monday: rest

There are worse places to be on a Monday morning!
Monday was a holiday, which normally I would use to my advantage to get a bunch of training done, but I really wanted the rest day and to spend some time with the kids. Unfortunately the eldest wasn't feeling well, but the little one and I had a good time wandering around the Royal Botanical Gardens for a few hours.

Tuesday: 2500m swim; TR Jacks +1

The Tuesday usual. A trip to the pool in the morning, and threshold intervals on the bike in the evening. Threshold is for sure less painful than VO2, but it's got it's own special brand of uncomfortable going on. It's not easy. But now that I'm getting out on the road and seeing the results of this training, it's a lot easier to keep motivated to get these workouts done. You can pack a lot of training benefit into a 60-90 minute ride if you are doing the right workouts, which is what keeps me coming back to Trainerroad over and over again.

Wednesday: 14k run; 2000m open water swim

Running with the sunrise
Solid early morning 14 to bring back the mid week long run, which for me are a good way to add a little extra run distance into the week without having to add another run or make the long run extra stupid long. Plus I saw Amy heading out on her bike ride (and we took the most terrible pictures of each other I'm not going to share, haha). And still really loving the hydration pack, especially the pockets that make it easier to carry the GoPro to grab shots like the above (and really, the picture of the run is the most important thing).

Hooray I can still cram myself into this wetsuit!
Then it was Amy time again in the evening (yay!) to head out to Gulliver's for an open water swim. Gulliver's is under new management and things are a bit confusing at the moment (and more expensive), but I still have a real fondness for that lake, since it's where I learned to open water swim. And early in the season like this the water is really clear and cool and pleasant.

Before we jumped in (with Christina)
The swim was fine. It felt like it took a really long time to figure how the hell to swim open water again (kind of felt like I was less swimming and more randomly flailing around and not going anywhere very fast for about 1500m), but there was no panic or anything so I expect the next swim will feel better.

Sadly, I think I may be about done with weightlifting until after the race. It's just getting too hard to fit it in. Maybe a handful more sessions if I don't go to open water practice on Wednesdays, but I'll take it week by week.

Thursday: TR Gibraltar + 8k brick

1:45 of tempo on the bike, then out the door for an 8k run. That is a lot of work for a Thursday night, really, but I'm telling myself there's not that many more of these and I can handle them for a few months. It overall felt really good (I did have to turn on the AC at home, though, because the house was crazy humid and I could not fathom the bike ride on the trainer in those conditions).

i gotta buy much larger freezies for my post hot weather brick workout treat


Friday: 10k run; TR Pettit

rainbow socks and the red tanktop I forgot I owned. Dress fun and the run is more fun.
Easy run (surprisingly easy feeling after the Thursday night brick, really), easy hour on the bike. Fridays are all about easy and being prepared for the weekend.

Saturday: 135km ride

Yep. First of the big rides. Laurence and I can't seem to get our schedules to match up, and Fab was busy with a different workout planned, so my two go-to ride partners weren't available (and 135 solo sounded not super fun). But Zindine offered (threatened?) to come help me out with this one and brought Mellen and his friend Amanda, both of whom are stronger cyclists than I am. So I was a little nervous about keeping up with the group going in, but at the same time if you are going to ride that far, it's a hell of a lot easier if you have wheels to hang on to.

Mid ride pit stop with the coach/engine who pulled us pretty much the whole way

The black spots on my legs? All bugs. I was covered in them; I guess they stick to your sunscreen. Cycling is super sexy, y'all.
And it ended up being a really great ride! I mostly stayed on the group, felt pretty good (although I'm still feeling like I'm not climbing hills as well as I was two years ago), and didn't really start to feel tired or cranky until about the last 5k when my back/neck were getting sore and were pretty over this nonsense and wanted to get off the stupid bike already. But any time I can ride 135km and have an average speed of 30 km/hr, I'm going to be pretty happy about it! So that's the first big one checked off and it was a great confidence boost. Sometimes it's hard to feel if you are really making progress when you are just spinning away on the trainer, and you need to get outside to see yeah, getting stronger and developing that endurance.

Post ride. Note who didn't do a brick run after, because we are sensible people (plus we wanted to gossip and given how fast these three can run, I wouldn't have been able to do any talking if I'd tried to run!)

Sunday: 24k long run; 1700m swim


Started early with 6k solo (plus trying to help round up a lost dog that had gotten away from her owner), then met up with Nicole for another 18k. (after we had a couple of false starts trying to get our hydration packs adjusted properly!)

SO HAPPY TO NOT BE ALONE!!!
The run was fine. Great company makes a big difference. My legs weren't at all tired from the bike ride the day before, but it was getting humid and warm and I was mentally not super excited about this run. My heart rate was also a little high through the whole thing, but overall I'm not going to complain about it. The time was put in and I felt at the end like I could have run longer if I'd wanted to (which I most definitely did NOT).

Love having Nicole in my corner; keeping me company and believing in me :)
Then it was into the lake for a quick cooldown (brrrrrrr) and home to shower off all the damn bugs. Theme of the weekend was clearly getting covered in bugs.

Short swim at the pool at lunch because I had some stuff I wanted to do with the kids and not a lot of time. And my shoulder was bothering me a bit after the open water swim on Wednesday, so I figured better to do a short swim and see how things went than a long swim and injure something. It felt fine so I dunno, some kind of one off randomness.

So a great week! The next one shortens things up on the weekend ride and run, which is super nice because I have a 5k race on Saturday evening. Can't wait to see how that goes after doing a big brick workout in the morning...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ironman training week 20

Ah the recovery week. I always look forward to the recovery and then for some reason it never really feels all that restful. Some of the workouts this week, ugh. They felt harder than the objectively more difficult ones from the week before! But that tends to happen a lot on recovery weeks, so it wasn't really a big surprise, and overall I do feel ready to tackle the next round of build workouts (which is good, because they sure aren't going to get any easier from here on out...)

Swim: 8400m
Bike: 6:20 (182 km)
Run: 38 km (big cutback here, which I felt like I really needed)

Monday: Rest!

Tuesday: 2300m swim; TR Spencer

Swim was OK. It was early in the morning. It got done.

Then the VO2 workout in the evening, despite being a lot fewer intervals than I'm used to, was still REALLY DAMN HARD because the % of FTP was higher than it had been in some previous weeks. I ended up dropping it a little bit (still in the VO2 range) to complete the intervals successfully, which was the right decision. And now that's it for VO2s for a little bit! To be replaced by something terrible in a different way no doubt.

Wednesday: 10k run; weights



Heavy legs on this run but look at these flowers! So pretty!

Weights in the evening where I kept things light to try and avoid too much DOMS on Thursday. Spoiler: FAIL on that. Ha.

Thursday: 8k run; TR Mount Wood

Good morning!
Another morning run that felt pretty blah, but it got done.

And then the DOMS settled in during the afternoon, which made the evening ride a little more challenging, but it helped loosen things up, so I had that going for me. Over under intervals, but not as difficult as previous weeks, so all good.

Friday: 3600m swim; TR Pettit

There's not a lot of options for taking pool selfies
Finally, a good feeling workout! I took Friday off work and went to the pool later in the morning, which can make such a huge difference. Stuff is so much easier when you didn't haul yourself out of bed 20 minutes early and you are going into things un-caffeinated. I did get the stink eye for being splashy from the old ladies walking in the lanes to warm up for water aerobics, but, uh, it's a pool, guys. There's going to be some water. Anyway, I managed to misread the workout and swam 400m more than was in the book (I figured it out when I looked at the clock and was like, ugh, why is this taking so long), but it felt so good that I wasn't even mad about the extra swimming. Plus, a new longest swim ever!

Usual easy 60 minutes spin on Friday night. Nothing exciting.

Saturday: 2500m swim; 15k run


Woke up to pouring rain, and wasn't feeling enthusiastic about running in it, so I went to the pool and got in a solid 2500m first. Then the rain stopped so it was time to test out the new hydration pack on a long-ish run before I start using it on really long ones. It's a lot more comfortable than I was expecting, really, although given how popular they are I'm not sure why I was surprised. I think it's going to be really useful this summer, especially adding in all those pockets! That's always the drawback from the switch from the winter wardrobe to the summer - the pockets all disappear.

Of course, I didn't quite manage to avoid the rain as it then totally poured on me during the last 3k and I looked like I'd just gotten out of the shower when I got home. Damn weather.

Sunday: 96k bike + 5k brick run

Sunday morning was pleasantly cool and overcast. Met up with Fab who needed to ride 3:15 for his training plan, which was longer than I was technically supposed to ride but I felt like a good 90k on the tri bike was something I really needed to do. We had a brilliant ride, other than both of us ejecting bottles at different points, and I accidentally stepped in some nasty sticky mud on the side of the road and then had trouble clipping in the whole rest of the ride because my cleats were so caked up. But we finished with 3:20 ride time (almost perfect!) and a solid 5k brick run. Cannot complain about that.

When I cleaned my bike yesterday I literally had to take the cleats apart to get the mud out of them. What a mess!

So, not too bad. Now Ironman is sending me emails reminding me the race is 3 months away (THANKS GUYS I FORGOT THAT) and it's time to start the last half of the build plan. And get registered for a warmup triathlon next month. This weekend is going to be a pretty big one, so fingers crossed this goes well...


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ironman training week 19

Saw a few days ago that it's now less than a hundred days to race day, which once again was another rude shock that I'm actually planning to do this. WHAT. Well, that and the fact that I'm now into my first recovery week of the build plan, which means not that many more 4 week cycles to go through. Eep.

Fortunately, this was a really great, confidence building week. Also the most training hours I've ever done. This Ironman thing, maybe not so crazy if you train smart and build things up gradually? I'd like to think I'm being smart about this. This week suggests yes.

Swim: 7900m
Bike: 231 km (8:25)
Run: 62 km

Monday: rest

Because heading into a big week, rest is best.

Tuesday: 2500m swim; 8k run; TR - Bago


ugh it was hard to get up for this one. Main set was all 100s on short rest (15 seconds IIRC) which is always fun. Good enough.

I know they are weeds but I think dandelions are pretty.
Short easy run at lunch. Usual loop I run from home. Not exciting but gets the work done.

Dying a slow death on the trainer. Also, the theme of the day was yellow based on the pictures I took...
Then. The workout I was really, really not looking forward to. The granddaddy of VO2 workouts with 12 three minute intervals inside a 90 minute ride. And the really unpleasant surprise was the target power WENT UP with each set of intervals. Trainerroad is the worst. By which I mean the best because I know this shit works but goddamn, guys, that was a hard workout.

Wednesday: 16k run

Literally the only remotely scenic spot for the sunrise on that particular route. The bridge on the trail behind the Walmart. #classy
Oh yeah just what would for many people be their long run at 5 am on a Wednesday morning. No biggie. After the VO2s the night before I was worried this was going to be the suckiest suck that ever sucked, but once I got warmed up it felt pretty good! Even when I realized I'd miscalculated the route and would have to do some impromptu adjustments to avoid being a km short it didn't bother me.

I skipped lifting weights for a few reasons. I knew Thursday would have a big workout in the evening, and my shoulder/neck was still feeling a little off after being sore the week before after weightlifting. So it seemed prudent to skip it.

Thursday: 2700m swim; TR Gibralter + 7k brick run

Thursday triptych. Fancy words, I know 'em.
A triathlon with a really long transition between the swim and the bike that involved an 8 hour work day and cooking dinner. It's just how I roll. Swim in the morning (selfies while using the kickboard don't really work), then 1:45 tempo ride on the trainer (ugh) and a short run after that I really, really wanted to skip and make Friday Emma deal with, but Zindine messaged me that he was doing his off the bike run and I couldn't let him show me up like that. So I sucked it up and went out and ran and it was a really nice run after all the mental complaining!

Friday: TR Pettit

Friday Emma was very pleased to not have to run and basically end up with a nice active recovery day, with just an hour easy spin on the trainer to do. Should have sent Thursday Emma a thank you card for that one.

Saturday: 108k long ride; 5k recovery run

Saturday the weather was looking really iffy and I was seriously considering just doing the scheduled 4:30 ride on the trainer.



But then when I got up it was looking like very, very light rain for about the first hour and clear up after that, so I figured I'd take out the road bike over to Milgrove and ride a few loops around the less used roads there. Then if it was miserable I could come home fairly easily and finish things up on the trainer.

Still need to replace that bar tape. BAD CYCLIST.
I did get rained on briefly about an hour in, but then it cleared up and other than cold toes, it ended up being a great ride! I could have done without the headwind for the last 25k or so (I was wishing for a personal support crew to show up and swap out my road bike for my tri bike), but it was a really solid 100+ km ride that I finished feeling tired, but good.

Smiling because I haven't turned towards home yet and started fighting the wind...
Within a few hours after the ride and after some food my legs didn't even feel tired anymore so I got in a short recovery run, which are prescribed in the trainerroad plan. I'm finding they really do help with feeling better after a long ride and being prepared for the long run the next day.

Sunday: 25k long run; 2700m swim

Oh man, this run.



I went into it thinking I'd be tired and it might be a struggle after the first (outdoor) (metric) century the day before, but after getting warmed up in the first few km (everything always feels like garbage for the first 10 minutes), the entire run pretty much felt amazing and easy and like I could have gone on forever. My heart rate stayed really low the whole time, the weather was perfection, and other than having to take a bathroom break at 11k, it was one of the best long runs I think I've ever had. And after such a heavy training week! Huge boost in confidence.


(the swim later in the morning was fine, but my legs weren't overly thrilled about the situation. Still, it helps with recovery, so shut up legs and just keep kicking).



So I'm pretty damn happy about that week. I didn't even feel particularly tired on Sunday afternoon! I had a lovely hike with one of my daughters and was happy to climb the hills and scramble up the rocks with her. I was pretty tired yesterday (Monday), which I expected. For whatever reason rest day Mondays are always exhausting.

(Maybe don't ask how much food I ate over the weekend. Because, yikes)

Now, a recovery week! Going to cut back on the run and bike quite a bit and let my body absorb all that training stress before starting the next 3 week build up. And maybe try and deal with the weeds in the front garden so that the yard doesn't quite so much scream 'no one here has time to deal with this'.