Monday, August 13, 2018

Ironman training week whatever - IT'S RACE WEEK

so that's it.

Didn't I just register for this thing? How is it race week already?

Excuse me, I'm going to go stare at the current weather forecast and try and will it into not changing, cause it looks pretty decent right now. Also, the water temps are just barely wetsuit legal at the moment so we're going to focus on maybe that coming down a few degrees, please.


Training, right. Stuff happened. I dunno. Shoulder is still being a bit of an issue off and on and but it's not impacting my swimming at all so whatevs. Did physio stuff and had a massage and the back is quiet and cooperative, so I'm just over here running through my stretches and exercises very very quietly so as not to disturb anything. Will be a very light week this week up until Sunday. One TR workout, a short open water swim, one short run, and a very brief brick Saturday morning just to make sure the bike and body are on board with things.

Swim: 4000m
Bike: 193k
Run: 35k

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: TR - Sonora

Ah my favourite kind of TR workout; when it turns out the 'one minute recoveries' between intervals are only 50 seconds long because they steal 10 seconds out to ramp into the next interval. Damn it. Last round of tough VO2s. It hurt.

Wednesday: 10k run

Too early for the sunrise now :(
Morning run, felt good. Honestly I barely remember this.

Thursday: 2000m swim; TR Phoenix + 30 minute brick run

Short swim early. So weird to be done swimming that quickly...

Then the last brick in the evening. I was somewhat surprised how good the run felt, given it was reasonably humid out. But somehow it wasn't bothering me at all. it was only a half hour run, but it was still nice to not immediately wilt in the heat!

Friday: TR Petit

Very easy 1 hour spin. Super boring. Except we bought the digital copy of Infinity War so I had that to entertain me. Yes. I remain a huge Marvel nerd and will probably watch this movie 100 times...

Saturday: 90k ride; 5k run

Not a brick since the run was later in the afternoon. Last long ride with Fab, awww. Glad we were able to do this one together since it seemed appropriate. And I have to admit I kind of breathed a sigh of relief when it was done - no mechanicals or issues or run ins with crazy drivers! Just gotta get through the big one now!

Sunday: 15k run; 2000m swim

Met up with Nicole for an easy 15, although I have to admit I wasn't the most enthusiastic or chatty run partner. It's been a long training grind and frankly I'm glad it's done. And I'm super distracted with random thoughts popping into my head every 15 minutes like 'DID I PUT BODY GLIDE ON THE PACKING LIST??!'

Taking breaks for mid-run photo ops

But! Then she surprised me with an amazing pre-Ironman sanity maintenance kit from the girls, and yo I kind of cried a little. Runners/triathletes make the best friends. Between my girls Ivanka, Nicole, Amy, and Sam, amazing training partners like Fab and Christina, and friends/informal coaches/advisers like Zindine, plus lots of other people I've biked with, swum with, exchanged messages with, etc, there's a whole crew of people who had parts in my training at various points and man, it's just amazing to know there's people cheering you on every step of the way.

Awww. Mushy stuff. It's a whole journey, it really is. I LOVE YOU GUYS.

Anyway. Short swim at the gym later in the morning because I didn't have an OWS partner, but that's OK. I'll get in an OWS this week. Then a thorough cleanup on the bike because she's off with my parents tonight to make the trip to Quebec with them (they have more room in their vehicle, what with the not having to transport these kids around thing).

Bad Wolf gets a bath. I need to get a stand, it made things SO much easier!
So now it's just packing and checking and double checking my lists of stuff and a couple last minute trips to MEC and Dollarama for some nutrition stuff and other random items, and then it's going to be race time!! Will likely post quite a bit to Instagram once we head out, so follow along there especially in the stories to see what I'm up to. Will suggest to the husband he maybe toss some stuff up on his 'gram on race day as well.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ironman training week whatever OMG it's almost race day

No I'm not freaking out you're freaking out. Shut up.

Swim: 7960m
Bike: 223 km
Run: 42 km

So this week was kind of it, really. Now into the true taper. The fitness is either there or it isn't. Time to cut back a bit, organize all my gear, and attempt to avoid too much panic buying of all sorts of random things I might suddenly decide I simply MUST HAVE (uh, yeah, I did place a $100 order with triboutique yesterday of random nonsense, why are you are looking at me like that?) (oh god I hope it ships in time)

And hey look, a proper week of running! A couple of sessions with my physiotherapist and I'm feeling back to normal on the back/shin/lower body side of things. Of course, I woke up yesterday with my shoulder just killing me (WTF) and it's still sore today, so that's a whole new issue I get to deal with. Fortunately I have physio again tonight and a massage booked for tomorrow. It feels like a pinched nerve/muscle tightness type issue (pretty sure I found the trigger point and was able to get into it and relieve it semi-effectively, but it did mean I skipped swimming this morning because fucking hell, body, could we maybe be fully healthy a week and a half from race day? Please?)

Anyway. I am zen and confident this will resolve itself shortly.

Monday: TR - Sierra

Motivational towel
Knocking out the threshold/VO2s on Monday because I had a physio appointment on the Tuesday and it was fairly likely I would be in no condition to try and do a tough bike workout after having him beat my cranky muscles into submission

Tuesday: 7k run; 3000m swim

Up early to try a cautious run, which felt fine (yay!). Physio was not nearly as painful as the prior appointment, so I headed to the pool after and knocked out 3000m feeling really good.

Wednesday: 8k run; TR Tower

Lengthening out that run a little bit, still feeling good!

SO HAPPY that's over. Please ignore randomly stored crap in the back of my pain cave.
And then a very silly stair-step TR workout in the evening. I swear Coach Chad is just fucking with us with these ones. Challenging but felt good to finish it off.

Thursday: 1700m swim; TR Whorl

just keep swimming
Little cutback on the swim plan and an easy spin in the evening. Quite a relaxing day, given that it had two workouts.

Friday: 10k run

Not really sure what I was going for with this picture
Again extending that run out a little bit and no negative consequences! Also had physio again in the evening. I was really tempted to push this run a little longer but I'm trying to balance being smart and not risking injury with the urge to run all the miles and cram in some last minute run fitness (which would be dumb. But it's tempting).

Saturday: 116k ride + 5k brick

God I'm sick of getting up early. No, I really am.
Met up with Christina for 90k where we chased down sunflowers and chatted and just had a lovely time.

Super happy to have had company on this ride because I'm pretty over it, you guys. After she left I still had to do another hour and it was tedious and boring and hot and I was cranky and I knew I would have to run after and and and.

(it's a good thing it's taper now)

The only 100m or so of trail that was shaded in the whole 5k run.
Anyway, finished the ride, did the 5k run and it was so hot in the full sun and the humidity and if race day is like that I may cry (and then suck it up and get this shit done anyway, because what the hell else are you going to do).

Sunday: 11k run; 3200m swim

Up early to try and beat the heat (lol no). 11k felt great. I almost wish I'd pushed this one to 15 but erring on the side of caution. And yeah I'm being super cranky about the heat, but really I do feel like I've at least somewhat acclimated this summer - it sucks and I hate it but I feel like I'm handling it better than I ever have before. So I got that going for me. Maybe because I'm not trying to hit any paces at all but just running what feels easy.

With Irina (who is so generously lending me her wetsuit for Tremblant, although given current Tremblant water temps I'm not sure what's going to happen there nope not even going to worry about that right now) and Amy pre swim
Then it was off to Brampton to join FMCT for their Sunday morning swim at Professor's Lake, which I highly highly recommend. Easily the best open water swimming I've done around here. Nice mostly clear water, a marked out course, and awesome people. What more can you ask for? Plus I was able to draft Zindine for a bit so if he could just jump on in at Tremblant and let me hang on his feet, that'd be helpful. Somehow I don't think that's happening...

Post swim with the other folks training for IMMT - including Jana, who I haven't seen in ages and it was such a nice surprise to see her!
Solid 3k. I had time to do another loop before the lifeguards came in and pulled out the buoys to get up over Ironman distance, but decided to call it at that point because I was getting some tension in my left low back and didn't want to aggravate anything needlessly. Close enough.

So that's a great week to start the 'taper' (if 15 hours of training is really tapering...). Now to get this shoulder straightened out (it's about 80% better just from the time I started writing this blog post, so that's promising), plan a last long ride with Fab on the weekend for strategizing and calming each other down from various freak outs, and figure out how I'm going to handle this week's running. It's SO tempting to try and cram in a long run of 20k this weekend but I'm not sure that's a smart idea. Will have to see how things go.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Ironman training week 30 - 3 weeks to go

Good lord, 30 weeks? And I've manage to blog them? That's the real challenge, here, trying to find something to say every week.

This week was not as originally planned, but overall I'm in a good spot to start TAPER. Although with the lack of running I feel like I've already been tapering for about 2 weeks, but hey, the 5 week long taper, it's the newest thing. Everyone is going to be doing it!

Swim: 9550m (biggest swim week ever!)
Bike: 246 km
Run: 6.67 km (damn it I'm claiming that .67)

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 3000m swim; TR Elwell

Originally I had been planning to try a run, but after sitting at work all day on Monday, my achilles and shin were both aching a bit, and I figured I'd better go another day. Frustrating! And then the TR workout was this beastly nonsense which is just a hell of a way to end off the training plan. I remember this series of workouts from before Muskoka two years ago and they are not even a little bit fun. Especially since I've so been enjoying NOT doing VO2 max work.

Wednesday: 3050m swim

Again, no run. Getting frustrated, I finally made an appointment for a massage on Thursday and to see a new physiotherapist on Friday and get some potential answers/relief for whatever was going on with my leg/back/who the hell knows.

Good swim, though! How it ended up with an extra 50m, I dunno.

Thursday: TR - Polar Bear

Did this in the morning because I was home with the kids to take them to the dentist, and I figured I wouldn't be in any shape to do anything after the massage in the late afternoon. Last time through the two hour tempo ride for this training cycle! I am not going to miss doing that ride. Two hours steady effort on the trainer takes mental toughness. I wouldn't say it got easier the more often I did it, but I did learn some mental tricks to get through these rides that will hopefully serve me well on race day.

Apropos of nothing, Ironman training is one way to feel a lot more comfortable in a bikini...
Then a little time on the beach with the monsters before I got thoroughly beaten up, I mean, massaged. If I learned anything from that massage, it's that it's not just my left back/hamstring area that's super fucked up, it's also the quads. Which would then be confirmed by the physiotherapist on Friday...

Friday: rest day

I felt a weird combination of sore but also much better on Friday after the massage clearly loosened up all kinds of issues on my left side. Then I went to physio after work, which was even more eye opening - not only do I have the nerve impingement issues from the sciatica in my back, I've also got one in the front on the left side which was causing the shin discomfort. And my hips are out of whack and there's a muscle on the left side of my back that isn't activating properly and I'm pretty much a giant ball of issues.

So, got the physio treatment, and again leaving aside the general feeling like I'd been beaten up on the left side of my body, I could tell overall I was feeling pretty much normal again. Nothing like having a therapist wrestle your hips back into alignment to solve your problems!

Saturday: 163k ride

Aw these lovely folks. Fab of course, who is so freaking ready for this Ironman thing, and I can't wait to see him out on the course! And Zindine and Mellen who just did Lake Placid and thought 163k would be a great recovery ride, because they are awesome friends and possibly slightly mad. Turns out Zin is much easier to keep up to if he just does an Ironman the week before, so he'll just have to keep alternating ironmans one weekend, long rides the next, I guess. HA.

The whole ride felt fantastic, which is kind of mind boggling. A few years ago riding 100k was exhausting! Now I can churn out 100 miles and finish feeling fresh and not even really tired?! I guess that's what steady, consistent training can get you. It's really something what your body can adjust to and start to find normal.

Sunday: 6.67km run; 3500m swim

Running! Feeling normal!! Physio suggested a 40 minute run to test things out, so that's why the weird distance. The first couple of km my entire body was like 'um, we thought we were done with running? why is this happening?' but once I settled in everything felt normal and good. And so far no negative fall out from the run, so I think we are back in business here. I'm going back to physio tomorrow, and will keep the running short for the next little while, because the bigger picture here is to get to the start line in (less than) 3 weeks healthy, not to try and cram in some stupid amount of running now and injure myself. The fitness is there. The run was always going to be a run/walk, so there's no need to go nuts trying to make up for lost workouts.

Capped things off with a long swim that felt amazing. Now if I could just figure out how to hold that pace in a wetsuit...

I wanted to get in the Trainerroad workout I'd missed on Friday (Whorl, which is a very easy 1:15 spin, just for some additional aerobic time), but then our hot water heater died. Since I had no desire to take a cold shower after a trainer ride, I dropped it out of the schedule. Sometimes outside forces conspire against you!

So, now it's technically the first week of tapering, but that will really end up only applying to the long bike getting shorter, and I kind of feel like I've already started what with missing a bike and the lack of running. But if I'm not in shape for this at this point, there's not a lot to be done, so I'm just going to trust my training, follow the plan, and get to the start line happy and ready to go.

Good number. Let's get ready to do this thing.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Ironman training week 29 - 4 weeks to go

Well, cutting straight to the point, I'm not fully healthy, which is so immensely frustrating so close to the race that I can't EVEN. Especially watching my friends do amazing work at Lake Placid yesterday, which stirred up a lot of Feelings and Nerves and gah it's all so complicated and terrifying right now.

Swim: 8650m
Bike: 204km
Run: 16k

So, what's the situation. Wednesday my left achilles felt weird and stiff after running, which I did not care for, not one little bit. I wouldn't call it exactly painful, but just not right. And it kind of came and went throughout the day, sometimes bothering me, sometimes feeling fine. It was very stiff when I woke up on Thursday, so I didn't run, and again on Friday, although less so. I kept up cycling and swimming, but decided not to run, since it seemed like the smarter option than potentially creating a huge issue running on a possibly injured achilles.

Saturday was second verse, same as the first, so stiff when I woke up, but much less than it had been previously, and as I was driving to meet Christina to do a long bike ride, I also realized I was having some pretty significant sciatic nerve pain, and had been, again off and on, for several days. The sciatic stuff is something that I'm so used to sometimes I don't really process that I'm feeling it for a few days, especially since it comes and goes, and I change my sitting position to adjust for it without even thinking about it.

(Also just last week I was telling Zindine how happy I was that I'd gotten in the run volume I have to this point and my sciatica has been quiet, which OMG way to tempt the universe, there, smart guy. Let me just travel back in time and smack myself for that one).

Once I clued in I was also having sciatic pain, I realized what I was feeling in my ankle really felt more like an extension of the nerve issue, rather than an actual achilles problem (especially since massaging the area didn't find any tender spots or pain). I spent a load of quality time with my foam roller on Saturday afternoon working my usual trigger points, which did indeed seem to make a big difference, and I woke up Sunday morning feeling normal. No stiffness in the ankle, no pain in the hamstring, nothing.

That said, though, I'm feeling pretty skittish about a potential injury here. And paying perhaps too much attention to every little thing I'm feeling in my left leg ("wait, does my shin always feel like that when I sit cross legged at work? Does the outside of my ankle hurt now?! Is my right leg hurting now?!"). I'm feeling like I should be very cautious re-introducing running, since at 4 weeks to race day, well, I'd rather do minimal running and get there healthy than crank the volume back up and risk something going badly.

So, the plan is to do an easy short run tomorrow morning and see what happens. One day at a time, and if anything feels wonky or off, I'll be off to see my physio and get a handle on things. Hopefully this will all just end up with me being Super Dramatic about a minor slightly different than usual sciatic flare up!

With all that, I still got in some solid swimming and biking. This was always supposed to be a bit of recovery week before the last big two weeks; just ended up a little more tipped towards recovery than it should have been.

Monday: 2800m swim

Pretty fond of this Monday night swim time. The pool is empty, generally, other than that one guy who does the splashiest breaststroke of all time, but I figure that's just good open water practice for when I turn my head to breathe and get a face full of water instead.

Tuesday: 7.5k run; TR Rogers+2

Ah, before the week got stressful and weird. Still really like how the clouds look in the reflection in this picture.

Wednesday: 8k run; 2500m swim

Oh, you ran at sunrise and took backlit pictures? SHOCKING. Shut up, I get a kick out of these and I think I'm getting better at framing them.
The Wednesday evening swim is nice too, but the pool is usually busier, at least until the lifeguards shut down the waterslides and clear out at 8. But it is awfully nice to get it done and then go home and curl up in the king size bed, instead of hauling my butt out of bed at 5 am and going to work after.

plus after everyone else goes home I can play with my GoPro without weirding anyone out
(so in love with the new king size bed we got. I regret we waited so long.)

Thursday: TR Piute

Little spin. Got pretty sweaty by the end. Days with only one workout are weird.

Friday: TR Petit

Tried to watch Suicide Squad. Good lord that's a terrible movie. And I say this as someone who adores comic book movies and has watched the Captain America movies an embarrassing number of times. It's just really astonishing how very very wrong they got this one.

Saturday: 115k bike

No really, one workout days are WEIRD. But at least this one was super fun! Met up with Christina early and we did about 100k. With Fab away at a training camp I had to do the pulling (what's up with THAT), but we held a solid pace. I tacked on a bit at the end to get my ride time up to 4 hours and overall, really happy with how the bike felt. You know you are deep into Ironman training when a 100k ride isn't really even tiring...

Christina badly needed coffee. Always caffeinate before your ride, people!

I'M ADORABLE. Yes I deliberately matched one hair elastic to the jersey and one to the helmet. Shut up. Cycling is 90% style.

"Stop taking selfies and just pull already"

Saturday afternoon foam roller time, plus the spikey ball of pain.

Finished Suicide Squad. No, seriously, that movie made no sense at all. I now have to go watch Thor Ragnorak or something to cleanse it from my mind.

Sunday: 3350m swim

Really solid swim early at the gym. I debated running after because I was feeling normal but kind of did a risk benefit analysis and decided the benefits of two more days off running probably outweighed the risks of running. Since I would need to keep the run short to be cautious, there wouldn't be that much training benefit to doing, say, 8k. Plus it was pouring rain, so that wasn't super appealing anyway.

I spent the day glued to the Ironman Placid tracker, feeling alternately motivated and terrified, and did a lot of laundry. It was a productive day in its own right!

Now I see what happens when I get up and run tomorrow. Plan is ten minutes at a time, then see how it feels. Fingers crossed everything is back to normal and I'm just being a big drama queen right now...

Monday, July 16, 2018

Ironman training week 28 - 5 weeks to go

Right to the facts:

Swim: 5640m (?)
Bike: 305 km
Run: 39k (?!)

Explanation on those reduced swim and run numbers down in the Sunday section. Although any week where you miss a couple of workouts and still do almost 17 hours must be an Ironman peak training week...

Monday: 2600m swim

The kids were off visiting their grandparents for the week, so when Fab said he was thinking about doing a Lake Ontario swim, the gears started turning and next thing I knew we had a nice group headed down to see how the big lake was doing.

Got stuck in traffic so not into the wetsuit yet. Get it together, girl.

Taking GoPro selfies off shore is tougher than you'd think. 
Post swim smiles with Christina
The swim was slow, but good. The city seems to have the buoys marking the swim area much further apart than usual, which made sighting a huge pain in the ass and I kept finding myself suddenly heading out into the middle of the lake, until I realized I needed to keep the sun in about the same spot every time I breathed towards shore, which straightened me out. Previous years I'm pretty sure they were 150-200m apart, but this year they seem more like 300-400. Just took a bit of adjustment (plus they are tiny and hard to see!). Glad to have gotten down there on a calm day, as I heard things got pretty choppy for people swimming later in the week.

Tuesday: 16k run; TR Frissell +2

I had to take my husband to the train station Wednesday morning, so my usual long midweek run would have meant getting up even more ridiculously early. So it made sense to do the 16k run on Tuesday instead, even that meant tired legs going into the evening's threshold workout.  You do what you have to do to fit it in.

Bumped into Amy starting her run!

Sunrise. Not bad.
The run was slow and steady and overall fine. Then Trainerroad in the evening for 1:45 which was just uggggggggggggggggh because I'm sorry but Tuesdays are supposed to be an hour, maybe 1:15, tops. Knock it off with that stuff Coach Chad!

Wednesday: 7.5k run; TR Whorl; 3000m swim

Unusual Wednesday, but I was planning ahead to 1) have a rest day on Friday and b) sleep in Thursday because Thursday's workout was probably the scariest one in the whole plan.

Yeah yeah yeah sunrise silhouette, sticking with what works.
The trainer ride was a very easy (boring) spin, then a solid 3k in the pool after. If I'm remembering right, I slept pretty well that night! Much easier to manage that sort of nonsense with the kids away, that's for sure.

Also, I picked up the best burrito of my life after the swim. Worth it.

Thursday: TR Polar Bear (2 hours tempo) + 15k run

Yeah. Biiiiiig workout for a Thursday. I have not really been looking forward to this one, just because 3 1/2 hours on a Thursday is RIDIC. We have jobs, coach Chad! Augh!

But I was kind of looking forward to seeing how it would go, since it would be a pretty good fitness test. And with the kids away and my husband off on a business trip, what the hell else was I going to do with a Thursday evening? (don't answer that, I'm sure there's a million better things I could have done...)

Anyway, the ride was solid, and then the run felt...great. like the whole run felt amazingly easy. I upped significantly the number of calories I would normally take in on a 2 hours trainer ride, and then did a shot (literally) of salted maple syrup in between the ride and the run.

(what, that's not weird, is it?)

Lots of fluids on the run, just very focused on running easy and steady, didn't even stop to take any pictures, and it was really, really good.

So tired I couldn't figure out how to take a non blurry picture and just said to hell with it, there's like 5 people reading this anyway (hi guys!)
And the best part is, I get to do it again soon. HAHAHA. Man I hope the second time around goes as well...

Friday: rest!

Picking up the kids, back to regularly scheduled programming. Which of course meant...

Saturday: 165k ride

Long ride Saturday! So this got planned out early in the week, when as our route planner I realized I was SO BORED of our usual ride routes and wanted to head more north than usual. With 165k to play with, you can cover a lot of ground. Zindine and I rapidly realized that his group could do 100k out of Georgetown, and Fab, Christina and I could ride the ~30k to their meetup point and back to get in the 160 or so we needed. So that's what we did! We started at 6 am, had to make a minor detour around some construction, but still managed to arrive in Georgetown for 7:15.

damn that looks far
Then it was off to climb the hills of Caledon, getting almost to Orangeville, before heading back and making the obligatory bakery stop in Erin.

climb climb climb

Sugar twists so fresh they were still warm!
Mellen taking pro-level selfie while I'm trying not to look like my mouth is full of sugar twist
Really fun ride, and I finished it feeling really great. The hills didn't bother me, I was comfy on the bike, I got in my nutrition and fluids without having to force anything, and was just really, really happy with this as a training ride. Plus I got to see some of my friends doing Lake Placid and wish them good luck!

Sunday: unplanned rest day

OK, what happened here. This was supposed to be a long run and a swim. But back up to Saturday afternoon, where after I got home we spent a few hours moving furniture around to make room for our new bed (king size luxury for the win, yo) and shifting our old bed into the teenager's room. Good times.

Love the new bed, but I perhaps didn't do as much post-race hydration as I should have.

Plus, new bedframe, mattress, bedding, etc; well, sometimes that shit offgasses weird chemicals. Although I slept well Saturday night, when I woke up to get ready for my run, I was really dizzy and lightheaded. I pretty quickly made the decision to just go back to bed and sleep a few more hours (by which point it was getting far too hot and humid to run).

By around 8 I was feeling fine again, but at that point I'd already written off the day of training and figured I was better off taking a rest day. I certainly wasn't going to start a long run at that point. Heat and humidity are bad enough without full sun, and in case I was getting sick I figured rest was better. So I did a lot of laundry, took the teen to the mall, made a nice dinner, and basically had a super relaxing normal person day.

I'm not worried at all about missing the swim (in fact the swim plan I've been very loosely following only had two swims on the schedule this week, if I remember right), and although I'd have liked to get in the run, I'm not worrying about that either. I'm not trying for Kona or anything here and the run is going to be a walk/run/shuffle anyway, so being a long run down isn't really a big deal.

At this point, the fitness is either there or it isn't, and I've done the work. Just a few more weeks left...