Monday, January 15, 2018

Ironman training week 2

Solid week. The weather continues to be really weird in annoying ways, but that's winter in Canada. Always a good time.

Monday: REST

Tuesday: oh just a bit of everything

Swim: 2350m

Math error on this workout (4x25m does not equal 200m there book), and in trying to correct it to get the total distance right I managed to make it worse...

5:30am is early. Good swim, though. Helps when you basically sleep through the first half it.

Run: 8k

Out of the office for a lunch run. Flat, easy, slushy in spots as all the snow starts melting, but I'll take it over -20 any day.

Zwift: 35k

Um does anyone see the problem here? Check where your fan is pointing before you start...

New roads on Zwift! Although from what I saw (admittedly I was watching Black Mirror at the same time) it was pretty much just a tree lined road. Not super exciting. But it passed the time.

And then I went to bed and slept like the dead!


Run: 9k

My Timehop app informed me that 5 years ago this day was the first time I ever ran to Princess Point at lunch, so naturally Christina and I recreated that run. I am so spoiled for options for running at work!


40 minutes of the big 5 at the weirdly empty especially given that it is January gym. Squats, bench, deadlifts, rows, overhead press. Simple, quick, hits all the muscle groups. Get in, get it done, get the hell out.


Run - 8k

The temperature climbed up to 12 degrees (WTF) so this run practically turned into a swim...

Zwift: 35k

Meh. I am about ready to get back to a Trainerroad program, I think. I need some structure to my cycling and Zwift is starting to bore me.


Swim - 1800m

Got the pool about 10 minutes later than I wanted and had to cut this one a little short, which I didn't really mind because everything about this swim felt awful. Just couldn't find my stroke. Plus the picture was a total fail, and everyone knows if you don't take a decent photo your workout might as well not even count.


Zwift: 83 ish km

"I have how much longer left?"
Watched some Black Mirror and a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother. These long rides are all about going in with the mental attitude that 'today I will ride 2:30' (or whatever time) and then ignoring how much time has actually passed for as long as possible.

Also, snacks. Always have snacks.

Run: 8k

Only picture I manged before the phone froze up and died. 
It got stupid cold again. And everything froze. And now everything is all ice covered, which is a huge pain in the ass, but I found a nice paved 700m loop near my kid's basketball practice that had been reasonably well salted/plowed and ran around it for a while. Didn't even get dizzy. Nasty wind and SO DAMN COLD.


Swim: 2300m

man this pool feels lonely some days. I should not complain about that because the opposite is much much worse...
A little endurance work to kick off Sunday morning, including a bunch of 50m kick drills without fins which were pretty much the definition of futility. When you are kicking your lungs out and barely making progress down the pool...well, suffice it to say my kick needs some work.

Run: 14k

This was a bit short because have I mentioned the ICE EVERYWHERE?! Gah. Ended up running 4k along the beach on the sand (!) because that was safer than the path. First time I've ever seen the Hamilton side of the beach trail in that bad a condition. Usually the city keeps it clearer :(

But at least I took lots of cool pictures! Makes things a little more fun trying to find those shots, and really if this isn't fun, why would I even bother doing it. Crossing my fingers things warm up a bit and I can go chasing sunrises again soon.

On to week 3! More of the same-ish, although hopefully a longer long run and more weightlifting. I skipped the second session this week to go buy a standing desk for my office, which I think was a better use of time in the long run. Assuming I ever get around to assembling it...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Going with the cliche title: The road to Ironman begins - IMMT training week 1

Happy New Year!

To be honest, I'm not even sure how many weeks there are right now until Ironman Mont Tremblant, since I have yet to really work on my official training plan. So unlike me, really! But that's one of my goals for this week - get something down on paper so I can figure out which Trainerroad plans I'll be using and when I officially need to get started on them.

Until then, I'll basically be maintaining what I've been doing through November/December. Getting in 2-3 swims, 3-4 bikes, and 4-5 runs each week. Keeping the runs easy, the biking fun, with a loose goal of swimming at least 6000m each week, a long ride of at least 2 1/2 hours (adding on from watever I did the previous week), and a long run of 16-21 km.

So how did week 1 go?

Swim: 3000m
StrongLifts A

-17 means waiting for the windshield to de-frost before going anywhere.

My gym opened at 8 so I was up early-ish to get in a long swim. Might as well get the year started on the right foot (stroke?). Of course, that was after an inordinately long wait for the inside of my windshield to defrost. Which I will have to remember to take into account for early morning swims while it's still so cold out!

Oh just equalling my longest swim from last year on January 1st, no big deal.

I also did StrongLifts day A, which was good. I need to put together a full body strength program, I think - I can usually get in 2 days a week, but Stronglifts really needs 3 and I just don't have that kind of time. I need a full body routine I can do in a half hour or so if I'm going to keep up with the strength work. And I need to, since weightlifting seems to have been really beneficial for my bad shoulder and cranky back.

adding weights for rows. Not ideal to do right after a 3000m swim...
Then in the afternoon it was marginally less freezing so I talked myself out for a run, using my usual 'just go for 2.5k and if you are hating it you can turn back and then at least you've run 5k' method. (I never end up turning back, because I generally start enjoying myself too much to turn around).

The running on snow pack kind of blows, but hey, sunshine! I'll take it.
Zwift, 35.5km

Nothing fancy, just committed to an hour cycling around Zwift with no real plan but to get the heart rate up. I had some moderate DOMS from lifting weights on Monday so was in no mood to do much more than try and flush out the muscles. (and on the plus side, the DOMS showed I hit all the right muscle groups, so yay?)

Swim - 2600m

Not sure what was going on here but it's marginally more fun than the usual 'swimming towards the camera doing front crawl' shot.
Swimming at 5:30 am means having the pool to myself (until 6:15 or so, when a couple of other people showed up), and trying to trick my brain into thinking I was still laying in bed sleeping. It sort of worked. This was a strength workout - lots of pulling, some work with paddles - and left me with pretty sore lats!

Run - 8k
My plan for this picture failed, but at least we got this solid shot! Unlike my phone, the GoPro seems to be able to handle taking short videos in the cold.
Met up with Christina for a lunch run at work (can I say how awesome it is she got a job on campus and can be my lunch run buddy?! so awesome!). Totally overdressed because there was hardly any wind, but a solid 8k towards the current Lululemon challenge, which I am doing because last year they gave us t-shirts and shorts for completing the challenge and the shorts are freaking awesome. I want another pair!

Unfortunately the pace was a little fast for me and ye old sciatica was twinging Wednesday night. After a lengthy session with the foam roller and my Mr. Spiky Ball 'O Pain, I got it to go away, but it was a good reminder to be careful.


Run - 9k

Wait, I have to do how many km to complete this challenge? And Monday's run didn't count? Damn it.

Working at home, so I had time for a run in the mid-morning, plus the heavily discounted trail shoes I ordered from MEC arrived and I wanted to give them a whirl to see how they'd feel on the snow packed sidewalks. They were fantastic - much better traction than my standard runners. The wind was from an odd direction (North, unusual here), but that made it easier to minimize my time running into the wind, so even though it was chilly it really wasn't that bad. I think I'm starting to remember the lessons I learned during the winters of permanent polar vortexes re: how to dress for nasty low temps and bad windchills (essentially, layers you can pull on and off your face and head, and minimize time running into the wind as much as possible).

Zwift - 31.8km

Ride on!

Just spinning the legs out. Not much exciting to say about this one.

Swim - 2100m

My choice of lanes because no one else is dumb enough to show up at 5:30 am

Getting into the 'swim' of things (I am HILARIOUS) with the early morning swimming. My garmin was uncooperative and stopped recording laps 500m in, which was super frustrating (fingers crossed it's one of those weird one off tech things and not the watch dying...). The swim part was pleasant enough. If I have to get in a workout at 5:30 in the morning, swimming really is my favourite, at least until we get back to being able to watch the sunrise on early morning runs.

Zwift - 110km

I knew if I mentioned the 25 laps of the volcano achievement to Zindine he'd be totally into doing it. Which unfortunately meant I was committed to finishing the whole damn thing! Started to get uncomfortable about 2 and a half hours in, but pushed through and finished it off. Welcome to Ironman training.

Run - 8k

The GoPro stayed alive for a solid minute before the battery succumbed to the cold

After lying down for about 2 hours and eating some snacks, I bundled up and headed out for a run (will they let me do that at the Ironman? an hour nap between sports would be grrrrrreat). Run felt good, since fortunately there was barely any wind so no real windchill factor added on to the air temp of -12.

Run - 20.18 km
So many layers to manage the temperatures.

Waited until later in the morning to run since it was supposed to be warmer, which I think was a filthy lie because the wind was nasty. I ran straight into it for 5k, thinking I'd turn around, but then my path turned and it became more of a cross wind so I stuck it out. And then the last 5k back to the car felt like I had wings, the tailwind was so amazing! Gotta love that!



Did a full body routine which has left me with major DOMS today. At least I know it's working? And I think the full body will work better for me so that I'm at least hitting all the major muscle groups even the weeks I can only manage to strength train once a week.

Swim - 7700m
Bike: 178km
Run - 53.68 km

Pretty solid place to start! Aiming to more or less do the same thing again this week. A little more challenging with it being a full five day work week, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

And that's a wrap on 2017

You know, if you don't count pretty much the entire spring, 2017 was a good year! It definitely didn't go as planned, but I feel good about it. And I even managed to beat my mileage from 2015. Just barely. Had to do a long bike ride to get there this morning, hahaha! (wasn't even close on the 2016 mileage, but having to take about 6 weeks off will do that...)

Swim: 200,110 m
Bike: 6164.4 km
Run: 1779.5 km

A few highs and lows from the year:

Highlight - solid training block for Around the Bay

Going through pics and trying to pull out ones I haven't posted before. Boy, we really didn't get much snow last winter, did we? This winter is proving to be a bit different so far...

This seems so long ago now, but I really put together a good block of training leading up to what was going to be a PB attempt at ATB.

Lowlight - not actually getting to run Around the Bay due to flu.

Which was then followed by coughing my lungs out for six weeks. The less said about April and most of May, the better, really.

Highlight - getting back on my feet in time for triathlon season

It's a love/hate relationship with the bike trainer

Yay exercise!

Lowlight - feeling really unfit, especially running, for pretty much the whole summer

Pretty sunrise but the running part kind of sucked

Highlight - having some really awesome races and results!

Milton was a lacklustre race (although given my lack of training going in, that wasn't a big surprise, but everything got a lot better from there! A surprise age group place at Guelph Lake I; a race that actually felt really good and well paced at Niagara. Then probably my favourite race the whole year, Iron Girl. 3rd place for my (really large) age group was incredibly satisfying. And the feeling of running out of transition leading my age group from T2? Wow. Definitely something I'd love to recapture again! And then I topped it off with a pretty great race and another 3rd place at Guelph Lake II.

Random sunrise run

Heading to the finish at Iron Girl, deep in the pain cave but super happy

Solid results all around! But now my t shirt drawer is full...

Things didn't start great, but I really enjoyed my summer of races, and once this whole Iron Man deal is done, I think I will probably focus again on sprints/olympics. It's really nice to do races that are wrapped up before noon and don't leave you in pain for a week after...

Lowlight - utter failure at the Oakville half

This one doesn't show my face, which was NOT HAPPY.

Ugh. Man that race did not go well.

Highlight - signing up for Ironman Mont Tremblant and putting in a really solid block of base training over November/December.

Pick up heavy things, put them down. I have been noticing a really big difference since I started lifting semi-regularly in both my shoulder soreness (gone) and my sciatic problems (quiet). All the more reason to keep it up!

Since signing up for Mont Tremblant things have been going really well. Solid amounts of swimming! Regular training rides! Lifting weights semi-regularly (don't check if I did any this week, though. shhhhhhhhhh). And running feels really good again! So many exclamation points!

In the vein of taking things more seriously, this little book has prompted me to extend my swim workouts from my old standard of '2,000m of whatever I feel like and call it a day' to 'do actual sets with purpose' and more like 2500-2800m workouts. Figure that can only help with my endurance for the Iron Man!

And on that note, it's time to kick things into gear and start officially training for this thing. Yikes. Things are about to get serious, including hopefully remembering to write a weekly blogpost going forward!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Road to IMMT: October training recap

A little late with this, but might as well note down some numbers. October went pretty well - I didn't have a firm plan, but just aimed to swim 2x a week, bike 3x a week, run 4x a week, and lift weights at least twice a week.

12 swims; 23,950 m

Hmm more focus on the shoulders in the weight room might be called for...

No complaints on the swim! I've been enjoying having a club membership that lets me go use the lap pool pretty much whenever I want, and generally having a lane to myself. I'm not exactly getting any faster (dang) but I'm enjoying my swims. For November I will continue to aim for swimming at least twice a week (preferably 3), and I want to get in at least one 3000m swim this month (I've been maxing out around 2200m or so so far and it's time to bump that up a bit).

13 rides, 563.84 km

Mostly on the trainer using Zwift, alas, but some solid bike time to at least keep the legs moving and the heart healthy. Still not quite ready to get back into any sort of plan, so November will be aiming to increase the volume a bit and do some longer Zwift rides. And still hopefully get outside a couple more times!

17 runs, 169.7 km

this was the most glorious morning run with the sunrise. It's hard to convince myself to get out early and start running in the dark, but one of my very favourite things is running along the lake as the sun starts to come up. It's magical.

way too excited about running at lunch
Oh running, how frustrating you can be. Still working the low heartrate. Pretty pumped that the paces are coming down (I've even seen some sub 6 minute km recently! woo!). Slowly, achingly slowly, but progress is happening. And with the cooler temperatures running is just flat out more enjoyable. For November I'll aim for at least 4 runs a week again, maybe adding in a 5th if I can, and continue to aim for an average number of km per week of 40-50k. Hopefully building a really solid aerobic base right now will pay off in the long run (ha).

Strength training

If you aren't going #asstograss on your squat, why even bother

checking deadlift form. deadlifts are fun. Who doesn't like picking up heavy things and putting them back down again.
I'm not quite motivated enough to add up the number of strength training sessions, but I know I went at least twice a week all month (and I think 3 times most weeks!). I'm a little surprised how much I've been enjoying it, especially now that I've built my squat weight back up to more than just lifting the bar. I did take last week off due to life getting in the way and being really tired and feeling like I just needed a break. I do not recommend having your child be born on Halloween - it makes that whole holiday just a huge ball of stress and work, what with Halloween basically being the ultimate kid holiday for overwrought sugar-fueled excitement. Adding a bunch of birthday presents on top of that? I'm surprised the child doesn't just spontaneously combust due to the sheer levels of EXCITEMENT. But now that that is all over, I seriously can't wait to get back in there tonight and get back to lifting!

So, steady progress, onwards and such. Oh, and we have a condo booked for Mont Tremblant now, which I think means this is really going to happen, and aaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee. After watching my friends finish the Hamilton marathon yesterday I'm having a little trouble wrapping my head around doing one of those PLUS swimming and biking first, but I assume this will somehow all come together. I hope. Ah. What have I gotten myself into here?!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Oakville half marathon, plus now what?

I don't have much to say about Oakville, really.

Stocking up at the Oakville Expo
It was hot.

Taking pics of the sunrise was pretty much the highlight of the day

It kinda sucked.

It was annoying.

I gave up on putting in any sort of effort about 2k, although that didn't stop my heart rate from being a billion beats per minute.

Expressing my feelings to Nicole at the finish.

In no particular order the things that irritated me:

1. The woman I kept crossing paths with who had her iphone in an arm band that was not only announcing her pace to everyone in the area at 30 second intervals, but SHE ALSO HAD HER MUSIC BLARING. Good god, no one wants to listen to your shitty race music (because let's face it, we all make poor decisions when it comes to our race music), and they especially don't want to listen a tinny version of Despacito blaring through your crappy iphone speakers.

2. The woman who said 'you are almost there!!' at the 4 km mark.

(In retrospect, when I reached about 10k it occurred to me she meant the small incline we were running up. And yes it irritated me enough I was still thinking about it 6k later...)

3. Seeing a somewhat well-known local runner drop an aid station cup on someone's front lawn when we were a good 2k past the last aid station and no where near the next one. I still regret I didn't scoop it up and hand it back to them with a snarky 'I think you dropped this'.

4. It was SO DAMN HOT.

5. The gel I grabbed at the aid station was coffee flavour. Blech.

But I got to see my girls (yay!) and I did meet a guy running his first ever half and gave him a high five at the finish, and now we follow each other on Strava, so hey, some good came out of it.

The crew! Yay!
One last sunrise pic. That group of swimmers had the right idea. I was wishing I'd joined them instead of racing!
And now what.

Well, I think I'm going to revive the whole training log aspect of this blog. I'm probably going to want some records to look back on when this whole Ironman adventure deal is done. I will probably start with monthly updates and move back to weekly once the real training starts in the new year.

For now, the plan is to have a solid October. Roughly speaking, that means each week I'm aiming to swim twice, bike three times, run four times, and lift weights (!) twice.

On the swim, I had a chance encounter at the pool with one of the better swimmers in my club, and she was nice enough to hang out for a few minutes, watch me swim, and give me some feedback. It wasn't my imagination, my stroke had gotten wonky this year (I mean, it was fairly obvious given I got slower...) and she gave me some advice about my catch phase that almost instantly brought my times per 100m back down to where I was last year. Woo! So I'm spending some time working on really locking that in, and also a fair amount of time with my fins, since practicing kicking seems to be helping my overall body position in the water a lot.

Whoa I haven't taken many bike pics lately. Here's Christina and I after a rather chilly early September ride.
For the bike, a couple of sessions on Zwift during the week and some outside riding on the weekend while the weather cooperates. Nothing really planned, just maintenance and keeping up the calorie burn.

Running, slow and steady, hopefully keeping that heart rate aerobic and building towards getting a little faster in November (the hills in my neighbourhood are not helpful. I have no problem keeping my heart rate down on flats, but any incline just disrupts everything. So annoying). Not worrying about too much beyond just laying down some miles and keeping injury free.

My 'I can't believe I'm really doing this' face. The DOMS after the first day of squats was...unpleasant.
And weights! I've done it four whole times now! I was cautious to start (mostly doing bodyweight/very light weights) but I'm ready to move back to the proper bar for squats and deadlifts and maybe even start working back to the point I can do pull ups. Although that mostly requires some weight loss, which in the post-40 world is proving to be a slow and profoundly annoying process. But now's a good time to work at it, and work at it I shall.

So, I'll be back in a month with an update on how October went. And probably some sunrise and fall colour pictures, because really that's the best reason to get outside this month!