Monday, July 7, 2014

Fall 2014 - Week 2

So the big excitement this week was definitely picking up this beauty:

Isn't she pretty? I'm rather pleased she's not pink - several of the bikes I looked at had pink accents, and I'm a little sick of pink all over everything.
The purple and white combo on her frame reminds me of foxgloves. Which leads to her name - Foxy. Plus, foxgloves are the source of a heart medication, and I'm betting riding her will be good for my heart. It all makes sense in my head.
She's a Giant Avail 2; basically an entry level road bike with slightly better components than the entry-entry level, if that makes sense. And most importantly SHE'S MINE! This rather changes things as far as training this summer, because suddenly I'm feeling the need for speed and long long rides. I haven't quite worked out how I'm going to fit those into my plans, but it's going to happen.

And now that I have a road bike, there's the obvious duathlon/triathlon question. Let's just leave that there for now.

The weekly recap:

Monday: I took the day off work to get a 4 day weekend, so I headed out early to Kernscliffe Park to run some trails. I managed to get slightly lost and it was hot & humid jungle-style, but overall, a good 9.5k on the trails. I was very glad I keep the PDF maps of the Bruce Trail on my phone - if I hadn't had those with me when I got lost I'd have ended up running an extra 2 or 3k, most likely, and given the heat and humidity that would not have been pleasant.

Bruce Trail just off Waterdown Rd. I find it sort of magical that this stuff is so close to where I live. Less magical were the 4,000 mosquitoes that descended on me as I took this picture.
After the run I headed to the bike store to get fitted. And then I got to take Foxy home (she'll go back to the store for her first tune up in a couple of weeks). Of course I had to take her out for a test ride. In the hottest, sunniest part of the day, because SMRT. I was about half a km from home when I realized I'd forgotten to put on my helmet - you think maybe I was a little excited to be on my new bike?

It was initially very strange; I felt very unstable with my hands closer together instead of wide like on my hybrid, and the lightness of the bike felt so different from the sturdiness of Big Red. But I quickly adjusted and spent a happy 16 km roaming around my neighbourhood, getting the hang of the gears and experimenting with the local small-ish uphill climbs. That's where I noticed the biggest difference - suddenly it's obvious how much the heavier bike slows me down on the uphills.

Tuesday: Canada Day! I got up early and took Foxy down to the lake to try her on the flat beach path. Met up with Sam and Kim and did 30k total, because a 30k bike ride before 7 am is my idea of a good time these days. Man, who am I? It was so easy on the new bike to maintain a speed that's tough on the hybrid, and I pushed faster a few times to see how it would feel. Result: heavenly. It was really windy, but I had so much fun (I'm using the word fun about 50 times a day right now).

Stole this picture from Kim because I realized I had nothing to post here and there were too many words. Gotta break up the words with pretty pictures.
I got out later in the morning for a very sweaty 7k run. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, so either I'm acclimating to hot and humid horror show weather, or the strong wind cooled me off enough that it made it easier. I suspect it was the wind, because I ran all last summer through hot and humid and I never felt like I acclimated. I'd be shocked if I somehow managed to adapt so quickly this year.

Wednesday: Rest day. I wasn't feeling particularly like I needed a rest day, but then I looked at the calendar and saw I hadn't had one in a week, so definitely time for a break. And Thursday was going to be a big day.

Thursday: Tempo time! I was nervous about this one after the previous week's disastrous attempt at tempo, but it went pretty well. Which I attribute to the fact it was 16 degrees and NOT HUMID. Paces for the tempo section were solid (5:07, 5:11, 5:10, 5:03, 5:07), and I ran 10k total and felt fantastic.

The Nicole special, 10k before 6 am. Plus a new skirt, so pretty much awesome all the way around.
Then I biked 21k to work, because why the hell not. I've always wanted to try that, but usually I don't have enough time. I took the hybrid because I'm not 100% confident yet in my bike handling skills on the road bike, and between riding in heavy traffic and the possibility of rain in the forecast, sticking with the more familiar bike seemed like a sensible choice. Getting to work was a surprisingly easy ride, because it turned out to be largely downhill and there were even bike lanes most of the way.

This explains why getting to work felt so easy.
Of course downhill to get to work meant getting home? Uphill. Yay. I took a slightly different route to avoid some crazy intersections where I would have had to make impossible left hand turns, and that did mean at one point hauling the bike up 120+ stairs. Upper body workout! But I made it home in a little more than an hour, which considering the climbing and the traffic and the stairs and one stop to consult a map, is decent enough. 42k on the bike in one day, can't complain about that.

Glad the stairs had a bike gutter, easier to push it up. Also glad I have mountain bike shoes instead of road shoes, so it was a little less clompy getting up to the top.
Next time I bike to work, which will be in a couple of weeks, I'll take Foxy, because I'm betting the hills will be a lot easier with the lighter bike/compact crank. And I'm curious how much time I can shave off the trip.

Friday: Debated biking to work again but didn't want to overdo it, so I stuck with 'just' an 8k easy run before work. Temperature remained nice and cool. YAY.

Nothing wrong with this view.
I'm glad I didn't attempt to bike to work again; by Friday night I was super cranky and eventually went into  'fall asleep exhausted on the couch at 7 pm' mode. Thursday's workouts took more out of me than I'd realized at the time, so I went to bed early.

Saturday: Met Patty and Sam at the oh so late hour of 6:20 am for 16k by the lake. Really, these days 6:20 is a late start for me! My stomach was a bit unhappy, but settled down for the run and didn't really bother me until the last km. Run was decent - not the greatest run I've ever had, but I'll take it.

Sun's up on the beach. Honestly I live in such a great place.

Sunday: Up early for a bike ride. 46k Tour de Burlington, where I basically rode the entire length of the city and then back home. Yeah, I've got the bike love bad.

The sunrise was so spectacular it almost looked fake.
Getting up early meant I got to see that sunrise. Sometimes you get these rewards that really make it all worthwhile.

Well, that and riding really really fast* on the Northshore hills. I may actually have said 'WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!' out loud at least once coming down the big hill by Lasalle Park.

*fast for me. Not fast like the scary cycling packs.

So that was pretty much an awesome week. I almost got to 200k total! It was tempting to stretch Sunday's ride out a bit and hit that milestone, but I didn't want to push too much too soon, especially since my hips were a bit cranky on Saturday night (my own fault for slacking on my hip mobility/strength work). Lots more weeks left this year to get to that number.

Run: 51.4 km
Ride: 134.4 km (whoa!)
Total:  185.8 km; 10 hr 34 min of training (scrolling through my Strava data shows this is the most time I've ever spent in a week training, by over 2 hours - I think I will start paying more attention to this number! Not surprising that my hips are a touch sore after such a big jump.)

This upcoming week I originally thought was going to be a cutback week, but I messed up counting somewhere so it's actually a hard week. OK, I can make that work. Current plan is to a) do my hip work every night to nip any potential issues there in the bud and b) start with a rest day.

I'll also do some hill training on the bike (I really need to get a better feel for my lower gears, and that seems the best way to do it), a tempo run, and a trail race on Saturday (although I won't be racing it, I'm running it for fun, not a time goal). I'm kind of going to wing it based on weather and how my hips feel, to be honest. Ideally I want to run at least 50k and ride something close to 100k total, but we'll see how things work out.

On we go!


  1. Great week of training! Yeah for the new bike. I'm sure it's going to get a lot of use. Wow on those stairs though.

  2. And what's wrong with pink exactly?! Haha . Great week Emma! 200k is crazy. Enjoy Foxy Cleopatra!