Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fall 2014: Week 10

Moving into the homestretch of quality work before the race, which is now only a few weeks away.


Monday: 33k bike ride. Was nice. Nothing fancy.

Tuesday: I had a really hard time dragging myself out the door for this one, mostly because this was the view:

hello cottage life.
We spent a couple of days at the family cottage - my kids are in the fifth generation of my mom's family to spend time at this cottage, which is a really amazing and special thing. We are very grateful that the owners, my mom's cousin & his wife, are very generous with cottage time.

I did eventually make it out the door for a 10k run. Hot, humid, but I got to run past some very fancy cottages by the lake. Somewhat hillier than I anticipated, but a solid run.

Wednesday: No really, I have to get up and run? I can't just sit here on the dock?

Made it out for 12k ish, although my GPS went nuts during the first 3k, so that's a bit of a guess.

I appear to have been quite drunk during this portion of the run, at least based on my GPS trace!

A solid run. Pace was speedier than usual, even taking into account the GPS wonkiness. Feeling pretty good about things.

Different route with more cows. Deeply suspicious cows.
Post run ice bath in the lake. I wonder if I can get a lake put into my backyard? Because this was awesome.
Thursday: Back at home a little earlier than originally planned because I needed to attend a funeral. But I had time for a short tempo run before I needed to leave for that. 10k total with 4 very excellent feeling tempo kilometers. 5:04, 5:06, 5:01, 5:02. Feeling better about that 5:10/km I need for a PB at Oakville!

33k bike ride in the evening to make sure the bike was in order for the duathlon on Saturday. At one point I was like shit, what's that rattling sound? AHHHHHH! But eventually I figured out it was the stuff in my seatbag banging around. D'oh.

Friday: Rest day. And organize my shit for the duathlon day. So freaking complicated and I don't even swim yet!

Am I forgetting anything? OH MY GOD WHAT AM I FORGETTING??

Saturday: Guelph Lake II sprint duathlon. 2k run, 30k bike, 7k run (a little longer than a typical sprint). Race report is coming (really this time, not like that Rattlesnake Point one I never wrote except in my head). Spoiler alert: it was pretty awesome and I came home with some bronze coloured bling.

Yeah, the race went pretty well!
Sunday: Recovery run. The duathlon took the place of my long run for the week, but I needed to get a few more km in to reach my weekly target mileage. 10k, super humid, just glad the sun wasn't out because I would definitely have quit earlier if I'd had to do that in full sun.

Weekly stats
Run: 53 km
Bike: 94.7 km
Weekly total: 147.7 km in 8 hours 33 minutes

Very good week! I probably should have done a longer run at the cottage, but there was a hammock that really needed someone to sit in it. I think I have my priorities straight.

This week I'm running the 15k at MEC burlington race 4, which I will be using as a long tempo run. I'm both excited and nervous to see how it goes, as it'll be a good test of my readiness for Oakville. One last hard week of training before taper.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fall 2014: Week 9

Hello? This thing on? What am I doing here?

Right, a hard training week. Let's do this.

Monday: Rest. I should either switch my rest day around or start counting on Tuesdays or something when I do actual hard workouts.

Tuesday: Intervals. Since the local high school tracks are torn up or locked or whatever, I'm kind of stuck with 1k repeats on the road. Whatever works. 12k total, 5 repeats with 500m rest in between. 4:52, 4:48, 4:48, 4:57, 4:53. Bit slow, especially that 4th one where I just totally lost focus. But I did run them at 5 am, which I think costs me a few seconds. Or something. They felt hard, but satisfying, and my legs were pleasantly tired the rest of the day.

Wednesday: Easy 8k run in the morning. No evening bike ride because a) pouring rain and b) husband stuck at work. I need a trainer.

No more sunrises for #5amrunclub. SAD NEWS.
Thursday: 12k with 4k/2k at tempo. That 2k should have been 3 but I forgot. I'm too lazy to look up the exact splits but they were good.

Creepy fog
Finally got out on the bike for 38k in the evening. It's not super ideal to do that after a morning tempo, but hey, I take the opportunities as they come up! My legs hated me for the first half and then moved to resigned acceptance for the last half.

Friday: Rest. Legs needed it after Thursday.

Saturday: Duathlon practice. 2k run, 36k ride, 6k run. All set for Guelph Lake next Saturday! My transitions will be slow, but I'm fine with that. I'd rather do them slowly and deliberately for my first time out and not screw it up.

Yeah yeah yeah awesome roads, blah blah blah.
Over on the sidebar over there somewhere, towards the bottom, I've added a list of the local escarpment hill climbs I know about. I'm going to check them off as I try them. I'd like to complete the list before the winter, but we'll see (especially Rattlesnake Point. I may chicken out of trying that one until next year). Saturday's ride included the Snake Road climb, which I really rather enjoyed! Long, but not overly steep. I'd like to go back and tackle it again to improve my Strava ranking. Especially on the segment that includes the 5 minutes I spent standing on a corner eating a granola bar. My ranking on that one is unfairly low!

Sunday: Long run day. 22k. Haven't done one this long solo for a while, but it was nice. Got into a good rhythm and ended up doing it at a pace of 5:45/km, which McMillan has been claim in is a long run pace for me for a while but I've never fully believed it. Today, though, it was totally a comfortable easy feeling pace. Even in the heat and humidity! Is is possible I really am getting faster?
The beach is always such a lovely place to long run.

Weekly totals
Run: 62.5 km
Bike: 74.3 km
Total: 136.8 km in 8 hours, 50 minutes

Great week this week. Ramped up the run milage with no ill effects, and took a bit of a down week on the bike, which is fine. I'd like to think all the hills I've been climbing on the bike will have some sort of positive carry over to my run, but we will have to wait and see what happens at my fall races!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fall 2014: Week 8

So I kinda forgot to write this post this week. Usually I write these as I go along, jotting down a few sentences about each workout right after they happen, but this week I just...didn't.

Guess it was both a running rest week and a blogging rest week! Now I barely remember what I even did!

Monday: Rest day.
Tuesday: 8k easy
Wednesday: 7k easy in the morning, 30k bike ride in the evening
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: 10k easy (well, 9.9, just to make people crazy - biking seems to have cured me of really caring about exact distances, because for some reason my watch always overestimates the distance it displays while I'm cycling, and it then corrects when I upload the file to Strava/Runkeeper. So I can't tell the exact distance until the ride is over!).

Saturday: This one deserves more words - new personal distance record on the bike! 88k with the lovely Jana. The wind was unpleasant, the hills were somehow hillier than usual, but I loved it. The padded shorts did their job and it was surprisingly comfortable to be on the bike that long.

Route planning!

Mid-ride selfie via Jana
What's a little less comfortable is my left hand. I seem to have a case of Cyclist's Palsy - numbness in the left ring finger/little finger due to nerve compression over a long period (like, say, a 4 hour bike ride). So that kind of sucks. It's mild right now, but I'm going to have to figure out how to deal with this to make sure it can heal and not come back. First step is buying better, much more padded gloves. I may get a re-fitting on the bike, too, to make sure I'm not carrying too much weight through my hands. Apparently core strengthening is recommended too. Why is the answer always more core strength? Ugh.

Sunday: Long run, 16k with Patty. My legs were pretty tired at the start from the long ride the day before, but felt surprisingly good by the end.

Gotta love a run where you find Superman's Fortress of Solitude made of sand.

In fact, I felt so good that in the afternoon, after giving the bike a thorough cleaning and lubing and then tracking Irina and Mari and Laurence through the bike leg of Iron Man Mount Tremblant, I had to get out on my bike for a bit. It was a gorgeous afternoon and just very necessary to do an easy 40k - the Iron Man was so inspiring. Congrats guys, great performances all around!

Weekly stats
Run: 41.7 km
Bike: 158.5 km
Total: 200.2 km in 10 hours, 29 minutes
(I just checked, Iron Man distances would be 42.2 km obviously, and then 180 km on the bike. So in one week I still didn't do as much as my Iron Man friends did in one day!)

A little high for a rest week, but I don't regret that 40k ride on Sunday for a second.

This week I move into peak training time for Oakville. If I'm going to go after that PB, I need to focus on the run and get ready for this. Plus I need to give my hand a break to start healing before I jump back on the bike again. So this week will be largely running, hopefully back up around that 60k total mark. I will try and get in a duathlon practice on the weekend, though, since that's coming up soon too.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fall 2014: Week whatever the hell this is

How is it August already? Aiiiiiiiieeeeeeee.

Getting ready to ride.
Monday: Group bike ride! Zindine wanted to come ride in Burlington, and somehow that morphed into me creating a route for a group ride with a bunch of Daily Mile peeps. Holy pressure, batman. I love my roads, but I'm still pretty new at this road biking thing, so creating a route that would be fun, scenic, and not full of climbing in the back half was kind of stressing me out (but in a good, fun-stress kind of way).

Badass bikers.
We did 55k of some of my favourite local stuff, and it turned out fantastic! I front loaded the route with climbing to make sure when we finished it would be on a downhill and everyone would leave happy and not wanting to kill me. No one wants to end a ride with a climb!

Zindine gave me some good hill climbing tips (even when I hated him for not letting me downshift, the jerk), Sam conquered a hill that defeated her on our last ride and didn't try and kick my ass for making her ride it again, Richard jumped in with both feet on his new road bike and did phenomenally well (I feel like maybe I should apologize to his wife for encouraging him in this new hobby?), Nicole rocked the #mumbike (she is going to be SO GOOD when she gets on a road bike), and Irina did some excellent coaching and picture taking (all the group ride pics are from her). Seriously, just so fun.

Bakery stop! I would really like to steal Irina's socks.
Tuesday: Set out for what was supposed to be either an interval or tempo run, but my legs were all:
So I downgraded to 8k easy. By the end my legs were less cranky, but it wasn't a great feeling run. I later realized I hadn't had a rest day for 8 days, which explained an awful lot.

The sunrise is getting later. Do not like.
Wednesday: Scrapped the plan to bike to work and replaced it with a much needed rest day.

Thursday: After a rest day, tempo. Warm up, then a 4k set and a 2k set of tempo (the goal here is to add on to that second set and work up to two 4k sets). First set was 5:14, 506, 5:05, 5:06, so even a touch fast. Second was 5:12, 5:11, so a hair slow. I'll take it.

Biked to work, 22k. The bike to work is fun because downhill. Also the roads are pretty empty at 7 am.

Biked home after work, 24k. The bike home is much less fun because uphill and CRAZY ASSHOLE DRIVERS EVERYWHERE. I'm starting to understand why cyclists turn into stop sign/red light running jerks. Because we take a lot of bullshit from cars and start to think fuck it, if y'all are going to try and kill me anyway, I may as well at least get where I'm going faster. The highlight was the carload of teenagers who pulled to a stop in front of me and threw open the passenger side door to block my way, then drove away laughing. Nice. City riding sucks.

But, that said, I ended this ride by climbing Kerns Rd for the first time,which is a legit difficult climb for this area and I DID IT. I didn't even have to go full on granny gear until the very steep bit at the end. So that made the whole thing worthwhile. Although I'm going to pass on biking to work again for a while.
For anyone who has done Around the Bay but not Kerns Rd, the above elevation profile gives an idea of how the Kerns climb compares...
I have to think a bit about what I'm doing here with this cycling stuff. The rush of conquering that hill was amazing, and I want to do it again! But I wasn't really planning on serious bike training this summer, since I'm still allegedly targeting a fall half marathon PB. The bike stuff was supposed to be for fun and cross training, at least until I get that half marathon PB. But I'm starting to get intrigued by things like cadence (I noticed on Monday, riding with Zindine, that my cadence is really low compared to his, which he later confirmed). If someone would like to buy me a Garmin 310xt and cadence sensor, you'd make me ever so happy.

Friday: Recovery 8k run. Felt good to shake the legs out.

Watch/selfie/compression socks. Did I miss anything?
Saturday: 20k long run with Patty. Best I've felt on a long run in a while, and the first one in ages where I've felt like I could easily have run more. Maybe it was the new route, that always helps!

Sunday: Duathlon simulation. Got up early, banged out a quick 1.5k run to warm up, then hopped on the bike and headed up over the escarpment. Might as well finish up the last hard week of this block of training with some multi-sport action!

45k on the bike, pushing myself a bit through the first 35 or so. Not as hard as possible, but definitely not a leisurely ride. As per usual for North Burlington, plenty of hills to keep things interesting, too. The last big one, the Zimmerman hill on 2nd sideroad, was horrible. It's not even that bad a hill, my legs were just pretty fried by that point and I didn't have the mental energy to push through it. So now, naturally, I need to try and get back over there this week and hammer that sucker. I need redemption!

That 'trucks use lower gear' sign signals fun stuff ahead! And by fun I mean a terrifying drop into a sharp curve.
Got back, did my transition practice in the garage, and then a 5k run to wrap things up. The run was weird. I felt like I was running molasses slow, but my watch was flashing 5:20/km at me at one point, so clearly the bike totally screws up my sense of pacing. I don't have any real goals for the duathlon other than to have a good time, but it would be nice if I could hold something in that 5:10/5:20 range for the 7 km (granted, I have no idea what the course is like, so if it's mad hilly, to hell with THAT plan. Hills on the bike are generally fun. Hills running just suck).

Weekly summary
Run: 56.4 km
Bike: 147.2 km
Total: 203.6 km in 11 hours, 23 minutes

A little shy on the run mileage, thanks to that awful Tuesday run that I had to shorten up a bit. But overall, a good peak week and I'm looking forward to this week's cut back on the run, with all easy stuff. Time to recover a bit before moving into the last hard block of training!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fall 2014: Week 6

How things went this week:

Monday: Rest day. Rest good.

Tuesday: Tempo! I cheated by running the tempo portion on a route with a slight downhill grade, but really it' s a pretty small grade and psychologically I think it was good for me to see the tempo paces coming up (relatively) easily. 5:14, 5:02. 5:06, 5:04, short break, last km in 5:05. So even a touch fast. confidence builder! Ran 12k total.

Wednesday: Easy 8k run on the schedule. Alarm went off. Did this:

If I'm going to miss a run, the Wednesday easy run is the one to go with, at least. My troublesome right hip has been acting up again (nothing major, but enough that I'm kicking myself for slacking on my physio exercises), so it seemed like a good idea to take the morning off and see how it felt at the end of the day.

Hip felt good at the end of the day, so Wednesday night I redeemed myself with 37k on the bike, scouting out some of the planned route for a group ride on the Civic Holiday. There's some fun hills I'm inflicting on my friends. I'm so nice like that. Hopefully they are all still speaking to me after the group ride...

Looking back down one of the hills we'll be climbing on the group ride.
Thursday: Intervals. I had my fingers crossed they would go better than last week. 4:48, 4:48, 4:49, 4:51, BOOM. Yeah they went pretty well. They are still a touch slower than they should be but I'll take it, since at least I'm seeing 4s at the beginning again! 10k total.

My 'I'm so happy with those intervals' face.
Friday: Fasting blood test in the morning (which is TORTURE OMG the lack of caffeine! Gah!). I was working at home, though, so was able to get out for a bike ride at lunch once I'd caffeinated and eaten after the bloodwork. 42k, longer than I probably should have but the damn bike is just too much fun.
I put this on instagram tagged #catcrossing, and it turns out there are several hundred cat crossing pics. That is the greatest thing ever.
Saturday: Long run day - in Ottawa! Fun! The husband type person and I drove up there Friday night for a Saturday wedding, and our favourite thing to do while traveling is, of course, to check out new to us running routes.

As Sam pointed out, yes we are both wearing headphones. give us a break, we spent 6 and half hours in the car together Friday and were all out of talk.
We did 19k, so a little short of the 21 or so I wanted, but we didn't get in until midnight Friday and were both working on very limited sleep, so frankly we did well to get to the 19k.

Sunday: Dragged myself out for an easy (solo) 10k, because I knew a run would make me feel better after the wedding shenanigans from Saturday night. Worked out well. Then it was back home to recover from the whirlwind trip.

Random Ottawa pictures.
Weekly summary

Run: 51k
Bike: 79 k
Total: 130.1k in 8 hours, 1 minute

A little short on the run mileage this week (ideally would have been 60k+), but that's how these things go sometimes. Just gotta roll with it and do what you can.

This upcoming week is the third hard week in the current set before I take a cut back week. I'll do tempo and interval runs again, hopefully get at least 100k on the bike, and 60k+ on the run. It's ambitious but I think doable, especially with the promise of a rest week next week!