Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review

2015 was the year I went all in on triathlon. Funnily, I still think of myself as a runner first, despite that possibly being my least favourite of the three sports at the moment. But I think having successfully done five triathlons this year, and training all three sports 3+ times per week, I am officially a real triathlete. I even updated the blog header recently to reflect that change (it was a lot of fun going through the photos from the year, and kind of hard to narrow them down to my favourites.)

The yearly stats from Strava (more or less - not really sure of the accuracy of the bike numbers, since I assume that includes trainer rides and the Zwift ones exaggerate the distance 'traveled' a bit. But it's in the right overall ballpark).

Damn. Should have looked more closely at the swim stats at the beginning of the week, I could have cracked 180k!

That's a whole lot of time on the bike!

Less running than previous years, but I feel like I still got faster and stronger as a runner. Cross training, woo!

Biggest surprise: How much I love swimming.

Building swim endurance was quite a process, but now that I'm capable of knocking out 2000m in a session without thinking about it much, swimming is so satisfying. I thought swimming was going to be a necessary evil to get me to the good part (the bike!), but instead I find myself eagerly anticipating my swim workouts, and especially looking forward to getting back into open water in the spring. It's just fun! Plus it's an area where I have a lot of room for improvement, and it's always nice to see those incremental gains happening.

Favourite race: Barrelman

Ha, like there was going to be any other answer to that. I started 2015 feeling like a half iron was out of the question. Too long, too hard, no way would I be ready. But then by June I knew I could do it, and by race day I knew not only could I finish it, I could finish it strong. It was probably my best executed race ever, and I loved every minute.

Favourite non-race accomplishment: Imperial century ride

This was one of my goals for the year - ride 100 miles. We had a great route, great company, and it was very satisfying to check this one off the list. (Runner up on this one was my first ever 3k open water swim - aka the swim that made me realize that at least the swim portion of a full Ironman someday is totally doable).

Best purchase: Tri club membership

OK, so the tri bike would be the more obvious choice, but since she joined the family late in the year she hasn't had that big an impact yet. Instead, I have to give the nod to joining the Iron Canucks. The club meant I could almost always find a partner for open water swim practice, and I got to meet some amazing people. And there's something pretty awesome about being in team kit at races - you get cheered for by your teammates, and you just feel that much more legit. Memberships now available for 2016!

(honorable mention to my Trainerroad subscription here - it was hard to pick between the two of them, because I wouldn't want to give up either!)

Most satisfying PB: Mississauga 10k

Post race with my favourite running partner, my husband. As the kids get older it gets easier for us to run together! And he now has a bike, so riding together too.
Although I PBd at ATB, in retrospect I don't think I executed that race as well as I could have. Going 50:30 at Mississauga in a well-executed race was a big mental boost going into a summer of hard tri training.

Most fun: Training with the girls on Northshore in the winter

Yeah, we're totally adorable. Me, Nicole, Sam, Ivanka.
"Ugh we need to slow this down." "Yeah, this is too fast." (pace goes from 5:25/km to...5:27/km)

Such good times last winter! I hope I can hit those paces again this winter!

Thing I'm looking forward to the most in 2016: Muskoka 70.3 and going for a course PB at Barrelman

Couldn't pick just one :) And those would be why I'm training like a crazy person right now!

It's been an amazing year - now it's on to 2016 and even bigger and better things.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Base training week 8

Now that week was more like it! I hope everyone had a great holiday.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 2k swim; Trainer (Whorl) 1:15
Wednesday: 10k run
Thursday: Trainer (Whorl) 1:15; 2k swim
Friday: 10k run
Saturday: 18k run; Trainer (Whorl) 1:15
Sunday: 1800m swim; Trainer (Virginia) 1:45; 7k brick run

I kept things to the endurance side on the bike, repeating Whorl x3 to make sure my ankle was ok. It was a little twinge-y through the week, but by Sunday when I moved up to the 1:45 endurance ride it was fine. Still, however, I'm going to be cautious with it this week and start off with some sweet spot efforts to see how it reacts. Which means no FTP test, OH DARN. Yeah, not exactly upset about that.

Swimming was fun this week. Tuesday was great, but Thursday...yikes. I didn't realize it because I only looked at the schedule for 'my' pool, but the city cancelled all the lane swims except one on Christmas Eve. When I walked in just after it had started it was a complete madhouse. I almost turned around and walked out again (and I saw quite a few people do exactly that!) but I really wanted to get in my swim so I gave it a shot. And it worked out a lot better than I could have hoped - although I had to share a lane with 5-6 other people, we were all pretty comparable in terms of speed and I got in a solid workout. Still, with all the bodies in the pool it was almost like swimming open water in a wavy lake! Good practice in some ways, I guess. I missed a lot of breaths due to waves smacking me in the face.

Mmmmmmmmm, empty. Opposite of Thursday.
After that experience, I decided to give a miss to the Saturday swim, as this time I looked at the complete schedule and saw that once again 'my' pool had the only lap swim that day. Staying in my PJs with a mug of tea seemed like a better choice. And then I had a lovely quiet swim on Sunday.

We are cute.
Running was good this week, especially getting out with my husband for a 10k Christmas day run. Feeling a little sluggish on the run but this week I'll add back in some speedwork and see where that takes me.

Post brick run, featuring a Christmas gift from Sam, who is the best. Love my running friends!

I'm off work this week which makes scheduling workouts so much easier. On the yay/boo side of things, somehow we ended up with all the leftover cheese from two family Christmas celebrations (so much food was eaten last week), so although I kind of love the fact we have about 15 different kinds of cheese in the fridge, I'm going to have to step up my workouts just to compensate!

Ginger judges your Christmas celebrations. Mostly the fact we won't share any of the food with him.
So, the plan for this week:

Monday: rest! Earned it!
Tuesday: 2k Swim, trainer 60 minute sweet spot (probably something like Slide Mountain). If that goes well, then I'll pick up the half iron base training plan on Thursday. If not, back to endurance spinning.
Wednesday: 10k run; TRX*
Thursday: 2k Swim, 1:15 trainer, brick run
Friday: 3k swim, trainer 1 hour
Saturday: 20.16 run
Sunday: 2:30 trainer endurance ride, brick run; 2k swim

*augh I suck at actually doing this.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Base training week 7 - aka The One Where My Ankle Wasn't Better After All

That didn't go as planned!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 2k swim; FTP test FAIL
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 2k swim, 5.5k run
Friday: 9k run, 3k swim
Saturday: 18k run
Sunday: 1 hour trainer, 8k run, 2k swim

Hilarious that a 9 hour week is vaguely disappointing. Things are a lot different than they were this time last year, that's for sure!
Sooooo my ankle felt fine on Monday, but then I tweaked it somehow Tuesday morning. I thought it was OK but 20 minutes into my attempt at an FTP test on the bike it was clear it was NOT fine.


So back to the day by day thing. It is what it is. Swimming was fine (obviously, I went a little nuts and swam my most yardage in a week ever), and running was, weirdly, fine. It's just cycling that aggravates it. So it's touch and go there, and so I'm pretty much just putting in question marks for bike stuff for this week. My ankle feels fine today, but it felt fine last Monday too and see where that got me! (could I use the word 'fine' more? FINE. IT'S FINE. EVERYTHING IS FINE.)

It sure doesn't look like anything is wrong with it. It being my ankle. There's all kinds of stuff wrong with my fashion choices.

In the bigger picture this isn't a big deal, of course. I'll run and swim and hopefully be able to do easy biking this week (as it was threshold type efforts that sent things south last week). And we'll see where that takes me. My bike fitness in general feels like crap lately, so I'm not exactly super pumped about doing another FTP test anyway. Sort of don't mind having an excuse to skip that!

And hey, there was some really good stuff last week! Like some terrific swim workouts. It still astonishes me a bit how much I've grown to love swimming. Considering this time last year I think I'd been to the pool all of once and didn't go back again until Sam and Mari handheld me through it. Now I'm all 'get out of the fast lane*, bitches, this is MY turf.'

*yeah, the fast lane at my local pool could perhaps better be described as 'the only lane where no one is breaststroking'. Fast is relative.

No swim pics, but this was my fuel for Friday's 3k swim. Yum.
And we had a fun Christmas themed long run on Saturday. Always nice to run with a group!
A photo posted by Sam J (@sammykaye71) on

Post run reward (they didn't have any vanilla dip donuts! WHAT THE HELL.)

So, this week. There's some sort of big holiday on Friday I hear, so this is all pretty tentative. We'll see how it goes.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Morning swim, easy trainer (Whorl)
Wednesday: 8k run; TRX*
Thursday: trainer (TBD); swim
Friday: Christmas Day run
Saturday: trainer (TBD); long run (18k?)
Sunday: trainer (TBD); brick run; swim


Monday, December 14, 2015

Base training week 6 + Egg Nog Jog

Well that was a weird week. Started great, big disaster in the middle, ended on a high note. A bit of an athletic roller coaster ride!

Monday: 60 minute trainer, TRX
Tuesday: morning swim, evening run with the tri club (Xmas light fun!)
Wednesday: 75 minute trainer (brick run after if possible) rest
Thursday: morning swim, easy run, TRX rest
Friday: rest (NAILED IT!)
Saturday: 2:15 trainer, 20 minute 'am I still injured' test ride; 2500m swim
Sunday: Egg Nog Jog, 40 minute easy spin

So. The week started so well! Solid trainer ride (cancelled the TRX afterwards because the strength sprints in the TR workout left my legs completely dead), decent swim Tuesday morning, and a fun run with the tri club Tuesday night. 

This is the bike equivalent of a running shoe selfie, right? I dunno. Really need better lighting in the basement so I look less like a zombie in trainer pics.

The traditional 'proof I went swimming' pic.

Nice turnout for the club run! Pic via Natalie.
And then there was Wednesday. What's most annoying about spraining my ankle while walking to work is I don't even have a good story about it! Seriously. Walking down the sidewalk, boom. Over to the side when I stepped wrong on a pebble. WTF. And it wasn't one of those 'oops, kinda hurts, I'll walk it off' things. I felt something pop (pretty sure that's not right...) and the initial pain was so bad I almost threw up. I had to lean against a streetlight for about 5 minutes before I could hobble the rest of the way to my office.

So yeah, my Wednesday was good. How was yours?

Good thing I left this ice pack in the work freezer from the last time I had an injury! Sigh.
Once the initial shock and pain wore off it wasn't so bad. Iced it, kept off it and elevated it as much as possible through the day. Obviously the Wednesday workouts were out.

Of course it was a great day for running. OF COURSE.

Just spending my evening elevating and icing. At least I got to use the new Christmas mugs for my pity party tea.
(what is with me and December foot injuries? A couple years ago I sprained* my foot, the year after that I accidentally kicked a wall and broke my toe** on Christmas Eve. Last year I took two weeks off due to hip stuff and thought I'd finally broken the foot curse!)

*diagnosed as a sprain but I've always wondered if it was really a stress fracture
**not sure if I broke it or just really badly bruised it. Either way, it took about 6 weeks to get better.

Here again. Working at home to make it easier to stay off the foot.
Thursday I was tempted to go swimming, but I knew there was a good chance I'd forget about the foot at some point and push off the wall hard and make things worse. So I stuck to more rest. Admittedly it was pretty easy to be zen about things because by Thursday morning it was clear this was a minor sprain and would probably heal fast.

Friday it felt even better, but I played it safe and stuck with rest, with enough walking in the day to keep it loose. Saturday morning I hopped on the trainer, and it was...ok. I only did 20 minutes and things felt a little iffy, so I was sensible and stopped at that point. I did go to the pool and have a fantastic swim, though!

A long way from being a fish, but for me this is pretty awesome.

I had a little bit of pent up energy, I think.

Egg Nog Jog

Pre-race with my husband
So Sunday morning I taped up my ankle just for a little added stability, and I was good to go for the 10.8k Egg Nog Jog. Met up with some of my tri/run besties pre race, once the rain stopped.

Irina is injured and couldn't run the race (dislike!), but was giving me a run for my money in the outfit department. Photo via Paul.

The plan was always to run this easy, and I took the first half of the race carefully just to be on the safe side (plus the roads were wet, and I did NOT want to risk a slip). I ran the race with Kim and it was really fun! Well, after you get past the giant hill halfway through. The downhill parts were definitely more fun.

Pre-race with my partner in crime. Gotta do these before the race. Post race everything is all sweaty and gross. #protip

We finished in 1:02:52, and I was 12th for my age group. Can't complain!

Almost there, Kim!

It was a really well organized race, and I was very happy with how I felt during and after the run. Plus, I got a lot of compliments on my outfit, which is really the most important thing.

Another fantastic pic by Paul (can he take pics at all the races?!?). Clearly having way too much fun (I swear, I didn't have any Egg Nog! Spiked or otherwise!)
So it was a very fun morning! Going to a race with no intention of flat out racing it is much less stressful, I have to say. Although I missed the adrenaline rush of trying to hit a goal. Still, it was a great way to end off what's been a really good year for me. A little friends and fun, what more could you ask for?

I could ask for more of this amazing soup they had at the race. I think I'd do the race again just for the soup.
That was going to be it for the week until Coach Zin ordered bullied suggested nicely that I should do an easy trainer ride Sunday night. I was feeling pretty sluggish and didn't really want to, but I sucked it up and did the ride... and felt like a million bucks after. I wonder if he ever gets tired of being right all the time.

So, the ankle feels good, and I think I'm all set to get into my new Trainerroad plan this week. Now is when shit starts to get real fun. Half iron base high volume, let's do this thing!

The plan:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Morning swim, evening FTP test
Wednesday: EZ run, TRX
Thursday: Morning swim, evening trainer
Friday: EZ run, swim?
Saturday: Long run, 60 min trainer, swim?
Sunday: Long ride, brick run

Oh yeah, things only get more interesting from here!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Base training week 5

Every time I tried to sit down and write this post, I found someone had taken my spot.

"Just looking at cat .gifs, don't mind me"
Finally got Fat Butt up there to move so I could write! This week started out kind of sucking, but got better from there.

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: morning 1200m swim, FTP test Easy 45 minute trainer
Wednesday: 8k 6k easy, TRX strength workout
Thursday: morning 1600m swim, 60 minute trainer
Friday: 8k easy
Saturday: 20k run, 2k swim
Sunday: 2 hour trainer, 6k brick run

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday I was down for the count with a cold. Damn germy children. So that led to revised workouts. It is what it is - at least the cold was pretty mild, so I could still do workouts, just not the ones I'd planned.

Drank approximately 11,000 cups of tea this week, thanks to that cold. And the fantastic David's Tea advent calendar. This one was particularly good (Glimmer & Gold).

The rest of the week, once I was feeling better, went great! The TRX thing may be turning into a habit, my swimming was solid, and the 20k run on Saturday with Sam and Ivanka was really fun. My run mileage is back up where I want it before I start adding speedwork back in - this upcoming week will be a bit of a recovery for running, and then I'll start my official Around the Bay training after that.

Random stuff on campus I walk past every day. Took a moment this week to actually look. Still not sure what that last thing is.

Good times!
Cut all my hair off. Feels weird.
The trainer ride on Sunday went well, although I skipped the last set of form drills because my legs were not having it. And the run after wasn't great because like a big dummy I didn't really fuel during the trainer ride. Hi, I'm new at this apparently. Funny how you keep having to learn some of these lessons over and over and over again.

Date ride Sunday! We need better selfie lighting in the basement. They didn't consider that important when they built this house in the 80s.

Hair cut advantage - no need for a bun! At least for a week or two until it grows back enough to get sweat all over my neck. #gross #classy

Overall, can't complain too much, other than about the fact Trainerroad still hasn't put out those new triathlon base training plans yet.

Next week's plan. Moving everything around thanks to an Iron Canucks event, a work potluck that takes away one of my lunch hour run times, and the Egg Nog Jog on Sunday. I will not be racing the ENJ or attempting any sort of particular goal time. This is a fun race, not a race-race for me.

Monday: 60 minute trainer, TRX
Tuesday: morning swim, evening run with the tri club (Xmas light fun!)
Wednesday: 75 minute trainer (brick run after if possible)
Thursday: morning swim, easy run, TRX
Friday: rest
Saturday: 2:15 trainer, swim
Sunday: Egg Nog Jog

Oh, and just because I mentioned it before. I'm back to the weight where I'm comfortable and my clothes fit, so a  little rejigging of my portion sizes was the solution there. Conveniently training is starting to ramp up just as we enter the 'eat all the food' portion of the year. Lots of Christmas baking to do! That's the real reason I train 10 hours a week. Because food is so damn good.

Sometimes a doughnut is the only solution to your problems.