Monday, March 28, 2016

Muskoka base build week 3 + Around the Bay race week!

Another solid week in the books!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 1900m swim; TR Owens (60 minutes VO2max) + 3k brick run
Wednesday: 8k run; 2100m swim
Thursday: TR Phoenix (90 minutes tempo)
Friday: TR Petit (60 minutes aerobic) + 8k easy run
Saturday: 17k long run
Sunday: TR Makalu (3:45 aerobic) + 9k brick

Ended up flipping a few things around on the schedule due to Easter travel commitments, and I wasn't able to fit in a third swim. But overall, a great week!

Just standing in the rain after a brick run, as one does.
The Tuesday brick is feeling pretty good, and gives me a way to add a few more run km into the week without being too taxing. After ATB I'll likely continue that and eventually build it up to 5-7k. It's also a nice way to recover after the VO2 workouts - my legs seem to feel better with that little bit of running, rather than just collapsing directly onto the couch.

Cootes Paradise on my Wednesday run
I had a couple of really good swims this week, and the trainer rides felt great too. Starting to get really antsy to get back outside, though! Still a ways away from open water swimming, but hopefully after ATB the long rides will move outside again. I will likely stick with the trainer on weeknights. Partially because there's a lot of benefit to trainer rides (can hold steady effort, targeted workouts, catching up on movies and TV shows, safe), but also due to scheduling. It's a lot easier to schedule my trainer time around the kid's activities than it is to schedule riding outside.

(I also kind of want to knock out a 100k trainer ride, just to say that I did it. I guess we will see what happens with the weather in April!)

Saturday I got to run with my husband and brother on the country roads near my parent's house, which was a lot of fun. Even though they are both faster than me so it ended up being a little more tempo-ish than was probably ideal. And there was the little matter of the giant angry dog that chased us early in the run. He didn't get any closer than about 150m or so, but he was a very large german shepherd-esque beast and we really weren't sure how we were going to deal with the situation if he caught up to us. So we got some unplanned speekwork there.

My husband looking back to see if it had stopped following us while I'm all 'nope, I'm out of here, losers'. Not sure why my brother was taking pictures. Maybe he was going to throw his phone at the dog.
With my brother, pre-dog attack.

Too many damn hills in the country. Stupid glaciers.
Sunday, after my stupidly long bike ride and brick session, it was off to the inlaws for Easter dinner. I restrained myself from elbowing any small children or elderly people out of my way to get at the food.

Man, holiday meals after a big workout are the greatest thing ever. ALL THE FOOD.

Next up, Around the Bay. The weather is looking increasingly shitty, but I can't do anything about that. Goal is to get that sub 2:45, hopefully by a few minutes rather than a few seconds. Plan is keep calm, cool, and collected for the first 5k and NOT GO OUT TOO FAST LIKE I ALWAYS DO. This race is an especially bad one to start too fast, because you will pay hard on the Northshore hills. As I've learned. All four times I've done this race.

Time to rest up to have the best shot at another PB for the year:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim; pre-race interval run (6x400m @ 5:00/km with 400m recoveries)
Wednesday: TR (60 minutes - either a easy sweet spot workout or an easy aerobic ride, depending on how I feel)
Thursday: swim; 9k run with 5k at race pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: TR Taku -1 (30 minute easy)
Sunday: 30k Around the Bay; TR Recess 40 (recovery)

If anyone out there has any pull with the weather, please to turn off the wind for Sunday morning. Thanks every so much.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 build week 2

Another week done. Two weeks until Around the Bay, so it's time for everyone's favourite activity, agonizing over the weather forecast. Yay!

I'll allow it.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 2100m swim; TR Shortoff +1 (1 hour - VO2 max intervals) + 3k brick run
Wednesday: 12k run; 2100m swim
Thursday: TR - McAdie (1:30 - over/unders)
Friday: 8k easy run; TR - Petit (1 hour - recovery)
Saturday: 27k easy run; 2000m swim
Sunday: TR - Phoenix (1:30 - tempo) + 7k brick run

Really solid week! I was somewhat surprised to realize, while poking around my Veloviewer stats, that that's the most running (distance wise) I've done in a week in a quite a long time. I ended up at 57k this week - the last time I ran that much was September of 2014! And what's amazing is how good it feels. I really think all the aerobic slogging I've been doing on the bike is paying off on the run. It just feels so much easier.

My favourite local climb
I also added a second brick workout in this week. I've been considering it for a while but I was kind of waiting for daylight savings time so I wouldn't have to do the weekday brick in the dark. I have no problem running before dawn, but I'm more reluctant to run on dark evenings - there's just so much more traffic in my neighbourhood in the evening. But now that sunset is later I'm more comfortable doing that run. I'll be keeping it short (3-5k) for a few weeks, though. No need to add on a long one there at this point.

My feelings on the week. Also fulfilling the awkward selfie quota for the week.
So running feels good, just in time for the big spring race. Can't complain about that. The bike is going well - loving the variety of workouts in the Trainerroad plan. A little VO2 suffering, some aerobic, some tempo. And of course, the return of over/unders, which are basically a little glimpse of hell.

My one regret on the week is we forgot to take any pictures on the group long run! What the hell, Sam, aren't you supposed to be on top of these things? My husband was able to come, and we convinced Zindine to make the trek to Burlington too. Just too bad Nicole couldn't join us.

A group picture would be better here than my pasty winter legs.
 Random food pictures because #hungrytriathlete:
Mmmmmm, granola. Needed a bigger bowl.
The whole food situation is a problem right now, really. Twice this week I woke up in the middle of the night starving and had to go eat a handful of almonds before I could get back to sleep. This is an issue!
Stuffed my lunchbag so full I could barely close the zipper this morning - and it's all been eaten already.  Fueling without resorting to an all-junkfood diet is getting difficult.

So what's the plan for this week, other than eating all the things?

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim, TR (VO2s) + brick run
Wednesday: some sort of interval or tempo run
Thursday: swim. TR (long tempo)
Friday: EZ run; TR (recovery)
Saturday: long run
Sunday: TR (long aerobic) + brick run

(since the workout names aren't very illuminating, I'm going to start listing the TR workouts by their purpose instead)

With the holiday weekend and all the travel we'll have to do to see family, swimming on the weekend probably won't happen. What can you do. Just hope I can fit everything else in!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 build week 1

It's a new phase of training this week - time to start the build plan. I'm again using a Trainerroad plan (high volume half ironman) for the bike, while kind of doing my own thing for the run and the swim.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 1800m swim; TR - Mont Albert (1 hour)
Wednesday: EZ 8k run
Thursday: 2000m swim; TR - Cumberland (1:15)
Friday: EZ 8k run; TR - Petit (1 hour)
Saturday: TR Appalachian (3:30) + 9k brick run
Sunday: 26k run; 1350m swim

Whew. Big week to kick things off! I took it day by day, knowing I would still be recovering from the Chilly half. Tuesday's workouts were really good, but Wednesday's run felt pretty lousy in exactly the way I expected after the half. But then Friday's run was great, so I didn't cut back at all in my planned workouts.

I also discovered this week that these are really good. Crap. And I just remembered I have another bag of them hidden away. Now how to get them out without the candy police (also known as the kids) realizing they exist.
And yes, I for real spent 3 and a half hours on the trainer. And to be honest? I didn't hate it. I think these long aerobic rides have been really beneficial. And it's hard to do that kind of a ride outside. There's always going to be hills or wind or something that inevitably leads to you moving out of that aerobic zone. On the trainer the biggest danger is something exciting will happen in the movie you are watching and you'll find your power suddenly a little higher than it should be.

Pancakes make excellent long ride fuel. (I didn't take many pictures this week, so it's pretty much all food here today).
Overall, I was somewhat surprised how good I felt all week, other than that Wednesday run. And the Sunday swim was pretty meh - I could easily have kept going, but my form was shitty and it seemed like a better idea to just call it a day at that point.

Mmmmmmm, carbs and crappy canned parmesan. Don't deny it, some days that's better than the real stuff.
So far so good on the build plan!

The upcoming week continues the fun. Although I'll be doing almost two hours less cycling, the training stress score for the week is almost the same. That's a little worrying, since it means the same amount of work is crammed into significantly less time...

But hey, gotta love a challenge!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim; TR - Shortoff +1* (1 hour)
Wednesday: EZ run
Thursday: swim; TR - McAdle (1:30) + very short brick run maybe
Friday: EZ run; TR - Petit (1 hour)
Saturday: long run; swim?
Sunday: TR - Phoenix (1:30) + brick run; swim?

*any time Trainerroad suggests a '+1' workout, you should pretty much just flee in terror.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Chilly half marathon 2016 race report

Ah, the Chilly half marathon. I have complicated feelings about this race in general – other than Around the Bay, it’s the race I've done the most often. It was my first ever half back in 2012, and I've run it every year since except for last year. (To be honest I don't remember why I skipped it last year – probably because I was really focusing on Around the Bay? I dunno.)

So I have fond memories of finishing my first ever half marathon at this race, but then the next one was kind of sucktacular because I was coming off an injury and had to treat it as a training run. Which is fine, but it's not really why I race, you know? A plus of the race is it's convenient and close to home – but on the other hand the swag is often pretty lame. Seriously, I see people running wearing the 2013 and 2014 jackets and wonder how they can tolerate it. 5 minutes in those things and I’m sweating like I’m trying to make weight for a wrestling match.

I set a half PB at this race in 2014 with Nicole as my super pacer, which was awesome – but then that PB stuck around a lot longer than I expected, even after taking two tries at trying to break it, and failing pretty miserably both times. I was starting to wonder if 2014 had been some sort of crazy fluke and I’d never get close to 1:50 again!

So, somewhat mixed feelings. But I was feeling pretty great leading into this year’s edition of the race, confident I could hold the 5:15/km pace that would net me a PB, and determined to put in a solid effort and see where that would take me.

Getting my shit together

And things started off well going into the race – this year's swag is a New Balance long sleeve that is super soft, fits perfectly, and has fancy touches like thumbholes. Seriously, probably the nicest race shirt I’ve ever gotten. Happy to have a race souvenir I’ll likely use quite a bit.

I never know where to look in bathroom mirror selfies. #awkward
With a 10:05 start it was a pretty leisurely morning. After bagels and tea, the husband and I headed downtown around 8:15, and snagged the last parking spot in the lot behind the Performing Arts Centre. Score! Then we went inside where I spotted Ivanka, Nicole, and Sam sitting in the theater and we did the usual pre-race stuff (eating, bathroom, bag check, bathroom, damn it where's my gloves, bathroom). Soon it was time to head out to the start, and on the way we bumped into Paul! I didn't manage to get over to Foot Tools to meet up with my tri club, though. I wanted to stick with the girls so we could at least start the race together.

Pre race good luck hug
I knew I wouldn’t run with them long. I had decided before the race that I was really, really going to focus on settling into 5:15 ish pace right off the bat, rather than running 10k at 5:05 and then starting an inevitable ever slowing grim death march for the last half. Reasonably even splits was my goal here. I would be running my own race.

The only time all morning I was this close to the 1:50 pacers. As soon as they a) announced the wrong target pace and b) said they were pacing by gun time, I knew I wouldn't be sticking with them.
Sure enough, I lost everyone within a few minutes of getting across the start line. But that was cool. Just settle in. Long way to go.

And we're off!

Km 1-5
5k: 26:12

Right where I wanted to be for the first 5k. I had side stitches on alternating sides through the first couple of km, but they eventually went away. Nothing else exciting here other than seeing the leaders come back the other way and a little bit of dodging around people. And I tossed my gloves at the first water station. Captivating stuff.

This has to be early in the race because I look so damn chipper. Even my ponytail is loving life.

10k: 52:17

So in the sixth km you come back through the downtown area and the street is lined with people cheering for a block or so. Pretty sure that’s why I sped up a bit there! Damn that is motivating! But I brought it back down after that. I had a lot of trouble getting my gel down at 8k – I had it inside my Spibelt instead of on belt loops or in an easy to access pocket like I usually do in races, which was a mistake. It was a complete pain in the ass getting it out. Also, at this point I was feeling overdressed and really regretting the tank top under my long sleeve and the ear warmer I was wearing. The pace was feeling good but I was a bit cranky.

This was probably earlier in the race, but whatever. I do remember running behind that girl with the hydration vest for quite a long time.
15k: 1:18:27

After 13k I was really feeling over this whole race business. Looking at the splits I was a bit fast on that km, so maybe that's why things took a bit of a downturn. Plus just after 13k the race route turns around to head back to the finish and, and we met a little bit of headwind. Wind sucks, yo. It was pretty mild as winds along the lake go, but mentally I was reverting to a three year old on the verge of a tantrum. "I no like wind!! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!!". However, the wind did cool me down and I no longer felt overdressed! Silver linings.

20k: 1:45:01

Gotta be honest: the wheels were starting to come off. I passed my husband (who was having a really bad day – he’s still recovering from a bought of the flu), and I was torn between pushing on and keeping him company. But I knew the PB was still within reach, and he wouldn’t want me to give up on that. I was losing my mental mojo, though. In km 17 I stopped and walked for 15 seconds and forced myself to drink as much of the Skratch mix in one of my bottles as I could. Sugar always helps – but getting it down during a race can be a challenge. Then I started running again and found myself running alongside a lady in a blue jacket, and we kept each other on pace for a few km. I also grabbed an orange slice as we went past the church, and that was a nice distraction.

Why do we do this again? Ugh.
And this is where all those hours on the bike paid off in a semi-unexpected way. With 3k to go I started picturing myself in the pain cave, doing a 15 minute long sweet spot interval with Trainerroad. That’s it, just 15 minutes. Picture that green target line and just maintain the effort you need to match it as the time counts down. You can do it. You've done it a hundred times. It hurts, but you always, always finish the interval.

And it totally worked! Mentally I dragged myself out of the ‘I’m going to just slow down’ mindset and I held pretty close to pace! This is kind of huge for me, and one reason I’m so thrilled with this race. I’ve always felt my late race mental game is weak, and this one proved I can tough my way through it!

Attempting to give the photographer thumbs up while also TOTALLY DYING.

5:02 (and 4:37/km pace for the last 100m!)

AND I HAD A KICK. You guys. I usually drag my ass across the finish line with nothing left to speak of. This race I had an actual kick! Hot damn.

Sprinting to the finish and looking dead sexy. AIR. I NEED AIR.

Chip time: 1:50:34
Gun time: 1:51:47
Overall place: 795/2233
Gender place: 230/1159
Age group place: 35/156

I don't think I've ever gotten a decent finish line photo at this race, so why start now?

So freaking happy.

Post race

A photo posted by Sam J (@sammykaye71) on

Cute (and large!) medal
So there it is. Finally got that half PB. Learned a few things (especially around my hydration/nutrition strategy, but more on that in another post at some point). Overall, it couldn't have gone better for me. Perfect weather, good friends, a new PB? Excellent, Just wish my husband had had a better day. His time will come, I know it!

Next up - Around the Bay!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Muskoka base build week 10: End of the base phase and the Chilly half

Last week wrapped up the base training portion of this thing. We are think 18 weeks from Muskoka (?? I'm literally looking at a spreadsheet where this is all laid out but I'm still not sure). So it's time to move on to the build plan. A little early to moving into the build in some ways (the plan is 8 weeks build/8 weeks specialization), but this gives me an extra two weeks to play with, which I will likely need after Around the Bay to recover.

It was a great week to reduce the volume, and also have some serious 'fun'.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 1800m swim; FTP test (first 'fun')
Wednesday: 8k pre-race intervals; TR - Petit (1 hour)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5k easy run
Saturday: 2000m swim; TR Taku - 1 (30 minutes)
Sunday: Chilly half marathon; TR Recess 40 (40 minute recovery ride)

Considering it was only (heh) a 7 hour week, lots to unpack in there!

I wanted to get my FTP test out of the way before racing on Sunday, because obviously trying to do it after the race would be foolish. Always set yourself up to win, not fail. I was a little bit nervous going in, since my last few attempts at FTP tests have suck-diddly-ucked, but it went AMAZING. I feel really, really strong on the bike right now. And I went from 200W to 216W. BAM.

Pre/post FTP test. You know it's good times when the kids emerge from the computer room all "Um mom are you ok??"

So I was on a pretty good mental high after that. I had a pretty solid set of pre-race intervals on Wednesday (6x400m at slightly faster than race pace), which was satisfying coming off of the FTP test the night before. And big props to the City of Hamilton yet again for clearing the rail trail of snow! Someone send those guys a fruit basket.

A thing of beauty, really.
Then it was pretty much just rest up for Sunday's race. A few workouts here and there to avoid feeling sluggish and keep the legs moving.

I'll do a full race report on the Chilly tonight or tomorrow, but it went amazingly well. A new PB! I have a lot to say about that but it'll wait for that post.

It's always a good morning when I get to replace an old PB medal with a new one. Hope I'll be swapping out that ATB medal in a few weeks!
After the Chilly I did a first for me, which was to actually do the recovery ride Zindine is always recommending. It didn't feel great at the start, but it did really, really help my legs feel better by the end. It was super light and easy, so a bit boring, but I'll definitely be doing that again.

You know it's an easy ride when you spend half of it updating apps on your phone and playing Frozen Free Fall II.
So now what? Base build week 1! I have a bit of DOMS today, but nothing too bad. However, in deference to the fact I did just set a new half marathon PB, I'm not going to be diving into the tough stuff right off the bat. This week will involve a lot of playing it by ear.

Monday: rest like a boss
Tuesday: swim; TR (1 hour - aerobic or tempo depending on how I feel)
Wednesday: easy run
Thursday: swim; TR (Cumberland - 75 minutes. Will drop the workout intensity if needed)
Friday: easy run. TR Petit (1 hour)
Saturday: TR Appalachian (3.5 hours OMG WHAT??) + brick run lulz. Swim if I haven't keeled over onto my face.
Sunday: long run with the tri club; swim.