Monday, September 29, 2014

Training and Life Recap: Week of September 22

I read an article recently reminding us that rest and recovery are an important part of our overall health and fitness.  This past week was definitely one where I built rest into the program.  I skipped both of my swims, because I felt like I needed the sleep much more.  Mixing things up and continuing to challenge ourselves is also important.  So this week, my plan is to build some more yoga into my schedule, as the yoga practice I had on the Wednesday inspired me and nourished my body and soul. 

Monday: We started Tour de France last week with the OTC.  It is a 13-week program that follows the Tour by simulating the stages each week and watching videos during class. This is my second year doing it and it is going to be a lot of fun. The idea is that we get out of our triathlon focus and work toward other goals.  Well, my goal is to stay focused on my cycling and continue to build strength for... next triathlon season haha.

Tuesday: Track practice.  We did 3x2000 yards with the first 200 of lap 1, 3, and 5 fast and the rest at 10k pace.  After a rest, we did 3x150 yards at 70-80-90% effort.  It was a tough one as the muggy air made it fairly difficult to breathe, but we pushed through.

Wednesday: Yoga on Parliament Hill.  I really loved the practice and the fact that it was such a beautiful, sunshiney day.  It is so refreshing and good for my soul to get out of the office for a bit during lunch, and I will be sad when PHY ends this week. I also went to the hockey game - Sens vs. Leafs for the first home exhibition game.

Thursday: Three mile run at a solid effort (7:45 pace).  It was supposed to be a longer tempo run, but my body was not feeling it. I'm glad that I went out though!

Friday:  Short body-weight strength circuit in the morning.  RedBlacks game to celebrate a friend's birthday in the evening!

Saturday: Rest day.  We did walk 8k (4k each way) to get to the food truck rally.  We also stuffed ourselves with delicious food - duck poutine, tacos, bao, custard filled ice cream sandwiches. Yum!

Sunday:  Long run Sunday.  I did my longest run ever at 10 miles.  I was quite happy with my pace (8:08 per mile, which included my warm-up and cool down) and the fact that I pushed myself past my old limits. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Training and Life Recap: Week of September 15

Not an awesome week given that my back was acting up, which thankfully is resolved, and that I was feeling sick on Friday.  I didn't get my long run in either. It was absolutely pouring on Sunday and even though I had lots of friends out doing the Army Half Marathon in the rain, I couldn't motivate myself to get out there in solidarity for my 10 miler.  But, today is a new week!

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: Up early for a swim. My lower back was really sore, so I only stayed in the pool for about 3200 meters.  I hopped on the treadmill for a quick mile to test out my new Mizuno Wave Sayonaras to make sure that I was going to keep them.  Then I did a bit of ab work and stretching before I went home.  After work I attempted to do our track practice, but the back was still pretty sore, so I left that early as well.

Wednesday: Yoga on Parliament Hill.

Thursday:  Sunset10k tempo run! I did 10 minute warm-up, 25 minutes at 7:20 average pace, then a 12 minute cool down (had to get all the way to 10k when I was so close!!).  Average pace for the entire run was 7:43.  It felt pretty good, though I will have to see how the new shoes do on the next run.  The Wave Sayonara have less of a drop and less cushioning than the Wave Rider 17 that I was wearing over the summer. It was an absolutely gorgeous night for a run!

Friday:  Rest Day.  I skipped my swim because I was feeling sick when I got up for it.

Saturday: Barre class, before teaching two classes.  In the afternoon, I went stand-up paddle boarding for the first time! It was really fun. We spent about an hour out on the water. It was super windy so the way out was pretty tough paddling. It definitely felt like I got a great workout!

This is what happens when triathletes hang out on Saturday night. Photo shoots with new bikes...

Sunday: Rest Day.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Early Mornings

In triathlon, it sure helps if you are a morning person.  I used to be one, not necessarily by choice, back when I was just a swimmer.  We had doubles six times a week in high school, and to be honest, I have no idea how I survived.  These days, I'm trying to get back on the morning workout train, because I'm signed up for swimming twice a week at 6 am and I'm teaching a barre class at 6 am as well. So... how do you become a morning person?  Here are a few things that I'm trying.

Go to bed earlier

Well, isn't that obvious?!  I've definitely always been more of a night owl, trying to jam pack my evenings after work with workouts, cooking dinner, catching up on the Mindy Project or the Bachelorette, meeting up with friends, etc. So, I'm trying to limit my night time activities and get to bed by 10 pm on nights that I have to wake up at 5 am.  That gives me 7 hours of sleep.

Pack my bags before bed

If my bag is packed with my swim stuff (cap, goggles, suit, paddles, towel, toiletries, brush, and clean clothes) and ready to go, it makes life so much easier in the morning. That way, in my early morning fog, I don't forget anything essential.

Set a fun alarm

I picked a song that is happy and upbeat to use as my alarm.  It is way harder to ignore the song than it is to ignore beeps and buzzes.  I also, however, set a second alarm.  They go off about 3-4 minutes apart, so it is harder to fall back asleep if I hit snooze on one of them!

Reward myself

The nice thing about working out so early is that I have lots of time to relax and get ready for work.  If I make it to my workout, I have decided that I get a reward. Maybe I will stop for coffee on the way home from the pool, or maybe I will make myself a homemade pumpkin spice latte... something to make the morning a little bit more special.
Do you have any tricks or tips for becoming a morning workout person?? Please share!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Training and Life Recap: Week of September 8

My first week of "off season" training was last week. I took things pretty easy, mostly because it was a very social week for me and because my tummy was feeling really off until about Wednesday following my Olympic triathlon in Montreal.  Then, mid-week last week I signed up for my first half-marathon.  Nothing like a new goal to motivate you!

Monday: Barre Class at iNSiDE Out Studio.  Read about why I love barre as a triathlete here.

Tuesday: Swimming.  My first swim practice... at 6 am! Since my stomach was bothering me, I only did 4400 of the 5100 practice. By far, the longest, I have swam in a long time (well except for the day I tested out a practice with this group.)

Wednesday: Bike ride with the girls in Gatineau Park. Lots of hills and lots of laughs as we attempted to get into "super-aero" position on the downhills.

Pink Lake

Thursday: Taught the 6 am barre class. Celebrated a friend's birthday in the evening.

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: 8 mile run with the girls.  I got stung by a bee at about mile 5.5! Ouch! Taught 2 barre classes after.

Sunday: Another rest day.  Potluck brunch with the training group!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Running - Only Half Crazy

Well, I did it!! I talked about it. But then I finally bit the bullet and signed up for my first half-marathon! 

I still can't believe that I am running a half marathon in a month and a half.  If you had asked me at this time last year if I would do a half marathon, the answer would have been, "no way, are you crazy?!?"  Now, it turns out, I'm the crazy one... but only half crazy!

My teammates from OTC convinced me to join them on a road trip to the Newburyport Half Marathon in Massachusetts.  They have promised me a trip to Salem on the Saturday, which is also during Halloween season! And the race gives beer mugs instead of finisher medals! Score!

To prep for my run, I did a little searching online for training plans.  My goal is to only run 3 times per week, because I still want to fit in cycling, swimming, and strength training.  There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week!  I used a combo of Hal Higdon's Advanced Half Marathon Plan and Jenny Hadfield's Intermediate Half Marathon Plan to develop the following.  Since I was training for my Olympic distance races, I have a pretty solid base for running.

Half Marathon Training Schedule - Fall 2014

1 (9/8)
Swim (75)
Bike (50)
Run (8 miles)
Bike (2 hours)
2 (9/15)
Swim (90)
Run (track)
Bike (60)
Run (45 min tempo)
Swim (90)
Run (10 miles)
3 (9/22)
Bike (60)
Swim (90)
Run (track)
Run (50 min tempo)
Swim (90) Strength
Run (Run 12 miles)
Bike (2 hours)
4 (9/29)
Bike (60)
Swim (90)
Run (track)
Run (30 min tempo)
Swim (90) Strength
Run (8 miles at race pace)
5 (10/6)
Bike (60)
Swim (90)
Run (track)
Run (55 min tempo)
Swim (90) Strength
Run (13 miles)
Bike and Strength
6 (10/13)
Bike (60)
Swim (90)
Run (track)
Run (60 min tempo)
Swim (90) Strength
Run (6 miles race pace)
Bike (2 hours)
7 (10/20)
Race Week!
Bike (60)
Swim (90)
Run (track)
Run (30 min tempo)
Run (15-20 mins)
Race Day!

And, no post on my first half marathon would be complete without a goal!  My goal is to run it in under 1:45 and preferably to actually run it at 7:30 pace, since that was my pace in my 10k at the end of my Olympic triathlon.  I figure that should be reasonable!

Let the fun begin!

If you have any advice to share from your own experiences in running a half marathon, I'd love to hear it!! Please, help me!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Race Report: Montreal Esprit Olympic Triathlon

My very first Olympic Tri!!  It was an amazing way to end the season. Looking back, it was only a year ago that I decided to really commit to triathlon. I can't even begin to tell you how much my life has changed since then. I've met incredible people, I've grown tremendously as an athlete, I've learned a lot about myself, I've pushed my limits, and I've achieved more than I could imagine. I'm so thankful for this experience and everyone that has been a part of it. A huge thank you goes out to the Ottawa Triathlon Club  for welcoming me with open arms and being such an incredible community.


Jenn, Dale and I drove to Montreal the night before the race.  After getting a later start than planned due to an intense and honestly quite scary thunderstorm, we arrived in Montreal around 8 pm.  After unloading the car, we found a cute little Italian restaurant in the Plateau area to have dinner.  I was happy to see Chicken Parm on the menu of course!  After dinner, we attempted to go to the grocery store (it closed 5 minutes before we got there) and ended up at the corner D├ępanneur instead searching for some breakfast supplies / ice / Gatorade /etc.  By the time we got back to our AirBnB rental, it was 10:30. I quickly painted my nails (red with one red sparkly nail) and shared my pre-race ritual of watching Dreams of Glory with Jenn and Dale.  Off to bed by about 11:15 (a lot later than I had hoped).

In the morning, I got up at 6:10, showered and made my usual Vemma Bode shake and oats with Justin's almond butter and banana. We brewed a pot of coffee as well and relaxed for a few minutes before the scramble to pack up the car (3 bikes!) and get all 3 of us out the door by 7:20. It was a really easy drive to the race site, but by the time we got there, we were parked at the back of the lot.  We decided to leave the bikes at the car, as Jenn and I had to pick up our registration packets by 8.  We got our packets and got body marked, then went back for the rest of our stuff. At that point, a light rain had started. 

We returned to the race site and stopped by the bike mechanic tent.  My bike was all ready to go, thanks to the amazing work by Jonathan from Mobivelo the day before.  I set up my transition zone and was thankful to have thrown a bunch of plastic bags in my tri bag, because I was able to use them to keep my bike and running shoes dry, as well as to cover the rest of my gear. The trouble was that I myself was soaking wet since the rain had really started to pick up.  Then, I made my way over to the registration tent, to try to stay "dry" as I put my wetsuit on for the race.  I forgot to bring a plastic bag with me, and since I was wet, my body glide was of absolutely no use. It took quite a while to get the wetsuit on because of it! While in transition, one of the race organizers came over because the girl whose bike was between Jenn's and mine had a flat tire. The organizers made an announcement, but when her bike was still there, they decided to just take it and fix the flat themselves so that it would be ready for her race! We were really impressed.  I later saw the girl and she was really thankful.

Swim: Goal time - 24 minutes; Actual time: 21:54

The swim was in the Olympic rowing basin, which is a little bit longer than 2000m and a perfect rectangle.  I lined up on the "beach" with the other under-29.  The water was so murky and gross, which I guess really surprised me and wasn't what I was expecting.  I usually dip my goggles into the water to clear them off before I start swimming, but didn't want to chance it with the muddy water.  Instead, I just fidgeted with my goggles, wiping the insides out and pressing them back onto my face every 20-30 seconds until the horn sounded.  Right as we were about to start, I heard Jenn and Dale cheering for me! Thanks ladies!  Then we were off to the races.  I was able to get out in the front with 2 other girls right away.  I tried to keep up with them, but had to fix my goggles twice during the race, so lost them the first time.  My goal for the rest was to focus on keeping my stroke turnover high and catching lots of water with every stroke. I used the rope of small buoys as a guideline and only sighted once in a while to see how far ahead the other two girls were.  I was so happy to see the red flags signalling the swim exit.  After running up the beach, I carefully crossed the bridge (I'd been warned it was slippery and it was even more so with the rain) and made my way to transition.  I was totally shocked to see my swim time later.  I was definitely not expecting a 21 minute swim, given my very limited swim training this summer.

T1:  I got my wetsuit off relatively quickly.  I grabbed a swig of one of my water bottles, did up my shoes, put on my helmet, opted to leave my race number since we didn't have to wear it for the bike, and ran out of transition. Pretty smooth considering everything was soaking wet.

Bike:  Goal time - 1:20, Actual time: 1:14 (1:18:11 including transition)

The bike course was on the Formula One track, so the road surface was nice and smooth... though very, very wet.  The course was a 4.4 km loop, so we did 9 laps for the Olympic.  Despite how many different races were going on, I never felt too crowded on the course.  There were a few times when I had to slow down significantly going around curves and deal with riders who weren't following the course rules of passing on the right and riding on the inside.  I think my time could have been a little bit faster because of that and because I never fully got up to top speed, but I am happy with it overall.  I took two gels during the bike - Clif Chocolate Cherry with caffeine - and my stomach seemed to do fine during the race (after is another story!). On each lap, I said the lap number out loud to help myself keep track even though I had my bike computer as well.  It was awesome to see Dale cheering toward the end of each lap and to see a few OTCers out there (or on the run course for the longer distance races) as well. I almost had a crash though as I cheered and shouted for one of the OTC runners.  Oops, need to contain my excitement and pay a little more attention next time! Overall, the bike course was a lot of fun.  I was a muddy mess by the end, but it was fun. And the rain wasn't bad at all during that portion of the race.

T2:  I took my time in T2.  My towel was waterlogged, so I used it to wipe the gravel and dirt off my feet and put my socks on before putting on my running shoes.  I usually don't wear socks in a sprint, but I also usually have blisters by the end of my 5k, so I felt like I would want socks for the 10k. There were only a few bikes in the T-zone, so I knew things were going well.

Run: Goal time - 48:00, Actual time - 46:18 

I loved the run course. As soon as we finished the first 1/4 of it, we were running around the Olympic rowing basin, so we could see the whole course.  My goal was to keep a consistent pace the whole way since I had no idea what would happen.  My first 5k felt amazing and I was really happy to see my time.  So as I continued onto the second 5k, my goal was the same - keep a consistent pace.  My second 5k was almost identical, but actually a little bit faster!!  As usual, I gave a little shout-out of encouragement to anyone that I passed and thanked the volunteers, even though I didn't need their water since I had my own bottle with me.  Coming into the finish was pretty epic, because you could see the finish for 2k.  As I turned the corner of the basin, I told myself to keep pushing and to get to the end as fast as I could.  Only at the very last half kilometer did I experience any issues, and it was just some pins and needles in the ball of my left foot. At the finish, I gave a wave of the arms and thumbs up.  As I grabbed my water and tried to catch my breath, a woman who I had passed a few minutes earlier came up to thank me for the encouragement.  It turns out she was on her last lap of the half-iron distance and she said it was just what she needed! That certainly brought a smile to my face.

Post-Race:  The chattering teeth set in within a few minutes of the race as I waited for Jenn to finish.  Her wave started about 20 minutes behind mine, so I saw her as she was starting her second lap.  As I waited, I had a chance to chat with Joe, who was arriving for the sprint.  After Jenn's finish, we wandered over to find Dale before her swim start, then we hit the food tent.  My stomach also started to rebel at that point and I am still suffering from some discomfort, days later.  It was again raining quite hard and we were all soaked to the bone. Dale had a great race as well, then we all made our way back to shower, dry up and get some nourishment... and post-race hydration beer.

Overall, my first Olympic was a great experience.  I was really pleased with my result and the fact that the race went really smoothly.  My swim and run were actually faster paced than I do in my sprint races, so that tells me that I can probably push a little harder in my sprints.  It was a great race to end the season and I'm so happy to have shared the experience with my teammates, who have also become my friends. The season has been one of personal growth - physically and mentally - and I am so thankful to have such great coaches and teammates who have pushed me along the way.

Official Stats:

3rd in AG, 10th woman, 132nd overall

1500m Swim: 21:54
40km Bike: 1:18:11
10km Run: 46:18
Final Time: 2:26:21.3

Monday, September 8, 2014

Training and Life Recap: Week of September 1

Last week was my last week of triathlon training for the season.  And it was a taper week! I will obviously write a race report for my first Olympic race, but for now, here is what I did to train for it

Lemon doughnut and a delicious Americano at Alice's

Monday:  We organized a nice long ride for Labor Day. All in, we went 75 km. That is officially my longest ride ever. In fact, the first part of the ride was my longest ride ever. We went 47 km out to Carp, stopped at the amazingly delicious Alice's Cafe for coffee and treats, then went a shorter route back. It was my first time riding in a pack of any sort. We LSO had a pretty strong head wind on the way ou to Carp. I enjoyed the ride overall, but definite lu preferred the tail wind on the way back.

Tuesday:  Last official track practice and a nice 4x800m taper workout for me.  It felt good!

Wednesday:  A quick swim with the girls at Meech Lake. It was getting dark, so we didn't stay out long. You can see a bunch of other athletes from the tri club in the photo out in the water too!

Thursday:  Woke up to teach two barre classes before work. Rest day for my tri training.

Friday:  I got up for a nice 2 mile run. I did some race pace to get ready for Saturday's race. I also had the mobile bike repair man, Mobivelo, come to tune up my bike before work. Jonathan was awesome. My bike rode like a dream and he spent lots of time explaining things to me. Yay!

Saturday: Race Day!! It was a great day in Montreal. The weather was awful, but I'm happy with my race. We had a lot of fun post-race too!

Sunday: Rest day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Looking Forward to Fall / Winter

As my triathlon season winds to an end, I'm thinking about what is next.  For me, that really means that I'm already thinking about next year's tri season and preparing over the winter to have a strong base to crush my goals next season.  While I have been feeling a little bit burnt out lately from training, I am really excited to continue to grow as an athlete and challenge myself.  The date for World Championships was just announced, so I have a little bit more than a year to prepare.  It seems like a long time, but I know it is going to fly by so quickly. But back to this fall.  I plan to use the fall to work on my running, continue to build my base on the bike, and to build my overall strength.

The view from Champlain Lookout last fall in Gatineau Park

Strength - I started doing PiYo a few weeks ago, though somewhat infrequently, and I really like it.  I will continue to try to work a few PiYo workouts in each week along with my barre classes.  My goal is to get back to doing 2 barre classes a week.  Finally, I will try to do some weight lifting twice a week after my swim workouts, since I will have some extra time (30 minutes or so) before I need to head to work.  If you know of any good weight lifting programs for triathletes, let me know!

Swimming - Despite the fact that the swim is my strongest discipline, it is the hardest for me to do on my own and the workout that I am most likely to skip.  To remedy that I signed up for two swims a week.  It will be a little rough at first, since they are 6 am workouts, but I'm excited to see where it goes and of course to continue to meet new people!

Biking - I signed up to do Tour de France with the OTC. We do a 13-week simulation of the Tour and it was a lot of fun last year!  I also plan to continue to ride outside for as long as possible, getting in some longer rides and definitely riding in Gatineau Park, which is absolutely gorgeous when the leaves start to change.

Running - I've been procrastinating, but the plan is to do a half marathon in late October.  It will be my first ever and it is the first time that I can actually say that I'm excited to do a run that long! Beyond training for the half, our group is going to continue track practices for at least another month or two. And I may try out some trail running to mix things up a little!

Nutrition - I couldn't leave this very important part of the equation out of my fall plans.  Despite my heavy training schedule, I gained somewhere around 10 pounds this summer. I'm pretty sure it is not muscle and is instead the result of getting out of my normal routine of cooking for myself and also having a few too many beers on the patio. This wasn't exactly the way that I saw the summer going, so I am determined to get back on track this fall by participating in a health and fitness challenge group (that I'm actually hosting).  My challenge to myself will be to find the right balance for me and my training fuel needs!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Training and Life Recap: Week of August 25

It was supposed to be my final week of heavy training, but as you all know, sometimes life and work get in the way of the best laid training plans!  It feels as though I have made a lot of excuses for my training, but you know what, I am happy and I feel pretty good overall going into the Montreal Esprit. There was a point earlier in early August where I was feeling burnt out and I'm happy to say I got through that. And despite how busy last week was and how little training I got in, I didn't get stressed out at all, which is huge progress from the beginning of my summer. It's a journey, and I'm feeling good about where I am!

Monday:  I had a "long" ride planned, but realized I had a flat tire when I got to my friend's house.  I successfully changed the flat, but then it was too late to ride. So we did a nice 10k sunset run along the canal.

Tuesday: Taught the two morning barre classes, then stayed late at work, so I had to skip track. But I came home after my long day and did PiYo "Strength Intervals." I think my roommate thought I was a crazy lady flailing around the living room doing that workout.

Wednesday: Our last TTP session of the season and the last workout our group would do at the old OTC studio. We did a nice hard hour spin session, then went across the street to have a beer. I have to say, I loved our training group and I'm already excited for next year. Great coaches, amazing athletes, just a fun group overall.

Thursday: Rest day, since I taught 2 barre classes after work.

Friday: Another rest day. I was exhausted so I slept in. I also taught yet another barre class after work!

Saturday: I went to watch my OTC friends and a few other friends compete at the Canadian! So many amazing, inspiring performances! I also lent my bike helmet to a girl I had never met, so she could do her race! Then I rushed off to teach two more barre classes. After going to pick my helmet back up and watching a 10 year old doing the half-iron distance triathlon, I felt like I needed to go ride my own bike! I did a two sets of intervals (3 on, 1 off x 3) and time trial on the way back for a total of 30k. I tested out eating a gel on the bike and it worked very well.

Sunday: I ran to meet a friend at the pool.  In the end it was a 2.5 mile run at 7:18 average pace and a 2400m swim (500 warmup, 200 kick, 2x 250 pull, 4x 200 build, 4x50 sprint, 200 warm down). I was a little hot and sweaty after running in such hot, humid weather with my backpack full of swim stuff.