Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recovery through Nutrition

As I've learned more and immersed myself in the life of an athlete, my relationship with food has continued to evolve.  A while back, I wrote a post on my nutrition philosophy, and while it still holds true that I view food as fuel for performance, I have also started to think more seriously about timing of nutrition in order to optimize performance and recovery.  There is a lot of interesting discussion out there on what athletes should eat and when. 

Another consideration that has really caught my attention is the varying needs of women versus men, and how nutrients affect women's performance and recovery at various points in their menstrual cycle. (Sorry if talking about this makes you cringe guys...). Anyways, Osmo Nutrition opened my eyes to all of this, because Dr. Stacy Sims, Osmo's founder, has done considerable research on the affects of nutrition and hydration on female athletes. As the motto of Osmo goes... "Women are not small men."  Apparently, recovery nutrition is even more critical for female athletes, as progesterone and estrogen inhibit muscle repair and glycogen restoration.  To address that reality, Osmo created a women's protein powder for use within 30 minutes of your workout.  For my time trial Tuesday this week, I put water and ice in a blender bottle and packed my tub of Osmo protein.  After the time trial, I added a scoop, shook it up, and I was in business. I knew I wouldn't be home within 30 minutes of my workout, and it was an easy way to help along my recovery from the TT.

Us gals need a mix of protein and carbohydrates post-workout and with 20g of protein per scoop, this little smoothie delivers a healthy recovery punch immediately post-workout.  Follow it up within 2 hours with a complete meal. When we fuel our body, pre- and post-workout with nutritious and delicious foods, we help to optimize our training and racing performance and recovery.

Osmo AB&J Recovery Shake

1 scoop Osmo Honey and Spice Protein (White Mocha works here too)
3 frozen strawberries
1/2 banana
1/2 tablespoon almond butter
8 ounces plain, unsweetened almond or rice milk
Extra dash of cinnamon

Blend everything together and enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Race Report: Trimemphre Magog (Nationals) Olympic (Swim-Bike Only)

Magog was to be my second race of the season.  It was also Nationals, with 10 qualifying spots for 2016 Age Group World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico.  However, as I've only been running for about 2 weeks post-stress fracture, Mike and I decided that I would again only do the swim and bike legs of the race and sit out the run.  While I was at first disappointed and convinced that maybe I could just walk / run, Mike reminded me to keep my eye on the prize.  Running a 10k at the end of an Olympic triathlon would have been risky, and knowing my competitive personality, I wouldn't have been able to take it easy.  So once again, I handed my chip over after my bike and walked out of the transition zone.  It was hard to do, but I think in the end, I will look back and realize that it was worth it!

Sharing the weekend in Magog with my dear friends made my less than exciting race a non-issue.  I got to share in their excitement and I still got to have a "race" experience.  We had a fantastic time. I'm also so proud of all of them for their fantastic efforts and for qualifying for 2016 Worlds!


The entire week didn't quite feel like a race week to me, and it wasn't until we arrived in Magog that the nerves appeared.  Jenn, Melissa and I drove to Magog on Friday morning, arriving at our lovely AirBnB around 11:30 to drop off our belongings and put the food in the fridge so we could go do our pre-race warm-up.  The drive to the race site was about 25 minutes.  We parked and walked our bikes over to the beach.  Jenn and I were a bit concerned, having heard that the water temperature was only 21C and watching all the other wetsuit clad swimmers, so we took our time getting into the water sans wetsuit (Jenn's was still at home in Ottawa and I was convinced the race would be no wetsuit). The water was freezing, but we did our warm-up swim and a few practice beach starts.  I managed to step directly on a large rock and was left with a massive bruise on  the bottom of my left foot (thank goodness I wouldn't be running a 10k the next day!).

After drying off, we hopped on our bikes to scope out the course.  It was significantly less scary than I had remembered it, but I knew that I would need to be cautious on race day.  After biking (and shivering the whole way), we decided it was time to eat and picked up some salads from the market next to the race site.  Then we made our way back to the house and settled in for some rest while we waited for the others and to start making dinner.

We had a lovely family-style dinner with our house (Gilly, Jenn, Dale, Simon, Alex, and Melissa) and OTC friend Kirsten.  Lots of laughter and good company helped to ease the pre-race jitters, though we did our fair share of analyzing the competition and talking over the course details.

Race Day:

Since our race didn't start until 1:30 pm, we all did our best to sleep in on Saturday morning, though I think by about 7:30 or 8 most of the house was awake.  Gilly read Jenn and I an inspiring excerpt from "Born to Run" while we stretched, rolled, and made the first rounds of coffee. I made myself meal number one - a berry and almond butter protein smoothie - and finished prepping my bike for the race.  We had the pump up jams rocking and Jenn and I watched "Dreams of Glory" while we ate our next meal (oats, almond butter, nuts, seeds, and berries for me).  It is so fun to share pre-race traditions with my friends and to learn about what motivates and inspires them. We had a lovely leisurely morning (strange for race day!), and finally made it to the race site around noon.  It was easy to get set-up in transition and we didn't have to spend too much time roasting in the sun before it was time to race!
T-Zone selfie with Kirsten

Swim: 23:48

Beach start - swinging my arms to get the blood pumping

After bruising my foot on Friday, I told myself to be careful, but to also just go for it at the race start.  I had positioned myself with a clear line to the first buoy in the front row.  Gilly was right behind me and I also had a nice chat with a girl standing next to me who was wearing our Team Canada kit for Worlds.  The rush of adrenaline and nerves was making my stomach turn, so I focused on taking some deep breaths as the announcer told us we had less than a minute to start. With "Take Your Mark," I dug in and readied myself and then the horn sounded and we were into the water.  My strategy is to usually start swimming as soon as I can on a beach start, so after a few gingerly leaps over the rocky shore, I dove in and started paddling furiously.  There were still girls around me doing dolphin dives and running through the water, but I was happy to be swimming and starting to pull away with the lead girls. 

I quickly found some feet and attempted to draft off of some girls ahead of me.  I have never had a chance to draft in a race, so this was pretty exciting.  But, I also realized that there were people drafting off of me too, another first.  Instead of worrying about those behind, I just tried to focus on smooth, strong strokes and making sure that I was really getting a feel for the water, as I tried to maintain a quick turnover. The course is fairly well marked with large orange buoys every 50m or so, so sighting wasn't too much of an issue... plus, I had feet and a few yellow caps to follow!  I stuck with the same girl until just after the turn back toward the shore, then I did my best to shake her off and chase down the yellow caps ahead of me.  Before I knew it, we were approaching the green flags that marked the staircase to exit the water.  I ran up the stairs, removing my cap and goggles, and was happy to see Alex, Melissa and Simon cheering right at the top of the stairs! I finished the swim as the 5th overall female (including the wave of over 35 women after us)!

Bike: 1:24ish

The start to my bike leg did not go nearly as smoothly as I had hoped.  I had planned to put my feet into my shoes while pedalling, but I couldn't get both feet on to even start pedalling and had to hop off to avoid crashing.  Then the shoes were in an awkward position so I had to adjust them *twice* to try again.  Once I was on the bike, I realized that despite my best efforts with the body glide and the baby powder, my new shoes, while super cool, were also super stiff, and I struggled to get my feet into them.

Finally in the shoes, I began my 40k roller coaster ride.  The bike course in Magog is hilly and technical, and at times, downright scary. It was 1000x less scary though than the previous year and I felt much more confident handling the hairpin downhill turns (yikes!). There were moments on the bike when I just had to remind myself to stay focused and have fun. It was not easy.  My body didn't seem to be cooperating and my legs just weren't putting out the power that I was hoping for.  After the first lap though, I settled in a bit and just ignored my speed and tried to do my best.  I took a gel - Gu Roctane Sea Salt Chocolate - about 1/3 of the way through the second lap, and that seemed to help (yay caffeine!).  Lap three had a few intense moments, including seeing a cyclist being put on a backboard after having crashed into a ditch on one of the intense technical hill/turn combos.

My main goal was to just stay ahead of Dale, Jenn and Gilly.  They are all super strong cyclists and I knew that they would be gaining a lot of time on me during this leg of the race.  I was right... Dale caught me about half way through the third lap and Jenn and Gilly ran into transition just after me. I also saw Kirsten during the last bit of the third lap and we had a little fun hammering it toward the finish (though her wave started well after ours so she had another lap to go).  It was fun and motivating to see friends out on the course!  And of course, I reminded myself that I was done after the bike so I might as well spend any energy that I had left and rip it back to the T-Zone!  I felt like I got a bit stronger and more confident through the three laps and it was super fun to really open up the legs at the end.

After racking my bike and removing my helmet, I flagged down an official to hand over my timing chip.  I wish I had known at the time that I needed to start the run to stop my bike time, but alas I didn't know that. Then I went to find our cheering squad to help cheer Colin, Gilly, Jenn and Dale to the finish.  It was so fun to encourage them and be that embarrassing friend screaming their names.  They all finished strong and had great races! I'm so proud of everyone.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Magog was my last swim-bike only race of the summer. I have two more races coming up - Cornwall and Worlds - and you better believe that I will be running! The mental and emotional challenge of recovery has been my biggest foe this summer.  It has been a roller coaster at times and recovery has been almost more challenging than being injured.  But, I've learned so much and I have had so much fun thanks to the amazing people in my life - my triathlon family, coaches, regular family, and friends. Every time I race I am reminded of why I love this sport, and I was thankful to be healthy enough to at least swim and bike at Magog.

A big thank you to Mike for reining me in when I ask to do silly things like race only 2 weeks back to running and for always having the right thing to say when I need it most. 

Thank you to Coeur Sports for the most beautiful, comfortable kit out there.  Thank you to Osmo Nutrition for keeping me well hydrated on a hot race day where many of my fellow competitors ended up in the med tent (one bottle of Osmo Active Hydration for Women in the morning and one on the bike).

Thank you to our photographers and cheering squad.  Thank you Gilly, Jenn, Dale, and Colin for always inspiring me to be a better athlete and for being such amazing friends.  Thank you Dave for reminding me to keep calm and carry on, especially on the bike, and to remember that the people are the best part of triathlon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mega Mantras

It is a race week here, and I'm working to get myself revved up and ready to go on Saturday! That got me thinking about my "mantras" -- those little things that we say to ourselves to get us fired up, to help us stick to our plan, and to get us across that finish line. A mantra can be a comfort when things get tough out on the race course or during a hard workout.  It can help us refocus our energy away from something negative toward something positive.  A mantra can help us recall past events or workouts that boosted our confidence.

So, the trick to these mantras - they are short, they are easy to remember, and they are POSITIVE! I believe in positive affirmations rather than negative ones. It's easier to dig deeper and keep going if I remind myself that I'm strong, powerful, capable, and having fun!

Here are a few of mine:

1) "If you believe, you will achieve"

This has been my mantra since my swimming days. It is simple and powerful.  Believe in yourself and you can do anything!  When Gilly sent me the story of the bumblebee and the racehorse last year, I was reminded of this mantra.  The bumblebee believes it can fly, and so it flies, despite all the reasons it shouldn't be able to. My RoadID has a "Believe" charm so I always have a reminder.

2) "I can do anything for X (minutes / miles / etc.)"

When things get really tough, I like to remind myself how close to the end I am.  I've gotten through many tough workouts and races, and I know that I can do it again and again. I'm pretty sure it was Coach Joe who got me started with this one.

3) "Smooth and Strong"

When I'm on the bike especially, this one keeps me focused. It has been a real struggle to maintain consistency on the bike, so I've been trying to stay focused on being both smooth (pedal strokes) and strong (powerful!) as I bike.

4)  "I love this." "It is so amazing to be out here!" "I am so lucky!"

Any version of these helps to remind me that triathlon is a treat and that I am happy to be racing. If I feel a negative thought creeping in, I try to turn it around as quickly as possible with one of these. I focus on the beautiful scenery. Or I smile.  And I double down and push a little bit harder.

5) "Leave it on the course."

Especially as a race nears its end, this is something I like to remind myself of.  There is nothing worse than feeling like you could have pushed harder or dug deeper after a race is over.  It is hard to get to that point where you don't really have much left to give, but I'm working on finding it.

So, what are your mantras? Do you have one?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Training and Life Recap: Week of July 13

Last week started off on a pretty low note, but a good pep talk from Mike helped to turn things around and despite getting sick at the end of the week, I had some pretty solid, confidence building sessions.  As I've mentioned many times throughout the past 2 months, being injured is hard... but recovering from an injury is even harder.  It is a long process, that requires patience and gentleness with yourself.  There will be workouts that don't go the way you want them to, and there will be days when everything seems off and it seems like you have so far to go to get back to where you were pre-injury.  Mike reminded me that trying my best is the most important thing right now. So, that's what I'm trying to do - try my best, listen to my body, and be smart.

Monday: An attempted run that just felt off was not the way I wanted to start my week.  I cut things short when I just didn't feel like my body was cooperating, because I've been trying to be mindful of how I feel in order to avoid re-injuring myself.  I recently read an article though to explain why that post-work run may have felt so off -- sitting all day at work shortens our hip flexors and makes our glutes lazy which means we won't get as much power out of our running and our stride will be shortened! Makes total sense! This is why it is so important to warm-up properly and activate our muscles before we run (or swim or bike), especially for those evening workouts.  Oh yea... Team Canada uniforms arrived for Worlds!!!

Tuesday: This ended up being a rest day.  The plan was to do another TT, but I still felt "off" after Monday's run and didn't want to push it.

Wednesday: An early morning swim brought on some water works.  The swim itself was actually quite good and I was hitting the pace that I should be hitting, but the whole weight of feeling like I've lost my season came down on me that morning.  At lunchtime at work, I finally made it to Yoga on Parliament Hill! Thank you Lululemon for hosting such a fun, weekly event!

Thursday:  My last scheduled physio appointment was in the morning, then in the evening I met with Jon Slaney for a strength assessment.  We realized there is A LOT for me to work on in terms of improving muscle imbalances. Jon gave me a few exercises and activities to get started with while he develops the rest of my plan.  The plan will address the imbalances and hopefully help to prevent future injury and the second part of the plan will improve my power and efficiency. Jon is really knowledgeable and great at explaining things.  After meeting with Jon, I went for a treadmill run (to test some new shoes).  Again, I had to cut the run short.  The shoes were not for me and I was feeling "off" again, so I hopped off the treadmill after only 24 total minutes of running.

Coeur Sports "Supernova" Kit was super soaked...

Friday: I had scheduled a bit too much for my Thursday (physio, strength assessement, run... work!), so my ride was postponed to Friday evening.  I know a lot of people enjoy having Friday off, but I actually love training on Friday night.  The weather was not in my favour though, and the rain had started to fall quite heavily by the time I made it to the Aviation Parkway.  After about 10 minutes, I was completely soaked and the rain no longer made a difference.  The workout was awesome - 6x2.5 minutes at Z5/6 with 2.5 minutes recovery.  I love when everything seems to come together (it may have been my fresh cycling legs). This workout gave me a huge confidence boost, particularly since I got stronger as the workout progressed.  By the end, I was a drowned rat, but a very happy one at that!

Saturday:  I'm so happy to be back to Saturday track workouts. Doing drills and a full warm-up was super helpful too, because my run felt amazing.  Everything flet like it was doing what it was supposed to and I didn't experience any "off" feelings or tightness in my lower leg. Success!  What wasn't great was the humidity and the fact that someone stole my water bottle in the middle of my workout!  I also ended up quite sick for the rest of the day and parts of Sunday.

Sunday: I went away on Saturday afternoon and didn't check the weather for Sunday. I had planned to do my ride in the afternoon / early evening, but came home to risk of thunderstorms.  After hemming and hawing, I decided to try to go on my ride anyways (the radar looked okay...).  I arrived at the park and was just setting off from the parking lot when I saw a flash of lightning and heard a crack of thunder.  I scrambled back to the car and headed home to the bike trainer.  But I think I was still fighting off whatever had me under the weather on Saturday, because I just could not get my heart rate up, even after a nearly 40 minute long warm-up, so I called it a day.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Training and Life Recap: Week of July 6

I can't tell you how great it feels to be running again, and to have a solid week of training to boot. After meeting with my physio on Tuesday and my sport med doc on Wednesday, I was cleared to begin running again. So coach rejigged my schedule a bit to include two runs toward the end of the week last week. The feeling of running was like magic. It made me so incredibly happy and I'm excited to continue the progression back.

Monday: I had taken several days off, so despite having a crazy day on Monday, I got my ride in on the trainer at 10 pm. It was just an easy spin, so I didn't mind hanging out in the basement for an hour on the bike.

Tuesday:  The new theme for Tuesday: time trial!  It was a bit touch and go on whether the weather would cooperate - the sky was dark and menacing, and the winds were gusting - but we managed to finish the TT just in time for the first drops of rain to start falling.  My goals were to pace better and to not get caught, and I succeeded. It felt like I managed my effort much better, and I was rewarded with a new 15k PB of 25:07. That was 14 seconds faster than my effort two weeks prior.

Wednesday: I swam in the morning. It was another mentally tough set (4x 100, 200, 300 with the base pace decreasing each round), and I struggled to finish it. The swim needs to be a bit more of a focus in the 2 months until Chicago. No more missing practices.

Thursday: It was finally time to run again! I went to the Y by my office and hit the treadmill for some jog-walking. At first it felt really awkward, as if my legs didn't quite remember what to do.  It may have also been that I was running scared of hurting myself and making mental notes of how my right leg felt throughout.  In the end, the leg felt fine and I completed 12 minutes of running.  In the evening, I took an easy bike ride along the river.

Friday: I had intentions to get up for swimming, but ended up sleeping in instead (it was supposed to be a rest day anyways).

Saturday: I got to go to track! Mike was there, so suggested that I come do my run at practice so he could watch me run. The run went well.  After it, I scooted off to Meech Lake for a bit of open water swimming in my new Coeur Sports Monaco Training Bikini (not pictured, but it is amazing!!).

Sunday: A long, hot ride with the girls! It is way more fun to ride with friends when you have 3 hours in the schedule, so I was happy to have company and stronger cyclists to bike with! We had a great ride out to Alice's. During the ride, I had some hard intervals to do, which made the time pass quickly. The temperature was a bit hard to handle at times, but I felt fairly well hydrated thanks to Osmo Nutrition Preload and Hydration (and water refills at Alice's).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stress Fracture Update and Lessons Learned

One of my last runs. Today is a new day!

It's with cautious optimism that I write this post. Both my sport med doctor and my physio have cleared me to start running again! After nearly 6 weeks of no running, the pain at the site of the stress fracture is gone.  Without redoing the bone scan, we tested for pain on palpitation and pain when hopping on one foot, and I was pain free!  I have also been successfully swimming and biking with no pain for several weeks (the first few weeks of no running still resulted in pain when kicking in the pool, so I wore a pull buoy, but am back to swimming normally as of about 2 weeks ago).

So, what have I learned and what is next?

Well, my initial meeting with the physio went well and helped to sort through the myriad reasons why I may have gotten the stress fracture in the first place.  My right glute medius is really weak and the posterior chain of my right leg is really tight. Put those together and the result could be a  stress fracture, as my IT band and all the way down the side of my leg and back of my leg had likely been working really hard on my runs, pulling the muscles away from the bone and potentially causing the stress fracture.  The glute medius is really important for weight bearing activities like running! Since the first physio appointment, I've been diligently doing my strengthening exercises, stretching and foam rolling a lot.  These are things that I should have been doing all along, but unfortunately, strength work and stretching had sort of fallen off as of about mid-March (ugh...).

Lesson number one is a huge reminder to me that strength work is SUPER important. Skipping it because I can't make the time is not an option anymore. And stretching and rolling are important as well. Thinking back to my most successful year of my swim career and the biggest thing that I was doing was about 30 minutes of stretching almost every single day. 

The second lesson is to listen to my body more! I probably could have avoided a long period of rest if I had stopped running sooner. Running on a slightly inflamed leg at race weekend was probably the tipping point that took me from stress reaction to stress fracture.  Things did not feel right or normal going into that 10k, and I should have sacrificed that race. At the time, I was so desperate for a race though and desperate to hopefully see how far my run had come, so I ran anyways. The PR probably wasn't worth it in the end.

The third lesson is that patience is a virtue. I will have to continue to exercise patience as I begin the journey back to running. It will be slow and I will have to ease my way back to a full run at full speed.  I will probably have to miss another triathlon. But, I have to remember that patience is necessary to help me reach my goals and to be ready to race in Chicago in September!

There are many other lessons in staying positive, looking for opportunities to stay fit and keep moving forward, and being grateful, but I think I've touched on those before.  A positive outlook has been key, and while difficult at times, it has made all the difference in my recovery!

I'm going to start running again today.  I don't know how it will go, and I'm not sure when I will race next, but that is okay!

Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement through this time!! It's been a huge source of motivation for me.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Training and Life Recap: Weeks of June 22 and June 29

Where have I been??? I had a busy week post-Tremblant and then was off to Saskatchewan for a visit with my parents.  I was busy, yes, but also just not super inspired to write. But now I'm refreshed and hopefully ready to get on with things again with a positive outlook.  Injuries are hard.  There are so many days where I'm thankful that I can still train, that my injury isn't bad at all compared to what many people experience, that the sun is shining, and that I have a wonderful family who hangs out on the side of the road to give me fresh water bottles on a ride on a 35 degree day.  But other days, I am unmotivated, pity myself, and think that maybe there's no point in swimming and biking if I can't run.  Some days, I'm happy and love swimming and biking, and some days, I cry reading Runner's World magazine because I miss running so much, and realize that I love running too now that I can't run. I am going to write another post about how things are going with the stress fracture, but this one is about getting on with my training despite it! (Though realistically I missed quite a few workouts over the two weeks.)

Week of June 22

Monday: A rest day as usual.

Tuesday: My first official time trial with the Ottawa Bicycle Club (OBC).  Tuesday's are the women's time trials and we had a great group of ladies out, including a few speed demons.  I finished in 25:21, which was 11 seconds slower than my effort in May. The conditions weren't very favourable, with 40 km/h gusts of wind on the way back.  It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to another one soon.  I also had my first physio appointment that day, and it was a successful one!

Wednesday: A swim in the morning that just did not go well.  I was having one of those totally "off" days in the pool and it was tough on me mentally.  There have been many moments during my injury where I have felt like I just NEEDED my swim and bike workouts to go well, since that was all I had. If the swim wasn't working, then what?!  After struggling to make the intervals on the main set, John sent me home.  He did review my stroke with me first though, using video from the week before, and I was happy to see that I didn't have too much to improve.  My head bounces a bit when I breathe and I don't start my catch right away when I take a breath, so I've been working on fixing that.  In the evening, I took an easy hour spin. I was happy that I went to meet up with the OTCers because Coach Dave brought me a special gift - a handwritten note from Meredith Kessler!! It is the coolest thing ever. Thank you Dave!!

Thursday and Friday: Both ended up being rest days given how much I needed to do before leaving for vacation.

Saturday:  An easy bike ride at the lake with my mom!  The idea was just to take the bike out and make sure it worked after I put it back together myself. The lake is beautiful and there are actually little rolling hills around it, so we got a nice little workout.

Sunday: It was 35 degrees Celsius and I had a 3:30 ride on my schedule. Mom came with me in the truck with extra water and snacks. She dropped me off on the side of the road at Tuxford and I rode down to the Trans Canada Highway. I stopped to see Mom at Caronport, to tell her that I needed to ride further, and to grab some water. Then I rode on to Mortlach, where I got more water and turned around to ride another 30ish kilometers back toward Moose Jaw.  The ride had 3x20 minutes of tempo in the middle, and I didn't realize that I had a headwind and yes, even in Saskatchewan, a slight uphill on the way out to Mortlach.  It was so good to have Mom out there with me.  The ride was mentally and physically challenging.  The heat was oppressive and there wasn't a stitch of shade, save for the shade of a semi-truck as it rumbled past me on the highway. It was a unique experience though and the shoulder on the Trans Canada was wide and mostly free of debris.  The views were incredible - miles and miles of shimmering golden and green fields and farmland with a perfectly crisp blue sky.

Week of June 28:

Monday: We awoke to a gorgeous morning and it looked like perfect conditions for a swim in the lake, but as Mom and I went down to the lake, the conditions seemed to have changed.  There was a thick haze coming in and so we switched our route. The original plan was to swim across the lake and back, for a total of 2.4 miles. Mom would kayak with me. But with the haze, we decided it may not be safe to be out in the middle of the lake, despite the bright orange kayak.  So after some delay as I freaked out about the squishy lake bottom and the algae and weeds floating near the lake's edge, I got myself in and swimming. The surface of the lake was completely covered with dead bugs though, and it was all I could do to put my face in the water. For a somewhat easy swim, I think my heart rate must have been ridiculously high, from my little freak outs. I don't do well with bugs, open water, or gross things.  In the end, I stayed out there for a little less than a half hour.  I ran up to the house to shower immediately, and the tub was covered with dead, smushed bugs by the end. GROSS! It turns out the haze was smoke from forest fires up north and it cloaked the whole area for the rest of the week. It was quite difficult to breathe and the beautiful scenery was masked.

Tuesday:  We successfully procured a trainer from a neighbour, so my Tuesday ride was in the house.  I had a set of hard anaerobic efforts and I'm sure my parents were amused by my faces and grunts and groans as I pedalled furiously through those sets of 2 minutes hard. By the end of the workout, I was drenched in sweat, and happy to be done!

Wednesday: Mom, Dad, and I hit the pool for a family Canada Day swim.  It was great to be there with them and I was quite impressed with how well they both swam. I got in a solid 3400m workout, so I felt pretty good about enjoying the festivities for the holiday!

Thursday: The smoke had cleared up a bit, so I set the trainer up on the deck outside.  The visibility was still pretty poor, so I didn't want to risk the roads.  It was a pretty tough, boring ride, but I got it done.  While on the bike, I finally finished Chrissie Wellington's book, and that provided a dose of motivation to keep going.

Friday:  We went to Regina to do some shopping for Mom's birthday party the following day, so my dad dropped Mom and I off at the outdoor pool for a swim.  I swam for about 50 minutes. Then I hopped out and straight on my bike for a 50 minute ride with the first 20 at tempo, around the park. It was the same pool and park where my mom had done her first triathlon two weeks prior.

Saturday and Sunday: Both ended up as off days.  I had procrastinated heading out for a 2.5 hour ride and was glad that I did, since right as I was about to leave the house a huge storm rolled through with thunder, lightning, and large pieces of hail.  The storms were coming from the direction I had planned to ride, and a few more came throughout the day. I was also supposed to swim, but just couldn't muster the motivation to do so.  We had a great time celebrating Mom's birthday though!  And then on Sunday, I flew back to Ottawa.