Just Eat It

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Hello, hello! Two weeks in a row now, I’ve used clever song titles/lyrics for my post title. You’re welcome. Anyway…

How is your week starting out? Mine is starting out pretty well. I’m feeling (mostly) rejuvenated after a (mostly) restful weekend. Other than working out and adulting, not much went down. I had plans to visit my friend and her brand new baby, but I was feeling sick towards the end of the week, so we have to take a raincheck on that until I’m feeling 100% better.

I watched many of my friends post solid performances yesterday at both GoodLife and Mississauga. I was pretty envious that I wasn’t racing myself, especially since my running has been progressing so well lately. However, in the name of being patient and not adding extra pressure amid my triathlon training, I sat this weekend out. I still had workouts of my own to fit in last week, though, so let’s get down to recapping those before I talk about my favourite F word – FOOD.

 

Monday

1646m swim: I was a bit tired this afternoon and thought I might be getting sick, so I didn’t swim at lunch, as I had initially planned. I did make myself go after work, and did some 600s.

27.2km ride: My swim brought me back to life. At least, enough to ride for 55 minutes. I had a fun pyramid workout on the schedule.

#twofertuesday

8km run: The first of my double run was okay. I still can’t *quite* get my stride in the morning, and my heart rate seems to take off. Today was no exception, and I was plodding along, but ended up just a hair out of my easy zone.

4km run: On my way home, it was a different story. I couldn’t seem to get my heart rate up and ended up running quite a bit faster than usual to finish up where I needed to be. Today was one of my fastest runs (5:08/km avg.!!), so I was glad to see there’s some speed in these legs of mine, even if I was completely spent when I got home. 😉

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Wednesday

1646m swim: I slept really poorly, so I opted out of my morning swim. Instead, I did the prescribed workout on my own at lunch. The main set was 7 X 200.

28.6km ride: An interval ride that didn’t feel the best.

Thursday

10km run

40 minutes strength

Oof. Another missed Thursday workout. I came home from work feeling like absolute garbage. My head was congested, and I was just so damn tired. I spent the night curled up on the couch and took a bath.

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day. Except it wasn’t so glorious, because I wasn’t feeling so glorious.

Saturday

41.8km ride: I woke up feeling no better, but also no worse. I was starting to get a little stir-crazy, so I did my brick workout. We kept the long ride in zones 2 and 3, just to make sure. My congesty face was a little annoying while I was riding, but otherwise fine.

2.72km run: I surprised myself with a solid run off the bike. Each time I do a brick, I get a little more comfortable. My form is strong, and my paces are improving.

Sunday

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9.96km run: Since I don’t have any running goal races coming up, we’ve switched my long run over to a time-based workout. I resisted temptation to run just a little longer, and stopped my watch exactly at the one-hour mark. My Type A self is growing, I guess?

34 minutes strength: Before my body could figure out what was happening, I did my strength as soon as I got home. I had a 360 degree burn on my legs when I did my wall sits. Hurts so good…or something. 🙂

 

Swim: 3,272m/1:14

Bike: 97.6km/3:26

Run: 24.7km/2:26

Strength: 0:34

Total Time: 8:20

All in all, not a bad week. Given that it’s Monday, and I’ve still got some lingering congestion, I suspect it is sinus-related or seasonal allergies. I’m not better, but also not worse. My runs continue to progress, and I’m getting more comfortable on the bike. I’m seeing improvements in my brick workouts, so I’m eager to see how that will play out in my early races.

The F Word – FOOD!

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My initial plan this week was to write a post about the benefits of joining a triathlon club. However, nutrition has been on my mind lately big time. Many refer to it as the fourth discipline in triathlon, so it’s something that I really should be giving a little more thought.

I’ll spare you the details of my personal history with food. Summary: rocky, and inconsistent. I lost a ton of weight in my mid-20s and ate a (mostly) clean diet. A couple of years ago, I became much more relaxed with my diet and gained back some weight. While it’s certainly an oversimplification of my relationship with food, it might give you some insight as to why I’m struggling so much with nutrition right now. Long story short: Everything related to weight loss is ten times harder the second time around.

Since I started training in November, my nutrition has been up and down. I was fresh off a Whole30 and, although I was feeling good, I knew it was not sustainable in the long term. Ever since then, I’ve been in a cycle of eating well for a few days or weeks, and then letting old habits creep in.

I’m not willing to cut things completely out of my diet. There will always be room in my diet for dessert, burgers, beer, wine, and all of the other foods that I love. However, I’m not the best at moderation sometimes, particularly when I’m either really happy or sad or stressed.

I will eat healthy food consistently if it is available to me. A once-a-week, big food prep session is crucial to keeping me on track for the week. So, that’s just what I did yesterday. That photo above are the fruits (and vegetables, and meats, and baked goods) of my labour yesterday. As stress picks up with our move, I’m going to make a conscious effort to control what I can control. That includes the food I’m using to fuel my body.

I’m not saying there won’t be treats; there will be. You’ll still see the occasional beer or glass of wine, and an ice cream sandwich here and there. 😉 However, I’m hoping that the food prep photo above will be more of the norm, especially heading into my training build.

While I have a *lot* of thoughts on food and our relationship with it as endurance athletes, I really just wanted to throw out my half-baked thoughts on nutrition. Accountability is always a good thing, too. I used to (half) joke that I was ready to hire full-time for someone to come and slap unhealthy foods out of my hand.

As always, I welcome constructive advice if you have something to share about your nutrition. 🙂

If you raced this weekend, how did it go? Besides the weekly food prep, any tips for me to get my nutrition back on track?

Baby, Let’s Cruise

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Have I given you an earworm? No? Well, have a little listen of this, and return. Great. On to last week’s training…

Monday

35km ride: I switched things up this morning and did my ride before work. It will be tricky to make Monday swim practice work before we move, so I did my low cadence ride nice and early.

1486m swim: I swam at night with my old group. It was a challenging workout that, while the actual swim volume wasn’t huge, there were core workouts on deck between swim sets. For example, planking on deck for a while, then hopping into the pool and throwing down a moderately paced 100yd set. I definitely need to get some core work in. I made it through the workout, but holy, does my core need some TLC!

#twofertuesday

7km run: #twofertuesday continues! 7 easy kms before work. About halfway through, it started poooooooooouring rain. I was glad to have this one done!

6km run: The run home called for some hills in the mix, so I ran uphill and then down to make it home. I struggled to get my HR up to where it needed to be, and ended up running just under 5:00/km for my last split! Wowza, it burned!

Wednesday

900m swim: Today’s swim workout was all about technique drills. Pretty low on the distance side, but it was good to get some targeted feedback on parts of my swim stroke that need work. Spoiler alert: almost all of them need work. Despite making gains in the pool, I’m not sure I will ever be a very efficient swimmer, truth be told. There are so many things to keep straight while you’re swimming and every time I focus on one, everything else falls apart. I used to pride myself on my multitasking skills. Thanks, swimming. 🙂 

37km ride: A moderate aerobic ride building through my power zones. Felt pretty good.

Thursday

9km run

40 minutes strength

Well, well, well. Two Thursday workouts in a row skipped. It has happened before that, if I spend a lot of time working on my swim kick, my foot tightens up the next day. I woke up with enough pain in my foot (it was okay once I stretched it out, just tight and sore all day) that I scrapped my run. As has been the case in the past, if I take a day off and stretch like a boss, that’s usually enough to keep the pain from getting worse.

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day.

I initially thought I would attempt my interval workout today, but I decided to be cautious and give it an extra day. With some slight throbbing in my foot, I have nothing to prove. My goal races are a ways out, and my running fitness is coming along nicely. No need to push the envelope here.

 

Saturday

49.5km ride: OH, HEY THERE, GROUP RIDER! I survived my very first group ride outside today with the Toronto Triathlon Club. I also rode further than I ever have, so that was pretty exciting! More on the ride below…

2.4km run: I thought my legs would feel like absolute garbage running off the bike after that big ride. They didn’t feel any worse than they normally do on a brick workout. Fatigue didn’t really kick in until about 10 minutes in, when my body finally figured out what was going on. At that point, there were only 5 minutes to go. A solid day of exercise.

Sunday

TTC Learn to Tri Clinic: This one probably deserves a whole post in itself, and I will do a separate post on it. I spent half the day in Scarborough with a couple of the Toronto Triathlon Club coaches covering the basics of triathlon in a beginner’s clinic. There was a nutrition segment, a swim clinic, a bike clinic, and a run clinic. We didn’t cover a lot of distance throughout the day, as there was a big focus on learning the sport, but I was absolutely spent for the rest of the day when I got home. My planned long run did not happen. I have so much to practice and we learned a lot throughout the day, but the bike handling skills portion was definitely the most useful for me.

 

Swim: 2,569m/1:04

Bike: 121km/5:06

Run: 17.5km/1:45

Strength: 0:00

Total Time: 7:55

Oof. Another goose egg on the strength training. I have to wonder how much my foot would have hurt, had I stayed on top of my strength for the week. Alas, there is no sense in dwelling on last week’s workouts, but only try to do better this week.

My First Outdoor Group Ride

As you read above, I had my longest ride ever on Saturday. It was also my first outdoor ride of the season, and my first time riding in a group. Group road cycling has been something that has scared the bejesus out of me since long before I even considered participating in triathlon. I’ve always been a lone wolf on the bike. Much like my early days of group running, I am self-conscious about being too slow and inexperienced to ride with others. There are not many groups in the city that accommodate my speed and distance limits right now, so I knew that my first group ride would have to be one with no expectations and a group that wouldn’t drop me.

I met up with the Toronto Triathlon Club just before 9:00 at Cherry Beach. There were a nice few people out for the ride. I estimated 20 from my look around, but could have been a bit more, could have been a bit less. I’ve been out to enough club events now that I’m semi-comfortable approaching people to chat, so I quickly found a few people that I knew, including one of my Ragnar team mates. There were some post-ride announcements and then we were off.

As I expected, I was at the back, but I was able to keep someone in my sights the entire time. The ride leaders took turns staying back, and we were super friendly. Each one asked about my upcoming races, encouraged me on making it out for my first group ride, and gave tips on navigating the ride, etc. The ride was in the city, but there was still some gravel and uneven terrain to get around, especially on the Leslie Street Spit.

We were on some city streets, which made me really nervous from the outset. I don’t usually ride my road bike around Toronto (except on trails), and we were even riding on streets that have streetcars. The ride leaders talked me through everything, and it was not nearly as unnerving as I had expected.

After the ride, there were donuts and coffee, and everybody chatted about the ride and upcoming races, etc. Even though I didn’t quite get up to the speeds that I have been training with, I’m so glad I went on the ride. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was handling my bike, even on the rough parts of the route. Despite training on the bike inside all winter, I think I’ve got a pretty good feel for handling Waltzing Matilda. Now I just need to get to work on my technical skills. 🙂

Once everyone started dispersing, I rode home, which rounded out my mileage for the day at 49.5km (If I had known the total at that point, I would have ridden around the block. Ha.). I immediately did a 15 minute run off the bike, and was expecting my legs to feel like death warmed over. It wasn’t as bad as I thought! In fact, I felt probably just as good as I have on any other brick workout, so that’s encouraging. I was so tired for the rest of the day. And the hunger! Oh, man. The hunger. It. Is. Real.

The club does group rides every week from Angus Glen, which are free, if you are a member of the club. There are details here, and I’m hoping to make it out to a few once we get settled after the move.

Have a great week, friends! 🙂

How was your week of training? Do you participate in group cycling rides? How did you get more comfortable?

Life Stress & Training

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Hello there! Last week was a mostly good one for my training. I hit a big cycling milestone, but struggled with some of my swimming. My runs felt good last week, and I was finally able to get back to strength training. All in all, a great week. Here’s what I was up to on the training side of things:

Monday

39km ride: Most of the city’s pools were closed for Easter Monday, so I didn’t have swim practice. In the evening, I did a steady ride with some short zone 5 intervals thrown in for good measure.

#twofertuesday

6km run: Oh, hi, morning running! For the second week in a row, I was able to get a run in before work. This time, however, I did a run commute! I bought a little running backpack over the weekend and packed my clothes and lunch up. It was an awkward 6km because I’ve never run with a backpack before, but I’ll get the hang of it. I used the shower at one of my work gyms and got it done!

5km run: Running home was a bit maddening with the crowded sidewalks at rush hour. I ran a bit faster than normal to get up into zone 3. It was such a great feeling to get home from work at my normal time, having accomplished two workouts. I plan to run to/from work occasionally when we move.

Wednesday

650m swim: I was supposed to do my 400m time trials and filming this morning. I got my filming done, but when I started my 400m time trial, I had a panic attack just before the 100m mark. I tried to regroup and finish up, but I just couldn’t. I had difficulty breathing, my mind was racing, and I just had to get out. It was both scary and embarrassing, even though I know I had no reason to be ashamed. I am not sure what triggered it. I know I have been stressed lately, but not in the day or so leading up to this particular swim. I dwelled on this for a bit longer than I should have.

39km ride: A really awesome low cadence ride. I made up for the botched time trial, and then some. I’ve already mentioned this in last week’s recap and told my coach and others, but I’m really surprising myself with how much I’ve been enjoying my rides. I look forward to each one, and it truly has been the best stress relief lately.

Thursday

8km run

40 minutes strength

I had intervals on my plan, but Mother Nature had a monsoon on hers. Okay, maybe not an actual monsoon, but it was raining hard enough that I deferred my intervals to Friday. I can tolerate some rain, but it was excessive and I knew the weather was forecasted to be much better on Friday. I wasn’t ready to take the red boxes in Training Peaks, though, because my body was itching to run and I was actually looking forward to the intervals.

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day. It was also a holiday, so everything was closed and I couldn’t even run errands. It was a great day to recharge!

8km run: I felt great the whole time during my intervals! Pushing them back by a day was definitely the right decision. I had 12 repeats of 2:00 in zone 4 on my schedule. I was picking them off, one by one, and seeing my paces get faster, which was very encouraging. When I had a few left, I thought to myself, “Hey, I bet I’m covering close to 400m in these repeats.” Even last year, seeing 400m repeats on a training plan would have paralyzed me with fear of failure, but here I was, powering through them like it was no big deal. I was very happy with how this run went.

40 minutes strength: Still on a runner’s high from my intervals, I knocked out my strength training right after. As I stated last week, my big focus this week was getting back to strength work. This was my first attempt since before Around the Bay! It was sufficiently challenging, but manageable. I was afraid that I would be super sore the next day, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The body, it rebounds. 🙂

Saturday

1825m swim: I went to Regent Park today for my endurance swim, which is always quite chaotic and busy during public lane swim. However, it’s close to home, free, and I had a busy day on Saturday, so close to home was best. I did a couple of longer sets and finished my swim over in the fast lane. Fancy.

39km ride: The long ride was a real mixed bag today. You don’t get to choose where you ride on Zwift, so on Saturday, I was riding in “London.” That meant it was a super hilly course, which was reflected in the mileage covered. I was fairly frustrated to cover the same distance in 1:40, as I had previously covered this week in 1:15 and 1:20. I avoided temptation to kick up the gear and push my wattage to get over the hills. I stuck to the planned power zones. Ah, well. This ride put me over the 100km mark for the week (117km, to be exact), which is the most I have ever ridden. So, I really couldn’t be too mad about it. 😉

Sunday

14km long run: Perfection! The sun was out, and my run was ahhhhhhhhh-mazing! Seriously, I enjoyed every step from start to finish. I forgot sunscreen (oops!), but other than that, everything on the run was smooth sailing. I focused on proper form the entire time. My paces were back in old long run territory, so it’s safe to say that I’m feeling much better about my running these days.

40 minutes strength: My legs were very tired after the run, but I knew that I would regret it if I skipped my strength. Let’s just say that my weighted wall sits were quite the struggle!

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Swim: 2,475m/0:57

Bike: 117km/4:16

Run: 33km/3:17

Strength: 1:21

Total Time: 9:51

Wow! What a week! With the exception of the time trial that didn’t go to plan, I had a near-“perfect” week of training. I know I really should let go of the idea of striving for perfection in my workouts. Compared with last week, it was another improvement, which I’m really happy about. I was also thrilled to have ridden 117km for the week! I’m consistently riding 3 times a week now, and I’m eager to see how I will do on the bike portion of my races this summer. I’m also curious to see if my FTP has changed. I’d really like to have it re-tested before we move, if at all possible.

Looking ahead to this week, I’ve got my first group ride on Saturday with the Toronto Triathlon Club, followed by a half-day clinic for new triathletes. I’m looking forward to learning some new skills, and I hope to connect with some other beginners. It should be a fun weekend ahead!

Life Stress & Training

It’s no secret that things have been a bit hectic around here lately. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have to move. The stress of finding a suitable space that will allow two dogs (one of which has special needs) is not easy in this city. We were willing to give up some of the ‘extras’ that we were fortunate enough to have in our current space, but finding a place still wasn’t easy. We looked at 7 places in total, which cut into my training for a week or so. When a landlord calls, you drop things and go. Otherwise, there are many others who are willing to take your place. That meant a few missed workouts, even though it was necessary. I tried to be kind to myself, but my mental game took a real hit that week as I tried to juggle everything.

We ultimately settled on a house that we’re really excited to move into. However, it is far away from where we live now. We are going to miss our neighbourhood and house so much, although I think the new neighbourhood will be good for us. There’s a big pool close by. It’s not free, but city swimming passes are reasonably priced. I will have to leave my swim group, which makes me sad, but I’m already researching my options.

Our moving date will be sometime early in June, so there’s still time to find a good moving company and pack everything. I’m certainly not naive enough to think that the move won’t affect my training any further, but I’m just trying to roll with it. The benefits of having a coach become increasingly evident to me at times like this, and I’m lucky to have a amazing one. In advance of the move, I am trying my best not to dwell on having to potentially miss a workout or two, and preparing myself for some of my workouts not going as well as I would like.

I’m not the best at dealing with stress to begin with, and I generally take an all or nothing attitude towards things, which I am working on. I’ll definitely be writing a little more about the move as far as how it is affecting my training. I’m trying to be optimistic and think ahead to when this will all be a thing of the past.

How did your training go last week? How do you balance major life changes while training?

What’s Next? My Summer Race Schedule

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Hola! Happy Monday, my friends! I hope your long weekend was filled with family time, lots of chocolate, and workouts that met all your expectations. The majority of you (myself included) likely spent some time today following the Boston Marathon and being inspired. There’s nothing like watching the Boston Marathon to help you dream big. This all got me thinking ahead to what’s coming next on the training front. Buckle up – this is a long one! 🙂

I want to discuss my upcoming races this season, but first, here’s what my training looked like last week:

 

Monday

1375m swim: Today’s swim focused on 100s at CSS pace. We have time trials and filming again next week, and this workout felt quite a bit harder than I hoped it would. I’m a little nervous to do my time trials, truth be told.

26km ride: My post-work ride was just what I needed. The blocks of work in Zone 4 felt like a good way to shake off the day.

#twofertuesday

6km run: I did something today that I almost *never* do – I ran in the morning before work! I’m just not a morning runner, so these double runs in advance of the Ragnar relay are going to be a mental challenge. My legs felt heavy during the 6km Z2 run, but got it done. Gave myself a big pat on the back for this one. Perhaps a little too soon…

5km run: I came home from work all set to run when we got a call about a last-minute house viewing, so off we went. It was a bit out of the way, so by the time we got home, it was close to 9:00. My stomach was eating itself, so dinner took priority and off to bed I went. #onefertuesday? Not quite the same ring to it.

Also of note on Tuesday: After my run and before work on Tuesday, I had to go to a cardiology appointment and get hooked up to a Holter monitor for 2 days. Initial conversations with my doctor and my own research indicated that I would be able to exercise normally (but not swim because the monitor can’t get wet, which also means – wait for it – no bathing or showering! Sorry, friends and loved ones. I know it was a rough couple of days.). However, when I got to the appointment, the technician told me that I could exercise, but not to get too sweaty in case the electrodes stuck to my body came loose. Womp.

Wednesday

11km ride: Despite being hooked up to the Holter monitor, I was determined not to let it get in my way. I taped everything to my body all nice and secure-like and hopped on my bike to ride for an hour or until I became so sweaty that my electrodes were soaked, whichever came first. I made it through about half an hour of awkward riding before the monitor came loose and my sweat was getting just past an acceptable level. I held the monitor to my body for a few minutes and continued to ride before I threw in the towel (heh). Abort. But better than nothing.

40 minutes strength: See above. Being sweaty and not able to keep the monitor attached to my body posed a definitely challenge in strength work.

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Oh, hi, medical device that interferes with my training!

Thursday

1029m swim: With the monitor having been removed that morning, I made the most of my lunch hour and swam. Not as far as I would have liked (1500m prescribed), but I made my mileage (yardage?) count. I did 5 faster-than-usual 100s as my main set, and it felt decent, I must say.

7.7km interval run: First set of intervals since before Around the Bay! I started my run feeling like absolute garbage. My super easy warm-up felt like death, so I did not have a lot of hope for my intervals. Oddly enough, I felt better when I was pushing the pace on my repeats. They were not super fast, but par for the course with how I was feeling.

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day. It was also a holiday, so everything was closed and I couldn’t even run errands. It was a great day to recharge!

Saturday

37.4km ride: Today’s long ride was the perfect stress reliever for me. I’ve been finding lately that riding has been the most enjoyable part of my training. Even though I’m still riding inside, there’s something about turning my brain (almost) off and zoning out that has been exactly what I’ve been craving on my stressful days.

2.6km run off the bike: Upon finishing my ride, I was out the door within 5 minutes for a 15 minute run off the bike. Like last week, the focus was getting out quickly. My body felt surprisingly good for the first few minutes, but then I started to feel tired. Turns out my paces for the brick run were faster than they were the week before, but I hung in there and finished up my workout feeling like a beast.

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Sunday

14km long run: First long run since Around the Bay. I started out to find that it was hot outside. Heh. Hot and a bit breezy. Yay, but what the hell?! Some of the run was a bit of a struggle, but I was pleased with my overall pace.

 

Swim: 2,404m/0:58

Bike: 74.4km/2:58

Run: 30.3km/3:01

Strength: 0:00

Total Time: 6:57

There were still a couple of red boxes in Training Peaks and workouts cut short, but it is a big improvement over last week. I’m not feeling nearly as discouraged as I was at this time last week. My strength training has been seriously lacking since Around the Bay, so that is going to be my highest priority this week because I need to stay injury-free as I head into a big summer of training (see below). I’m hanging in there, though, and I hope I am done with heart monitors and house viewings. Next up on the life front is finding a moving company from the helpful recommendations that we got, and moving early in June! You’ll definitely be hearing more about that over the next little while, as it is sure to impact my training in more ways than one.

My Summer Race Schedule

I’m a planner, there’s no question about it. It should come as no surprise, then, that I’ve already mapped out and registered for the races I will be doing through to the end of the summer. As someone who once used many races as training runs and motivators, I often have to stop myself from registering for all the things. I’m trying to be more strategic in choosing triathlons to avoid burnout. Needless to say, I’m fortunate to have a coach to reel me in when my mouse finger gets trigger happy and the FOMO kicks in.

I have two major triathlon goals this year:

  • A PB in the sprint distance
  • Complete an olympic distance event
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Big day for race registration!

I’ve already put in a fair amount of work to get me there, but there is still much more to do. Here’s what I’ve lined up so far:

Ragnar Relay Niagara, May 19-20 – I’ll be running my first Ragnar relay with a team of fierce ladies from Tribe Fitness. I’ve read tons of recaps from other bloggers who have done Ragnar relays and we’ve already started the planning. It should be an awesome weekend. I’m really looking forward to checking this one off my bucket list!

Rose City Sprint Triathlon, June 24 – This will be my first triathlon of the season. I chose it partly because the swim is in the Welland canal and the bike course is flat. It is also early enough that I can make any necessary tweaks to my training before my first ‘A’ race in July.

Kincardine Women’s Triathlon, July 8 – I will be joining a couple of my girlfriends for a weekend at a cottage, which will include my first women’s-only triathlon. It’s a shorter event (375m swim, 12km bike, 3km run), so that should allow me to push myself a bit and test my fitness.

Toronto Triathlon Festival, July 23 – I’ll return to the Toronto Triathlon Festival this year and take on the sprint distance once again. I know I want to challenge myself with longer distances, and initially thought that doing the olympic race there was a no-brainer, but I ultimately decided to do the sprint again to see exactly how far I’ve come in a year. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I am really looking forward to comparing last year’s numbers to this year’s.

Toronto Island Women’s Sprint Triathlon, August 19 – Another local event that I am looking forward to so much. The swim is slightly shorter for this one (500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run). I can’t wait to race on the island, and I’ve heard such wonderful things about this women’s-only event.

Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon, August 26 – This will be a birthday present to myself, and I can’t wait to attempt the olympic distance!

Niagara Falls Barrelman Relay (Run), September 17 – I’ll be running the half marathon portion of the 70.3 in Niagara. My bike and swim partners are forces to be reckoned with in their respective disciplines, so I’ll try my best to keep up!

So, that’s it! It’s a very full and ambitious race schedule for someone just starting out, I realize. However, I’m in such capable hands to get me to start line in the best shape possible. It’s been a few years since I’ve been so excited about my training.

You may have noticed that, with the exception of the Ragnar relay, there are no running events listed above. I have been experiencing some longing to run certain road races as of late, especially since I missed my goal at Around the Bay.

After I had a day or two to reflect on my experience at Around the Bay, I looked closely at my splits, and thought I might be ready to race a 10k again. My 10k PB is 5 years old, and with both Sporting Life and the Waterfront 10 coming up, there are a couple of good opportunities to bring that one down. NB: The 10k is my most challenging and hated distance, so feeling motivated to take this on felt like a sign that I should.

In addition, the marathon has been calling my name over the last couple of months. It was my first love in running, and one that has been missing since my last marathon blow-up in Chicago in October 2015. I was lost last summer without marathon training. I’ll come back to it again, but not until my running returns to a place where I can put in some hard work for a significant PB. The marathon distance is challenging, no doubt. It takes my body a long time to build to it, race it, and recover, so I want to be sure it’s the only thing I’m doing when the time comes.

I thought *very* critically about what I want out of this season and checked in with my coach. I’ve decided to back off on setting road race goals until after triathlon season is over.

As you can see above, I’ve already got a lot on my multisport plate, so I don’t want to throw something else in the mix and potentially jeopardize any of my summer races. I’ve run all of those road distances already, so I know I am capable of completing them. I will not be looking to chase any big running goals until I’m certain I can focus all my energy on it, and that window of time is not coming up in the immediate future. The races and distances will always be there.

But, first, I tri!

How did your training go last week? What races are you registered for or thinking about this summer? 

Training Recap Week ??

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HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It’s certainly been a while since I’ve had something to say about my training, hasn’t it? I know what you’re thinking. Usually when people go incognito online, it means that things have gone terribly awry. That is only partially true. While there have been days (arguably a week) where things have been in the toilet since Around the Bay, I’m alive and still trucking along…mostly.

I thought about doing a monster recap of the last two weeks of training, but I’ll summarize it nicely here: Roller coaster. There have been hard ups and hard downs. Thanks to both Ryan and my coach, I’m doing okay-ish at keeping myself in check. Left to my own devices, this would be much worse. Without further ado, here’s what went down last week:

Monday

12.9km ride: It’s been so long since I’ve written, that you probably would not have known that I was away last weekend for Ryan’s marathon in Raleigh. We were checking out of the hotel on Monday and coming home, so I was able to do an easy 30 minute spin on the hotel bike. Just enough to get moving again after having had a sloth-like few days. Much needed and felt pretty good. #noragrets

#twofertuesday – Wait, what?! Yes, I’m running doubles for Tuesdays until the end of May in preparation for the Ragnar relay. Aren’t I just full of surprises? Or something else… 🙂

5km run: There was some pandemonium on Tuesday. We got home overnight Monday heading into Tuesday (a few hours later than expected) in the middle of a torrential downpour and also with the news that we have to move before the end of June. With coordinating dog pick-up and trying to get at least some sleep, my “morning” run happened late in the afternoon. It was still raining heavily and very windy. Not so much a time. I was really excited to get home, knowing that I would have to go out again in a couple of hours to run 5km more.

5km run: So, the rain stopped and the second run was fine. I did have to change clothes in between, though, because my others were so wet. I’m not sure I felt the full benefit of the double run because both occurred so closely together. I was incredibly nervous about today’s double because the one and only other time I ran twice in one day was the day before my plantar fasciitis presented itself. Luckily, this went without incident and I felt fine.

Wednesday

1450m swim: Today was my first swim workout in a while, relatively speaking. With an extra day of vacation under my belt, I was somewhat rested and ready to swim, although I was fully prepared for this swim to suck. The workout consisted of a lot of short, fast sets that left me tired, but you can’t stay away from the pool forever if you’re going to train for a triathlon. Done and dusted.

30km ride: A good ride, with a few blocks of work in power zone 4. Not much to report here.

Thursday

8km interval run

40 minutes strength

I skipped my workouts on Thursday for no other reason than being stressed. Oh, and it was pissing down rain again. I try my best to get out there when the weather is crappy because character building and such, but the terrible weather, combined with my heightened stress, got to me, and I hibernated for the evening.  

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day. I thought about making up my missed workouts from Thursday, but I had a mini-triathlon of sorts on my schedule for Saturday, so I wanted to be rested for it. I was pretty excited, even, which was something. It’s no secret that I’ve been dragging since Around the Bay, so my enthusiasm for my weekend workouts was promising.

Saturday

1800 457m swim: I went to the quiet pool near work to find it much busier than usual. I hopped into the medium lane with a few others and started to do my thing. It became apparent that I had stumbled onto some sort of private, informal lesson/instruction. I asked if they would be okay to share the lane by going straight up and down and they could have one half of the lane to themselves. All agreed, but it didn’t quite work. I switched lanes and, after dodging an army of breaststrokers, I lost all resolve and called it quits. NB: There is nothing wrong with doing breaststroke at the pool. It’s hard for me (especially as a beginner) to get around other swimmers, though, as I still try to navigate swim etiquette. I suppose I should be happy that I was swimming fast enough to require passing others. Ha.

We were on a time crunch with some house viewings that evening, and I made no effort when I got home to do my brick workout. Womp. I went to bed disappointed in myself and still letting my external stressors get to me.

1:15 ride

10 minute run off the bike

Sunday

14km long run

40 minutes strength

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Post-brick on Sunday

I know what you’re thinking. It looks like this week was nothing but a series of strikethroughs. I ended up salvaging my Saturday workouts on Sunday, after all. I was way more excited to try my first brick workout of the season than I was to do a long run, so I ended up doing my long ride and run off the bike. Sunday proved to be the busiest day of all for us last week. We had a Toronto Triathlon Festival event to attend in the morning, followed by a baby shower, and two more house viewings. There was no more time for self-pity and procrastination. I got up early and was on the bike by 7:00.

35.4km ride: A little Zwift action to start the morning. I was feeling determined on the ride. I usually watch TV or movies while I’m on the trainer, but our current trainer setup shares a wall with our bedroom, so I didn’t want to wake Ryan. I turned on my music and watched the Zwift screen without too much thought.

10 minute run off the bike: The last time I had done a brick workout of any kind was on the day of TTF last summer. It did not go that well, ha. I had laid out my run things, and was out the door within 5 minutes of finishing my ride. I did a short run (1.6km) wearing my bulky bike shorts. I’ve been told my numerous concerned parties that it’s time to invest in a pair of tri shorts. Twist my rubber arm. 😉 Anyway, I finished my workout feeling strong and confident that I had made time to fit it in. I hope I can channel this in the weeks to come, as the stress is likely to continue.

 

Swim: 1450m/0:42

Bike: 68km/2:47

Run: 11.6km/1:10

Strength: 0:00

Total Time: 4:39

No doubt, last week was one of my lowest volume weeks since I started triathlon training back in November. I’ll continue to deal with a fair amount of personal stress over the next little while, so survival is key. It has been difficult for me to see all the red boxes in my Training Peaks account, but I know the stress is temporary. I’ve already registered for the rest of my summer races, so I’ve got something to keep me motivated.

I’ve got some other things that I want to tell you about (such as my FTP test and a bit more on my summer races), so I hope to find time to write more soon.

Have a great week, friends!

 

Around the Bay Recap

Wowza. In what seems like the blink of an eye, my “A” goal race for the winter has come and gone. In lieu of a summary of last week’s training, I offer you  my race recap. This one is going to be long, and I don’t have any fancy photos to break things up, just a whole lot of words and thoughts about yesterday’s race.

I began training for Around the Bay way back in November when I started working with my coach. When asked to identify my race goals, I divided up the year and knew that I wanted 2017 to be mostly triathlon-focused. However, living in Canada, that meant I had a long winter to make it through before I would be racing outside. What would I do in the meantime? 

I thought about viable running goals to keep me motivated, and ultimately (perhaps arbitrarily, in retrospect) set my sights on cracking the 3 hour mark at Around the Bay in March. More than once over the winter, I asked myself why. It was far enough away to feel doable, I had come close to 3:00 the first and only time I ran it (3:02 and change back in 2015), I was finally feeling mentally and physically ready to start building my distance again (yet not quite ready to return to the marathon), so I thought, why not?

Other than a missed workout here and there (it happens to all of us!), my build for Around the Bay was without incident. I struggled on my peak long run *big time*, but I usually have at least one disastrous long run per cycle, so it wasn’t a big deal. In the last couple of weeks before the race, I was feeling relaxed and totally in the zone, especially after a confidence-boosting practice race at the Chilly Half.

Race week was something else. I was tired all. the. damn. time. My legs felt like lead and running was a challenge. Initially, I was worried, but as the week progressed, I remembered that this was normal for the taper. It had been so long since I had properly trained for a race long enough to feel the effects of the taper. I took my fatigue as a good sign. My last run before the race incorporated some strides that didn’t feel like death, so I felt more at ease heading into the weekend.

On Saturday, after sleeping for 8 glorious hours and then napping for two more, I hopped on the GO bus to Hamilton to pick up my kit. I didn’t dawdle at the expo, as I wanted to get home and grab some groceries before settling in for the evening. For those interested, I reverted to the pre-race/long run dinner I ate every week in my 2014 marathon training cycle: cheese tortellini. I did my foam rolling and stretching, crawled into bed by 10:15, and was asleep within minutes.

Race Day

The alarm sounded bright and early Sunday. I slept very well, and woke up ready to race. I toasted an English muffin, spread some peanut butter on it, and packed it to go with a banana. We got to Hamilton with an hour and a half to spare before the start. There were plenty of washrooms inside the stadium where the race ended (the start line was just outside), and I didn’t have to wait. Our crew took a photo and then I headed outside to make sure I got a warm-up in this time.

I jogged around the block on the way to the corral and managed to run just over a kilometre. I did some walking lunges and leg swings, and seeded myself in the corral just ahead of the 3:00 pacer. I always find the first kilometre or so of a race the most challenging, weaving in and out of people as I try to hit my stride. I felt like I was plodding along and my first kilometre beeped at 5:44. Oops. A solid 12 seconds faster than my goal pace.

After several kilometres more of trying to reel myself in, I didn’t want to waste any more mental energy on slowing down. I was making a conscious effort to slow down, but it wasn’t translating. I suspect I was trying to compensate for the hills, and pushing too hard for fear of falling behind. I was still feeling pretty good, so I tried to stay positive and hang in there. I figured that if I couldn’t dial it back, I would have some time in the bank in case I had to slow down on the hills in the final 10 kilometres. And I believed it. LOL. Note to self (and everyone else): This. Does. Not. Work. Ever.

I started to feel the effects of running too fast at around 12k, and things went downhill (har!) pretty quickly from there. Almost immediately after, I blew up internally and rode the struggle bus all the way to the finish. By some miracle, I survived most of the North Shore rollers, but I was running on fumes by the time I got to Lasalle Park, with 9k still to go.

At this point, I was so grateful to have run parts of the course a couple of times in training, and broke things up mentally so I could take it a little bit at a time. Once we climbed out of North Shore and onto Plains, I knew it was all flat and downhill until Valley Inn, and I tried to coast until then.  I kept myself distracted and tried not have too many thoughts, as I’m prone to slip into a dark place pretty quickly when the going gets tough.

Valley Inn Road was bittersweet for me. I had conquered it in training, but I had to walk most of it yesterday. Once I crested the top, I did some quick mental math and knew that my 3:00 time goal would be a stretch (I had lost the 3:00 pacer just after North Shore, but I could still see them way ahead.), but a PB was still within reach if I really pushed hard. I picked it up as best I could, but my legs were completely spent. For the first time that I can recall while racing, both my quads and hamstrings were screaming at me with every stride.

I passed the Grim Reaper and started to focus on the finish. As my PB slipped away, I refused to give up. I thought about walking to the finish, and I thought even harder about quitting altogether. I ultimately decided that the faster I ran, the faster it would be over. I went on auto-pilot and tried not to think about the pain in my legs. I saw a runner friend from social media, and we commiserated about the wind. She urged me to go, so I started to book it. I use the term ‘book it’ loosely at this point. I passed the Tribe cheer station in the last kilometre, and gave it everything I had left. I didn’t think it was much, but I pushed a 5:02/km crossing the finish line.

My official time was 3:05:31, over 5 minutes slower than I had hoped to run. As I stated on my social media post, I am proud of how I carried myself yesterday. Would I change anything? Well, sure, I would not have gone out so fast, but that’s how things shook out. I wanted to truly race Around the Bay, and I did. There will be many more opportunities to break the 3:00 mark in the 30k distance, and yesterday just wasn’t my day to do it.

I have other goals to turn my attention towards, and once my body rebounds, I’ll be tackling my spring and summer triathlon goals with full force. As always, it takes a village to get an athlete’s best self to the start line. I’m so very fortunate to have a supportive boyfriend, the best coach, an amazing run crew, and an army of friends and family who truly believe in me.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me from the moment I committed to this goal. Your support means the world to me.

xo

 

Training Recap Week 8

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This week was the last full week of training before Around the Bay this coming Sunday. With no other races or special workouts on the schedule, I focused on consistency and eating well. I would say I stuck pretty closely to those goals, with the exception of one run that was cut short. Here’s what I was up to this week:

 

Monday

1600m swim: I did a little more volume than usual at practice today. We focused on 300m sets today and I was fairly consistent.

Tuesday

25km ride: The weather was pretty terrible outside, and I didn’t want to take my chances with the sidewalks, so we moved things around a bit, and I did my ride on Tuesday. Since I’ve been riding with Zwift again and focusing on my power output, I did a portion of the ride into Zone 3, and building into Zone 4.

40 minutes strength: I did my usual strength training routine after my ride. I was slightly more energetic than I usually am when I do my strength training post-run.

Wednesday

2000m swim: Whoa! For the first time in swim practice, I hit 2000m! I was swimming right until the bitter end, but it felt good. Today’s practice was focused on 500s.

4km run: This was supposed to be an 8km easy run. I went to a local Running Room to get some more information about a Ragnar Relay that I’m running in May with some friends, and I joined the local run group. It was either a short, easy run or hill repeats. You can guess which one I chose. 😉

Thursday

8km interval run: For today’s interval run, I went to the track near our house. For as long as I’ve been running, I’ve had a mental block towards the track. Since I’ve been gaining confidence on the run lately, I decided to see if I could overcome my fear of track running. I did 10 intervals in Z4, and they were all within range! It felt good to tackle them, and I finished strong.    

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day.

Saturday

1875m swim: When I first saw what was expected of me for my endurance swim, I questioned my ability to complete it. I had 10 sets of 100s, each descending. These types of workouts occasionally cause me anxiety. Although there’s not usually as much riding on these workouts as I think, I have an intense fear of failure with speed-based workouts. I build it up in my mind, which can negatively impact my efforts. I tried to push that aside today, and told myself I would just do what I could do. I picked the 100s off, one by one, each just a hair faster than the one before, and left the pool feeling pretty darn proud of myself. Peacock moment of the week, for sure. Bonus: I did not forget my post-swim snack. Winning.

37km ride: Building on the momentum from my swim, I did my long ride once I got home, which included some longer blocks of work building through my power zones. It was a sneaky burn.

Sunday

18km long run: Ah, the last long run before Around the Bay next weekend. I dragged my feet on this a little bit, and the first few kilometres were not kind to me. Luckily, Ryan ran with me for the first 5km and helped me get in the zone. We chatted about our upcoming races, the beautiful weather we were having that day, and before I knew it, he was turning around to head home and I was feeling much better heading into the rest of my run. I had one last run up Mount Pleasant, across Eglinton, and down the rollers on Bathurst. My pace was pretty solid for a week out from the race, and I was able to turn it up a little for the last bit.

40 minutes strength: Although my run left me feeling race-ready and confident, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was my strength workout. I was fatigued big time, and felt like I was just going through the motions.

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Swim: 5475m/2:15

Bike: 62km/2:21

Run: 30km/3:08

Strength: 1:14

Total Time: 9:19

I don’t really have a whole lot to say, except that I’m feeling ready to race. I had a phone call with my coach this week, and we started to talk a bit about my race plan. I’ve laid out my A, B, and C goals. Right now, I’m concentrating on visualizing myself powering up those hills. The race is 6 days away, and my typical race week behaviours are surfacing.

I fully recognize that I cannot control the weather on race day, but that doesn’t stop me from looking obsessively at the forecast to prepare myself mentally (and to choose the right race day clothes, of course). I’ve started thinking about which pre-race meals and breakfast options have served me best over this training cycle. I’m trying to get lots of sleep this week, with the most focus on Friday night’s sleep. I was not careful with my nutrition today, but I will be keeping myself in check for the rest of the week to make sure I’m properly fuelled for the race.

At this point, there is nothing I can do to improve my fitness. I’ve put in a lot of quality work this winter. Training has not been perfect, but it almost never is. I can honestly say that I fully committed to this goal, and I’m ready for whatever happens on Sunday. I’m feeling optimistic, but still a little scared and nervous about reaching my goal. I hope I’m writing my recap next week with good news of a shiny new PB.

Have a great week, friends!

Anyone else running Around the Bay this weekend? 

Chilly Half Marathon Recap

Last Sunday, I ran the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington. It was my first time running the half marathon there. Despite having registered for it last year, I was injured and had to drop down to the 5k. The day before the race, it was looking like I would once again meet the same fate, but I woke up Sunday itching to get out there and test my pace for Around the Bay.

I didn’t make the journey out to Burlington to pick up my race kit, so I can’t comment on the expo and packet pickup situation. Instead, I had a friend grab it for me and I got it from her on Saturday before the race. If it was anything like last year, it was not crowded and had a decent number of vendors/sponsors on hand for a smaller race.

If you’re here for my thoughts on the event itself and the course, here they are:

The course itself was flat, with a small incline near the end. If you like quieter courses and can do without a ton of crowd support, then I would recommend this either as a winter goal race or a tune-up event. A lot of runners (myself included) use the Chilly Half as a dress rehearsal for the Around the Bay 30k, which is just a few weeks after. It’s a good opportunity to test out pacing, nutrition/hydration, and leaves just enough time to make any final modifications before ATB.

It was an exceptionally well-organized event, and well worth the entry fee. Having access to a large building with lots of washrooms pre- and post-race is a welcome perk, as the late winter weather is often unpredictable. Short massages were available from one of the local massage college program students before and after the race. I didn’t take advantage of that this year, but I did last year and it was great. It appeared that they had more students on hand this year, in fact.

If you’re here for the recap of how I personally fared, here it is:

Originally, there was a swim on my schedule for Saturday. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and I spent most of the day sleeping and otherwise relaxing. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, I had a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and spent all my waking hours trying to hydrate. I was in bed by 10:00 and despite napping for nearly four hours that day (!!), I had no trouble falling asleep. Point taken, body.

The race did not start until 10:00 on Sunday, but we got up super early to pick up a car and drive out to Burlington. Traffic can be a total unknown, even on a Sunday morning, but we arrived with plenty of time to spare.  

It was cold. For real. Stop rolling your eyes. We’ve been spoiled this winter with some occasional warm temperatures and not much by way of snowfall, so to have a cold, windy day for the race felt like a bit of a kick in the gut. They don’t call it the Chilly Half for nothing. If I had a dollar for every time someone said that on Sunday (me included), I could probably register for next year’s race with the proceeds. 😉

I knew a number of people running (in both the 5k and the half marathon), so the hour we had to kill before the race passed by fairly quickly. I ate my banana and sipped my Nuun water. The bathroom lines were not kind to me and instead of warming up for 2k before the race, I had to settle for a scrambled jog to my corral and some dynamic stretches. Not ideal.  

Nevertheless, I started. To be honest, it felt a little surreal to be running a half marathon, to be at a start line for the first time in over a year with a meaningful goal. Most of all, I was both relieved and thankful to be at the start line injury-free. My prescribed plan was to start slightly slower than goal pace for Around the Bay, and settle in at around 3k for the remainder of the race.

Despite a shaky start (which I blame myself for after not having properly warmed up), things evened out at the 3k mark. I felt great in the early kilometres, but knew that wasn’t necessarily indicative of what might come.

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Heel striking like a MF boss. Photo credit: Mark Gardner, Tribe Fitness

I saw both Ryan and Mark (separately) within the first 5k, and then headed out for the long out-and-back. Once upon a time, I disliked out-and-back courses. If I was having a particularly bad race, an out-and-back filled me with dread, and I often suffered in the final kilometres as a result. That all seems to have changed. I now spend most of the out portion looking across the course to look for runners I know. It’s a welcome distraction, and then I get to focus my energy on the back portion, where I often need it most.

I spent a lot of time looking at my watch during the race. I wanted to make sure I was staying on pace, and I was. As I ran through the quiet residential streets, I was pleased to see that I was staying eerily in my pace zone. The only 2 kilometres that were slower, were the ones where I walked as I took in gels, at 8k and 16k, and was able to make up the extra 20-30s per stop easily. I relied on the water stations on course without issue. Well, save a little layer of ice forming on top of the cups. 🙂

Luckily, the suck that I anticipated never really came. Don’t get me wrong: the last 5 or so kilometres were still challenging. The half marathon distance is no joke, and I had to put in a lot of work to stay on top of things in the last part of the race. By the time I got to the 19-20k mark, I still felt relatively well. Time to see what I had left and completely empty the tank.

As I came within the last few hundred metres, I really grit my teeth and dug in. I saw Ryan, Mark, and Heather cheering near the corner before the finish line and I used that energy for my final push. Sorry for not waving or smiling then, y’all, but I was in my zone. I saw my 21st kilometre tick at 5:31, and then I took off for the finish with whatever I had left. Garmin Connect later told me I was able to get just under 5:00/km for that last push, which I was very pleased with at the end of a half marathon.

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Epic Suffer Score, you say? Sounds about right.

I crossed the finish line in 2:05:26 (unofficial), with an average pace of 5:56/km. That was bang on for my ATB pace, and I executed the race plan perfectly (minus the warm-up, oops!). It has been quite some time since I have been able to say that. Many times along the course, I gave myself mini pep talks and all I came back to was how I thought I was never going to be able to run long distances again, and there I was. For once in my life, I was patient and it paid off. Ha.  

While it was not a PB for me, it was my second to fastest half marathon, and it certainly felt like a PB in many ways. It confirmed the progress that I’ve made over the last few months. Some days leading up to the race, it was hard to see the forest for the trees, but I’m so glad I trusted the work I put in and laid it all out there.

I think that another part of what made this race so special for me is that, after close to a year and a half of unpredictable training and racing due to my injury, I finally started to feel like my old running self again. I’ve talked about how I experienced this during a few of my training runs, but it was nice to have the old feelings come back as I raced. The race gave me hope that there’s still some life in this old body, and that I can still make progress. I wonder if there’s another marathon PB left in these legs down the road. But, first: I tri.  

Although I struggled to see how I could run another 9km at that pace on a more challenging course in just a few weeks, my coach quickly talked me down from that. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be putting in my last bits of work pre-ATB and letting my training do the talking. I’ve put in the work, and I’m ready to see what I can do on March 26.

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Did anybody else race the Chilly Half or Frosty 5k? If you’re training for Around the Bay, how are you feeling in the last couple of weeks before the race?

 

Training Recap Week 7

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WOW. I find myself saying this in every recap, but last week was quite a week for me. No, seriously this time. 😉 Coming down from last week’s Chilly Half (my recap is ready! I’ll probably post it tomorrow or Wednesday.), I had my very first FTP test to look forward to, as well as my peak run before Around the Bay. Like most weeks, there were some ups and downs, but never a dull moment.

 

Monday

1509m swim: OUCH. I woke up the day after the race with a major case of the DOMS. I hobbled out of bed and got right back in just as quickly. No swim practice for me. I decided to pack my things in case I was feeling semi-human at lunch and could make it to the pool. I made it to the pool, but I’m not sure I felt human at any point. My body quickly revolted, and my swim turned into a mix of pull and fin sets, with some work on my drills as prescribed by my swim coach. It was not pleasant, but moving my body even a little helped. Maybe.

16km ride: After work, I did a super easy ride. There was no structure, just get on the bike and spin the pedals for 45 minutes. No more pleasant than my swim. I expected to be sore after the race, and it was the best feeling, if that makes sense. Happy to take a couple of easy workouts today.

Tuesday

7km run: Thanks to my success at the Chilly Half, I got myself a brand new set of HR training zones! Woo hoo! Along with it, I got some torrential rain, wind, and persisting soreness. Boo! Turns out my legs still worked and I didn’t die, but the run was a tough one.

40 minutes strength: Getting in my strength work after that run was a challenge, for sure. Not much to report.

Wednesday

1350m swim: Back to early swim practice, and still a bit exhausted. Part of me started to worry because my FTP test was scheduled for the next day, and everyone kept advising me that I should be well-rested for the test. After work, I went out for dinner with friends and got a good night of sleep.

Thursday

FTP Test: My very first FTP test! I ended up being the only one at The Lab for my test. I was initially a bit nervous and intimidated, but all that went out the window. Michael, the Head Coach at X3 and owner of The Lab, put me completely at ease and explained everything that was happening at various stages. With this being my first crack at the test, I faced no pressure to put up big numbers and because I was on my own, no worry of having to compare myself to others. For someone who is clueless about cycling, I have a lot of thoughts on my first FTP test and will be writing about it separately.

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day.

Saturday

28km long run: I had a pretty rough run this weekend. I headed out to Hamilton once more with Ryan and a few others from my run group to get in one last long run on parts of the ATB course. My run *sucked* big time. I felt like garbage on many of the hills, especially the rollers. In addition, the weather was cold and terrible. I had a complete meltdown and even cried towards the end, wondering how I was going to be able to pull this off in two weeks. However, because I was running on my own for a while, I paid close attention to where I was on the course, as I know that will come into play big time as I come up with my race day plan. We also (literally) ran into my childhood friend and university room mate from Newfoundland who now lives in St. Catharines. She was out for her peak long run too, and it was the first time I had seen her in years. Yay, reunion!

Sunday

30km ride: I switched things up today, and did my ride using Zwift. I’m going to be experimenting with riding in my power zones now that I have some relevant data, so I did an easy ride with a few blocks of work in various power zones.

40 minutes strength: My normal post-run strength routine got moved to Sunday to accommodate my FTP test.

 

Swim: 2859m/1:07

Bike: 71.5km/3:01

Run: 35km/3:37

Strength: 1:15

Total Time: 9:00

Lots of ups and downs this week, as usual. I started the week on a high from the Chilly Half, despite being tired post-race. My FTP test took a lot out of me, both mentally and physically, so it should have come as no surprise that my run on Saturday went less than smoothly. My long run was also only my second run with my newly adjusted heart rate zones, so my pace was a little quicker than usual. I’m up for the challenge and although it is nice to see my long run pace dropping closer to where it once was, I need to keep myself in check before heading immediately into meltdown mode. HR training has proven an effective approach for me, and I need to be patient just a while longer.

My focus over the next couple of weeks is to get my workouts in, focus on recovery/sleep and eating mostly good food before Around the Bay. I still have some work to do in finalizing my race prep, like (maybe) selecting a B goal and a little more mental work in visualizing the course on race day. I think I’ve got this in hand, and now that I’ve had a test run at Chilly, I’m eager to see how Around the Bay will unfold. Stay tuned!

 

 

Training Recap Week 6

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What a week! So many things to be happy about in this week’s training: I pulled off some amazing PBs in swimming, had a really positive experience with running intervals (it usually gives me a ton of anxiety), AND I had a great race today! Here’s what I got up to over the last week:

 

Monday

1325m swim: Today, I got my individual feedback from last week’s filming. As I suspected, there are a few key points in my swim stroke that need work. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, my coach is going to have me work on one or two things at a time, starting with the timing of my stroke (I’m windmilling at the moment), and body rotation.

Tuesday

10km run with intervals: My first set of intervals in nearly a year! I was curious to see how HR training would factor into interval training – would I run intervals by pace or HR zone? It was the latter, and running intervals by HR actually took all the pressure off, and I was able to run all my intervals without issue and I wasn’t too far off last year’s paces, actually.

40 minutes strength: Post-run strength training tonight went better than it has in a while. I’m starting to hit my stride with this particular routine.

Wednesday

1050m swim: Time trial day again! We did our 400m and 50m time trials today. Holy crap, what an improvement! I got PBs in both my distances: my 400m went from 10:44 to 10:11, and my 50m went from 63s to 59s. My 100m CSS dropped from 2:46 to 2:37. I’m thrilled with these improvements in just one month!

34km bike: A long, low cadence ride with big blocks of low cadence work. Really got my sweat on with this one!

Thursday

9km run: An easy Zone 2 run on the schedule in advance of Sunday’s race. I was attending a nutrition seminar through the triathlon club, so I did my run, and finished at the seminar. It was c-o-l-d outside tonight.

40 minutes strength: After the seminar, I had to do my strength once I got home. I must confess, I was not feeling this workout at all. I was cranky and tired, and took more shortcuts than I care to admit, but there’s no point in dwelling on it.

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day.

Saturday

1500m swimI had a bit of a health scare this morning, so my swim got cancelled. I had a suuuuuuuper long nap and a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner to get some extra iron. I was fully prepared to scrap Sunday’s half marathon if I wasn’t feeling 100% when I woke up on Sunday. Health > races. Always.

Sunday

21.1km run: Chilly Half Marathon! I woke up this morning feeling much better than I thought I would. I had a decent night of sleep on Saturday night, paired with the big nap and meaty meal, and I was ready to at least attempt the race. This was meant to be a dress rehearsal for Around the Bay in just 3 weeks, and I was able to execute it almost perfectly. It is certainly is deserving of a post of its own, and I’ll write all about it very soon.

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Swim: 2375m/0:57

Bike: 34km/1:30

Run: 40.5km/4:09

Strength: 1:13

Total Time: 7:49


How was your week of training? Did anybody else race the Chilly Half Marathon?