Tuesday, September 29, 2009


My mojo (my running mojo that is) has left the building!  I still feel sore and worn out from Muskoka 70.3,  and realized this while running the Scotiabank Waterfront halfmarathon this weekend.  Even though I took it "easy",  it was truefully not an easy race for me.  I was sore and sick after,  I seem to have some lingering blisters that are really affecting my running gait,  making everything sore and achy.  Anyway I guess I'll just keeping plugging away to get out of this running slump! 

After Scotia marathon I met up with some friends and watched our friends finish (including Marlene rocking her redemption,  and Hubs ran his 28th marathon!!).  One really cool feature of the Scotia Marathon is special celebrity guest runners called "running legends".  One of them I have mentioned on my blog before,  Ed Whitlock.  Ed Whitlock ran the 2004 Scotia marathon at age 74 in 2:54:49.   Today he is 78, and ran the half marathon in 1:37:33!!   Incredible!  I also got to witness what I would have previously declared IMPOSSIBLE.  Fauja Singh is 98 years old and finished the 5K event in 35 minutes.   I felt a wave of emotion when I saw him approach the finish line.  What an inspiration!!

98 and running a 35 minute 5K.  Even more inspirational I read that he didn't start running until he was 81.  Incredible!!


So while my running mojo has left the building, thankfully there are other sports I love to keep me active and motivated.  Today I went to newly formed staff weight training club after school.  I generally dislike lifting weights and want to spend as little time at the gym as possible, so it was good to just do a simple 45 minute circuit after school.  The club meets Mon and Thurs,  so this should be enough in terms of weight training for me and it felt good to get a strength training workout in.  Today was arms and I did the following
-15 pushups
-50 situps
-incline press (15 reps of all of the exercises below)
-chest press
-seated row
-upright row
-tricep curls

I just did one set today since I didn't want to be super sore tomorrow (I probably will be anyway),  but it is a good start anyway.  Thursday is legs!!

I also went to an Epicure party tonight,  and sampled some delicious dips.  I bought mini pizza pans,  which I am super excited about.. mmm homemade pizza. 

After the Epicure party,  I went to my second triathlon swim class.  The class is coached by Paul Johnson and so far its pretty good.  Alot of sprinting and speedwork. I hope we also get some stroke improvement tips.  We also do alot of drills with flippers,  so I went out and bought a pair.

Tonight we didn't end up using the flippers, but did a few challenging drills.  One was an 8 x 50 meters sprint with 15 seconds rest. After each set our "rest" began after we jumped out of the water onto the pool deck,  an extra upper body workout!    Anyway I am really liking the class so far,  although it is definately a good workout!!

Sorry if this post is full of typos, I'm tired and need sleep!
Hope you all had a great Monday.  Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall Five Miler Race Report

I participated in Running Laur's Fall Five Miler Race on Wednesday this week.

I went for a trail run with friends Wednesday evening on the Seaton Trail which located along the West Duffins Creek in Pickering, Ontario. The trail is very pretty and has some very challenging terrain and is the perfect run location for a fall-themed run.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera,  and I didn't wear  a watch,  so I don't have much to report, but it was a really nice run and this event helped get me out and doing it!  One of my running friends said our distance was 8.9K which is over 5 miles.  Thanks Running Laur for organizing this (you rock!). I **love** fall running!!

And it has finally felt like fall running lately!!  Although it was a humid mess earlier this week,  it has cooled off just in time for marathon season. 

I have decided to go it alone (sans Hubs) to St. George as well,  I think it will be an adventure and I am super-excited! In order to better prepare,  I made a last minute decision to run the half tomorrow at the Scotiabank Watefront Marathon.  No big PR plans,  just a forced faster -closer to marathon paced run.  I am still recovering from my half iron a few back so I can't afford to overdo it. Hubs is doing the full as a "training run" Crazy nut! 

Congrats to all of the racers this weekend.  A few triathletes were born!!  And ofcourse good luck to all of the Scotiabank runners especially Marlene who is seeking her redemption this weekend also at Scotia!

Hope you all have a great rest of your weekend!! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moving Forward

Thanks everyone for your kind words about my Ironman 70.3.  I find it amazing that some of you said you were inspired by me,  when so many of you inspire me daily!!  I definately will complete another half iron,  and I have an Ironman in my sights/thoughts,  but first I need to work on becoming a faster triathlete.  I plan on running a few marathons this fall,  but to keep up the cycling and swimming.  I wish I could keep doing triathlons throughout the winter!

In the meantime,  I have St.George Utah marathon on Oct 3rd.  At least I thought I did...  Hubs is having trouble getting the time off work so I may have to go alone,  or not go at all.  I keep wavering between the two.  In one respect I really want to run the marathon.  The course looks beautiful,  and I have already paid my registration fee.  Would you travel by yourself to a marathon?

On the other hand training for the Muskoka 70.3 had me running less than I normally would for a marathon.  I did run a few 30+ K runs,  but haven't focused on speed to any large degree.  This week I have been tired so I stuck to easy workouts (1 swim, 1 bike and 2 runs).  I don't mind just completing the marathon,  but I was sorta hoping to PR it or at least enjoy it with Hubs. 

I do have some other news. I am running the Hamilton Road 2 Hope marathon on November 1st,  and then I am even more excited to announce that I am running the CIM marathon December 6th.  My sister and brother in law are also running it,  and we are going to stay at my Dad's in San Ramone.  I hope I can meet some of my favourite west coast bloggers.  I can't wait to run a marathon with my sister (although she will be much faster than me)!!

Here are a couple of more pictures from Muskoka 70.3;

Swim to Bike Transition




Finish line (My wave started 33 minutes after gun time)

Congratulations to all racers this weekend,  I look forward to reading your race reports.  Hope you all have a great Monday,  thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Race Report: IronMan Muskoka 70.3

I did it!!  I am an Ironman (woman 70.3).  It was of one the most awesome days EVER !!  I was certain nothing could top crossing the finish line of my first marathon- until yesterday... The race had a bit of everything, tears,  a bike crash (seriously), laughter, joy, and triumph.  Most importantly I found some inner strength I never knew I had. 

My Journey to 70.3 (preface to the race)
Having been a runner for five years,  I always kinda of balked at the idea of branching out from running,  feeling instead a need to focus of becoming a better, faster, runner. I signed up for this race a bit on a whim.  I was inspired by some triathletes in Parry Sound called the Nachos,  and thought maybe a triathlon would be a nice diversion from just running.  I was pretty sure when I decided to complete my first triathlon that it would just be a fun little race to complement my running,  but it turned out I absolutely LOVED my first triathlon and immediately signed up for the Muskoka 70.3 after being suckered in by one of their inspirational promo videos. So began my journey to become an Ironman 70.3....

Since I signed up for the race with less than 10 weeks to train,  I began to seriously doubt my descision.  My longest cycle was 16K (10 miles) at that point. I also found out that the course I had chosen was determined by the Ironman folks to be the toughest bike and run course of all of 70.3 series,  and that the bike course was actually 94k (58 miles) as opposed to usual 90K (56 miles)... ***gulp***.   However with the support of many great friends, and alot of training crammed into a little over two months,  I somehow made it to the start line.  Here is how the day unfolded....

Race weekend  - Pre race
Unlike many marathons I have completed,  Ironman Muskoka was an entire weekend event, culminating with the race Sunday morning. I woke up in a panicky haze Friday morning.  I had taken the day off work to make it up to Huntsville for the athletes banquet so I was able to sleep in,  but I could not seem to organize myself to pack.  Thank goodness for Hubs,  who made a packing list and helped me organize everything into the car, before he headed out to work.   I was a tearful, emotional mess.  In fact I think I teared up everytime I got one of many e-mails or facebook well wishes.  The support really meant the world,  thank-you SO MUCH! I knew I had done everything I could to prepare,  but I was still unsure how the day would unfold.

We made it up to Huntsville and went straight for the expo.  I have never attended such a supremely well organized event -registration and kit pick up was flawless.  We hit up the expo where I purchased some awesome swag - a bike jersey and a few other items (went a tad overboard - but hey its my first 70.3). 

After registering we attended the athletes banquet.  The spread was awesome; pasta, rollls, salad, chicken, veggies, softdrinks,cookies, tea and coffee.  The best part was being with friends and talking through some of our worries.  We were all a little frazzled from a big day so we left before all of the speeches.  I stayed at my friends cottage which is located on a beautiful lake about 30 minutes from the race - and it was really nice to escape the tension of the day.   

Saturday morning after a great sleep and breakfast we headed back to Deerhurst to check in our bikes and scope out the course.  It was so exciting and intimidating at the same time.  So many beautiful people, and expensive bikes and gear.  I felt like I was out of place amoungst so many obviously extremely fit athletic people -and I never thought I would feel that way.  Humbling and inspiring at the same time.

Returning to the cottage we went for a 1K practice swim,  packed our transition gear, made a great dinner,  and stayed mellow.  It felt like the weekend was being dragged out...  I just wanted to get on with the race!!!

Sunday morning - Race morning
I actually slept really well Sat. night and woke up ready to go. From there we were kept busy - setting up gearing, helping each other into our wetsuits,  checking and double checking that everything was set and ready to go.  Suddenly transition area was being closed and the race would be starting.  Hubs snapped a few pictures of us setting up from a distance (only athletes were allowed in transition area)

Wetsuit on, ready to go....

Once transition area closed,  we were hearded down to the swim start area about a kilometer away- barefoot!!  Ouch. 
The race started at 8 am,  I was in the seventh wave, with white caps that started at 8:33.  I hated starting so late...  more Sun - we were allowed a brief warm up.

And then we were off!!
The Swim - 2K - 46:56 - 2:21 per 100 meters
I tried to just use the swim as a warm up.  Actually the swim felt wonderful.  The water was cool and refreshing and I just relaxed and swam.  The swim was a point-to-point route which I really like.

Swim exit
T1 - 5:56
There were volunteers that helped you out of the water which was a good thing - I always feel a little dizzy standing up from the swim.  After exiting I quickly pulled my wetsuit to waist-length and was stripped by a wetsuit stripper volunteer.  Let me say that wetsuit strippers RULE!!! You simply lie on the ground and stick your legs up in the air - and they peel your wetsuit off in an instant and hand in back to you!!  No clumsy tripping over your wetsuit.
It was a good 700 meters up a steep hill from the water to the bike transition,  but it was made easier but the many spectators lining the path and cheering us on.  Hubs was there shouting out congratulations and words of encouragement.

I tried to be purposeful and not rushed in transition and double-checked that I did not forget anything.  The bike course is long and I did not want to be stuck out on the course to save a few seconds.  I was actually surprised at my transition time - it felt longer than the nearly six minutes posted.   All in all - swim and bike transition were a great sucess!!
Heading out to the bike mounting area

The Bike - 94K (58 miles)-  3:56 (23.9 kph)

I felt a little weak heading out to the bike - the hills start right away,  but within the first 10K after eating and drinking I felt fine and was having an awesome bike.  My goal was to bike the course and focus on nutrition and not overdoing it for the run.  I also wanted to love the hills.

For the first part of the bike I was being passed constantly by mostly strong females in the heat behind me or males that struggle with swim but are strong cyclists.  But as time went on, I began to notice I was catching and passing a fair number of females,  which was fun.  I tried not to get sucked in though,  I knew this race was about discipline and racing the bike would cost me in spades later. 
I saw Hubs just after half way and he video taped me passing by (I will post later),  and all and all felt great.

Just past a 65K the course I was starting to tire but still felt great!  I noticed a cylist dismount on the steep hill up ahead, and pull off right,  so I veared left avoid her and move around. Well at the last second she decided to pull out in front of me,  and I crashed right into her.  Her bike and her landed on top of me.

I had been in such a good spot mentally up until that point,  but when my bike went crashing down I screamed out in pain.  I had hit my hip hard to the ground,  and my right calf was spasming. 

I saw all that I worked for to finish the race halt - and I thought I was done -  I began to sob.  

Although the woman was apologizing profusely to me - I was really spacey -  she got up from on top me and helped me get out of my clips.  There was a police patrole car and they stopped to see if I needed to be pulled from the course.  They tried to help me up and I felt nausea -  I think going from upright on the bike to flat out on the ground,  and my calf was spasming.  My elbow was throbbing as well.  It took me a few tries,  but eventually I was able to stand.

I thought of everyone who was out to cheer me on, all the people who had help me train  and all of the effort and time I had put into this - I knew I owed it to them and myself to finish or at least try.  If I was unable - so be it, but I wanted to try.
Here is a partial picture of my hip today. (I saved you from my right butt cheek which is almost entirely black today).  My calf, elbow, and basically whole right side is bruised today.

Anyway I started back out,  and I was shaky at first,  but then I felt really proud of myself - I really had a good reason to quit -  but I kept going,  and although I was hurting a little,  I was able to manage the pain - it is wonderful what Aleve and adrenalin can do!!

The bike was hard - but beautiful - I had moments of emotion when I pulled back to Deerhurst for the run -  I knew that I would finish this race - even if it meant walking the half marathon.

T2 - 2:35
Second transition went well -  I forgot to take off my bike gloves, but threw them at Hubs who was cheering me on -  I so wanted to tell him about my crash,  but I knew he would just worry, so I smiled - I was despite everything - having fun.

The Run -21.1K -2:25:42 (6:55 per kilometer)

I started the run not knowing how much I could run.  It was a really hilly course - actually the hilliest half marathon I have ever ran -and it was full Sun. I had stretched out my calf in the last part of the bike using my pedals on the downhill,  so I was pleasantly surprised that I could still run.  My gait was akward,  but I was able to move. 

As it turned out the biggest issue on the run was nausea - I felt sick when I ran for long periods so I resorted to run-walk,  and power walking (as everyone was doing) up the steep inclines.  My friend Michelle gave me a great mantra for the run- run when you can,  walk when you have to.  For the most part I ran the flats, and downhills, walked uphills, water stations or when I felt nautious.

Although my run time was really slow - even my very first half marathon was faster than this I actually was faring quite well and passed alot of people in the second half relative to the first where I was passed by a few people.

Anyway there was one final huge 2K incline followed by a 1 K decline to the Deerhurst.  As I was climbing the last part of the hill,  the spectators began to appear.  Clapping,  congratulating me!   I saw Hubs at the top of the hill and began jumping up and down with excitement.  I had this!

It was such a wonderful feeling and I tried to take it all in,  and ofcourse as usual,  cried my way to the finish line.  At the final turn I saw some fellow Nacho friends and mentors (who had finished over 2 hours earlier), and they were cheering me in, and exchanged high fives.

As I approached the finish line they held up the tape - at first I was like ... um there is some mistake here,  but they do this for all Ironman finishers -  what a great feeling to finally cross the line and break the tape!!

At the finish line I recieved a mega swag - finish line tape, finishers hat, shirt - and the medal!!

IronMan Swag
My new favourite medal!
Overall time
7:17:16 - 56 out of 72 in age group.  I am really amazed that I did that well considering everything,  and I know there is huge room for improvement.   All in all my first Ironman 70.3  was a huge sucess.
I am beyond sore today and had trouble walking - I will give my calf a few days to assess the damage - but I am one hampy camper!!  Thanks for all of your support - and as usual thanks for reading!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Only those who attempt the absurd ......

achieve the impossible....

I found this jacket in my favourite triathlon store and I had to have it.  It's my pre-reward for Ironman Muskoka 70.3  and my motto during the race.

Final pre-race thoughts?

1. Stay calm.  I am a bundle of nervous emotional energy.  I just feel very excited and priveledged to do this!  Hubs is very patient when I move from self-doubt to tears to excited energy (well I'm not that bad,  but close)

2. I am setting no goals except to finish this one.  I want to enjoy the event. It will be enough just to finish. I think it will take over 7 hours for me to complete this, but if it takes more, so be it.

3.  Embrace the hills.  The bike and run course are hilly.  So I ***love*** hills.  Repeat.  I ***love*** hills.

4.  Thanks for all the support.  When I got into this triathlon beezznuss I had no idea how much time, energy, and money it would take to train for this race.  Thanks to all of my friends (both virtual and not) who gave me support,  words of encouragement.  Ofcourse special thanks to Hubs who always supports everything I do 100%. 

I promise to catch up on blogs soon. This week was also the first week back to work (school), so it was a busy one.

So its off I go.  I am staying at a friends cottage who lives near the event,  and our group is all doing the event,  so it should be good to calm these crazy nerves of mine.
Thanks for reading and good luck to all those other racers this weekend!! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My last day of summer holidays

My last post left you with a description of a half wonderful 90K (56 miles) Sunday ride,  ruined by a strong headwind and cold sleet rain the entire 45K return.  I also planned to ride another 94K (58 miles), on a much hillier route,  the same course I will be riding in 12 days!!

So when my alarm went off at 6 am Tuesday morning I was less than enthusiastic to get up.  My quads were still sore from my Sunday ride.  I also knew (riding the course a few weeks back),  what a tough, long ride I was in for.  I also had to drive up to the race location (2 and half hours away) to get the ride in.  To top it off, this was my last day of summer holidays.  Our school had our first PD day today,  so Tuesday was it.

I considered cancelling on my ride partner,  but thankfully she was ready to go,  and had no intentions of not wanting to do it. 

So we drove up there,  and it was nearly 10:30 when we arrived and I was already starving (my homemade flax bread and almond butter breaky would not cut it),  so we went to Tim Hortons for a bagel and cream cheese, which really helped.

We unloaded our bikes, and after some issues with tire pressure (OK - it took us awhile to figure out how to inflate our tires,  Hubs tends to take care of these things,  but we were determined females, so we figured it out!)  It was after 11:30 when we finally got started.

As we started out,  my quad were really sore.  I kept quiet about it,  since I didn't want to bail on my riding partner.  The course is one loop (all 94K), so you really shouldn't ride it alone, especially since some parts are on a highway.    I just kind of ignored the pain and tried to focus on what a beautiful day it was.

And it really was a beautiful day.  I found myself really enjoying the sites,  and as my legs warmed up,  the quad soreness disappeared and I felt huge surges of energy.   I began to enjoy tackling the hills (well most of them - there are some doozies on this course),  and the stunning scenery.  It really is a beautiful course.  I saw a deer at one point on the course,  and the lakes sparkled like diamonds as the mid-afternoon Sun hit the water. 

All throughout the ride I sipped water from my Camelpak,  and took gels every 40 minutes or so.  I also took a Clif Bar at the halfway point (on the advice of a Ironman expert),  and although it was tough to choke down,  it really gave me a TON of energy for the second half.  I will definately do this again race day.

All in all, I felt great about the ride.   When we finished we jumped in the lake (the same lake we will do our swim in) and it felt amazing on our quads.   I knew I was officially on the taper!!  Oddly I felt kinda of sad about this.  Having only starting biking two months ago,  I am really enjoying these long training cycles.  It took me awhile to get used to balancing all my workouts (I really missed running 5 times a week at first),  but now I feel like it was the best thing ever I could have done for myself this summer.  I really love the variety,  and I feel like my stamina has really improved! I know I am not 100% as prepared as I could be for this race,  but I now know I can do this,  and I am super excited about race day.

After our dip we refueled and drove back home.   It was after 8pm when I finally got home,  just enough time to prepare for work in the morning and get to bed.

It was a great day,  the perfect way to spend my last day of summer vacation!