Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weather Woes

One thing that is distinctly Canadian (in case my American Blogger friends haven't picked up on it yet) is that we Canadians LOVE to complain about the weather. It is a topic of conversation at the convenience store, grocery store, nail salon, hair dresser, etc. If you are experiencing a moment of awkward silence with someone, just bring up the weather, and you will have an instant universal fluid conversation. Trying to lighten the mood? How about that wind last night? Or talk about how the rainfall saves you from watering your lawn or drives you to water your driveway instead. (sad but also true)

We also take our fowl/unusual weather personally, like it is a deliberate attack on us Canucks!
We b&tch and complain in the winter about the snow. We complain about the cold as though it shocks us that it snows and gets cold for us Northern folk. I know, I know, we live up North, yada.... yada, but can you believe that snow storm, that ice? That frickin' ice?!! In the fall, we complain about raking the leaves and the end of summer. In the spring its the rain and the occasional bought of cold, and the summer, its the heat. There is no pleasing when it comes to the weather.

This past July has been no exception. It has been unseasonably cool and rainy (Ottawa, Ontario received a record 234mm of rain so far this July). Everywhere you go in Ontario you will hear snippets of conversations such as"where's summer" "its bad enough that we had such a cold winter, and now this..."

Myself. Silently cheering. Yes! 20oC is the perrfectt training weather, and I don't mind running in the rain, I find it rather refreshing.

However now that I have seen the weather forecast for Saturday (Olympic tri day). I have a MAJOR beef with Mother N....

27oC/81F with a humidex of 33oC/91F. Full on Sun.

WTH?!! I know for some of you Southern folk, this may be no biggie. But to a gal with Canadian genes, this is like putting me in a freakin' oven. I am not acclimatized to this at all!! We have had only one day about 30oC this summer (which is unusual).

Can you see the salute Mother Nature?!!!
Effin weather!
I guess I am Canadian through and through. Grumble. grumble.

I really had to juggle things this week and my biking and running mileage will be lower to accommodate Saturday's race, but I eager to get more "tri" experience.

Training for this week
20K -Fly Gurlz
-8 miles with 10 x100 m stride
- rest
-Nacho time trial
am - 1K swim
pm - 3K run, 16.2 K bike
2 miles recovery
3 mile recovery run
1500m swim/40K bike/10K run
20 mile run or 60K/10 mile bike or some combination of the two

Swim -2.5K
Bike - 80 -120K
Run - 31 -41 miles (broad range I know)

I am leaving Sun open- it will really depend on how I feel after the race, but I would really like to get a 20 miler in early in the training with a goal of getting three in.

Hope you are having a good week! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another triathlon

Congratulations to all the SF marathon runners, it was fun to read your reports this weekend!

This weekend I signed up for another tri, the National Capital Triathlon, Olympic distance. It is in Ottawa Ontario, a city that I love, so I am so excited to have an excuse to go there again. The Olympic distance is a good intermediate step to the half iron and it is a consistent distance from race to race. It will be a 1500 meter swim, 40K bike, and a 10K run. This is the distance of all Olympic triathlons, regardless of venue, although I wonder if the transition distances are the same in each race. I am learning there are so many factors that can affect your outcome in these events. I am aiming for a sub three hour finish, but I will be happy with completing it feeling like I pushed/punished myself enough. Anyway I want a bench marker to see where I am now, versus down the road with more training.

This means I have to adjust my training for the week. I will post a recap of last weeks training and the plan for this week today. I don't plan any major taper for this, although I will squeeze two rest days between now and the race. I find it hard to juggle all three sports, and I'm not even working right now, but it is a lot of fun.

Happy Monday and thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Open Water Swimming: Squashing a Phobia

Last night I tossed and turned thinking about my open water swim this morning. In case you missed my post earlier in the week, last week during swim time trial I had a bit of a panic attack in the choppy water and turned around after only 100m.

I took a St. John's Wort pill last night to help me sleep. I don't take these very often, they are basically a herbal remedy that "reduces nervousness". Anyway, it was still after 1:00 am when I fell asleep, and woke up frequently throughout the night, always in the water, swimming amongst large ferocious waves (think Perfect Storm).

This is open water phobia is strange to me. I am a relatively strong swimmer, swimming since I was old enough to walk, and swam competitively throughout elementary and part of high school. Although I have abandoned swimming throughout parts of my adult life, I always seem to come back to it. Swimming laps in the pool is solitary, but I tend to relax and it really clears my mind. Being Canadian, it is the perfect winter activity, especially when chased by a hot tub or a sauna afterwards when it is in the middle of a snow storm. What makes my fear even stranger is that I swam open water at my first sprint tri and had no problems (other than kicking and space issues).

I am not afraid of weeds or any aquatic life, but I strangely find myself dwarfed in large bodies of water. I also worry about currents and large waves.

So this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30 am, I immediately starting to come up with excuses why I shouldn't do the swim trial.

Yet I impressed myself with my inner strength. I want to complete this Half Ironman. I even have visions of being an Ironman next year (I can't believe I just wrote that).


So I dragged myself (and darling Hubs in tow) down to the beach to swim the trial. I tried to hide my fear - my heart was racing - literally. I just went nice and slow, didn't worry about my time, and would pop my head up and look for that red buoy bobbing in the distance. And I swam, the entire 1000 meters. I was even able to relax and enjoy myself.

It dawned on me afterwards that one of the best parts of being an athlete is overcoming our fears. I remember being fearful like this before my first marathon, and now 15 marathons later, that fear is gone (I still get nervous before races, but I think that is par for any race). I think that is why I am enjoying this tri stuff so much, time for new goals and achievements. The adrenalin rush of overcoming our fears and doubts in what drives us perhaps? Hopefully with more experience this open water swim stuff will be less scary!


It is also my fourth wedding anniversary today. I share my life with the most wonderful person, my absolute best friend! Here is a picture of us on our honeymoon in Europe (Rome to be exact). Happy Anniversary Hubs! I love you!

Thanks for reading, hope you are experiencing less rain than us Ontarians!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rest Day: Quick Commentary

Although I had yoga and a 20K recovery bike on tap for today, I opted to take a rest day instead. Rationale being I can easily make up the bike mileage later in the week, and the yoga was optional anyway. I really felt like I needed a rest day, since I didn't really have one last week.

That said, why do I feel so guilty for taking it? I know I need it. I know its good for me, but I find myself thinking.... maybe I could just do a little 5K recovery run, or go for a swim, etc. Does anyone else experience this?

Tomorrow is Nacho time trial (1K swim, 16.3K bike and 3K run). Hubs and I are heading up to Parry Sound shortly, so hopefully the 1K time trial swim will go better this week. Hope you are all having a great day. Thanks for for reading!

PS - Go sign Marlene's petition for to her Hubby for a new Garmin 310XT. The girl deserves it, she has been busting out PR's like its nobodies beezzznuss!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tempted by the Fruit of Another

Over the winter, I purchased the Garmin 405.

I got a $50 rebate, so I snagged the watch for a price, and I have been enjoying the watch for the past few months. I particularly enjoy the wireless uploading of my workouts. The touch bezel on the watch is a handy way to navigate settings while stationary, less convenient while running.


With my recent interest in triathlons, I have been looking for a way to track distance while swimming (both in the pool and in open water). Mel told me about a TIMEX watch that could track laps in a pool, or you could use Leana method of tucking your Garmin in a baggie under your swim cap for open water. Less than ideal situations.

Enter Garmin 310XT

Downright sexy isn't it? Here is a description:

Finally, a GPS-enabled training device that isn't afraid of the water. The rugged Forerunner 310XT is the triathlete's indispensable training tool — a GPS-enabled, swim-proof trainer that tracks bike and run data and sends it wirelessly to your computer. This multi-sport device has up to 20 hours of battery life, tracks distance, pace and heart rate (optional), and goes from wrist to bike in seconds.

Just what I was looking for. One snag? The price tag $449 Canadian dollars!!

Then I got to thinking, maybe I could sell my 405, and put the proceeds towards a new 310XT. Does anyone know a good runners buy/sell site? I have no experience selling stuff on the web. Also has anyone tried the 310XT? Is it worth the cost? It is pretty new in Canada, but maybe its been around in the US for longer.

Thanks for reading! P.S - There are still a few items up for bid at Natalie cancer fundraising bake sale. Congrats to Angelea from cabin fever feast, she was the winning bid on the caramel tart. I will bake that and send it to you right away!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Successes and Failures

Week one of Marathon/Half Iron man training is done! I had overall a good week, but it didn't go off without a hitch. Here is a quick summary of week one.

Swim Failures
-The night before the 1K (1000m) time trial with the Nachos, I didn't end up getting to bed until after 1 am and tossed and turned. The time trial is at 6:45 am, so needless to say, I was tired heading over. The time trial takes place in Parry Sound, in the Georgian Bay. Here is a picture of us warming up.

Well anyway, I was a little nervous about the time trial. I have only swam open water twice, once during my sprint tri, and one practice swim earlier in the week in the designated swim area on the beach.

We were swimming about 50 meters or so from the shore line, but the waters are quite deep. As I headed out, the water was very choppy and being foggy I had a hard time seeing the turn around buoy. It didn't help that my brother in law who is a diver, described a sink hole under the salt docks that we were heading out to. Long and short, I sort of panicked out there, I just felt so small in such a large expansive body of water, so I turned around only 100 m off shore. It took most of the swimmers a few more minutes than usual to finish, but I was disappointed with my "cop out", and began to seriously doubt my completion of a half iron man later in the summer. The other NACHOS were great though, and told me this is why I should practice, and gave me tips to help if this panic sets in again in another swim.

Swim Successes
-I completed a 1400m open water swim on Friday (in the beach swim area again) in place of the missed time trial swim. The water was calm, and I relaxed and enjoyed my swim.
-I also had a practice pool swim, where I swam 2K (half iron distance), so I think I can "go the distance" on race day.

Bike Failures
-When biking with the Fly Gurlz on Monday night, a twig sticking up out of the ground took a gouge out of my shin. I'm left with a huge scab at the moment, but I'll spare you the gross picture.

Bike Successes
- I completed my longest ride yet (60K), and it felt great, I averaged 24kph, which I think is a good start for a long ride, and I felt like I could go faster. I also love being out on the bike I need to practice using my aero bars more though.
-I hit 30kph for the second week in a row at the time trials on Thursday, so I am definitely improving on the bike.

Run Failures
-I missed one 8 mile run. I don't really see this as a failure. I had gotten up early Sat. morning to bike my 60K, and felt good after. My mother-in-law has been in the hospital and was finally allowed to come home for the weekend, so I decided to make her a welcome home dinner instead. I grilled salmon, tons of veggies, baked sweet potatoes, and had desert. She was relieved to finally eat some real food since the hospital food is beyond repulsive!
-my 3K time trials on Thursday are still about 30 seconds slower than this time last year. I attribute this to the 8lbs weight gain that seemed to just appear out of nowhere.

Run Successes
-My legs actually felt good for my 13 mile long run the next day. Parry Sound is very hilly, rugged terrain, so it was a lot of climbing and running down inclines, but I loved it. It was my first longer run in over a month, so I just went slow, and really enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. I ran along a waterfront trail for about 3K of the run, and I felt like I was in Paradise.

Nutrition Failures
-I had desert three times this week. I want to make desert a rare treat until this weight comes off, or at least stick to fresh fruit or yogurt for desert. I also had Nachos and beer after the time trial, but I stuck to a smaller portion size.

Nutrition Successes
- I stuck to 6 smaller meals, and tried one of those Green Monster Smoothies Run to the Finish and other bloggers have been making. I thought it was pretty good, and I plan on experimenting some more. I stuck to a basic recipe with flax seed, strawberries, spinach, protein powder and soy milk.
- I lost 2lbs! Good start, and I felt properly fueled and energized for my workouts.

Week one distances
Swim - planned 3K -completed 3.4K
Bike -planned 100K -completed 108K
Run -planned 35 miles -completed 27 miles (ouch!)

Training Plan: Week 2

am- swim - 2K
pm - off road cycling - Fly Gurlz - 15-20K

am - hot yoga - there is a new studio where I live, offering free classes all week, I must go!
pm - 8 miles w/ 4 miles @ lactic threshold

am- hot yoga
pm - recovery cycle -20K

am - 1 K swim time trial
pm -BRICK time trail (16.3K bike, 3K run)

am - 11 mile run

am- cycle - 70K, 3K easy run

am -15 mile run

Totals - Week two
Yoga - 3 hours
Swim- 3K
Bike - 126K
Run - 60 K (38 miles)

Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading! Don't forget to check out the bake sale at Natalie's blog!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pfitz with a twist, tri pics

Happy Hump Day!! Here are some pictures from the Huronia triathlon I promised:

Before the race

Transition stuff

Coming out of the water (although it looks like I am celebrating, I am really wrestling with my wetsuit!)

Leaving T1 all suited up. I omitted the less than flattering pics of me wrestling with my wetsuit!

Near the end of the bike

The Run (very hot -full Sun uphill!)

Thanks Hubs for taking these pictures!

I am really looking forward to my next one, and I am eyeing up a few more sprint distances and possibly a half iron man on Sept 13th. So, I need a training plan that will allow for both marathon (St. George Oct 3rd) and half iron training (Sept 13th). I have decided to use the 12week/55 mile per week Pfitz plan again. I liked it in preparation for the Shamrock marathon, and I think if I hadn't gotten sick, I would have ran a PR marathon. But I think this plan will be "Pfitz with a twist", since I need to be flexible. I am going to take the training week-by-week and really listen to my body. I may have to rearrange the run distances, but I will try my best to get everything in. Here is the plan for week 1 (this week July 12th -18th)

-cycling (off road Fly Gurlz)
-15-20 kms

-2km distance swim
-8 mile run w/ 10 x 100m stride

am-16K cycle (easy)
pm-track core workout (3 mile run- recovery)

-am - 1km swim time trial with Nachos
-pm - 16.3K bike/3km BRICK time trial with Nachos


-60K cycle/8 mile run -general aerobic

-13 mile run

Swim - 3K
Bike- 110K
Run -33 miles

I am a little worried about the Sat/Sun back to back days, but the group cycle is Sat am, and I planned a rest day Friday. If this doesn't work, I will switch up my long run next week.

Did I mention I am also trying to lose 15+ pounds?! I need to devise a fueling plan as well!

Hope you are enjoying your week. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Baking for a cause

Thanks everyone for your nice comments about my first tri. It was a blast, and I can't wait to do another one! I still have to post some pictures, but first I wanted to post about a bake sale that a blogger is having to raise money for a great cause.

Natalie from Lil Runner is hosting a bake sale July 20th, to raise money for her charity, the Dana Faber Challenge, which I believe raises money for cancer research.

Anyway Natalie needed bakers so I volunteered. At first I scoured my recipe books and cooking blogs for some healthy treats, but then I found a recipe I had to make.
May I present to you:
Caramel Apricot Pecan Tart

(click to enlarge to see the crunchy pecans and ooey gooey caramel sauce!!)
It tastes even better than it looks. Total YUM. YUM!! It has the perfect mixture of sweet and a touch of Fleur de Sel to give it that sweet and salty taste.
I stole this recipe from a most excellent cooking blog, Definitely Not Martha, and I think she modified it from The Wine Lover's Dessert Cookbook . She baked the tart in a proper tart pan, and is also a photographer, so I suggest you go to her blog to see even more tantalizing pictures of the tart. Hubs is not one for deserts, but he went back for seconds.
You can bid for this and other delectable treats at Lil Runner on July 20th, and if you are the winner, I will bake this for you and courier it to wherever you are in North America. How sweet is that. I leave you with another other tantalizing picture, thanks for reading!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finished my first tri

And I loved it!

Me thinks I will have to change my blog name...

How about...

Ramblings of a Swimming, Biking, and Running Addict,

or perhaps

Ramblings of a Triathlon Addict. :)

What a blast these events are!

Here is a quick summary of my day. I will have to post pictures later, I am at Starbucks and forgot my camera to upload the pictures.

I have only swam a handful of time this year (well OK maybe twice), with one of those swims being on Monday, so I was very nervous about the swim. Even though I have swam a lot in the past, I knew that it would be an interesting experience. I was also nervous about wearing my wetsuit, and oh did I mention that this was my very first open water swim, not to mention first time wearing a wetsuit?!! I figured there would be lifeguards if I got in trouble :) :)

Well anyway, the swim was fun, I just tried to stay steady. I usually breath bilaterally alternating sides, but I found it easier to breathe every stroke, since there were so many people around me. I kept calm, but this would not be good for someone who is claustrophobic.

Swim time: 17:40 (2.22 minutes/100m).

Very pleased with the swim. I know I can improve on this with some training and also not veering off course so much. I am a bit of a zig-zagger!

Transition to bike
I don't have my T1 time (I wish sports stat would provide this), but I can tell you it was a wee bit rough. I came running out of the water and I felt a bit like a lead balloon. I had trouble getting my suit off, I felt clumsy coming out of the water, like I might trip and fall. I then had to run with my cycling (tap) shoes until the bike mount point. I felt a little dizzy at first on the bike, and had trouble clipping in. I finally had clipped in and then there was a huge hill. I grannied down and pushed up the hill, but my heart was racing, and I decided to dismount. Not a great feeling, but it really felt like the right thing to do since I felt dizzy. I waited a few minutes, the dizziness passed and got back on the bike. I think it was just inexperience with the transition swim to bike - I must practice this in the future!

Bike time: 58:47 (21.9 kph).

I know this time can be improved. Just this past week I biked a BRICK time trial with the Nachos, and my 16.3K time was 34:01 (28.5 kph), and it was because of the dismount, but I still felt happy that I pushed through and this was about experience, not trying to kill myself, and just going through the motions was enough.

Transition to run
This transition was much smoother. I decided to keep my cycling shirt on, and was off without much fuss, although I forgot my handheld water, and Hubs caught up to me with a cold bottle of PowerAid. Thanks Hubs, you are a sweetie! Again the legs felt funny, but the BRICK workouts I have done (well one on Thursday) prepared me for this feeling. It was hot, but I just ran it, walking occasionally to take quick sips of water

Run time: 27:31 (5:30km/min)

I felt pleased with this time, since I felt like I was going much slower, I think alot of it is heavy legs after the swim/bike.

Overall time: 1hr 43 min 53 seconds. Not too shabby, and I guess I blew away my 2 hour time goal. Still I think I can improve, especially if you add up "race times' (86 minutes) to total time (100 minutes). Yep, almost 14 minutes, but I think some of that is running to the transition from beach, to bike mount, from bike dismount. Or of course I could just be a high maintenance girl, which is likely true too!

Thoughts for next time:
-less is more I will ditch the cycling top for a onesie tri suit under the wetsuit
-practice swim to bike transition
-practice swim in open water

Other than that, I loved it, and can't wait to do another. I think I will sign up for the Ironman 70.3. First I have to develop a training plan that will allow me to train for both this Ironman and St.George in October.

Anyway, thanks for all your well wishes. Some of you mentioned that you were hoping to try one to and I say go for it!! You can do one with not much training, just try one for fun and see how it goes and if you like it!!

I will try to catch up on your blogs before my 2hrs free at Starbucks expires (on holidays with no wifi!!)
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

This tri stuff is complicated!

I was packing everything for my first sprint triathlon tomorrow and I discovered how complicated this tri stuff can be, so I thought I might share my pre-race packing list/thoughts with you. I am in Parry Sound right now, but we are driving approximately 1 hour to get to the race in the morning, so the plan is to be packed and just to get up and go in the am.

Wearing to race (travelling in the car)
-sports bra
-comfy shirt
-triathlon shorts (like bike shorts but with less padding, I'm guessing it will feel less like a wet diaper than normal cycling shorts when I get out of the water. Ewww...

Once I have set up in the transition area, I have a long two hour wait for my swim heat. I will get my body marked, make porta potty trips, and watch the kids participate, which should be fun. The transition area closes at 8 am and my heat departs at 10:05am! Maybe I should pack a lawn chair and a book...

For the swim over my sports bra and tri shorts I will wear my wetsuit (Zoot Women's Synergy Wetsuit)

-swim cap


SWIM 750 meters

In the transition area, I need the following items for the bike

Strip off suit, goggles and cap

Transition One Items
-road bike
-camel back water backpack
-bike shoes
-bike shirt with race bib attached and GU in the pouch
-Sun screen
-body glide (just in case)

BIKE 21.5 km

-strip off bike shoes, helmet, possibly cycling shirt

Transition two items
-running shoes
-hat (I'm a sure I will look like Chuckie's bride by this point.. :) )
-tank running shirt (If I'm boiling...)
-handheld water bottle with GU

RUN 5km

Hubs and I went today to pick up my race kit and the water was choppy, but the race volunteers assured me it will likely be calmer in the morning. Lets hope so...

The triathlon is taking place in a picturesque little Ontario town called Pentetanguishene which is located on the Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes. Its very beautiful, and quite cold, so thank goodness for a WETSUIT!

I am not putting any expectations on myself other than to have fun, maybe aim to finish in less than two hours, but if I take more, so be it. Even without the time pressure I am still nervous, but I think more so about the transitions and forgetting something.

I will report back tomorrow with a race report! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I have a dream...

Happy fourth of July to all my American blogging friends. I thought about you guys today when I was watching Regis and Kelly and a poor woman from SC missed out an awesome vacation to St. Martin after she failed to know that Canada's birthday was July the 1st. I bet all you guys knew that!!

Thanks for the well wishes for my five miler. It went well I think, I finished in 42.3x, not bad since I have taken a little running break the past few weeks, so this is an OK start point. It felt hot, and it was rolling hills, and I wanted to puke as usual, which is why I generally avoid short distances..
I have signed up for my very first sprint tri.... this weekend.

750 meter swim
21.1 K bike
5K run

Should be fun, although since I have not trained specifically for this event, but I want to see it as a gage for a HUGE dream I have, and ofcourse to finish for fun since it is my first one!

My dream (be prepared for a pretty inspiring video)

I know, I know.. This is a HUGE goal... and its a little over two months away, I am not entirely convinced I can do this (plus train for the St. George Marathon three weeks later), but I love challenges. I spoke to a mentor of sorts today who knows a bit of my running/swimming/cycling history and he thinks I can do this. I am still on the fence. I have plenty of running swimming background, but my cycling has not gone much beyond 30K, but if I start now, I should be able to build it up.

Anyway, I'm not saying I'm 100% sure, but I am still dreaming, obsessing, etc. We will see if its in my cards, but I need to make a descision quickly since this one is almost sold out. This is also close to where my Hubs grew up (40 minutes), and it is one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario, so it would be a very special place to become a 70.3 IronWOMAN!!

Anyway, thoughts would be appreciated, especially by you triathletes!

Thanks for reading!