Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Arizona Christmas

This year, I had to work Christmas eve. That meant, I couldn't go home (Southwestern Ontario). For the first time ever, I was away from my family for Christmas. Thankfully, Ryan had to work too so we could at least be together.
There has been a cold spell go through Tucson and it's been colder than normal (it's actually colder here now than in southern Ontaio!!) Even though it was cold and rainy, we headed out for a 3 hour ride.




After that, we came home and started to cook our feast. It was a relaxing day filled with reading and 'where's waldo':


It was also my first experience with making lemon meringe pie.... the meringe turned out to be tougher than I originally planned, and it ended up being a soupy mess.

While I had fears of our turkey exploding like in the movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacay" (neither of us had cooked one before), it actually turned out to be delicious. Between the two of us, we almost ate the full 12lbs of it.... what? we're training again.

My favorite present was triathlon related (duh) and will help me put in the long miles in sunny AZ:

New Years is usually followed by 100 x 100 in the pool. However, this year we're planning a 17 mile trail run in Sabino Canyon.... feel the burn.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Belated Gratituesday

I've seen Gratituesday posts pop up on a couple of different blogs and I thought it
was a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, whenever I remember it's a different day of the week. Well, I remembered this morning and decided that Wednesday was close enough. So here it goes. Five things I am thankful for (and I will try to make this a week dose, using a different 5 each week).

1. My health
2. The best family and friends one could possible have
3. My friends and family have their health
4. The warm (er) climate that I live in
5. The monster feast I'm partaking in tomorrow

This was super easy. I have so much to be thankful for, it could have been 100 long.
What are you thankful for?

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Ride!/Phoneline

The long delay between my posts is a direct result of my laptop having to be sent to the 'doctor's'. I was without my own machine for over a week.... I realized how much I actually used this little guy - mostly for time wasting, but to also keep up to date on how/what everyone's doing.
As for me, I promised pic's of my new ride who has graciously taken me up Lemmon in a TT faster than I've gone before!!


I am lovin' my Kuota and am also excited for January when I will be sporting the Kueen K for my tris!! PT is 'the man' if you're looking for a new time machine. Thank you and happy birthday!!



I have recently started to work with Jimmy R. for my training for next year, and I already know it's a good decision!! He's got me doing some tough stuff on the bike-- building the quadzilla!! He's also shown me this great trail just a mile and a half from my door!! In his words, it's an 'easy, hard trail', but absolutely gorgeous..








Thursday, December 11, 2008

lovin' this song

i know it's a cop-out post, but this song (and video) has me groovin'!

pics of my new ride to follow!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiver

For the first time since I've moved to Tucson, it has rained for almost 2 days straight. Fitting for this morning, as I was registerd to run the Thanksgiving cross country race. As far as x - country goes I've always thought, 'the muddier the better', and I was not dissappointed. The course had us doing a few river crossings (in Tucson that means 1 foot deep and 5 feet accross), hay jumps and muddy hill climbs.

I have to put a 5 km into my schedule every so often just to remind myself what it feels like to bleed from the eyes. Lungs on fire, legs aching within the first 100 m. Good times!! Of course, it's almost over before it's even begun so it's manageable. For the first time ever, I was hoping for a second place AG finish over 1st for the sake of taking home a pumpkin pie. I ended up winning, and taking home Turkey dish cloths instead. Probably better for my ever growing muffin top. The rest of the day has been spent moving my belongings into a new apartment!! Our new place kicks ass and has a wonderful view... pics to come.
One more thing: Remember the guy with the broken hip? sorry it's sideways (turn your computer).
video
He's been out for a 3 hour ride and looks strong.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

El Tour!


Today, Tucson was host to a top notch, world famous bike race. Close to 9,000 people took part in one of four events that took riders around the hilly outskirts of Tucson.
It was my first cycling race and it was awsome!!
Of course, I opted for the 109 mile (longest) event... even though I haven't ridden over 3 hours since Kona, I thought it was the logical choice for a slowtwitch, iron gal.
I was also lucky enough to be part of a team put together by XOOD sports nutrition, which made the day even more exciting.
I was given a 'Platnum' card which allowed me to line up towards the front. But just knowing there were close to 4000 people lined up with me made me a little nervous.
The first 7 miles were fast... very fast. I don't know the exact numbers as I opted to go sans odometer or powermeter, but we were moving. I was scared. I definately couldn't hold that pace for very long. Lucky enough, we came to a dirt wash crossing and it turned cyclocross for 100m. I managed to stay on my bike and once we hit the road again the pace settled into something a little more realistic.
Another longer wash crossing - one where we had to carry our bikes over 200m, at 60 miles broke the pack up further and I ended up having to work pretty hard to close gaps and take my turn at pulling.

All and all a marvelous experience. One I can't wait to repeat.
It was also nice to know I didn't have to run a marathon when I was finished.
Don't know how many of the 4000 were female, but I was 15th in 4:55, 335th Overall.

I have started my 2009 bike training. skaduche.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Clearwater RR



Up until a day before the race I was feeling pretty tired and definately questioning whether or not I was recovered from Kona. But at athlete check in and race morning I began to feel ready to rock. I love to race and was soaking in the atmosphere.
I toed the start line wanting to give it my best and have fun! I thought I was prepared for the pain that would come with the 4:30 performance it would take to secure a podium spot.
Short little warm up and into the corral.
The water was pretty calm and had cleared up a little from the day before. It even seemed to be a little warmer!
The cannon went off and I ran right to the front on the buoy line. A couple of dolphin dives later I was off! One girl got in front of me and I quickly lost her draft. I stayed in second for the rest of the swim, but could feel the hands of another on my feet, the whole way round. I felt like I gave a steady effort for the duration of the swim and came out in 28:20. Over a minute faster than the swim I did here in 2006. Good start!


I had a super fast transition and was out on the bike in no time.
Right away I had an issue. My aero bottle lost a velcro strap in transition and the bottle came loose. Actually, it came right out and was bouncing around. I tried to drink the bottle quickly (I liked what was in it!) and decided to ditch it at the first water stop. Nothing serious.
I was averaging just over 36km/hr for the first 10 km stretch and was pretty comfortable. Shortly after 10 km, my odometer stopped working. Great. Racing by feel was my backup plan.
Next problem: I went over railway tracks and my aerobars bent right down.... "Oh well, I can fix it by gently pulling them back up everytime they fall". Sure enough, I pulled them up. High enough to take on the 'praying Landis' position.
Hey, it happens. I went on my merry way and after passing the first place gal, I was passed by two legally riding, very fast gals in my AG. I knew I couldn't go that fast just yet. Needed to warm up a little more before I picked it up.
My legs actually felt pretty good for the first half. I knew I was working, but hey, that's how a half IM goes.
At about 45 km the packs started to go by. I was really excited and impressed that they were able to keep the first half so spread out. But unfortunately, the second half was pretty rough.
A small pack caught up to me which contained 5 girls in my AG. One of them was riding very hard and legally, while the others sat on her tail.
At this point, a draft marshal pulled along side the group, causing it to break up a bit. One of the blatant cheaters actually said to me, "that draft marshal just ruined all my fun!". My jaw dropped.
I finished the ride thinking I was in the top ten, but not really sure. My legs were pretty tired, but I was excited to run (I heart running). Took it out at a decent pace, but felt that maintaining the pace needed for a 1:30 half was a little too ambitious. As the miles clicked away, it got hotter and I found myself in a world of pain...... definately not recovered. I held on as best I could and wouldn't allow myself to walk, even though all I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position.

Total time: 4:34:54. 5 minutes better than 2006.
Can't complain about my time or the effort. I just didn't have the extra gear I had in Kona. I know I pushed hard, as I don't remember the last time I was this sore after a half IM..... I actually embrace this soreness as it really makes me feel alive.

After the race we ventured to Shephard's for the post race party. I don't get out very often, but I have to say that when I do go out I giver pretty hard. Last night was no exception and we all had a blast.

Here are some pics approved for this website:

Mirinda was ALMOST the best dancer there ;)



Good friends, old and new.

Friday, November 7, 2008

some last minute thoughts.

Went for a swim this morning in the Gulf and couldn't help but wish I was back at dig me beach instead.... the water was COLD, it was dirty and there definately weren't dolphins swimming beside me.
The general feel here is different than the vibe at Kona. Two years ago, I had nothing to compare it to so I thought it was the shizzle. Now that I've been to Kona, it will be hard for any other event to top it.
While I'm glad I choose to come here and will race as hard as I can, I'm worried that my body is not ready. I know it's supposed to hurt, I just hope I am able to perform to my ability.
Hopefully, this race will feel short in comparison to four weeks ago.
Regardless, I'm going to do what I can to get my ass on that podium. I know it's in me, just gotta coax it out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Round Deux.

I would love to say that I'm pumped about racing another world championship this weekend... but, I can't.
I've been super busy with work and life that even if my body was recovered, I was still only able to do small amounts of activity.
I've gained five pounds but it feels like 20.
I just can't seem to gather the same excitement I had for Kona. How does Hiliary B. do it?
All the same, I'm gonna' go down there and giver. I placed 5th in 2006 and I'll be honest, I want better. Only time will tell if I've struck the balance between recovery and maintainance.
Either way, I get some sun time, in a splish, next to the ocean!!

Racer # 630.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

kona update 2

It's a week post race and the week has been full of a whole lot of lounging, sight seeing and eating. Three days left in paradise before I head back home (slightly different paradise).
Today, Ryan and I made a new friend. We were enjoying a tasty mango, raspberry and spirullina smoothie when we were joined by a curious passer - by:



He was especially interested in the spirullina and decided to take a taste;


His appetite was unsatiable and he couldn't resist the temptation for more;




While I am in love with this Island (we went all the way round yesterday) and will really, really miss the ocean (after all, I am a 'cancer') I am looking forward to returning to my home to hit the training again for a few weeks.

Ryan is doing very well and has already begun his rehab (in the pool and on the stationary bike), I am very proud of him. He will be back in no time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

the kona report.


Two days post race. I have taken some time to reflect and enjoy. The only thing left is the race report:
The swim:
This swim is known for how brutal it can be so I decided to opt for a longer swim, slightly off course in lou of being right in the mix. I think this was a great decision. I started waaaaayyy to the left and barely touched another soul until the turn around. Even though I may have taken a longer line, I believe I saved time and energy by not having to fight with hundreds of others trying to do the same.
The turn around was rough, no way to avoid it. Took in enough salt to replace what I may have sweat out and choked a couple of times, nothing new. The way back seemed to move along quicker until my googles started to leak and the water was burning my eyes, causing them to tear up and fill the googles. Total swim time: 1:01:37. Slowest IM swim time by over a minute, but comparatively probably my best IM swim (no wetsuit).



Nothing too eventful on the bike until the Queen K, when the legendary cross winds started to pick up. Pretty intense on the way out but manageable. Dropped my chain once, having to pull over to correct the situation... Got to the half way point as planned in 2:39, with wattage averaging 155 - not taxed at all. Since I was hoping for a ride in the 5:20 area, this was a good sign.
I was somewhat dissappointed to be passed by the eventual second place woman sitting tightly in the middle of a pack of men, but I guess you will always have to deal with that in this sport.
The turn up to Hawi slowed things down. Head and cross winds to the turn around.
The way back to Kona was exhausting, physically and mentally. The cross winds were so strong I was actually frightened for my safety. A few times, I was blown clear across the road and almost into the ditch. I was gripping my handle bars so hard my arms were cramping. The return trip on Queen K was all head wind. Very slow and I watched my goal time move out the window while trying to keep my watts manageable.
I was able to pick it up for the last 30 km, trying to walk the line between giving up too much energy and not pushing hard enough.


Total bike time: 5:39
My second transition was not good. I got in there and sat down, needing to collect myself and pull myself together. I'm not gonna' lie, I did not want to run a marathon. I had done the training and had been looking forward to this run, but the bike had broken me. My mind was having a weak moment and the only thing I could think to do was sit on the potty. The wind was so brutal on the bike that I was unable to pee while riding. As a result, this pee was easily over a minute long. But during that time, I pulled myself together enough to head out to Alii drive.
The first couple of miles were painful and full of self doubt. I had visions of walking the marathon. The temps were close to 100 and the humidity was high.
The internal mental battle was familiar, and I made the choice to enjoy the day, do my best and deal with whatever that ended up being.
I took the first few miles slower than I normally do and gave up the idea of holding 7:38's as planned.
I turned my energy outward and began to cheer on others and have fun with the spectators. Something clicked and I began to feel better and better with each mile and then each step. By half way, I was picking up the pace and picking off people. At one point, a spectator told me I was 8th amateur female, fueling the fire. I had no idea where I was in my AG, but I knew Rachel was in front and looking good in her Splish. Once I hit the turn in the energy lab I knew there was just over 10 km left and that was manageable.
I think I negative split the marathon, running my way into 5th for my AG, 6th Amateur female and 30th Overall.


Run time: 3:24:54
I crossed the line feeling great (maybe a little too good) and even though my time was slower than 'planned', I was glad it came together the way it did.



Time for some R & R, then Clearwater in 4 weeks! (yikes)

Thank you to the best sponsors in the world: Splish, Zym, Jaggad, Saltstick, Blackwell. I could not have done it without you!

** An update on Ryan: He was in a bike crash on the Queen K and ended up with a broken hip. He has had surgery and is already ahead on his recovery (of course!!). He is strong and will be back next year!

Friday, October 10, 2008

go time!!

Tomorrow, is the Hawaii Ironman.
I have headed out on workouts for the last two years, with ambitions of competing in this race. In just over 12 hours, I will be living that dream, and I have never been more ready.



Long rides, runs, bricks, swims in 95 degree + heat... dozens of rides, hard and easy up mountains all over tucson... long runs completed on the track in the form of 800's.... PB's in running races and triathlons.... age group and overall victories.... average wattage increase over a 20 km TT by over 20.... races in rain, wind, altitude and heat....pushed until I thought I was broken, then woke up to do it again the next day.....tapered for three weeks (that's a first!)... gave up caffiene until race morning (tough one)......
madame pele, bring it on!! this girly has packed her "A" game!!!



This island is everything I thought it would be. Truly, Triathlon Island. Fit people, beautiful oceanic scenery. I even got to swim with the dolphins!!
So far, it has been perfect weather. Overcast (actually, it's called 'VOG'), and definately not hot or even super humid..... hope it heats up a little, seems I do better if it's scortching!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

IM Simulation Day, OOOHHH YAAAHHH!!

What can I say? I made the IM simulation day workout, my bitch.

About two and a half weeks ago, my coach told me that if I could make it through the last two weeks, Kona would seem easy. I think he was trying to break me. It was touch and go. I was exhausted. I didn't think I could make it. I saw the IM simulation day and thought, how am I supposed to do that after two weeks of "let's see if we can break chris?" Luckily, the IM simulation day is pretty important, so I was allowed a day completely off (no work, swimming, wts -- nothing) before, just so I could feel 'fresh'.
For the last few months, Ryan and I have had opposite schedules so we end up doing our workouts solo. IM sim. day was no different. Me and my ipod. Except last night, at 8:00, mine died.
It's always a risk when you barrow someone else's mp3, but I couldn't fathom the idea of a 7+ hour workout without one. Thankfully, Ryan let me take his.
I tend to think using someone else's ipod gives you a little glimpse into their soul.
Using Ry's ipod has only caused me to love him more. All the greats were there. Even some Nelly to get me moving.

The day started with a 3000 yrd, pool swim at 7:00. Nothing too exciting. Didn't push the pace, just smooth. Did it in 44:00. 2 km in about 29:00. With the bike waiting for me in the car, it was a quick transition and off for a 4 hour, moderately hilly, ride.

transition:


First 30 minutes were more or less warm up and I hovered around 30 kph. Then the legs started to warm up and it was on!!
The last 90 k were done in less than 2:45, lights, traffic included...
Next up, short drive (transition) to the run location.
Mostly flat, very hot (94 degrees) non shaded, run. The legs felt good. My coach told me not to be afraid of speed. So today, I let go. The garmin told me I was running sub 7 miles. I was supposed to be holding IM marathon pace. But that's my story, always starting out too fast. But, I wasn't afraid. I tried to slow down, but 'The Who', 'Rage Against the Machine' and the fact that the ipod had to be returned before 2:30, made me do it. Sorry coach.
Within my two hour transition run today, I ran a 1:32 half marathon (didn't slow down after that either!).
It's not that I think the time is that great, after all, I had a day taper. It's more how my body felt, or how my mind tricked my body into feeling. I didn't bonk, I didn't even hurt. I could have gone faster.
Today, the competition between mind and body was won handily by the grey matter - just like it will be in Kona.

The IM sim. was the work out I needed, mind and body. I am ready.

Friday, September 12, 2008

j'aime des montagnes

For the non bilingual Canadians, that means "I love mountains". It's true, and um I'm going to yell it from...... the mountain top of course!
For today's ride, I decided to take to the road and head south west of Tucson to yet another mountain range. This one, Kitt Peak has an observatory at the top. Cool stuff.
I started the ride about an hour away to get the full, scheduled time in. This is it from my starting point:



12 mile climb at 8% grade, up to 7000ft. Love it. It's amazing how the environment can change your outlook. Mountain climbs like these were never in my program before I moved here. My first climb up Lemmon (25 miles at an average of 6%), wrote me off for days. Now, I hit mountain climbs 2 or 3 times a week. I use them for TT's, long rides and even recovery rides. In my opinion, they are perfect for any day on a bike. You can have a consistent, no slacking effort for almost as long as you can handle. No street lights and very little traffic = awesome workout. And then of course, you get to go down!! YEEHAW!!

Destination:


The top:


The white thing in the background is one of five observatorys at the top.

Tomorrow, it's back to Lemmon - it's been a few days since I've been to the top, something might have changed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What the H*ll is that!!??



No, it's not a lobster in my doorway. It's a scorpion.
Apparently, Arizona has them. This little guy is called a bark scorpion and he's poisonous. I tried to be nice and scoop him up in the dust pan to put him outside, but he attacked me.
He moves a lot faster than he looks capable of and in a rash, scared for my life, moment I grabbed the closest shoe and swung.... hard.
They're not like cockroaches.... he was easily smushed.

I hung him outside the front door as a warning to all others who may be tempted to follow in his foot steps.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Death Run 2008


This past Sunday, my training schedule informed me that I had one very long run, and then another short run. Unfortunately, as is the case for most age groupers, work interfered and I had to alter my plans. My first of three night shifts was Saturday night and the first night always knocks me on my ass. Decided I would take the day off (scheduled for Monday) and move my run to Monday -- mistake #1. Woke up on Monday after 5 hours of restless sleep and headed out the door.... Not able to do the full workout due to time constraints (13 hour shifts do that to your day) I had settled on a two hour run. It was 3:00 in the afternoon, sunny 96 degrees, 60% humidity - it was one of those days that had 'Tready' written all over it, mistake # 2. I thought it would make me tough.
From the very first step I knew it would be a fight against my body/mother nature the whole way.
By 20 minutes, I had almost finished my two fuel belt bottles - it holds four and I decided I didn't need them, mistake # 3. Yet, I kept running...

By the time I decided to turn/cut my run short, I was needing to partake in a little ritual called "ten & ones" and 'squeezing my cheeks' to keep everything in.
I had no choice but to stop early and walk the last km in.... I was dizzy, goose bumpy and had the worst headache ever. Once I was home, I took off my soaked clothes and laid naked on the floor in front of the open fridge for 15 minutes. Not one of my better moments. I had one hour to take in as much fluid as possible (ended up being close to 3 litres) before I had to head off to my last night shift -- perfect recipe for recovery.....

An old coach of mine used to say that it was a good sign to have a horrible long run close to goal race time.... mission accomplished.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My name is Christine, I am an addict...

It's true, I'm a full blown addict. Can't get enough of them. Look at them on the internet, admire them from a far and spend $$ on them almost unwillingly.
That's right, I'm addicted to swim suits.
Not just any suit, splish suits.
The best sponsor a gal could have. Just when I'm in need of an intervention to get my arse swimming more, Dawn sends me an email.... two suits to save the day.



Have some spare time at the office??? Design one of your own (www.splish.com), but be warned, it's addictive.