Saturday, December 19, 2009


Second run - 72 degrees (that's somewhere over 20 celcius I think). Outside. ITB felt lovely on the dirt trails. Eureka!
36 minutes in the bank. 106 total.
Brought my phone with me and snapped a couple (yes, I stopped my watch for the pics!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day uno

I didn't snap a pic from day one. Had I done so, it would have been the inside of LA Fitness. Even though temps reached the 70's in Tucson - I elected to do a mini hill workout on the tready. Still a little worried about the right ITB. So far so good, but want to make sure and go slow.

Last week, Tucson was a hot bed of excitement for cycling fans. Lance was here with his team putting in some base miles.

My coach, Jimmy (seen here holding his own beside Lance on Mt. Lemmon) is a long time friend of Lance's. While I didn't get to ride with the team and Lance (it IS my off season), I did get to rub elbows with them at an after dinner party (and I mean literally Lance elbowed me in the back at least six times!). I got to meet most of the Radioshack team, including Levi and Popovich and got to share a conversation and a Margarita with Lance! He's okay.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

T'is the (off) season!!

I "heart" the off season. I have never really had any issues with sitting around and doing 'nothing'. For the first time since June, my house is clean, all my laundry is done and I've been able to read a few books.
These are luxuries that fall by the way side when juggling training for an IM and a 40 + hour work week.
It has been close to 4 weeks since my race. I am just now getting on my bike for the first time (Lance is in town, it's enough motivation for me to head out the door and turn on my 'stalker' mode).
I have been swimming once. I have been jogging twice (if 5 and 1's really count).
I have been lifting wts and giving that eliptical hell. Maybe 4 times since IM!!
I've gone out drinking with friends for the first time since I've been in Tucson (I hope no one remembers how long it's been - yes, it's sad).
I've almost read the entire Twilight series in less than a week. Another semi embarrassing fact - but it's actually a very good read!
I'm afraid to step on the scale - in fact, I probably wont until next summer.... definately been adding to the numbers there....but I'm pretty sure that's normal around xmas.
That being said, I feel like I'm ready to get moving again with some sort of purpose.
Tomorrow, I start the 30 minute challenge. There is a group in London (Ontario) that is challenging themselves to put in 30 minutes of running, everyday - starting Jan. 1. As I feel like my ass is getting larger as I type, I will start tomorrow and hopefully continue to the last day in Jan.
To keep me honest, I will post a pic from my run won't always be glamorous but it will get done.
Who's coming with me?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finger Eleven Anyone?

There seems to be a theme developing to the questions "non-triathletes" ask me about Ironman. When I tell them about my race, I am honest and up front. This time around, I have been saying how amazing it is - I do really have fun while I'm competing. But I also say how hard it is, mentally and physically. How for the last 2hours or so, you're thinking of million and one reasons why you should quit.
The usual response is, "how do you keep going?". "Well" I say, "there's something deep that just forces you to move forward".
Yesterday, I came across a blog that had the follow snippet. It sums it up perfectly and is a great 'tool' that I will reference when I need it:

The One Thing (by Rich Strauss of Crucible Fitness)
The run is where the rubber meets the road. Let's consider the entire Ironman starting field and the likelihood of these athletes running to their full potential on race day. A percentage will be eliminated due to improper training. The classic example is training for a marathon, not a 26.2 mile run after a 112 mile bike ride. Another percentage will be eliminated by nutritional and pacing mistakes that begin to express themselves either late in the bike, or mid way through the run.
So when we reach T2, we have a small subset of the entire field who have created the opportunity for a successful run through the skillful manipulation of many variables: training, physical fitness, nutrition and pacing. Of this subset, what then determines who runs to their potential and who does not? The One Thing.
First, a successful Ironman run = slowing down as little as possible. Not slowing down is almost entirely a function of maintaining focus, not fitness. If you are not cramping up on the run, you don't need to be running very fast to have a successful marathon, by Ironman standards. Despite what you might think, the difference between a good and bad marathon time is just continuing to move forward, as best you can, for the entire 26.2 miles. Sorry, but that's about as sexy as it gets out there.
You MUST expect your body to have a conversation with your head at some point during the run:
Body to Mind: "Ok, I'm truly suffering here. I can keep going, but you need to give me a very good reason to continue suffering like this."
Mind to Body: "We suffer because of the One Thing. The pain won't last forever. Just keep doing the best you can do and we'll get there."
My One Thing
The One Thing is whatever has motivated you to do this to yourself in the first place. Before the race you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and identify what your One Thing is. And this is no time for bullshit. Be completely honest because your body will play your bluff when the chips are down. You can't lie to yourself out there.
After four Ironman finishes, I have identified my One Thing as very concrete goals, time or place based.
Ironman Florida, '00: I came off the bike with a shot at going sub 11hrs for my first IM. I used this goal to maintain complete focus on my run and had a successful day, despite donating blood 18 days before the race and to this day not remembering miles 13 through 22. One Thing = sub 11:00, determined in T2.
Ironman California, '01: 30-34 AG qualifying time in 2000 was 10:20. I wanted to qualify but wasn't completely committed to it. At about mile 10 of the run I had seen many 30-34 calves pass me and knew I wasn't going to qualify. I began to lose my focus and ran into some nutritional issues by mile 22. Picked myself up and finished in...10:19. Just below the qualifying standard but a year too late :-) One Thing = Kona, but I wasn't completely honest with myself. After that goal become unrealistic, I should have set an alternate objective of sub 10:10, as a tool to maintain my focus.
Ironman Wisconsin, '02: Not confident in my run fitness and expecting a dogfight with Pedder. However, I came off the bike 15th overall, with a very good chance of qualifying or even standing on the AG podium. Maintained complete focus and ran 3:45 on about 3:30 marathon fitness. One Thing = Kona and AG podium, determined in T2.
Ironman Hawaii, '03: Injury and first time on the island combine to set my goal at having a successful race. One Thing = no execution errors. Without a concrete, quantifiable goal I struggled to maintain my focus and failed to do so, relative to my performances at Florida and Wisconsin. I was a machine on those days, but not in Kona. My One Thing became pain and the desire to make it stop. I had a strong last 5 miles, considering.
Your One Thing
My One Thing may or may not be yours. I know what mine is now and will plan my race goals around it to increase my potential for a successful race.
How do you determine your One Thing?
Identify why you want to do the race before signing up. Are you doing it for you or to prove something to someone else? Be completely honest with yourself. "I'm a doing this Ironman so I can earn a unique title that is mine forever." One Thing = title of Ironman.
Take that One Thing and mate it with your race goals and expectations: "The title is important to me, not the time. I want to finish with a smile on my face."
Remind yourself, daily, of your One Thing and the race goals and expectations you have built around it. Through this process your One Thing will provide clarity of purpose to your training. When the Phunometer is pegged during a 6 hour long ride, you'll know why you are still out there.
In your mental rehearsals before the race, visualize the conversation between Mind and Body when the Body begins to question the Mind's commitment to the One Thing. Prepare your rebuttal beforehand.
On race day, continually remind yourself of the One Thing. Focus completely on its accomplishment. Remember, you can never disappoint your friends or family. They will be proud of you regardless. However, you can let yourself down. In the end, the best we can do is follow our commitment to our One Thing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


This triathlon season definately did not start the way I had envisioned it to.
With a strategicly placed injury I was unable to race an early season IM. Which meant, no qualification to Kona 2009. I officially started my run training somewhere in June - ground zero. 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking - we've all been to that demoralizing place. But everything started to come together and I was able to race a couple of half IM's before the big one and felt like my running for 13.1 miles was pretty decent. Whether or not I could run a marathon was the real question.
I had been having some real issues with motivation. I have been missing my friends and family and have probably been going through a small patch of "depression". A new job had been taking up way too much time. But I felt like I needed to focus on my career for a change. I was struggling to get out the door solo and if I wasn't really into the activity (ahem...swimming) it only happened once or twice a week. I made sure to get in the quality workouts (speed, shoot out) but couldn't force the 'junk' mileage. My longest run was 2:40, with a handful of other runs of 2 hours.... not quite the mileage I was used to.
I was worried about the run but as this is my 5th IM, I new the training was in there somewhere I was just hoping it would show it's face.

I had been watching the southern AZ temps drop all week and was scared of a colder than normal temp. I had done this race in April 08 when temps reached 95 degrees and the drop out rate was the 2nd highest ever in an IM. I loved it. In my opinion, anything below 80 is cold and uncomfortable on the bike. Race day prediction was a HIGH of 75. poo. So at 4 in the am, while we were preparing to enter the 62 degree water, it was low 40's. All I wanted to do was curl up in a down comforter!
15 minutes to race start and I felt the nerves. Perfect timing. Just enough to get you pumped up, not to soon to be wasted energy.

Once we got going, the water felt okay...everywhere but my feet! They were numb.
The April 08 swim here has been my worst IM swim to date. I got crushed, pushed, pulled and was close to having a panic attack. Needless to say, I had a score to settle. I went out fast!! And promptly settled into a rhythm. I was pushing.
I have always looked at the swim of an IM as a warm up for what's to come. My coach set me straight. If he had his way, I would have blown 3 or 4 times in the swim from going so hard. Maybe I'll try that next time.
Anyway, I ended up swimming by myself which was fine with me. The energy saved from not panicing was worth the energy lost by not drafting.
I got out of the water and was shocked to see 1:08 on the clock... bummer. Then I checked my watch and realized that was the pro time.... YES! Instantly back on track!
I took a decent amount of time in the tent to put on a bike jersey, arm warmers and gloves... it was cold!
The bike is a three looper that gradually 'climbs' to a turn around on each loop.
The first and second laps were hell. There was a strong headwind while climbing out that just beat you down. I could see the other top girls around me and at the turn around. I am very proud to say that Wendy Mader, Rhae Shaw (monster on the bike!)and myself did not draft... at all!! Coming out of the water where we did put us on a pretty bare bike course. I am super happy with my time (5:20) and am hoping to do it again on the big island. I am amazed at some of the gals who came out of the water after 1:10 who biked around (or faster than) 5:10....hmmmm... just saying. My coach (head referee) and his team did their best, but there were still packs. Sucky.
I regained feeling in my feet just before reaching the transition (did I say it was cold?).

I stopped at the port a pot in transition for the now traditional, "sit down and collect yourself" pee. I may stop doing this.... I was only 1 minute shy of the AG record and here is where it was lost!! I just couldn't force myself to pee on the bike. I had visions of it freezing to me like in Dumb and Dumber.
As mentioned in previous posts, I was expecting to feel like crap for the first of three laps on the run. I was running with a teammate and feel that this may have caused me to go out a little faster than I should have. My fault. I should have known better. It was great company though, and made the first loop fly by. Unfortunately, I didn't start to feel better. In fact, with every step I felt worse. At half way I was convinced that I needed to stop. I needed to walk. I told myself that I would at the next aid station. The aid station would come and the angel on my shoulder would say "na, you're okay. stop at the next one". For the next mile, the devil on my other shoulder would tell me how badly I hurt and that I wasn't going to make it. He wasn't lying. I felt bad. But I new if I stopped the self loathing I would put myself through would feel worse. This back and forth went on for the next 10 miles. I was in the far bottom corner of the hurt box. The one thing I had going for my was that my stomach was settled (rah rah Infinit). So I kept going. It wasn't pretty. In fact, I've seen the pictures - it was down right fugly. How did I think it was going to feel? That's why we do it.
I kept going. Soon enough, I was at the aid station with just over two miles to go. Seton yelled over the loud speaker that I could make it in under 10hours. "who, me?".
I don't really remember anything until the finishing stretch, but I guess it went okay. I'm pretty sure there was some grunting and spitting but that's par for the course.

I was just happy to stop. Every last ounce of energy was left on that course.
My run time was not a PB, but it was 11 minutes faster than the last time I did this race and it is a harder course than Kona and I was almost 10 lbs heavier. And more than anything, it was a huge personal triumph to overcome that nasty little devil on my shoulder.
I will be in Kona 2010. I will be ready for the race of my life.

If you haven't heard about Rudy: you should. He's an amazing person and ambassador for our sport. He makes me feel foolish for complaining of feeling run down.

A huge thanks to my sponsors:
First Endurance
And my coach/friend: J. Riccitello

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Evolution...... 7 sleeps.

Next weekend, I will start (and finish) my 5th IM.
I don't know if it's because I know what to expect (loosely) or if I don't want to get too excited too early, but it would seem that the effort I am about to put out is just not registering. I am calm. Maybe too calm.
In an effort to get myself 'pumped' I have been looking at old race photos.
Which, of course, I'm about to share.
2006: IM LP
Very naive. Put in lots of miles. Was injured early in the season and did basically no speed work. My coach (at the time) said track work wasn't necessary. I trained in flat southern Ontario and the Placid hills crushed me. I was throwing up and walking much of the last quarter of the run.....5th in AG. No go for Kona, but I was 10th OA. And I caught the IM bug.

I then proceeded to the medically tent for a few hours of therapy. But I was happy. I just became an Ironman!
It was round two in 2007 with IM Wisconsin!! Another hilly slaughter of the legs!
This time, it was my achillies that was the culprit and I was only able to start riding and running with 9 weeks left until race day.
This IM was seen in my eyes as a nutritional experiement. I had no idea how many calories I needed or what kind. I new what I had done in training had been good but my stomach seemed to get pissed off when I exerted myself for longer than 9 hours. I would not recommend the following strategies: chugging a red bull at bike special needs, chugging a red bull at run special needs, carrying a bag of gummy bears and eating the whole thing in the second half of the marathon.
The verdict - too many calories, again ending in the med tent with juice spilling out of both ends, yummy.

Not a bad finish considering, but still no Kona.
Next up, a move to Tucson and an IM to celebrate it! I moved to Tucson and got in a full months outdoor training to prepare. The weather was scorching! 94 degrees. I switched my nutrition to full liquids and used Infinit. I used enough salt pills to give a horse a heart attack and I think it worked. I only had to stop one time for a port a potty and it was 6 miles from the finish. A quick stop and I instantly felt better.

It was my best finish and finally, that Kona spot!!
Kona lived up to it's expectations big time! The wind howled and it was hot! After being mauled by the wind I had visions of not being able to finish the run.... but I held on and reeled some gals in!

All very educational and exciting experiences but the most valuable insights seem to be that: 1) I need to utilize liquid nutrition, and stay away from gels. 2) I should always race in a bathing suit 3) I do well in the heat (the high is only set to be 77 on Sunday).
7 sleeps

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I've had a week to let the race sink in. I am sitting in front of the computer, procrastinating the start of my second last long run. No better time to blog!!
I can tell I'm getting close to IM - it is a struggle to get out the door for even the shortest workouts. I am definately ready to race, and ready for the offseason that follows it!
I was very excited to race Soma. I had lots of friends heading up there to race or watch and really wanted to test my body.
This year has been so different for me in terms of training. I have been working a lot more (almost always overtime) and have lacked a lot of motivation. I haven't put in as many miles as I'm used to but have been making the workouts I can fit in, count. Despite the lack of quantity, I have still been feeling strong.
Soma was the perfect test for IM AZ, as it's basically the same swim and run course (just half as far!).
The swim start was waved but I have never swam in a rougher environment! Those chicks were brutal! I was literally grabbed (like fingers wrapped around leg, grabbed!). I made the mistake of wearing clear goggles since I thought we were starting before the sun came up. Nope! We swam straight into the bright Arizona sun. Blinding. I couldn't see anything in front, and the water was soooo dirty, I couldn't see the feet in front. I came to a dead stop 4 times to see where I was. Not a great start. Once we hit the buoys and I could see where I was going, I turned on the afterburners! Not a great swim time for me, but lesson learned. IM AZ I will bring the tinted goggles!

The Soma bike course was not what I expected (should learn to look at the maps before the race!). There were lots of turns making it very technical. It was very flat with only a few sections were you could stand and stretch. But the turns made it very difficult to find a rhythym. The first lap was very congested and there was a lot of drafting going on. The second and third laps thinned out and were legit - and windy. I didn't race with a computer so I only had my watch to monitor my pace. I was consistent and did all three laps in 50 minutes... exactly the way I want to race IM AZ - only add an hour to each lap!

The run started the same way all my runs are starting in races lately, I felt like ass. But this time, I was expecting it. After Muskoka, my coach stated the obvious, "You just did a 90 km TT, how are your legs supposed to feel?". I now give myself 4 - 5 miles to shake the crap feeling before I get tough with myself. There was a chick that was 30 seconds or so behind me on the bike. She passed me just after the first mile. I ran it in 7 minutes. I let her go, calling her bluff. I had confidence that I would start to feel better in a mile or two and I would bring her back. She only ever got 20 meters ahead. At mile 4, I brought her back, fast. I finished 6 minutes ahead of her.... tough lesson, but we've all been there! The run is pretty flat with minor, welcome undulations to change the muscle usage. Almost exactly the same as IM AZ.
By the end of the race the sun was out in full splendor - 89 degrees... hope for the same at IM!

"and now a word about my sponsor"
Having a kick ass sponsor that you really believe in is kinda' a catch 22. If the product works and you can't live without it, you should tell everyone how great it is..... however, you also don't want to give away all your "secrets", especially to those who may be challenging you for that podium spot. But the time has come.
I was fortunate enough this year (and next) to be sponsored by 1st Endurance nutrition. I have come to depend on two of their products for race day performance.
1. Optygen HP
2. Prerace
These products have changed the way I race, no bull.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Mommy

Today, October 19th is my Mommy's birthday. I haven't sent her a card. I have many excuses but the bottom line is that I live 3000 kms away, in a different country and it takes a great deal of organization to get it there on time. Yes, I am somewhat of a deliquent. I didn't get it in the mail on time.
This inability to plan accordingly is in no way representative of how much she means to me and how much I love her. So, I'm writing about her in my blog.

I can honestly say that I feel I was born to the two most amazing parents in the world - totally lucked out. My mom is an incredible woman and if I turn out to be half as wonderful as she is I'll be pretty darn happy with myself.

She is intelligent and wise (yes, they are different). I swear her true calling in life was to be a psychologist. As it stands, I get her words of wisdom whenever I need them and free of charge. And yes, it's true, Mothers do know best.

She has stuck by my side even when I felt I deserved to be alone. She is always available for a 'pick me up' chat and has even been known to jump on a plane last minute to be by my side when I really needed her.

She often puts the needs of everyone else before her own and is truly the backbone for her family. We depend on her more than she knows.
She is constantly working to better herself and to improve the lives of those she cares for.
She loves to shop and she hates swear words, especially the 'F' bomb.

I love you mom... I miss you more and more everyday I'm away :(
We have grown very close over the last few years and I am thankful that I can now consider you a friend as well as a Mom.
Happy Birthday - I wish I could be there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Mt. Graham Experience

Officially, I am still a triathlete. But, every once and a while, I expand my horizons to include running races and cycling races.
The Mt. Graham Hill Climb - AZ State championship climbing race fell 8 weeks out from my goal race, IM AZ. I figured, "I love climbing, I love racing, I need a good workout that day... fits perfectly!" So on the schedule it went.
While this mountain in only 2 hours away, I had not had the chance to check it out.
I knew it was tougher than Mt. Lemmon, and gorgeous.
My coach told me it would hurt, a lot. I believed him as he isn't one to lie about pain. I was expecting it to do a little more than tickle.... close to 6000ft of climbing between 7 - 9% grade and ending at 9000ft. yep, painful. game on!

The first kilometer looked like this:

Now, I wasnt wearing a HR monitor, or a PM, but I knew I was in over my head within the first mile. So I pulled back --- way back. I didnt get in a super long warm up and was planning on taking the first 5 miles ez.... wanted to do the race in 2 hours and figured the first 30 minutes should be conservative. I knew even though I was being passed, I was still pushing way over 200 watts (you just know after using it over and over again on a mountain). I got to mile 5 in just over 25 minutes and suprise suprise, my legs were toast. I'd never done a 2 hour TT before and I was now understanding why.... I slowed down more, took 2 gels and by the time I hit the 7 mile mark I was picking it up and picking off girls.

I was having a hard time sitting and needed to stand most of the race (seriously, like half of it). Coach said my sit muscles were sore from the speed work a few days earlier. What ever it was from caused me to get the worst adductor charlie horse at mile 16. Crippling. I was afraid to get off my bike (wouldnt have started again) so I just did this weird stretching while pedaling move that must have looked incredibly rediculous, but it did the job.
I ended up finishing the race strong, totally exhausted, in total muscle failure, in 1:58 and 4th female overall.
The ride back down was a lot less fun than Mt. Lemmon, as you had to negotiate the same switchbacks that took you so long to ascend.
view from the top:

Tucson girls that like to kick ass:

switchback ouch

switchback o rama

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Muskoka 73.0 report

This race was hard. This race was amazing. This race was a PW.
Despite this race being my worst result in terms of time and placing, I am walking away from this race feeling as though it was a hugely positive experience.
While 'winning' is always nice, success doesn't always mean coming in first.
I can honestly say that I will be taking more away from this race than any other half
IM that I've done and that, in my opinion is a success.
It started with the morning prep. I just wasn't feeling the desire to go and rip it up. I was there and was happy to see my friends, but I just wasn't feeling the hype that I normally feel going into a 5 hour race. I also had this weird feeling that something was going to happen. I have been racing tris since 2005 and have been lucky enough that I have not had any kind of mechanical issue on the bike. I knew my time was coming... it was just a matter of when. For some reason, I felt like it was going to happen in Muskoka. Maybe I set myself up. Maybe I'm psychic. Who knows (yes, I will tell you your future - for a nominal fee).
The swim was awsome. I found some fast (male) feet. This was new for me. I was working but it was very controlled.
My time was not fast, but I was within 3 minutes of Mirinda C. and that`s the closest I`ve come to her so I`m okay with it.
The run to transition was a long steep one. A foreshadow of what was to come.
I moved quickly through transition and was out on the bike. BRRRRR. Maybe racing in a swimsuit was not such a good idea - definately not in AZ anymore.
The bike was tough. Like 7000ft of climbing, 94km tough. But I felt good. I was moving pretty comfortably through the miles but still didn`t feel like I was in `the zone`.
It was probably around 30 km that I felt like my front tire was going flat. I kept riding until I knew it was going flat and when it was close to rim on road, I conceeded to having to stop and change it.
I thought it might have been a slow leak and maybe I could refill it and keep going. I used one CO2 cannister and instantly found out that was not the case.
I changed it pretty quickly and pulled out another CO2 to fill it. The tire filled but the valve was `f`ed, and the air came back out. I took my last CO2 out and tried again - same result. By now, I was cold and starting to think I would be better off being a spectator instead.
I stood there, in my bathing suit and watched a million people go by. I decided that I would catch a ride in the sag wagon and call it a day.
Instead of a van, I was greeted by a man in a motorcycle. I asked him where we were going to put my bike.
He said giving me a lift wasn't an option but he had a couple of CO2`s.
This time, the air stayed in. Lucky me.
I have no idea how long I stood at the side of the road. I didnt have a computer, but it was long enough for me to want to sit (lay) down on the side of the road. It was long enough for my body temp to drop to `uncomfortable`.
I got back on my bike and TT`d for the next 60 km. I think I pushed too hard.

I started the run and immediately went to the `bad place`. Both of my calves were cramping and I was moving ssssslllllllooooooowwwwww. I wanted to walk. I wanted to stop. I wanted to swear and cry like a baby. But I kept going.
This awful, black vail stayed with me until around the 5 km mark. Then, I passed a girl who said she saw me on the side of the road. She told me to `never give up`.
I decided right there to put on my big girl pants and worked my way out of the rut.
I put myself in the hurt box and did my last 10 miles in 1:11 and negative split the run.

I took away many valuable lessons. 1 - being 8 pounds heavier than race weight hinders performance - especially on the run(30 seconds, per pound, per mile can really make a difference) and I now have the motivation to cut back on this:

(only available in Canada, and I got my fill while I was home).
Two: I got to practice changing a Zipp flat in a high stess situation. 3. I can pull myself out of a very dark place. Four: exertion cramps can go away, even if the exertion doesn`t. 5. this is not the best activity to revisit the day before a race:

Six: My Mommy, Daddy and sis are the best spectators ever.
7. Never give up.

Next stop, Soma.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oh the places we'll go!

About 3 weeks ago (hey, I'm busy), we headed to Utah for a quicky (vacay that is).
We were looking for a race to do before Muskoka 70.3 to shake out the cobb webs - Ryan's first tri since smashing his hip and my first race since 8 weeks off due to sloppy footing.
The Utah half was it! The website said flat and fast. Perfect for problematic body parts and egos. I flew into Salt Lake City and Ryan drove from Tucson so we'd have a car.
We camped in a tent, something I'd always thought of doing before a race and wanted to try but will never do again! Slept terribly and found it very hard to organize in the dark!
We awoke to high winds, cool temps and the threat of thunderstorms. Yippee!!
The race directors tossed around the idea of cancelling the swim, but after waiting an extra half hour to start, decided to shorten it to around 1200 m. It ended up being, without a doubt the roughest (kinda scary) swim I've ever done.

The bike ended up being nothing short of Hawaii revisted. Definately equalling the "scared for my life" type of wind felt in the lava fields. My goal became to stay in the aerobars as much as possible. I came out of them 3 or 4 times to prevent my face from kissing the asphalt.

It was also my third ride on my new ride, SCHAWING!
Love it.
The ended favorably for me. Ryan had tire issues but all things considered still rocked the race, less than a year after a broken hip!

After the race, we headed to Zion NP where we hiked a trail that should questionnably be closed to the general public, Angels Landing. It was hard and at times induced vertigo and a slight panic at the thought of how far up you really were. The trail was 2.5 miles one way and took almost 3 hours, but this was one instance where I wasn't racing.

Yes, we climbed up there!
The day after a Half IM, we hiked 12 miles (11 hours). I have never felt so used and abused as I did at the end of the day. To practice my mental pain tolerance, I completed 6 hours of hiking with a blister on my right heel. By the time we were finished and I could replace my bloodied hiking shoes with the trusted Birks, I had a stage III pressure sore on my foot. it was worth it. Zion is amazing.

Next up: The great Canadian wilderness (read: Tim Hortons, mosquitos, Shoppers Drug Mart and a little swim, bike and run in Muskoka)!

Monday, July 27, 2009

science lesson

last night, at 5:30 pm mountain time i headed out for my 'long run'. because my goal race is not for another few months and i'm just coming back from a layoff, my long run is only 1:45. it is done on Sunday, after a swim and bike. this also means that it is done in during the hottest, and right now, most humid time of day. it was over 100 degrees when i began my run and it had barely cooled by the time i was home chugging chocolate milk.
no matter how i pushed, i just couldn't pick up the pace. i felt like i was breathing through a straw.
turns out, i was (figuratively of course).
today, at work, an old army pilot brought me an interesting chart. it's called a "Density Altitude Chart". basically, it states that as the air temp goes up, the oxygen concentration in the air goes down - in essence, your subjective 'altitude' - even if you're at sea level.
Here's a link to the chart:
quite interesting.
i live (and usually run) at 3000 ft. last night, i was actually running at 6000. when we bike up the mountain on an equally hot day, we are spending a good 2 hours at over 8000ft.
from now on i'm gonna' try and soak up the sun and reap the benefits of a little altitude training!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

In case there's anyone still checking in on my blog..

Hopefully, there is one person left out there that cares to read this.... I know, I've been a very, very bad blogger.....spank me.

What's not so new? A bum knee that's really starting to annoy me...
I have been in athletics long enough to know that injuries happen to everyone eventually. You can try your best to prevent them: stretch, eat, rest, pray. But I don't care who you are, if you push your body - you will get injured. This time around, it wasn't overtraining, it wasn't going too hard on a track workout or adding too much mileage. It was from not lifting my feet high enough on a trail run.Arizona trails are not for the faint of heart. We've got mountain lions, rattle snakes, cliffs, rocks and prickly things everywhere. Fortunately for me, the only element I encountered was the rock. And we clashed hard. Turns out, rock is harder than bone, tendon, most definately skin and ipods. I messed myself (figuratively and literally) up. But believe it or not, considering the other options, I got off lucky.
I digress to the old cliche, "Everything happens for a reason". In an effort not to sound too much like my mother - I have always believed that within adversity lies an opportunity to improve upon yourself..... however, 8 weeks away from running can really start to get to a gal (me). I tried real hard to work my (biggest) weakness.
Thankfully, I have a coach that really knows his shize when it comes to getting stronger on the bicycle. I spent a whole lot of time doing this:

And I entered the Arizona State RR Champs and won this:

So, my cycling is coming along nicely. My quads look like watermelons.... really. I have also been doing squats. Between the swimming and cycling (and lack of running) I kinda look like a wrestler -- definately not what I want.
My knee has recently started to feel good enough to run for 20 minutes staight (baby steps) and I can't wait to get back at it.... hopefully, better off because of it.
Unfortunately, no Kona this year. Maybe a blessing in disguise. New job + pay cut = 0 vacation time and 0 extra cash. But with any luck (and of course, blood, sweat and tears), I will be there in 2010 stronger than ever.
As for this year, it is looking like Muskoka 70.3 may be my first half of the year. Maybe Clearwater and hopefully IM AZ in November.... but anything can happen.
We are also hoping to do the inaugural IM St. George - very exciting.
Another goal for this year is for me to get back to regular blogging. I've been so busy that something had to give. But the reality is, I should be able to update my family and friends on my where abouts at least once a month. I will try every couple of weeks to post something of interest!
Now to watch LA kick some ass in France.

Monday, March 30, 2009

oh where oh where have I been...

it's been a really busy month (or two). priorities I guess. work. training. family. and then way down the list is BLOG....( i did not put family behind training on purpose!)
i have done some races and travelling. and have modified my training/racing schedule for sickness. or allergies - whatever it is that is making yellow/red gunk come from my nose and causing me to hack up part of my respiratory track.
Fortunately, I have had a great feb/march in that I got to spend time with friends from Canada and my parents.
Early March, we headed to Vegas for a few days of training and a (tough) half marathon at the end to top it off.
Londoners (canada) kicked 'a' in vegas and brought home some sweet hardware:

there are many more pictures of the Vegas week... but as they say, "what happens in Vegas... gets posted on Facebook" - much easier to put pics on there.
one of the campers said it best, "I'm not sure if we became better triathletes or drinkers!"
This past weekend was the local triathlon. I know you must be thinking "Tucson? Triathlon? Where's the water?" well, the water is the U of A pool. This was a first for me. It caused a logistical problem in terms of wardrobe. no wetsuits - water was too warm. a swimsuit was the best bet but my thighs are not ready for that kind of exposure, so I opted for the Blueseventy Swim Skin!
Not gonna' lie, it was tough. Orders were to go hard in the swim, harder on the bike and hold on for the run.
My legs had a different idea.... excuse inventory: I'm sick, I climbed Lemmon the day before.
I gave it all I could... and I think I've hurt less in IM!!
In the end, Teri A. smoked me. But she rocks so that's okay. Another super fast chick rounded out the podium so I left feelin' alright about the outcome.

Totally looking forward to getting started on some IM training this month!
Will be heading to St. Croix in May, Florida two weeks later, then Coeur d'Alene!