Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Light

Adam and I always joke about the "light at the end of the tunnel." The jokes began a couple years back when I had my wisdom teeth out and had pretty much every possible complication (seriously, it was bad). On the tenth consecutive day of returning to my surgeon for post-op treatment, he said, "well, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.....but I can't guarantee it's not a MAC truck." We often use this expression to laugh about training, life, etc. 

I busted out that line after today's bike hill reps and Adam did his typical "of course you're tired" laugh, and then kindly reminded me that I am in the "tunnel" for another couple of days (recovery starts Friday). As I felt sorry for myself, feeling all tired and crusty this afternoon, I was searching for that glimmer of light in the distance and hoping, desperately, that it is not a massive truck. After a solid mid-afternoon nap, I headed out for my run, doing my "feel-good" loop in my "feel-good" track pants (hey, whatever works, right?!) and I felt surprisingly OK. So, I will avoid hitching a ride towards the light and muster up the strength to make my own way out of this tunnel.

Normally I don't look forward to any day in particular as weekend's are not much different than weekdays, but....

YAY, for Fridays.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Consider Ourselves Lucky

Sure, Victoria gets a few rainy, dreary days, and the occasional flake of snow. But, it is days like today that I am thankful I am running on grass, driving without the heat on, and not living in long johns and a balaclava. 

Adam has his first "snowday" (no classes) in Fredericton. This isn't exactly the Freddy Beach I remember from the summer...  

Marathon training must go on.

His apartment is somewhere behind that snowbank.

Only three more days until you are here in Vic!!! Fredericton Airport, please remain OPEN!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Week 2, Done and....

...almost DONE.

One more day to go to the end of another solid week. The first week of this training block I was wondering how I was ever going to get through it, but our squad (the trio), has done a great job at settling into routine and plugging away.  Despite this week getting off to a rocky start, I was more consistent and mentally ready to tackle the daily challenges. I know the week isn't over, but I am going to recap the last few days as tomorrow night when I get home from the swim, it will be dinner, and then straight to the couch for the Bachelor.

Monday: SICK! I will not elaborate this time... pretty much a write-off as far as training goes: 600m swim and 30 minute trainer spin (but, if we are counting "chamois-time," I did lie on the floor for a good 2 hours in my bike shorts. I will definitely log that.)

Tuesday: 5k swim, 2.5hr ride will plenty of hill reps, and finished the day with a 1 hour run with 10 x Beacon Hill sprints. This was a tough day on the legs, I cannot lie!

Wendesday: 5k swim, 75 min trainer workout with 3-minuters, 75 minute treadmill hill intervals. Ok, now my legs felt like cement logs.

Thursday: Swim #1, 90 min. hilly base run (I did the middle chunk on the tready for the soft surface, plus strides), swim #2. Oh, and a GREAT massage (thanks, Kim!)

Friday: 5k Swim, fun 2+ hour ride pace-lining with the guys, 30 minute run. 

Saturday: 3.5 hour hilly ride (the plan to join one of the group rides fell apart as I flatted IMMEDIATELY so it was just me, my SRM and my thoughts for one very long morning). 1 hour run this evening to finish the day.

Tomorrow is a 90 minute run, with 5 x  the 2km "harder than Hamish" loops, building, around Beacon Hill. I ran this course for the first time last week and loved it! The afternoon is our dreaded 5k swim. I don't know what it is about this swim, but this is the toughest session to get through. However, it has to get done, so after we call the "waaaambulance," we suck it up and dive in.

Sorry this was a boring training post. Here are a couple photos from dinner with Tiff last night (and by the way, Tiff makes a MEAN pork tenderloin!).

Wii bowling is not my specialty.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Layout!

It's time to switch things up and go for DARK dots!
(Sorry, Kerry, beat you to it!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just a few GREAT things

Wow, what a great day. I'd have to say even better than yesterday (that comment is completely sarcastic as I was hit with food poisoning yesterday so did NOT have a very good day! I will NEVER eat tuna and/or MAYO again. Long story, but here's the short version: Tiff and I went to the Victoria Tea Festival on Sunday afternoon and were blown away by the amount of samples...and not just tea! Pastries, cookies, cakes, anything and everything sweet and delectible. Well, where does the tuna fall in? One of the booths was selling cans of some sort of tuna and had samples on crackers. I do NOT know what we were thinking, but when you are in the flow of sampling and trying everything, you really don't put a whole lot of thought into what you put in your mouth. So, we both ate the tuna and were seriously almost sick right then! You know it's bad when you can't even get it down, let alone what will happen hours later. Anyway, we quickly washed it down with some tea and cookies and put it out of our minds.... until that night! I will spare you the details, but it was a LONG day that I couldn't wait to be over. I even went to bed at 7pm to try and end my suffering as early as possible. Thankfully, I slept nearly 12 hours and woke up today feeling almost back to normal...but STARVING. I will take hungry and healthy over yesterday's ugliness anyday though. I am sure glad that is over! )

So, back to today...

Four great things:

1) Wendy returned (that could be a "great thing" on it's own :-), but even better: she came bearing gifts from her sister. Sandy, an avid sewer, made me an apron and some napkins. POODLES! PEACOCKS! Thanks, Sandy!!

2) Brooks sent me some slippers! Actually, these are their T5 Racers, but soooo comfy that I am wearing them as slippers this evening. They look fast though so I may find myself striding down the hall to the bathroom (OK, BAD joke, especially after yesterdays episodes!) I do like the name of the colour though: Furnace. That is HOT.

3) My new ride (well, for today, anyway). Bill at Pro City Cycles was kind enough to set me up on this Trek Madone to test on our ride today. It is one seriously nice bike and there is a chance I may be setting Big Blue aside for this new svelte creature. 

4) And, last but definitely not least: only 10 days until Adam is here!! 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My training partners are INVINCIBLE!

Or, maybe they're just guys that are crazy strong and talented. That might be it, but it seems much cooler to think they're invincible. 

I know it's good to train with those faster, fitter and stronger than you, but I think Kyle and Simon take it to a whole new level. They never seem to be tired and are always ready to GO (note to Sarah: remember how the saying, "relax, it's January" was the slogan for Maui, well this theme did NOT continue into February and I think it will never be spoken of for the remainder of '09...). 

But, for me, keeping things in perspective, everything is going well. This has been a big week, possibly bigger in terms of volume than we were doing in Maui and I am feeling stronger as the weeks tick by. 

Back to my training partners though... we had a 3.5 hour hilly base ride on the schedule today. Last week I rode well for this ride so was looking forward to another long morning of (trying) to hang with the guys. I met with with Simon, Kyle, Jasper, and Steve-0 for the first half, starting along the waterfront. My legs were feeling strong today and I thought this could be a fun one. However, about an hour in, I started to feel a little "off"...and hungry. We stopped for a bathroom break and I quickly shoveled all of my fig bars in my mouth. My first thought was "uh-oh, I just at the bulk of my snacks within the first hour," but hoped there was a chance the sugary carbs would sustain me for at least long enough to get through most of the ride. Once riding again, I still didn't feel quite right and was definitely still hungry. I peeled off to a gas station and bought a king size Snickers bar. I wasn't confident the regular size would do the trick, so I took the safe route with this chocolately monstrosity (I know, really kind of gross and not something I would normally eat, but I had to try something). It helped for a bit...until Simon and Kyle turned it on when we hit the hills...and that was it for me today. I finished off the last half, riding the hills, with Jazz and Steve. Despite not feeling too wonderful, I really enjoyed their company, finished feeling as strong as I did at the start (that's something positive, right?!), and it was a beautiful, sunny day. 

I have just returned from a run and cannot believe it's already 5pm!! Seriously, where has the day gone?! Wendy is away this weekend so the Hotel is quiet...and lonely! I don't have the creativity to prepare much of a meal tonight so I am off to re-fuel with some Ethiopian. 

I was sent this video today, a finishing clip of the Fast Triathlon in Brazil last month (I am the PALE one....well, apart from Kerry ;-)

And, I hoped Adam might surprise me with some thing like this for Valentine's Day, but no luck... Maybe next year...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Motivation to Run

As I was out for my run last night I created a mental list of the things I commonly use to motivate me for a session. For the most part I don't need much more motivation than wanting to be one of the best in the world, but when the fatigue builds up, it's nasty outside, or I just want to stay cozy in my pj's, I need to create this sort of 'list' to get my butt out the door. 

Yesterday was one of those days. We swam 5k in the morning, but it was one of those sessions that felt more like 8k as it was shorter-intervals, followed by quite a lot of swimming with "the parachute." In other words, REALLY slow swimming, no matter how hard you try. Next up was a ride to the Observatory with 6 hill reps. It was really a yucky day outside, about 1 or 2 degrees and incredibly windy. But it was DRY so that meant we were riding outdoors. I have to admit I was secretly hoping for at least one raindrop so I would have the excuse to stay warm and dry inside, watching a little more What Not to Wear while on the trainer. In the end, it turned out to be a great ride, despite the few flakes of snow. I did stay plenty warm though as I wore every piece of wind and waterproof clothing I own, and also the fact that hanging on to the guys' wheels is like a never-ending interval. By the time I got home it was late afternoon and had trouble wrapping my mind around heading out for an hour run. Again, motivation is not normally a problem for me, but I sat here for far too long planning my route, what I would wear, and when I would go. It was also raining at this point and the wind had picked up. I think I wasted more time thinking about the run than time spent running. It was one of those sessions where I had to remind myself that this is my JOB, so enjoyment and fun were bumped down on the priority list.

Here's what helped get me out the door last night:

-preparing my dinner ahead of time. It was nothing more than left-overs but I put it on the plate and I knew I couldn't eat it until I was done for the day. I was getting hungry so that helped speed things along.

-putting on my favourite running track pants. I had to wear tights underneath, but I love these pants for easy runs. 

-making it a "destination" run. I am apartment-hunting and I was going to view a place today and wanted to have a look at the area beforehand.

-running by the peacocks at Beacon Hill. Yep, I'm a total nerd, but this is a must for me on most runs. My feathered friends aren't out after dark so again, I had to get moving!

It turned out to be a really great run, my legs came around, and I simply enjoyed every moment of the trot along the waterfront. The highlight was actually the hill reps as the wind was from behind, pushing me UP the hill! My face was numb by the end but dinner was delicious and I have never appreciated my pj's quite so much.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Recovery, meetings, and tasty meals

I arrived back from Maui late on Monday night as as much as I was sad to say goodbye to the heat, the sun, the cane fields, and the wild parrots, I was looking forward to getting a nice rest. However, this week was BUSY and the couch time didn't seem to happen. 

There were definitely some emotional highs and lows this week. I hadn't put much energy or thought into the coaching situation until we got back home (getting through the last few days of the camp was challenging enough!) So, when I returned to Vic on Wednesday, the string of meetings, phone calls, and emails began. I spent a couple of days bouncing back and forth between being in a complete panic, researching every possible coaching option, to feeling confident that if I were to sit back and see how things unfold, everything would work out just fine (thank you, Adam for being the world's best listener!!). I realized that finding a happy medium was the way to go, thinking though our options, playing an active role, and not simply "reacting.". The position we are in is actually not all bad and is rather unique. In some sense, we are starting from scratch, but have the "reins" to create the ideal group/environment for us. We (Simon, Kyle and myself) have done a lot of brainstorming over the past few days and have come up with some really great plans for schedules, venues, training partners, etc. Kyle and I will continue to train with Joel's program for the time being and will take full advantage of the resources we are lucky to have available to us in Vic. What has amazed me is how willing everyone is to jump in and help, whether it is to offer their time coaching, or to simply act as a sounding board. There is no question that the local support played a major factor in my decision to remain in Vic. 

So, today was our first day back at it, starting off the next block of training. Because of the icy and COLD conditions this morning, we did some schedule-swapping and started the day with a swim with the National Triathlon Centre gang. This afternoon we met up for a 3-ish hour hilly ride. I think we covered every hill in the Victoria area (Prospect Lake, Observatory, Durrance, Willis Point, through the Highlands...). It was a great ride and fun to connect with some of the other athletes. 

As much as I miss having chef Jordan to prepare the nightly dinners, I feel very lucky as Wendy has recently taken a Mexican cooking class (to compliment her Spanish lessons) and has been busy in the kitchen. I have been pretty much useless as far as meal preparations go this week and my only contribution seems to be the box of dark chocolate covered macadamias I brought back from Hawaii. We are still working our way through them, so in a way, I guess I have been preparing dessert every night!!