Sunday, March 29, 2009

Update to Come

Lazy Sunday night, so just posting a pic from today's track session.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Unexpected Break

Yesterday I had "one of those days." It was one of those days that I was especially thankful I had a coach because I don't think I would have been able to "pull the plug" myself.

It started like any other day. I was a little sleepy when I woke up, but nothing unusual. We headed off to the pool and hopped in for warm-up. I was feeling a little sluggish but no alarm bells. We got started on the main set and oh my gosh, the wheels did not just fall off, they exploded...immediately! Ok, I am being slightly dramatic, but it wasn't pretty. I came in after the first interval (getting slightly less rest than I had hoped...) and regrouped for the next one. Sometimes I warm-up and can get it going as the workout progresses. Somehow it got worse and what I felt was more than simple day-to-day fatigue. I was thankful coach Phil was on hand to intervene. We had a short but reassuring discussion about taking a little "rest." A clear sign that I need rest is when I don't argue and accept the fact that I need to take it easy. I actually felt a slight twinge of relief when I heard those words yesterday... I guess it was necessary. This camp started incredibly well for me. I had some really solid rides and runs last week and some consistent, strong swims. It was nice to see these numbers (watts, splits and paces) for reassurance that I am in fact rolling along well (sometimes fatigue can play with the mind). Anyway, by the weekend I started to struggle with recovery and never seemed to bounce back. I think Phil observed me a for few days before he decided it was time to make a small change to my program.

I finished the swim yesterday, but on my own pace. The rest of the day was cruisey, with a couple hour ride and 30 minute run.
We decided to take a two-day rest so today was lower intensity again with a 90 minute hilly run and a 5km strength swim. My energy levels were back up this morning but that didn't mean I was good to push it again. I try my best to take care of the details and get the most out of my training, so I figured if I am going to rest, then I need to do that right too and stick to the plan.

Here's a pic from our run this morning on Cactus Forest Trail, at Saguaro National Park. As for wildlife sightings, things were slow, with only one rabbit (but it did have the biggest ears I had ever seen!). Honestly, this creature was straight out of Alice and Wonderland. I saw it run across the road in front of Kyle and I was certain that was the end of him. 

I also discovered a slightly disturbing fact: rattlesnake season starts April 1. I don't know if this means they will be celebratory and out in full-force that day, ready with fully-stocked venom to attack me, but regardless, I am definitely not looking forward to this particular "season." I realize this could also be an April Fool's Joke to see how many people run in long pants that day, with anti-venom-filled gel flasks. Oh wow, the fact that I even thought of that is crazy...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Living the simple life

This is just a quick post because it's Sunday night and I'm feeling a little pooped. 

Great training this past week and I look forward to the next two. We're all feeing adapted to the hot and dry conditions (no more "cactus" mouth while running!) and as long as we don't forget sunscreen and hydrate all hours of the day, we'll continue to roll along. 
I think what I love most about training camps is how simple our lives are. Train, sleep, eat, recover, train, etc... repeat. Coach Philippe is doing an incredible job at taking care of the details, whether it's scheduling us bi-weekly massages at the condos or following us on every ride in the van (and keeping the van stocked with extra water, cokes, snacks and spare wheels.) Sometimes I feel as though all we have to do is show up and train hard. Yes, life is good!!

Simon asked me the other day to make a list of the top-1o things I'd like to do that afternoon. I am a little embarrassed how basic and boring this list is, but I think it gives a snippit of my life at training camp:

1: Eat a few more Newman's cookies 
2: Use "norma" (the compression machine)
3: Use Game Ready (the icing machine)
4: talk to Adam
5: read my book
6: fix the TV remote (anyone know any LG remote codes?)
7: watch TV if I can fix this remote

I think my list ended there! LAME, I know! 

Below are a few pics from the last few days.

Back to the icing now!

Kathy and I on the track this morning for a set of 400's.

Gate's Pass intervals.

I'm glad this picture shows it being somewhat of a hill because I remember it being STEEP at this point.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Creatures of the night

My thoughts at 2:10am:

Why did I just wake up? Man, I'm hungry. What should I go eat? Some cereal sounds good, or maybe a piece of raisin toast. Why is the kitchen so far away?! What is that noise? Is it raining? No, of course not, we're in the desert. Maybe the sprinklers? Maybe it's Simon. Yes, it is probably him but what in the world is he doing? He must be in the kitchen getting some snacks. 


Is he still in the kitchen? It sure sounds like he's eating potato chips. That's an odd midnight snack. Wait a second, that noise is coming from outside. Let's have a look. What is that out there? Am I dreaming or is there a field of massive pigs snorting and fighting below my window? This is crazy. I need a closer look. 

I took my cereal out to the balcony to watch these intriguing creatures graze, snort, randomly sprint and sniff each other. What a bizarre experience!

I now realize these wild boars, or "Javalina" are as common in Tucson as squirrels are back home. Thankfully they only feast on small animals, grass and grains so if I come across a pack of them on the trail, I should be safe....

The piggies returned this afternoon, in broad daylight and I was able to snap a couple pics to prove to the others that they DO exist and were not pigs "with wings" in my dreams!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And so it begins

Tucson Camp.

Our trip here had a few hitches with delayed flights, missing bikes, wheels forgotten at customs (oops..), and relying on a crappy map and a Canadian GPS, giving us a late-night tour of Tucson in the rental car. But, we did arrive to our condos in one piece around midnight, going straight to bed. I had a little trouble falling asleep so made the mistake of picking up my novel, Water For Elephants, to help me unwind. Every once and awhile I find a book that is hard to put down, and this is definitely the case with this one. I was too caught up in the story to sleep so I have set limits on this novel, only 1 chapter before bed. NO exceptions. 

We were up early Tuesday morning for a 6300 yard swim (that's a lot of flip turns). We had the entire pool to ourselves, it was sunny, warm and we did my favourite type of swim, short rest 100's. What a great session! From there it was straight to the grocery store because none of us could bear to eat another 'bar.' Our missing bikes weren't scheduled to arrive until that night, so we went for a run in the afternoon, exploring the trails behind the condo. Thankfully, I did not see any mountain lions, bobcats or rattlesnakes and honestly, I will be terrified of this possibility everytime I run here.

Today started with another swim, 5500 yards, full of sprints. On the board the set looked short and sweet, but once we got rolling on the first round, we realized just how sweet it was. 25's and 50's can be tough! This afternoon was a 2.5 hour ride with 2 x 20-ish minutes of threshold work, finishing each effort at the top of Gate's Pass. I rode well today on my new bike. I can now confirm that my LOVE for this bike goes beyond aesthetics! We transitioned off the bike for a 30 minute build run. This was solid: hilly, HOT, windy, dry, just a real tough session. 

We just finished a team meeting with coach Phil and HP director Kurt. Based on the support provided and our enthusiasm to get the work done, I think this is the start of a great camp.

Simon's new recovery toy. Kyle is sporting the upper body sleeves. We have yet to try the entire suit at once (this may require an emergency medic on hand!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To the desert!

I can't believe it's already time to pack up for another training camp! Thankfully this will be another warm weather camp so my bag is still semi-packed from Maui with the summer clothes (definitely no need for those in Vic these days!).

Kyle, Simon and I are off to Tucson tomorrow afternoon for 3 weeks of solid work in the sunshine. I will do my best to post daily updates with tales of our adventures. 

I am currently taking a 'rest' from packing as I write this. What to bring is always the biggest stressor of travel for me. Honestly, I suck at packing. I would bring everything in my closet if I could because at least then I would relax knowing that I was prepared for any condition. I am trying my hardest to bring a minimal amount of stuff this time, but I can pretty much guarantee the bag will be bursting at the seams and borderline overweight. I tried going through my piles, item by item, saying to myself, "do I really need this?" All I took out was one pair of bike shorts!  Why is this SO hard?!! My gosh, I could survive in one pair of t-shirt and shorts for the camp if I had to. This is when I need Adam here. He is the best at helping me pack. I often ask for his advice about a few items when I have done my own (failed) process of elimination. By this point, I'm always laughing pretty hard because I know he will say "DON'T NEED IT" to everything I show him, regardless of it's actual importance. So, tonight I feel lost without his carefully thought-out advice so I will just go with the piles I have prepared and hope for the best at "weigh-in" tomorrow. 

I am sure Wendy will still get to say her favourite expression as I lug my bags and bike out the door: "Traveling light, I see!" 

Here's a photo of my first ride on the new bike. Sadly it was on the TRAINER so I don't really count that as a real test, but it still did feel pretty amazing :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Very Sweet Friday Night

What is that pictured above? Oh, it's just my NEW BIKE!!!

(can you tell I'm excited?!!)

What a wonderful Friday night. It was not only "Women's Night" at Trek Bikes Victoria but it was also happened to be the arrival of my new bike, a women's specific Trek Madone. She was put on display tonight so I could only admire from afar.... but that didn't exactly happen... I was all over this bike tonight! Mine in the white/red beauty and YES, I realize that the one beside has flowers HAND painted on it (don't rub it in....), but mine looks sleek and fast and is very Canadian - I love it! 

What a great turnout tonight. I met so many wonderful women and caught up with some friends I hadn't seen in years. There was wine, cheese, a chocolate fondue fountain, a wicked DJ (aka Sean Cunningham), and some pretty sweet deals on product. Thanks to Bill, Troy and everyone else at Pro City for supporting the ladies!

I'm up early tomorrow for my final ride on Big Blue. Afterwards it will be straight to the shop to get my Shimano and Pro components on the new ride, followed by a retul bike fit.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interview with

Thanks to Grant Boland for this interview and best of luck to him in the blog contest!!

Before I get called out on this, the fish tacos pictured were actually a Chef Jordan creation. However, I think we can still refer to them as "Lauren's fish tacos" because I do recall devouring a pretty hefty portion...and the leftovers the following day.

Olympic Goddess: Lauren Groves
Thursday, March 12th, 2009

GRANT: She’s a Canadian Champion and one of the bright lights on Canada’s triathlon scene. She’s also a wonderful blogger AND poodle lover. Lauren was kind enough to sit down for an email interview to discuss her training, quilting, blogging and about a little crush she used to have on a fellow Olympian. You should definitely check out her blog. She’s updating it regularly on her training, her cooking, crafts and poodles. There are lots of pictures and videos. What made you want to become a triathlete?

LAUREN: I first learned of the sport in 2000 when I watched Simon win gold in Sydney. I was a student at Queen’s University at that time and just staring to get involved with running. I didn’t make the university cross country team and when looking at other sports, I discovered the triathlon team didn’t make “cuts.” I was a swimmer when I was younger so adding running to the mix was really a no-brainer. Also, I knew how to ride a bike, so really what else did I need?! Well, I am not being entirely honest here…part of the reason I joined the club was to meet Simon (this is really embarrassing to admit now because I know Simon, and any trace of a crush is GONE ;-) Anyway, Simon came to swim with the tri club one day and I was so unbelievably nervous that I went to the back of the lane and didn’t say a peep the entire time!

GRANT: Something that always fascinates me about endurance athletes is what is going on in their minds while they are putting in the hours and hours of training. What do you think about while you are training?

LAUREN: My mind is often all over the place while training. During harder, quality sessions, I am usually quite focused on the task at hand. But, if it’s an easier day, my thoughts usually revolve around poodles, recipes, and Adam (my “better-half”).

GRANT: I have to say, you have the most interesting blog on the internet. Do you plan out what your posts are going to be or do you just go with whatever is happening in your life?

Lauren's Poodle Cookies

LAUREN: I really just go with what is happening in my life. Training is clearly what consumes most of my time right now but I seem to be more inclined to write about the “other” aspects. If I am out at the farmer’s market and come across a new and exciting item, I can’t wait to get home to blog about it. I often wish I had a small camera I could bring along during runs because I am often treated to incredible sunsets, or spot little dogs wearing knitted sweaters that make my heart melt. I don’t know if others would enjoy these sights as much as I do, but it would still be fun to share. But, I know there are people out there who are curious about the training, so I try to mix it up and share experiences from all aspects of my life.

GRANT: Interesting note about the camera. Vicky and I talked about getting little cameras and carrying them around everywhere while we run. It’s true you see the most incredible things. Lauren is also on Twitter @ljgroves. I find it awesome to follow athletes like Lauren or Lance Armstrong on Twitter. (ex: Just back from a 7hr bike ride). One of the features I enjoyed about Lauren’s blog were the updates on a quilt she was sewing. I haven’t seen any in awhile so I have to ask… Lauren, how is the quilting coming along?

Lauren's Quilt

LAUREN: Sadly, quilting has taken the back-burner these days. I have absolutely fallen in love with this craft and spent an incredible amount of time working on a couple projects over the winter, but I have struggled to find the time (and energy) to continue now that training is full-on. I was having to do most of the sewing at the quilt shop so matching my schedule with the classroom openings was difficult. I have SO many more projects I want to begin and I know that if I were to walk into the quilt shop “just to look” it would be all over again and I would become a full-time quilter and part-time triathlete. So, I will restrain myself, at least until the end of the World Cup season!

GRANT: So disappointing! When I was watching that quilt being sewn all I could think about was, I have to get myself a blog, then I have to develop some kind of skill like quilting or needlepoint or painting. It looks great on a blog. Maybe I can be like that painting dude with the ridiculous hair on PBS. It’s beautiful and it’s fun to watch coming together. I have a quilt on my bed that my mom made and I have another one my grandmother made. Quilting Rules! Lauren, what are your favorite blogs?

The Joy of Painting

LAUREN: I love to browse cooking and healthy lifestyle blogs. A couple of my favourites are, and Of course, I also follow plenty of athlete’s blogs, enjoying reading their experiences.

Lauren's Fish Tacos

GRANT: Mark’s Daily Apple is cool. He’s all about the “Primal Diet” which any fan of Jane Goodal’s can appreciate on some level. I subscribe to that one. What is the most motivating thing anyone has told you about blogging, or about athletics?

LAUREN: My past coach, Siri was an incredibly motivating person and I learned a lot from her. Probably the most profound, yet simple lesson she taught me was to be kind to myself. Yes, it sounds simple and it is, but I can’t even begin to describe the difference it had on my mental approach to sport. I used to be hard on myself if I struggled in a session or didn’t perform at the expectations I had set. I now approach each day with the same attitude, with the goal of getting the most out of each session, regardless of how good or rotten I am feeling. Some days I find I am going great but others might be near-disaster. I’ve learned not to go overboard with excitement on those great days and not to dwell on the not-so-good ones . It’s amazing how much FUN sport can be when the stress of expectations are removed and you just “play”…and of course, go hard!

GRANT: That’s great advice! You were down in Hawaii with Simon Whitfield and Adam Van Koeverden. This trip will be covered in the next edition of iRun Magazine. Do you have any embarassing stories about Adam or Simon from Hawaii?

LAUREN: Oh, boy, this could get me in trouble!! I might take a pass on this one…

GRANT: In the main picture on your blog you have a big smile on your face as you are running. What do you love about the sport?

LAUREN: I absolutely love to compete. You hear a lot of athletes who love to train, love to get out there everyday, etc. I definitely “train to race” and I often have to remind myself of that on days when it is really tough to get out the door. For me, racing is a celebration of all the hard work I do day-in and day-out. There is nothing more satisfying that putting it all out there on race day, which is why I often have a smile on my face at the finish. Don’t get me wrong, racing is HARD, and it really, really hurts, but I love playing the “game” and seeing what I can achieve.

Of course I am also smiling because the race is OVER and I can sit down, relax, and enjoy some tasty treats.

GRANT: Thank you Lauren. So much. You know when Vicky and I started this goofy little blog I’m not sure we really realized how cool it could be. We had our favorite blogs like Simon Whitfield and yours but putting together our own… well, it was very hard to imagine. I emailed you right after we got the word from iRun that we were one of the finalists. You were so enthusiastic and welcoming that we couldn’t help but start to email other people with the same request. And everyone has said yes. It’s hugely inspiring. We’ll have a big number of interviews over the coming weeks. It’s going to become a major feature of the blog and frankly it’s one of the most interesting and exciting parts of putting this thing together. You had a huge part in that and we just want to say… thanks!!!! You rule and go kick ass this season.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Week in Review

Monday: My last day of rest before the next block of training began. I can't exactly remember what "cardio" I did this day, but it probably involved some swimming, and maybe even a little running. What I do recall is visiting the petting zoo at Beacon Hill park with Adam. Yes, this place geared towards little kiddies and their families, but I love to run by here any chance I get. We happened to be there in the height of peacock mating season so were treated to some incredibly beautiful feathers on display, as well as some serious aggression. I have never know such an elegant creature to be so viscous! The peahens were pecking away at seeds, minding their own business, as the male peacocks would strut around shaking their feathers. If they struggled to get the peahens attention (which seemed to always be the case), they would charge them! And of course, there were also many battles going on between the males, establishing dominance. It was quite the show and definitely not something I get to see when I am running by.

Tuesday: Back at it, full-on, with a 6-hour day. 5km swim to start, followed by a 3.5 hour ride which consisted of numerous races or rather "attacking" scenarios. The guys are always planning tactics but when riding with them, my tactic is always the same: ride HARD. So this is what I did for most of this ride. The day was finished with an hour run, including many sprints up Beacon Hill. Adam joined me on the run and we had a few good laughs racing each other up the hill. Actually, it wasn't much of a race because Adam can crush me but he lets me think I am going to win for at least the first few seconds. On the last one I decided I was REALLY going to try and keep the gap as small as possible by the top of the hill. But, of course, he senses me close behind him and doesn't stop at the top, but keeps running through the parking lot, up to the flagpole. In other words, WAY past the "20 second" mark. I pretty much collapsed with laughter (and fatigue) at this point. One day I WILL WIN!!

Wednesday: 5km swim to start, 90 minute run, finishing with a 10km build through the park, and an easy roller spin to finish it off.

Thursday: 3km swim, 1 hour run, massage. That was it!! I started to feel a little "off" today with some pretty swollen glands, so I was happy it was an easier day.

Friday: 5k swim, 2 hour ride with motorpacing, 30 minute run. Still not feeling quite right but managed to have a good training day.

Saturday: 1 hour run with hill strides, 3km swim. Definitely developed a little cold (the "unicorn" was scratching in my throat), so again, relieved it happened to be another lighter training day.

Sunday: Bazan Bay 5k running race. New PB of 16:59! But, more importantly, I beat the chiropractor (and secret-trainer), Hasegawa! When I did this race a few years back we had a battle to the end but he destroyed me in the sprint finish. I was able to make my move early and then just run scared for the rest of it. I was certain every guy I could hear breathing behind me was Hassie so I just kept looking forward, trying desperately to keep the pace on. The funny thing was that I didn't really have a time goal or any kind of pacing plan. I was a little shocked with the pace at the start (Hassie went out in a 3:14 km so of course, I had to go with him). I got a little concerned when I saw that time on my watch, but I still felt in control and strong so I went with it and didn't look at the watch again until I crossed the line. Victory!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back in the Kitchen!

So, I know I am starting to feel rested when I start Googling recipes. Ever since we were spoiled at the Maui camp with Chef Jordan's nightly meals, I haven't been able to muster up the energy or enthusiasm to put together anything overly tasty or creative. My diet has been incredibly simple, repeating the same breakfasts and snack-type meals everyday: toast with almond butter & hemp hearts (brekkie #1), Vega smoothie (post-swim), eggs of some sort (brekkie #2), and then random snacks (muffins, bars, fruit, yogurt, nuts) until dinnertime (which is very simple, take-out, or a Wendy creation). Anyway, these last few days I have broken through the monotony. This rest has been just enough to get the cookbooks out, the apron on and the creative juices flowing again. 

I recently came across this great website:

I don't stick to a gluten-free diet, but I do try to minimize my wheat consumption (I find it to be typical in our culture to build the diet around "grains," rather than using organic meats and veggies as the focus). After eating the "carbs" all day to get me through training, I really crave unprocessed, simple dinners that are satisfying and help fill the veggie-quota for the day.

This site is FULL of really tasty looking recipes. Don't be scared by the "gluten-free" label because there are plenty of wheat-alternatives in most recipes (corn tortillas, rice, quinoa, squash).

I am hoping to try to re-create Jordan's chicken enchiladas tonight, made with butternut squash. I don't think I can divulge his secrets but there is a pumpkin chicken enchilada recipe on this website that looks mighty tasty too.