Monday, June 29, 2009

Hy-vee Recap

So, I can’t lie, that was a pretty cool weekend. 

After three sleepless nights, I still feel as though I’m on a bit of a high from all the racing. We’re on the plane now and everyone around seems to be sleeping….except me!

The sleeplessness began on Friday, the night before the race. I don’t normally get like this before races, but I was bursting with excitement. I remember saying to Adam on that afternoon that I wanted to race NOW. I had stuck my numbers and gels on my bike that morning, packed the transition bag, and I’m pretty sure I would have put on my tattoo decals if I wouldn’t have looked like a total nerd. I tried my best to bottle my energy for the next day, but I found myself lying in bed wide awake for most of the night.

Thankfully the eagerness was still there by the morning and I was able to relax before the start, staying cool in my ice vest. I knew I had to have a stellar swim here, but a swim I was more than capable of. Right from the start, I put my head down and caught on to some quick feet. Thankfully this swim wasn’t quite as rough as Washington, but we were moving quick and I knew I was in the thick of this pack so would have to hold my position to ensure I made the group. I came out of the water about 25 seconds down from the lead pack of 8, but in a strong chase group with Snowsill, Ryf, Lavalle, and Ellis, to name a few. YES, finally a great swim for me. Once on the bike, the pace was ON and this course was technical! I was with some incredibly strong and motivated company in this pack, a nice change from previous races. We held the gap at about 35 seconds for most of the ride but were unable to reel them in before the run. I knew I still had a shot for a top-10 finish but would have to be patient as it was HOT out there. After the first loop, I was running about 8 seconds back from Snowsill and I could see we were closing the gap to some of those front pack girls. Most of the run, to be honest, is a bit of a blur. But, I do remember running by our pretty excited support staff (I was trying to stay calm throughout as it’s not over until I actually cross the finish line!). I also remember the feeling when I moved into 3rd place. I think I screamed, “OMG” in my mind more than a few times and definitely found another gear to ensure I was going to keep that position!  I wasn’t thinking about the money at this point, more the fact that I finally got on the podium at a World Cup! My string of 4th places are history!

My parents were there to share this moment with me. I don’t think they came to Iowa expecting this kind of thrill as they’ve witnessed quite a mixed bag of performances over the years. Not having Adam there was tough though! One of the first things I did was grab my cell but there was already a message waiting from him. I wish I had saved it to listen again as it was priceless. Not entirely understandable because of the screaming, but I got the idea :)  

And then came the men’s race…. I was tied up in doping control for a couple of hours but was able to sneak back into the finish area during the last lap of the run. Oh WOW, that final stretch was incredible. Those finish photos really capture the moment. And Brent was just behind them… amazing.

It wasn’t until the awards ceremony that my result felt real to me. I was standing on the podium with two of the Olympic medalists. Actually, four of them, when we jumped up there with the men. It was surreal……but, I was snapped back to reality when Frodeno sprayed champagne directly into my open eye. Oh man, that stung!!

By the time we were back at the hotel, it was after 8pm and after a quick massage, chiro adjustment and ice bath, it was off to sleep… or at least try to….

The Team World Champs was the following morning and Canada had entered 3 teams. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel for this event, but when I saw the nervous excitement of our group, I couldn’t help but get fired up. I was on a team with Brent, Kathy and Simon and I was leading us off. Oh man, this hurt, possibly more than the race the day before. I hung in the front on the swim, barely hung onto the top group on the crazy technical bike, and put myself in a world of hurt on the run. Our team finished 3rd overall, with the other Canadian team not far behind in 5th.What a great day of racing for everyone.

We are now headed home for 6 days before we pack up for three weeks in Europe. We will be based in Kitzbuhel, Austria for most of the month, preparing for the next World Championship Series event (which is in less than 2 weeks…yikes!) and then the Hamburg WCS race. As much as I am looking forward to stocking up on new Birkenstocks and tasty European pastries, it will be a long time to be away from home.

Speaking of home, I need to start researching local poodle breeders! I can't decide between standard, miniature, or teacup.....


Saturday, June 27, 2009


Oh WOW, that was a GREAT day. 

Thanks everyone for the emails/voicemails/tweets!! I will write a race report in the next couple of days. 

Tonight we are all focused on recovering for tomorrow's ITU Team World Championship, so food, ice baths, massage, chiro and sleep are top priority. 

More soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Des Moines

We arrived in Des Moines, Iowa last night and I'd have to say it couldn't be any more different than Washington. I was a little worried about our hotel, as we will be here for one week, but unlike the Grand Hyatt in DC, everything at the Drury Inn is FREE. Free internet, free long distance calls, free hot breakfast (not my kind of food though....), free happy hour drinks and snacks..... I am probably missing something else that is FREE, but you get the gist. 

The weather is HOT here. Seriously, ridiculously hot. And, anywhere indoors is ridiculously cold. They love their air conditioning. The contrast is too much for me and I find myself constantly shivering, wearing layers indoors, but as soon as I step outside, I want to strip down. Our massage therapist today had a perfect description of the Des Moines summer: "you wear the weather." It felt like we rode into a blow dryer today, over 40 C (I can't lie, the air conditioning felt amazing after this ride!) But, later this afternoon, an intense storm quickly rolled in. At one point there were three weather warnings for this region: Severe Thunderstorm, Excessive Heat, and Flood Advisory. I was shivering and sipping hot soup tonight!

Apart from the bizarre weather, things are great. I didn't pull up too sore from the race, just the usual fatigue. We've got a few more days of recovery and tune-up sessions before the weekend of racing!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The swim: The river conditions definitely made for an interesting swim and not one that I would like to relive anytime soon... It actually wasn't all that bad but it was ROUGH, to say the least. I had a great start and was up near the leaders....until we hit the first turn, about 400m out. I decided to take the inside line, hoping to squeak by a few others and move up in the pack. Well, my first problem was with the tangle of ropes that secured the buoy. My arms were caught up in them and soon my entire body was pushed into them when those from behind/beside made the turn. I eventually emerged from under the buoy, but had lost a lot of places in the pack. Once I got going again I still felt strong so I tried not to panic about almost being in last place and did my best to catch up. I could see the race strung out ahead so I knew that once my legs hit the exit ramp I was going to have to seriously hustle to my bike. 

The bike: I managed to bridge up a little in T1 and catch up to some of the women ahead. After five very painful km's of chasing, we became a group of about 10. However, I don't know if it was because of the initial effort or because a lot of the women in my group were disheartened by the large size of the front pack, but not many were committed to riding their butts off today. I also learned afterwards that one of the women in our pack had dropped back from the front group purposely to slow us down! That explained the abrupt changes in pace. By the end of the bike we had lost nearly two minutes to the front pack of about 15 women. 

The run: I actually thought there were more than 15 women up front (the pack looked like 30 to me!) so I really didn't think I was going to run myself up there. I wanted to give a good crack at the first half though as a speedy transition run would set me up nicely for next weekend's racing. Once out on the run course, I didn't feel wonderful, but I figured I was moving alright. I ran away from those in my pack within the first lap and started catching those from the pack ahead by the end of lap 2. Running on my own for most of it, I was in my own little world, picturing myself running our 2km loop in Beacon Hill, using some mental cues. I heard at one point I was in 12th place so this got me excited. I felt like I was part of the race at this point (and not actually cruising by my peacock friends at Beacon Hill :) and I wanted to take a crack at finishing in the top-10. I found an extra gear on the last stretch and was able to grab 10th place. And, my run split ended up being the 3rd fastest overall, after Moffatt and Snowsill, so I can't be disappointed with that. 

Overall I was happy to find a way to be successful today given the circumstances. But, I am definitely not satisfied with this performance and look forward to next weekend to redeem myself on the swim. And, to put myself in position to run with the "race" up front :)

My biggest regret of the day would have to be passing on the cool-down ride with Brent. It wasn't Brent's company that I missed out on, but it was a certain celebrity sighting: BO! Brent cruised by the White House this afternoon and noticed a commotion on the front lawn with security, police and crowds gathering. He moved in a little closer only to have a policeman ask him to keep back. He then saw someone emerge from the house with a certain black fluffy dog. All that security was just for a doggie pee break! I can't believe I missed this! I have already planned my morning jog tomorrow and you can bet it involves a few laps around the White House.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Poodles Before Politics

Adam is upset with me.

We were just chatting on the phone and I happened to mention that I rode with the mayor of Washington, DC, Adrian Fenty, this afternoon and had a great conversation about his triathlon pursuits. If there wasn't a security detail on my wheel (wearing a full-on bike kit, completed with a radio earpiece), I wouldn't have thought anything different about this situation. 

My apologies for putting famous pooches before prominent politicians!

Washington, DC: monuments, warmth, and a poodle-lookalike

Today was a busy one. Actually now that I think of it, two days out from the race always tends to be a little bit more hectic than I'd like. With course tours, training, meetings, and just getting our bearings in a new place, I've come to expect this at most races, so prepare for that bit of extra time on my feet.

The day started bright and early at 6:45am. I actually have no concept of what time it is in my room as my window doesn't face outside, just the lobby area. So, whenever I have my curtains open, it is always light outside! This morning was an especially early wake-up considering I'm still somewhat on west coast time (3:45am), but for some reason, I couldn't sleep any longer. I can't say I felt rested...I actually felt quite rotten, but I sucked it up and got my swim stuff together. Simon, Kyle, Brent and I headed off on an adventure via metro to find the pool. It turned in to a lengthy trip for such a short swim, but that's the way it goes sometimes in big cities. Mid-day was an adventure run, cruising past the White House, Washington Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and about a hundred hot dog stands. There definitely wasn't a dull moment in this run! Next up was the course tour, led by the mayor. It was more of a catch-up session with friends than a bike ride as the traffic was heavy and we hit every possible light, covering about 15km in over an hour. I can now say that I am an expert at clipping in/out! Later in the afternoon was the race meeting and then a trip to Whole Foods for a yummy dinner and snacks for tomorrow. The day is now done and I'm in my pj's, lying on the bed with about twenty pillows and about to turn on the tv. I love hotels!

As for sightseeing, I haven't done much apart from our afternoon run, but, overall I'd say Washington is a pretty neat city (very green). I have yet to see Bo, the Obama's Portugese Water Dog (next best thing to a poodle), but you can bet that my head was craned back as we ran by the White House this afternoon. I figure the First Dog has to go out for pee and walk breaks at some point, so I am still holding out hope for a sighting!

Tomorrow should be a relaxing day with the workouts done in the morning and leg-elevation and tv-watching in the afternoon. My kind of pre-race day!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Poodle of the Day

This is Daphne, a standard apricot poodle, enjoying the sun outside Cascadia Bakery this morning. She was lovely!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nothing like a little bit of competition

I've mentioned before that I'm not someone who loves training. I enjoy it, but only because it gets me ready to RACE. I've had a few unexpected opportunities to "race" this week in training and nothing gets me going like a bit of friendly competition.

Tuesday: After a busy weekend in Vancouver, I was ready to go today! Swim was a big one. Basically warm-up for 1km, main set of 30 x 100 @ 1:30 best average, 1km cool-down. I love these kind of sessions. No talking, just hard swimming. I had Paula beside me and we were a pretty good match, really pushing it on the final few 100's. In the afternoon I met up with the NTC development group for a set of 6 x Observatory climbs. Coach Phil wanted to me to ride them all "hard" but on the 2nd rep I was able to join in with group for a TT effort. Of course there is a big difference between "hard" and "TT" (ie. RACE), so with the clock on me and having people up the road to chase (and guys behind chasing me), I was able to find that little bit extra. Adam joined me for my run off the bike and as always, our strides in the gravel field turned into mini races. I get a couple of seconds head start and then run for my life!! 

Wednesday: It was a big group swim at the lake this morning. This is typically our aerobic strength swim, but when you get a big group together doing longer intervals, "steady" becomes "fast" and for me to stick with the guys, it becomes especially FAST. I met up in the afternoon with the NTC group for 5 x 1km on the track. The guys were building into it so I had a nice pack to block the wind on the first 1km. I managed to do a nice descend through the set and found myself in a little sprint over the final 100m of the last interval. I think I even did a little lean at the line and we may have to check with Phil for the photo-finish results. 

Thursday: An easy, cruisey 4km swim and then a long ride in the afternoon. I met Adam at work and we rode the last half together through the Highlands. There was nothing too speedy about this ride....until we got to the final stretch in Cook Street. We raced home, taking different side streets. Somehow I found some power in my legs which I didn't think existed on that day, but it wasn't enough to beat this professional bike-commuter. He did his victory fist pumps as he cruised down the driveway. Grrrr! (Noa, I think I would have won handedly before he was Retuled!)

Friday: Back at the lakes for about 5km of all kinds of efforts. This was just a hard swim! I went for an easy base run at Elk and had the company of about two hundred elementary school kids doing a walk-a-thon. Most of the kids were doing the warm-up loop, but as I continued on I saw a couple boys running towards me. One kid was really moving so I decided to turn back and join him. He was in grade 5 and was doing the 10km for the walk-a-thon. He had never run that far but he wanted to win it (I love it, a charity, "fun" walk becomes a RACE!). There was another boy just ahead who was doing more shoulder-checks than I had ever seen, clearly running scared! He knew his friend was coming! When we got within striking distance, this boy turned it on! He dropped me and FLEW by his buddy, passing him with some serious authority! AND, he was running with a litre of Gatorade in his hand! It was awesome!! 

Saturday: This morning was our final big bike-run session before Washington next weekend. Coach Phil was riding the "flames" scooter and motorpaced Kyle and I for a set of 3 x 15 minutes. We ran off the bike around the 2km loop at Beacon Hill. Today I was only racing the clock, but it was enough to motivate me to run my fastest loops. Sneaky Phil made this run look easy on paper but it was basically 3 x 9 minutes flat-out. I'm done for the day and probably done with "racing" until next Sunday!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Busy Weekend

This is just a quick post, mostly pics.... it has been a very long weekend!!

Saturday began with a bike-run-bike-run session at PISE on the SRM bikes and speedy treadmills. I can't say the lab is my favourite place to do a workout (I'm not a "numbers" athlete), but it was a tough,"my legs are exploding" kind of session.

Adam and I were then off to Vancouver for the weekend:

Float plane. Just us and the pilot!


Mom decided Adam deserved a "star" cake...
Grandma's memorial

BC Children's Hospital Telethon

Taking pledges (must have been a quiet moment for Simon and I...)

Tomorrow starts with a morning swim, followed by our National Team press conference downtown Vancouver, and then on the float plane back home. Just two more weeks until the next race in Washington, DC.... I can't wait.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coach Phil did not lie

Coach Philippe is the master of making things appear easy on paper. I often glance at the weekly schedule and think, oh it's not so bad. But we get to the session and I'm not the only one saying, "man, it didn't look like much on paper..." 

We've all been looking forward to this week because Phil arrived in Victoria... for good, and with his wonderful family! And, I know both Kyle and I have been looking forward to this week because we were told it was going to be a "BIG" one (literally, that is how 'big' was worded in an email from Phil). BIG is good, especially because it started on Monday so we could blow out some of our pent-up Madrid energy. 

Phil wasn't lying and it didn't even look easy on paper....and that is definitely a sign of BIG things to come. I've actually felt a bit like I am in training camp this week, which is good, but different when living at home. I don't have anything fun to post (definitely no trials in the kitchen this week), so this is a boring update of the week:

Monday: 5k swim (sprint set), 1hr 15' ride right after swim (short but with some "sweetness"), 80 minute run in the afternoon with 30 mins tempo around Beacon Hill (including 5 x up the hill... my choice.... the fire was still burning strong at this point :)
Ocean icing!

Tuesday: 5k solid swim (short rest), 2hr 15 bike with 1 hour of hilly TT through the Highlands, 1 hour run off the bike with strides.

Wednesday: 3.6km easy swim (pool was 86 degrees today!), coffee with coach and HP director, then off to the track for 8 x 1km on short rest (great session for me). Icing (riding the scooter to/from the beach in aqua socks with a towel around my waist. Yep, I'm cool). Afternoon ride for 1hr30' with 45 minute of medium-ish effort (though it felt pretty darn hard...). Icing!

These aqua socks just make me want to DANCE!

Thursday: ~4km lake swim with 4 x small island loops at Thetis. 2 hour 20 ride, just base. Icing.

Friday: Hard lake swim with some fast dudes. Main set was 6 x 400 and Paula and I were just hanging on the back, chasing the bubbles! Then off to PISE for Discovery Channel filming with some footage of us chilling in the ice bath. Orthotics appointment mid-day to sort out my blister situation. It turns out that my orthotics actually don't fit properly in my race flats so the arch is sitting much higher than it should. So, between the new orthotics and the secret Aussie lotion (thanks Simon :), my feet may be tape-free and cut-free this year! 

The weather has been INCREDIBLE this week and honestly, I can use all CAPS for that word because I am not exaggerating one snitch. We've been breaking heat records and even the "arctic" wind that is ALWAYS gusting along the waterfront, has disappeared! I kept saying to Adam, this is just like Boulder, putting on tank top and shorts in the evening after training. Loving it! 

Adam and I off to Vancouver tomorrow afternoon.... more soon!