Monday, August 31, 2009

Logs, Rocks, and Steel

Hello everyone,  Happy Monday/Last day of August!!

Its also less than two weeks until Muskoka 70.3,  my FIRST half iron.....


I am excited, but nervous as well. What better way to quelsh some nerves than to oh, sign up for a race?!!

Its a fun race, an adventure race. Labour day weekend we are going to a friend's cottage with running friends, and participating in teams of two in an event called Logs, Rocks and Steel.

We are doing the short course, which entails
-a 4Km paddle (Hubs swears he knows how to steer a canoe)
-a 15Km trail bike
-5Km singletrack trail run

My teammate is Hubs, and our team name is "The Marathon Maniacs". Groan. I know, not very original, but look, we already have our shirts!!!

It should be fun,  my first ever adventure "race".  I say race,  but we are just doing it for fun. I don't want any twisted ankles or bruises before my half iron the following weekend.
I also went for a half wonderful long 90K bike yesterday. I say half wonderful, because on the way out I felt strong, terrific, and averaged about a 31.5kph pace! Then one the turn around, we met the wind I hadn't realized was at my back during the way out. Ofcourse it was drizzling rain and I struggled the entire 25 miles or 45K back. I never mind wind that much while running, but wow, it can really change the outcome on the bike, we averaged about 22kph on the way back, and by the end of the bike I was screaming to myself (and sometimes outloud) "Get me the fffity f%** off of this bike!!" :)  I was also freezing, it took the entire day and a 45 minute shower to warm up!  But I'm better now. Tomorrow I am riding the Muskoka 94K route for the last time before the race, and it will also be my last long ride. I hope there is no wind!

Hope you are having a good Monday, thanks for reading!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Muskoka 70.3 training update

One of the reasons I have been so absent lately was because I went on vacation to visit my sister in Nashville.  Holidays coupled with dual workout days, leaves little time for blogging. I have been trying to visit and comment sporadically on your blogs.
Also congratulations to Mel on her recent triathlon completion!!!! She signed up for another one right away. Awesome, and just posted some great pictures of her tearing up the course.

I had an opportunity to ride most of the Muskoka 70.3 bike course with some friends that are also racing the Ironman.  The race takes place about 2.5 hours from where I live, and my friend has a cottage nearby,  so I was fortunate to be able to go up and ride the route. The bike course route is actually 94Km (~58 miles) instead of the usual 90Km (~56 miles). This is because the course is basically shaped liked a lollipop,  and goes around a huge lake called the Lake of Bays. The course map can be found here if you are curious.
I snatched a video from the Ironman website. In the video 11-time Ironman Lisa Bentley previews the Muskoka course:

Don't those Ironman videos give you the chills? I need to give props to Lisa, who is a real role model for Canadian female triathletes. A few years ago, my sister Melissa was given full paid trip to compete in Ironman Canada (Ontario to BC) from Lisa's winnings (my sister had won her age group at a triathlon in Peterborough, Ontario). She is very supportive to budding triathletes!

On another note, did you see that elevation chart? The course is super hilly! I really felt it on my practice ride, I certainly had moments of doubt - can I do this??!! I know I can, but let me tell you - it won't be fast or easy!

I know people who have completed several full and half Ironmans that say its the hardess 70.3 course (its actually longer than 70.3 since the bike is 4km longer, I think the swim is 1.9K instead of 2K). But although its hard, its super beautiful, so I am going to try to focus on that during the bike and run. I am going to ride it again on Tuesday with a friend, we are driving up early Tuesday morning so I think that will help with my mental and physical preparation.

While in Nashville, I had a chance to ride an equally challenging and wonderfully scenic route on the Natchez Trace Parkway. What is the Natchez Trace?

What Is The Natchez Trace Parkway?

The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates an ancient trail used by animals and people that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River, through Alabama, to salt licks in today's central Tennessee. Today, visitors can experience this National Scenic Byway and All-American Road through driving, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping.

So basically the road is for recreational use only - no transports, and has a relatively low speed limit. Heaven for a cyclist!!! We rode 91Km of the Natchez Trace and it was challenging but AWESOME. The road goes through the Alpalachian Mountains through Tenessee, cuts through part of Alabama, and ends in Mississipi (which is apparently flat but the part near Nashville was not). 

Here is most of our route from Map our Ride. We rode 25 miles out, 25 back.

The Natchez Trace starts in Nashville at a cute little tourist area, where there is a hotel famous for smoked ham called the Loveless Cafe and Motel.  Cute.  Hubs and I went in and shared a meal (although not ham, we had smoked turkey- we don't eat red meat or pork) and it was HUGE!!  More than we could finish between the two of us.   They really cater to cyclists and had even a bike shop right there called Trace Bicycles,  and other cute art and crafts type shops.

It hard to tell,  but this is an area that is about 100 meters up in the air called Birds Hollow.  Hubs didn't want to pause long to take my picture.  You kinda of had a feeling of flying through here- cool and scary at the same time,  my bike computer hit over 60km/h (36 mph) at several points of the trip!

We saw flocks of wild turkeys and even a snake that was large enough to eat a rat!! (sorry no pics, we gave the snake a wide berth!)

Lots of climbling....
and lots
of climbing!!
Entrance and exit to the Trace..
The route has washrooms,  bed and breakfast hotels, and campsites along the route. I was thinking I would like to ride the entire route - all 444 miles maybe in the spring. Anyone interested in joining? I think it would be an awesome experience!

If you haven't yet, go visit Tall Mom and enter her Pearls of Wisdom Giveaway!
Happy Friday Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Dad's Amazing Love

A friend sent me this today. Have tissue handy!

I have a few backlogged posts, that I will post soon! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Ramblings

Happy Hump Day!!! Thanks for all the comments about my triathlon. I will post pictures soon (maybe for Foto Friday).

Some Wednesday Ramblings;

Random Rambling #1 - Pasta alternatives

Yesterday I made a really delicious dish that is a great alternate to pasta, Spaghetti Squash Alfredo. I am trying to add more variety to my diet, and this squash will definitely be incorporated into my diet. For the recipe, or how to prepare spaghetti squash, click here. Amanda at Run to the Finish also posted some pasta alternatives on her blog yesterday.


Random Rambling #2 - Seeking a Running/Triathlon/Nutrition Coach

I am having a hard time juggling training for my half iron distance triathlon and Full marathon at the same time. My running has taken a little bit of a back seat in terms of the distances I need to be completing to obtain a PR at St. George in October. I am still going to run St. George, but I am thinking that my goal marathon will likely be the Road to Hope Marathon I ran last November.

I think I am spinning my wheels lately, and like I really could use a coach to help me get the most out of my workouts. This triathlon stuff is so new and I would like some guidance to take me from now to the end of this year.

The trouble is, I have no clue how to look for or find a coach, so any suggestions would be helpful. I don't want a generic e-mailed program, I need a more of a tailored program with continual feedback and adjustment based on workouts completed. I am thinking I need someone to offer nutritional advice as well. I have no idea if this is realistic, or what this might cost.

Random Rambling #3 - Bikers Beware!

This article was on the Nacho website this morning, and I thought it may be important for us triathletes to read.

Welcome to - Kentucky triathlete killed by hit-and-run driver Written by: Timothy CarlsonDate: Sat Aug 01 2009

A Kentucky man participating in a sprint triathlon in Louisville, Kentucky was struck and killed this morning by a hit-and-run driver, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Police charged Kenneth Yates, 25, of Louisville with murder, drunk driving and assault on a police officer, according to Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley. Police stated that Yates was drunk and driving at high speed when he hit John Carr, 47, of near by Owenton, Kentucky, about 8 a.m.
Carr was riding in the cycling leg of a sprint triathlon at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park when he was hit from behind. Louisville Metro Police said that Yates continued driving with Carr’s bicycle still on his windshield until he was stopped by an off-duty police officer directing traffic for the triathlon.
According to police, Yates fled on foot to a nearby house until he was brought back to the scene by his mother.
The Courier-Journal cited a Jefferson County Deputy Coroner who said that Carr was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force trauma. Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Smiley said Yates resisted arrest, which prompted the additional assault charge.
The 28th annual edition of the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park Triathlon was a USA Triathlon sanctioned event consisting of a half mile swim, 14-mile bike and a 5k run held on park grounds and surrounding roads.

Random Rambling #4 -Giveaway

Julia at Chocolate Shoestrings has an Endurance Sports Nutrition Book giveaway. Head over for your chance to win!

Monday, August 3, 2009

National Capital Olympic Distance Triathlon: Race Report

What a great weekend. Hubs and I left Parry Sound for Ottawa Friday morning. We drove through Algonquin Park, a large beautiful provincial park located in Northern Ontario. We were midway through the park when we saw a bunch of cars pulled off at the side of the road. Immediately I thought, oh no, there must have been an accident, but there was a moose enjoying a nice cool bath on a hot summers day. Everyone was enjoying the spectacle, so Hubs and pulled over and took a picture of own.

(Hubs has hidden the camera from me, I'll update with photos later)

:) Aw the great outdoors.

I was a bit of a bundle of nerves going into this race, but somewhere along the line I decided I was being ridiculous. I was putting time pressure/goals on myself, and I just started doing these a month ago. I didn't bike or swim at all before the end of June, so why was I being so hard on myself? I went into the race determined to put forth my best effort, but not to let time spoil the accomplishment of finishing my first Olympic distance tri.

Hubs and I arrived in Ottawa a little after 6, and race kit pick up went only until 6 (or early the next morning), so we decided to stop by just in case they were still there, and to scope out the race venue at the very least.

We were unable to pick up my kit, but I did get to see where the beach was (and the no swimming in the water - apparently there was a risk of swimmers itch due to the rain and humidity.... uhhh gross!) I also noticed that the transition area was a good 300+ meters from the beach, up a grassy hill covered in Canada geese poop.

Still, I remained excited and positive and felt good knowing where I had to go the next morning, so Hubs and I went out for a nice Italian dinner near our hotel and called it an early evening.

Race morning


I slept on and off throughout the night, and was relieved when my alarm went off at 5:30. I just wanted to get this race on with!! I ate a banana, got dressed and headed over. We stopped for coffee and bagel and PB on the way.

One thing I love about tri's is that once you are at the race location in the morning, you have no time to be nervous. You need to rack your bike and set up your transition area, pick up your time chip and race kit, get body marking done, use porta potties at frequent intervals, put on your wetsuit, and attend a pre-race meeting.

My pre-race set up went well. The Sun was coming down strong already and I knew that I would have to stay hydrated. There weren't enough porta potties though and the line up forced me to rush to put on my suit and I didn't have a warm up swim.

The Swim: 1500 meters + T1

Time: 38:29 (2:34 per 100 meter) Note: I wish the transition were separated out. I want to know how well I swam, and how well I transitioned to the bike, next time I will make sure the race I pick separates the two, some do, some don't.

My strategy for the swim was just to relax and not push. I tried drafting a few times (allowed on the swim) but found I couldn't never find anyone my pace or heading in the right direction, so I headed it alone. I felt great and verrry relaxed. Maybe too relaxed, the swim seemed to be over quickly and I was a little sad when I exited the water.

I stripped my suit on the beach instead of running the distance to the transition zone, and Hubs took the suit handed me a gel and a cold bottle of sports drink which tasted sooo good!! I tried not to think about the bird poop as I ran to the transition zone.


The first transition went well, I tried to be purposeful and not rushed. I didn't want my bike to start out the same way it did last time!!

The Bike - 40 km - Time 1 hr 30 minutes, 20 seconds

Speed 26.6 kph

The bike course was 4 -10km loops along the canal - beautiful, although sunny. I felt really good on the bike. I tried to keep a steady pace and focused keeping my cadence above 90, which I was able to most of the time. I caught myself humming on the bike, so I was in a zone where I was working, but still enjoying myself. I felt myself tire towards the end, but overall felt pretty good.

T2 + The Run -10 km (or should I say colossal disaster) - Time 1 hour, 9 minutes, 54 seconds

Pace 7 min/km

Yikes, well I came off the bike feeling good, but I knew the run would be tough. It was hot and humid, and I never run well in these, let alone after two hours of intense swimming and biking. The run really humbled me.... I have so much to learn about tri's.... the people that do these things are really truly strong, and as a beginner, I must not feel compelled to compare myself, only strive to do better next time.

The run was along a curvy, rolly bike path. Long and short, I didn't like it. It was sunny hot, and I could never get a rhythm since it was up, down, turn, watch out for the bubble in the pavement etc... I would have preferred a regular road run, but I think what was the worst part was that when I went to run I felt nauseous, so for the most part I had to walk. In retrospect, I took my last gel on lap three of the bike, so maybe I bonked?!! Experienced tri people, any advice? I was drinking e-load regularly. Needless to say, this was the slowest 10K I have run in ages, even my recovery runs are faster than this, but the tri is a different monster that has humbled me!!

Anyway, regardless I was still excited and proud to cross the finish line!!!

Final time

3 hours, 18 minutes, 42 seconds.

Something to build on, and I did it. I am motivated now to get even more focused for Muskoka 70.3. My goal will be to complete it, I realized after this race I am not in a position to declare time goals yet, but I still think I can do this. I need to up the BRICK runs and incorporate hill repeats. Apparently Muskoka is one of the toughest 70.3 courses.

Anyway I am off to read and comment on your blogs. Special shout out to X-Country Squared for rocking her first sprint triathlon!!! Thanks for reading (Pictures to follow)