Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ironman Florida

You might need some gatorade or something to fuel you as you read through my report. It's a long one.

Total Time = 13h 52m 23s
Overall Rank = 1721/2400
Age Group Rank = 50/83

Pre-race routine: We drove to Buffalo on Tuesday night and then caught our flight first thing on Wednesday morning. We got to PCB at around 10 am. On Wednesday the weather was crap. I was supposed to go for a swim but it was thunderstorms on and off all day long. Instead I went to the start/finish line and registered. It was so easy to register on Wednesday, no line, went right though.

On Thursday morning I met up with some people from beginner triathlete that I have been virtually training with all year. Almost didn't catch up with them, because I got there early and couldn't find anyone. Finally as they were heading down to the Beach I recognized one of the women from her avatar picture. The practice swim was great, but I ended up getting stung FOUR times by Jelly fish. It was actually good because that was the only thing I was really afraid of. I got to experience it before the race so I wasn't scared of it anymore.

Thursday afternoon I went for a ride on the run course. I was a little terrified I was going to get a flat, particularly in the state park, that pavement was more than a little rough in spots.

Met up with some of the BTers for the athlete's Dinner. Jack Chen (blind) was pretty cool as were the old guys (80 and 81!!!). (It looks like neither of the old guys finished officially though.)

Friday I met up with a couple of the people from BT to swim in the big waves we practiced mostly in the surf and running along the shore back into the water. I was having so much fun I wanted to keep at it, but I figured wasn't a smart idea as my legs would have got tired walking out against the big waves. Later in the day I dropped off my bike and bags. Had a minor freak out when they wouldn't let my bike into transition area since I didn't have plugs in the end of my bull horns. I have been looking for them for YEARS and they don't make them for my bike anymore (it's a 2004 bike). The bike store helped me jerry-rig something though and I was able to check in my bike.

I slept solidly from 9:15 pm to 4 am and when I woke up I was wide awake. Stayed in bed for a bit before getting up and left the cond at 5 am. Got to the race site at 5:30 a little worried about how much time i had, but they were super fast and efficient getting though pumping tires and body marking. I was very impressed. I wish they had been playing music though to pump us up, it was kind of quiet in the transition area.

When I was doing my stuff at my bike, a girl asked me my name, I replied "Laura" she asked if I went to UW and it turns out it was Larissa from the Chem Eng class. Small world. It was her first IM too. She lives pretty close to me now and I've never seen her at a race. Weird.

Went inside to relax a bit and put on my wetsuit in the warmth. Got into my wetsuit, found my family. Gave them hugs, kissed DH and went into the corale.

Event warmup:
Waded into the water, second row, far to the right and got ready to go.

Swim - 2.4 miles or 3860 m 01:09:59
16/83 AG
731/2409 OA

When the cannon went off, so did we. I think I seeded myself really well (far right, second row), there were only one or two people that passed me early on, and I passed a couple as well. For most of the swim, I actually was thinking this isn't as bad as I was expecting.

There were a few times where it got rough. One person (I assume a guy because I was mostly around men) tried to swim up on top of me. After a few arm pulls on my bum or lower back I kicked a few kicks really had. That got rid of him . Later on, there was someone trying to swim diagonally across me, I stopped and pushed him the way he wanted to go and went on my merry way (he was siting very badly).

On the first out section, I swam over a sting ray. It was really cool. That was the only wildlife I saw on the swim other than a single jellyfish. Luckily, no more stings.

I found the big problem was people doing a really wide arm pull and it was always on my left side (because I was keeping right?). Both times along the back section i had to re-adjust my goggles because they had got jammed on my face. I wear contacts so I didn't want to get salt water in my eyes. One other time I got hit in the jaw (more on this later). Sunday morning I woke up with bruising on my left eye, but because I wear glasses, it isn't too obvious.

For the most part I had a lot of fun on the swim. Both times I went too wide on the return to shore leg, the current really got me, and I found trying to site the bouys hard. When I got close to shore the second time, it felt like there was a strong current trying to sweap me back out to the ocean. I moved a little to the right and it was a lot better.

All in all I am very happy with my swim. My original goal was 1:15 on the swim, which I changed to 1:10 pretty quickly after starting to train last year. I breifly entertained the possibility of 1:05, but dropped that idea when I cut my swim training down in June. In July i hurt my back and couldn't swim much for a month, and after i could swim again, it has been pretty slow for me. I was pretty happy to get my 1:10. If it had been a pretty flat water swim instead of the ocean, I think I could have been close to 1:05, but not with the waves and the strong current to the east. (the rollers would have been about 5 feet out in the open ocean.)

T1 10:36

My goal here was to be comfortable on the bike, I wanted to take the time to do what I needed to do to keep warm and comfy which meant a complete wardrobe change (note: putting on a sports bra onto a wet body is HARD!!!) I also put on my arm warmers and my booties and I was very very happy to have both. I used the wet suit strippers as well which was pretty fun. I ran to the last one and had two men strip my wetsuit instead of one girl at the front.

Bike - 112 miles = 180 km 6:53:36
49/83 AG
2001/2400 OA

Man, I got passed a LOT on the bike. I passed only a couple of riders. I think I only passed a few people, it's hard to tell. I think at the end I ended up passing some of the people that had passed me early in the bike.

The headwind wasn't great at the beginning onf the race, but I have had a lot of rides in the past few months that were much worse. This fall has been very windy, the majority of my long rides have had steady winds of 20 mph with gusts to 30 mile per hour so while I did find it windy, I was able to handle it okay without getting totally demoralized.

At mile 30, my bike computer stopped working. After that point I only had a very vague sense of where I was based on the 10 mile markers and only a faint idea of what my pace was. I was glad that my dad and i had driven the course on Friday so that I had a better idea of what the course was about. I had no clue how fast I was going, I just had to bike on HR. Kept my HR around zone 2 which some sections getting to zone 3 on the small hills on the course. When we turned onto 77 the tail wind was very nice. Right around the turn there was a sign that said "Kitsma (?) says keep it Aerobic". I loved that sign and had a good chuckle.

I saw a few draft packs, I normally didn't let it bug me, but there was one time where there was two pace lines passing together. That one really bugged me. There was a section with crappy road but it wasn't too bad for me. I ride on rough roads all the time. Frost heave in this neck of the woods ruins roads, so while there were cracks, it wasn't too bad.

I stopped at special needs on the bike. I wanted to get my diet coke (heavenly!) and baked cheetos. I did lose a few of the cheetos on the bumps though. I actually had to stop at the aid station after special needs as well as I didn't plan well. I had to grab a water to mix up my second bottle of sports drink. So I had to stop since I only have two hands.

Only had to stop one time to use the bathroom at around mile 80. it was a good one to stop at, the line was fairly short. The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful. When we turned south on hwy 79, the tail wind was very welcome. My Aunt and Uncle were at the corner and cheered for me, and then they drove by and took a photo of me riding the bike.

The out and back on the way back into town had a bit of a head wind, but I figured it would be short, so I just sucked it up. Over the last 30 miles or so, I was leapfrogging with a few people. I couldn't believe the number of people I saw riding super fancy tri bikes with aero wheels and an aero helmet that were riding (consistently) on the bullhorns (i.e., upright). I mean, why spend all that money for nothing? Got back ino town 7 minutes ahead of my time goal for the bike and feeling pretty good. Not bad considering I didn't have any clue on my speed!

T2 12:53

I got off my bike and walked into the change tent. I wanted to feel as fresh as possible on the run and my shoes are pretty slipperly with my cleats on. I got into the tent, found a seat and tried to get myself organized. A well meaning volunteer tried to help me out, but was confused with all I needed to do. She did end up helping me with my tank top at the back which was tangled. I used my wet wipes to try to get rid of the sunscreen/sand mess on my legs. Felt great to get that off me. Stopped on the way out to go to the bathroom. Not sure why the time is so long. I wanted to be comfortable on the run, but I'm surprised by 12+ minutes. I had full clothing changes on most of my bricks this summer and they were all around 7 minutes (with having to sort out my run nutrition). Oh well.

Run - 26.2 miles = 42.2 km 5:25:22
51/83 AG
1607/2400 OA

Starting the run, I was feeling great. I saw my dad and N right out of transition and A was down a couple hundred metres and took the above photo. I had to conciously slow myself down over the first half of the first loop to a more sustainable pace. I was running a little too fast. I met a bunch of cool great people on the run. There was Stacey from St. Louis, Roxanne from Colorado Springs, a guy from Windsor , a lady from Brampton Ontario, but mostly I ran by myself.

I did a pretty good job of keeping with my plan of walking the aid stations and running in between. It was annoying because the aid stations weren't evenly spaced. There was one section through the state park where the aid stations were closer to 2 miles apart then 1. While we are talking about aid stations on the run, the Fairytale station - awesome, The Girl Zone - great (I got whipped in the butt), The Carnival - fun, Christmas - merry. The aid stations at the 4/17 mile mark and 9/22 mile mark. Downright dreary. That section was pretty dark too. I had to stop at every table and ask what they had to even be able to find the water. All the volunteers were bundled up and sitting down on the other side of the table to keep warm and not helpful at all. I don't want to complain, but seriously, if you are going to volunteer at an IM, you think you would be remotely interested.

I'm trying to organize my thoughts here, but it isn't working too well. Where we crossed Thomas Drive about a mile and a half from the transition area, my family was there on the out and back on the first time and the back on the second time. Each time I saw them, I stopped to hug and get photos, kiss my DH, etc. The first loop went well. I think I kept a pretty even pace here once I was able to slow myself down. I felt strong at the halfway point and didn't feel bad at all about having to go out for a second loop.

I stopped to walk breifly to put on my long sleave shirt and get my hat light sorted out. Around mile 18 I stopped to use the porta potty. My tummy was starting to feel off, but it wasn't too bad yet. The second time around the state park was pretty dark. I think if there were no lights it would have been better because our eyesight would be able to adjust. Instead when you rounded a corner, and the light wasn't shining anymore, it was pitch black. During these sections I took off my light from the brim of my hat and ran with it in my hand. In one particularly dark section through the park I passed a bunch of people walking. I just needed to get out of that negative environment as quick as possible.

When I got to the motivational Centre (at mile 20), I saw my message from dad, A and N and I passed the lady who had her 50th birthday on Saturday. I wished her happy birthday and continued on my way, still not feeling too bad. Between these aid stations (well before mile 19 to well after mile 20) I stopped to walk for a minute to try to keep on track with my walk breaks if not my nutrition. At the after mile 20 aid station I tried chicken soup and coke for the first time to see if that would settle my stomache a bit. Up to this point on the run, at each aid station I was eating a shot block and taking in water, once an hour I was taking a salt tab. For the next three aid stations (21 to 23) I took in more coke and chicken broth and shortly after 23 I knew it wasn't a great idea. I'm guessing it was he chicken broth as I've had coke in races before.

I made it to after 24 not feeling too bad having to walk a minute here and there between aid stations, but all the while my tummy was getting worse. Somewhere around here I saw a guy speed walking going out on his second loop with a full camera crew around him. I thought it looked like Matt Hoover from the Biggest Loser. I checked the results on Sunday and I'm certain it was him. This time he finished his IM after barely missing the midnight cutoff last year at Kona.

After mile 24 I started feeling naseous I took a tums and started to walk. I walked probably half a mile here trying to keep up a decent pace and not throw up. Around mile 24.5 I saw my family on the couse. I stopped to kiss my husband and hug my dad, stepmom, two aunts and two uncles. I gave my DH my visor with the light on it I didn't need it anymore. Posed for a few picutures. The brief break made all the difference. I was feeling like a new person and started off again in a slow run which I was able to slowly pick up.

As I was about to turn back onto Thomas Drive I saw a lady heading out for her second loop. I think she would have been the last person (or close to it) allowed to head out for the second loop. She didn't have a glowstick on, so I gave her mine and she thanked me profusely. I hope she was able to finish! Got to the finishing chute and I saw the best sign which made me smile. "You will do this" with the "will do" crossed out and replaced with DID. Awesome.

Right before the Ford arch 100 m from the finish line I saw my family for the last time (DH, dad and step mom). My dad stepped out onto the course and I had to yell at him to get back behind the barrier. All of the spectators laughed. Ran another 10 feet to my husband gave him a kiss. All of the spectators "Ahhed". I just saw the video dh was taking at the time and as I turned back to continue the last 100 metres, one of the ladies beside my husband commented "That was awesome!"

Finish Video

I looked behind me and there was another women about to go under the banner so I let her go by herself and then looked back to make sure I had the chute to myself and ran to the finish line with a big big smile. Ecstatic. I didn't hear the "Laura Jones from Woodstock Ontario, you are an Ironman". Mostly because he didn't say it that way. He said three of our names together and then apparently said "you are ironmen" at the end, but I missed it. By that time, I was with my finish line catcher getting my shirt, hat and medal. He directed me to the picture area and looks at me and said "you look great! Do you even need me?" I replied I felt great and that I didn't need him, so he went back to catch someone else.

Post race

I got my finishers stuff, got my photo taken and a couple of peices of pizza. We walked to my dad's car which was about half a km away. I couldn't stop talking. I recounted the entire day to my family. When we got back to the condo, my uncle was waiting out on the balcony clapping for me. They had tracked me with the GPS all the way back to the condo!

The days after the race were good. My legs were sore. My back was sore. My arms were sore. I was flying higher than I have ever been. I didn't want to cut off my bracelet for a couple of days, I wanted to keep living in my IM.

I know I won't be able to do another one for a while - I'm not signed up for one in 2011 and after we start a family with my job (consulting engineer), I won't be able to train for an IM with small kids. I will definitely be back to the Ironman distance at some point, but for now I'm going to focus on shorter stuff and getting faster.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Swim - cutting swim down to 1-2 times per week, throwing my back out while on vacation in July. The 5 minutes lost of the swim was made up for in time gained on the bike I am certain.

Bike - my bike. I need a new bike that fits me properly. full carbon wouldn't hurt either. Also my weight. I should lose 30 pounds to be more competitive, but I'm not sure i could realistic be that weight with my body shape. a couple of years ago I was down around 15 from where I am now, and I think that would be a good intermediate goal.

Run - weight again. I trained well for the run, so really just more experience with the distance. Overall - It was my first IM so I just wanted to finish comfortably so I never pushed myself. I also could cut down some serious time in transition if I were motivated to get a PR.

My goal for the race was 14 hours and my plan to do this was:
Swim - 1:10
tranisition - :10
Bike - 7:00
transition - :10
Run - 5:30

So I was at or under for all three but over for the transitions. Probably would have been closer to those times for transition if it hadn't been cold.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welland half Ironman

Sorry for the delay since my last post, it has been busy. First a week in California for a conference, then a week up North for work and then training training training. Did a race a few weeks ago, kind of meh about the results. Not so great, I was sick, had some major blackfly bikes and was coming off of 2 weeks away from home.

I'm sorry if this report formatting is weird. I entered it on a website called beginner triathlete. They have a really cool template for race reports that makes it easy to organize your thoughts... I will try my best to rearrange into my typical format.

Weather: 28C / 82F, Sunny and humid (for the canadians, the humidex was 40!!!)

Total Time = 6h 14m 6s
Overall Rank = 187/269
Age Group Rank = 16/19

I woke up early and drove down on Sunday morning. I didn't leave early enough and was scrambling to set of my transition and get down to the start in time. Didn't do a warm-up I just put on my wetsuit and swam the 15 meters to the start line (first in water start for me!). I am a little under trained right now, so I was just wanted to finish and it was going to be a long enough day without a warm-up.

00:34:23 | 200 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 4/19
Overall: 64/269

For the swim, I was trying to take it easy. My bike isn't up to snuff right now, so I wanted to finish feeling strong and ready to tackle 3+ hours in the saddle. I think the swim may have been a little short, but oh well I came out of the water feeling like I had barely worked right on plan.

Time: 04:59

Time includes a 425 m run from the swim exit to the transition area. I had a gu in transition before heading out on the bike

03:12:43 | 90 km | 28 km/hr
Age Group: 16/19
Overall: 228/269

My goal for this race was really just to finish. I didn't want to go to hard on the bike and have a bad run. Since my goal race isn't for over 4 months still (Florida) it was more of a training day. I've only had 1 90+ km bike and the second longest bike was 70K, so I wanted to make sure I was fresh for the run. Bike was overall good for me. I kept in my aerobic zone (zone 2) for pretty much the entire ride. I am not an overly fast cyclist (as you can probably tell from my time), but I think I could have pushed faster if this was a goal race. I need to find more races with flat bike courses! By the end of the bike, both my back and butt were starting to hurt, so I kept counting down the kms left (only an average monday night ride, turnaround point in normal ride, etc). Visualizing the distance with my regular riding routes definitely helped in the last bit.

What would you do differently?:Actually train for the race? (my swim and run distances were okay, but my bike has been more focused on form than distance thus far).

Time: 01:20

Pretty quick, I was in a bit of a daze. I forgot to take any nutrition with me, and forgot to remove my tire inflator from my back pocket and reapply sun screen

02:20:45 | 21.1 km | 6:30 min/km
Age Group: 16/19
Overall: 183/269

Run went okay. My goal was to just keep a steady pace. From the start of the run I knew if I raced conservatively I could get a big PR in this race. I just had to keep cool and not overheat on the run like I did at my last Half IM. At every aid station I walked a few step, took two waters (one dumped on my head) and an infinit. Plus a handfull of ice to put down my shirt and short. I got this tip from KathyG's (a BTer's) Lonestar report. I think that really saved me from getting too hot. I had to go to the bathroom pretty bad the entire course but there were no porta potties! So not cool. I finally found one at 16 kmish. Thank god!

There was a long stretch (about 2 miles) in the sun were there were no aid stations. Tried pretzels and a banana to try to boost my salt levels at the next aid station after that and it so didn't work. Pretzels are impossible to eat when you are running. I think at Florida, these will be more emergency foods if I am walking and not for when I am actually running. I ended up having stomach/GI problems for a few km and almost considered DNFing when we ran close to the finish line at 14.5 km. Luckily the stomach cramps eased up after a while and I was able to pick up the pace a bit. I ended up passing a tonne of people on the run course and was only passed by a few people. A lot of people were really suffering in the heat.

I ended up finishing taking 18 minutes off my previous Half IM time, and if you take the run into T1 out of the mix, it was 20 minutes off! Very happy overall. My run time was still 7 minutes slower than my slowest stand alone half Marathon (and over 20 minutes off my PR), but it was 12 minutes faster than I did in my previous half IM where the heat wasn't quite as bad, so I'm happy that I found a way to deal with it yesterday. All in all I took about 4 minutes off my swim time, 6 minutes off my bike time, and as stated, 12 minutes off my run time. It is pretty hard to be at all disappointed. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face.

What would you do differently?: Not eaten the banana and pretzels. Biked more. Not raced in a dangerous humidex?

After the race I got some food, packed up transition and drove home. This is the first time they have had a half IM at this venue, and my only complaint is no porta potties on bike course and only ones on run course were around 16 km! I will definitely return to this race at some point to see what I can do in a half IM!


The bike photos aren't as easy to find since they aren't sorted by race number. My thighs look rather atrocious (sp???) in the last photo, but you can see how happy I am with my 18 minute PR!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Missed a week

Change of routine so I'll have to find a new time to be posting. Monday nights I'm biking from home now. (Not today though, I'm taking the day off). I am swimming monday mornings and I don't feel comfortable bringing my bike to pool. Oh well, such is life.

So yesterday I did my first half marathon in three years. My mother-in-law and I ran together for the entire race. It was her first half marathon. She started running 7.5 months ago on Thanksgiving weekend. I was heading out for a run and she decided she wanted to come with me as she was itching to workout (over the last year she has turned into a bit of a gym rat). That first day we covered 8 km in just a little over 50 minutes. She is a natural.

I don't think I'm in shape to beat my personal best (set 3 years ago at the same race - the mississauga half marathon). I decided that rather than try and fail I would run with MIL and help her finish her first half marathon. We finished in 2:07 and change. It was a pretty easy effort for me. Probably the easist half marathon I've ever done. We kept up a good pace for the first half. There was pretty big hill around half way and we slowed down a bit after that. All in all a good time :)

I feel bad though, I peer-pressured A into coming down to the finish line to cheer on his mother to her first half marathon finish. Since I did this race three years ago it has grown exponentially. There were SO many people finishing at the same time as us and so many people at the finish line (82! people finished within the minute that we finished). A got there 10 minutes before we finished but it took us an HOUR to find him.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I’m on a roll

Wow, I can get into the habit of this again. Every week I think of things that are blog worthy.

Last week our office hosted all the office and regional managers from Ontario. We had a reception in the office on Wednesday afternoon so that everyone in the office would have the opportunity to meet these people. As they introduced themselves they had to state something that they were doing for their health. Well, the Ottawa office manager said he was training for his 10th (!!!) ironman. Of course, after the meeting I had to ask him which one. Turns out that he, and another Ottawa environmental group employee, are going to do the Florida Ironman as well! So there will be quite the Golder Ontario contingent ;)

This weekend MIL and SIL came to visit us in Woodstock. On Sunday morning MIL and I went for a long run – 21 km, longest I have gone since my Half IM back in 2007 and furthest MIL had ever gone. Run went really well and I felt great all the way through. My hamstrings were tired for a couple of hours afterwards though. We are both going to do the Mississauga half marathon in a couple of weeks. EEK! I was debating with myself as to how I was going to run – go for a personal best? Practice pacing? What? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to run with MIL and pace her to the time that she should be able to finish in.

Swim this morning sucked, but last Wednesday I did my 2x1000 m workout in 17:30 each! This is 40 seconds faster than I’ve ever done before today. Wahoo!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another week, another post

Look at me! Two posts in as many weeks, I’m on a roll! A few exciting things to share this week.

First of all, on Friday I was out in my car at lunch and listening to CBC radio. Yes, I said CBC. I’m one of them now ;) At lunch time they have a program on called “The Ontario Noon Phone-in” where each day they have a different expert on where they talk about different topics. On Friday’s show they were talking about your “growing-old” hero. I thought immediately of Sister Madonna Buder (link). Sister Madonna Buder is a nun from the Northern USA. She has been competing in Ironmans for many years. She doesn’t go hard core with her training she just runs and bikes on all of her errands. For the last several years she has consistently been breaking records for her IM finish times. Oops, I neglected to mention the fact that she is eighty this year! She is the oldest woman to complete and Ironman and every year she breaks her own record! What an amazing woman!

On Saturday mornings I go to a spinning class at my coaches store (linky). They have computrainers (link) in the store as well. It basically simulates riding outside, automatically changes the tension and measure your power in watts, you also have to enter your weight, so it includes your weight in it’s speed calculations so it knows that the speed when I produce 200 watts of power is slower than when someone Blythes size produces 200 watts of power. Pretty cool stuff. Well, this Saturday, 11 time ironman champion Lisa Bentley (link) cam into the shop. (She also has cystic fibrosis – how amazing is that?) They had a fundraiser for CF where you could donate a minimum of $25 to ride the computrainers with Lisa Bentley. They had us on the 10K time trial course so it was a bit of a competition. I was getting a cold, so I didn’t do very well (over a minute slower than my time from 2 weeks ago!) But at one point in time (very briefly – the course starts with a downhill) I was in first and Lisa Bentley cheered “Go Laura J!” How cool is that? Yes, this makes me a dork, but I don’t care!

On Sunday I got to go see Christine and Jen. It has been a LONG time since we have all got together (beginning of December?). It was good to see them both again. We were originally going to go to the Zoo, but we had to change plans because of the crappy weather forecast. Too bad, I was looking forward to seeing Julie again. Oh well, next time :).

I think last week I mentioned that I had my first 2x1500 m swim on taps for Wednesday? Didn’t go so hot. I’ve been feeling like I’m on the verge of getting sick any day now so that is probably what it was. I did the first 1500 m right on pace but the last couple of hundred metres were really hurting. I think I could only keep the pace (should be easy for 500 m for me) for only 300 m on the second one. Ugh. I did however see a really cool thing on the internet that talked about swim form and drills to do and I realized something that I’m not doing right in my stroke, the last two times I’ve been swimming I’ve worked on this point and already my times are coming down big time. Pretty cool. Warm up pace is now what it was for my 1000 m repeats. Weird. I also picked up some drills that will help me with my form issues :).

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Start of the Journey

I’ve been meaning to update my blog for a while now. I want to track my training for IM to be able to look back on this for years to come, but I haven’t been able to find the motivation to start. So this is me. Starting.

On Monday nights I stay at work a little late as I have a training group in London that starts at 6:30. So new plan – Post on my blog every Monday while waiting for training group to start.

So far training has been going well. Haven’t really gotten hard core yet. Arash got me the wonderful present of 5 months of coaching from a triathlon coach in London and that has helped enormously. I know that when my work schedule gets tough I’m going to want to quit so it helps to have someone that I am accountable to and someone that can help me figure out what I can miss and work around week long trips into the field.

My training schedule has been pretty tame so far. Hanging out around 10 hours a week of Cardio. I’m swimming M, W, F between 2500 and 3500 (!!!) metres per swim. Biking M, Th, S between 45 minutes and 2 hours (although lately I’ve been adding in another bike with DH on the mountain bike trails in Woodstock). Running T, Th, Su between 40 minutes and 2:05 (yesterday – going to do the Mississauga Half Marathon in a few weeks). Note: There are no rest days!!! At first I found that a little tough, but lately I’ve been feeling really great! I feel nice and strong and energized. When the alarm goes off at 5:15 am, I usually just get out of bed without thinking twice. This is what has been the hardest for me to do since starting work. 5:15 is really early. Even more so when you don’t usually get to sleep until after 10:30. My body is adapting though and I am getting stronger.

Since working the coach I have made the following improvements.
1) Long swim increased from 2400 m to 3500 m.
2) Swim pace has gone from barely being able to hold 1:50/100 m for 2x500 to being able to hold it or better for 3x1000m (have my first 2x1500m workout on taps for Wednesday – I’ll be sure to report back afterwards).
3) My swim time goal went from 75 minutes to 70 minutes and lately I’ve been thinking I can do even faster.
4) My bike efficiency has improved from ~50% to ~60% but I still have a long way to go
5) My bike time has improved though. In January I did a 10K TT in 19:18 and two weeks ago I did the same course (on a computrainer both times) in 18:39 with a broken rear derailleur (forget the fact that I wanted to throw up afterwards ;)).
6) Run time went from 29:30 for a 5K in October (felt like crap about that) to 56:00 for a 10K last weekend (note: 3 days after said 10K time trial and with no rest going into the race).
7) Long run pace has improved by :30 per km.

There really isn’t much more to update in my life right now. I am mostly living and breathing Ironman right now. Only 6.5 months until race day ;) Real training will probably start picking up after I do a half IM in June (practice race, not a goal race).

The only other news that is really noteworthy, although most of my faithful readers (??? Do I still have faithful readers after my dismal blogging over the last few years?) probably already know from facebook, is that I got my P.Eng. in January. So after embarking on the journey to become an engineer in September 1999, I can finally call myself an Environmental Engineer. Cool. Oh yeah, and I am also now a project manager at work – If I could only find a project to manage ;).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I love being Canadian. I am proud to say that I am from a country that has universal health care, that invented peacekeeping, that was formerally at the forefront of environmental concerns. This embarrasses me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Okay, okay, I get the point

I’m still alive Niki, I have not been lost or anything like that. Just BUSY!

Since my last update:
- Arash wrote and passed the citizenship exam
- A’s aunt came to visit Canada, my sister Kate came down from northern Ontario
- Had Jones/Fard family BBQ with 30 guests!!!
- Had Muslim wedding ceremony (I may or may not have had swine flu at that time)
- Visited Niagara Falls
- Visited Dad’s and went to the beach
- Had a Job in Woodstock (Yay!)
- Got a flat tire at said jobsite and needed to replace two tires on my car - $350. Boo!
- Niki visited with Logan and James
- Went to the zoo
- Visited with A’s grandparents
- Visited Quinn and Rod
- Went camping with other sister and family
- Arash’s grandparents went home
- Underpinned the foundation of a school in Sarnia while doing a tank pull (oops! Actually, the engineers all agree that it wasn’t my fault, I did everything by the book)
- Visited Keely and EK in TO. Went to ROM and stayed the night
- Went to Parry Sound for work
- Saw the old supervisor in Parry Sound (he is well)
- dog stitting Ellie (sister’s dog)
- Started studying for PPE.

It’s been a busy summer so far and it is going to stay busy for a while
July 24 – Sarah, Wes, Eddie, and Sally coming for dinner on their way back home and to pick up Ellie.
July 25 – HP!
July 26-30 – Up in Mattawa for work
July 31 – Arash gets his citizenship!!!
August 1-3 – Trip to C-dub’s cottage
August 4-8 – cramming for PPE while working long hours in Sarnia
August 8 – PPE in London than BBQ with A’s friends in KW
August 9 – Shower for my cousin’s fiancĂ©.

After the 9th though it should slow down. We don’t have any plans for the 15/16 or 22/23. I might do another tri on the 30th of Aug. I have Plantar Fasciitis right now so it will depend on how quickly I can start running again. Marathon this fall is likely off. I will still sign up for IM in November, and just work a lot on biking and swimming in the meantime.

I have a couple of slower days in the office right now since I was rushing to get everything done last week before I had to go up to Parry Sound. It is nice, but on the other hand I am a little bored and this day is dragging on and on and on…

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lakeside Triathlon - a comeback story

Beware, it is very long.

A brief history. I did a half ironman 2 years ago this July just after starting to work full time after being a grad student for 3 years. I was able to keep up the working out for the frist 2 months of work until my race, but then took an extended recovery after the race - like a month. Justified since it was a LONG race. Then we bought a house. a month and a half of renovations ensued. By that time work had picked up big time. And by big I mean big. The rest of 2007 and all of 2008 passed in a blur of working. I would start training again, for a brief period of time, and then I would go on a job where I had 60 hours of work a week for a month and have to start all over again. This continued until February of this year. For those of you who know consulting lingo - my chargeability at the end of the year, including 3 weeks of vacation, two sick days, several days of training and equipment maintenance was 95%. I think I ended up working something like 200 hours of overtime in 200. I had a hard time learning how to train while working.

Enter March 2009. I desperately want to get back in shape. I'm at the gym working out and I notice a sign for a triathlon training group that is starting off. The sign says, beginners and others welcome, so I decided to sign up to get me motivated to train and try to keep me honest about it when work got in the way. We swam as a group two times a week (my strongest event - BY FAR). did one brick workout as a group and did group bikes and runs on the weekends. (I only managed to make it to one group bike ride and no group run). Biking has always been my weakness and the 20+ pounds I have gained since my Half ironman didn't help the situation any. I worked hard, and built my long run up to 8.5 miles, and I felt strong coming into race day. Not fast, but I knew I wouldn't have any trouble finishing the distances.

So race day...

We get to the site at 8 am and I rack my bike and pick up race kit and then find DH who totally wasn't waiting where I told him to. We get in line for the bathrooms (big line!) and was getting nervous that I wouldn't get a good warm-up in. Managed to get into my wetsuit with half an hour to spare and headed out for a swim warm-up. It was cold so not many people were swimming to warm-up. I trusted my wetsuit and was very glad of having done a great warm-up.

Swim - 750 m - 13:06 That was my second fasted tri swim ever and I suspect the fastest was a very short course. I think this one was accurate based on others times and how training went. I really wanted to the clock to say 12:XX but I really can't complain at all about that swim. out of 257 racers, I finished in 52nd place. pace of 1:45/100 m.

T1 - uneventful and not overly fast - I still need to work on my transitions, not horrible, but still - 1:56

Bike - 30 km - 1:05:47 - 27.4 km/hour. I flew through the first 6 km of the bike course. And then we turned east. Into the wind. For 12 km. Notsofun. I was sill managing to keep up a pretty decent pace for me, and even passed two cyclists on the bike course, and one was on a road bike. I also managed not to be passed by a fast guy on a mountain bike, which is very good for me. My overall pace ended up being the same as my half ironman, so I really can't complain about that. Much faster than I would have thought I would do just a few weeks ago! I was thinking then that 1:10 would be hard. amazing what adenaline, a better fitting bike and taper can do .

T2 - uneventful and faster - 1:12 - my feet are numb from the bike and my socks are soaked (by this time it was probably about 16C, so still rather chilly for biking, but fine for running.) My feet would stay numb from the balls forward until the finish line.

Run - 7.5 km - though I am positive that it was really 8 km (my HRM says 8, our car odometer says 8) - 46:44 - 6:14/km (or 5:50/km take your pick). Hills. Two monster hills. Not much else I can say really. By the end of the run I was just getting tired. I had a hard time finding my legs to pick up the pace. This is where I think a 5K or a 10K race before today this spring would have helped me. A slightly easier race than a 2+ hour triathlon would have helped me get my racing legs under me. At one of the water stops I asked for a glass of water because my gatorade tasted too sweet. I even asked the guy "This is water?" "yep". Gulp Gulp. So not water. I have had probablems with Hammer Gels before so I wanted to steer clear of the HEED they were serving on race day (which I had never tried before). I didn't end up having any problems with it (luckily!!!), but I am a little ticked at the volunteer. 400 m from the finish line there was a guy (who had passed me 500 metres before) shortly in front on me. Some ladies that I met on Wednesday this week were on the side of the road cheering and urged me on to pass the guy, so I put a little pep into my step and passed him (he was quite content to let me go) and finished in 2:08:47. Right where I had told my DH I would finish (between 2:05 and 2:10 - if the run was long, it would have been around 2:06).

I grab a bite to eat and then head over to cheer on some of my training partners finishing the bike of the give it a tri, and then went to find the race results. I finished 1st in the Athena (i.e., over 150 lbs) < 40 category. I was also the only one. Oh well, can't complain, I get a free race picture! looking at the results, if I had raced age group, I would have finished 7/12 in my age group. I can't find how I did compared to others in the age group in each event, they only have placings in each event overall.

So that is it! I have returned to training and working out. I am so glad that I had decided to sign up for this clinic, I think I finally have the training while working thing down. I had to be up and at it early several morning and had several 12 hour workdays and DH's grandparents are visiting right now for Iran so weekends have been busier than normal. I have learned to be flexible with my schedule and play around with it to make it work. I think it is a turning point for me, and I will be able to keep at it this time. Next up, two more tris this summer (late August - hopefully 10 pounds lighter) and one in september, and then a marathon in November!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do I have anything to say?

Not really, but I’ll update you anyway ;). Last weekend was wonderful. It was nice to be home along by ourselves for once. I had a training thing up at lakeside (race venue) to swim in the lake (brrr!), bike the course and run a bit of the course. It went pretty good, and I surprised myself by being able to keep up a pretty good bike pace. I finished the 30 K loop in a little over an hour (like 1:05?) so perhaps I am in better bike shape than I thought. It was nice to bike with less wind for once!!! The run didn’t go so great. It was too hot and had no shade. Hopefully it will be cooler on race morning (I think it was 26 or something like that.

When I got home, Arash and I went out for lunch/dinner – it was like 4 pm by that time, and then we went to see Angels and Deamons at the Woodstock theatre. Pretty small screen, but it wasn’t too bad. I think they did a pretty good job with the movie. I think it was a bit better done than the davinci code, but that could be since I read the book so long ago now (like almost 4 years ago?).

Sunday I went for my long run in the morning (did 13.5 km). When I came back we cleaned the house and relaxed in the evening. We rented Benjamin Button. OMG. Such a good movie. I would definitely recommend it to everyone.

Now I’m back at work and the week is going by quickly. It is already Wednesday – has anyone else noticed that life is sort of in fast forward these days? I can’t believe that it’s almost June already, it feels like yesterday when it was freezing cold with a foot of snow on the ground. I have a week of vacation coming up – June 15-19 (yay!) when Arash’s aunt is here from Sweden. Oh, and other news? Arash got his appointment to write the citizenship exam! It will be on June 10, so he should be a full on Canadian citizen by the end of the year!