Tuesday, December 2, 2008

13 hours 50 minutes - goal time

That is right boys and girls you read it - 13 hours 50 minutes! That is the goal time for Ironman. How did I come up with that time. Well I have played with numbers in my head and thought I would be happy with finishing and all else is gravy.

But last night in Spin class - our coach Larry - who is really working on our mental attitudes asked - what are your goals and I squeaked out Ironman - he was like NO - more specific - I was like to finish - he was like NO - more specific and then well someone else foolishly piped up and the heat was off of me for the time being. However Judith - aka - my guardian angel - after the class said to me what is your goal time I was like I thought maybe 15 hours and she was like - no you can do way better than that. She was like I think you can do 14.30 hours - I was like really and she was like you are can swim you are stronger than me on the bike when you want to be and you are a runner - you should make your goal 13:59! Okayyyyyy Sparky - let's not get all crazy here - but then we started talking some more. I really do admire her and the other ladies - Catherine, Cindy and Karen that I ride with they are all amazing. And with the exception of Karen all Ironman finishers so I know they know what they are talking about.

Judith was like listen - take it easy in your training right now - listen to your body - let it heal. She was like right now you could do Ironman and you would finish - Wow - really? - she was like without a doubt - right now you could do it and finish. So she said your goal now is to train so that you enjoy the race. Everything you do now should be so that come race day you get to enjoy the race - it is still going to be hard but it will be your reward. She said no junk miles - only quality - if it is not going to help you be stronger and enjoy the race then it is junk training/miles. She said think about things that will help - ie weights, yoga, core training - all things to help. Then she said go home write down that time, post it in a few spots so you see it all the time, visualize the course, visualize times for each portion, believe. Remember to think what I am going to do with this minute and then do it.

So again - 13 hours-50 minutes for Ironman and oh while I am it 6 hours for Oliver!!! Yeehaw.

S

Monday, December 1, 2008

100% mental - you just have to believe....

Slowly but surely I am able to do more and more which pleases me.

I am sure I mentioned before that I coach 1/2 marathon clinics and as part of that I arrange for speakers. I have always been interested in bringing in some one to talk about sports psychology and since working with Barb and Larry Zimich I finally found someone. Larry is one of my cycle coaches, specifically I do the spin classes with him where we work on heart rate and cadence. He also does alot with us on mental and how we need to think like winners.

So I asked him to talk to my group and what a hit he was. He talked about how training is 90% subconscious and 10% conscious. He gave examples of how he takes his groups out and pushes - which he does - and pushes. In one example the had his guys do 6 speed repeats and kept on them to get their speed up to 48km/hr and the got close or got there. He then had them stop, get off the bikes and talk to them, head them close their eyes and visualize themselves riding, visualized the speedo reading 50, visualize their HR reading 95%. Then he had them get on their bikes and do one more repeat - everyone busted the 50km/hr and HR all higher and afterwards he asked them and they said that they knew they could do it because they had seen it.

After the talk I had the group go out for a 4 km run - I told them to think about what time they wanted - to reach past that time - shoot for the stars. And they did every single one of them did and ran 2 - 3 minutes faster than they ever had before - it was great. I was thrilled for them - you could see the light in their eyes - and that is what I want as we move into the hill training phase. That fire so they push during the workouts and see the results.

This is important for me to remember and to work on - seeing myself - last year I did it a lot going into Oliver - Actually I envisioned the swim and the bike not the run - and oddly the run is where I had some troubles. I also did not put specific numbers/times I just envisioned completing in reg time. So now I will envision times and feelings and how I will deal with them.

Actually on Saturday while I was riding for a couple of hours in the pouring rain - I told you I despise my trainer - I again made myself hit each hill and ride further up past my turn-off and while riding up them I imagined Maclean Hill, Richter's Pass and the rollers. Only 8 months to go now - so much work......

Shaun

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No one owes us a thing

R should be for running but recovery is taking a bit longer than I had hoped or wanted. And well for those that know me I am not the most patient person....

That is not to say I have not been running but I am nowhere near where I was or would like to be. AND..... my right leg/groin is acting up. Now how this is happening is beyond me since I landed on my left side but I guess I was hit from behind on both sides so....

Anyways 2 weeks ago I decided I had had enough and I was running and I did - it felt great and then when I stopped not so great about 20 minutes later but nothing a little Tylenol 3 won't fix. I was excited and happy - yeahhhhhh told my physio - she was not so excited but I was like hey I held off for 6 weeks - really!?!? It killed her to say that I should probably run more than once a week just so we could really find out how my body would react - well it is not reacting well. I am running 2x a week and by the end of the run on Sunday my groin and knee were very sore. SHOOT! It is wierd though it does not bug me (okay not much...) while I am running only after I stop.

I am seeing physio tomorrow and hope that it is nothing that can't be fixed. I am now up to swimming 3 days a week - and actually doing the whole hour - not 40 minutes swim, 20 minutes water run, but shoulders and neck very sore by the end of the workout.

Riding I am up to an hour spin class once a week, an hour on the trainer at home and last Saturday I went for my first outdoor ride since the accident - it was about an hour and half. Hoping to get that up to 2 hours this weekend.

However each week seems to bring up new injuries/muscle spasms so who knows. I did get the chance to speak to a remarkable man who had been hit by a car while training for Ironman 2006 - he had head trauma and surgery on his brain. They told him he would never race again 3 months later he did Seattle marathon. This year he did 4 ironmans and I believe 3 marathons just to make sure he was back... It was great to talk to him because he is so inspiring but it provided me with motivation to be even more aggressive in my recovery. So on that note I am going to ride to work tomorrow and do a small run at lunch along with my swim tomorrow night.

As my cycle coach says : NO ONE OWES US A THING AND WE ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OUTCOMES.

Truer words never spoken

Peace out
Shaun

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deja Vu....

Ever have that feeling that you have been there before...today I picked up Shazam's replacement. Same bike with minor changes - newer pedals - 2 bottle cages - shorter stem, and new name - Isis! That's right Isis - it is from a superhero cartoon I watched when I was little - the weird thing is I was telling my friend special K about it and she googled it and started laughing because it came up as the Isis and Shazam hour - I had totally forgotten about that (LOL). And then she found the saying Isis used for her magic powers to take hold - Oh zephyr winds that blow on high, lift me now so I can fly! - OMG - I have been outed - yep I am a geek. After weeks of harassing Kirsten about her obsession with Stargate and Star Trek she now has ammunitition. I know I will regret this.

But back to Isis - so I also picked up gorgeous tights with pink stripes, a helmet - they only had white, new shoe covers, more lights and the most adorable little pink socks! I am hoping to get her sized in the next day or so - super excited to try her out on the trainer - nope no roads for her till the spring.

Other news - finally landed a new job - have been looking since spring with a fair amount of interviews - a few offers that I turned down and now the new job. I am a little scared because it is new and I have been where I am for so long - almost 8 years - but change is good right? I know I am going to miss everyone I work with right now. They really are super great people it just came down to $$$$. I am sure it will all work out.

Tah
Shaun

Monday, November 3, 2008

2 steps forward, step back

What a roller coaster the last week or so has been.

I was starting to feel pretty good - got clearance from my physio to go to the pool and light spinning on the bike - I am always a bit sore after each workout but I expect it and have incorporated ice baths after to help with the healing process.

ICBC came through and I got $$$ for the bike, helmet, tights and boots so that is good. Bike ordered just in the nick of time - there were only 3 left in Canada and none by the end of the day so that was a relief - should be arriving at the bike shop this week. Yippeee

Physio seemed to be going okay she has been working on my left shoulder and mid back which is aches of and on. OMG - OMG - OMG the first treatment was on Tuesday and I woke up in the middle of the night with sharp pain but I took some motrin and was able to fall asleep. Was achy but no more than usual then I saw her again on Thursday and explained what had happened on Tuesday night. She seemed to think this was not too big a concern and did another treatment on the area and incorporated heat. After leaving it felt achy but not too bad but Thursday night I woke up with spasms so I decided Robacital (sp???) got an ice pack and lied there for a while until it eased. Friday morning I was tired and achy but it was bearable. Friday night - holy friggin hell - I woke up in the middle of the night to it spasming again and just lied there for the next 3 hours waiting for the Robacital to kick in and cried off and on - yep cried - I have never in my life felt pain like that. Finally around 6 in the morning I fell asleep for a few hours. All day Saturday it ached and was spasming. Saturday night more of the same but not quite as bad because I took a robacital before I went to sleep and chased it with a Motrin - woke up a few times during the night but figures out a way to lie with pillows and such that I put no pressure on my shoulder or back. Last night was a repeat again but again not as strong. Today I go see physio and I am going to tell her that whatever the hell she did - she is not to do that again to me EVER!

I want to recover and move forward not fall back so hard that I actually wish bad things on the guy that hit me. People have said that the soft tissue stuff will take longer to come out - I hope this is it and it is not a sign of things to come because I do not know if I can do IRonman feeling this way.

S

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frustrated and Bored

*@!&@%$?

It is just over 3 weeks since I was hit and I am starting to get just a smidge irritable. Trying really hard not to but when you are someone who trains 6 days a week and has run every Sunday for the last 7 years well you can guess.

Got 2 quotes back about the bike - not repairable - big shock. Waiting for the 3rd - not sure why it is taking so long - but expect more of the same. The process is honestly pissing me off and I now see how and why people get lawyers. I did nothing wrong and yet I am the one driving around to all these bloody shops and getting quotes. I am the one who can't run or ride and who only got clearance for the pool last week. I am the one who aches every day and usually has a headache by the end of the day. Physio is all about these darn electrodes to stimulate the muscles - lots of fun - afterwards I usually feel pretty noxious and just want to go home and sleep. Fun times.

Now I am told that since I am over the 3 week hump expect to have some bloody person following me around to "catch" me doing something. BRING IT ON - yes you can watch me walk my dog and then go and sit on my bloody couch - when I would prefer to run or watch me get on the bloody bus because A- I DON'T have a bike and B - I could not ride it if I wanted to. So yes take your stupid pictures - I actually make to sure to just do random waves and have started putting on lip gloss - one must look good for the camera.

I had a bone scan last Thursday - I want to make sure that there is no fractures or such since everyone keeps x-raying my bloody back and not my pelvis as I have continuously told them. Results should be available on Wednesday - they did extra views - I am hoping it is because they are really thorough and not because there is anything there. Otherwise it will be at least another friggin 3 weeks before I am allowed to run on land and probably ride. GRRRRRRR If the scan comes back clean you can bet that I am going to start pushing it a bit - I have a clinic that I am coaching that starts on Thursday - it would be helpful if I could actually run with them....

*#&Q!+!

Well at least I can water run - WOOOOHOOOOOO

Shaun

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

RIP Shazam

Yes that is right you read the title right. Easy come, easy go.

So you all got to see my beautiful new carbon fibre bike, I named her Shazam - yes I name all my bikes just like I name my cars. Weird - maybe but you know what I am not an ax-murder so c'est la vie.

Anyways back to Shazam. So I got her sized up and was vibrating with excitement to go for an inaugural ride. So the next Saturday - almost 2 weeks ago now - I got up early and dressed up - as a precaution I even threw on my yellow riding jacket - just to make us more visible - for all the good it would do - and off we went.

It was amazing - we flew up the hills and down the hills, gears changed smoothly - like a hot knife through butter, I felt like I was riding on air. I think I even giggled at one point - it was nirvana. We were bonding nicely and on our way back home from a really great ride out to Coquitlam and back.

We made our left hand turn ON THE GREEN for the final push home. Then it happened. Out of nowhere I am getting slammed from behind and then I am on the ground! Then I am looking at the undercarriage of a Jeep! I am still not completely sure how it all went down but suffice it to say Shazam and me were pretty banged up. We both got chaperoned rides - Shazam off to the local firehouse next door to home and me off to emergency for a delightful afternoon of neck braces, body boards and xrays.

Final prognosis - Shazam is done - it is over - this relationship was shorter than my grade 1 boyfriend! Carbon fibre bike versus Jeep YJ- Jeep YJ won. Me - I am pretty sore and banged up - lots of green and purple spots, pulled hamstring, pelvis injury still not diagnosed - xrays negative for a fracture so bone scan next, back, neck and shoulders very sore and headaches. I am not sure what upsets me more the injuries and necessary rehab to see if I can continue with the plan for Ironman or the loss of such a great bike. Sometimes I think I am more upset about the bike.

I start physio tomorrow so we will see - I am determined to get back as soon as I can and thankfully Insurance will cover the bike but still. Mostly I am a little worried that I will be gun-shy on the bike now. That I will be too tentative.

List of things to do - rehab, replace shazam, start training again - this is a setback but I am determined to do Ironman next August. Thankfully the driver stopped when he noticed I was "riding" his hood. He seems like a good guy he apologized, called the ambulance and did not run over me when I came off the hood and went under for which I will always be eternally grateful.

Actually I feel pretty darn lucky - I am not paralyzed, no serious head injury or worse dead.

Shaun

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Go gang go!

This weekend is the Portland Marathon - and the gang is all going except for me (sniff). I spent all my $$$ on Shazam so no fall marathon for me!

I am super excited for them all because June is shooting for Boston qualifying time and I just KNOW she is going to nail it this time. Especially since this is a far easier course than Edge to Edge! I am also a little sad because I won't be at the finish line to see Carol, Pam, Jaime and Ann finish their first marathons. There is no other feeling in the world! I have told them they better take a gazillion pics and remember every second. Others going are Kirsten - doing her second and supporting Carol and Pam in their quest. Cory who will be pacing June, Chuck, and Carmen.

On other news - training - yesterday was a great day overall. I ran, rode to work and back and then swam.

I got up had some juice, dressed, grabbed dog and headed out for a run first thing - ran about 6km. Since I had been pondering when to get the second ride in for the week and well is was so nice outside I thought - suck it up princess - ride to work! I know you have swimming in the evening but it is IRONMAN you are training for and that means 3 sports in one day. Best to start now.

So I rode to work and was having a great ride, not a care in the world, got to the office and went to get the keys out of my knapsack..... FAIL - yep I rode 15+ km completely oblivious to the fact that I did not have my knapsack with my lunch, keys, wallet, bus pass, change of clothes, yada, yada. Ahhh another classic moment for me. So I was like I guess I will ride back and then I realized wait a second - and called a co-worker who sometimes house sits for me and usually comes in later. Yep he was still at home - perfect - so I got him to stop at my place on the way in and grab my knapsack. The ride home was great to - and yes I remembered the knapsack this time- thank you very much! Got home in 48 minutes -fastest time yet - not bad for when you take in traffic stops and it is all uphill home.

Swim was great - I even willingly put the the weight from hell back on and Coach is happy with results my hips and shoulders are moving correctly. He however has another plan for the arm pull/reach stuff - as usual he did not give me details only gave me his evil little smile and giggle. I can hardly wait for Friday's swim it is like getting a Christmas present early!!

S

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Summer at last

The weather on the "wet" coast has been absolutely fabulous the past couple of weeks - better than it was all darn summer?!? So much so that I am hoping it holds for the weekend so I can take Shazam out for a ride. With the final sizing tweaks done I am beside myself to get out and ride her on the road.

Last night was the first night back at Spin class -OMG - killer as usual but I love it. I love knowing that it is just another piece of in the puzzle to Ironman. It was nice to see the ladies I ride with since I have not rode with them since June - Lottie just did not have it in her for the climbs and I wanted to spare them listening to me curse. They are so inspirational the 4 of them - on Sunday the did the triple mountain ride. First I heard of it - they rode Mount Seymour then over and up Grouse mountain and then over to Cypress Mountain - all finished in under 6 hours. AND then they showed up for Spin Class last night - I am not sure I am in the same league as these ladies.

So after the Spin class - I showered and zipped home to take dog for a walk - a quick dinner and off to Swimming. Brad is determined to get my stroke right and I have told him whatever it takes - let's do it but cripes he is sadistic little fellow! Last night he gave me a 5 pound weight on a belt to wear while I swam to fix my whole hip /shoulder rotation and then just to make it fun he gave me paddles - since my pull is -he did not say it out loud but pathetic would be my interpretation from the look on his face. Egads it was tough swimming but after I took off the weight I did feel like I swam a little better so here is hoping.

Thank goodness today is rest day - as I plan for tomorrows hi-jinx - Run in the am - weights at lunch, swim at night - seeing if I am organized enough I may even ride to work and home. However that may be considered overtraining - not sure.

Peace out
Shaun

Monday, September 22, 2008

Introducing the newest addition - Shazam

That is right I have bought her and she is gorgeous - I am so excited my very first new to me bike. She is a full carbon chariot that is a perfect fit for me- the Ruby Elite Compact. I am confident that together we will conquer Richter's Pass and the Yellow lake rollers.



Is she not the most beautiful bike ever????

In other news I have been pretty good on the training - did miss Friday night's swim but it was sex toy party - swim - sex toy party -swim. The party won out and in the end it will also help with training as it should help with tension....

I have also realized that a fall marathon will have to be shelved since I just spent all my pennies on Shazam but that is okay. A little disappointing but in the big scheme of things it really is not that big a deal - I have done the training and it is not like I have not done one before. Plus I just can't faced doing a 2 loop marathon which is what Kelowna is.

I am a little concerned as I have dropped 4 lbs in a week but hoping it is just because I have stopped eating crap and the increase in training again but will have to monitor that.

S

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bike porn anyone.

The weather here on the wet coast has been absolutely fabulous. I am so happy that June finally arrived....

It has a been a dream to ride and run in. This past week workouts have been good - swimming started so I was in the pool Mon, Wed and Fri and I am now the fastest of the slowest!!! One really must bask in accomplishments....

The running has been great - really long mileage yesterday was a "quick" 37km if there is such a thing. Felt pretty good but IT band is making noise today - a little concerning but I will roll it out tonight and that to should pass. Not quite sure why I keep running these distances as I have not actually registered for any of the marathons - everyone thinks I am certifiable (more so than when I registered for IMC2009) because I am doing these long runs willingly and usually by myself?!?!

Okay - I promised bike porn - after the tragic passing of my little car (moment of silence please)..... I finally got over to my bike coaches house to get my basic mearsurements before I go bike shopping - He suggests 50" female designed frame - carbon would be best, ultegra components, 700 wheels - do not get 650 - 700 - he was adamant. Have not had a chance to go anywhere yet - such is life but I do know that the dreambike would be the Specialized Ruby Comp- (see below)



I however also like this Trek model:



Now just to go find my new chariot that will take me triumphantly up RIchter's Pass.

S

Monday, September 8, 2008

And I thought it was just 3 things I needed to work on

Well I have been faithfully working on keeping my training notes - that is writing down what I eat and drink each day as well as what I do in the way of phaysical activity. I have been reading various blogs and articles and it has dawned on me that besides swimming, running and riding I need to remember to work on my mental game and nutrition. Mentally I know that if I stick to the plan and remember to visualize success I will get there. That means do the workouts - no excuses - do the workouts - and I already learned that lesson from the first Half IRonman where I skipped a lot of workouts. I paid the price - DNF. Think positively - visualize success - I learned the power of that training for the 2nd half Ironman - very very important. Can never start to early on that.

But I will be honest I am concerned about the nutrition - I am getting better but I am not a big eater while doing workouts. I have been reading articles on amounts and grams and on and on per hour, per pound, per workout and it just seems very overwhelming and like a whole other job. From what I can tell I need to eat about 67 g of carbs per hour on the bike - what that computes to when taking in the swim - I do not know. Plus I am sweater - no I do not perspire I sweat - a lot - worse than Sumo wrestler in a Sauna. So the electrolyte thing is huge for me. I wonder if there is a good book that talks specifically about nutrition for long course - you know - Ironman eating for Dummies. I mean I am pretty comfortable eating stuff while I ride - I always carry a banana, gels, sport beans and a couple of good old granola bars. I have also been know to stop and get a burger on really long rides over 3 hours -part way through and have felt no ill effects. But I am pretty sure that that is not the best food choice. Next weekend on my long run I am going to try chocolate covered coffee beans - should be interesting - I remember reading Ultra marathon Man and him swearing by them - so we will see. I will though not be totally foolish I will make sure I take them when I am closer to bathrooms than not because if it is going to go sideways it usually does about 20 minutes after eating them.

Oh time to eat my apple I have to ride home tonight...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's done - time to put plan Ironman into action....

Yep I did it - as of 10 minutes ago I am officially registered for Subaru Ironman 2009 - Canada. GAAK - that is the first wave of nausea and panic - oihh it is going to be a long year. Apparently last night I woke my husband up at 2am and starting talking about times I needed and cutoffs (LOL) I have never done that so obviously I am already obsessing - if anyone out there has suggestions on how to settle down I would appreciate them.

The plan - basically swim, ride, run - LOTS. I have been thinking and planning and here is the general plan

This week I start back in the pool with my swim coach - I figure we will work on technique and form till January - 3 x a week. January we start building the distance and in May out to the open water I go.

Bike - I am shopping for a new bike and hope to have that done in the next few weeks so I can get it fit properly as my cycle coaches are moving to the interior pretty quick. I am still biking to work and back - 2 to 3x a week - total trip 30km. and Figure on Saturdays I will get out and do 1 - 2 hours as well as spin class on Monday nights - this of course is open to revision but that is the plan. In January I am going to start working with my cycle coaches and the group again - love to do it sooner but as always $$$ is the issue - unless someone wants to be my sugar daddy....

RUnning - currently I am training for a fall marathon - location to be announced. As well since I am coaching 1/2 clinics I run consistently every week so not too concerned about that. I plan on coaching the next clinic - will go into February and then co-coaching the Vancouver clinic - but in a more secondary position or even maybe giving up the 1/2 and co-coaching the full not sure yet. I want to be able to do the group rides on Sundays starting March - so intermittant rides with the until May should be okay.... I won't teach the summer clinic.

Core - I am determined to really work on core stuff - I say this - let's see if I do it.

So that is the plan - now just to follow it - to help me I have started a log book to monitor what I eat/drink and what I do for activities - again I will really try and use it. No promises though oh and I came up with a great diddly - Ironman - sung to the Spiderman song - it is quite catching.

Right off to find out about spin classes.

Shaun

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Off to Penticton

Only 2 more sleeps then off for the annual trip to Kelowna/Penticton to watch Ironman. I am so excited since not only do I have so many friends racing this year but.... Monday morning I will line up and pay my $550 US to participate next year. OMG - I am so excited and I am only registering!!!

Have been watching the weather network - my husband who is working again on the paramedic crews says they are saying 36 - that is crazy hot but the network says a more reasonalbe 27 which will feel like 31 - still very hot.

So good luck to my friends Flo, Catherine, Judith and internet/blog buddy Kerry (doing her first). I will cross my fingers, knees, toes, eyelashes and whatever else I can. Wishing you fast times, no flats and cool temperatures.

Shaun

Monday, August 18, 2008

The heat of summer

I am currently coaching my 1/2 clinic - which seems to get larger every week... and training for my annual marathon. I like to do at least one full a year. I am struggling with this one though - mentally and a little physically.

The knee ankle thing from the half-iron man while getting better is still hanging on and it is more than a little frustrating. As well with June and Cory coaching the full marathon clinic they are obviously running with the full. Kirsten and Pam are coaching the 10km clinic and thus running with them. They are doing the add-on's afterwards but I am usually quite a bit ahead of them by that point so can't run with them. Carol is still injured so not training and well that leaves me, myself and I to do the add-on's and training on my own. I don't know what the big deal is I train by myself a lot being the only triathlete in the group it tends to happen and I have trained for 2 fulls pretty much on my own but this year I am struggling - wishing for the company I need to snap out of it.

Yesterday was just so hot and humid - I took my clinic out for their 14 (okay 16.5 km run) - the humidity was so bad that within minutes I was soaked and then when the cloud cover broke it was brutal the heat. I kept the group as much as I could in the trails but still. After I dropped them off and went out for the 13km add-on I was starting to feel the effects I grabbed my bottle and shoot it was empty - when did I drink it all? At about this time I ran into Cory and his group and was pleased to see I was at 19 but was concerned since I had no fluids - thus no electrolytes. I zipped down to 3rd Beach concession filled the bottle grabbed a few packs of salt and continued but by this point my legs were starting to cramp something fierce. I struggled for the next 5 km or so. When I got back to Beaver Lake at the 25km point I was in a bad place and thought F* this I am done - this is stupid and decided to call it a day back to the store. By the time I got back to the store I had done 27km - so I felt a little better but still bummed - I hate it when I quit - not acceptable what am I going to do during Ironman next year?

I knew it would be hot - should have brought extra electrolytes, probably should have not rode the day before and follow up the ride with a 2 hour hike with the dog in the afternoon.....dumb, dumb, dumb.

Ah well I got through it - doing 29 again next weekend so I can redeem myself then!

Shaun

Monday, July 28, 2008

The end of the tri season.

Yesterday was the Diva's only Tri - I had an okay race. I should be pleased - I mean I PB'd by 8 minutes, got under 1:30 which I said I would be happy with and I won a great jersey and hat as a door prize. It is silly not to be thrilled but I guess I know I could have done better and actually did. But more on that later.

This is a great event - it is a sprint tri and women's only event so the vibe is amazing. I recommend it to anyone wanting to get into tri's and not be intimidated. I was in this race because it was an entry from 2 years ago that got comped - first due to a fractured heel and then again because of a city strike last year.

I had hoped - foolishly - to podium - why do I say foolishly because I have not trained much since Oliver - I was off for 4 weeks from running and swimming because of the freak foot injury and had a hard-time getting back into the zone for the last 3 weeks - but I figured I had still been riding a lot so maybe.... When I arrived yesterday morning I quickly shelved the podium hopes - this is a different race than it was 3 years ago - there are some serious contenders and not a bike with a basket in site. DOn't get me wrong the vibe is still supportive but in previous years there was maybe one or 2 bikes with tri bars - this year I would say a good 30% had tri bars and were $$$ bikes. Well still PB.

So I figured I would do around 18 minutes in the pool - all my practice swims the last week or so were in that area and with adrenalin probably a little faster. The start of my swim should have been my warning - the girl tells me to get in the water so I get in and wet my goggle - we were told in the pre-race meeting 10 seconds after you are in the water you go. So as I said I get in wet my goggles put them on look back and she is like you should have already been gone your time is started - Uhhhh right whatever. Start swimming and am feeling great, swim felt strong passed pretty much everyone in my lane except one lady and then after 10 laps I went to get out and the girl said yep - you have one more lap. CRAP - well rather than argue I just thought shoot just get it done - f*#^!$. So get my extra lap done and look and she nods. Overall swim time - 19::59 - no comment.... Should have read 17: 45 give or take - ah what are you gonna do? So I boot it to the transition.

Get to Transition and pull on my socks and such turn to head out and the guy is like oh know after I have jogged 15 feet - you have to go to the end over there then down the other end and then to the exit that way. Okay - so turn and backtrack - always tricky in clipless. The start is on a hill for the bike - I have done it lots but screwed up and my bike was in the wrong gear and shoes wet from the rain having trouble getting clipped in - silly rookie mistake. Not doing myself any favors. So probably 2 if not 3 minutes wasted by not paying attention to transition exits and gearing... not good.

Get out on the course and got back in my element - the course is 4 loops with tight corners at each end - not the best layout because once you get up to speed you have to slow right down to navigate the corner and with wet roads even tougher. But all things considered I was pretty happy - not one person passed me and I passed a lot of people - final bike time 40:58 - this includes transitions but still I had hoped for 36 minutes - overall avg speed 26.4km - darn it. No excuses.

Second transition was like clockwork - my mojo was back - bike racked shoes changed, helmet off - a minute, minute 30 tops. Booyaa!!

Heading out of transition one of my group leaders from my clinic, Marisa, was just in front so I used her as my rabbit and just dug deep for the run. Only one lady passed me on the run - I had spoken to this lady during the wait for the swim and learned that she was an elite runner - so initially when she passed me I was like GRRRRR but then I remember ELITE girl, she is ELITE let her go just keep after Marisa and catch her. So I caught Marisa and then just motored because I knew that if Marisa could she was going to try and pass me again and I was having none of that. I just thought go faster!!!! Run time - 28:31 YES!!!

Overall time - 1:29:27 official time - just under the 1:30. If they correct for the extra lap - 1:27 and some change. I have written the race officials to dispute my swim time as well as to ask to be put in my proper age group - 40 to 44 not the 35 to 39 - so who knows - it is only 2 minutes and some change and who asks to called older than they are? The changes would not put me on the podium but I guess for posterity's sake it would be more reflective of the race I ran.

I never thought I would get this worked about PB's and age groups but something changed this year when I did actually podium at UBC. I guess I got a taste of it and what I can possibly do when I work for it and now I want more of it!

Anyways this is the last tri for this year as I move into building core strength and focusing on a strong fall marathon. Time to start building the base for next year's Ironman.

S

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crazy - I need my head examined...

Okay - I am just full of it - I have a sprint tri in 10 days and I have been telling others and myself that I will not worry too much about this one that just do it for participation - what a load of crap!

The entry in this race is from 2006 - I registered in 2006 and ended up fracturing my foot in a 1/2 marathon about 6 weeks before the race - the organizers were kind enough to comp me for 2007 and then in 2007 a city workers civil strike caused the race to be canceled so everyone got comped to this year. Hence why I am doing the race.

I have done no real training - not a single brick - since the half IRon in Oliver 6 weeks ago. Been in the pool 5 times tops maybe and back to running at the end of June up to 16 km on Sundays. I have been riding to work and back 3 times a week - total 30km or so but it has been on the hybrid. So really to have any expectations of a fast race are ridiculous- the rational me understands this... but I am a teensy bit competitive - I try to tell everyone I am not but yep I am. So the irrational - crazy delusional part of me (this would be the me that will register for Ironman) wants to podium for my age group - how unrealistic is that. I KNOW - INSANE!!!

Went in the pool this am 800 metres - 22 minutes - yikes that is worse than my previous time 3 years ago. Run - my knee is bugging me - so god only knows - I mean last week we did a 28 min 5 km.... To hit the podium I figure I need 1:20 or less that is 20 min swim - 35 min bike, 25 min run. ha ha ha ha - hysterical giggle - thi is absolutely ridiculous! I know I am nuts but my freaking brain is like - u know you might.

Really I should just go and do a race and have fun no stress but as someone on the Tour de France said - I could not try and then I won't fail or I could try and Fail but know that I at least tried. So maybe I am not so crazy....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Taking it easy

So I have been feeling a little guilty - I have not really been doing much since Oliver - the locked ankle was a little more serious with some minor ligament strain so I did not run for 3 weeks or so, I was also told no swimming as well so that left the bike. A good friend of mine bought a new training bike and wanted to reduce inventory so I am the proud owner of my first mountain bike - actually it is a hybrid and well since I have no gear I am using it as a commuter bike. I have started riding to work - I live on the side of a mountain so the ride to work it pretty good 15km pretty much down hill the ride home - yep 15km pretty much uphill. I try to ride 3 times a week but still feel like I am slacking.

3 weeks ago my new half marathon clinic started - usually this is a small clinic - 40 tops - not this one - 60+ people! I think it must be due to being a featured clinic leader in the lastest Running Room magazine. Either way that means I started running again and since I want to do a fall full marathon I have been doing add-ons on Sunday.

Swimming has been - well pretty much non-existant - I have been to the local pool twice and used my pool twice when I am particularly lazy - but since it is only 15 metres it is not ideal.

Why am I listing all this because it has dawned on me that I have a sprint tri in 2 weeks.... yeesh this should be interesting to say the least. Ah well I guess it will be for participation. I should probably try and do at least one brick before....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Canada Day PB

Yep another PB for the year!!! Canada Day 10km WALK - walk? Walk? You are a runner why were you not running you ask? Well because my good friend Carol - aka Care Bear has been injured for the past 3 months and to ensure that she did not run the race Bishop (my border collie) and I showed up to walk the course with her.

See Carol has been doing physio and other stuff for the past 3 monthsbut has continued to run. She has been telling us that she has clearance to run but she got busted last week. That is right - the jig was up. See we all share the same physio and well needless to say between all of us we found out that she was not supposed to be running at all... which would explain why she is still injured.

So the gang decided to stage an intervention - which has been more than a little difficult as Carol coaches a 5km clinic, is one of the pace leaders for my half marathon clinic and registers for every race under the sun. To say Carol is addicted to running is an understatement! And she is a type A personality who is a smidge stubborn (sounds like someone else I know). However as a group we are determined and committed to getting her healthy and back to running full-time. As part of the intervention I have banned her from running with my clinic for 2 weeks, Kirsten has been taking out Carol's clinic on Mondays and Saturday mornings and Tannis - aka Trail monkey- has stepped up to run with Carol's clinic on Wednesday nights.

Carol was taking it all very well which naturally made me suspicious and then June, or maybe it was Kirsten, let it slip at breakfast that Carol was registered for the 10km Canada Day race. Really?!?!

Nice Try.... Imagine the look on Carol's face when Bishop and I showed up at the start line (LOL)! I told her we would be there but I don't think she really believed me. So the three of us had a lovely 10km walk and we both posted our fastest ever 10km walk time. 1:45 and some change. Tough love you betcha but I know Carol would return the favor if the proverbial shoe was on the other foot.

Shaun

Monday, June 16, 2008

$1.3 million for the kids

My favorite weekend of the year has come and gone and once again it was a huge success. For the last 12 years I have been involved with the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay for the kids. Originally as a runner and team captain and the last 8 years on the planning committee as the Volunteer Coordinator. http://www.24hourrelay.com/

The event is a relay that goes along a 4km course for 24 hours. Teams register and hopefully have at least 15 - 20 runners that take turns running or walking the course while raising money to send kids with disabilities to camp at no cost to their families. I know how important this is as I have a nephew who used to go to these camps and it was the highlight of his summers. These kids are amazing and the camps are astounding allowing kids to rock climb, canoe, and a zillion other things while hanging out with their friends. It shows them that they can when often they are told they can't.

The weather was perfect and pretty much all of my close friends were involved in the event in some way by either volunteering time or running laps - it was awesome. Especially when we are able to run as much as we do - to be able to be involved in an event where running gives back to others is great and I know for me reminds me how truly blessed I am.

My soul is replenished and I am so inspired by the kids.

Shaun

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June Bug and her great Edge to Edge adventure.




This past weekend I was in Tofino, on Vancouver Island to watch some friends - June (aka June Bug), Cory, and Carmen run the Edge to Edge marathon. June was going to try and qualify for Boston. Cory was recruited as her pacer and Carmen just wanted to run the course because she never had.



The Shaunettes did a costume change to become the June Bugs and entered in a 5 woman relay team so that they could run and cheer. I got to do my first official stint as a cheerleader. What a great time - it was so much fun to actually be the one cheering and I now know why the girls love to do it.


We headed over on Friday and after a few wrong turns (or lack of) we finally go to Tofino where we had rented a house for the weekend.

The actual marathon is from Tofino to Uculet along the Pacific Rim Highway. In the first 10 km they actually run along the beach for about a km and then back to the highway and the view from the beach is stunning.

Since my foot was still tender from the race the week before I made the uncharacteristic rational choice to become the June Bug relay team's official Sherpa and Kirsten stepped up to run my leg and hers. Which she did a blistering time in - I totally expect at 2:05 or less from her on her next half marathon.

When we got up in the morning I started to laugh - must be race day - it is raining but it was still warm and the incredible wind of the 2 days prior was no longer there. There was some anxiety about the start since there was no timing chips only gun time until we realized that with relay and full there were just over 200 people running and the start was across the whole street - they could pretty much all hold hands and cross together at the same time (LOL).



I can tell you now that that race will never be the same - we were in full costume with june bug attenaes and shirts, cheers and music the only thing missing was the megaphone. We yelled and screamed for everyone and drove down the highway honking and blasting the stereo. At each aid station and port-a-potty we would jump out yell June Bugs in the house and start dancing. The relay hand off was marco polo style - incoming runner JUNE outgoing runner BUG and away they would go. June, Cory and Carmen said they could hear us for about a km before they would see us and it made them run faster everytime. Eventually other people started asking us to cheer for friends - can you yell for my daughter - sure what is her name and so on and so on.

People had mentioned that this would be a tough course to qualify on but we were optimistic that June could do it. The first 35 km seemed pretty mild and June was in good spirits - everyone had mentioned that there were some hills near the end into Uculet. Around 35 km is where they start we knew that it would be the time for June to dig deep so we made sure to get out and really pump up the energy. She was still looking strong and the hill did not seem too bad. We thought that it was just one big hill but no as we started driving it it was like holey cr*p this is brutal - 7km of hills and not little ones either, not rollers, I mean hills. This is where I was truly glad that I was not running this marathon and I love hills but this was too much.

We raced to get the other car and to the finish line to make sure we were there for when they finished so they had their stuff to shower and change into. They looked utterly amazing and strong finishing the race which is a very steep downhill. We then waited for the final June Bug and Carmen who had fallen back because of cramping. Everyone finished and there were times were great.



June and Cory 4:23, June bugs around 4:33 and Carmen around 5 hours all great times on an extremely difficult course. So we will have to go to Portland in October now so that June can qualify there which she will definately do on that course.

For me that was my best marathon ever - really it is much easier and you have so much more energy when you are driving the vehicle.

Peace out

Shaun - aka June Bug Sherpa

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Best day ever!



Best Day Ever.... June 1, 2008 Oliver BC

I do not know where to even start - I guess with last year.

Iron Mountain Triathlon - Whonnock Lake, Maple Ridge June 24th 2007 11 113 Shaunene Neilson DNF (unofficial time 8 hour - 52 minutes and some change)

5th Annual Persona Oliver Half Iron Triathlon June 1 - 2008 200 200/317 F 37/55 W4044 769 Shaunene Neilson 6:46:31
Yeah baby!!! Okay details - oh the details.

It is best to start with the week and a half before the race - I have been riding with a group up Cypress on Wednesday nights.
The second to last Wednesday I was out for my final Cypress ride before the race when my chain started skipping. Any time I got out of the saddle
to accelerate the chain would jump and not to an easier gear! This was not good but I thought better now then on the race course. Took the bike into first shop and they replaced chain and cassette but it still was not fixed. Then the anxiety started to build - really hard to race without a bike. However I am blessed to have a father-in-law who is an accomplished rider with lots of friends who are accomplished riders and mechanics so I put the bike in their hands and prayed. However being me I did set a back-up plan and my guardian angel - Judith - from my riding group offered to lend me her "old" bike - we are the same size so it would be a good fit and it had been to Ironman so it had the aura. So while still anxious I put it to the back of my mind and continued following the training and taper plan - either way I would have a bike in Oliver.

Saturday morning I woke up and peaked out the hotel window to see that the first wave of "Shaunettes" had arrived safely. Then got a phone call and the second wave had all members picked up and were on their way to Oliver. This was going to be good. After some quick hello's and hugs - the girls went off for their winery tours and Joe - my husband and I got our gear together to do some warm ups in preparation for the next day. My bike had been pronounced ready on Wednesday and besides a couple of brief rides I had not really been on her - and during those rides while the chain did not jump it was hard to go from big to little in the front without a lot of grinding and I had 5 flats in 2 weeks, but I changed out the tire, new rim tape and then Joe found a rough patch on the inside and sanded it down so hopefully it would work. I worked on the gearing over and over till I was able to do it pretty smooth - not perfect but after the ride I decided I will use my bike - and hope it all works out, I would not use Plan B - Judith's bike.
The day was gorgeous and the warm up swim, ride and run were great. And yes I ate constantly - not like last year - constantly and a water bottle was in my hands at all times - there would be no nutrition issues this year. At the runners Expo I got to meet Michellie Jones - and she signed a poster for me - she is gorgeous and very gracious - I was so excited to meet her that I was beside myself. I said to Joe - wow this is a sign - tomorrow is going to be good.

Fast-forward to Sunday morning. After lying in bed awake from 4:15am I finally could not take it anymore and got up at 5:45. RACE DAY!!!!! Looked out the window and started to laugh - it was raining - not a little rain but a nice healthy rain - but after last year I was prepared - I had brought my running jacket and a cycle shirt with sleeves. Joe on the other hand had only planned for sun, but I told him it would be fine because unlike Vancouver it would still be warm - and it was. Across the way were signs in the Shaunettes windows - How bad can it be? Got Medic? (Joe is a paramedic), Pink Power - go Shaun and I could see lots of movement in the rooms. No time to chat but we beeped the horn to let them know we were on our way. Joe and I grabbed our race bags and I zipped back in and got the Claritin (no allergic reactions in the water this year) and off to transition we went.

Watching the elite swimmers was amazing. Then all too soon it was my turn - okay calm breathe slowly - shake it out. My plan was to start at the back but in the centre. Cindy who I ride with said don't go to the outside just hang at the back and do your thing. And that is what I did. Swim time 51 minutes and some change. I was very happy with that - not the 45 minutes my swim coach wanted but better than last year's 1:08. Transition 1 was a little slow because I stopped to use the port-a-pottie and then because of the age group I had like a km jog out of transition with the bike.

The bike ride was FANTASTIC - average time 27.2 km/hr!!! And I even made myself slow down because for one I was trying to get my heart rate down to 75 - it stayed in the 80 - 85 range pretty much the whole ride and I kept thinking easy girl - easy you got a run ahead of you. The course was great - total time on the bike 3:13:56. YES I had hoped for 4 hours. And my bike - well she was awesome - I knew as soon as I clipped in and hit the bike computer that rarely works and it was reading that we were going to be okay. Plus I smoked everyone on the hills - it was great - on the second tour up Black Sage hill there were some spectators hanging out and I was cruising up singing in my head to myself - "I feel good, dana dana dana da. Like I knew I would, dana dana dana da, I feel good...." And all the sudden this lady yells - way to own that hill girl. It was awesome. At this time I still had not seen the Shaunettes besides right after the swim and was thinking hmmm did they get lost? Ah well I am sure they are out there. And then coming off the highway for the last time I could hear them and what a sight they were - all dressed in pink skirts and a pink shirt for my father-in-law - signs, pom poms, megaphone it was just the pick me up I needed for the last push back to transition. Some other people asked if they would be on the run course because they really needed their energy and I was said oh yeah they'll be there.

The run started out great I was just humming along - a little warm so I kept grabbing 2 waters at each station one for my head and a couple of sips from the other on. The Shaunettes were out in full force on the run course - I still did not know where Joe was but then I saw our friends Jeff and Lynn and they were likely holey he is maybe 10 minutes ahead - right - now it is time to get down to business. So I was beatering along really enjoying the course and being energized by the Shaunettes, volunteers and other spectators when I thought shoot need to use the bathroom again so I stopped and had to wait for 5 min grrrrrrr - shoot Joe is gaining more time. Came out of the porta-pottie and picked it up on the run to make the time up and then it happened with about 6km left... my right ankle went out - shoot no biggy normally a couple of rotations and zip back in she goes but not today - darn it and then there was Joe- what is up? My ankle is out - now I don't know why I didn't but I should have just dropped then and he could have popped it back in but C'est la vie - I let him go on and continued to "Suck it up". However I also slowed down - run time 2:28:28 - prior to the ankle I was on for a 2:15 time - grrrrr.

Then there was the finish line and at this time I knew I was doing good - I knew that my time was better than last year but I really did not know. I came in with 2 goals - finish in reg time - hopefully 7 - 7.5 hours and beat my husbands time on the bike. To look at the clock and see 6:46 was almost too much - I kept going but I started to cry. I had done it and I had done it with an exclamation mark! I was going to Penticton this summer and I was registering for Ironman 2009!

I am still on cloud 9 - I can't believe that it went so well and to have my friends and family there to share made it so much more special. I am really blessed to have such a great support network - I love those girls with all my heart - they are amazing athletes and better friends. My father-in-law and his friends at Cloverdale Cycle - Noel and Tim who slaved over my bike to get her ready when everyone else said she was done for - thank you - again truly blessed. Having my mom at the finish line was extra special since she has never really seen me race before. She looked great in her Shaunettes shirt! And of course Joe waiting there - I did not catch him he finished in 6:30:54. And NO I did not get him on the bike either - grrrrr - his time 3:13:54 - ARGGGHHHHH 2 seconds are you kidding me????- next year.....

So there you go - I am an OFFICIAL Half Ironman!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nothing left to do but race....

Wow hard to believe that it is only 3 more days to the "big" day. My mind goes over and over everything that I need to do. I am absolutely beside my self with excitement/nerves.

Lottie has a new rear derailer - have not rode her yet but will do so tonigt - fingers crossed that she is good to go. However I have a back-up just in case - one of the ladies I ride with lent me her old bike - she just upgraded and I must say it is a pretty nice ride and it has an actual Ironman sticker on it - I was pretty in awe when I saw that - wow I rode a bike that actually went to Ironman! It has to be a sign.

Picked up wetsuits, extra tubes, nutrition, waterbottles, sunscreen, and other miscellaneous items today. Will pack it all tonight.

Really it is all a matter of just doing the race now - I don't think I could do anymore training wise. I honestly believe that I have done all that I can do training and equipment wise.

I will report back next week with all the details. Oliver here I come.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Drama queen 101

I am like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Still no word on the final prognosis of the bike. I try not to worry but for those that know me I am the world's biggest worrier at the best of times so this is almost unbearable.

Everything hangs in the balance - will I be racing or will I not? It is becoming a real possibility that I may not and that brings me to tears - foolish I know it is only a race but it is so very important to me. I guess I need to work on my priorities.

Questions are constant as I sit by the phone - will they be able to save her (the bike). If so how long will it last? Does she have it in her for one more big ride? Is there time to find a replacement? And where do I find the money? And will the new one be the right one.

I know it is only a bike but this was the bike I used in last year's epic Iron Mountain tri and so I guess I feel it needs to be the one I use in this year's. The emotional attachement is there it has been on a lot of brutal training rides with me and I guess I just want her to feel the taste of a great half Ironman before I retire her.

It really is like a bad soap opera and my worst nightmare. Please, please please fix her - I just need her for one more big ride. Pretty please.....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Need - one tri bike will return on June 3...

Last night did the last ride up Cypress and it was harder than usual because my *#!&#?# chain kept skipping on the uphills and well for those that don't know Cypress is a friggin mountain. With 9 days to race day this is not good - actually potentially devastating.

So I went to the bike shop this morning they open at 10am and I was there a 9:59. He looked at the chain did a wiggle here a wiggle there and said that may do it. I rode it nope and then he rode it and came back and said yep it is skipping... (thanks sherlock). So then he starts talking about derailers and so on and I start to feel sick as I realize $$$$ and this is just a guesstimate on his part. So I call my father-in-law who gave me the bike - please note last year I wanted to buy myself a new bike but no my hubby and father-in-law came up with the solution that I would take one of his old bikes. More and more i regret getting talked into this...stupid Scottish heritage I should have resisted the idea of a deal.

So he talks to the guy in the shop and they decide new chain and block - whatever the hell that is... hopefully that will sort it out. HOPEFULLY ARE YOU *#&*!^ KIDDING ME! 9 days - did I mention 9 days for the race that I have poured my heart and soul into training for - that my friends have been making massive plans to come and cheer me at - 9 DAYS.

Deep breath - I almost sat down and cried but reigned that in and then I came very close to saying screw it - see that bike up there get it down and prep it - but then I thought - hmmm I do not want to be single anytime soon... So they have ordered the parts they think might work and I will cross my fingers that it will work and start saving for the new bike because I cannot cope with this kind of stress. Next year I am riding in IRonman on a new bike. Plan B - not sure but if I have to as a last resort - make no mistake- I will buy that bike and deal with the bitching later.

I have not worked this hard and come this close to not do this race!

So everybody do the bike prayer please. I am off to the local church.

Shaun

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taper freakout

I do not know which is worse months of training or the taper period before a race. Honestly it is almost too much... Is my bike in perfect running order? Where is my list of stuff to pack? How much did I drink today - how much did I eat today. Hmm what is that ache - it is new?!? Did someone just cough on me - OMG where is the Cold FX??? And so on and so on - I a am just a smidge anal and slightly more obsessive.

Have been working on visualization techniques imagining my successful completion of each portion of the race. Broken down the race in parts as best I can since I have never even been to Oliver - so I am going in "blind".

Reviewing my training and wondering what I could do in the next 2 weeks that will give me that extra edge without doing anything monumentally stupid - ie tripping and spraining an ankle on a pine cone or pulling a muscle in my shoulder by moving heavy boxes, or.... as you can see I have a history....

So I have started to re-read the Ultra marathon man book - I thought of it a lot last year during the race and am glad I am re-reading. Dean Karnazes is the author and well "Ultra Marathon Man" and to read his exploits puts my little adventure in a more reasonable light. He has some great thoughts - "If it feels good you are not working hard enough - it is supposed to hurt!" I say that to my self when I start to hurt - good job girl - you are doing it right - embrace it and you know he is right - it seems to make me go a little harder.

But by far I love this the best, it was his thoughts just before running his first Western States 100 miler:

" ... it became clear to me that the Western States Endurance Run would be primarily about one thing: not giving up. It really didn't matter how long it took to get the job done; what mattered was getting it done. This was an exploration into the possibilities of self. Being a champion meant not quitting, no matter how tough the situation became, and no matter how badly the odds seemed stacked against you. If you had the courage, stamina and persistence to cross the finish line, you were a champion."

It is something I think about a lot - when I reflect on last year's race and I think of the task at hand in 11 days. It will be about one thing - not giving up. 11 more sleeps....

Friday, May 9, 2008

So many races so little time

Quiet time in the office allows for race searches - just a few selections my fav is the Elephant run - but I'll be honest The Sahara one looks interesting. North pole one - Are you kidding me - no thank you - I have limits -Ice is for drinks....

http://www.extrememarathons.com/addo/
http://www.saharamarathon.co.uk/about.html
http://www.npmarathon.com/

And of course still trying to figure out how I can convince my husband to let me do the Canadian Death race.... http://www.canadiandeathrace.com/

First lets get Ironman over and done with.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Humble pie

Last night we rode up to Cypress again - this time to the second lookout. I ride with 4 other ladies on a regular basis. Karen is quite younger - in her 20's, and is always gone. I have decided that my goal is to catch her or get closer to her every ride. Judith is also a strong rider and usually we play back and forth going up Cypress - always quite close so mentally I have decided that I need to stay ahead of her as a measure of my progress and improvement. No I am not competitive at all (LOL).

Anyways last night we are heading up Cypress and I get to the base of Cypress not far behind Karen and have to wait about 5 minutes for the others. YES - I am getting better. Then we head up Cypress - I keep Karen in my sights until the first look out - albeit it was close to a 1km between us I could still see her jersey. Judith started out in front but I pulled ahead quickly and stayed ahead for the rest of the ride up. I was feeling pretty smug. Now please no this is all mental stuff in my head. So we ride back down and I am feeling pretty good because I stayed with Karen all the way down - usually she would be gone and the others would fly by me. Then on the ride back to the cars I rode beside Karen along the highway. YEAH!!!!

Well we are back at the cars and talking and Judith is like yeah it was not too bad - I rode out to Horseshoe bay first and back so I could go up Cypress with you gals. Gulp.... I said you rode to Horseshoe Bay first today? Yeah she needed to get a 3 hour ride in and she did not want to do it on Thursday. Wow.

Shaun's little pride balloon developed a big leak. OMG - the woman is amazing - I doubt that I could have done that. How the hell am I going to do Ironman next year?!?! She was not that far behind me and I will be honest I was pushing the whole way. Some people have been saying they think I am overtraining and I listen to this lady and from what I can tell I am doing about the right amount and will have to do a hell of a lot more for Ironman. Yikes!

Can I have icecream with my pie please?

S

Monday, May 5, 2008

Doing the ears proud

Yesterday was just a great day. The weather was absolutely perfect to don my pace bunny ears for the Vancouver Half Marathon.

I really do like being a pace bunny, it is just a lot of fun to help people attain their goals and I think most of them got their goals.

I needed to get a training run in and they needed a 2:30 bunny for the half - it was a perfect fit.

Official time 2:28:21 - a bit fast but overall not bad since there were no course markers to help me judge my pace.

Ran into a bunch of the clinic grads and from all respects and quickly perusing official stats everyone seemed to have a great race! Makes a coach proud.

Then I got to watch the full marathoners finish which is always inspiring.

Just a great day all round really rejuvenated my spirit for the final training push to Oliver. Less than 4 weeks to go....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spin, Spin, Spin to win

Oh my god - apparently I have inner thigh muscles and they are very very very angry at me today.

Last night was my first spin class. It is taught by Larry Zimich,my cycle coach's husband. He is of course one of the top road racers and one very sadistic man! I love him. The girls I train with all do his spin class where he works on form, cadence, heart rate and probably most important mental focus. They all swear by it and say the improvement have been huge. They also said it is stupid hard. Well as we know I automatically think aw come on seriously - How Bad Can it Be???

Answer: It is up there. It is one hour of intense training. I have never done a spin class so did not know what to think and was more than a little apprehensive after listening to the girls talk. He is brutal - it was great. At one point he was like Shaun you are riding to easy and came and pushed my tension right up. HELP and then I made a tiny move with my hand that some might have percieved as going to reduce and wow he was on me like white on rice. (LOL) He was don't you dare - No-one backs off in my class. OH DEAR GOD what have I done. But you know what as usual the coach is always right. I tell you though I did not go near that little turny thing until he told us we could and as much as I wanted to look at my watch to see how much longer the torture would be I was absolutely terrified and did not.

Gosh only knows what he would have done if I had peaked at my watch for time....

I am sure there are past members from my running clinics going Ha - see now you know what it feels like. You're right Karma is a bitch. One might even think that I might become a kinder and more sympathetic coach..... NOT A CHANCE! This just shows me that maybe I have been too easy....

And I even made it to swimming a few hours later. I tell you I slept like a rock last night.

So happy today is a rest day - an ice bath tonight and some nice stretching and I will be good to go again tomorrow.

Ciao

Shaun

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yeah Baby - that's what I'm talking about

2 posts in one day?!?!

I just had to post it though- I am sooooo pumped! As you know I have been riding up Cypress Mountain every Wednesday with my coach - it never seems to get easier but again I guess it is because she always pushes - it is what I pay her for....

Every Thursday is my brick day where I ride down to Stanley park (5 min from my office) and do a 2 - 10km loops that has Prospect point - a 1km hill about halfway - followed by a 20 min run. Total ride to park and back 22 - 23 km. At the start of the year I was doing my loops in around 23 - 24 minutes a loop. I had set a lofty goal of 20 minutes a loop. Today I DID IT!!! Well not 20 minutes exactly but 20:26 - OMG!!! It was so awesome.

I went out thinking I had a pretty hard ride last night I mean I had taken just over a minute off my climb time last night and it had hurt so - Barb pushed, cajoled and pushed some more last night - at one point I honestly thought I might get sick. So today I would just ride a steady pace - nothing crazy - do my loops and my run. At one point I was riding and a lady came up beside and passed me and I thought of my coach and thought NO! And dug down and started drafting her then when we rounded the point I passed her so that she was drafting me. As we got to the hill I thought about my cadence and letting the bike pull me up as my coach had talked about and I dropped her like a bad habit! It was a great feeling. And while it was a tough ride I was not dead at the end because my second loop was just as good. 21:30 this was with a 30+ sec break at the bottom to answer a call from the office and doing the whole loop in the big ring (trust me THAT was accidental) which would explain why it seemed quite a bit harder the second time...

I repeat hiring a cycling coach the BEST thing I have ever done. I guess now I have to find a new goal - dare I say 18 min a loop?!?!

Cat for sale

We have slowly begun furnishing our first home - to that end we bought a beautiful brown leather couch. YOu see where this is going. You guessed it - Alley the wunder cat has found a new scratchy post! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! We have a leather chair that we have had for 10 years basically they arrived the same time and she has never marked it. But the leather couch.....

I looked into declawing but just can not do that to her so the options are lock her in the laundry room for the rest of her life or give her away. But then I did some research on the net and found these soft paws - little cat nail covers. So I thought what the heck lets give'em a whirl. Only issue is that the same 2 keep falling off. Not sure what to do but am determined to get them to stay on otherwise she will have to move out because living in the laundry room is no life for her...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Training blahs...

With 5 weeks till race day - I find myself having trouble getting "up" for all my workouts. Once I get out there and start going I am fine but I really mentally argue with myself to do it.

And it does not help that I know this a normal part of training. Trying to think of ways to motivate myself is a daily struggle. Tonight I have another swim session with my new Master's group and I am not sure if I am just not meshing with this coach or his style is not my clicking for me but I don't feel like I am accomplishing anything. He stands and watches me swim and then I have to coax out of him what I need to work on. It does not feel interactive and I feel like I am digressing which is worrisome. I however have paid for this month so will finish it out before I make a final decision. He is nice enough, and they all seem nice. It might be that they are all exceptionally faster than me but again I am not sure that is the problem as they were all faster than me in West Van to. I find that he does not seem to do set drills - maybe that is the problem.

Or maybe it is as I mentioned before training burn-out. Tempted to skip the workout and go for a spa day instead tonight but with only 35 days of training which is actually 30 when you factor in Taper a spa day will have to wait until the June 2nd.

Sigh
Shaun

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thankful

It never ceases to amaze me the great friends and family that I have and how without their never ending support and encouragement I am not sure I would be able to reach all my goals let alone go after them.

On Monday my significant other stopped in the office on his way home to bring me roses for no other reason than just because and my sister sent me an amazing email that reduced me to tears because it was so sweet. I think far too often we forget the important role our family and friends play in our training. We take for granted that of course he will make dinner AGAIN because I am going to Masters for swimming or sure she can meet me Saturday after 2 not 11am since I have to get in my bike ride and then the sorry I did not make it I got a flat and blah blah blah - can we reschedule?

I am fortunate in that I have Joe and my friends who I can use as training partners for different aspects of training. Anyone who has trained for or is considering training for longer distances can tell you the time commitment is huge and if you do not have the support of your family and friends it makes it that much more difficult. Training first - all else second.

So I just wanted to say thank everyone - I do appreciate and adore all of you even if I forget to tell you. Because of you I am getting that much closer to the dream.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Forced rest freak out

Son of a - fruit juice!^@^#*$^%

Last post I mentioned that life has been an itsy bit stressful and to top it off Joe has been down with a chest viral infection.

Immediate actions taken: seperate sleeping arrangement, on to the Cold FX, intake of massive amounts of Vitamin C - and even the drastic step of eating real fresh fruit! I dialed the training back a bit - did not do the the long bike ride last weekend or swim. Did not do the brick yesterday or the speed workout last night. Woke up this am and Throat is scratchy and chest feels tight...... ARGGGHHHHHHH I do not have time for this!!!

Just went to walk-in clinic as a proactive measure - I do not like that doctor. He says that my chest sounds rough - what is that?!?! - so I am now on antiobiotics he says it could be Bronchitis starting or Influenza A - if it is bronchitis antibiotics will help and I will know in 2 days - so take the next 48 hours off - WHAT - okay that is not so bad- 48 hours means I am back in the saddle on Sunday - only miss the swim today and ride tomorrow..... If it is Influenza A - I will not improve and then I will just have to take it easy for a little longer - TAKE IT EASY - the bloody race is less than 2 months I don't have TIME!!!!!

Called one of my gal pals to freak out and get sympathy and have her tell me that he was nuts and she agrees with him! She even said that if I go out on my bike she will find me and make me stop!!!!!

Maybe riding Cypress Wednesday might have been a little much. Right 48 hours - I can do 48 hours- it will be okay - that still leaves me lets see 56 days to race - minus 7 as taper is 49 days minus 2 for this is OMG ONLY 47 DAYS. EAGHHHHHHH

Going into hibernation now see you all on Sunday!

S

Monday, March 31, 2008

Coming up for air

to say the last 2 weeks have been hectic in my life would be a mild understatement. I am the classic overachiever Type A personality. Synopsis of the last 2 weeks - I am amazed I got any training in and did not have a nervous breakdown or get brutally sick. Even I have to admit I pushed the envelope a bit this time....

Besides working my regular full-time job I do transciption from home in the early am - 5am - 6:45am, I coach 1/2 marathon clinics on Thursday evenins and Sunday mornings, I have a 6 year old border collie that needs about 2 - 3 hours of walks/runs a day, and I am training for the Half Ironman in June. Pretty busy - most people go wow but wait I am not done yet.

I also believe that you should give back to your community - it is important so I do charity work for the Lions Society - specifically I am their volunteer coordinator for 3 of their events the largest one being the 24 Hour Relay for the kids which planning for is well underway. Not really a big thing. Pretty busy but not too bad.

Well we finally decided to buy our first home and moved in over the long weekend - I think we will be unpacking forever. Just when I think I have made a dent in the boxes I open another cupboard/closet to find a whole bunch more boxes. This would be alot to take on and I have been feeling a smidge maxed out. Plus Joe has been very sick with a viral chest infection so pretty much bed-ridden since the day we moved in.

Oh and did I forget to mention that I came up with the brilliant idea to plan a surprise birthday party for my mumsy's 60th?!?! Wait it gets better she lives in another city - so I was doing everything by phone and email. Drove up Saturday afternoon and party was Saturday night - drove home yesterday. You just gotta love a challenge.

So the party happened - she was surprised and loved it, husband is finally on the mend, and only about 20 boxes left to unpack and then it will be back to that laid back lifestyle of work, charity and training.

Off to the pool.

S

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm the Queen of the mountain.

Okay maybe not the queen but pretty darn proud and feeling empowered after last night's workout out with Barb (cycle coach) and the gals in the group I ride with.

Last night we did our first - well my first, they have all been up there - ride up to Cypress Mountain. I was anxious all day - first I was anxious about riding up the darn mountain and then even more anxious when I realized that we were riding to the base which was up another very steep road.

Doubts abounded - would I be able to get up to the highway to get to Cypress? And then would I be able to get up Cypress without falling too far back? Then I started thinking about the downhill and got freaked about that to.

By the time I pulled up to our meeting spot - Cindy looked at me as I got out of the car and said smile it will be okay - you'll be fine. I sure hope so I said. The ladies were great in reassuring me I would be okay - they were like are you worried about the down - I was like I am worried about both!

Barb showed up and her husband and his "guys" showed up as well. Barb looked at my face and was like it is going to be okay - you will be fine. Then as we are riding to 13th she says to the group - you heard what Larry said right? Him and the guys want to try and catch us before we get to Cypress. I was like great! Now I have to worry about staying ahead a bunch of boys too?!?! (I know the competitive streak still kicks in even when I am freaking out).

The hardest part of the ride was from 15th to the Highway- 13th was pretty tough - or so I thought - until we got to 15th. Barb stayed with me a good portion of the ride and talked me through my form and cadence - it was great. I am happy to report that while I was not the first gal to Cypress, I was not the last AND I did get there before Larry and the boys - not by much but still got there.

Riding up Cypress is not too bad it is just loooooong - 3.5km I was told later - uphill. Again not the last up so I was pleased. We timed ourselves and I got up to the first lookout in 18 min and 37 sec!

The way down was very scary and I was the last one down but not too far behind the other ladies. Then we had to go down 15th and 13th and that was even scarier because my hands were so darn cold I could hardly pull my brakes. Note to self: NEOPRENE GLOVES not wool for next time. I got down though thanks to Judith for taking me under her wing - which seems appropriate as that is my mom's name to - she stayed with me all the way down 13th and back to the cars.

So now I just have to get brave on the downhill portion and I will be good as gold.

Cyrpress? How bad can it be? Easy peasy!

Shaun

Friday, March 14, 2008

Post race hangover

The thing about racing is the after effects. I refer to it as the hangover after the party - you had such a great time but you need to recover now. The thing is that unlike a true hangover I have no embarrassing regrets - any pictures taken I will be proud to have shown and I am not saying "Never again - this is the last time!"

Keeping that in mind I just jumped back in taking Monday as a rest day and got back at it on Tuesday. The dilemma has been my right shoulder has been bothering me - so I have skipped all my swims - this morning I was going to go but did not thought after work but arm is still sore.

The other thing is the long bike - normally would do this on Saturday am and should be about 2 hrs 45 min but I am running a 5km race and then was planning on going out for some wobbly pops. Thought about doing the bike today but I did time trials on Wednesday and a brick yesterday - seems like a lot.... Could do the bike on Sunday but after running 16 km "ish" in the am - leg weights after that plus I suspect I might have a teensy hangover I am not inclined to throw in a 3 hour bike ride.

I thought I would just spin tonight for an hour but now I am feeling guilty - I don't want to start making excuses for cutting workouts - last year I did that all the time and well it showed on race day. Hmmm maybe I will either get up super early and do a few hours on the bike first thing in the am before the race tomorrow morn....

what to do what to do
S

Monday, March 10, 2008

Redemption is sweet!

So yesterday was the olympic tri. It was the first "race" I have done since last year's Iron Mountain and I was pretty anxious to say the least. For those that don't know just go to my first ever post and have a boo, For those that don't have the time here is the the cole's notes version is I did a half iron - did not go well - I completed but not in reg time - I got a DNF - my morale and belief in myself took a big hit.

Determined to put it to rest finally and prove to myself that it was just a bad day I registered for the Olympic to see how the training was going this time for the Oliver Half iron I registered for in June. I am very pleased with how yesterday went - a few more lessons learned to put in the bank and overall I think it well. Lesson 1 do NOT move heavy boxes the day before and pull a muscle in your shoulder - it will hurt and possibly affect your swim time.... Lesson 2- hiring a cycling coach - great idea!

So being a slower swimmer I was in the last heat for the olympic. However this allowed me to try and loosen my shoulder up for the swim - I could only hope that when I got in the water I would just "suck it up" and that it would just go numb after the first few hundred meters - which is what it did. It was funny to when we were waiting to get in line I was in the middle of a bunch of big guys - okay this is relative since I am only 5'2 but still they were big to me. So the testerone was flying. One guy said I better go in front of you because I am going to start really fast! I was like sure go ahead - and thinking that is right you go out of the gate fast and I will just pass you later on - which I did. Actually I had about 5 of them pass me in the first 100 metres and then I passed I think all but 2 of them by the end of the swim - Pacing boys - pacing....

So I got out of the water but of course I forgot to hit my timer so I don't know I am pretty sure I came out around 40 - 41 min which I am happy with considering the shoulder. It was a little frustrating because I came out of the water and started to run down the turf path to transition and they made me walk. GRRRR - it is a race people...

Transition one was a bit drawn out because after debating all week I decided I would do a full change. Normally I would just wear my bra under my bathing suit and pull my cycle/run shorts and top over or just swim in my cycle shorts but because of the time of year and chance of rain I decided I wanted to be dry going out on the bike. Thanks to the other lady that helped pull the back of my bra down. I then hightailed it to my bike. Got my shoes and helmet on quite fast and was gone.

Let me say again - if you are going to do tri's and go past the olympic distance hire a cycling coach. I know it has only been 3 weeks but the information I have gotten has been awesome. So I shot out standing up to build speed in my "big" ring and got down in the arrow bars and just had an awesome ride! No-one in my heat passed me - well not true one gentleman did but I passed him later on and never looked back. I also passed quite a few in my heat. Again forgot to hit start but am pretty sure I did the bike in 1:20 and change - not the 1:15 Barb said but I was pretty thrilled with it.

Transition 2 was a little frustrating I came in and was pumped and went to my spot and someone had put their bike in my spot - GRRRR - so had to find another spot and then go grab my shoes - nothing major but irritating none the less. Other than that I think I was only there for a 2 or 3 minutes - would have been faster if I had not had to shuffle stuff.

The run was AWESOME - I really do love running and the course was great. Lesson 3 - do not eat volunteers potato chips - you will get a tummy cramp. I have a weakness though and he had my favorite chips - what's a girl gonna do???? Run was an hour - should have been less but had to walk for a bit due to tummy cramp. But I made sure to thank all the volunteers and shake some of their hands. Without them the race would just not flow as well. It really is a thankless job. I handed off the rest of my jelly beans to a little kid near the finish and high fived some spectators just before the finish while yelling WOOOHOOOO. A classic finish if I may say so. I mean if you can't have a little fun what's the point?

So while they still don't have the final numbers up - I believe 3:10 - 3:15 will be my total time - not the 3 hours that Barb predicted (gulp) but still respectable in my books AND well within regulation time.

Finally - a very big thanks to all my gal pals and my hubby - Joe who came out and watched- it really made the day that much better- you gals are the best! Actually Joe raced and had a great race too - he is mucho faster than me but that just means there is ALWAYS someone at the finish line for me.

Bring on Oliver - I am pumped now!

Shaun

Addendum - hot off the presses:

1 1/5 F4044 1598 O Michele COATES 2:57:37.5
2 2/5 F4044 2150 O Dianne WRIGHT 3:07:59.1
3 3/5 F4044 2183 O Shaunene NEILSON 3:12:19.6
4 4/5 F4044 1651 O Alex MATHISEN 3:28:54.1
5 5/5 F4044 2142 O Charlotte BRENNER 3:42:08.4

Hee Hee - 3rd in my age group!!!! (okay only out of 5 but still...) AND less than 3 minutes behind the hubby for total time - he did 3:09:38. YES!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

5 days - 21 hours, 54 minutes

That is the time I have until I get in the pool and start my swim at the Olympic Tri next weekend. Just got my swim time - 11:15am - so I will have to sit there and wait from 8am until then before I can get in the pool.

Joe's time is 9:15 because he is faster so he was like we'll just take 2 cars. Great so you can finish and go home - thanks for the support.... Oh and guess what I am PMS'ing (could you tell by the bitchiness of that statement??)

So I am just one big bundle of emotional anxiety. I am worse that a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Well that killed of 4 minutes now only 5 days, 21 hours and 50 minutes to wait....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Money well spent!

So last night was the first night I met with my cycling coach -Barb, what a nice and delightful lady, oh and great rider to!

There are about 6 other ladies in the group - 5 triathletes and one stinking fast road racer. First thing Barb noticed was my handlebars - too low but overall she liked my trainer. She actually said " that is a great bike" I had to laugh because it is older than god - it is a Bianchi that I bought second hand 8 years ago. A great bike in its time but compared to bikes out there now it is a dinosaur. So had the hubby change the angle of the bars last night when I got home. Looked at my road bike and the since I did get it fitted the bars are in the proper position.

She talked about drills and cadence and had me do some drills and sprints. We worked on bike stability and she said that for never doing the drills before I was doing quite well. I am at the back of the group but that is okay since they have all cycled longer and trained with her for a while.

I did, on the last, lap finally get stay on someone's wheel for the entire 2km lap - so that is what drafting is like!

Off to do today's brick and to incorporate some of the drills on the ride

Shaun

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spinning my wheels

So I have done it - finally hired a cycling coach.

Last Saturday went for a ride- had been feeling pretty good staying true to the cycling portion of the program but after Saturday's ride the self doubts were going full tilt. The person who I was riding with gave me some tough love - I need to step it up- push harder, dig deeper, improve so that I do not have a repeat of Oliver.

They of course are right - it is more than just logging miles so I have signed on for a 10 week session with ZImich coaching - they are a husband and wife team who come highly recommended.

Tonight is the first session and I am a little anxious to hear what they have to say. But even more excited to hear their gameplan to help me improve and reach my goals.

I will let you know how it goes.

Shaun

Friday, February 15, 2008

What it takes to finish. - SOUL

People always ask why I train as much as I do. They say you are not going to win so why do it?

Well good point - for anyone who knows me I am one of the most competitive people out there. I don't like losing - but there is definitions of losing - to me if you give it your all and don't quit then you win. I have no respect for quitters and whiners. Time is secondary - I mean lets face it I am NEVER going to win a half marathon, full or Ironman but that is not why I do this.

As a coach I try to get this point across, to be in this sport you have to want it and stop competing with others, compete with yourself. Decide what your goal is for a race and go for it - whether it be to finish, or place or personal best. Stop worrying about what I or anyone else thinks, this is your journey because the one thing that will beat you is you.

You have to be tenacious and a smidge stubborn and a competitor. If you have these and you do the training you will find success - sometimes not in the form you thought, but success.

This past weekend I had a bunch of people from my last clinic racing - I don't know who gets more nervous me or them- I just want them to reach their goals and be happy with their performance. Anyways one of my "speedy" gals - I'll call her Miss M, was doing her very first half and was beside herself in excitement and anticipation - I was confident she would do great and she did - just not the way we both thought.

I had to coach in the morning so I missed being there for the finish of most of them, but got there near the end to cheer on the last racers. I was able to talk to some of the people from the clinic and found out that Miss M had finished but was very upset - her hamstring had blown out on her during the race. OH NO! But here is where it is inspiring - she walked it in - she finished- that is a competitor and that takes guts. My co-coach Cory was there and he was able to talk to her - thankfully - because she had decided she had failed and was not even wearing her medal.

Cory was great - he got her to get the medal out of her bag and put it on and told her that she inspired a lot of people out there because she did not quit. I sent her an email later and she is doing okay - hamstring pull so with some physio and water running she will get back in the saddle. She wants to do a full now! I am thrilled for her and I know she will succeed because the girl has soul and that is what it takes.

How lucky am I that I got to coach a star like that?

Shaun

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Being on Video

Last night I went an consulted with a swim coach who taped my stroke.

I know I have made lots of improvements in my stroke and felt like I turned a corner but the video shows I have a lot more work to do. I am seriously considering trying to find my swim teacher from when I was 7 and kicking them in the shin. I don't know what the hell kind of swimming they were teaching me but jeez after taking lessons all through my childhood I would expect to be a little better than I am.

So my kick needs to improve - my masters coach said it was looking good this guy said it was not so great... do not bend the knee. I actually pull water now but apparently my arm strokes are not quite there. He did say my breathing was good but I need to keep my face in the water.

Overall I think it was a very informative session that I hope I can take a lot from and apply to improve to ensure I am out of the water well before cut-off times instead of just scraping in there.

Ciao
S

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's all about pacing

As I have mentioned previously I coach half marathon clinics. I have another one that has just started with a bunch of new and eager faces looking to complete the Vancouver International Half in May.

The first few weeks are always interesting, each clinic develops a personality a vibe but the one thing that is always consistent is how could I possibly know more than them. Irregardless of the fact that I have lost count of the number of half's I have run, that I have completed full marathons, or that if you could screw up or injure it I have done it and if I have not done it yet rest assured I will do it. From overtraining, to training too fast, to not eating properly, to not stretching, to not training enough and so on-and so forth. I got the bumper sticker or I am in the line at the cashier just waiting to pay for it. But I repeat WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW?!?!

So because I am fully aware that it will take about 5 weeks - around the time we start running 14km and up before they will realize that I might know something I always introduce them to my secret weapon - June. June - aka June Bug is my secret weapon because the most important thing I can teach runners is patience and pacing. That there are different paces for different runs and they all have their place in training but the most important run is the Sunday - Long SLOW Distance run that we run slowly. They all go okay and then on SUnday's they jump into a pace group they have no business training with because it is too fast for them for SUndays and they are overtraining. Then come race day they don't understand why they trained with the 2 hour pace group but finished with the 2:15 group. But what do you do you can't yell at them -well you can but I find they don't respond well. YOu can't leash them - apparently their are laws against this. All you can do is repeat it and repeat it and then introduce June.

Running half marathons and more importantly full marathons is all about patience and correctly pacing your run. You are running 21.1 km or 42.2km it does not make sense to use all your energy in the first 10km. June does this like a text book.

I first met June about 2 years ago while training for my 3rd full marathon. We are great friends now and kindred spirits that love our beer and our long runs. June is a high school English teacher who is also working on her Masters. I quite frankly think she farts rainbows.

When I met June I was pace group leader for the 4:30 (4 hours 30 min) group. She had walked lots of marathons but this time she wanted to run it. She however had started training with a faster pace group then she should have and ended up injured early so she was sent back to the 5 hour pace group for the rest of the clinic. She could still run she just had to do it slower on Sundays. The thing though was June did it and she did all her hill work and other runs with a smile - nothing phases June she is always smiling, but I digress.

So I skip forward to race day and off we went I started behind June and the gang and figured I would pick-up my pace as I went along - which is what I did and it worked perfectly. I eventually passed them around 5 miles in and kept chugging and then in the final km I look beside me and there is June! Holy crap! Well I wish I could say we crossed holding hand but we did not because the other thing me and June share is a competitive streak and she sped up, passed me and finished in front of me. I was thrilled for her. Her time just over 4 and 1/2 hours.

Every race June does she has a personal best, EVERY RACE, and it is because of the way she trains and races. She trains on Sunday's now as the 4:30 pace leader but her last marathon she finished in 4 hours 12 minutes. Most people would automatically train with the 4 hour group or for 4 hour 15 min even but June gets it. By running slower on Sundays she is improving her endurance by running her Tempo runs at the correct pace and working on her form during her hill workouts and then slamming it on speed work she continues to take time off her finish times. Oh and did I mention June is 52.

So as we start a new clinic I will bring June in to explain to the group about pacing and my group leaders will talk about it and some will get it but most won't at least not the first time. But I am getting more and more to buy in as more and more try it and find success.

Fighting the good fight

Shaun