Monday, July 27, 2009

Yes I am still alive.

Wow it has been a while since I have posted ! Too busy training and such.
Since the last time I posted I have been carefully playing with my nutrition/electrolyte needs to get it right for race day. Mixed results but I think I have got it figured out, more on that later.

Did 2 races during the last 2 weeks : the 3km Kits Swim Challenge and Escape Velocity’s WarpSpeed Time Trial. So it has been busy.

The Swim went well – at least from my perspective – I was calm , I finished and it was in about the time I thought I would do – I would prefer a little faster but it is what it is and I feel confident that I will finish the Ironman swim. I am hoping for 1 hour 40 min but in the end the goal is to finish it and get to the bike before cut-off which I now know I will do. I did the swim in 1 hour 31 min for 3 km in very choppy water! I felt like I was in a washing machine but when I came out I was not exhausted and more importantly I did not panic or freak out at the start or whenever anyone came up to me – I was “Bamboo”.

– Funny aside - I just finished my OWS course on Thursday and at our wrap up dinner a couple of other ladies in the course were talking and I said they should register for the 750m race and use it as a training swim. The amazing Diane hemmed and hawed and I cajoled her into registering with the famous “Really, HOW BAD CAN IT BE?” line. So fast forward to Saturday morning and I am standing with there with Special K who has come to cheer and Diane wanders up and says I can’t believe I am doing this – look what happens over a beer? Shaun talked me into this! Special K was like – this is nothing – do you know the crazy things this woman has talked me into over a beer or breakfast? Stormy, Marathons, H2H! It is a slippery slope sister! I started laughing – Who ME???? – I guess you had to be there and know the history – it is kinda true. Anyone want to for a beer...

Next up was the Escape Velocity Time Trial – coach wanted us to do a 20km Time Trial in Abbotsford and then I was to bike home from Abbotsford to Burnaby to get another 4 hours in. We got there early and signed in I chose the 10:17am start time because I wanted to get done and on the road back home – it was going to be a long day as it was. I did my 30+ min warm-up and rode up to the start line 5 min prior but some error they did not have me down on the list – when I tried to talk to them they would not listen – the list showed the time and it was fairly obvious that they forgot to put my name in. Anyways after some negotiating they re-slotted me in at 10:33 – warm-up now wasted but better than their suggested 11:00 time that I refused. Apparently anger fuels me because my time was 36:30 (my watch still waiting for their results) which I am very pleased with as I wanted under 40 min. I then grabbed all my stuff from the back of my friends car and put it back on my bike – fluids, food, and such (forgot my tool kit thankfully I did not flat on the ride!). Went to the bathroom, grabbed a banana and headed off on my Fraser Valley adventure! Snap Crackle Pop it was a HOT day – but my legs felt fine and I did not get a headache or anything from the heat – one problem was my neck and shoulders were cramping up something fierce – need to get my handle bars looked at.

For fuel I had 5 bottles of Electrolytes, 2 gels, a banana and a peanut butter sandwich – I felt good just HOT - no leg cramping. I think I might be better to eat a few more gels and I could have eaten my apple I brought but my metabolism is ridiculously slow so I believe for me it is more important to make sure I get in the electrolytes/liquids since I sweat a ridiculous amount. I did try to add some Natural liquid minerals in my bottles during the past week but I don’t like the taste and that means I won’t drink them which defeats the purpose.

I will continue to fine tune/tweak this since I know it is essential I stay hydrated. The one bonus with the heat wave is that I am getting used to riding/running in the heat. Only 35 more days to go – gosh it is coming up fast!
Shaun

Monday, July 13, 2009

Headwind – Oh how I love you!

Yes you read the title right but more on that later.

This weekend I went up for a whirlwind trip to the interior – drove up Friday night, fell into bed at mom’s house and was out the door by 6:30am Saturday.

Got to Penticton and was in the water by 7:30”ish”. While donning my wetsuit I was talking to some other ladies that were heading out on their bikes and asked distance and they said just under 2000 metres to the boat and back. The water was gorgeous, felt like a warm bath. Mind you compared to the last 2 weeks of swimming in the Pacific anything feels warm! I did the loop twice practicing all the things Peter and Trevor my OW coaches have been working on with me. I was thoroughly calm, felt relaxed. I loved my “bouy” while sighting and really enjoyed watching the fish swim below me. I thought that was neat. Total distance I am going to say 3200/3300 metres and time was and hour and 21 minutes so I am tickled by that. Will do a few more long swims but it felt good to know I can swim over 3km comfortably.

Next up the bike – main goal was to take a look at Yellow Lake how I was going to get there was the question. Coach wanted me out for 5 hours. Originally I thought I would park at the bear in Keremeos and ride the into town to the finish and then back out to Keremeos but Judith mentioned that I might not “be pleased” with the ride back. So coach then suggested riding up toward Apex along Green Mountain which would throw me out at the base of Yellow Lake and I could ride up and cut in at Twin Lakes and head back to Penticton via OK falls. After talking with my new friends and them learning I was by myself they indicated that Green Mountain road may not be the best route for a few reasons – roaming dogs, no cell coverage, etc, etc. I was not convinced but while trying to find Channel Parkway and getting turned around I made my decision – I know how to ride the front part of the course and shoot if I am getting lost when I kind of know where I am not the best idea to ride somewhere I have never been before with no cell coverage. See I can make smart decisions!
So once I found the Channel Parkway I headed out along the east side of Skaha to Maclean road, Maclean road into OK falls where I stopped and confirmed how to get to White Lake road. So I headed out to White Lake along HWY 97 which by the way is a nice long climb to the turn off, but what are you going to do. I then made the turn on to White Lake Road – hmmmm more climb, and more climb and more climb well it is all good. It was starting to warm up nicely now and by warm – I could feel sweat dripping from my underarms on to my legs which let me know that I had chaffed my underarms during the swim. EXCELLENT! I was through most of the Aerobar bottle and moved to - my first frozen bottle hoping that it had melted a bit by now. No need to worry – it was barely cold! For the next hour or so I rode through the back area of White Lake and Twin Lakes in dead air and increasing heat on a pretty much continuous climb with far too short mini dips but the country is beautiful. I was never so happy to see the junction to HWY 3 as I knew I would get a downhill which would create a breeze while I rode down to the base of Yellow Lake. At rest stop at Yellow Lake I had been out for about 3 hours so I stopped and ate my PB sandwich and finished off my warm liquids. I then zipped down to the base to the intersection Coach originally had me coming out on and turned around to head back up. Again not to be too tongue in cheek but Yellow Lake is not so bad in no time I was at the top and pulling into the store to refill all the bottles with COLD beverages. Then it was back on the road into town. The heat was relentless – I believe they said it was 32 – it felt hotter. Anyways this is when ran into the Headwind and it was instant love. It was the most amazing breeze I have ever felt . If for nothing else then it moved the air around. The trip back into town was good except by now my legs were beginning to cramp up and my hip was some angry with me for this adventure! I was back at the car in no time where I tossed the bike in the car, pulled of the shoes and literally ran into the lake and sat down! AHHHHHHH much better.

So I have to look into where one buys Salt tabs because obviously 4 bottles of electrolytes does not have enough salt in it for this little sweat hound! Total time on the bike just under 4 hours 45 min. A little slower than I would have liked but overall not too bad. Some things to consider I had not slept well at all for the last 3 days. My leg/hip have been bothering me quite a bit for the last 2 weeks. Finally was able to get into Massage TX who said geez your muscles are like wood! It was the most painful 90 minutes but today it feels much better.
So I have pretty much rode the course now to just put it all together on race day. Only 48 more sleeps!!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Eternal hope and god speed for your journey.

This is probably going to be a bit of a rambler as I have been pondering this for a few days and I guess my initial shock has dulled.

A beutiful and talented lady that I had the distinct pleasure of coaching through her first 2 half marathons and someone I consider a friend if only in the Sunday run/facebook sense of the word has been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She is 29 years old.

I had the pleasure of watching her mature and evolve as a runner. It was wonderful to watch her complete her first full marathon this spring under the careful guidance of my close friends June and Cory who coach the Full Marathon clinic. I was so proud of her.

She recently got married but her facebook updates over the last couple of weeks gave me pause and while she never directly said it I had a sinking feeling that she was about to begin a new journey. I sent her a note this week and she confirmed my suspicions of breast cancer.

In my past career I worked with Cancer patients at a clinic that did PET scans so I am well versed in the language of cancer. It was a job that I was very passionate about and was devastated the day we closed the clinic so much so that I have taken a LOA until they open the clinic again.

The thing I learned in that job was eternal hope and strength. I met some of the most beautiful and amazing people. The inspired me and made me thankful and grateful for all the gifts I have and to not take for granted a single second - live every moment.

I told my friend that she was about to begin a journey and that while it was not clear now it would be eventually be made clear why she was chosen. I explained that there were so many advances and survival rates were very high and was pleased to learn that she had, in my mind, the best oncologist in the province on her side.

Finally I told her to try and stay optimistic, to call or email me if she needed anything or just a shoulder to lean on, and lastly to plan her comeback use it to keep her focused and motivated because I had every intention of running the Vancouver International Marathon with her next year if she would slow down enough so I could keep up!

God speed to you "K", thank you for sharing with me and know that you are in my prayers.

Shaun

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zen in the water

Tuesday night I had my first open water session of my 4 week course with Peter Scott - AKA Seahiker.

He comes highly recommended by Judith and Cindy and well I need to get a handle on the panic attacks I have in open-water.

I will be honest I was a little skeptical during the first session - they had us lie back and float to prove we could not sink. Then they had us lie face first - again can't sink then they had us dive down to the bottom - see you pop back up. Okay get it.

He also showed us relaxation techniques - let your neck completely rest in the water so you are not using energy for that and drag your hands so you get a feel for the water. Got it.

Yesterday I did the Sasmat Canada Day swim - I was in the 2km swim. It was a success in that I felt completely calm at the start and throughout the race - I thought about all the things he said - relaxing the neck, dragging the fingers, feeling the water. Check, check and check! Time not so good 54 minutes - my slowest time yet so a little bummed but as coach said you were not last, you did not panic and you came out of the water not exhausted. Still 54 minutes - I am hoping to do the Ironman in 1 hour 40 minutes - so I need to get faster to.

Next week we work on stroke technique and rate - I am crossing fingers that I will get back my 4 minutes but in the end Ironman is 3 events and not 1 so as long as I get out of the water before cut-off which I do not see as being a concern it is all good. Coach says the swim is a warm-up for the bike and thus should be treated that way.

Shaun