Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Saturday I woke up at 5am after having slept a solid 8hrs. I definitely felt well rested. Got all my stuff ready to go and headed to breakfast, which was a plain bagel with PB & banana. Rikki drove me to the race site and other than a few issues trying to find parking, nothing particularly exciting happened. I got in the water for my swim warm up from 7-7:20am and did some easy freestyle, some backstroke and a few breakouts and kicking on my side. For some reason kicking on my side really does a great job getting me ready - whether it’s for a hard set or on race day. After the swim I would say my nerves really started to kick in. SWIM: 7:50 am on the dot the gun went off for the swim start (an out and back course). I felt good going out, waves were really big the whole time though. However, on the way back I couldn’t see anything since the sun was in my eyes (possible improvement for next time – buy expensive sunglass type goggles) and i swam wayyy off course. Very frustrating. I think I swam a 28 minute swim, when my goal was around 26 minutes).

T1: Found my bag with no major issues, found my bike...and I was off!
BIKE: Was caught up in a draft pack for the first 40km (you never mean to draft, but sometimes you can’t really help it), but I got dropped at a turnaround and they took off in their pack, then was passed by some of the stronger cyclists during the last half of the race. Hip flexors were sore...completely forgot my coach’s advice to get out of the saddle every 15 minutes or so to give them a bit of a break. Was pretty much dying the last 15km of the bike course and thinking to myself how do I get the energy I need for the run. My nutrition on the bike included a power gel right after the swim, 4 scoops eload total.

T2: Wow! They actually rack your bike for you at the World Championships. AMAZING!
RUN: Well - I felt really tired and lacking energy by this point, had a gel within the first mile and at halfway and took water or Gatorade or water at each aide station. Was really heel striking on the run – I think my shoes are getting a little old as they were very uncomfortable to run in and hurting my feet. Thankfully no calf issues!!!
FINISHING TIME: 4:33.01 (I wanted to break 4:30 for sure so I was a bit disappointed, but that only means there is room for improvement!!!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Muskoka 70.3 Race Report

I woke up for my race at 5 am wake-up after about 6 -7 hrs sleep. At 5:30 am I had breakfast of a plain bagel with PB & jam and a maple brown sugar granola bar. At 6:30 am I arrived at race sight, did a very short run (no calf pain at all) from the water exit to the transition area. Then I set up my transition area: put my bike shoes (with wind resistant toe covers!) in pedals, hung a WattsUp jersey with arm warmers and bike gloves in two back pockets (just in case), helmet upside down on the aerobars, sun glasses with yellow lenses in the helmet (b/c it was overcast).

Next, I did at 15 min swim warm-up at 7:45 because I didn't realize that there would be another one later. Spent the next 45 minutes a bit chilly. At 8 am I had a KICKBUTT BALL!

8:30 swim start (last wave!): I started on the outside again and was able to break away from the pack. Naomi Cermak sprinted the start though so while I followed her through the whole swim she was too far ahead of me to get a good draft. However, being in the 6th wave there were always people in front of me so probably got a draft off them. Didn't stop my watch for the swim :( but I think that the timing mat was pretty close to the water's exit so...SWIM TIME: 27:45 and T1:3:48 (ahhh - this hill into T1 was a preview of the entire run course).

Bike: This bike ride felt amazing! Even though my de-railler wouldn’t allow my to shift into my two easiest gears! I was in aero for a lot of the hills even. I just felt like I could power up any hill and even at the end of the bike I thought I could have done North Portage Road all over again and still be fine. Claudia Johnston passed me at the 40km mark (aside: after she came 3rd woman overall she went out for another 100km!).

5km (i didn't start this until 500m in though): 8:53.19
15km: 9:50.93
20km: 8:04.05
25km: 8:26.95
30km: 9:50.36
35km: 7:47.95
40km: 9:32.24
45km: 8:01.26
50km: 9:25.54
55km: 8:34.77 (time was 2:10.07...almost a minute faster than Muskoka LC swim-bike)
60km: 8:49.67
65km: 10:02.70
70km: 8:46.94
75km: 9:25.57
80km: 9:10.52
85km: 8:48.08
90km: 10:13.33
94km: 6:50.51

T2: 1:05 (during this part I noticed my calf a little tight)

RUN Splits:
1km - 4:21.97
2km- 4:31.88
3km - 4:35.98
4km - 4:28.99
5km - 4:27.28
6km - 4:40.43
7km - 4:19.51
8km - 4:42.17
9km - 4:04.25
10km - 4:58.99
11km - 4:39.73
12km - 4:53.10
13km - 4:32.83
14km - 4:19.59
15km- 4:40.28***this is when the pain hit and the hills were making me angry
16km - 4:48.89
17km - 4:57.78
18km - 5:08.50
19km - 5:03..79
20km - 5:05.14
21.1km - not sure...but probably > 5min. Just happy i survived without calf issues!!!

Happy with the race! Excited for Clearwater. And my wedding next weekend!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Race Report: Muskoka LC Swim/Bike 2010-07-25

Since I can't run due to a calf strain it has been hard to motivate myself to update my blog. I decided that when I felt that I accomplished something important I would write in it. Coming first overall (including men!) in the swim-bike at Muskoka has given me a reason to post. So here it goes...


Pre-race dinner @ 6:30pm:
1/4 loaf ACE baguette, 2 helpings of shell pasta with meatsauce, 2 chocolate cookies (it was my this is allowed)

Race day:

4:45am - Wake-up(approximately 6.5 hrs of sleep)
5:30am - On the road
5:32am - Encountered a slight problem, when going up a steep hill on the dirt road leading out of the cottage - the car would not go up it! Had to floor it up the hill - people in the car were slightly panicked...Rikki was thinking "Oh no my car is gonna break" while I was thinking "I need to make it to this race!" Luckily the car prevailed (bikes still on the rack) due to my excellent driving skills!
5:50am - Tim Horton's breakfast of choice was the usual, a 12-grain bagel with peanut butter and strawberry jam and a medium black coffee. I know I should have gotten a plain bagel to limit the fiber on race day, but I was worried about trying something new. I just really wanted to do well this race. Will try a "plain bagel" next time I do a "B" race. However, today I stuck to what was normal for me.

7:10am - Arrived at the race. A little behind schedule - ran to transition (luckily we picked up our race kits the day before) to set up my bike, clipped my shoes in pedals - right shoe forward and left shoe back (I like to run with the chain on the opposite side), with helmet upside down on arrow bars, sunglasses positioned inside them to minimize transition time. Quickly checked that the brake pads wouldn't rub against the wheels and put the bike in an easy gear so that I wouldn't struggle on that initial uphill right out of transition.

7:35am - Picked up my timing chip, got body marked and ran to the swim exit, had a "KICK BUT BALL" (38 calories, 40mg of caffeine!), put on my wetsuit and Christine Jeffreys (a pro) did up my wetsuit and I did up hers. A little pre-race excitement! I slipped into the water and swam an easy 750m with the current to the start site. I did some backstroke, some free drills, a little bit of explosions during this swim and got to the start 5mins before the gun. Good swim warm-up - check! After talking to Paul Bregin about how I'm always getting run over at the start of the swim because I don't have a fast start he told me to position myself to the outsides so that this doesn't happen. That's what I did for this race. The pros were gathering towards the left so I moved the the far right.

SWIM - 29:28

8:00am - Start time! Explode: fast arms and fast kick...GO GO GO...and what would you know...I didn't get kicked in the face, elbowed in the head, yanked at the ankles or swum over top of! It was the best start ever! I found someones feet and was off! During the first 500m I was trying to get ahead of the person who was in front of me but realized that we were swimming at roughly the same speed so I should just stay on her feet to conserve a little bit of energy. At one point I accidentaly touched them though at about 700m to the swim finish and wow, she picked up the pace. So I did too and was amazed that I still had the energy to stay with her - in the last 200m or so she did get ahead but only slightly. We exited the water about 10seconds apart (my time was 28:30, with about a 58s run to get to transition) for a swim time of 29:28). SWEET!!! That is super fast for this course and my best time before was a 32:10 in 2008, I swam a 32:36 in 2007.

T1 - 1:09

Uneventful really - hobbled along through transition since I didn't want to risk running hard to re-strain my calf.

BIKE - 1:40:24

Started out the bike with that uphill (glad I put my bike in an easy gear), heart still pounding away from the start of the swim! Legs felt looser than normal (thank-you Craig! - the best massage therapist ever from Athlete's Care). I could see the pro - Jenn Amaral (formerly Jenn Coombs and a long-time rival, she won Age Group Nationals in 2008) in front of me and I though to myself "OK, so long as you keep her in eyesight the whole race you are doing good" but for some reason I caught her and passed her! I expected her to pass me back but nope she never did. I knew the race was going well when not many people were passing females even! And Ming caught me at 40km and he usually passes me much quicker! The hills seemed easier, the flats seemed faster! You can argue that I wasn't saving my legs for a run if you don't know me, but those of you who know me know that I only have one pace, regardless of what's coming up.

Finished the bike in 1:40.24! My best time so far. In 2008 my time was 1:56:50 (but my wheel came off and it took about 5mins to put back on so let's say it was comparable to a 1:51), and in 2007 it was a 1:44:36 (on a different, supposedly "easier" course). That is an amazing improvement in my mind...I couldn't have done it by myself either - I owe part of it to pursuit style biking with Paul up Dragonfly hill, but I mostly owe it to my coach, Adam Johnston, and Peter Oyler. They own WattsUp cycling in Toronto, where I have been cycling since last fall. Twice a week I am at a WattsUp group ride following a program specifically designed for each individual so that they can improve their power output on the bike. Adding power-based riding on the computrainer at WattsUp to my summer outdoor cycling has been the only way I could have improved this much (to put this in numbers: I started out cycling with a lactate threshold of 3.0 Watts/kg last fall and now my lactate threshold is 3.6 Watts/kg - only 9 months later!).

FINISH - 2:11.00

I was second woman overall at this point and I couldn't even do my favourite part of the race - the RUN!!! I immediately ran/hobbled right out of transition and into Rikki's arms...cried pretty uncontrollably for a few minutes until Bailey (Ming's beautiful Bernese) got loose from her leash and started running towards the run course! Thank you Bailey for the distraction!!!

Anyway, overall - a good race. I ended up winning the swim-bike (even beating the top male by 4 mins!).

Next race: who knows...recovery time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cycling at WattsUp

While I wait in lab for my cells to sort into CD4+CD25- and CD4+CD25+ I decided to comment a little bit on the cycling I have been doing this winter. I have never cycled during the winter...actually I have never been much a fan of the bike portion of the triathlon. Even while riding on my GURU! Crazy huh? I have always felt timid on the bike and not completely relaxed during a race until I was off the bike and onto the run. At the end of last season I wanted this to change so I sought out a coach, figuring that he or she might know the best way to improve my cycling and, thus, my triathlons. That was when I found The Endurance Lab and WattsUp Cycling. Endurance lab offered me a customized coaching plan, unlimited communication with my coach and the best part, he is only a quick drive away! Unlike all those other coaches who send you coaching plans over email and never actually see you swim, bike or run. This was perfect! But wait, it gets even WattsUp cycling is based out of the same location as the Endurance Lab and has 24 computrainers, 15 cycling classes during the week at many different times and 4 3hr classes on the weekends. So basically you go to instructor led classes, ride your own bike on a computrainer and follow a power-based training plan that starts in the fall and takes you through to the spring, so you are gradually increasing the intensity of your training as you go. I immediately loved it! And to give you an idea of how worth while it has been for me so far...I did a 20minute TT in January and my avg power was 182 (only 12 weeks later?)...I did my 20minute TT and my avg power was 194W!!! Not only that, but I am actually looking forward to biking outside and doing hill repeats and long rides out in Milton!! CRAZY. I would definetly recommend this program for anyone...beginner or elite cyclist/triathlete looking to do some biking during the winter and even the summer. Since it's power based training its almost exactly like riding outside. I think a wayyy better alternative than driving for hours to get out of the city for a bike ride during the work week in the summer.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

MSO Provincials


1500 FR - 20:06 (1st)
400 IM - 5:45 (1st)
200 BR - 3:01 (1st)
400 FR - 5:07 (3rd)

Check out the videos on facebook

Friday, February 26, 2010

Training Update

So...with MSO provincials coming up I decided that I should write a blog about my goals for this meet. I swim the 1500 Free and 400 IM on the Friday and 200 Breast and 400 Free on the probably some 4x50 relays. I have pretty much kept my swim training at 5 hrs per week since I got back from Australia - this may not sound like a lot, but I do about 3-6 hrs of computrainer riding, 1.5-3hrs of running and 1 yoga session per week as well. Not so much time in the pool just means that when I do swim I am doing quality sets and not just doing long slow sets. Soooo back to my goals:

1) 1500 Free in under 19:20 - my best time is a 19:27 and I have done timed 800FRs in practice in 10:40 and 10:48 (the 10:48 being more recent, but during rec swim at the AC). I haven't been able to make 5x100s on 1:20 recently though which concerns me. If I can make a set of 3x 5x100 on 1:20 then there may be some hope. Maybe I'll try that set sometime in the near future.

2) 400 IM in less than 5:49 (my pb)-at this point it will depend on the fly. If I can do a sub-1:25 100m Fly and sub-1:30 100m Back and a sub-1:35 100m breast followed by a sub 1:20 100m Free then I should be good. I think the fly will be tough - i had a good month of fly, but now its slow again :(

3) 200 Breast stroke sub-2:50 - I have been wanting to do this since I was 13! It will be tough and will depend on one thing: whether I have my timing. I am either a good breast stroker or a horrible university my pb was 3:09 or something at varsity meets...then a year later I swam a 2:52 in practice. Lately I have been able to go 2:58 in practice (going on 3:15 pace time) and on Wednesday I did a set of 20x50 Breast on 55s and I held 44s for almost the whole set, except for a few i did in 45s and the last one I did in 43s. So we shall see....

My performance at meets has always been very unpredictable. It usually happens that I make PBs in all my races or add 30s in all of them.

Until next time,
- M

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hard Work

Today was a long day...up at 6:45 for morning swim practice followed by a full at work from 9am - 5pm...then I headed to my coaching job after that. At 7:15pm I started my second swim freestyle felt so sore and my legs were heavy. This was weird because I still felt I had some extra energy – I just was too sore to use it for freestyle. When the main set ended up being 8 x 200m Free I knew that I couldn't make it though a freestyle set. Since Provincials is coming up and I plan to do the 400 IM and 200 breast stroke I decided to mix up the set and do it as 200 IM, 200 breast 4 times. The only catch - the pace was 3:15 per 200...I had my work cut out for me. The first 200 IM ended up being pretty easy and my breast stroke felt good (11 strokes per should be around 10, but I wasn't too concerned...) - I easily made the pace by going 2:55. My first length of the next 200 (it was all breast stroke) seemed great and I wasn't falling too far behind the freestylers – amazingly the second length felt good too, and the next lengths too! I came into the wall in a 2:59 (considering my best time throughout university is only a 3:04, and my best time ever only a 2:50, this seemed pretty good). Still with only 15 seconds rest I knew I would have a tough time keeping this up. I managed to do ok (200 IMs – 2:55, 2:57, 2:59; 200 BR – 2:59, 3:02, 3:04). It felt great to be able to do it. I had that feeling that you get when everything about your breast stroke comes together: strong kick, powerful pull and perfect timing (the most important thing). Anyway, the point of this is not to brag, its to go back to the reason that I was able to get though this set (I really thought I was going to puke during the 6th 200) and the reason that I love triathlons and the reason that I can work hard today. It goes back about 10 years ago when I was swimming as a kid: it wouldn’t matter what was going on with the rest of my life, when I got to the pool I was expected to perform BETTER than the BEST of my ability. Having to do those sets with seemingly impossible pace times and having to go “a quarter of your best 200 time” for 24 50s in a row really taught me how to work hard and get through the impossible. At the time I thought I was just doing those sets so I could go fast at the next meet – but those sets do more than that, they prepare you to work hard later on in life. They are the reason that I got through the set I did today, the reason that I compete in triathlons and the reason that I am who I am.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Intro to Me

Hello - this is my first post so I figure I should say a little bit about myself. I have been competing in triathlons since 2004. My first triathlon was in a surfing wetsuit, on a rented no-name and very heavy road bike. It was also pouring rain! However, being the only one in my age group, I still came first! That was enough to get me hooked. I did a few races just for fun in 2005 and then, after suffering a broken hip in 2006, came back in 2007 to come 6th at Nationals and qualify for the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver 2008. I came 50th out of 54 in Vancouver but that wasn’t enough to drive me away from the sport. I went on to compete in the Ontario Subaru Series races during the summer of 2008 and came out with lots of age group wins, and even an overall female win in the Ontario Sprint Provincials. Not only that, but I qualified for the World Triathlon Championships in Australia in 2009! The next year was a very challenging triathlon year...I was trying to finish my MSc in Medical Biophysics, studying for the MCAT, applying for Medical School, volunteering at a hospital, working part-time and trying to keep up my training! It all came together in the end though and I ended up coming 4th in the Olympic Distance (Female 20-24) World Triathlon Championships and 2nd in the Aquathlon (Female 20-24) in Australia. And when I came back to Canada I qualified for the Boston Marathon (as a man!) after running the Toronto International Marathon in 3:10. A great end to my 2009 season. For 2010…my goal: MASTERING THE BIKE! I have a new coach and a new training group at WattsUp Cycling in Toronto. Upcoming posts will comment on my training, any time trials and my 10K swim for Haiti on February 15th!