Monday, July 26, 2010

Bronze at Bala!

My second triathlon of the season, and my placing improved!

Bala is beautiful and the day was perfect. I did not sleep in this time and my younger son was with me, which I always appreciate -- he's been my cheering squad since my first tri, runs with me on the course and has only missed two ... which happened to be my last two. It was nice to have him back.

My goal this time was to try to improve transition. When I began triathlons I made a conscious decision to not worry much about transition but to make sure I was comfortable going into the next leg. Now I've done a whole bunch I've gotten faster but still not where I should be. My goal was to have each transition come in under 2 minutes.

So, the swim -- wave starts, and thanks to my age and gender I was one of the later starts. I don't mind that though -- I'd rather be later than first, frankly. I tried but failed to find someone to draft, so I was on my own. At one point I saw someone who looked to be struggling and called out to make sure he was okay, and he said he was, so I continued on. The first half of the swim was moderate. The last half was much better, and it had nothing to do with current but was because of my breathing patterns. There's a way I breathe when I train which works very well for me but just doesn't work in races. You'd think I'd figure this out at some point and stop trying to do it during the race! Next time. Once I settled into the proper racing breathing pattern I sped up quite a bit. My swim time was 15:36 for 750m (including the short run up) so it was pretty close to my last race.

T1 went pretty well, I thought. Took off the wetsuit, shoved a bit of banana in my mouth, threw my helmet and shoes on and went running off. My time was 1:57, so I made my under 2 minutes goal!

I kept hearing about how challenging the bike course was, but I found it pretty good. Again, I didn't do quite as well at the beginning as the rest, and in retrospect I think that was because I kept hearing how challenging it was and was waiting for the big hills! They never really came and it was honestly just a nice ride. A couple of guys passed me at the beginning and then I passed dozens, especially in the last quarter. I did think my time had been better than it was, but I did 30k in 59:26 including the run up/back from transition. One of the faster women's times.

T2 I thought I might not have beat my 2 minutes because as it turned out I hadn't done my helmet up properly and couldn't get it undone. I had to somehow slip the strap over my head (not sure how I managed that) but as it turned out T2 was 1:31 -- pretty good!

But as soon as I started running, I knew what was coming. I'd been really, really dumb the night before and ate some curry and rice. Normally this food is totally fine, but running ... er ... churns things up in the digestive system. The gas pains began, and definitely affected my running. My son was waiting for me and it was so great to have him there through the run. I was pretty sure I didn't have a great run time and I was right -- 42:36 for 7.5 km. I should have been at least two and more like three or four minutes faster. And since the woman who came in second was less than two minutes faster than me, that hurt a little! Next time I have to listen to myself when I tell myself not to eat something before a race. The woman who came in first was about 15 minutes faster (yes, really!) so I wouldn't have had a chance at that position.

Anyway, I did feel I'd had a good race and anxiously awaited the results. I was thrilled to see I'd come in 3rd, and my son was very proud of me. Then I was afraid there might not have been very many people in my age group -- it's not nearly as good coming in 3rd out of 5 as it is coming in 3rd out of 12, for example. As it turned out, there were 17 in my group so I felt even better. And overall I came in 21st out of 150 women. I was pretty pleased with that too, at nearly 45.

Onward and upward, I guess now I'm shooting for second. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Routes, Roads, and Roving

I have been struggling lately to get out and train, I seem to have lost my motivation for getting the heart rate up and pushing my limits. Perhaps it's because there aren't really any races coming up that excite me, I should probably sit down, look at the calendar and really put together a plan, but instead I seem to be drawn to doing new routes, getting out of the monotony of my weekly schedule and go long distances and explore new areas.

One of the things I like best about riding is the distance that you can cover and what you see by bike that you don't see by car. This past Saturday I mapped out a route along roads I had never been on. The goal was to do 130 km; however, due to construction and the slow going on the 10 km of gravel that I found myself on, I ended up completing 107 km in the time I had to ride before getting back to prepare for a dinner party. The wind was blowing on the way out, I wasn't riding very fast, but I enjoyed every second of my ride and would have been quite content to ride all day.

There were no fewer than 5 towns or hamlets that heard my wheels woosh by and saw my pearly whites as I was smiling the entire time. I started in Oakville and rode past a garage sale at the church in Limestone, found myself in Terra Cotta waving at the volunteers for the "Garden Tour", my eyes darted from one cute house to another in Glen Williams and I made a note to return and spend time in the galleries, down Main Street in Georgetown I used all my will power to not stop in the bakery or coffee house where I have spent time enjoying a treat in the past. And the wind was at my back as I headed down the familiar roads on my way home. What a great way to celebrate a Saturday.

Once a month the women's group that I meet on Thursdays meet on Saturday for a long ride. The picture is of the cafe in Glen Williams and the plan is to return on July 31 and stop in to refuel with the gang - I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot Hot Hot Water Water Water

How are you enjoying the weather we've been having in Ontario?! For those in other parts of the world, it has been stellar hot here, 40 degrees celsius and I have been loving it, but with hot weather comes the need to hydrate, hydrate, and if you are exercising outside, hydrate some more.

So here are some tips to surviving the heat.
* Drink more water during the day, before you exercise, pre-hydrate
* Take more water, or money if you will be near stores, then you think you will need. It is recommended that you drink a water bottle every hour, so when it is hot plan to drink 1.5 to 2 bottles.
* The other option to point 2 is to plan your route around a community centre or some other building with a water fountain so you can re-fill your bottles.
* If you like cold beverages put your bottles in the freezer half-full the night before you exercise. Then top them up with water before you head out to exercise.
* I prefer drinking water that is the same temperature as me to keep my temperature constant rather than drinking cold water.
* Take a bottle with an electrolyte drink or electrolyte supplement of some sort such as e-Load Discs, especially if you sweat a lot and notice white marks on your helmet straps or hat.
* Drink more water than you normally do after you are done exercising, especially if you feel a headache coming on.
leave your wrists exposed and turned in to the wind, or blow on them to cool yourself down.

Hope some of these tips help.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chin Picnic

A few years ago I raced in the Chin Picnic. I had been excited about the race, it was a Criterium, meaning it was a 1 km loop at Exhibition in Toronto and would be fast. I love Crits, they are short, generally under an hour, and full of action. Usually, they are so much fun that I forget about how hard I'm working and get caught up in the tactics of the peloton, but that's not what happened in 2008, that year I got dropped early and eventually pulled before the end of the race. I had never been more disappointed with myself, it was just a bad day with lack of training leading in to it.

So this year I was ready for some sort of redemption. I still haven't been training like I used to, or would like to, but was feeling good heading in to this year's race and had the plan to simply do the best I could, ride smart, corner well, stay out of the wind, and do the best I could. There was a good field of women with all the categories making up a field of 33 and I started out feeling good. I was moving through the pack to be in the position I wanted to, but wasn't aggressive enough to hold the wheels I wanted to and would slip backward and have to use unnecessary energy to move back where I wanted to. I saw all the attacks as they were happening and positioned myself well to react without having to over exert myself, but then an attack went that was just too fast for me and I saw 14 riders ride past me, leaving me in no mans land.

I rode hard by myself for several laps until the chase group behind me caught up and I rode with a group of about 7 riders, always staying in the top 3 and doing my share of work at the front. With 5 laps to go I started planning where I would initiate my sprint for the finish line with the plan to be the first one in my group to cross the last line. The last lap went as I thought it would and a few women in my pack initiated an early sprint, then I jumped and started chasing them down, but one women was a bit too strong for me and I came second in my group, top half out of all the women, and I won my category. Turns out I won $100, some cool prizes, and made new friends, not a bad way to spend Canada Day!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tosca talks about her first triathlon!

At the age of 51, Tosca Reno wanted to challenge herself so she signed herself up for an Iron Goddess triathlon. Watch as this Eat-Clean Diet rider (and the author of our famed series) recounts her race experience just two days earlier on