Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A moustache for me...in permanent marker!

Full steam ahead! I'm only just barely keeping some injuries at bay - quads and calves are totally acting up, I think due to my poor/inefficient pedal stroke as I hammer away on my road bike. Foam roller torture sessions and a few fascia "massage" sessions that had my toes curling and me just barely containing screams of pain are the only thing keeping these muscles just barely on the right side of injury. Once weekly yoga is better than nothing but it's probably not quite enough to help combat the abuse I'm putting my body through.

Sunday evening yoga, is there a better way to wrap up the weekend? I think not. What a restorative thing to do at the end of a weekend, I'm really, really enjoying it. Funny, I always really enjoy yoga whenever I do it, it's just so bloody expensive I've been priced out of it. As long as I'm running and biking though I think it's something I should continue with in order to balance things out and ensure I remain injury free. Stretching at home helps, of course, but an hour of dedicated stretching is ideal and the only way that's happening is at a scheduled session. It's also very relaxing. I feel like I float out of the yoga studio on a quiet, happy cloud on Sunday evenings. Precisely the opposite of sweating and grunting up a hill perched atop an aluminium contraption. Balance.

Last weekend I did a 12k race as part of an 8 member crew of women for the Whistler 50. I think my time was 1:09 and change. It hurt a lot and at the time I felt like I was running 22k not 12k. I was not prepared. Doesn't matter, it was just for fun, I had no goal other than to drink beer after the race and I did that. This year is the first time the race was held in Whistler, it was formerly called Haney to Harrison and was based out of Harrison. I think I'll probably give this race a pass next year in favour of STORMY - in my opinion a much more fun event, largely due to the Summer weather we get to enjoy in August when STORMY is held. I enjoy trail running more than road running, so STORMY is ideal for me.

I'm keeping myself busy with some strength and endurance classes, spin classes, CompuTrainer sessions, running, swimming and yoga. My schedule is jam packed, I'm sore most of the time, and I'm enjoying all of it. I just registered for a 1/2 marathon in February to ensure I keep up with running, my weakest sport in terms of triathlon. 

It's that time of year again, time to give some thought to 2012 goals and consider what I'd like to work towards and achieve in terms of sport. I've got some ideas hatching, nothing set in stone quite yet. The First Half in February will be a good kick off and my first race of the year.

I plan to get out and enjoy some xc skiing and snow shoeing this Winter too. You've got to make time to play in the snow, otherwise you just end up despising it...so I have to work at having fun outside in the snow or I'll face a Winter of misery. There's snow all over the place now so I guess there's no time like the present to get out there!

As part of Movember I have agreed to draw a permanent marker moustache on my face and keep it on all day for November 30th. I'm a tool, I know. But it's for good and not evil so why not? I've been testing out permanent marker removal methods and so far nail polish remover works best. Why do I get myself into these things?!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I was sprawled on the couch

I did another fun ride on Sunday, around 80k along the Sea to Sky highway between Vancouver and Squamish with a group of 5 others. A lovely day for a ride, we even saw a little blue sky which was a nice break from the clouds and rain we've been having. The beginning of the ride was stop start stop start, we had 3 flats to deal with in the first 45 minutes. Things went smoothly after that and we enjoyed lunch and coffee at Delaney's in Park Royal Village, a perfect pit stop. Even though this ride was about 30km shorter than last weekend's ride I found it more of a challenge. My legs were still sore from Friday's session, eeek!

Monday I spent the entire day sprawled on the couch with a monster of a headache, I didn't go to work, didn't go to CompuTrainer and missed a meeting, it was that bad. My guess is I effed up my liquid/electrolyte/h20 intake the day before and I paid for it Monday. Nasty business and I've got to get that sorted out, don't want to be suffering like that after every long ride. On a positive note, I had the nutrition side of things dialed! Real food all day (bananas, eggs, ham, cheese, whole wheat bread, peanut butter, coconut, plus 1 package of Honey Stinger (Orange Blossom) blocks doled out at regular intervals on the return trip home kept me fueled and feeling feisty.

After work yesterday I went for a lovely trail run with 2 lovely gals. We hit up the Sea to Sky trail starting near Cheakamus (across from Function) and made our way towards the Calcheak bridge. We estimate it was about 10k, and there were some hills thrown in to keep us honest. The terrain was awesome, lovely gravel that's been packed down and doesn't feel loose and sketchy. An A+ for that trail, a perfect running trail. We had a few peek a boo spots where we could see snow capped mountains, the rest was trees and and rivers and creeks. Whistler at its best!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking ahead and excited for Winter!

I had my ass handed to me this morning by way of a personal training session with a coach. One on one there's no ducking out, skipping a lap, or hiding in the forest while you catch your breath. I wasn't doing anything overly strenuous, I'm just really weak! Like a newborn baby weak. My arms felt like jello and my quads were on fire, as they have been for about 3 weeks now. I've no core strength at all and my lunges and squats are pathetic. I think the coach was trying not to laugh at me.  

This Summer more than any other I've become very aware of how physically active a community Squamish is. I suppose I'm moving more in those circles and nothing's changed other than me and who I hang out with. I love this about Squamish and I appreciate it every. single. day. There are people in Squamish who inspire me with what they've achieved. The athletic accomplishments in our little town are astounding. I won't list them, I couldn't possibly do it justice. Suffice to say it's a town full of athletes of all levels with varied interests. A sporty partner to go out and play outside with is just a phone call away, it's pretty great. I love my town so much!

After this morning's one on one coached "skill class" I'm now set to start Strength/Endurance classes and Spin classes for the next 3 months. These on top of the usual swimming, running and Compu Trainer should keep me out of trouble until Christmas. And these classes will be a fun and social way to maintain a regular exercise routine in the dreary Winter months, something that's essential to my well being. Guess I'll squeeze in xc skiing and showshoeing on the weekends? I'm already looking forward to the snow flying as I know many others here are too. There's already all kinds of talk of Callaghan and skate skiing/classic skiing and some co workers and I have plans for some evening snowshoe adventures with headlamps on our favourite running trail near the office.

So much to look forward to, let the snow fly.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lessons learned

So much has happened since my last post in May. Worst Summer of my life last year, best Summer of my life this year. I can hardly believe how much fun I had this Summer, it was fantastic. Below is a bit of an account of my training from May onward.

Shortly after the last post I had a successful sprint triathlon (even with a frightfully cold swim where I couldn't breathe). I continued training for an Olympic distance triathlon with my coach, although he moved far away (Europe) and communication dropped off, which caused some problems that were pretty much all my fault. Eventually I freaked out, had a complete crisis of confidence in terms of triathlon, and totally stepped back and changed my plans abandoning the solo Olympic triathlon pursuit. I ended up doing the local Olympic triathlon as a relay team rather than solo and it was fun and I did well in the swim. My time was 24:46 for the 1,500 metre swim.

I did the Whistler 1/2 marathon in early June. A PB for me, though I didn't feel prepared for the half. Next goal for a 1/2 will be to break 2 hours.

In mid July I quit a sprint triathlon right after the swim. It wasn't a big deal, there are always other triathlons/races, but you know you're not in a good place when you quit mid-race, especially since I wasn't ill or injured, I just straight up hated it and didn't want to be there. Thankfully most everyone I spoke to about it was supportive and agreed that it happens from time to time and that it was no big deal. The funny thing is the day before the sprint tri I did a fantastic open water swim race, and I loved that! The Across the Lake Swim in Kelowna is an amazing event, a must do! Seriously, put it on your race schedule for 2012. Some people asked me if I thought the open water swim race the day before had a negative impact on the sprint triathlon. The answer is no, I don't think so. I felt good and confident and excited about the open water swim, I felt shitty and under prepared and anxious about the sprint triathlon. It was a mental issue rather than a physical one.

I also quit a local running race partway through in late July. It was only a 10k race and after struggling through the first 4km I just took my number off, stepped off the course and went home. I'm not sure what exactly went wrong, I just wasn't feeling it at all.

In early August my cousin and I did an open water swim race in the ocean just off Kit's beach. It was a small field, so I was able to win 1st place woman in the 1,500 metre event. Yay! My time was 22:46. Obviously one doesn't shave off 2 minutes in a month, so I'm confident the currents/tides were in my favour that day.

Lessons learned: pay close attention to how I feel and don't race if I don't feel like racing. I'm a recreational athlete and in it for fun. I race simply to keep my training focused and to work towards a goal. If I don't feel like racing, I'm not going to race. Simple. The other lesson I learned is that a coach can only do his or her job properly if I communicate properly. Yeah, I know...duh!! For whatever reason it just didn't occur to me to tell my coach that I was struggling to finish everything on the schedule every single day etc., so he in turn never modified my training schedule. My fault, I now know better.

I also quit riding my road bike all together in late Spring. My bike didn't fit me properly and that eventually made riding unbearable, so I quit. Luckily I borrowed a friend's bike in August, it's smaller and fits me very well, and what a difference! I've been happily riding ever since and I find myself with a huge ass grin on my face during many rides. Also a lot of grimacing, because sometimes it hurts like hell. I began riding home after work from Whistler to Squamish on a regular basis, it's about 46-50km, and that's been fun and a great way to squeeze in a workout. Then I added a few more longer rides in and finally last weekend I did my longest road ride ever, a total of 110km. Aside from the chafing I felt really good. Note to self: do not do long rides in tri shorts you total dumbass and what the fuck were you thinking?

I haven't been in a lake since August 10th. I did so much lake swimming this Summer I suppose I grew tired of it and the thought of yanking my wetsuit on just didn't appeal to me, that and I was busy focusing on moving house/being social/having fun over the past month. Last night was the first time I've been in the pool in months. Man, do I ever appreciate lake swimming, and we sure are spoiled with what I think is THE nicest lake to swim in, Brohm Lake. The pool chemicals seem to affect me more and more as I age. I know that I should be swimming 3x per week minimum but that is not going to happen this Winter. I think the most my skin/nose/throat/hair can take is 2x a week, so that's that. My sinuses were so effed up last Spring by the end of pool swimming season, I'd like to avoid that this year.

Of course I got up to some other fun stuff but that'll have to wait for another post.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Making Gains

It's nearly the end of week 3 of my cycle and recovery week is next week. I'll begin tapering next week for some races, and this was a big week for training. I had 4 days of dual workouts scheduled, but due to a morning sleep in I missed a swim, so I ended up doing 3 days of dual workouts in the week.

Yesterday I had a 1.5 hour bike followed by a run workout that I did at the track because it called for some sprints. I finished it, my breathing was out of control for most of the speed work, but I finished it. It was a tough brick, I hope week after next I feel stronger for it, I'm sure I will.

I rode my bike outside and I alternated between hot and sweaty and frozen like an ice cube. Mixed sun and cloud made dressing appropriately a challenge. My bike doesn't fit properly at the moment and I despise it. That's all on that topic for now, I'll get all upset and start cursing at my bike again.

Today makes me nervous. I have a 17km run to do. There was a point when I was thinking "my 1/2 marathon training is clashing with my Olympic distance triathlon training" but really, this isn't the case. If I wanted to do a 1/2 iron, I'd be doing long runs just like this so I had better suck it up.

Friday, April 15, 2011

From Couch to Coach

I was thinking of changing the name of my blog to "From Couch to Coach". Seems appropriate...I'm a couch jockey by nature and now I'm working with a coach and it's like a 180 for me. I still hit the couch, especially on Sundays after my long runs...in fact sometimes I'm unable to get off the couch after my long run! Whenever I can these days I grab a moment on the couch but mostly I'm busy working and training. I'm on my 2nd month of training and I still feel like this was the best decision I could have made for myself at this time in my life. I'm happy. Tired and happy and learning that I am capable of more than I ever thought. I'm about to turn 30 and am finally getting to know myself. Huh. Wish I could have done this at the age of 20 but I'm a late bloomer I suppose, just starting to grow up now. And I guess it really is about finding something you enjoy, then it doesn't feel like an arduous, painful, mind numbing task (I'm thinking specifically about school here), it's so painful for me, seriously, a fucking drag, each and every moment of it. Training, though it's hard work, is far easier than school ever was. Even when my legs are searing with pain and I'm entirely out of breath and my lungs are screaming or I'm exhausted to the bone from working out, I'd take that any day over writing an essay or reading a textbook and writing an idiotic assignment. This seems to really suit me, I'm enjoying it, all of it.

The highlight of this week so far...actually there are two! On Tuesday I finally had legs fresh enough to enjoy the speed workout at the track. We did a pyramid, 200 metres, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200 with rests in between each set. My goal time was based on a previous 5km time trial, and that was 1:05/200 metres. I finished each and every set 7-13 seconds faster than my goal time. I'm actually getting faster, for the first time ever. I'm still one of the slowest, but I'm faster. Then to top it off, the next evening I had a kick ass CompuTrainer spin session and my legs, though tired, came through for me. I worked hard and pushed hard and managed to keep my RPMs up and my watts up and I didn't finish even close to last place (a first for me to), in fact I came in 2nd. I've also had a couple of relatively strong long runs over the past month. 

My training is paying off, I'm seeing results, I had no idea I could do this!

Friday, April 8, 2011

return to the real world...postponed for now

Wow, I've been busy since I returned from traveling Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Busy on purpose, but still, not a lot of spare time for stuff like writing blog posts. I'm keeping myself busy busy so I don't have to think about the breakup, and I don't want to think too much about the fabulous beaches of Thailand...ahhh what a sweet 3 months that was. I highly recommend taking 3 months (or more) away from the daily grind, whatever the cost. Best thing I ever did for myself. And I'm currently working on the 2nd best thing I've ever done for myself...

I took up triathlon training with gusto and I'm 'all in' at the moment. I'm working with a coach for the very first time and so far so good. The structure is just what a person like me (lazy!) needs and I must say, I'm enjoying myself so much. Sure, my legs seem to always feel either like they've been pumped full of lead, or they're burning with fire...but I know I'm getting ever so slightly stronger and ever so slightly faster. I realize than an Olympic distance triathlon is no big deal for some, but for me it was. It is. I couldn't do those distances in around 3 hours without some serious training, so that's what I'm doing. It's fun. Really fun! And really hard, but in a fun way!

Tonight though, I'm going to indulge in a Cosmopolitan or five.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Napoleon Dynamite

I called a really cute guy "Napoleon Dynamite" on New Year's Eve. We were partying, dancing in a bar with a bunch of other people and new found friends. He asked me why and I've no idea what my response was. He didn't look anything like Napoleon Dynamite. This guy was cute. Really cute. And I called him Napoleon Dynamite.

Real smooth Kathryn, real smooth. Clearly I'm out of practice.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Time for Lime cooking classes

I have a huge, sharp knife. Look out.
Also? Somebody needs some facial oil blotting tissues, sheesh.

My plate, so fancy (for me)! It tasted good too, very good.

And what's an authentic Thai meal on the beach without an icy cold Chang beer? Ahhh bliss. PS we also made the crispy spring rolls!

I highly recommend the Time for Lime cooking classes on Koh Lanta, Thailand. We learned a lot of useful information about the ingredients and preparation of Thai food, ate some delicious grub and even had some fun along the way. The best part though? All of Time for Lime's profits go to Lanta Animal Welfare, the only animal shelter on Koh Lanta. They have done so much good for the cats and dogs on Lanta, and they have no support from other local businesses nor from the Thai government. The Thai community is also not involved enough to keep it running or help fund it. Visitors to Thailand are who help fund this place by donating to the shelter, and visiting Time for Lime. If you ever find yourself in Thailand on Koh Lanta, I highly recommend Time for Lime cooking classes...and if you don't feel like cooking yourself, their restaurant serves up THE VERY BEST food I ate in Thailand. They also have bungalows on site, and of course you can volunteer to walk dogs/spend time with cats at the Lanta Animal Welfare shelter just down the road.