Monday, February 29, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build: week 9 + Race week!

Solid week this week, although the lack of swimming is a bit annoying. Just how it goes when you have young kids and the husband type person has to go away for work. And my lunch hour pool is still closed for renovations. Swimming is a right pain in the ass to schedule, is what it amounts to.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Kickass 12k tempo run; TR Dade (1 hour)
Wednesday: TR - Phoenix (1:30)
Thursday: 8k run
Friday: TR - Avalanche Spire (1:15)
Saturday: 26k long run
Sunday: 2400m swim; 30k bike ride OUTSIDE; 10k run

Yeah, so yesterday's weather was kind of crazy, wasn't it? 10 degrees in February!!? When I left the pool I knew there was absolutely no way I was going to lock myself in the basement on the trainer. I ended up dusting off Foxy (my road bike), massively overdressing, and doing a short 30k ride. OUTSIDE. In February. Bonkers!


The wind was intense. I took this picture, then had what I think was my slowest ride ever up the No 1 side road series of climbs. Every time I crested one of the little hills the headwind would basically push to me a complete stop! Still, though, just being able to get outside on a bike was SO FUN. 

Other random stuff from the week. This is what happens when Coach Zin picks the bike trainer workouts:

That wasn't fun at all!

What has been passing for 'snowy' this winter

More from the sort of snowy lunch run

Not at all snowy long run with my best girls. Open your eyes, Sam!
 Really happy with how that long run went. Every week I worry a bit about the Friday ride/Saturday run combo, but all this training seems to be working because it hasn't been an issue. Both the ride and the run felt really great. It's probably the awesome running company. Although I have to admit, as much as I love our long runs, I'm kind of looking forward to after ATB, when I can drop those distances back down into the 15-20k range. 20k runs I find enjoyable - as soon as we get beyond that I start to question my sanity.

Playing with an HDR photo app on my phone. Still figuring out what I'm doing there, but I think it'll make for some nice pics. 

Here's a fun story of me being a complete idiot!

So Tuesday I decided to do a tempo run, and figured it was a good chance to think about a pace goal for the Chilly half. For reference, my half marathon PB is 1:51:19. I thought that to get a new PB I'd need to run at least 5:09/km, which seemed unlikely, and is why last week I said I wasn't going to go for it. But a 5:15/km pace seemed reasonable to attempt. I was idly wondering what finish time that would translate to (I was figuring a 1:53 ish), and plugged it into the Cool Running pace calculator.


Yeah. That changes things. So I did the 8k at 5:15 and nailed it and felt freaking great doing it. In fact I was fast on every km except the last one, which was exactly 5:15 and included climbing the Longwood hill, so yeah.

Going for the PB, guys. Let's do this thing, Chilly! Not really sure how this is going to work out (and weather is always a fun potential factor), but no way to know but try.

Plan for the week. Kind of a work in progress as I need to work out the details. Going to be a much lighter week than usual, that's for sure. Taper!!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: maybe swim, FTP test (yay)
Wednesday: run with some intensity; some sort of easy TR workout
Thursday: short run
Friday: rest
Saturday: easy swim
Sunday: RACE! + TR recovery ride

Monday, February 22, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build: week 8

Strava has been playing around with the profile page, and added this nifty weekly summary feature (although it looks like you can only see it on your own page, you can't creep other people's summaries). Although I swear they have no swimmers on their staff, because who reports swim pace in km/hr?? I'm still pretty much a swim n00b and even I know it should be time per hundred! And I'm not sure how swimming burns 0 calories. It sure makes me hungry.

also, swim elevation lulz. Just leave it blank, dudes.
Edit: just found out this isn't a Strava thing, it's coming from the StravistiX Chrome add on. Sorry Strava! And that chrome add on is sweet and everyone should use it for awesome stuff like this. Even if the swim pace is in km/hr.

Monday: 2000m swim
Tuesday: TR Haku (1 hour)
Wednesday: 8k run
Thursday: 1600m swim; TR Glassy (1:20)
Friday: 8k run; TR Seneca Rocks (1:15)
Saturday: 30k run
Sunday: 2000m swim; TR Cumberland (1:15) + 8k brick run

The week started pretty well, with a swim on the Family Day holiday Monday. But I felt a little blah that day, which carried over into Tuesday and Wednesday too. Not enough to make me want to cancel any workouts, but enough that I could tell I was fighting something. Sure enough, my husband ended up pretty sick on Friday/Saturday. I thought I'd escaped it when I felt fine Saturday/Sunday, but now I'm feeling that little tickle in my throat that tells me I might be next. Damn it.

Tuesday I planned to run at lunch, but woke up to snow covered sidewalks. This winter has spoiled me and I'm now far too much of a princess to go run in that nonsense, so I pushed the run back to Wednesday (and gave up my rest day in the process, which is less than ideal).

To be fair, thanks to the ultra cold weekend that preceded this, there was a lot of ice hidden under that snow, and I didn't want to risk a slip and fall.
Waiting until Wednesday meant running on the rail trail at work. Once again thank you city of Hamilton for doing such a great job with the snow clearing on the multi use paths!
The trainer rides were all pretty solid this week. If anything they felt too easy. Which is a sure sign I'm due for an FTP test.
"This is great! I'm so screwed after I up my FTP and it all gets really hard again!"
I spent all week looking forward to Saturday, since we'd planned a run around the bay and OMG running with people! YAY! Then people started dropping out thanks to illness and sprained ankles and such things, until it was just Sam and Nicole and I (and Sam is recovering from the flu and had to keep the distance shorter). But we had a fantastic run. The sun was shining, the wind was a pain in the ass, the temp was warm, the distance was long. It was one of those long runs that reminds me that running is pretty great.

Obligatory attempt to take a fun picture courtesy Sam. Please note how perfectly colour coordinated we are in our pink tops and purple hats/headbands/buffs. Not planned, we're just that awesome.

Halfway through the run at Copps. I don't care what the actual name is, it's Copps, damn it.

My watch was all 'woo longest run ever!'. Which isn't true, but is true for the watch, I guess.

Nicole had to run an extra 2k at the end to hit her long run target for the week, but I pretty much noped right out of that when my watch hit 30k (bad running partner! bad!). So I amused myself by checking out the beach while she ran out to the end of the pier and back.

Ice at the edge of the lake. So much less of it than usual, though.

Yep, that's some more ice. 

(yeah I waited for Nicole to finish because I wanted a post run selfie with the lift bridge in the background. We earned that!)

Sunday I went to the pool and out of nowhere had pretty much my best swim ever.

Not sure where that came from, but I like it. Considering that I'm not really working on my swim in any sort of organized way (other than aiming for 3 swims and 6000m a week, more or less), I'll take it!

Then a solid trainer ride, and an amazing feeling brick run. I was feeling ready to tackle another 30k! I need to write down what I ate on Saturday or something, because whatever was going on, it felt awesome.

Fake winter is back! Things are looking good.

Warning: Boring Emma tries to figure out her plan for the next two weeks blather ahead. You should probably just skip down to the end. You've been warned!

So that week wraps up the Trainerroad plan I've been following. I won't know for sure the outcome until I do an FTP test, but I sure feel a lot stronger and like I've really increased my endurance. And the plan itself was great - lots of variety in the length of the workouts and the nature of the intervals, and the long ones built up gradually so that by the time I got to the last, stupidly long one, it didn't seem like such a crazy idea. Two thumbs up to that plan.

What now, though? Start the next phase (a build plan)? It's complicated by the Chilly half and ATB. I deliberately started the base plan a few weeks early to give me some slack in the schedule, which allows me to insert a couple of extra recovery weeks. ATB is, for me, the far more important of the two races and the one where I'm most interested in trying to get a PB. And the one I feel more ready to PB at, to be honest. So I'm going to train through Chilly, and essentially treat it as a catered training run with a medal. But I don't want to start the build plan just yet. With the way the weeks work out, it makes more sense to do the first 3 weeks of build in between Chilly and ATB, race ATB hard, and then take a break to recover. After that, I'll finish out the build plan and move on to the final stage of prep for Muskoka.

So I'm going to repeat one of the harder weeks of the base plan this week (probably week 5 because it's a bit less insane than week 7), just to maintain momentum, and then repeat the recovery week next week so I can go into Chilly feeling good. Then after Chilly the build plan starts.

/end boring blather

So what's on tap for this week:

Monday: rest. (woo!)
Tuesday: TR (?)
Wednesday: run at lunch
Thursday: TR (?)
Friday: run at lunch; TR (?)
Saturday: long run with the girls; swim?
Sunday: swim, TR(?) + brick run

Still have to firm up which trainer workouts I'll do. And due to family life stuff, no weekday swims in the schedule. As much as I hate to miss them (especially after that amazing swim yesterday morning!), I'm kind of excited that I don't have to get up early any day this week!! Hellz yeah more sleep!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 7

Peak week! Mother Nature threw a big old polar vortex shaped wrench into the works, which meant rearranging some plans and more time on the trainer than initially planned.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 2000m swim; 10k lunch run
Wednesday: TR - Berryessa (1 hour)
Thursday: 1800m swim; TR - Phoenix (1:30)
Friday: 8k run; TR - Round Bald (2 hours)
Saturday: TR - Alleghany (3:15); 2200m swim
Sunday: 19k long run

I had a bunch of stuff written about this week in my head, but no so much with the actually writing any of it down. Crap. Let's throw out some pictures and see if that jogs my memory at all.

Club shirts arrived! Representing at early morning swim.
Company on a lunch run! Love it. Thanks Christina!
I had to move things around because my husband I went to the Taste of Burlington launch party on Tuesday night, where we stuffed our faces with yummy samples from local restaurants. It was fabulous!

Sorry, Trainerroad, but this was more fun.

Wednesday we got this:

But I liked fake winter! Bring back fake winter!
Fortunately I was on the trainer that night. Doing VO2 max intervals, hooray. HAHAHA. There's very little hooray with VO2 max except when they end.

Before: this will be fun! After: THAT WASN'T FUN AT ALL.
 Friday the weather turned to cold, but not too cold, so I bundled up and got in a lunch run. Still remember what the appropriate clothing is for -12. Yay me!

The original plan had been to run 30k on Saturday morning with the girls and other assorted cool people, but then this bullshit happened and we all collectively noped the hell out of that idea:

So I did the more sensible thing and spent over three hours on the trainer. My idea of what's sensible maaaaaaaay be slightly out of whack. Although I did skip the planned brick run, because I just could not with the idea of putting on All the Clothes while sweaty and tired from the trainer ride to venture into the arctic.

A photo posted by Emma I (@egrrrl) on

I still wanted to do a long run, though, so Sunday I waited until after lunch, when the temps were a little better, and got in a pretty decent 19k. It was kind of funny, I spent a lot of the run thinking about how last winter we would have considered a cold clear day with minimal wind to be pretty awesome. We ran through so much terrible shit! This winter has basically been the exact opposite, and now a little cold just seems like way too much to deal with.

Only picture I could manage to take before the cold killed my phone. 

Am I the only one who consistently forgets to take off her watch post- run and then finds herself trapped inside her shirt? Please tell me I'm not the only one...
So, it was a good week, overall. A little light on the run mileage but what can you do when the weather doesn't cooperate? And I'll get another shot at that 30k this week! Overall, I kind of can't believe how good I feel coming out of it - the trainer rides put a pretty hefty dose of training stress on my legs, but I'm not feeling the tiredness I expected at all. And the run on Sunday could easily have been much longer. But I was running solo and just didn't have it in me mentally to slog through any more than that. 

The current plan for the week:

Monday: 2100m swim (already done! yay holiday swim times!)
Tuesday: EZ lunch run; TR Haku (1 hour)
Wednesday: rest day:
Thursday: swim; TR Glassy (80 minutes)
Friday: EZ lunch run; TR Seneca Rocks (75 minutes)
Saturday: longass run
Sunday: TR Cumberland (75 minutes) + brick run; swim

Recovery week on the bike, easy running while getting the weekly mileage back up, and the usual for swim. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates this week!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 6

In case you missed it, I was featured by Triathlon Canada magazine this week! Big thanks to Coach Nancy from the Iron Canucks for suggesting me. As I've said before, it feels strange to be singled out like this when I derive so much inspiration and motivation from other runners and triathletes! But holy cow, how neat to be in a national publication like that. It all happened really fast, too, less than a week from being asked to do it to showing up on the website. Still kind of hard to believe it really happened!

But enough about my new star status (autographs available on request, hahaha). So, how was the week? Building up to the peak week of the plan, so although the hours cut back a bit the intensity was pretty high.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 2100m swim*; TR 1 hour
Wednesday: 8k interval run (400m sprints)
Thursday: 9k lunch run; TR 1:30; 2000m swim*
Friday: TR 1:30
Saturday: 28k long run; 2000m swim
Sunday: TR 1:30; 6k brick run

*no, I didn't suddenly get fast enough to fit in 2000m on weekday mornings. Tuesday my husband was at home so I didn't have to rush home on a deadline. Thursday I swam at night.

What, is 13 hours a week of training weird? Oh, it is. Well then.

One of the things I like about Trainerroad is you really get to know what different effort levels feel like, physically. If you really want to understand the difference between an aerobic effort and an anaerobic effort, there's nothing better than experiencing them firsthand. For example, my Tuesday workouts right now feature 20 second all out sprints. It's fascinating to observe how the body reacts to that sort of things.

Little pointy painful bits
The first 10 seconds is great. The power number shoots up and it's like, I AM AWESOME.

Then the next 5 seconds time starts to slow down. And the realization that this is a really bad idea hits.

And then the last 5 seconds (as you can't pull in enough air and your heart rate is spiking through the roof) are basically a complete trainwreck.

It's so much fun, really!

Really, Trainerroad is awesome. Can't you tell?

Thursday at lunch I decided to do my 'easy' run up the escarpment. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to take some pics of Hamilton. Of course, going up the escarpment kind of turned my easy run into a not so easy run - it's inevitable with that elevation gain. Which proved to be a mistake later on, since it left my legs feeling pretty heavy going into the Thursday/Friday/Saturday bike/run combo of DOOM. Two tough Trainerroad workouts and a ridiculously long run. Note to self: don't make this harder than it needs to be!

Not frozen anymore. That's probably not a good thing in February...

The view was worth it!
I was especially worried about Saturday's long run, since my legs were pretty tired before I even started. But, I managed it pretty well! Really, it felt better than I had any right to expect.

Started that run kind of stupidly early...

Finished it in daylight with my girls. Probably the run felt good because of the awesome company. Long runs are so much better with friends! Thanks Ivanka and Sam!
Sunday I did my trainer workout and really wasn't sure I was going to follow up with the usual brick run. My legs were pretty much DOA by that point of the week. But my heartrate was in a good spot on the bike, and by the end I felt pretty decent, so I went out for an easy 6k - and I was glad I did. It wasn't the best feeling run, but I think it helped loosen everything up a bit. And then I felt totally justified spending the rest of the day baking and eating.
Sunday afternoon tea & chocolate chip cookies = so happy.
My husband also did a 30k run over the weekend, so Sunday called for a lot of cooking. Enchiladas with an obscene amount of cheese in them and refried beans, yum.
I'm happy with the week. Today I feel really good, and my resting heart rate is in the usual zone, so I don't think it was too much. But I'm a little nervous about week 7. The bike is pretty intense, there are plans for a stupidly long run on Saturday, the weather forecast is looking ugly, and there's some family/life stuff going on that is messing up my usual schedule. It's going to be an adventure, that's for sure.

Very tentative schedule:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim, EZ run
Wednesday: TR
Thursday: swim, EZ run, TR
Saturday: longass run, swim?
Sunday: TR + brick run

I'm not specifying which Trainerroad workouts I'm doing this week. That's because at this point I have no idea. The scheduled week 7 workouts are likely going to be too much in combination with the run planned for Saturday, and I'm still debating what I'm going to do about it. Shorten up the run? An easy 20k would perhaps be a better idea, especially with the awful looking weather forecast. Sub in an easier week from earlier in the plan and do week 7 next week? Drop the Friday workout altogether and take that as a pre-run rest day? I'm not sure yet. Whatever I end up doing, it'll be fun times, though.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 5

Rolling right along here. This was a really good week.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 1900m swim; TR Haku (1 hour)
Wednesday: 11k run with 8k at 5:09/km
Thursday: 1900m swim; TR Phoenix (1:30)
Friday: EZ 8k run; TR Tray Mountain (1:30)
Saturday: TR Big Mountain (3 hours lulz hahahahahaha), 7.7k brick run
Sunday: 25k run; 2100m swim

Hellz yeah.

Inching up on being able to get in 2000m on those morning swims - I have to be out of the water by 6:15 to get home so my husband can leave for work (the cat is not considered a responsible adult to leave in charge of the kids, dang it). So I have a hard stop on those workouts. It's a nice little challenge/goal to aim for.

The trainer stuff was a little bonkers this week, what with that whole 'let's spend 3 hours at an aerobic/endurance effort'. To be honest the first hour was the worst, just because I was trying not to think about how much time was left. Once the first hour was done it was easier to conceive of actually finishing the whole thing. Which I did! And then I ran afterwards, because why the hell not! My legs haven't objected that strongly to a brick run in a while. Like a baby deer trying to figure out how to walk again. But after the first km, the run felt surprisingly good.

3 hours on the trainer? This. Just, yeah. This.

I was a little concerned about how the long run would feel on Sunday after the bike shenanigans Thurs/Fri/Sat, but it went really fantastically well. The weather was cooperative (no wind!), and I paced it well - I did 9k by myself that I kept slow and easy (and stopped to take pictures), then joined my club and picked up the pace a bit with Danielle and two of the Nancys (if your name is Nancy, you should really join the club - we have a few of you already!). Doing the last part of the run with company really helped the km just fly by, and we finished the run really strong. Good stuff to be able to do that on tired legs!

Really, though, as slightly nutty as this training plan is, it does seem to be working. I'm not tired (hungry enough to eat a whole grocery store, yes. But the legs are feeling good). I think things are going to be a whole lot of fun on the bike when I get out on the roads this spring. Which based on the current weather, should be, oh, next week or so. I kind of don't even want to talk about the weather because it's been way too nice and by saying anything we'll probably be doomed to spending the next 4 weeks in frozen hell. So forget I said anything.

Random photos I took this week:

Swan at Burlington Bay on Friday

I was trying to get a shot of the hockey players on the ice at Cootes Paradise but you can't see them. And now with the warm temps they've warned everyone off the ice so I probably won't see them for a while.

Best sunrise pic I got on Sunday morning. I have an uncanny ability to choose the day with cloud cover for long runs around sunrise. Follow my brother's instagram account if you want your Toronto sunrise fix!

Lift bridge lighthouse

Burlington in the early morning

The lift bridge.

So what's the plan for this week? It's complicated by the kids having a PD day on Friday. But, the bike hours drop back down to a totally rational 5 hours (although the training stress score isn't all that much lower, so....the bike is going to hurt). So it'll be nice to free up a little extra weekend time, which I will almost certainly use to do laundry, because the laundry never, ever ends.

The current plan!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim. TR (60 minutes)
Wednesday: interval run
Thursday: swim, ez run at lunch, TR (90 minutes)
Friday: TR (90 minutes)
Saturday: 28k run; swim
Sunday: TR (90 minutes) + brick run

Pretty much just shifting the Friday easy run to lunch at Thursday to make the PD day thing easier (and more fun for the kids). On we go!