Monday, May 8, 2017

This has not been the spring training I planned.

Oh hey there Internets.

So, what's up with me?

Well, not a lot of training. After having the flu before ATB, I immediately caught a really nasty cold, which then turned into bronchitis, which has just been delightfully fun, if your idea of fun is coughing so hard you pull muscles. Pretty sure my lungs were trying to make a break for it there for a while.



It hasn't been the best few weeks. My lung capacity is totally shot, but I've been able to start doing some light swimming and biking again, and this morning my resting heart rate was finally back down to normal, so I think I've turned the corner and I'll be back to healthy soon.



It has been very weird to have so much free time over the last few weeks. I may have gotten a little too comfortable with it, since the thought of getting up early now is somewhat less than appealing. In order to maintain sanity without my favourite hobby, I picked up some paintbrushes and paint and did a little painting.

Wait, this was a palette knife painting. No brushes. LIES!
And then I did some more painting.



And then some more...




And still more!


Yeah it's turned into a whole thing. Keeping me busy (I had to stop working on canvases because we don't have that many walls - now I'm mostly painting in a journal since it takes up less space. And saves money). I started a separate instagram account if you are curious to see more of my work. It's mostly out of Youtube tutorials right now, but I'm starting to work on more original stuff (all of the above paintings are from tutorials by either Painting With Jane or The Art Sherpa - check them out, if you've ever wanted to try painting, they are very good teachers). Plus, painting occupies my hands and mind and reduces the amount of bored snacking, which is pretty key when you aren't burning an extra zillion calories a week through exercise!

This week I did get in a few swims without drowning and a couple of bike rides that didn't feel terrible (once I remembered you have to calibrate the Computrainer - geeze no wonder that first ride felt SO HARD). I'm eager to add some running back in sometime this week, hopefully. Obviously this isn't the training cycle I envisioned, peaking with an attempt at an Oly course PB in June. I'm very much in the 'just doing this for fun' mindset for the next few months. It's purely going to be about just finishing the races and having a good time doing it. Depending on how things go health-wise, I'll look at some sort of big running goal for the fall. This has dragged on so long it's a bit hard not to feel like I'll never be healthy again!1!!! (dramatic hand flail), so I'm not going to commit to anything just yet. My goals at this point are smaller. Like 'complete 2 swims and 3 bikes this week without feeling like dying at the end of any of them'. And 'run 5k without running out of oxygen'.

It's good to have goals, even if they have to be scaled back a bit!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

The race report that won't be: Around the Bay 2017

So, my first ever DNS.

Going all out with the photoshops today
Back it up two weeks. My piriformis syndrome was acting up a bit, and after tweaking my knee during a run off the bike, I decided to pack it in on running for a few days (look at me being all smart and shit).

But I wasn't feeling great. I was getting headaches every day - nothing major, just enough to be annoying, and feeling just kind of blah. And given the minimal running, my Trainerroad workouts were feeling oddly hard. Last Saturday in fact, I woke up, looked at the 3 hour TR workout I was supposed to do, and just knew there was no way. I subbed in a 90 minute tempo/sweet spot workout instead, and had to drop the intensity by 10% when I couldn't get my heart rate and breathing under control. That's pretty unusual for me.

I just figured it was taperitis (is there an ICD-10 code for that?) and didn't think about it much. If I'd looked at my resting heart rate info on Garmin Connect, maybe I would have realized sooner what was going on. Maybe.


Monday night I was in the middle of making some baked eggs when I essentially had to flee the room because the smell was unbearable. Lying in bed, the alternating fever/chills, body aches, and pounding headache kicked in.

Yep.

Influenza.

So Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday essentially became complete writeoffs, and I got really sick of Netflix asking me if I was still there. And also the colour of my bedroom walls. Yesterday was better as the fever and aches subsided and I was able to move around the house without needing to take naps after each outing to another floor, and today I feel pretty OK other than a lingering cough and sore throat. But it's pretty obvious that running the race tomorrow would be a terrible idea and an unpleasant experience (honestly, I probably wouldn't even make it 5k).

So that sucks, But I'm not even really upset about it. This would have been my sixth ATB, so it's not like I'm missing out on my first time ever doing the race. I am going to miss getting to hang out with my running/tri friends, but there will be other chances for that. It's a little annoying to have spent the money (and I wasn't able to get the deferral option before the deadline), but sunk costs and all. I don't think I was in shape for a PB, but I got what I wanted out of training, which was to start to feel fast again. So really, it's OK. Now I can focus on resting after this stupid illness and then getting ready for Guelph Lake.

(I may look at the Mississauga half as a sort of consolation prize, if I can get in some solid workouts - might as well take advantage of my current conditioning, after all. However, not making any decisions until I'm more fully recovered from being sick)

That said, since I'm feeling much better other than the cough, I still want to support my friends and teammates in some way. So I'm going to try my hand at a bit of race photography and hopefully get some semi-decent pics of the people I know (and I won't even charge as much as the race photographers!).



(Although I reserve the right to bail out of this whole idea if it's pouring rain. In that case, y'all are on your own).

Good luck to everyone I know running, and look for me staring with puzzlement at the DSLR I only sort-of know how to use most likely somewhere between the 16-17k mark*. Give me a wave and I'll and take your picture!

*possibly the 19k mark instead if I get down there and the lighting won't work for what I have in mind at that location. One or the other.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

*taps microphone* This thing still on?

Time to blow the dust off this thing and maybe play a little catch up, shall we?



Now, what did I write about last? Right. Road 2 Hope. Where I set up my training paces for ATB. Which is now about 3 weeks away, so sort of missed blogging that entire training cycle. Oops.

Obligatory run proof picture.
I've been primarily focused on running, trying to get back my speed. Thanks to a killer training plan from Coach Z, I'm feeling pretty good. The paces that were oh-so-hard back in December are getting easier and easier.

Run volume is up over the last few years - even the year I was marathon training!

It's been a lot of volume, compared to what I've done previously, which has made for some interesting very early morning runs and even the occasional evening run when that was the only time I could fit things into my schedule. I don't enjoy evening winter runs - it's just so hard to talk myself off the comfy couch to go out into the cold, and the darkness plus heavy evening traffic makes me nervous. The sheer volume of drivers who can't be bothered to use their damn turn signals is astonishing. Fortunately due to the relative mildness of the winter, I was able to use the track for some of those runs, where even though it's dark at least no one is going to make a left turn directly into me!

Night runner attemps to set up cool instagram photo and has total fail. This was the best of the lot. I should just stick to taking pictures of food, really.

So yeah, definitely haven't been slacking on the running. Nor have I been slacking on the cycling. Just finished the high volume Olympic base training plan on TrainerRoad, which was good if occasionally painful fun.

Rearranged a whole level of the house and now I have a real paincave.
I started the build plan this week, although I will take a break from it around ATB to allow for taper/recovery. The main triathlon goal race this year is Guelph Lake I in June, with the Milton sprint beforehand as a warmup and Niagara in July because if I'm going to do two Subaru series races, I might as well add a third to get in on the series point thing. Then Iron Girl in August for fun. I'm not sure at this point if I'll do any late season triathlons. Since the current plan is to maybe possibly think about running a marathon (!) at Road 2 Hope in November, I will probably want to focus more on running at that point. Dunno. That second half of the year is a bit up in the air.

Trainer selfies all basically look the same.
Swimming is...well I've been to the pool, usually twice a week. Occasionally three times. Sometimes once. Holding pattern there; basically just maintaining fitness. Pool hours are a pain in the ass to schedule around, and I lack the motivation to really put in the kind of effort that would be required at this point to make significant improvements to my swim. So, I play mermaid a few times a week and call it good.

The band is an evil torture device.
So that's the catch up. Lots of run and bike, a little swim, and a big race coming up. I'll be back with a race report in a few weeks.

Oh, goals? You want to hear about my ATB goals?

Well, the answer is I don't know. Although this training cycle has gone really well and I'm feeling pretty strong and in good shape to match last year's effort, a lot will depend on how my back is feeling on race day. I've been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome - a somewhat dubious diagnosis for various reasons, since the evidence base for its existence is somewhat, shall we say, nonexistent.  The cluster of symptoms is real (and I have all of them!), but the exact underlying cause is somewhat questionable. But that said, identifying that my 'hamstring' pain really originates in my low back has been a gamechanger in treating it - rather than weeks of pain, with the right treatment I can get it calmed down within a day or two, using stretches, foam roller work, and my best friend the heating pad.

But when it's flared up speedwork can't happen. So if I'm in a rough patch around the race (or it flares up during the race), well, speed will be out of the question. So at this point I'm largely planning to keep my training partner Fab from going out too damn fast over the first 10k, then will see how things are feeling. Hope for the best, but prepared to jog it in if I need to. I've certainly run this race enough times now that I don't have anything to prove to myself - and my main goal this winter was to regain my run speed, which I already know I've done. So no matter how the race ends up turning out, I'm happy with where things are right now.