Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Orillia Try-A-Tri - Check!

My first triathlon is in the books!

350m swim + 10K bike + 2.5K run = 1:09:57

Let me just preface this by saying...I am a poor swimmer, I'm afraid of taking hills and corners too quickly on my bike, and I'm a slow runner. So why the heck would I sign up to try a tri?

I really don't have an answer for that, aside from...it called to me.

It called to me so loudly that I actually signed up for two this summer. So that if this one was dreadful, I'd have a second shot at tri in August, rather than having to wait until next season to redeem myself.

Now, if you've been following along, you may have noticed that I didn't exactly train for this. I've been biking, I've taken up running, and I swim when I can. But I wouldn't call that focused training.

Each leg in the tri sounded very reasonable to me - but I really underestimated what a game changer it is to put 'em together in one event. Particularly when you add in 31C weather with blazing sun.

So you won't be surprised that this event was a challenge! 

My goals for this race were modest, though: Learn the logistics of doing a tri. Finish. Not dead last if possible.

Done and done :-)

Here's the details -


We stayed at my parent's the night before. The race had an 11am start time, so I had plenty of time to wake up, have breakfast and get ready. Said 'see you at the finish' to my family and rode my bike to the starting line - about 6 minutes away. Sweet.

My red bike is racked. Yes, it's a mountain bike.
 I'll invest in a road bike by next season, I promise.
Checked in about 45 minutes before the start, picked up my ankle chip, got marked, racked my bike, organized my gear, checked out the entry & exit points for each leg, then headed to the beach.

Was a bit of a long walk from transition to the swim start, but on soft grass and clean sand. Nice and easy on the bare feet.

Hit the water for a quick swim. Lovely and warm. And all of a sudden, it was time to get started.

First two waves went out...2 mintues to go before mine...tap on the shoulder...my mom and sister had come to the start to surprise me! Which helped take my mind off how nervous I was.

Hamming it up for the camera with a gun show. Less than a minute to go.
Yes, I'm wearing a swim suit. Will invest in tri suit and possibly wet suit for next season 

 350m swim - 13:32 (includes time to exit the water, cross the beach and enter transition)

Honestly, there were more than a dozen of us in this wave - everyone is really spread out to the sides
Ran in as far as I could, started swimming, and immediately ran into trouble.

Between a mad rush of adreneline making me forget absolutely everything I knew about breathing and technique...and the water being much choppier than I had trained in...I got hit in the face with a wave, swallowed most of it and couldn't breath. Like I'd had the wind knocked out of me.

Forced myself not to panic and to tread water until I recovered. What really helped keep the panic away? The idea of having to give up 20 seconds into a race that I'd signed up for 8 months ago...well, that made me furious.

Recovered, started swimming and almost ran into trouble again with another wave. Decided to flip onto my back for most of the swim rather than keep fighting the waves. Had to swim a heck of a lot harder than I had planned to in order to made up for lost time.

Left the water breathing hard and headed to transition.

T1 - 3:06

Pleased with how I laid out my gear; everything went smoothly. Took a few moments but I was still having a hard time generally calming down. Headed out on the bike still breathing hard.

Leaving T1. Wondering exactly when I'll be able to catch my breath, and how on earth I'm going to be able to run later.

Bike - 34:53

Bike started at the bottom of a steep hill. Said a few nasty words to myself about it and headed up. Reached the top without stopping to walk (woohoo!), and started up a long slope. Followed by another hill. Things levelled out around the 4K mark and I was finally able to get my breathing under control.

Got to the turnaround and - hey - isn't that my mom over there? Fabulous surprise. So great to see a familiar face on the course.

Me in black beside the guy in red.
Mom didn't get a pic of me approaching. Guess I was going too fast, haha.

Aside from being somewhat cautious on down slopes and corners, I love biking. I was really able to relax and enjoy this ride.

Which was over far too quickly!

T2 - 1:48

Got off the bike and was shocked at how tight my legs were. You know, I had *meant* to do some brick training this spring...better get on that before my next tri in a month...

Run - 21:34

The late morning start to this race meant that it was getting close to noon - and very hot and sunny - when I headed out on the run. I knew going into the race that this would be a problem so decided just to have fun with it. Short runs, lots of walk breaks. Took my time at the water stations getting a drink and sprayed down. And guess who showed up at the turnaround? Mom!

I wasn't kidding when I said I'd decided to have fun on this run.

The best thing about a 2.5K run? It's over really fast.

About 50 feet to go and just spotted my husband, kids and dog. Lots of cheering for mom.
And the dog dragged my son off his feet trying to get to me! 

FINISHED!!!!! And with a smile.

After the race - kids played at the park, I walked the dog around a bit, picked up a goodie bag of snacks, picked up my gear and rode bck to my mom's. Lunch, then a 3-generation girl's trip to another beach (Orillia is full of beaches) to celebrate!

The verdict? I learned a lot, including how undertrained I was for this. Have a plan for how I'm going to prepare for the next one in 4 weeks. And a goal to do this again next year :-)

A HUGE thank you to my family for all of their support and encouragement. My younger sister for picking up my race kit and coming to the start, my mom for driving all around town to catch me on each leg, my kids for cheering me on at the finish, to my dog for coming on every training run with me!

...and most of all my husband, for always helping out and NEVER complaining about being on sherpa and driving detail for all of the races I do. 

xoxoxoxox Jen

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cabin Camping

We spent last week on vacation!

We were fortunate to get a fantastic deal on a lakeside cabin a couple of hours north of the city, and had an absolutely wonderful time.

The cabin was rustic (no running water or electricity), tiny (maybe 350-square feet including a screened in porch), but came with a propane fridge and stove...it was a major step up from the tent camping that we usually do for our summer vacations!

We spent the week completely unplugged. Lots of swimming and canoing, cards, board games. Stayed at the cabin aside from a trip to the dump to look for bears. Oh, and one run into town for supplies and ice cream, then straight back to the lake.

Which we shared with a lot of wildlife - chipmunks, raccoons, frogs, mink, heron, blue jays, finches, beaver, loons. Countless dragonflies and butterflies.

Have a look -

There's our dock in the right corner. Cabin is hiding behind the birch trees left of centre.
There's the cabin!
View from the cabin - looking north
From the same spot, looking east

We swam to the sandy beach across the way a couple of times every day - 1.3K round trip.
Great open water swim practice!


More OWS practice. My husband took this from the canoe.

My sister came up for a day. We were unable to convince Stella to jump in.

Canoing with my sister.
We had to flip a coin when my husband suggested that the more responsible one sit in the back.

Five black bears that day. We watched for a minute or two then booked it out of there.

It was really, really hard to leave and come back to the city.

Reservations for 2013 open up in early December. I've marked my calendar.

How are you spending your summer vacation?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Easing Back into Running

Last week's heat wave and humidity eased back a bit, and I started running again!

Perfect timing as I was starting to get worried about training for the 10.5K (it's a half-marathon relay) that I'm running in September. Also worried about the 2.5K that I'll be running at high noon at the end of the month as the end of the try-a-tri. I know that I need to get used to running in the heat, but 38C with 95% humidity was a bit much!

Now - the break's over and I'm aiming for 3 runs a week as well as 2 boot camps and swimming. I was consistently running 10s and 1s for 4.5K before taking the last few weeks off, so have started working my way back to that. Will start increasing distance using the 10% per week rule.

In other news, I started running naked this week - no watch, no iPod. Not having music to match my pacing to is a big change.

AND I added an additional running partner - a human! Stella is still my #1 running partner, but my up-the-street neighbour has started joining us. Like me, Melanie enjoys running in the evenings before bed. She has a big dog (who isn't trained for running yet so stays at home) so is super patient about taking doggy breaks when Stella needs them. Unlike me, she's super fit, but she is wonderfully nice about going at my slow pace with walk breaks as I need them. I've never run beside someone before and am amazed how much more quickly the run seems to fly by when there's good conversation to take your mind off of things.

No pics this week, but some pretty decent exercise:

Saturday - 3.1K of 5s and 1s, 5s and 2s.

Sunday - Rest day.

Monday - Bootcamp. Lots of sprints. Ugh.

Tuesday - 4.6K with neighbour. Roughly 5s &1s and 5s & 2s.

Wednesday - Bootcamp. More sprints.

Thursday - 4.6K with neighbour, this time in 31C with lots of humidity. More 5s &1s and 5s & 2s. Dripping wet and happy at the end.

Friday - Rest day. Lots of chores.
Check it out - I ran 3 times this week! The return to running is off to a good start. Hope your week was a good one.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Heat Wave!

Soooooo...I was hoping to get back into regular running this week, but then the nasty weather showed up. Too hot to walk the dog most days, let alone go for a run. We did have a fairly active week though -

Saturday - Summer cleaning frenzy - I tackled my bedroom. Fun times.  

Later, 2K+ dog park walk at High Park. There were a few tense moments on this one - the trails wind around the amphitheatre where A Midsummer Night's Dream is staged every evening, and the cast had left a few gates open to come and go during the performance . Stella noticed...went through the gate...trotted over towards stage left...looked around...watched the audience for a bit...thought things over...and eventually tiptoed back to us without actually interrupting the performance. Phew!

Good girl. Don't do that again, K?
Sunday - HAPPY CANADA DAY! We spent the day going for a long hike and some swimming at Rockwood Conservation Area. Check it out:

Remains of an old mill, founded in 1867. Very fitting to be checking it out on Canada Day.
If you're wondering - yes, my son did jump off from where he's standing.

Monday - Holiday day off. Super hot. Took the kids swimming, then we all walked over to the school to play and shoot some hoops. Sweaty!

Tuesday - 2.5K brisk dog walk after dark. Too hot to run. Ugh.

Wednesday - Went to the gym for a boot camp. Ana made us run laps around the gym to make up for the lack of outdoor running.

Thursday - Day off, but an NSV: I went shopping for a new hot-weather outfit to wear to work and found that I've gone down a size. WOOHOO!

Friday - Went to the gym for another sweaty boot camp. More laps. And sprints. Waited until after dark to walk the dog - was still very humid but we managed 1s and 1s for 2.1K. Felt oh, so good to run and I'm oh, so glad that we kept it short. I was drenched by the time we got back!  

How did this week's weather impact your training plans?