Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lucky # 18

Race day is tomorrow!!! It's good because I have the taper boredom going on right now! I road the coarse today and they have a load of cameras out there, so the coverage is going to be good!

They changed our start time 10:55pm MST, so it's 15 min earlier now. My start number is lucky #18 for the race.

Feeling good, despite a cough I seemed to have picked up since arriving here. The water is a little chilly just like last year. They say it's 16 degrees but they must be delusional! I had an encounter with a plastic bag swimming, thought I was under jellyfish attack!! This is another reason to use re-usable bags people--it was gross!

There is also a larger-than-life poster of me and few girls on the bike (racing last year) on the side of a building downtown. I was in a taxi coming back from the pool when I saw it, no camera on hand! I'll try to get back there after the race to get a photo! How often are you pictured on a side of building?
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend: Wildflower, St. Croix, and local cycling races!! Let's make a good weekend for racing!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Heart Korea

I made it! It was a full 24hours of travel on only about 30min worth of sleep I arrived at midnight in Tongyeong! For some reason, I love Korea. I have a soft spot in my heart for Korea, last year I was here for this very race and finally got my 1st top 10 finish, putting me on my way to qualifying for Beijing. Then the Dutch team had our pre-Olympic training camp out here. I love the randomness (or what I think is random…probably makes perfect sense to the locals) of this place—something always happens that makes me laugh and wonder why but the people are great.

Here is a picture of my room. No sheets here! Note the Nathan bag that I used to travel with, we got these as a part of our Team Timex loot, they hold a ton of stuff! I also used my new soft-case bike bag to travel with, it so much lighter than the hard case one!

Here are some things that sum up Korea in my mind: neon, polite, high-density high rises in the oddest places with giant cartoon murals on the side, golf courses, hills, fishy smells and food, NCIS (yes, the TV show—it’s on multiple channels all day long!), slippers, spicy pickles for breakfast, a TV channel dedicated to selling bras. Ahh Korea!

I’m super excited to race this course again, I just get a good vibe from this place. Today I road and ran on the course. Another interesting fact about Korea, they like to put a nice rubber track surface down on their walkways along the water, always a treat to run on—wish they would do that in Calgary along the Bow river, I’d be in heaven! Now I’m fighting the jet lag, the evening are the hardest part, I just want to close my eyes and sleep, but I know it’s best to push through it. I’ll just watch them build tankers in the shipyard next to the hotel, I have my very own “How it’s Made” outside my window, very cool.

The view from my room! For those of you interested in staying up late on Friday night, here is the link to the website for the live feed They should have a link to the tricast from there. Warning though, the start time is 11:10pm mountain time on FRIDAY night.

Back to forcing myself to stay awake until dinner....maybe I'll watch a NCIS...


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Must not fall asleep....

...and miss the next flight!!
I made it to Seoul today. It was a long flight over! 11 hours from Vancouver, luckily I was upgraded to a 'pod' so I was able to relax more than in cattle's going to be tough going back there on the way home (let's cross our fingers for another upgrade!!). I had to be pretty disciplined though, passing on the cheese platter, Hagen Daaz ice cream, and some unnecessary mid-flight snack! Darn race getting in the way of my eating in Business class! Too bad it was a daytime flight, I barely got any sleep but watched 2 movies and read half my book. That Benjimin Button movie is a long one=good time killer!

Now I'm waiting for flight #3 to Busan which is then followed by a 2.5 hour bus ride to my final destination....Tongeyong! The joys of travelling to races in far off glamorous!

I'll post more once I get there and actually get some sleep and can formulate full sentences.

Anyone know what time it is here?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Riding that fine line...

So I was leaving the pool after a really great set of 100's on pace, feeling confident for my Korea swim, when I looked to the west. They have called for snow all week starting on wednesday night, I have been in denial--if I will it to be sunny and warm, it has to be! As I looked west, I realized the snow was probably going to come. I still had a brick workout to do, so I drove home, shovelled some food in, checked the weather networks hour-by-hour predictions...the rain/snow was not to hit until 2pm and it was supposed to get up to 7 degrees before then. Not exactly warm, but fine if you dress for it.

I headed out, determined to ride outside since I'd probably be inside tomorrow. At first it wasn't too bad, little chilly but if I planned my ride right, I'd have minimal wind exposure. Then the drizzle started and the wind persisted. I cut the 'warm up' short since I was freezing and went right into my intervals. I had to push hard to keep warm and during the second of my 3 intervals, the drizzle turned to sleet and then to ice pellets that stung my skin--I was tempted to ditch the bike and hitch-hike home! By the last interval it was a full blown squall blowing through--I was covered in snow once I got to my car! Still determined to finish the workout, I switched my shoes and went for my run, on frozen toes! I got the workout done, and hit all my HR zones, at first I thought I was being tough, by the end of the ride, slightly hypothermic, I decided I nearly crossed that line of being tough and being just plain crazy!!

Here is the temperature graph of Calgary over the last 24hours (click on it to see a larger view). Only in Calgary can you go from sunny and 21 degrees (the 1st arrow) to snowing and -1 (the 2nd arrow) in less than 20hours! This is from , a local Triathletes best friend, I check this site religiously before I head out!

So, it took a 30min steam shower to bring my toes back from the brink of frostbite!
Tough or just plain crazy? I'm going with tough this time, got the workout done. Log it! Who knows, a snow storm might blow through Korea on May 2nd...guess who will be ready for it?!

Here is a pick from a warmer day on the Calgary Ironman 70.3 course....ah, a sunny day with the mountains on the horizon!
Oh yeah, it's still snowing, looks like my 3 hour ride tomorrow will be in the basement with the fireplace on!!

Hope it's warm where ever you are!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Running with the Big Girls...

I first started running in University, after I was finished with the swim team. I used to take the family dog out for trail runs in the fields behind our house. It was slow, it was painful, and it usually ended in me puking! I would run for a few km and the dog would do 4x times that, towards the end of our run was my 'Dooms Day' hill--short but steep. At first I could only manage it once, I'd get to the top, see stars, sometimes puke up whatever I ate for lunch and then walk/jog it back home. A few weeks later, I did it twice, then 3 get the picture. That's how it all started--me lying in the grass next to my vomit at the top of the hill determined to run it again!

Last week, I got an invite to run the Vancouver Sun Run (all expenses paid!!)--it was last minute, someone had cancelled, but I was still flattered that my name was even mentioned. The Sun Run is a big 10K run in Canada, there's prize $, it's a great course and it's fast. I'd heard all about it. After some discussion with Coach Paul and Richard (I'd be ditching him on his b-day...), a purchase of a last minute plane ticket--I was off to Vancouver on Saturday to race on Sunday morning! It would be a great training race and good test before my ITU race in Korea in a couple weeks. It was so nice to get on a plane with only a backpack--no bike, no goggles, no wetsuit!!

Here's my race kit....I wanted to look the part, so I pulled out my Team Timex singlet, my shortest run shorts (runner girls always wear really short-shorts), my orange race flats, my visor and threw in my race belt--just so they knew a Triathlete was running with them!!
Sunday morning, I was nervous, I haven't run a stand-alone 10k in years, triathlons taking up most of my weekends. There were 50,000 people running the race. I was in the first wave, along with 600 other people! Wedged back behind the start line, shoulder to shoulder, all I could think was "don't trip and get trampled!". The gun went off, and I got past the start line without incident. The first few km were fast and furious, it was crazy to be running with so many fast people around, and I kept my eye all the fast runner-girls, we were all together until 5k. I ended up dropping back about 5-10sec on a hill up to a bridge and it turned out to be a gap I couldn't recover.

I fought hard over the next few km's and was out-strategized in the last 600-400m by a couple of the women--including my superstar Lifesport teammate Lucy Smith, my only 'strategy' in a 10k race is to run until I puke, but once I turned the last bend and saw the timing clock at 34 minutes and change...I ran as hard as I could!! I crossed the line in 34.45, a new 10k run PB by 3min and 1 second!! I saw stars in the finish shoot but managed to keep my breakfast down this time!

I finished 8th overall, only 40 seconds separated 1st from 8th. In previous years my time would have been a top 5, so it was a tight group of women this year. I'm just psyched that I managed to run with the 'big girls' while grabbing a new personal best on tired legs!! Coach Paul and I have put a lot of time and effort into my running this winter (finally having the time to do a run focus after the craziness of Beijing the last 2 years!) and it's nice to see it paying off! Next year, I may even rest my legs a little before and see what this swimmer-turned-triathlete-turned-runner can do.

Now, back in Calgary there was no recovery day after this race, in fact, Coach had me run another hour after the race! Then it was a TT bike effort (into a strong head wind!) and hill repeats this morning after my swim! I leave for Korea next Monday, so only a few more hard training days left to go!!

Thanks to Coach Paul & Coach Mike with the University of Calgary Athletics Club for making me run faster than I thought I could this winter!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Power, Give em' Power

Well, I've been home for little over a week and it's flown by! It all started off with some visit time with family (mine & Richard's) over the Easter weekend, some visits with friends that I haven't seen in awhile, and after a week of 'recovery' I was back into training. The weather has been nice since I got home, with the exception of one snow day, it's been pleasant--Although I froze on my ride today!! Richard and I had a great spin last weekend, although it involved a 20' search and rescue of my driver's licence that fell out of my pocket--I was about to give up when I looked down and nearly rode over it!

The post training camp's been cleaned up but took some time!! This weeks training has involved some higher intensity work in the pool, on the run and on the bike. I leave for Korea on April 27th, so I need to get into the short course racing frame of mind. After some fast 'start-speed' 50's in the pool, some short hill repeats with the UCAC run group, and some power intervals on the bike, I had forgotten why I like the short course races! Now I remember--I'm addicted to the power! I'm excited to race the first ITU race of the season!

I made a few changes to the blog. Since I continuously get questions about my next race, I added a 'Upcoming race' list, click on the race and it will link you to the race site. I'll keep it up to date and add more when I finalize my schedule. If you scroll down a little further I also added 'triathlon terms defined' so everyone will know what I'm talking about when I say my HR was high on my TT during a 70.3! One day I may even have a website....Let me know if there is something else you'd like to see or defined.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

She's Going the Distance, She's Going For Speed...

Took me a bit to get the creative juices flowing again and write a post. Here is the summary of the last week. I love San Diego.
So, I left Kona and flew into San Diego last week for the Oceanside 70.3 race and the Team Timex 'Camp'. This was the last week of my month of travelling/training/racing.

My wonderfully fantastic homestay Chris & Cathy Zoc picked me up at the airport and drove me back to their house. I walked into my room and was greeted with a welcome card and goodies....I may never leave here, was my first thought! I was right! The Zoc's took care of me, Cathy drove me everywhere, the pool, the race site, we drove the entire bike course, even took me to a bike shop when all I needed was zip ties! Thanks Cathy & Chris!! They even extended an invite to "come back and stay whenever I wanted"...I warned them about telling a Triathlete that, cause I'm already planning to return!!

My goodies that were waiting for me...I tried not to eat it ALL pre-race.... Me, Cathy and the bronze Donkey. The real one, Miguel, was in the backyard!
Race Day. Now, those who know me well, know that getting up early to exercise is not my favourite activity--I think I used up all my early morning exercise passes swimming at 5am for 10 years! The half Ironman events all start early, so I have to get used to it again! 4am wake up, 5:15am in transition, 6:43am start. FYI, it's cold at 6 in the morning in California, the good thing though, with the air temp being 8-10 degrees, the 15 degree water felt down-right balmy!

The Swim: Pleasant. Compared to the ITU chaos, I had a great time out there. Although, I managed to lose the draft the last 20m before the exit, need to work on that! Oh yeah, if you wear a 2-piece tri suit under your wetsuit, make sure you tie the shorts tight...nearly pants myself in T1!
Seriously, it should be illegal to start anything in the dark!!
The civilized swim start:
The bike: Yeah, this was not my best. Let's just say I had a couple of flats, legs, not tires! I managed to loose a lot of time to the leaders...yikes! My ADD came out in full force and my focus was not great--something that I need to work on! We rode through a military base and I had lots to look at during the 56mile ride...I nearly killed a family of bunnies that ran out in front of me, I saw tanks, some sort of cannon, and a really cool obstacle course that I wanted to try! At one point I may have even stopped in at recruitment to sign up....So anyway, I came off the bike a little farther back then I wanted.

This is me coming into T2....I won't tell you what was going through my head....
Onto the run. Once I finally found my shoes in the cramped transition area, I headed out determined to salvage the day (guess that's the beauty of these long races). I came around the first corner and saw Paul, my coach, standing there yelling out words of encouragement, I knew I was pretty far back, I came off the bike in 10th or 11th, but I was on a mission. I just ran hard and kept going. Unlike on the bike, I found that I had no problems focusing on the run, with the exception of the occasional dog sightings, but I always do that running anyway! At one point I saw some really cute standard poodles on the run course and heard their owner shout "Go Lisa", then I realized it was Carol Montgomery (triathlon legend & friend)! I always notice dogs before people...there could be a model walking shirtless with a golden retriever and I guarantee I wouldn't even notice the guy! Anyway, my pace had slowed a little before I saw Carol and her dogs, so I took the poodle-power and picked it up a bit. I managed to run some sub-6 minute miles in the last 4miles of the run, catching 3 women in front of me in the process. In the end I clawed my way up from a significant time gap and finished 6th with the 2nd fastest run split (1:21.20, the girl who won ran 58 sec faster and got the course run record, next year, it'll be mine! Maybe the bike split too!).

Here I am running the sand section. I was on a mission. Check out the new Team Timex race kit, pretty sweet!
Overall I've got 14.3 miles down pat, just need to work on the 56 on the bike. I had the excellent Team Timex mechanics worked on my setup and I think that will help too. You know what my focus will be on over the next few weeks!!
Me, Coach P, and Chris Thomas (fellow Timex, Lifesport & TrakkersTeam member and superstar athlete!)
After the race, I had to depart the Zoc's house and head to the Timex Camp. Not a training camp but a team get-together camp. It was a fun experience, met the other athletes, chatted with team sponsors, and got a ton of new gear!! Sweet!
Anyone have the time? My new watches, including the new Timex heart rate monitor in the middle--the Race Trainer.
I'm finally back home after a month of travel. After last years travels, I think a month is probably the longest I can be away. Living out of a duffel bag gets old after awhile!
One of my favourite parts of coming home: flying home over the Rocky Mountains! (geologists & dad; notice the anticline/syncline pair?).
Now I have to wash clothes, put my bike together, contact all my training groups, open all my mail (forgot it's tax time...) and get my life organized again--it all gets put on hold when I go away.

Below is someone who got so excited when he saw me he ran in circles and then went to find a present to give happened to be a dirty sock, but I was touched by the effort! We also finally got our new recycling bin. The city of Calgary is finally starting a pick up program...little do they know that we have been stock-piling all our plastics in anticipation!
Up next: Swinging back to the short-course stuff. Speed time baby!! The first of the ITU World Championships Series kicks off May 2 in Tongyeong Korea.
Well, I'm off to ride my bike...
*Thanks to all my supporters that make trips and races like this possible for me! You know you're awesome!
**special thanks to Coach Dan Smith for providing all the great race pics!!