Muskoka 70.3 – Weeks 2 & 3 Training

With back-to-back long weekends away from home, my training (and blogging about it) has been discombobulated at best. That said, I tried to make the most of what I was able to do. Here’s a brief look at the last couple of weeks:

Monday 7/16 – Open water swim at a new duck-free location with the gang. Great night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 7/17 – Started the day with a 5am run with some of the morning crew. That evening I didn’t feel up to the usual Time Trial so a friend joined me for a nice and leisurely ride instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 7/18 – Early morning run with one friend, then headed straight to the lake for a 6am swim with a few others. I had evening plans, so it was nice to squeeze it all in before work.

Thursday 7/19 – Evening run with the marathon clinic with 3 x 2000 descending intervals. We had a bit of relief from the heat and it’s amazing how much better I felt. Nailed our splits!

Friday 7/20 – Long travel day to Lake Placid, and we managed to squeeze in a swim at beautiful Mirror Lake when we got there. I swam one loop of the two-loop IM course.

 

Saturday 7/21 – Rode one glorious loop of the IMLP bike course, followed by a quick 4K brick run

Sunday 7/22 – Long and exciting day volunteering & spectating at IMLP. No training, but certainly not “rest.”

Week 2 Totals – 9:34:13

Swim 4549 metres for 1:36:47
Bike 133.9 KM (83.2 mi) for 5:00:30
Run 31.3 KM (19.4 mi) for 2:56:57

Moving on to week 3…

Monday 7/23 – Did you hear? I registered for IMLP13! ;) Spent the rest of the day travelling home ex-haus-ted.

Tuesday 7/24 – Still so freaking tired from the weekend that I could barely peel myself off the couch, let alone work out.

 

Wednesday 7/25Aron was in town and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet up with her. We had a nice chit-chatty 6-mile run along the waterfront followed by plenty more chatter over dinner. It’s been nearly 4 years since Aron and I first connected through our blogs and it was amazing to finally have the opportunity to visit in person. She is even more awesome than you would expect.

Thursday 7/26 – I had planned to run with the clinic gang that evening for some speed work, but skipped it in order to get ready for our camping weekend and get to bed early before my long run Friday morning.

Friday 7/27 – Up at 4am to squeeze in a 21K run before heading out for a camping weekend. Lucky for me, a couple of friends were in a similar situation and I had company. It was actually really nice to be out early, and it wasn’t a sweat fest until the final miles when the sun was up.

Saturday 7/28 - Went for a nice 5K run around the campground in the morning before hitting the beach. We were on Lake Huron and the water was cold but crystal clear. I had my swim gear and couldn’t resist a swim along the buoy line parallel to shore (about 800m). The rest of the day was for play!

 

Sunday 7/29 – Some more R&R followed by packing up and heading home, yet again exhausted.

 

Week 3 Totals – 3:53:02

Swim 830 metres for 0:19:00
Bike 0(FAIL!)
Run 35.2 KM (21.9 mi) for 3:34:02

 

All things considered, I’m pleased with what I was able to do – even if it is far less than I “should” be doing right now. The back to back weekends away really did me in, but now I am home and getting back into the training regimen. 6 weeks til Muskoka 70.3!

Placid Weekend – swimming & biking the IM course, volunteering, finish line party and registering for IMLP13

Oh what a weekend! I dropped a hint on Thursday that I might have something up my sleeve as I headed out on a road trip with some friends over the weekend. Now I can confess that we were headed to Lake Placid… on Ironman weekend. I had a few emails and messages from people asking if this was, in fact, what I was up to. Good guess! :)

6 of us made the ~7 hour drive on Friday and set up camp at Whiteface KOA, just a 10 minute drive outside of downtown Lake Placid. I noticed immediately that the campground was teeming with athletes, and almost every vehicle driving in and out of town was loaded up with bikes. The area was oozing Ironman.

First on our agenda was a swim at pristine Mirror Lake. It was early evening by the time we got there and the lake and there were hundreds of people swimming or getting ready to do so. The course was fully marked and set-up had begun on the beach. It was very cool to see everything coming together, and wondering what it must feel like for those who were preparing to race in a couple of days.

We suited up and had a fantastic swim. The water was just about the perfect temperature (comfortably cool) and so clean and fresh (especially compared to Duck Lake *shudder*). I covered one full loop and loved following the famous white cable – no sighting required! In fact, I got so distracted by the line that I swam directly into the large triangular buoys a couple of times. Whoops!

After dinner back at camp, we tucked in as early as possible after the long travel day and knowing that we had an early wake-up call and big workout ahead. We were up and at ‘em at 5am to fuel up and prepare for a long ride – 90K (56mi) for half of us and double for the crazies other half. Our campground was located directly along the bike course, so we picked it up about 45 miles into the official route and decided to start our ride from there.

The route was spectacular. It’s a challenging course, but the scenery is just incredible (when you’re able to take your eyes off the road to enjoy it). Unfortunately the roads are not in very good shape, especially the shoulders, but at least we will have more space when they are closed to traffic.

It was fun to recognize the hills and landmarks that people have been telling me about for months, and I truly enjoyed every minute of the ride – except the terrifying descent into Keene! I think I need more practice on my downhills than uphills.

After the ride, a few of us went out for a short brick run while the others carried on with their second loop. After that, we out in some solid pool time and treated ourselves to ice cream.

Later that night we went back into town to scope out the expo and transition area, which was packed to the brim with bikes.

We did some shopping and gawked at all of the athletes walking around in head to toe spandex before heading back to camp for dinner and an early bed time. It has been a long day and we had another big one ahead.

Bright and early Sunday morning (IRONMAN DAY!) it was time to get dressed up and head around the corner to Wilmington for our “Wild Wild West” themed aid station duties starting at 7am. We had a couple of hours of prep, then were treated to a nice breakfast while we waited for the athletes to start rolling through our aid station, which was located around the 40 mile mark on the bike course.

From 9am onwards, it was non-stop excitement and chaos as cyclists poured through our station to fill up on water, Perform, gels, chews, bars and bananas. There were dozens of us handing items out at any given time and we formed a long line with the various items spread out all the way through. It’s a lot harder than you might think to successfully hand something off to someone on a bike, especially when they didn’t want to slow down, and items were dropping all over the place.

There were several wipeouts caused my cyclists wobbling as they tried to swap bottles, as other cyclists attempted to weave around them on this narrow out-and-back section. The dropped bottles posed a major hazard and we saw at least one athlete ride over a bottle, which caused him to go down. Thankfully, we didn’t see any major injuries and each of them was able to get up and carry on.

Things got intense in the second loop. The sun had been pounding down all day and the temperature seemed to be a lot warmer than most anticipated. We were melting just standing out there, and really feeling for everyone who was out racing. More and more people were pouring into our station needing support. Many stopped for long periods of time, needing aid or just some time in the shade and off of their bikes. We did everything we could for people who needed help, from slathering sunscreen on them, feeding them advil from our personal stash, filling up their bottles and nutrition boxes, and even peeling and hand-feeding bananas to some of them! It was a truly humbling and also very rewarding experience.

After 6+ hours out there, we eventually had to peel ourselves away. It was an absolute blast being out there (though more exhausting than you might think!) and I hope to have the opportunity to do it again. It was a great feeling to play even a small part in helping someone get through their day.

We had a bit of downtime in the early evening before heading back into town to watch the finish. We staked out a spot where athletes were making their way into the Olympic Oval, and watching their faces when they realized they were finally there was just incredible. Some people seemed to be dead to the world, running completely on autopilot, while others whooped and hollered and high fived the crowd. Some were walking or hobbling, while others seemed to find a final kick to sprint for the finish.

heading into the Oval

I had goosebumps just imagining what it must feel like in that moment. After a while, we decided to make our way inside and grab a seat on the bleachers where we stayed until midnight. The place was getting more and more packed and louder by the minute. They aren’t kidding when they call this the “midnight finish line party.”

 

It was an incredibly inspiring experience to be at the finish and get a real taste for what this is all about. It certainly made me more excited about what we were planning to do the following morning.

After getting to bed around 1:30, our alarms were set for 4:30 in order to line up at the race site with hundreds of other volunteers looking for a spot in the 2013 race. We were about 150th in line (there were well over 1000 when we left) and they started taking us inside after about two and a half hours of waiting. There may have been some naps on the sidewalk.

It just took a few minutes to sign our lives away register and I enjoyed chatting nervously with others lining up while we waited. Just a few quick questions, cha-ching on the credit card and I was in!

Ironman Lake Placid, July 28, 2013: here I come!

 

Three Things Thursday

1. There have been a few new additions to our bed recently…

Well, it’s time to make room for one more because I finally got myself an iPhone.

 Hit me with your favourite apps!

 

2. I seem to have picked up a case of Swimmer’s Itch (aka “duck itch”, which is exactly as disgusting as it sounds) from our regular swimming hole (which we have since boycotted for a lake farther north because it was getting too warm and icky).

Don’t read this if you are easily grossed out…

“Swimmer’s itch … is a short-term, immune reaction occurring in the skin of humans that have been infected by water-borne schistosomatidae…  These parasites use both freshwater snails and vertebrates as hosts in their parasitic life cycles. Mostly waterfowl are used as the vertebrate host. During one of their life stages, the larvae of the parasite, cercaria, leave the water snails and swim freely in the freshwater, attempting to encounter water birds. These larvae can accidentally come into contact with the skin of a swimmer. The cercaria penetrates the skin and dies in the skin immediately. The cercaria larvae cannot infect humans, but they cause an inflammatory immune reaction. This reaction causes initially mildly itchy spots on the skin. Within hours, these spots become raised papules which are intensely itchy. Each papule corresponds to the penetration site of a single parasite.”

Yuck. It has been extremely uncomfortable and the rash is just now starting to subside after 10+ days. I won’t be swimming here any time soon:

 

 3. Tomorrow I’ll be loading up the car with some friends for a road trip! The destination is a secret [for now] and I may be coming back with an announcement of sorts… those in the know: shhhhhh! I promise there will be a full report next week!

 

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!

Muskoka 70.3 Training – Week 1

Once again, I’m not following an official training schedule and once again, I got off to a bumpy start when I was sick this week and missed three whole days of workouts. I was able to salvage the week with my long ride and run over the weekend, so there’s nothing to do now but move forward.

 

Monday -

Went for an evening wetsuit-free swim at the lake.

swim 1400m – 31:09

 

Tuesday –

5am run with the girls and bike Time Trial after work – which I crushed!

run 9.4 KM (5.6 mi) – 54:59 – 5:50/KM (9:23/mi)

bike 15.0 KM (9.3 mi) - 23:50 – 37.8 KPH (23.5 mph) +12.7K warm-up

 

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday - sick

 

Saturday –

Met up with some friends for my longest ride to-date! We took a gorgeous route which landed us at the beach about two hours into the ride… the only logical thing to do was park our bikes and run into the lake wearing our gear. It was the best thing ever. Felt great for the whole ride and had a ton of fun. Embarrassing moment: pushing my bike DOWN a hill because I was too chicken of the steep descent with a wicked sharp turn at the bottom. Yeah, I’m a chicken…

bike 100.9 KM (62.7 mi) – 3:35:29 – 28.1 KPH (17.5 mph)

 

Sunday –

Group long run on a sticky, muggy morning. I was not feeling good at all – unsure whether it was from being sick, the big ride on Saturday, the weather or a (most likely) a combination of all 3), but I cut it slightly short and slogged through it. Fortunately we had a swimming pool waiting for us after the run!

run 20.0 KM (12.4 mi) – 1:55:07 – 5:45/KM (9:15/mi) 

 

Totals:

Swim: 1 x for 1400m in 31:09

Bike: 2 x for 128.6 KM (79.9 mi) in 4:25:58

Run: 2 x for 29.4 KM (18.3 mi) in 2:50:06

Total Time: 7:47:13