Sunday, October 16, 2016

Weekend Roundup

  Is it like a universal thing to love the weekends? And even with Monday as a holiday for us Canadians celebrating Thanksgiving, it seemed like a LONG week.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am sure I am still digesting turkey.  A couple family gatherings to consume lots and lots of turkey and pumpkin pie.  More pumpkins ready for Halloween.

Rain again here.  1 day of sun in more than a week.  I can feel the vitamin D deficiency already.  Honestly, does anyone ever have lawn this green in the prairie provinces in October?  We seriously have had to mow lawn every week since, well April.

You know the equation:  rain + kids=  a muddy mess.  3 of my kids found some serious mud.  They conveniently forgot to wash their clothes before heading back to university.  Oops sorry mom.

More volleyball.  This weekend was the 4th tournament weekend.  We have 2 off now until the next one.  I love watching volleyball though.  I was able to ride on the bus with the girls.  Lots of energy, screaming and singing.  I've had my fill of Taylor Swift for awhile.  Tons of fun, awesome girls and a great coach.  And when else do you get lunch of taco in a bag?

I have been using this collagen powder in my morning drink with a vitamin powder and man does my stomach love me.  It is the.bomb.  I guess like bone broth in powder form.  You should totally get some.  Amazon.

Also found this online and sent it to my kids.  Certainly made the 15 year old think.  She knows I would do it.

Think these 2 are hungry?

On the training front:

Monday: 30 mile trainer ride
Tuesday: I guess nothing but can't remember why
Wednesday: 6.6 mile trail ride also called the crotch killer- me trying to ride my bike on the narrow     bridge, panicking and falling off many times. You know they put that top bar on a bike for people like me.

Thursday: 19 mile trainer ride, then 4 mile run later in the day
Friday: 750 yard swim
Saturday: house cleaning, does that count?
Sunday: 37 mile trainer ride

I went on Thursday for a massage and cupping on my tight left hamstring, glute and IT band.  No pictures. You are welcome.

And finally, these 2 events are added to my to do list.

Been to Oceanside and biked along the coast.  This would be a wonderful ride.  And man that jersey!  Would sure look good on me.

The Grizzly Ultra in Canmore, Alberta.  Running in the mountains in Canmore.  Enough said.

I was glued to the facebook, twitter updates as well as the live feed from Kona last weekend.  Wished I was there.  Congrats to all the athletes.  I loved this article on Daniela Ryf and her take on pain.

Have a great week!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Challenge Roth- Swim

Challenge Roth started off with a bang.

Actually, it was a bark.  Excitement and nerves had me awake long into the night.  I awoke to my husband shaking me to get up and move it.  One alarm was set for 3:45 am (apparently hubby turned it off) and another for 4:00 (apparently I set it for pm). Our departure time was set for 4:30.  A barking dog woke him up and it was 4:15. We had 15 minutes to get on the road.  I think I was too much still asleep and too rushed to get going to even start to panic about such a rush.  Every athletes worst nightmare- sleeping through the alarm. Oh boy.

I guess good preparation the day before made getting out the door in this short time possible.  Threw on the clothes that were piled on the floor, got the peanut butter/almond butter on toast sandwiches ready as well as the morning UCAN.  Water bottles ready and morning bag ready.  The only thing I didn't get to do was sit to let nature take it's time. TMI I know but it is a fact of life for an endurance athlete.
We planned to ride the shuttle to the swim start and had booked a ride on the 5:00 am shuttle that left from a school about 5-10 min away from the expo/finish area.  We needed to push the speed a bit (thank goodness for the no posted speeds for some highways) and managed to arrive with 2 minutes to spare.  Thank goodness we also checked out the shuttle pickup area yesterday and set the gps destination for it.  We rushed to where others were standing asking if it was the 5:00 line or the 5:20 line.  A sigh of relief to hear they were waiting for the 5:00 shuttle.  The shuttle was free but you did have to sign up ahead of time and wear the bracelet to get on the bus and it was not interchangeable with another time.  The bus was actually almost 15 min late and the rule of riding during your time slot only flew out the window as folks from both the 5 and 5:20 time were boarding.

Excitement grew to a bit of worry as we passed miles and miles of vehicles waiting to get to the swim start.  Unless you want can be or want to be at the swim start at  4:30 or 5 at the latest, take the shuttle.  I can only imagine the panic for some of the athletes in those vehicles.  It would have taken a long time to get to the swim start and I can only assume some were late.  I was in one of the first wave starts 6:55 (after the pros took off) and I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time(30 min) to set up and get ready before my start.  Hubby's wave was at 7:50.

Off the bus and going as fast as we could to get through the tons of spectators and other competitors all looking for in way "in" at transition.  It was where the bike exit was and would have been a good thing to know prior.  With bike check in the day before, it was easy to navigate to where my bike was.  I borrowed a pump right away from a lady just down from me.

1272 is me!
I decided to find the porta potty sooner rather than later.  They seemed a long ways away into the other bike section and there was a line up pretty long.  A lady passing by said there was no line ups around the corner at the inside potties.  I made a bee line over there and sure enough no line and no pressure to get in and out fast.  I like to take my time.  Embarrassing to admit but it's the truth.  It was a chance to calm myself down and regroup.  I was lighter after leaving in more ways than one.

Back at my bike, I got my nutrition on my bike, checked things out and then started to lube up with body glide.  I was asked if I knew how the tattoos worked and I proceeded to help a lady put her tatoos on with only a little water from someone else beside us.  I didn't mind but wondered why she didn't do that last night.

Me in the white top talking to lady who needed a tattoo.

Heard my name called and roaring runner was at the end of my row checking out my spot.  I was getting my wetsuit on and drinking the last of the UCAN fuel.  I checked with him that he had his.  Last time he forgot to drink it.  I need him to keep me from full out panic attacks and he needs me to remind him to keep on top of his nutrition.

We walked to where the lines of waves were starting to assemble.  I dropped my morning clothes bag off.

There was music playing and such incredible energy.  It is strange to have the announcer speaking all in German, not understanding a word of it and oddly, I seemed ok with that.  Porta potties were also in this area.  It was nice to have your swim wave number and time printed on the swim caps.  Made finding your wave easier.  I was in the second women's wave group.  There were only 2 women's waves and 11 men's.
The pros were off and the excitement went through the roof.  There were spectators many deep along both sides of the canal, along the bridge, pretty much everywhere.  I've never seen such support. Hubby stayed with me for a few more minutes then kissed me good bye, gave me lots of encouragement and left.  He said after that too many excited/panicy/crying women was hard on his nerves.
Soon, the wave before mine left and we were up at the edge of the water.  Waves were 5 min apart. 250 women in my wave and some were high fiving, some were hugging, some crying.  I made friends with as many women as I could- from all over the world, and for many of them, this was their first full distance triathlon.  This was very comforting for me being my first time with the long distance. Doesn't change the fact we all had 140 miles to cover that day but we sure weren't alone with our emotions.
When the horn blew to start the wave in the water, it was our turn to get in and swim out to the start buoys.  We had a couple minutes to get some water on the face, pee if you needed and find your spot in the pack.  Water was warm and I positioned myself on the outside edge of the canal.  I was told by someone who has already raced Roth that with the canal swim it is good to stay in the middle to outside on the way out and more to the outside on the return trip.  Especially for those in early waves.  Better current.  I was way less nervous than I thought I would be and soo excited to get started.
Hubby said it was really neat being in a later waves to see more of the beginning.  He saw all the hot air balloons (around 8 I think) go up, saw the pros come in and was apart of so much of the excitement.  Timing wise for him starting an hour later than I was, we thought we might be pretty close to finishing around the same time.

It was pretty easy to get into my rhythm early on and the only trouble I had was my goggles fogging a bit.  Dang it all, I wish I had an easy solution to this problem.  My swim path I imagine was very similar to an intoxicated individual walking the line.  My garmin showed 2.49 miles so wasn't too bad.  I didn't get run over or kicked but I did get too close to the edge of the canal and my right hand hit the side. It stung for the rest of the swim.
I never really saw if there was assistance by way of kayaks in the water and interestingly enough, there were no kayakers at the turn around point.  I heard lot of yelling and I looked up and on shore some people were yelling at me and pointing and I looked around to see myself alone and the turn buoy a little bit behind me.
Halfway back on the return trip was where things started getting interesting.  I was still dealing with impaired vision and now the wave of men that left behind our wave was catching up.  They were like a steam roller just plowing through, over and around all the ladies.  Even hugging the side like I was I was kicked, pushed, elbowed and swam over.  The swim wasn't quite as much fun from this point on. I found it hard to hold my ground.
The swim course continued past the start point, under a bridge to the turn around point a few hundred yards beyond.  Couldn't see much now through the goggles and getting a bit ready to find the end.  All of a sudden my head runs into something solid and an arm lifts me up and there I was at the swim exit.  WooHoo
Swim exit the day before the triathlon

I ran and picked up by bike bag and headed to the change tent.
The bike bag area the day before

 The change tent was full and there was a couple ladies just before the entrance so I stopped there to change.  No matter how warm the water is, after a long swim, a couple minutes after exiting the swim, I start to shake uncontrollably.  I was a handful for these 2 ladies trying to help a shaking lady dry off, change shorts and put socks and shoes and arm warmers on.  I needed to sit for a minute as a volunteer doctored up by bleeding hand (from hitting the canal wall).
All the long distance triathlons I have been too so far have had separate change tents for men and women.  In Europe I guess they are way less modest or private as there is one change tent that serves all.  I have never had a full out change yet at a triathon and now I am faced with doing this around men and women.  I had a towel in my change bag and did try to use it to change discretely.  I know so junior highish.  It really wasn't as big a deal as I was making it to be in my head.  My husband had the attitude of "when in Rome."  He did say that he was surprised that both transition change tents were staffed with women volunteers.  Uh excuse me, I am having trouble with my shorts, can you help?

 Well thanks to a 1:32:19 swim and a 10:56 transition, I was sent onto the bike course with help from some great volunteers and by the cheering and encouragement of more fans than one can imagine.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Weekend In Pictures

On the course of the Flatlander Half Marathon in Regina, Saskatchewan.

An accidental find when turning on the wrong street.  Boy, was I in trouble!  Left with sourdough bread, farmers loaf, dinner buns, scones and cinnamon buns!

Running in the rain Sunday morning.  So peaceful and calming.

Do you pick up the pace like me?

I planned a 5 miler today and got carried away adventuring.  This was when I finally turned around.

Longer run than planned meant I was a bit thirsty. So happy to see this!

Not so happy to see this(:

Always have a moment to stop and smell the flowers.

Post run refueling with NUUN water and an Oh Yeah One chocolate chip cookie dough bar.

Gorgeous day after the rain passed by so we went walking on the trails by the lake beside the Legislative Building.

Can you believe this happened 2 days later!!!

Have a great week!

Flatlander Half Marathon Race Report

What an amazing day for a run!  With the Canadian prairies in the middle of the fall season, temperatures are unpredictable.  But what a wonderful day it was on Saturday.  Temperature highs of 20 C and the morning temp at start time was 11 C.  It was sunny with a warm wind, leaves falling gently and a wonderful course.

Everything didn't go exactly as planned, though when does it ever.  I helped finish our final field of combining on Friday (YAHOO) and due to big tractor breakdown issues, my partner in endurance crime couldn't make the trip. So a solo drive at 5:30 a:m to make the start time of 9:30.  Don't worry, it's ok if you think I am crazy.  I was telling myself the same thing for the whole drive.  Especially the 2 hours through fog and then the 1/2 hour delay with road construction.  

Flatlanders Half Marathon is put on by the Regina Road Runners Club and is held annually in Regina, Saskatchewan.  It offers the half marathon distance as well as 10 km and 5 km events.  Start times were staggered.  I arrived just by the nick of my teeth to pick up my bib and tshirt, make a quick trip to the bathroom and get myself ready.  Shorts, tank, arm warmers (which I didn't need), visor, sunglasses, and my small hand held fuel bottle.  I filled a bottle with chocolate UCAN, my usual endurance fuel and mixed it up just after arriving, drinking 1/2 and filling my hand held with the other half.  1/2 the bottle is about 3 swigs for me and gives me consistent fuel for usually 1 hour sometimes longer.  Planned to take the fuel from the hand held at mile 6-7 at an aid station. I like to have a mouthful of water if possible after the fuel.  

My warm up was running to the bathroom and I got into line just 2 min before the horn.  The pace always starts off fast and I went with it for a mile or so before settling into what I wanted to stay at.  I haven't been training with any fast running so I thought a 9 min mile pace would be pretty practical.  I also know that the stress level in my life has been through the roof and my heart rate is very reflective of this so I did want to take that into consideration.  
The race course was a breathtaking run around a couple small lakes right in the heart of the city, past the legislature building, across bridges on a very nice paved path.  

It was reported that 359 people were registered in all 3 running events and 104 participants in the half marathon.  Water was the only thing offered on course until about 3 km from the finish and the volunteers were offering gels.  It was very well marked and the volunteers were fantastic. 

I really seemed to find my groove after mile 3 and kept it up until about mile 9.  Faded a bit but pushed on.  Every runner talks about the self talk that goes on in their heads, some of it negative.  I don't usually have a lot of trouble with the negative self talk, surprisingly.  I work really hard to stay in the moment, enjoy my surroundings and usually spend a lot of time thinking about my family.  

It is a blessing to be able to run.  I feel free.  I don't take that for granted.

A lady who had been running ahead of me for the whole run(great pacing for me) started to walk about 2 km from the finish.  I have a heart for encouraging, some would shake their heads at this but an encouraging word takes little from me and may make a lot of difference to her.  Through the entire run, I had plans to pass her but not this way.  I want to pick people off because of my increased effort not the lack of theirs. I did look back in a minute or so and she was running again.  That carried me to the finish with a smile.  The last bit before crossing the line was around a track.  There were spectators cheering and the announcer brought in each runner by name.  A great way to finish.

I got a personal thank you for attending this event and a medal put around my neck.  I was directed to the food tent which had oranges, bananas, juice boxes, water, chips and wagon wheels.  I took a couple oranges and bananas.  I felt a tap on my back and the walking lady thanked me for the encouragement.  Said it was what she needed.  Running isn't about just me.  I like that.

It was a 1 min walk to my vehicle. I called my son, told him I was on my way to his place and I was starving.  There is a 1 hour time change so it was like 12:30 for me, a burger was sounding good.  

Official results timed me at 1:56:20 which is a pace of 8:53.  I was 2nd in my age group and 12th female out of 46.  It was a great day for a run on a very scenic course on a warm fall day.

 Hats off to the Regina Runners Club for a great event.  I will be back next year with my partner along this time.  I missed you roaringrunner!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Challenge Roth- The Beginning and Tips

Gosh Roth- how do you write a post trying to coles note version one of the most amazing experiences of your life? Besides the day I got married and the days my kids were born, this was the next best day ever.  Really, no lie.

Just a few stats to set the stage. Jan Frodeno was not only racing that day but had a goal to beat the record time by Andreas Raelerts set 5 years ago.  Then a couple weeks before race day, Daniella Ryf was added to the lineup.

2016 Challenge Roth celebrated it's 15th year and it's main sponsor DATEV 50 years

3482 racers
6000 volunteers
250,000 spectators- ya you read that right
Race day high temp 28 C
Race day water temp 21 C

Jan Frodeno 7:35:39 - broke the world record by 6 minutes
Daniella Ryf 8:22:04 - fastest woman ever on the bike course

My husband was originally the one interested in applying into the Challenge Roth lottery in July of 2015.  He had the computer loaded and ready at some crazy early time (because we are 7 hours behind Roth).  In 30 sec his name was accepted and he had 2 weeks to leave payment.  Those lottery spots were gone in less than 2 minutes.  I had not completed a full distance triathlon yet and sometimes I spend too much time "thinking things through" and he is a let's jump and go type of guy so he was in and I wasn't.  Additional lottery spots were available the beginning of December.  I was out of town and well, it didn't happen as planned and I didn't get in.  This time I was really bummed.  But a most amazing thing happened in a very early morning in Feb of 2017.  My husband whispered to me that he was just got an email indicating that a few spots were available for Roth, did I still want a spot.  Well, I jumped right up and told him to say yes, checked my email a bit later and there I was.

I had plans for July 17!  Next step was the training.  Planned back 20 weeks and the first day of training for Challenge Roth officially started on Feb 28.  I already had a couple events planned for 2016 and timing wise they all worked well together.

We also starting doing some research and making some plans and reservations for the trip and accommodations.  We got great Challenge Roth advice from meeting up with a social media friend Erin Lee the previous July at Whistler during Ironman Canada.  She had just returned from Roth and had some great tips for us.  I think she was the ball that started all this rolling.  Thanks Erin!

Roth is a small community with limited accommodations.  There are however, many other neighbouring communities as well as the city of Nuremburg all within about 20 miles. We booked a small condo through VRBO on the south side of Nuremburg (Roth was south of Nuremburg).  The condo had comfortable beds, enough space for the 4 of us and our bikes and gear, had a washing machine and small kitchen.  It was very simply furnished though, not like maybe we see in North America.
We did do lots of walking in the area as we were just on the outside of the old city walls and the walk to the old downtown area was beautiful.  The drive back and forth to Roth was a real inconvenience though.  We drove there Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun.

To do it again, I would recommend trying to book a place in Roth.  Obviously, it is nice to be close to the race finish/expo but more compelling is the feeling Roth gives off.  A quaint, traditional German (and of course after being there once, I am the expert) with classic German architecture and charm, cobblestone streets, neat restaurants and pubs with unfortunately little chance to experience them.  Also, if you enjoy the ambiance of the days prior to a triathlon, Roth is a better bet.  We had none of that in Nuremburg.  People on bikes commuting but no signs, promotion or in some cases awareness of Challenge Roth.  However, a mere 20 min away, the people of Roth are well known for their passion for triathlon.  Just seeing the number of spectators confirms this.

We chose to fly into Zurich as we were going back to Switzerland for the 2 weeks after Roth to see friends and attend a wedding.  We rented a car at the airport and drove the 3 1/2 hours to Roth through rain with very little sleep.  Most flights from North America to Europe will fly through the night so you arrive in Europe in the morning local time though it is the middle of the night to your body.  The trick I was told was to just stay awake for the day and proceed as normal to get adjusted to the time change.  We really did try to do this but did make a pit stop 2 x at rest station pull outs along the German roads.  The second time, with the 2 kids sleeping, I told hubby just to put his head on the steering wheel and let's catch a few winks.  We all slept 30-40 min then were good to go.

 Most people from Canada that we met through the few days, also there for the triathlon had also flew through the night, rented a vehicle and were staying 15 min away from Roth.  We all agreed that our bodies finally started cooperating with the time adjustment after 4 nights.  Slept good the first night-obviously too tired to stay awake but despite busy schedules the next 3 days, our nights weren't full of sleeping.  No funny ideas either.  We did spent one night one by one hitting the kitchen up for some food around 1:30 am.  PB and J sandwiches with amazing European bread hit the spot.  I could write a whole blog about European bread.  There are no words to describe.  Also, no words to describe me trying to buy bread from a small mom and pop German bakery with my usual 100+ questions when I speak no German and the lady spoke no English.  I could hear them laughing as I walked down the street.

I digress.  Tips.  We were there obviously for the triathlon but didn't want to neglect exploring Nuremberg and the surrounding area.  As Nuremberg was the headquarters for the Nazis during the World Wars, it was attacked frequently and the destruction was evident after visiting the Imperial Castle.

We also went to the Trial Museum which took us on a self discovery tour of the crimes and trial of the German soldiers and political men responsible for the decisions to attack,imprison, kill and attempt to wipe out the Jewish people.  Very difficult to see but so worth it.

We walked the many pedestrian only cobblestone streets in the old town, crossing old bridges, buying local produce at a daily farmer's market, trying new foods (hello bratswurst) from small German restaurants with no English.  Many very old churches that take your breath away.

We also biked around the old city on a wonderful pedestrian, cyclist path.  Many people do ride commuter type bikes and bike lanes are pretty common in the city.

We were told about Germany being a beer lovers haven, which was true but didn't know that it was also a smoker's dream.  Cigarettes were very cheap and all outdoor patios had ashtrays. It seemed everyone and their dog smoked.  And smoked everywhere doing anything- walking, eating, working, biking.  We had the chance to sit outside but rarely did.  It was just too much.

Interestingly enough, I always felt safe while in Germany.  We walked, ran, biked and came in with our vehicle many times after dark and I never felt unsafe.  Unfortunately, only a few days after the triathlon, Nuremberg and other cities in Germany were subject to scary terrorist type troubles.

Being able to race at Challenge Roth was truly an opportunity of a lifetime.  With the lottery system and the cost to travel abroad, it isn't the easiest to just put on your calendar and do.  But man, the memories.  This is what life is about people.  Crazy, wonderful adventures in new places, meeting new people and having the time of your life doing it.
Sign up for Challenge Roth.  You won't ever regret it.
What do you think the chances were of us sharing the same last 2 numbers?  Truly meant to be!

More post on the way.