Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Great Floridian Countdown

Not much going on here except training away...

For the first time in my life, my swimming is feeling great -- I look forward to it, and it doesn't exhaust me like it used to....especially post-IM. I am feeling the water people!!! I can feel it when I swim! My back muscles are sore after I swim. YAHOO!!! Instead of the wrong muscles being sore, the right ones are.

I've been swimming with my BFF Charmaine (also known as Charmers) in the lima bean pool. Some of you may recall the year I first met her. I saw her doing I don't know how many lengths of butterfly and decided that she was the perfect person to ask about swim advice.

She immediately dove into the project (yes, pun intended) and proceeded to give me all kinds of tips. She was the one who decided that for the rest of that year I was to concentrate on kicking. Kicking fast, kicking slow, kicking fast and slow. She would swim underneath me and poke me (HARD) when she felt I wasn't kicking hard enough. LMAO -- that was the year I took 10 minutes off my IM swim time.

Well, we are back together again -- wreaking havoc in the pool. The aqua-aerobic ladies ganged up on Charmers the last time we swam, in an epic splash fight. Hahahah -- the energy is so good at that pool. :)

Anyways, Operation Make Julie Swim Faster has begun again. (Under the supervision of Coach Sara of course) -- Charmers has decided I still need to kick harder, but this time, she swims beside me and grabs the side of my bum really hard and shakes it if she thinks I am not kicking with my bum enough. OMG it HURTS! LMAO!!!!

I never know when she is going to appear either -- she is stealthy and she is fast. Hahaha!

Another thing she has suggeseted I start integrating into my training is breathing every 5 and 7 strokes. This is the second time this year, this has been suggested to me -- earlier this year, I took a series of stroke improvement classes...

Anyways, after presenting Coach Sara with the proof of how awesome my BFF is at swimming, she has integrated breathing work into my sessions. Except she went one step further and added breathing every 9 strokes as well.

9 strokes.

Well, my first attempt at this went pretty well, but I cheated a little. (Just a little. Hee-hee!)

I could do 100m of breathing every 9 strokes if I:
  • didn't do any flip turns
  • took a sneaky breath before I arrived at the wall
  • took another breath at the wall
  • took another sneaky breath on the first half-stroke after I pushed off the wall
All this in a 20m pool! Hahahahahaha! So, next time, I will stop the cheating and try some flip turns in there. And I'll be back to the 25m pool next week....

My last big race of the year is one month away!!! I'm still eating Paleo-style and am needing to buy new pants. My old ones are literally falling off me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back to Sparwood

The Pincher Creek pool is closed for its annual shutdown until the 25th -- boohoo!!

That means I'm back to the good old lima bean pool in Sparwood. The really shallow 20m lima bean pool -- good times! HAHAHA!

During my session this morning, a man entered my lane and I told him the rules -- lol. I know I was practically shouting at the poor guy becasue I had water in my ears -- it's the same when I wear ear plugs....I feel the need to SHOUT. Hahah!

I told him that he would stay on that side of the line, and I would stay on this side. Then I said, "But I make no promises that I will actually STAY on this side." Hee-hee!

I swam off with my pull buoy and paddles, and he stayed against the wall chatting with a mutual friend. When I returned to the wall, I paused for some reason and the guy said to me, "You swim like a warrior."


I responded, "Well, I like to splash around a lot to make it look like I know what I'm doing." Hahaha! But seriously, that is the most awesome comment EVER. It is so awesome, I am making it my new swim logo: Swim like a warrior.

The next time I'm in the city, I might even get myself a tee-shirt made up with it. LOL!!

I was scrolling through Netflix yseterday and saw that Xena was now available...(heh-heh-heh!) I've not seen any of those episodes so I think I might take a peek this evening. Now that I have WARRIOR on my mind.

Yes! I am good...and I am fast! I am a warrior in the water! YES!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ironman Canada 2011 Race Report

Well, that was my eighth Ironman, and I have to tell you, when you have done this many, your perspective definitely changes. I am a hell of a lot fitter than I was when I first started on this IM journey, for example. I remember after my first Ironman, I could barely move any muscle for a week without experiencing pain.

I remember standing in line the next day (that was when you still had to do that for Ironman Canada) and watching other athletes move around like they hadn't even raced! I wondered how in the world was that possible when I was hurting everywhere?!?!

This year, the day after the race, my muscles were sore for sure, but the recovery is like lightening speed compared to my first race in 2005. By Wednesday, I was able to run up and down stairs and I was swimming yesterday. I still marvel at the difference. Hahaha!

Onto the race itself...

In short, this race was a massive disappointment for me. I had a time goal of 10:48 and at around mile 6 of the run, my stomach wanted to upchuck. Walking hurt, running REALLY hurt. I would run, but then the vomit feeling would come and I even brought up a little bit. As soon as this would happen, I would start walking. Part of me wonders if I had forced myself to keep running and actually puked, if I would have felt better...

I did meet many athletes who experienced the same thing I did on Sunday. Some puked and still felt terrible, so I'll never know.

What I do know, was that it was very hot on race day. So hot, that when I reached one aid station, a volunteer said, "Ok, I am going to put these cold sponges on your neck. You are going to feel a shock and inhale sharply." When he squeezed it on my neck I didn't feel anything. That scared me. The volunteer was so awesome, he went into superman mode and started squeezing water again and again until I cooled down.

Most of the marathon was spent standing, doubled over at aid station with my head hanging down. I am so grateful for the many volunteers and fellow athletes who offered help and words of encouragement/advice. Only in Ironman, will a fellow competitor stop running and walk beside you, hand on your back and ask if you are OK. To everyone who asked, I tried to respond without vomiting, "I'm Ok - you go have a good race. You look strong."

I wanted to quit so many effing times. The only relief I would feel was by doubling over and curling around my stomach. I wanted to curl up in the fetal position. There were actually only two things that kept me going:

  1. The athletes still heading out to the run turn-around. They were hurting and still moving forward, so it would be terrible if I just gave up.
  2. That damn finisher's medal, t-shirt and hat. I paid for them and I better get them.
At 9 miles to go, I was like, holy crap, I don't want to walk all frigging day. I would try jogging, have to stop, then walk. Repeat over and over again.

I had dropped my salt tabs at the beginning of the run, but had no issues with my usual dizzy, light-headed, tunnel vision experiences. It was stinking hot outside, and my mouth would become so dry instantly. I couldn't swallow -- couldn't feel my tongue. It was very odd. I knew I should keep drinking water, but every time I would, my cramps would start again. I contemplated drinking nothing else until the end of the race, but decided that maybe that wasn't too good an idea.

At about 7km left to go, I was able to *run* if I held my stomach with one hand. When that arm got tired, I'd hold it with the other one. I started making grunting noises and heaving noises once in a while and would bring up a little spittle/other stuff.

As I approached the final mile, my very good friend Susi popped out of nowhere and ran the rest with me (outside the run course, through the crowds.) She shouted out encouraging words -- OMG, I was feeling so terrible I couldn't even respond. Every time she would hear me about to puke, she would say, "Just breathe, Just breathe." Thank God for Susi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I crossed the finish line in 12:57:58 -- almost an hour slower than the last two years. For those of you who have done more than one IM and start to get time goals, you will totally understand the massive disappointment I felt. Couple that with the physical and mental depletion an IM race requires and you can just imagine how truly $hitty I felt.

But.....I got over it. :) Onwards and upwards. Had many good conversations, email chats with good friends which helped me put things in perspective.

I have another iron-distance race in Florida on Oct. 22. And I am VERY excited about it!! :) :)

And next year, is the year of the non-M-dot race. :) I am really excited about checking out other iron distance races!

In the mail yesterday, I received a card from The Great Floridian Race. A personalized card saying they hope my training is going well, that they hope the next two months of training go well, and they included a bumper sticker. Now that is pretty cool! Hee-hee! A little bit different to an IM race already! :)

Here are my times from IMC:

Swim: 1:09:28 -- fastest swim yet, pleased with this!
Bike: 6:09:55 -- fastest bike yet, I regret not changing back to my 12-27 cassette and leaving my 11-25 on, but it made me stronger! :) :)

Run (Not run, but standing around/walk): 5:33:23 -- nothing more to say here.

Yes I am happy to have finished, but for me, that is no longer good enough. I make no apology for it. I have big goals and I am on my way to achieving them. :) In my mind, the race is like a big piece of furniture with all these drawers in it. I took out the feelings of disappointment, frustration, and anger, felt them, and then put them away. I'm over it.

Now for the FUN stuff!!!!!

  • The day before I left for the race, I stood up from the couch and I couldn't stand on my foot. My ankle felt like it was broken! HOLY CRAP!!! After a tearful converstation with my coach, I headed out to Penticton the next day anyways and headed to the ART tent after I checked in. They were closed, but were soooo kind enough to take a look at my ankle anyway. It was a tight ligament! They sort of rubbed it around, pulled on my foot and presto! All done. How frigging weird is that? The foot rubbing did make me drool a little. There is something about people handling my body that makes me relax. LOL.
  • Susi. The most amazing friend in the world. My kindred spirit. How do I even list all the wonderful things about Susi? I will do my best....I stayed with Susi and her boyfriend, Marco for IM week. She bought me a book. :) She gave me all her positive energy at the end of the race. SHE UNDRESSED ME AFTER THE RACE. That's right -- when I couldn't move let alone bend over, Susi took off my pee-clothes, and my pee-shoes and put everything in The Pee Bag!!!!!!!!!! She said, "Lift your arms." And took off my top and put on a fresh one. I kept apologizng and wanting to cry that she was willing to touch the pee-clothes!!! Now that my friends, is a TRUE FRIEND. Susi --- I love you. I eagerly await the day when I can sherpa for you in any race/endeavour you choose.
  • SHE HANDLED THE PEE BAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • My partner Mike and my parents who support me 100% in pursuing my goals -- Mike puts up with my Taper Bitch attitude and all the green stuff in the fridge (which by the way he is actually eating and REQUESTING more of!), and my parents who mow my lawn, baby-sit my cats, pick up my crab apples (oh sweet geezus it's THAT time of year again), and make Mike spaghetti since I've gone paleo. :)
  • My friends...I have met the best, kindest, most thoughtful, generous people through triathlon. You'll see the best of humanity during the marathon portion of a hot iron-distance race.
  • Check out the video clip -- LMAO!!!! I come from the left side of the screen, body check a guy in the middle and exit the right side of the screen from 1-5 seconds of the video. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kept watching it again and again. I didn't bump into him on purpose!! I was just scooting through! Sorry, guy!! It was not intentional!!! :) :)
  • My next race, I am using all real food -- no more gels and carbo pro for me. Yams, dates and homemade energy gels made out of chia powder, agave syrup etc. I am convinced that eating well all year and avoiding sugary shit, only to dive into piles of sugar on race day CANNOT be good for my stomach. I am very excited about trying this new way of race nutrition! During races, my teeth start to ache and hurt after a certain number of gels. And, two days after IMC, I broke out in so many zits it was disgusting. All that sugar coming out. Not for me. No more. I always thought it was weird that as triathletes, we do our best to eat well, rest, train well, be healthy, but then on race day, consume as much sucrose, dextrose, whatever-ose, and high fructose corn-syrup as we can....

My most awesome friend, Susi! Right before my stomach problems.