Friday, September 25, 2015

Hanging on by my fingernails..

..because my toenails are starting to fall off.

Lucky you.

This is the final week of build for the Vulture Bait 50k, and I'm starting to feel a bit ragged. To put things in perspective, here are a couple of tables, because sometimes being an accountant is a hard habit to kick.

I think there's one week that actually obeys the 10% rule..

This one is rather more dramatic.

And September's not over yet.

Odds are almost 100% that by September 30th I will have run more this month than I did in the prior three put together. This is not something I recommend.

On the bright side, despite some worrisome soreness last weekend, I think the idiot injury I sustained at the end of May is managing to hang in there. I'm trying to be kind to it  - well, as much as possible while still making increasingly unreasonable demands on it - by continuing to swim for recovery and actually using some of my myofascial release tools. Foam rolling may not seem like something that could be defined as "playing nice" while in progress, but does seem to keep things feeling better.

After I stop, that is.

The increased run training is also having the highly beneficial effect of helping me lose some of the extra poundage I've been carrying. I am quite literally running my arse off, though I'm pretty sure any hope of making it down to a reasonable racing weight evaporated back in August. Nonetheless, not only does the weight loss amplify the effect of my meagre fitness since there's less bulk for my poor, overworked legs to haul around, it also means that there's slightly less raw tonnage to cause harmful impact with every plodding step. Tanker doesn't seem to mind the extra room on the couch, either.

Recent portrait.

I've even busted out a new pair of trainers from my stash in an effort to keep from pounding myself into dust, and just bought a new pair of trail shoes in which I intend to race. All of the pairs I had in the current rotation were starting to get a bit high on the mileage scale, and right now I need my footwear to offer some good cushioning. I really am trying to walk a tightrope between arriving at the start of Vulture Bait hopelessly under-trained for a 50k and damaging myself while trying to cobble together some fitness. It doesn't even matter if it's a recurrence of the tendinosis that started at the end of May or some other kind of injury - I have to make every effort to stay healthy and strong if I'm going to have any chance of making it through the second loop on October 17th.

One last absurdly long run to go..

Friday, September 18, 2015

Georgina Sprint not-a-Triathlon - September 13th, 2015

Showed up at the race site in 10c/50f and it's raining bloody sideways.


We see a bunch of people packing up their bikes and heading out. They clearly have at least as much NOPE as I do for this race, but I decide I'll go pick up my kit and see what the story is anyway...mostly because we'd rolled out of bed at the buttcrack of dawn and driven 2hrs to get there. I actually struggled into the lower half of my wetsuit in the car just to keep me warm on the way to kit pickup, leaving most of my clothes in the car to stay dry while I threw on my MultiSport Canada hoodie and wrapped a space blanket I found in my transition bag around me..

I get my first look at Lake Simcoe and see three foot breaking waves. My NOPE level increases dramatically. As I line up to pick up my race bag, though, it's announced that the swim is cancelled - this triathlon just turned into a DUathlon, consisting of a 5k run, 20k bike, and another 2.5k run. Gee, good thing I put my wetsuit on. 

I resolve to at least start the damn thing. I rue the fact that I'd given a long, hard look to my Vanderkitten vest as I was packing up my bag the day before, but decided against bringing it because I've never actually bothered to stop in T1 before to put it on (despite having done some seriously cold racea). I pull out a pair of air travel socks with the toe seams snipped that live in my transition bag - a.k.a. my ghetto arm warmers - and use the scissors that I keep in there to cut myself a chunk of space blanket, which I unceremoniously stuff down the front of my trisuit in an effort not to freeze to death.

Purple scarf chick is not amused.

With less than 20mins to the start, I toss my bike, my helmet, sunglasses and cycling shoes into a rack spot in transition (leaving everything else inside to stay dry), then line up with my wave in the corral by the finish line to start this bit of madness. Oh, and I slapped on my usual smiley face, because what the heck else can you do at this point but laugh?

It's hard to draw on the back of your own calf.

I start at the back of the pack, and having run almost 19km the day before, figure I'll probably stay there. I just trot along as easy as possible, knowing I'll need to save some legs for what promises to be a terrifying time on the bike. I hadn't done a duathlon since Victoria's back in May of 2010, but I remember how my legs felt like they were filled with cement after the first run then.

Behind me is the reason the swim was cancelled.
The water safety team couldn't even get the course marked.

It was pretty damn humbling being less than 2km into the first run when the M40-49 men started coming past me like I was standing still, having started 3mins behind me. I did pass one or two people along the way, but certainly wasn't in any danger of being competitive. I sure wasn't going to sneak up on anyone, either - my space blanket wrapping made a loud rustling noise with every step, bounce and jiggle...and there were a lot of those.

Just floatin' along - nothing to see here, folks.

The run course was nice and flat, which meant the extra insulation I'm carrying around wasn't the liability it could have been. With nothing but a bit of silver saran wrap, a couple of socks and my spandex to trap bodyheat, this was taking #TRUSTTHECHUB to a whole new level, but fortunately there was plenty of it in which to put my faith. I did eventually make it back to transition, doing what I do best.

Acting the insufferable fool.

5k run: 30:18 @ 6:03/km
166/194 O/A - 60/80 W - 8/11 W35-39

Into transition, I toed off my tri loafers only to have the insole of the right shoe pull halfway out. Damnit, I'm going to need that again. I bend down to straighten it out and my hamstrings stage a protest at what they feel constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. To complete the experience, I nearly rip off my hanging-on-by-a-thread right big toenail while putting on my cycling shoes, then dump a puddle of water on my head as I put my helmet on. Welp, nothing here is working out - might as well ride.

T1: 01:38

So the bike course would be incredibly beautiful in nice weather. Most of the first half is along Lake Road, hugging the Southern shore of Lake Simcoe with the view of the water and endless beaches only occasionally interrupted by a hedge, fence or a few trees. This, of course, meant there was precious little shelter from the 40kph/25mph wind gusts coming off the lake as they tried to blow my bike flat. Triathlon Ontario had gone so far as to ban the use of disc wheels for this race due to the conditions, but even with standard road wheels it was sketchy as hell in the blowing rain. I nearly got wiped out by some guy coming past me without any warning as I was about to dodge a frost-heaved manhole cover (seriously people - is it THAT HARD to say "on your left?"), and I played airborne caterpillar with a couple of people. I wasn't pushing things too hard, partly because I was fearful of overspending my traction budget (horizontal track stands suck) and partly because I didn't want to roast my legs. Once I made the turn onto Metro Road to head back toward the race site, though, I took advantage of the flat course and more predictable wind patterns to make up some time. I left it in the small ring but spun up to just over 30kph and started passing a lot more people in front of me, trying to offer a kind word to my fellow competitors out braving these ridiculous conditions. I thanked the police & volunteers profusely, too - a chilled as I was on the bike, it would be so much worse standing around in that weather just to herd a bunch of spandex-clad idiots around a course. My space blanket breastplate was probably the only reason I didn't go hypothermic, and while it bunched up uncomfortably by my left hip at one point, I was able to get it sorted back out without leaving the aerobars.

20k bike: 43:05 @ 27.85kph
142/194 O/A - 42/80 W - 6/11 W35-39

Safely to the dismount line, it was no time to start taking chances, so I once again came to a complete stop and gingerly stepped off before lumbering back into transition. I couldn't feel my feet, but that's nothing new for anyone who's raced Lakeside before.

I swear I'm actually running here.

Back into my tri loafers after ditching my bike, helmet & glasses at the rack, then on to the last leg of this foolhardy little adventure.

T2: 01:30

Still illin'.

Feeling the chill from the bike as I set out, there was no longer any reason to try to save anything and plenty of motivation to work hard in order to warm myself up. I'd forgotten to put a gel packet into my bento box on the bike, so grabbed a cup of sport drink (at least I was told it was spoort drink - it tasted like plain water) from an aid station in an effort to get a bit of a carbohydrate boost.

I was actually feeling pretty good and passing a number of people along the way - the flat course and chilly weather was well suited to my post-injury flabbiness.

Puddle jumping

Through the turn-around and back down a very mild decline toward the finish, I threw down with all I had left in my meagre stores of fitness and endurance. I did actually manage to tiny bit of a kick as I approached the muddy chute.

My smiley face got a bit grubby.

2.5k run: 14:05 @ 5:37/km
138/194 O/A - 41/80 W - 5/11 W35-39

Across the line with no flair or flourish, I had to admit I was glad I hadn't just packed up and gone the hell home. Against all odds, I'd managed to enjoy myself out there!

But still so, so done.

Official time: 1:30:35
138/194 O/A - 41/80 W - 5/11 W35-39

Having now done one with more than a single season's racing experience, I may consider racing a duathlon intentionally again in the future. I also wouldn't hesitate to race at Georgina again; on a more pleasant day it would be a very fast course for PR or benchmark chasing, and the views of Lake Simcoe on the bike an run courses are simply breathtaking.

I don't know what it says about me, though, that upon seeing a girl out running in our town just after getting home my first thought was "Gee, I should really get out for a run.."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sit back, relax..

..and just watch me flounder.

Official tshirt of my tri season 2015

So the inaugural Georgina triathlon is this Sunday, and I will be lining up at the start with bugger all hope of doing much more than (possibly) surviving it.

I'm still quite fat and out of shape, and have no intention of tapering for this race - I can't afford to lose any more time to build run distance for the Vulture Bait 50k in 5 weeks (YIKES), so I'll be jamming out for over 10 miles of running on Saturday afternoon. I managed to get in 49.5km last week despite spending the weekend thoroughly enjoying myself whooping it up with friends at a motorcycle rally, and I should be over 50k this week. Not what anyone would consider "enough", but better than the 12-18km/week I was putting in back in July, plus those couple of 0km weeks.

Historically, the last tri of the year has generally been a "just for the sheer hell of it" race anyway. At least this year it's only a sprint rather than an Olympic distance, so I'll only have to suffer for somewhere between 1.5-2hrs rather than over 3.

And, of course, with all of my "extra insulation" I should have no problems with chilly morning temperatures at De La Salle Park - the flub should provide some extra buoyancy to prevent me from drowning, too, assuming I can manage to jam it all into my wetsuit.


Wish me luck - I'm definitely going to need it!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Eat my exhaust

So yeah, running is going pretty well. I'm re-discovering all the lovely chafe points and aches that come with being a different size than I usually am at this time of year (read: much, much fatter) and still remarkably out of shape, but I'm increasing mileage steadily and my chubby body seems to be accepting the work.

Going to try to keep it up and pushing distance this weekend, but my primary goal is motorbike-based hooliganism and spending time with people I love whom I don't see often enough.

This may not be a sound strategy for success at the inaugural Georgina sprint triathlon next weekend, but I can't seem to locate a single damn to give about that.

Hope you all have an awesome long weekend!