Monday, January 31, 2011

Triathlon Training Day

I attended a training day hosted by Loaring Personal Coaching for the first time on Sunday.  A number of my tri friends are coached by LPC and I've heard that these training days are alot of fun.  For less than $30 we were promised swim, run, and bike instruction with certified coaches and a session on the importance of stretching with a registered physiotherapist.  Coach Mary gave me the thumbs up when I asked her about it and built it into my week of training. 

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about attending because I knew that there would be alot of really good athletes there.  Fortunately Sydney and Paul were signed up and our close friends Dave, Kathy, and Dawn were also scheduled to go.  At least I was guaranteed some friendly faces even if I was always at the back of the pack.

The swim started at 8 a.m. and was scheduled for one and a half hours.  The point of the swim was not to get distance in, because we're all already doing that, but to go over some drills that will help us get stronger as triathlete swimmers.  We started with some dynamic stretches before getting into the pool (I rarely stretch before any workout - a bad habit I guess) and then seeded ourselves into four lanes.  We started things off in the water with a 200 metre warmup where I was happy to see that I wasn't holding anyone up from lack of speed.  Once that was over we donned some fins and went through a series of drills like one arms and hip led side rolls.  We would do 25 metres of these drills then front crawl on the way back.  I lucked out by being in the slow lane by the wall (silver lining of my slowness) because it turned out that the swim coach spent alot of time watching our lane (likely because we were in the most need of instruction) and giving us tips on technique.  I found out that I enter the water with my hand crossed too far over the front of my head.  They should be entering with the left hand at 11 o'clock and the right one at 1 o'clock.  I'm entering at 11 and 1 but with the opposite hand.  I was really happy to have some feedback on my stroke because I'm really working hard to improve the swim part of my racing.

After a quick showering off everyone headed to the physiotherapy clinic for the run, stretching, and bike portion of the day.  I ate a Clif Bar and banana on the way because I wanted to make sure that I had enough gas to get through the rest of the workouts. 

Once we set up our bikes we bundled up and headed outside for the run.  We started out by doing some run specific drills like A's and B's and Grapevines.  Coach Mary has us do these from time to time so I was familiar with them at least.  It was cold though!  There was a 5k loop mapped out that we could either run once or twice.  Sydney and I had decided to do one 5k loop and set off with the group.  Not surprisingly we were dropped pretty quickly as there were some really fast people there.  The best time for the 5k yesterday was 15:52!  I didn't even have 3k done by that point!.  I've been really struggling with my running lately and keeping my heartrate under control.  True to form Sydney was in zone 2 while I was in zone 4 for almost the entire thing.  The course was pretty good though as it wound through neighbourhoods and kept things interesting.  I was happy to see the end of that 5k and completed it in 33:15. 

After a quick change we set up our mats and Charlotte, the RPT talked to us about the importance of a stable core and led us through some exercises that would help us stay strong, maintain good balance and posture, and hopefully train and race injury free.  I found this part really interesting and only wish I could remember exactly everything she said!  Lunch was spent sprawled out around the clinic and we had a chance to chat with the other athletes and fuel up for the ride.

The trainer ride was the best part of the day.  They structured that ride so that you could ride from 90 to 120 minutes depending on your fitness level and how much riding you'd been doing.  James and Charlotte were really good at keeping things moving and providing really intersting facts (like what a "spinner" is as opposed to a "masher) and motivation.  We did intervals that simulated climbs, sprints, and tempo pace.   My trainer was set up next to Dave and he pprovided some extra motivation for me.  I have a Tacx magnetic trainer that has a cable where you can adjust the tension from.  I tend to leave the tension at 1 and use my gears to control tension as I need to learn how to use my gears.  We would be doing the climbs and I'd be at one of my biggest gears and Dave would reach over and move the tension to 6 or 8 depending on how much of a bugger he wanted to be.  He would then tell me to think of the hills in Italy and encourage me to do it.  I couldn't give him the satisfaction of not making it through the set when he threw down the gauntlet so thanks to Dave for making me work even harder than I was.  We rode a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes which is my longest trainer ride so far.

Overall it was a really good day and I enjoyed chatting with the coaches and soaking up all of the tips.  I'm signed up for the next (and final) one on February 20 where they're going to take the lane markers out of the pool, set up buoys, and give us tips on swimming around the buoys, in water starts, and getting through the first few minutes of a triathlon start.  These are all things I really need help with given my past performances so I'm looking forward to it.  I think I might actually take a notepad with me (nerd alert!) and write down some of what Charlotte says during the exercises portion and I'll also remember not to set my bike up next to Dave!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Food As Fuel. Who Knew?

My swim workout description today from Coach Mary started with "Eat before you go.  I command you."  Hmm.  I never eat before an early morning workout.  It's a downfall I know but I need to be up at least a half hour before I feel like I can eat anything and even then it's only because I know how important breakfast is.  The mornings that I have a workout generally see me hit the alarm, roll out bed and into whatever clothes are appropriate for the workout, commence workout.  That being said I sometimes feel like I've run out of gas during said workout.  This is especially true for swim workouts.

Evidently my desire to please my coach outweighs my distaste for eating so soon after getting up because I choked down a slice of toast with peanut butter today before heading out the door to swim.  Today was an 1800 metre swim that included 4X50 builds, 4x100 builds, 4X50 kick with fins (LOVE my fins), and other.  I have to admit that one piece of toast might have made a difference.  I was by no means super swimmer today but I did get through the workout without a grumbling stomach and feeling like I had more gas than usual. 

I'm working my way through "Nutrition for Endurance Athletes" in an attempt to learn more about what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.  This nutrition thing has definately been a mystery to me and I certainly don't want to compromise all of this training I'm doing by not fueling or refueling as the case may be, properly.

Luckily, until I get it together for myself, I have a coach that's on the ball enough after training me for only seven weeks to start my workout description with, "Eat before you go.  I command you."  :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Best Excuse I've Got For Missing A Workout

Training has been going really well the last couple of weeks.  Despite volumes that are more than what I've ever done, weather than has been less than ideal for running, and days that call for workouts before and after work I've been getting them done and LOVING it.  It's a recovery week this week which meant two rest days (Mondays and Friday).  I was happy to get the extra sleep Monday morning but to be honest I felt really restless and lethargic all day - like I was missing something!

Today called for a 1 hour 20 minute trainer ride that needed to get done before work because tonight is volleyball night.  The phone rang at 3 a.m. though and I was headed to the hospital because my sister was in labour.  Baby P was due last Friday and my sister was scheduled to be induced tomorrow but clearly this baby was not letting anyone else call the shots.  It was an exciting few hours in the waiting room until my brother-in-law came out to announce it was a girl!  Yet unnamed Baby P was born at 8:10 a.m. and weighed 7 pounds, .5 ounces.  She's a perfect little bundle of pinkness....

We hung in there until almost noon before heading home for some food and much needed sleep.  Volleyball is in a couple of hours so unfortunately the trainer workout isn't going to happen today.  Coach Mary was very understanding and I'm sure I'll make the time in the saddle up on Sunday at the training day I'm attending.

Tomorrow is a 50 minute run in the morning and 30 minutes of strength training or yoga that I will do after work.  Friday is another rest day.  Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow and Friday evening?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Guest Post About What Everyone Is Looking For

Balance.  Both teacherwoman at Dare To Tri and Colleen at Irondiva have talked about trying to find balance as a goal they're striving for this year.  With only two adults (well two most of the time - Paul some days...)and a dog in our household we don't have nearly the juggling act some people do.  This lead me to ask Sydney, someone that I watch juggle priorities everyday, and quite frankly admire that she does it so well, to guest post about how she does it.  Following is what she had to say on how she does it. 

Sydney here.  Frequent guest star on Tri Like Mary and first time blogger! 

Mary recently asked me to write a post that addresses the topic of “balance”.  I asked her - what the hell do I know about balance?! I feel like I am in a constant struggle to reconcile and have time for the various roles in my world: mom to 2 young girls, wife, full-time worker, daughter/sister/friend, and back-of-the-pack (hoping to be “middle”) triathlete.  She suggested that the post need not be about how I have achieved balance, but how I try to.  Well OK, here goes - chronicles on my attempts to be superwoman!

It Takes a Village

Like Mary, I am training for my first 70.3 distance triathlon and have embarked on an official training plan, with a real coach.  (I often feel the need to justify my need to have a “coach”, but if you are reading this blog, you probably already get it!) The training commitment for this little endeavor is pretty significant. Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband (Andy - who also pops up on this blog from time to time), who has athletic interests of his own and understands my desire to run/bike/swim. Well, mostly he gets the need to run, tolerates the bike, and is ambivalent about the swim since I don’t try to make him do it.  :-)  Andy is also currently training for his first marathon after running for several years, so our day-to-day household planning always includes the question - “when do you need to workout?”  Exercise is something we have integrated into our lives and expect to do almost every day, the same way we need to grocery shop, pay bills, and sleep.  We even use running or cycling as a mode of transportation to get somewhere when the day is really hectic and a workout just doesn’t fit.  We also keep each other accountable, giving encouragement (ok, sometimes nagging) to do a workout that we may be feeling lazy about.  I have watched weightloss “reality” shows before (of the Canadian variety!) where the spouse is not supportive and sometimes a complete sabotageur. And every time, I have to give mad props to Andy for supporting my endeavors.

That being said, it is simply unrealistic for me to workout every evening and during the main part of the day during the weekends. I would also like to spend some time with said husband, and my girls aged 6 and 4!  That’s where my super awesome friends come in - I’m looking at you Mary!  During the week, the majority of my workouts must be done at a god awful hour of the morning so that I can be home by about 7am to get the kids ready for school (and me for work), or at night after the girls are in bed.  I think it’s common knowledge that if you have a workout partner, you are more likely to stick with it, and I have to admit that knowing Mary is waiting to meet me for a run at 6am (or earlier!) is a huge motivator to get out of bed.  Since Mary could really be doing these runs later in the morning (she starts work later than me), or right after work, she could be giving me the big F-You to a 6am start.  But she doesn’t.  And I am majorly appreciative of that. The number of times she has said “I can do it whenever it works for you, I know your schedule is tighter than mine” is too many to count.  This is a major contributor to my ongoing ability to “tri”.

I am fortunate to still live in the city where I grew up, with my & and Andy’s parents both living only about 3km away.  Both sets of parents are extremely supportive and willing to watch the kids for us to participate in athletic pursuits.  This means so much, because we can sign up for the same events (Andy does the “Du”) and on occasion, train together.   I also have a really cool and supportive boss, who is okay with me coming in 10 minutes late because of an early morning workout that ran long (she knows I will make up the time of course!)

Drop It Like It’s Hot

I really have to prioritize what is important to me and my family, and forget about all other chores, hobbies, and commitments.  There’s a reason I am not a regular blogger. No extra time! :-) Homemade meals and baked goods are important, and I will almost always bust my hump to get this stuff done.  Folding laundry and putting away clothes at the end of the day - meh, not so much.  Who cares if our bedrooms are a little untidy and I have to fish some (clean) clothes from a laundry basket to dress the kids in the morning?  There may be too many toys, crafts, and hair accessories littering my house, but I try not to sweat the small stuff.  Sure, my lawn & gardens could be more tidy and lush, but as long as my house doesn’t look abandoned, I’m happy! :-)  And of course, from time to time, there may be a workout that just doesn’t get done.    

Walking the Tightrope

Finding balance, for me, means incorporating all the things that are important into my life and not pursuing one element exclusively at the expense of all others.  While I want my girls to be healthy and fit, I also don’t want them to think that working out is the only way to have fun or spend your time.  Sometimes cuddling on the couch with your loved ones is just as important in a complete life. I don’t want my kids to remember me as always out of the house for a workout or an event.  I want them to remember me as fit and strong, as well as lots of fun and there for them. Despite my hectic schedule and sometimes being tired after a long or hard workout, I try not to let that impact my ability to take the girls places and participate in their lives.  From time to time I do succumb to “mom guilt” and worry I am not doing that enough, but then again, if I didn’t worry about that, it would likely be because I am completely unbalanced!

So, that’s 2 cents from me about how one busy mom tries to find balance in the “life of tri”.   Maybe I will check back in on this topic in a few years when my kids start having even busier lives of their own....agh! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Trainer Ride Brought To You By Eminem

Until such time as the cycling room is complete (it's ready for primer!) Paul and I have been setting up our trainers and bikes on rubber mats in the living room in front of the television so that we can watch shows on the DVR to help pass the time. 

Last weekend was no exception and we had a 1 hour 10 minute trainer ride to be followed by a 20 minute transition run on the workout schedule.  The bikes were all set up and ready to go and Paul had just run out to return a movie that had to be back before noon.  I turned the t.v. on to see what the choices were on the DVR when suddenly the screen went black and the sound turned off.  What the...?  I tried turning it off then turning it back on again (Paul's an IT guy - reboot is the first thing I always try).  Nothing but 60 inches of nothingness then suddenly, a little red light at the bottom near the power light.  Lamp?  Automatically I turn to the Internets and find that LCD rear projection televisions have what amounts to a lightbulb that makes the picture work (that's as technical as I'm getting).  My quick research reveals that they last a year or so and cost about $395 to replace.  Now we've had that tv at least three years so perhaps we don't watch as much television as the average family?  And $395?  Not a huge amount of money but I had just booked our Italy trip (plane fare and hotel in Rome - squeeee) the night before and have started registering for the races I'm doing this season.  Add this glorified lightbuld and it was becoming a banner month for AmEx activity.  Paul arrives home and does his own Internet searching and fiddles around behind the television for a bit and low and behold removes what looks like a halogen lightbuld from this door thingy at the back (again, the technical term for it).  One shake of it confirms it's kaput since I don't think it's supposed to rattle and I'm back to the Internet looking for a replacement.  Fortunately I find a website that is Canadian and offers free shipping and the bulb is only $169.  What made me laugh was that for $1 you could upgrade to Expedited Shipping which would guarantee you delivery in 1-2 days.  Evidently people do not want to be without their televisions for long! 

Two hours later we're finally ready to get to this workout but now I'm worried.  How do I get through this trainer ride without watching something?  I've been on a treadmill before - surely I will fall over and die from boredom trying to do something that was really meant to be done outside, inside!  I had to suck it up - having a Coach means entering your workout results in Training Peaks which means having to report when you don't get to a certain workout and I just couldn't imagine logging, "Couldn't get to this workout today because my television isn't working".  Somehow didn't seem like a good excuse for an "athlete" to use.

We hopped on and started the workout.  I plugged my earphones into my iPhone and hoped for the best.  I'm not normally one who works out to music.  Even when running alone I don't bring music and cycling with music (outside) seems downright foolish to me but I totally loved it!  Mind you, I had to cycle through the 300+ songs and pick the ones that were suitable so that I didn't end up trying to get through a particularly tough spot in the workout while listening to Air Supply or Jessica Simpson - don't judge.  I found that Eminem was particularly helpful and ended up listening to a couple of his tunes, like Lose Yourself and Love The Way You Lie (with Rihanna) on repeat during the tough parts.  The workout went by really quickly and the next thing you know it was over and I was ready to throw on some layers and hit that run.  I didn't bring the music because I don't have any kind of holder for the iPhone and I would be devastated to drop it or hurt it somehow as I big, red, puffy heart my iPhone.  I think I would like to try maybe bringing my old Nano out for future solo runs but seeing as I usually run early in the morning when it's still dark I'm not sure it's safe to not be able to hear what's going on around me.

In any event I'm putting together a playlist of songs to use on the trainer and maybe for running.  Suggestions are welcome and my musical tastes are varied (remember the Air Supply and Jessica Simpson?).  What songs motivate you? 

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I swam a 1000 meter set today!  This was a big milestone for me as I've never actually swam that far without stopping before.  I really feel like this is going to help me get over some mental hurdles during my races.  Thanks Coach for putting this on the workout today!

I'm It!

1.  Barbie at Trying A Tri chose me to receive a Stylish Blogger Award!  Barbie lives in Australia and is training for her first half-ironman (like me!).  I've loved following her blog because she's in her summer months and I'm getting an idea of what I'll be going through in the next few months.  She's an awesome swimmer who is having some great  results at her preliminary races.  Thanks Barbie! 

2. Now I have to share 7 things about myself.  Hmm.  I hope I can make this interesting enough without oversharing too much!
  • Paul and I share a birthday.  He's four years older but it's the same day.  When we first met it was all "Oh my God that's so cool.  This proves we're so made for each other!"  Now?  I'd like my own birthday.  It's becoming less of a big deal though as I find that as I get older I'm not so focused on my birthday anymore.
  • I'm a big baseball fan.  I have a goal to eventually visit every professional baseball park in North America.  Paul and I took a baseball roadtrip a few years ago where we took in five different games in four different cities in seven days.  To date I've been to see the ballparks of the Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Seattle Mariners.  Since taking up triathlon a couple of years ago the focus has shifted a little and the baseball trips have slowed down but we're always trying to work in a game when we visit a new city.
  • About ten years ago I averaged ten cans of Coke (full on - no Diet Coke for me - blech) per day.  I would crack one open at my desk first thing in the morning (it was my coffee) and would open and drink one after another all day long.  I decided to give it up when I started working out with my sister and I cannot tell you how much kicking that habit sucked!  The upside is that I lost 12 pounds in one month but I (and a few people around me) suffered.  Coke is still a guilty pleasure of mine but I try to really be cognizant of how much of it I drink.
  • I am plagued by self doubt when it comes to participating in triathlon and am always secretly worried that people are snickering about how slow/crap I am and wondering why I waste my time making a fool of myself.
  • I own 37 pairs of jeans and probably 10 pairs of cords.  This is after paring down my collection by getting rid of about 15 pairs that I no longer liked.  In reality I wear about five or six of them with any regularity.  I recently challenged myself to try to wear every single pair without repeating any but that got sidetracked.  Sydney thinks it's hilarious and shakes her head at me everytime I buy a new pair.  Lucky is my favourite brand by the way.
  • I LOVE training.  I look forward to seeing my Training Peaks schedule get populated with new workouts and reporting on the results. 
  • Other than a couple of years of grade school volleyball I only started participating in sports as an adult.  My mom never put me or my sisters in anything because she was afraid we would hurt ourselves.  Since moving out on my own I took up skiing, golf, beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, and of course triathlon.  My mom still can't fathom why I do what I do and is always offering to come and pick me up on the course if the race gets too hard! :-)
3. Pay it forward to blogger friends.  And so I tag the following blogs that I love to follow:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Numbers Game - December in Review

Mary Iron Matron's recent post about her overall 2010 workout numbers got me thinking that perhaps I'm not the only triathlete out there with a love of anayzing stats.  I thought perhaps that it came from my accounting background.  I thought that the fact that Syd and I can pore over race results together for large chunks of time said more about my finding a kindred soul than the fact that we might be normal. 

I've been using Training Peaks since December 1st when I started training with Coach Mary.  For the first couple of weeks I didn't really have the time to poke around it much and simply logged my workout information.  Lately though I've had a chance to really look at it and there is alot of cool stuff on there!  I also found a Training Peaks iPhone app (for free!) that links to your online account and allows you to access your workouts and enter your data right from your iPhone.  How cool is that?!  The app also features a barcode reader that you're supposed to be able to scan barcodes with and retrieve nutritional information of whatever food you're scanning.  So far, not one barcode I've scanned has actually worked but considering I don't actually eat alot of foods that come with barcodes it's no big deal. 

Now finally, down to the purpose of this post.  I've decided to report my workout summaries on a monthly basis because I think it's cool to look back and compare.  So, without further ado I present the workout summary for my first month of training:

December 01, 2010 to December 31, 2010
Swim - 10,900 meters in 6.68 hours (26.53% of total workout time)
Bike - 7.67 hours - no distance as it's all been on the trainer (30.44% of total workout time)
Run - 43.72 kilometers in 6.25 hours (24.81% of total workout time)
Strength training/yoga - 4.58 hours (18.19% of total workout time)

Hmmm.  It seemed longer/farther :-)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's Next

I have high hopes for 2011 being a really good year (the power of positive thinking?).  Looking ahead here is a run down of some highlights both racing and non-racing related.

My sister is due to have her baby any day now.  Another neice or nephew will be arriving to dote on.  I'm a super-duper Auntie so this is exciting for me.  In February my youngest sister is visiting from BC with my neice.  I'm SO excited to see them.  Mya is turning two in a couple of days and she's at that really fun age where their little personalities are coming out and they say the most hilarious things!

In April I'm running the Point Pelee Half Marathon.  I'm a little nervous to be running a race of that distance so early in the easy but if my coach says I can do it, then I can do it.  I secretly (well maybe not so secretly now) have a goal of beating my time from October.  We'll see.  My running has been in the crapper the last two months so perhaps my goal should be just to finish it!

May will bring our cycling trip to Italy!  Paul and are going with a group of friends and we'll be staying on an olive farm in Tuscany.  For real peoples!  We'll spend the days cycling to the various villages where we'll stop to sip espressos and eat on patios.  My (again, not so) secret concern is that everyone will be sitting on those patios sipping espressos without me because I'll be struggling to get up the "hills" - that I actually think are more like mountains in Italy.  Oh yeah, and the downhills that inevitably comes with those uphills scare me.  I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to speed.  My mind automatically pictures a horrific crash and the ensuing damage to myself.  I thank my mom for this particular neurosis of mine.

June brings the first triathlon of the season in Woostock!  This will be a sprint distance.  In July I'm racing the Olympic distance triathlon in Detroit at Belle Isle.  This will be my first Olympic distance.  I've heard from some of the other athletes in the city that the Michigan area triathlons are really well run and alot of fun.  I hope this proves to be true because hopping across the border to do these is a lot more convenient than having to travel 3 plus hours away.

August is the Steelhead Half-Ironman.  Kind of an important one for me! :-)

Although only two weeks later I'm really hoping to do the Bulldog sprint distance triathlon in Chatham.  This is a small, fun race that I did this past summer.  I placed third in my age group (of more than three!) so that might have something to do with why I like this race so much.

The season finale is the Detroit Free Press Marathon!  A.full.marathon.  I would have never thought it was possible and frankly, some days slogging away out there I'm still doubtful it will happen but I really want to complete a marathon.  I'm not sure I'll ever do more than one that isn't at the end of a full Ironman (and I'm only planning on doing one of those) but I want to check it off the bucket list.

That's the rundown for now.  I know you'll all remain riveted to see how this progresses!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Year In Review - With Pictures Too!

Adios 2010 and Happy New Year everyone!  On this, the first day of the year I want to have a look back at 2010 and review some of the low and highlites of the year.

Definately a highlight, and a great way to start the year off was a trip to BC to visit my sister and her family in January.  My neice Mya turned 1 on the 7th and Paul and I went out there to attend her ballerina birthday party.  What a bundle of cuteness and we had a great time as usual.  We were able to take a side trip to Revelstoke Mountain for a day of skiing which just capped off a fantastic trip.

Mya and Cash before the ballerina party

In March I ran the Spring Thaw 5k race and this was a low/highlite mix for me.  This would be my third time racing in this event and in fact the 2008 Spring Thaw was my very first 5k race.  I was a day of entrant this year because I was going through some fertility treatments at the time and had been advised to lay off the running/training.  After another unsuccessful month I entered this race as a bit of a f-you to my uterus (I'm really mature that way).  The weather ended up being really nice, they gave us cute white toques instead of the usual useless t-shirt and my friend Sharon came and ran with it with me.   My time was 32:02 and I was happy with that. 

A definate low point in the year happened March 13th.  Our good friend Mike died suddenly of a heart attack in his home.  Mike was 41 years old, husband to our good friend Dawn, and dad to three young kids.  I will never forget that phone call and the following couple of weeks.  Paul had been friends with Mike and Dawn since University and I had become closer with Dawn through triathlon.  We had been to Clearwater with them in November 2009 to watch Dawn race in the 70.3 World Championships.  We spent this past New Year's Eve with Dawn and toasted Mike.  I still can't believe he's gone.

In June I raced in my first triathlon of the season and this proved to be a high/low mix of the day.  The Guelph Lake Sprint Distance Triathlon was held on June 19th.  Sydney and I drove the 3 hours to Guelph that morning with our friend Cynthia.  I felt good for this race and ready to go.  Unfortunately I panicked early on in the water and ended up doing the entire swim on my back - so frustrating!  The "slightly rolling hills" of the bike course proved to me just how much work I needed to do on the bike and just how flat it is where live and the run was painful.  Although it was a fun day spent with Sydney and Cynthia, I was really upset at my performance.  That being said it was a really well run event that I would do again - hills and all!

Best race shirt of the year

Another highlight came on July 1st - Canada Day when I rode my first 100k ride!  The longest ride I had ever done was 65k and that had been the weekend before.  It was a tough day and I got through it simply because I have some awesome friends that I ride with.  I hit a wall at 70k and wasn't sure I could get through it but sure enough, three and half hours after setting off I had done it!  I ended up doing a couple of 100k rides and one 135k ride this year.  This was definately one of my favourites though being the first one!

Our first 100k done!

In August I did the Tecumseh Triathlon.  Our local sprint distance triathlon.  It was a blistering hot day and I had yet another crappy swim (I'm seriously tired of these crappy swims) -  having spent alot of it backstoking again.  My Garmin wasn't working on my bike which led me to have no idea what my speed or cadence was.  This led me to be ultra conservative because I wanted to make sure I didn't burn my legs out for the run.  Unfortunately I obviously have no sense of speed because I ended up have an excrutiatingly slow bike time.  The run was hot and I was plagued with a horrible stitch.  I don't normally get those and had no idea how to work through it.  I ended up second last in my age group (booo) but was really happy to see my parents at the finish line.  A highlight of that weekend was the Kids of Steel race that happened the day before.  My neice Ally raced for the third year in a row and I was proud Auntie.  She was in a new age group where the distances more than doubled from the year before.  As her birthday's near the end of the year she was one of the youngest kids out there in her age group and she really struggled.  She got through it though and I was SO proud of her!

How do you not love this face?

Two weeks after the Tecumseh triathlon I raced the Bulldog Triathlon.  I'm nothing if not persistent despite my crappy performances.  This is a sprint distance triathlon held in a Provincial park about an hour away from where I live.  It's a small race but anyone's who's raced it raves about how much fun it is.  I had a really good day that day.  Although my swim wasn't awesome speed wise I managed to do the whole thing without having to backstroke (victory!).  This was the first race where I used the aero bars on my bike and felt like it really helped my speed.  The run went well and I passed people!  I came in third in my age group (first age group finish ever in a tri!) and scored an awesome bronze dog tag as a prize.  This was definately a highlight!

September was a good month, filled only with highlights.  I got my new bike at the beginning of the month and was able to race on her at the Wasaga Beach triathlon - the last tri of the year.  I had my breakthrough swim at this triathlon.  The water was freezing but clear as anything and you could see everything around you.  I came out of the water and was SHOCKED to see a slew of caps that were the same colour as mine behind me.  I got to the transition area and it was filled with bikes - this was also a first.  My bike leg rocked and I was passing people all over the place!  I had a great run and came withing 6 seconds of have a sub 30 5k which I had, until that point, not ever been able to do.  I was 13th in my age group and had knocked a great amount of time of my sprint distance time.  What a way to end the triathlon season!  A week later Paul and I headed out West for a two week trip.  Paul's brother lives in Washington State so we don't get to see him that often.  He turned 40 this year so we flew out there to surprise him.  He had no idea and was shocked to see us, along with Paul's dad and wife Diane who live in Calgary, on his doorstep at ten o'clock one night.  We had a fun week visiting with him and his family and then headed up to Salmon Arm to spend a week with my sister and her family. 

October brought the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon (race report here).  The weather was awesome, we had so many great friends participating and I ran a great race for me.  I had a 2:15 goal and came in at 2:08.  We wrapped up the day with friends enjoying chilli and trading stories about the day.

November is always a great month because of our birthday but this year we also had a wonderful trip to Cozumel to make it even better.  The Ironman race was inspiring to watch and our friends all performed as well as we knew they would.  Of course the sand, sun, and relaxation helped as well!

December was busy with our anniversary, preparing for Christmas, and attending holiday parties.  It was a great month and I was so excited to start training December 1st with my new coach.  Mary has been awesome with answering alot of newbie questions and giving great feedback.  I love getting the email every morning with my daily workout!  Having someone to provide information to about the workouts I'm doing has helped to keep me accountable and I've only missed a few.  I even did a swim workout on Christmas Eve!

Our New Year's Eve celebration last night was a blend of great friends and fabulous food.  A few tears for Mike were shed but we all agreed that together we'd make 2011 awesome!  Stay tuned folks, it's going to be a great year!