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Epic Tour – A not so Epic Fail

11 Sep

I’m  back and I have good news regarding the Epic Tour of Halton. I had to transfer from the 140k tour to the 80km ride because of lack of training – I know, shame on me! But I’m glad I swallowed my pride and opted for the shorter distance. I had a great time despite waiting in the cold at the start. I was literally shivering until about 5km into the ride. 

Making my way to the start line

Making my way to the start line

The whole day, ride included, was really well organize. For my first tour, it could not have gone smoother. There was plenty of parking, coffee at the start line, well marked course directions and aid stations stocked full of food. After the ride, the riders were able to enjoy free food and craft beer. I had a green apple beer that was real tasty. 

Food and beer after the ride

Food and beer after the ride

The marathon training continues. I did not do a long run this week because of the ride but the week before I ran 25km. It was a good run but I started to chaff under one arm around half way. It was the worst chaff I’ve had in a long time. 

Mark and I have started running together on some mornings to get used to each other’s pace.  Thankfully Mark was with me on Tuesday morning when I had to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty. It was still dark out when nature called. We came across a port-a-potty but, of course, there are no lights in them so Mark had to hold the door open a little while I unfortunately had to use the facilities. True love, ain’t it? 

Our region is going through, what I hope, is our last heat wave. Thankfully it looks like it’s only last two days but the mercury has been hovering over 40C (or 104F). I’ve been trying to drink as much water as possible before and after our runs and running before the sun has risen.

Do you have any tips on staying cool when running in the heat? When it’s really hot, do you prefer to run on a treadmill to avoid the sun and humidity completely?

 

Epic Ride, Epic Run

16 Jul

I spent the last six days doing nothing, or resting. After the Peterborough Half Iron I was exhausted. Surprisingly my muscles were sore for only two days. While I was no longer sore, it took me the rest of the week to actually feel rested. I was so tired! Luckily I mostly work half days which gave me the opportunity to take many naps. Jeff the cat approved and supported me by napping with me. Although I enjoyed my rest days, I felt as though I was not accomplishing anything – and of course I was not. I spent my time coming up with my training schedule for my last two events of the year.

The first event is a tour called Epic Tour and it is in the Halton Region. The starting line and the after party is only minutes from my house. I think I may ask Mark to drive and pick me up though. My bottom may be a little sore after 140km. The tour is my first ever bike tour. It’s not a race and drafting is definitely allowed and encouraged – yay!

EpicTour
The last event is the Athens Marathon in Athens, Greece. I can’t wait to run in Greece! As much as this word is over used, I think it is appropriate in this case. The run in Greece will be epic! All the runners are bused out to Marathon where we proceed to run back to Athens. We finish in the Panathenaic Stadium to a crowd of cheering spectators. The run will be tough but Mark has promised to run the entire 42km with me. From 10km onwards, the race course is mostly uphill. Luckily the marathon is in November so hopefully the weather will be hovering anywhere between 15C – 20C.

Today was the first day of marathon training. It’s a new style of training that I’m hoping will be successful. The training is based on time instead of distance – although, the long runs on Saturday will still be measured in distance. The thirty minute run today was awful with the humidity and heat. With another stinking hot day I might spend my day at the outdoor pool – I think I deserve it!

Cycling for Coffee

28 May

After months of waiting for the perfect day to cycle out to Cafe Domestique in Dundas, we finally made the journey on Sunday. I can’t remember how I came across this cafe but I’ve always wanted to check it out. Cafe Domestique is a cyclo cafe where coffee, beer and food are served. Cycling to a new town is always a great adventure. But cycling towards a destination that is friendly to cyclists and has coffee?! I was so totally there!

The ride into Dundas was definitely an adventure. Before leaving, we mapped out our route that totaled 35km. Half of the ride was great and scenic. Unfortunately, we hit a bit of road that was busier than we thought. When we finally got off the busy road, things started to go downhill. We got lost and tacked on an extra 10 or 15kms. We met up with some cyclists and Mark asked them for directions. When we were finally heading the right way, we arrived at a road called Sydenham rd. The road started to decline and I realized this was going to be a big hill. Off to the left was a lookout point. Mark and I stopped briefly for a view and pictures.

Sydenham lookoutThen we started our descent. I was breaking the entire time. Mark flew ahead of me and yelled “Meet you at the bottom!” And I just kept coasting along. I kept thinking “I will never make it back up this hill…” But I tried not to let those negative thoughts get the better of me and kept my mind on Cafe Domestique.

When we finally made it, a scone and a cup of coffee never tasted better. Mark, of course, had two chocolate chip cookies and a grilled cheese.

DomestiqueWe took the same route to get back home (without getting lost this time). And I am proud of say that Sydenham Hill did not get the best of me. I pedaled the entire way! Mark kept looking back expecting to see me walking but every time I was just a pedalin’ away.

I am so happy that I was able to make it out to Cafe Domestique after months of waiting for the opportunity. Our total kilometres was around 80-85km. Now all I have to do for the Peterborough Half Ironman is cycle the whole 90km without a coffee break.

A successful batch of hummus

18 Mar

I have struggled for months to make the perfect batch of hummus.  It’s either come out too dry, tasting too much of tahini or too garlicky. But in an attempt to curb all those problems I thought: “What if I added a bit of yogurt?” My goodness! The heavens themselves parted with that revelation! The result was the perfect mixture of flavours and consistency for veggie dunking and falafel spread.

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Now that I have discovered the secret to perfect hummus, I will impart it onto to you: 1/4 cup of plain yogurt. That’s all!

I have now refocused my training to Half-Ironman training. Mark and I are doing the Peterborough Half-Tri in July. That does not give me much time to get my butt into shape so I need to focus on discipline. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the weather co-operated. It is now mid-March and we are still under winter storm warnings in the GTA. Although it is not heavy snow fall, it’s slush, ice pellets and freezing rain. Not really the kind of weather in which you want to spend much time. Regardless, I am in the midst of creating a training schedule that I will post here for anyone who is curious.

Most of my training for at least another month or so will be indoors in the pool or the bike trainer. Saturday afternoon I came home from work to my living room looking like this:

DSC00955If that’s not a big hint, I don’t know what is! Mark cycled for 3hrs whereas I did 1.5hrs. It was my second ride over an hour and I made an effort to stay in high gears than the previous ride. To stay motivated we watched a Tour of California stage with some high tempo music. I find that kind of audio and visual distracting very beneficial. I find my mind just turns off and I spin. But I need to be careful that might cadence does not drop in those instances.

I tried something new for dinner. I made a spaghetti squash casserole with roasted tomatoes, white kidney beans and garlic. It was delish!

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To roast the toppings, marinate grape tomatoes, garlic and white kidney beans in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and parsley for a few minutes. Then roast in the oven for 30 minutes. When both the mixture and spaghetti squash are done, toss them together and add a bit of Parmesan cheese. A great low-carb Sunday dinner.

Indoor Cycling and an Interview

4 Feb

This is just a small post on a Monday evening.

Our Sunday mornings look a little like this:

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Mark and I set up our bikes and find something motivating on Netflix. I’ve been working my way up to cycling for an hour – sounds easy, but is pretty daunting on an indoor trainer.
My workout for now is pretty easy. I warm up for about 15-20 minutes, do 3 hard sets of 5 minutes, and then an easy fast cadence spin for 10 minutes. The last 10 minutes is cool down. I’m hoping by the time all the snow melts and the north wind dies down I can cycle outdoors for a few hours.

In other news, Mark started his own blog and has decided to start an interview series with average joes and pros. He interviewed me on Saturday about endurance sports, goals, accomplishments, and lifestyle choices. If you are interested in reading the interview, you can find it here: http://bluecollartri.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/interview-with-the-boss/

Anniversary weekend

6 Aug

Mark and I always look forward to the long weekend in August. It’s our anniversary and we look back on our first August long weekend together with fondness as our two first anniversaries were spent at my family cottage.

Unfortunately, busy work schedules and life just seems to get in the way of making the trip to the cottage in order to celebrate with family. So the last few years we’ve been celebrating in our own frugal ways.

Although it was a special weekend, there was no break in the training schedule. I ran 23km Saturday morning and came home to roses. Mark had stopped by the farmer’s market after his run to buy me flowers.

For supper on Sunday I made a bean and veggie stew, guacamole and bread, and blueberry pie for dessert.

I included the beautiful roses in the picture. They are so lush and fragrant! Not pictured is the blueberry pie. I must confess I didn’t photograph the dessert because I was too busy eating it!

To complete our anniversary weekend, we went on a bike ride this morning. Mark showed me some of his training routes and brought me up into the Escarpment. My gosh! The hill to get into the Escarpment is the longest and steepest hill I’ve ever climbed – and I couldn’t even make it half way so we walked our bikes up. We had planned to visit Hilton Falls but when we arrived we were informed that we needed to pay.  Neither of us had brought any money and $13 was a little too expensive for us. So we took a little break and biked back home.

Cycling safety

17 May

Whether you bike on the road or the sidewalk, it is important to always be vigilant and aware. I am a big supporter of cyclists. However, cyclists must realize they are vehicles but are only protected by their helmets. They are not encased in metal like cars, trucks, and vans. So the only defense and protection they have is vigilance and a good helmet.

Mark was hit by a car yesterday afternoon. He is alright but has bad “burn” on his arm from rubbing up against the vehicle.

He’ll survive; I think it was just a bit shook up.

I’m still working on the physical part of my taper week. But another part of tapering is visualizing your triathlon and transition.

So what to visualize?

  1. What will your pace be coming out of the water running into T1?
  2. In what order will you put your clothes, shoes, helmet, sunglasses?
  3. What about your entry into T2? Remember to keep your helmet on your head until you’ve racked your bike.
  4. How will your run start? What will your pace be to start and finish?

These are all things to keep in mind and visualize. You can even practice running in and out of “transition” in your living room and the morning of the triathlon.

Here’s a photo of Jeff being a pig – waiting for more food that he won’t get.