Sunday, August 23, 2015

A training update full of goodness

I can't believe that I haven't written a training update since the end of June, but it's the truth. I've been a lot of fun at the races, but I didn't take any time to blog about the behind the scenes. But it's time to change that because I have a few milestones lined up and I can't wait to share them with you.

First and foremost, I have just finished my biggest training week this year, just shy of 10h. And it was full of sweaty goodness, but it may help if I put it within context. Last week we traveled to Mt. Tremblant to volunteer at IMMT.
We spent Saturday on the road, Sunday on the job (bike catchers) and Monday back on the road. By the way, if you want to see what it looks like to be a bike catcher, here is a video from our team captain (you can see me in action at 00:54):

And in the following video is the less fun part where I had to stop people who DNF'd from going over the mat with their chip (Zin caught the bike):

It was hands down the hardest volunteer job that I've done. Over the span of a 5h shift, I walked/run more than10km and it was no joke. I had my Garmin on for about 4h and you can see all the trips around the transition area that I made with the bikes. You could be either at the finish line to catch the bike, then hand it over to a "runner" who would put it back in its place, or the aforementioned bike runner. We rotated between those 2 jobs every hour or so, but both were rather intense. You can see my Strava workout here. The FlyBys are rather hilarious - see all the people that didn't turn off their bike computers and remained in transition for hours, lol.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on my feet during this trip. And I didn't even mention the run I did right after we arrived at the hotel. We stayed in Ste. Agathe des Monts, a small and charming little city about 30 min out from Tremblant. Zin told me that there was this Strava segment that didn't have a QOM. It was a 1.5km loop around a small peninsula and I said sure, mission accepted. From hotel and back it was going to be a 7km run. What I didn't know about this place was this:
Someone said hills? This place had ALL THE HILLS. And the biggest one was right at the begining of the segment (after the 2km mark). FML. Did I mention it was hot as Satan's balls too? Yeah well... to have suffered on this run is an understatement. It was pretty though...
I did get the QOM, but I finished a drenched, tired and hungry mess.
The trip to Mt. Tremblant was a nice break from work and our routine, but once I made it home, I really needed to stretch my legs. Stretch, spin, move... it led to a trainer workout. Nothing better than a few easy loops on Zwift Island, where I could not help it, but try to break a few PRs up the mountain and in sprints. I was also eager to try my bike after the Retul fit that I had on Friday before our trip. It had become apparent that my previous fit was still hurting my hips/legs, so I had no choice but book another fit, this time with a Retul specialist - and trust the process. The verdict was to bring the saddle back up 3/4 inch and move forward 1.5 inch, and move the handlebars up 1/4 inch. It may not look like much, but it was actually a big deal.

I won't bore you with all the details, but here is my position before and after. Basically, you can see the position of my knee relative to my toes and the angle in my forearms and you will understand that I was too far back and I was not engaging the right muscles in my legs.
Now I feel that I am using my quads more and I am situated on top of my pedals instead of behind them (to an extent, it's like riding a spin bike vs a recumbent bike). I am also more relaxed on the aero bars and I should expect less back and hip pain, for having my hips open more. In the process it also happens that I found a few more watts that were hiding in my engine, so coming back from Tremblant, I was eager to see if they translated in my own setup. I did not have any major revelations during my quick spin that night, but I did break my climbing PR and overall it felt a little easier than before.

On Tuesday morning, Zin and I went to the quarry for a swim. He woke me up at 5:30am, and for not being a morning person, I don't think that I really woke up until half way through my swim. Secretly I was hoping that the quarry would be closed and I could return to bed, but no such luck. I did 2 loops and I felt like eating my arms by the end of it. We stopped for breakfast at Coffee Bean and we had a glorious meal. 3 eggs with Canadian bacon, toast and potatoes, but thankfully I did not finish it all because it was just obscene to eat so much food. Then back home, shower and work - and I could barely function that day - I still wanted my damn nap.
In the evening I did my physio routine because I missed it in the morning. I worked those hips and glutes like a champ, and I could barely walk afterwards. Finally a good sleep, and the next day I was back on the sweat train. Slowly but surely I have been making my way through the Sweet Spot Base Training program from Trainer Road and I had reached the dreaded Palisade workout. 1.5h of over/unders and could barely contain my enthusiasm. However I put on my big girl panties, aka my bike shorts and hopped on the trainer, hoping for the best. It was not easy. I wasn't expecting 30 watts to show up on my graph magically, but it was manageable without me wanting to scream at my screen.
And with that, the hard work in this training program is done. I only have 3 easy workouts left, then I can test my FTP again. After the bike workout I even went out for a run. A quick 20 minute brick, and it was glorious. I have to run more. My next race is an Olympic distance triathlon and the 10K run at the end won't run by itself.

The next day it was swimming again. This time we went to Professor's Lake and I did 3 loops there. At each loop I tried kicking for the 250m between the middle buoys. It was not easy to find a rhythm that helped my stroke. I am too high in the water for kicking without too much drag. The swim wasn't bad in the end, but I am still not convinced that kicking in open water would help my cause. Not even a tiny bit, especially seeing how much energy it sucks out of me. I think I'd rather concentrate on gaining more upper body strength so I can complete each stroke with an increased cadence instead.

On Friday I rested, but on Saturday I was at it again. I took my bike for another 45min spin outdoors, then completed my longest run this year. A full 8km in the scorching heat, carrying my water bottle like in the good ol' days. No pain. Just a little tightness to remind me that I need to be vigilant. That I cannot dream big just yet. My husband may have signed up for an Ironman, but I still have to wait. Another year, maybe. Nobody knows when all this will be just a nightmare of the past, if ever. I have become accustomed to being patient and grateful that I can still move, even if it's not for hours on end.
Sunday was another beautiful day. I started it with a group ride with my tri club, a hilly and windy 60km, but just about perfect from all other aspects. Again, I wasn't sure if my bike fit would deliver enough comfort on rides over 2h, but in the end I came back home with a huge smile on my face and no pain anywhere. Can I have a yay? Make that a yippee ki yay, mother f*er!! (please don't get offended if you don't get the reference). Then in the afternoon, I even went back to the quarry for 2 more loops. I did one loop relaxed, concentrating on my stroke and the second one like a motorboat, high cadence and shit. In the end, the first one was slightly faster, so the proof is still in the pudding. I need to prevent my stroke from falling apart that is.

And this my friends, is an update that I've been waiting to write for long time. Finally, legs are coming around, both in cycling and running. I am making slow but steady progress. I am finally feeling better inside my head too. I did not feel the need to draw semi colons in a while. I am smiling again. I haven't had a bad, terrifying thought in a few weeks, call it months even. I am making new friends. I am giving back as much as I can. I went back on my nutrition program and I lost 6lb in 3 weeks. I feel that things are moving into the right direction, that I am staying positive and I don't worry that much. Maybe this is the right wave, and I'm riding the hell out of it.


  1. I am loving all your posts lately! You are so positive, and really killing workouts...comeback...volunteering. It's just uplifting to read about. And you are reminding me that I need to volunteer for a few events!

  2. Your trip and adventure at IM looked like fun. Who knew volunteering could be that much of a workout. Glad to hear your training is going well!

  3. Biggest smile on my face reading this. So much YAY in here!

    1. Also I would like a plate of that breakfast right now. Man that looks yummy.

  4. So happy to be reading this! I love how you guys are always giving back! You deserve some goodness for yourself, glad that you're receiving it. Congrats on the QOM!

  5. This report is awesome! So happy that things are working well for you!!! I gotta get back on the nutrition plan as well.

  6. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! This makes me SO HAPPY to hear!! I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I've eaten that entire breakfast at the coffee bean, ha ha. But after a 90km ride + an 8km run. :)