Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fun and torturous times

This summer is going by so fast! Maybe because of the anticipation of new beginnings in September... and because we're just 3 days away from the end of July, for crying out loud. That's it, the countdown to setting the Christmas tree has started.

My athletic endeavors have been rather uneventful lately, which is probably a good thing. If you remember my plans stated here last week, I managed to keep myself accountable for at least the triathlon related workouts. On Thursday I went to the lake for our weekly OWS and spent most of the time with two new members, helping them to become more comfortable in deep water. This left me with just enough time to do a 750m loop on my own, and it was a good way to clear my head at the end of a stressful day. To add more endorphins to the mix, I also followed the swim with a 6km run around the lake. Judging by the tightness in my knees, it is probably the max distance that I can run right now and I can't really complain. I'll take anything over 30 minutes as a good enough challenge for my wobbly joints.

Friday was another scorching day and Taekwondo did not happen. Neither did the Saturday black belt training as I chose to spend some time with my family instead. I did make it to the little party that our school put for our team representing Canada at the ITF World Championships in London, UK. It was pretty sweet and I hope our team is going to bring some shiny hardware back this week.
His and hers
The next day I had to wake up early for our club's second triathlon simulation day of the year. And 5:30am is damn early for a Sunday. Oh the things we do for our members... After marking the course, Zin and I went over to Professor's Lake to set up the transition racks, the tent and the whole shebang with the rest of the crew. Of course, I also had to set up my own transition spot. I was going to "race" after all.
You can tell how hot it's been this year by the color of the grass.
Aww, isn't he a sweet hubby? Thank you hon.
All set! Isn't Trinity pretty with her red tyres?
I got in the water shortly after 8am and swam 2 loops trying to stay close to Mellen who seemed to have a few difficulties swimming straight, which gave me a little advantage on the distance and made me feel like a champion mermaid. That's what happens when you get only 3h of sleep, eh Mellen? However she swam another loop and biked some 100km afterwards, so I'm just pretending to compete here, haha.

Then it was time to bike. I was supposed to lead the beginners' group, but I only had one taker, so I rode with an older gentleman called Dave who was just about the perfect match for a 40km relaxed ride. He was also quite chatty, so I had a good time. Until I found out that we had an acquaintance in common who died 2 years ago, that is. Unbelievable. A person who I considered the epitome of success in life, who had everything going for him: fame, fortune, a beautiful family, and the most amazing house, where I used to go party with the company I worked for when I first came to Canada. He was one of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I knew, and a genius in the field of mathematics. And cancer took all this away. Yet another reason to say: Fuck cancer.

Oof, that was heavy. Back to our cancer fighting activities (one can hope, right?). Last on the day's menu, the run. Dave and I went running together as well, and thankfully we managed to change subjects in time to appreciate our surroundings. A loop around Professor's Lake and everything was right with the world again. While on the run I was, of course, pokemoning, and trying to make an omelette with a few eggs in my Pokedex. One of them refused to hatch when the time was up, so I continued running in (little) circles until it did, which brought my total to 4.7km run. You gotta do what you gotta do (aka I'm that cuckoo. Some call it stupid too, and I'm totally fine with it - you should see the number of Instagram and twitter users that I lost since I started talking Pokemon Go).
Doesn't it look like fun?
Alright, once that was done I could finally call it a day. We dismantled the transition zone, packed everything and went back home. I had to meet with hubbs later on to pick up his bike because he was doing a "mega" training day (3km swim, 140km bike, 30km run) and he was afraid to leave it in his car in the middle of the Caledon trailway. I spent the rest of the day waiting (and worrying) for him that he was going to melt under the hot sun. I am glad that he didn't, but he came back home 10lb lighter (not a joke).

This week I took a rest day on Monday, not only because there are no Taekwondo classes for two weeks, but also because I was going to start a new Trainer Road bike program the next day in preparation for Barrelman swim/bike where I will be defending my AG win from last year. So on Tuesday, after much procrastinating, I opened my laptop, clipped on my (power) pedals and started the 1h torture (Strava 8 min FTP test here). Zin set the workout for me at 85% down from my previous FTP, where I used virtual power thanks to my speed/cadence sensor and the trainer data. This time, the truth was going to come out, whether I wanted it or not. As I said from the beginning, I was pretty sure that I lost 30 virtual watts between the previous FTP and this one, and I was bang on the money.

Overall I am rather happy how I paced this test and proud that I pushed through when the tough got tougher. One can only look at my max HR during these intervals to feel my pain.

I was surprised to see that the test did not destroy me as I had feared. The next day I even went for another 6km run and I survived it just fine. Tomorrow I took another day off from work and I plan on going on another bike ride with Mellen, then Kingston triathlon race on Sunday! I will be doing the (longer) sprint, while Zin will be doing the long course tri. An exciting week for sure!

If you are in Canada, do you have any plans for the long weekend? For me, any long weekend is good enough reason to be giddy! Have fun, kids!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lazy days of summer

Coming back from Muskoka I felt a little drained. Not only because I spent most of my weekend on two feet, but also because of a heatwave that we've been "blessed" with for the past two weeks. Only today I felt that my brain wasn't ready to melt as soon as I stepped out of the door.

I don't do so well with racing in heat anymore. Not that it bothers me on the spot, but after such an effort I need to go down for a long nap. I did not have this opportunity on Sunday after the race, and to make matters worse, the heatwave got really out of control Mon-Wed, to the point that I completely gave up all ideas of exercising. I have to pat myself on the back for even leaving the house and going to work.
Yay for more water!
On Thursday I finally came out of this lazy stupor and went to Professor's Lake for our club's open water swim. A storm was looming on the horizon, but it did not affect our time in the water. I did 2 loops for a total of 1500m then decided to go on a 3km run loop around the lake. To be honest, after all the heat, the idea of running in the rain was rather inviting. About 1km in, this is what the storm looked like from the distance (and I still had to make it across the pond).
Unsurprisingly, I got soaked in the last km, but it felt absolutely wonderful. Once I finished the loop I waited for Mellen and hubbs who were running a little behind, then headed home for dinner. All of a sudden, I was full of energy again!

The next day, when Mellen asked if I wanted to go with her on a bike ride, I could not say no. As I had other errands to run and a wedding reception to go to in the evening, I took the day off and chose to enjoy it to the maximum.

We chose to rode from my house to Erin and back. To be honest, I was very apprehensive because Mellen is so much stronger than me on the bike, but without knowing it, she had already planned to tire herself up before showing up. As a matter of fact, she rode 70km to start the day, then met with me for another 75km. I had one of my best rides of the year, but finished with another Strava extreme suffer score because of a 170bpm average over 2h50. I am THAT out of shape, OK? Mellen's HR... 140bpm. Alright then, glad that she did not fall asleep.
Still dry before the deluge
I should probably thank the rain for keeping us on the edge of our seats, literally. We got soaked (again!) on our way back from Erin. It was still a lot of fun, especially flying down Mississauga road with cross winds and all the speed! Despite the copious amount of sugar that I eat, I am also glad to report that I did not melt.

However, I was afraid to melt under the sun once I came back home, so I settled on a lazy chair in a shady spot with a cold beverage. It was glorious. I may or may not have fallen asleep in the process.
Apparently epic suffer scores require epic rest days, so Saturday I had to take the day off. Again. And while I was resting I did the unimaginable. I downloaded Pokemon Go!! And what does one do when they have a new toy? They go Pokemon hunting. With their cat. Like a certifiable crazy cat lady.
I caught a Pokemon. His name is Picchu and he is very athletic. Special powers are Killer Purr and Vertical Jump.
Then this happened. It was one of the first goals that day. I ended with over 15k steps, over 3 times more than a regular working day, 5 times more than a weekend on the couch.
Since then I went hunting every day. I now take the "long road" while going to the nearby coffee shop, just so that I walk by all 4 Pokestops within a 2km radius. I saw dozens of teenagers and grown up people outside enjoying the game. If someone puts a lure on one of these pokestops, it's pandemonium. Teens and adults come over on bikes, skateboards, cars or just by walking. It definitely took the neighbours out of their homes and it's really awesome to see.

My sons got on their bikes again. We compare Pokedexes and combat levels. We are bonding again around a silly game. Say what you want, but I do enjoy their company again. After 5 days I reached level 13 and caught/evolved 47 different Pokemons out of 150. This makes me happy.
Just look at the Pokemon effect on my activity level from the last 3 days.
Look at me (Pokemon) GO!
The craziness has also taken over my office. We have 2 gyms and 4 Pokestops on the campus and I find myself walking around the office a lot more, working from the cafe where people put lures regularly, and going outside to visit the pond. It almost makes the office bearable, almost. Can you argue with this?
View from the Pokestop
Where is my Pokeball when I need it? Did the game freeze on me? Oh wait... 
Comfortable sandals are mandatory for Pokemon hunting
But don't get fooled by the idyllic conditions, the inside is still a zoo and my head is still up in the trees. Probably a good introduction to what I'll be doing in 2 months from now: I am going back to school and will abandon the IT world for good. I had 16 good years going from computer engineer to Sr. Manager of a team of 30, climbing the ladder as high as I felt comfortable, but now it's time for a change. I have decided to become an Arborist (wiki link here) and signed up for the Urban Arboriculture program at Humber College. I guess I'll be climbing even higher now, ha! Classes start September 26 and I could not be more excited about it. The program lasts 2 semesters and if all goes well, next spring I will be working outside, taking care of trees as a "tree surgeon" with my new best friend, the chainsaw. I honestly feel that I fit right in. Not only the people that I met in the industry are so friendly and down to earth, they welcomed me with open arms and I think that I will feel much better in this environment, doing something good that makes a difference for nature and the habitat. And who knows where this path takes me. A new adventure for sure, with a lot of hard, physical work, learning and growing challenges, pretty much from the bottom up.
Trees, you've got a friend in me
Alright, now back to working out before my work becomes a work out. On Monday and Tuesday of this week I also went back to Taekwondo after a 10 day break. I think I needed this break after the emotional roller-coaster that took so much energy out of me. On both days we started the class with a jog/sprints combo and I survived both days without any pain. I suffered while stretching though, but that was to be expected. I worked on my patterns until my brain gave up and I was no longer able to coordinate my left with my right. That must be sign of a good workout, or I'm just getting old, as usual.

Today I took another day off from exercising, but I plan on swimming/running tomorrow, TKD class on Friday and/or Saturday, then triathlon simulation day on Sunday. Keeping the fun alive, one day at a time. Cheers!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

IM Muskoka 70.3 Relay Race Report

A couple of weeks ago, most specifically the day after I completed the epic 107km hilly ride with Sam, a friend from Huntsville contacted me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to participate in the race as part of a relay, since their original cyclist got the shingles (ouch, I hope he's ok). I was flattered and a little apprehensive at first, but after asking if they were competitive and was told that they didn't have any podium plans, I accepted. After all, I had done two hilly rides this year over 90km and a total of 6 rides over 50km. Ha! This was going to be a gongshow. I had never "attacked" a race so undertrained, but I could not resist the calling of "The Beast" and riding the Muskoka rollercoaster roads alongside hubbs, my friends Sam, Emma, Mellen, and a few other friends from out tri club.

On the other hand, I had also promised to volunteer at the finish line, but I was reassured that I'd have enough time to recover and take on my duties for a couple of hours afterwards. After all, our relay swimmer was also the finish line volunteer captain and she understood that I may come with "limitations".
Beat every sunrise
We woke up early on Saturday to drive to Huntsville, with the plan to ride our bikes for 45min and give our legs a spin before the race. I was welcoming the thought since my last ride was with the girls on Canada Day, more than a week before. Alas one hour later, we hit this:

Lovely, just lovely. And so our plans went through the window. We hoped that the rain would stop eventually, but it never did. Since we arrived in town way early to be able to check in, we crashed in a friend's hotel room and watched Le Tour until noon when we went to Deerhurst to pick up our race kits. I met my relay team mates then we all went to Farmer's Daughter for lunch.
The Froome-bullet tearing it down the mountain
Carb loading done right
After lunch we went to the hotel to check in, relaxed for a bit (Zin took a nap), then we went to Walmart to buy large garbage bags and electrical tape. It was clear by then that the bikes were going to spend the night drenched and we wanted to avoid seeing all the greasy parts washed dry. We made it to transition right before it closed and I said goodbye to Trinity after covering her the best I could.
It was still pouring and after a quick stop by Tim Hortons, we went back to the hotel to change into dry clothes, then headed out for dinner at Boston Pizza with our friends Louis and Mellen (who sure knows how to fuel on veggies).
I had some shrimp tacos that didn't impress me much and my only hope was that they would not upset my stomach, Thankfully they were inoffensive. I also stayed away from dessert and booze, which was a first.

Back at the hotel, I organized my transition bag (easy peasy), then watched American Ninja Warrior and took a shower. We turned the lights off around 10:15pm and the next thing I remember is the alarm going off. This was by far, the best sleep I've ever had before a race. I had absolutely no clue that the power went out during the night and that my hubby woke up several times. I don't even think that I moved a limb that night.
We woke up at 5am and 1/2 an hour later we were out the door, meeting with Sam in the lobby. We all went to Tim Hortons for breakfast, where I had a cinnamon raisin bagel and a butter tart that I had bought the day before at Farmer's Daughter. I wasn't that hungry, but a little worried about the lack of protein. Oh well. I was going to eat enough bugs on the bike and I still had a banana and peanut butter for later on.

After making sure that we were caffeinated enough, we drove to the airstrip to park the car, then took the shuttle to transition where we arrived shortly after 6am. I got body marked and headed to the relay racks. Zin came over to inflate my tires, and I could tell that he was already "in the zone". I had to keep the chatting short and sweet because the time was flying by. Kari, our swimmer, was already in transition and thankfully we were a lot more relaxed for being in the last swim wave. We chatted for a bit, took a few pictures and managed to keep the anxiety at bay. See, all smiles!!
When the transition closed at 6:45am, we all went down to the swim start. The lake was calm, beautiful and very inviting. I really wanted to jump in, at least for a few minutes. It'll have to wait for another time...
Serenity now...
The third member of our team, Brent, joined us and we all watched Kari putting her fish skin on. Zin walked by, I gave him a kiss, he gave me his wedding ring in return. I wasn't sure if he just divorced me or wanted me to keep it safe. Hmmm. Pretty much everyone went with option 1.
I also saw Sam and Mellen and snapped another pic to capture their smiles. Gotta catch them all like Pokem..
Ooops, sorry.
Someone got the joke.
Soon enough it was time to part ways and I went down to the beach to watch one or two waves start their day. Look at them go!!

I took in some inspiration and energy from these brave athletes and headed back to T1 for another potty break. Kari said that she was hoping to finish the swim in about 35 minutes and that's when I started to freak out. Brent was planning to run in less than 1:45 and... and... I was nowhere near this kind of times. At the very best I was hoping for a 3h35-3:45 time, but I had already forgotten than my best time in Muskoka was a 3h41, 3 years ago, when I was training seriously and was 15 pounds lighter. Ignorance is bliss they say. But at no time I felt pressured to perform better, so I figured that doing my very best that day was probably going to be good enough. Hey Brent, let's take a pic while I am still smiling.
Kari finished her swim just as she predicted in 35 minutes and now it was my turn to meet my promise. Pressure's on!! I trotted my bike out of transition and started powering on. Did I mention that for the first time ever I was also riding with a power meter? I swore not to check it during the ride though because I was sure that it was going to make me depressed. I had no clue what all the numbers meant anyway since I had not done an FTP test with it yet. It was all about the data porn (and a reference for the future). As a matter of fact, I decided not to check any numbers because they really didn't mean anything given my lack of fitness. The only thing that mattered in my mind was to make it in 3h45.

I rode this course about 5 times in total and while it got better at some point in the past, I knew that I was going to be in for a world of hurt. I tried to stay positive and did not care about all the people who were passing me up on the hills. You gotta work hard to push 148lb up, but at least I knew that I had an advantage going down. Wheeeeee! Watch me zooming by. It's all about gravity, and the junk in the trunk, folks! And maybe a bit of race wheels. The first water station took me by surprise. It really didn't seem that far, but I believe that's where I saw Sue Sitki the photographer and she took the picture below.
I don't think I have seen so many lost bottles, entire hydration systems, bottle holders and even cadence sensors in the middle of the road. It was quite disheartening and I kept wondering how these people were going to manage the course with less nutrition than what they had planned for.

The first challenge that I was apprehending was Dwight Beach Rd, which I missed riding back in May. However, once I made the turn, I didn't find it that bad at all. No gravel, but a few bumps and cracks, just like I remembered them from 2013. I stayed on the left, passed a lot of people who were descending way more carefully than me and enjoyed the scenery. That is a pretty stretch after all, if you can ignore the incline and how hard you are panting (and swearing) at times.

Once I reached the highway I started taking in some calories and playing leapfrog with a few people. Some of them didn't seem to have gotten the memo that it was a non drafting race and were blatantly playing the wheel sucking game. Thankfully not with me because I would have told them to bugger off. And speaking of following too closely, I almost got in an accident when a guy hit my back wheel and made me scream in terror. The guy then manages to pass me and says "sorry, I was looking at my bike". I was pretty furious, but told him politely to look at the road instead. This was probably the closest I got to hitting the ground in a race.

Aside from my heart rate going through the roof during this incident, this part of the course was rather uneventful. I descended as fast as I could, trying to use the momentum to get me over the hills. Repeat ad nauseatum. Reached Dorset and said no to the water and Gatorade, again. For nutrition I had with me a Picky Bar, 2 Fruit3 bars and 2 Gu gels, as well as 2 bottles of Scratch and 1 bottle of water. I was nowhere near to needing a drink, but I made a mental note to drink more. At that point I had only eaten a Fruit bar and 1/2 of my Picky Bar, 1/2 of my water and 1/4 of my Scratch mix.

The second challenge of this route for me was the hill out of Dorset, just before the highway 117. There were lots of people cheering at the top of the hill and I jokingly asked for another gear or two as I had run out of cogs. Alas nobody had a spare to get me out of my misery. I was riding a 28 cog in the back, but I wish I had a 32. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger... oh, shut up. It was super hard and I was already having thoughts of giving up. I was looking forward to the halfway mark, then the turn on Brunel, then the one on South Portage and then the one on North Portage, and finally the one on Deerhurst Rd. Somebody get me a teleporter if cogs is too much to ask for!!

Anyway... keep riding on. And just like that, the hunger stroke. By the time I got to Baysville I had eaten every solid food I had and finished my water bottle. Not much progress on the Scratch, but I was feeling a little gassy and didn't feel like drinking electrolytes. At this point, after 60km I still had not peed. I was wondering if I was drinking enough, once again. So at the aid station there I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade and 2 Clif bars. The right hip/IT band/knee/adductor went on vacation and said to my left side "sorry mate, you're on your own - good luck!". I replied with a few expletives and told them that there was going to be no negotiation. We still had 34km ahead and not the easiest either.

Somewhere on Brunel at the top of a hill I saw a photographer. Despite feeling slow as a slug, seeing him there gave me reassurance that it was not too late for him to pack his camera and go home. I gave him a pair of horns and smiled. He said "I got this!" and my next wish became to make it back in one piece to see the photo (I am buying these).
By then I was in survival mode. It was quite hard to push with the right side of my body MIA and I was scared of injuring myself again. But if there is something that I've learned over the past few years is that what I am dealing with is not really an injury, but tightness due to my hips not working properly, from a mechanical standpoint. This requires daily maintenance which I don't do, hence powering through imbalances, depending on which hip decides to take a day off. So anyway, back to my pity party on two wheels.

Back in May when I rode this course, you may remember that I (also) missed the turn on South Portage and continued on Brunel until I reached Huntsville. I rode that day in 3h53, but I was not "racing". About halfway I was still on time to make it back to Deerhurst in 3h45, if I were to maintain a 25kph average that is. Well, once I made the turn on South Portage and I got a painful reminder that a LOT more hills were going to slow me down, my time goal went out the window. I was now hoping to make back it in less than 4h, with a stretch goal of less than 3h53. I hate to think this way, but if it had not been for my relay team, I may have abandoned. I kept telling myself that I could not let them down. They offered me this opportunity, the least I could do was to finish the ride so that Brent can run and we can all get a shiny medal.

It was hard, a lot harder than I thought. But of course, it's been 3 years since I rode the full course! Senility must have kicked in because I could not remember this kind of pain. Nope, I am not going to read that race report again, for sure it will bring me down. So young, so fit, so light!! Aaaargh. Just keep riding, just keep riding... And do NOT, don't you DARE, walk up those hills. Nope, not doing that. Between us, I was also scared to fall off my bike in the process, so it was better to avoid it altogether. As a matter of fact, I saw two guys falling just in front of me while trying to get back on their bikes, on one of the last hills of North Portage. I really hope their day got better afterwards.

With a bit of delay, I made it back to T2. I ended riding the course in 3h50, thus meeting my stretch goal of beating my training time, on a harder course. All this without a mechanical, falling off, passing out from dehydration or worse, dying. You may think that I am over dramatic, but it's always a possibility when you go as fast as you can down the hills and you could hit a bump, a deer or a squirrel that's going to make you fly off your bike head down into the pavement. Every time I say goodbye to Zin before a race I ask him not to die. I am glad that none of us did, even though he had a mechanical (again!) and ended with his worst personal time on this course.

So anyway, back in transition Brent took the chip off my ankle and he started the run. I pretty much collapsed under a tree and stared at the sky for about 15 minutes. I was feeling extremely hot and thirsty and made it a personal mission to find some ice cream. I went inside the Deerhurst building to the gift shop and found a fudgesicle. I could have eaten 5, but I decided to buy one and really savour it. I changed into my capris and flip flops, took off my bike jersey and walked over to the finish line, in a sports bra. At that point I could care less, I knew that I'd get a volunteer tshirt and although I was feeling a bit self-conscious, being among sweaty and tired triathletes walking around like zombies removed the inhibition.

For the next couple of hours I worked mostly under a tent opening water bottles and giving those to finishers. I cannot thank Kari enough for assigning me to this job. Even though I got blisters from opening hundreds of bottles, having my hands in cold water and doing a minimum amount of walking was just perfect after the effort put on the bike.
80yr young and going to the 70.3 Worlds Championships
Tracy receiving her medal and a heartfelt hug from her proud dad
The finish line waiting for the last athlete
My own finish!
I stayed until all finishers crossed the line, with an official time or not. Everyone got a medal. All my friends got a squeeshy hug. I poured water on Emma's back while holding her, I cried with Sam, I lifted Mellen up, wondering how many pounds she lost while putting on a killer effort (8th out of 81 in her age group!), I gave Zin another kiss (that was salty!). I melted when I saw Tracy's dad putting the medal around her neck. I watched in awe the 80yr old finisher sprinting down the chute. Made sure that all my friends finished and were well taken care of. James, Narinder from the FMCT club, Steve and Tammy from our open water swims (Tammy won her age group!). All the Iron Canucks that I knew. Virgil the goofball. Brent, our speedy runner who finished in 1h43, putting us in the 22nd place out of 50 teams with a total time of 6h14. Saw them all crossing the line and once again reinforced my belief that the finish line is the best place to be.
Last bike standing
Many thanks to Kari and Dorothy for being the most awesome team captains and for their warm, non judgmental welcome into the relay team "Help Wanted". I sure had a lot of fun despite pushing through the pain and I hope that I can continue to attend this event year after year for as long as it will bring athletes to the beautiful and challenging Muskoka. Can't wait to see what the rest of the season and next year will bring as we train for Ironman Mt Tremblant 70.3. Yup, I signed up and I will cross the finish line either on two feet, two hands or all fours.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fighting with my brain, a summer cold and unexpected pains

Coming back from the race weekend, I wasn't feeling eager to go back to training at all. It doesn't help that work is draining me emotionally as well so by the evening I am a huge mess. Case in point, on Monday I went to my Taekwondo class and right off the bat my instructor asked me why I didn't come to the belt grading. Not giving me a chance to answer, I spent the rest of the class with tears in my eyes, as the negative thoughts took over. I was convinced that he thought I was a coward and knowing this wasn't true, I could not shake off the feeling of having been misunderstood. We went through all our patterns and I had a very hard time concentrating and I kept making mistakes. At the end of the class I burst in tears and I had to talk about it with the instructor. Of course, it was all in my head, as usual - but anxiety had reached its peak and I had to fight a panic attack and the shame of losing my shit in front of a bunch of kids. Not pretty.

In the following two days it went from bad to worse. On Tuesday I fell sick with a cold and my tooth ache came back. On Wednesday I started two more medications and the cocktail made me dizzy and nauseous. I also got my period and in my infinite wisdom, I decided to go back to Taekwondo. We started the class with conditioning (insert sprints, lunges, frog leaps etc), followed by a gazillion side piercing kicks. Let's say that I did my best, but by the end of the class I was surprised that I had not passed out.

On Thursday I went swimming with the tri club at Professor's Lake and fought the chop for 2 loops then called it a night. I didn't want to make my cold worse since Friday morning I was going to meet with a bunch of friends for a Canada Day bike ride. Since sleeping hadn't been that great the entire week, I was definitely feeling tired and the weekend had not even started. I was not looking forward to the 5:30am alarm clock, and as a matter of fact, I even procrastinated getting out of bed and ended being late.

I met with Emma, Sam, Kim and Ivanka in Burlington after a 40 minutes drive for which I was ill prepared. I had to find my helmet, shoes, gloves, bottles, shades and put everything in the car along with the bike. Thankfully Zin had inflated my tires. Alas there was no coffee and I ran out of time to pick one from Tim Hortons. Once again, I started the day in a state of panic.

To add insult to injury, 15 minutes within the group ride it started pouring. And it pretty much did not stop for most of the ride. We were soon soaked to the bone, but tried keeping the spirits high.
About 30km in the ride Sam got a flat and I wiped out in slo-mo because my shoe refused to unclip while trying to stop. With a bloody knee and achy wrist, I helped Sam change the tube because she was shivering so hard, poor cookie. I even inflated my first tube ever because I never got a flat myself in 5 years and this was my first application in the field. ;-) I don't remember how many f-bombs I let out during the operation, but I think I broke a personal record.
For the next 25km all I could think of was a hot Mocha at the Starbucks where we parked our cars and a warm change of clothes. I am glad to report that both were a success. All in all, despite the super soaker and bruised bum, it was a lot of fun.

The next morning, another early alarm going off, but this time for a swim with Sam at the quarry. She'd never come to Caledon for a swim there and I promised to go with her the weekend before. Summer cold and achy limbs don't care, the premise of a breakfast with this girl was a good enough reason to jump in the water at 7am. The air was cold, but the water was super warm, so the swim was rather awesome. I did two loops for a distance of 2.2km in just about 50 minutes, then drove down the road to the Red Onion where Zin joined us for brekkie.

I spent the rest of the day/weekend on the couch, nursing my stubborn cold and praying for my tooth ache to leave me in peace until Tuesday when I'll have the tooth extracted. The cat was the best and kept me company. I hope I didn't give him my cold, because we snuggled pretty long and hard.
What else is left to say? On Sunday evening I was really craving a run, so I went out for a 5km around the block in my Hokas. No knee pain, but geez - that felt hard! I tried running "easy" but the heart wouldn't have it any other way but in Z4-Z5. Oh well, I have to keep reminding myself how badly out of shape I am. And I'm still sick, which most likely plays a role as well. Let's see what the next week will bring. I think I'll need a lot of exercise to chase all demons away, if not I may just end up punching someone in the office and that's not going to end up well.