Thursday, April 21, 2016

Here Goes Nothing!

Tomorrow I get on a plane and head to Tampa/St. Pete for the weekend.  What kind of weekend it will be? Who knows.  Since I last posted things haven't exactly gone the way I wanted.  I did get to do three rides on the triathlon bike before I dropped her off at the shop for Tri-Bike Transport to pick up.  The back was a little gnarly by the third ride where I went close to 40 miles.  It's more than I'll be doing in the race, but I always like having time on the triathlon bike.  The road bike? Not so good.  I was slow and the back felt like crap.  It just confirms what I already know.  I need to get another fitting for that bike.  I'm just not very comfortable.  Fortunately I won't be riding that bike on Sunday.

Swimming hasn't been so bad.  I had a few good workouts and actually repeated the T1 test that I had first done in February.  My times for the 300s went from 5:58 to 5:50.  Clearly the work I'd been doing was showing.  My last pool workout was Sunday with my Team in Training group.  It was a relatively short workout for me.  1600 yards total.  My back was barking at me.  Probably didn't like the 8 x 25s that I did in 23 seconds per 25.  The 1 x 400 that followed was over 8:00.  Not so good. 

I've run once since I got back.  I ran 3 miles on the track.  Took it easy.  Who knows how 6.2 miles is going to feel after swimming and biking on Sunday.  I've been doing a fair amount of walking, and I've just resigned myself to the fact that I'm probably have to do frequent walk breaks.

This past week I've been really cranky and suffering from a case of the "stupids".  That's where I just space out and don't remember what it is I'm supposed to be doing.  That's not a good thing when one is packing for an out of town event.  I have my check list with everything I need and have packed.  I've even put notes on what item is in what bag.  That way I don't have a panic attack when I can't find something in the gear bag that I actually packed in my suitcase. 

I've been trying to deal with the fact that despite my good winter of training, I may not be able to achieve what I was aiming for in this race.  It's rather frustrating to have all my work get trashed by one of moment of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Although this is not my A race for the season, I did want to do well.  I thought 2:50 - 2:55 was a reasonable time, which based on last year's results would have put me in top 5 in my age group.  This big fish in the little pond wanted to see how she could do with the bigger fish from the bigger ponds.  That may just have to wait. 

If nothing else, I'm going to Florida.  Nothing wrong with that.  I just have to not be stupid on Sunday.  I need to listen to my body, and hope it speaks louder than the inner tri-geek who wants to go for it. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Bump In The Road - Sleepless in Seattle

In my last post I asked, "How am I doing?"  Up until March 24th I was doing pretty well.  I had been meeting my stated goals of swimming and running 2-3 times a week.  I had structured swim workouts and some help from a friend who's also a coach.  My running wasn't particularly fast, but I had gotten a few 6 mile runs in. Cycling was taking care of itself although I wasn't satisfied with my pace.  However part of that is because there are parts of my group rides that are slow.  I try to make up for it when the group splits up.

I went on vacation on March 23rd.  Start with a couple of days in Seattle, followed by ferry to Victoria for Grand Pacific Open chess tournament over the weekend. Back to Seattle Monday night and dead eye (red eye) back home.   I was really looking forward to the weekend in Victoria where there are beautiful places to run, and a 25 meter pool in the health club attached to the hotel.  I was really pumped up knowing I was going up there with a good running base.  For the first time ever, I'd really be able to enjoy some nice long runs in Beacon Hill Park. There's a beautiful path that overlooks James Bay.  Previous visits I've spent a lot of time walking there and taking lots of pictures. This time I was ready for some serious running.  Though I wouldn't have minded an opportunity to ride with those guys in the picture below. 

It's beautiful place to run and there's even a statue honoring Terry Fox, the Canadian runner who was trying to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.  Sadly he was not able to complete the journey due to his cancer coming back.

I even had looked into possible group runs.  I think I packed almost many workout clothes as regular clothes.  When I discussed my plans friends were asking "Aren't you going there for a chess tournament?" Yes I was playing in a chess tournament, but the schedule is such that there's lots of time to do non-chess stuff like swimming and running.  Did I mention shopping?  Spring sales at The Running Room and MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop - Canada's REI) in addition to the US dollar makes shopping in Canada a sport of its own. 

*Sigh* Sometimes the best intentions get waylaid by unforeseen events.  You've heard of the movie, "Sleepless in Seattle"? That's what my Thursday became.  The day started out nicely. Did a tour of a couple of Washington State wineries tasting rooms, Snoqualmie Falls and ending with Boehm's Chocolate.  That's probably the best chocolate I've had anywhere.  All handmade right there at the store.  Wine and chocolate! My favorite two food groups.  :-)

Snoqualmie Falls


I should have quit when I was ahead.  However I did want to go out for dinner on my last night in Seattle, unlike the first night when I noshed on munchies and had wine at the hotel happy hour, went back to my room and fell asleep at 9:00 pm.  Hindsight is 20/20. One of the people I met at happy hour and I decided to skip the usually overpriced and not so great food at the hotel restaurant and venture out about town.  Ended out a place called Von's 1000 Spirits.  They make their own sourdough pasta right on the premises. This was a new one for me.  We split a beet salad and an order of sourdough pasta Mac & Cheese.  This was not your Kraft Mac & Cheese out of a package.  This was to die for! Even though we split the dish, I knew I'd need a few runs to burn that off.

Okay, once again I've turned my triathlon blog into a travel blog.  You're probably wondering where this is all going.  What's the bump in the road that I referenced in my title? To make a long story short, on the walk back to the hotel we were waiting at a light to cross the street.  Out of nowhere a woman comes up and tries to grab my purse off my shoulder.  I'm holding on for dear life.  In the melee, my phone goes flying out of my purse, I get knocked to the sidewalk, but manage to push her away, grab my phone and hold on to my purse.  She runs off, but several witnesses chase her down.  Really all I wanted to do was go back to my hotel and not be bothered since I didn't lose anything.  However when I stood up, I hurt like hell and sat right back down on the sidewalk. 

God bless all the people who helped me out.  There were the people from Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony was performing that evening, who brought me a wheelchair and got me out of the cold. There were people who called the police and others who were able to identify the suspect.  Then there was my dinner companion, who I'd only met a few hours ago at happy hour, who took me to the hospital, stayed with me for the almost 3 hour stay in the ER and got me back to the hotel at the ungodly hour of 1:00 am. 

I didn't get much sleep that night. Hard to sleep when one's back is screaming "What the hell happened?" I did make it to the ferry on Friday, and got to Victoria.  The people from Victoria Clipper Ferry were very helpful in getting me off the boat, gathering my luggage and getting me through immigration and customs.  One of the organizers from the tournament met me at the ferry and helped me get to the hotel.  The hotel is a 5 minute walk from the ferry, which I usually have no trouble doing even hauling suitcases.  That was not the case.

So all those runs I planned on were replaced by frequent naps, a massage and some gentle swimming in the 25 meter pool.  At least my swimsuit got used.  All the running and gym clothes remained unpacked.  By Monday I was able to do some easy walking around town where I did indulge in retail therapy.  The ferry ride back to Seattle was beautiful, however the plane flights were painful.  First flight was a case of "good news, bad news".  The good news is, I got an upgrade to first class.  The bad news, last row in first class against the wall where the seat doesn't recline.  That sucks when one wants to recline the seat and try to sleep.  The second flight was worse.  No upgrade, lousy seat with no legroom, and a broken seat that wouldn't recline either. 

So where does all of this leave me?  The back is still hurting, though it's getting somewhat better. I have my good days and my bad days.  My training has been totally trashed.  I've managed to do some swimming since I've gotten home. Actually the swimming has gone pretty well.  I've been out on my bike once.  The back actually seems to hurt less when I'm riding on the aero-bars.  Mother nature has been a royal pain in the ass.  Winter didn't seem to get the memo about it being spring.  Tuesday it was 23 degrees in the morning with 9 degree wind chill factor.  It's been raining a lot.  Maybe I brought the weather back from Seattle.  Though I think it rained less out there than it has here since I got back.  The big question mark is running. I haven't given that a try yet.  I want to give that a little longer.

I have my first race in two weeks.  St. Anthony's.  Yes, the very race I want to redeem myself from the horror show of 2009.  Despite this setback, I'll still probably do better than I did in 2009.  However I may have to adjust my expectations for this particular race.  Looking at previous years results in my age group, I felt I had an excellent chance of placing in top 5.  2nd - 5th looked quite doable since those times were over 3 hours.  I'm not sure this is still a realistic goal.  However no matter how I feel in two weeks, I'll be there.  I have non-refundable plane ticket and hotel room. I've paid to have my bike send down there.  One day at a time.

Stay tuned....