Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm racing Ironman tomorrow!

Things have been hectic and crazy this week:

1) My friend and I got cut off by a driver during a training ride when she turned suddenly into a plaza driveway. She hit the left arm of my friend. I smashed into the back of her van, bracing my fall with my face and right upper body as I shot over my handlebars. I'm better now ... soreness has almost dissipated, bruises fading, swelling down.

2) My bike, Freida, is finished :-( Bent frame makes it too dangerous to ride.

3) 17 hour drive total to Louisville.

4) New bike bought in Louisville ... no choice.

5) Chain fell off and flat tire during first 15 min. of my ride today. Total 45 min. riding on my new bike in two days.

5) Got a parking ticket in Louisville.

So, now I KNOW I'm gonna rock this race!!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Que sera, sera ...

What will be, will be.

I remember watching "The Doris Day Show" when I was growing up, and never more than now does that theme song play in my mind. I'm heading out to Ironman Louisville tomorrow.

Am I ready?

You bet your bottom dollar, NOT!

I've been working on too many other things, like Operation Triumph, and not getting in any training this week. In fact, this entire summer has been a huge struggle even getting in half of the recommended training. And of course, I've also been busy trying to get ready for this trip ... maps, directions, itineraries, informing friends, fixing my bike, buying new shoes, packing, supplies ... and the list goes on.

Am I tired? Should I be sleeping already ... YES!

Alright, here I come, ready or not ... onto the last leg of my Ironwoman Journey: Part II, Louisville. I'll check in when I arrive ... Thanks for following me in my craziness ;-)


Monday, August 18, 2008

I've reached a new pinnacle in swimming :-)

I've been noticing something recently during my swim training that has started to occur more often ... a wonderful, effortless gliding feeling where I feel one with the water and everything is as it should be.

I interpret this feeling as a sign of my improving technique and more and more often, I experience this sweet feeling when I swim.

There is a wonderful little lake close to where I cycle up north and it is so wonderful that I decided, like my recent long run, that I again needed to wrap my mind around some distance, this time in this wonderfully clean and peaceful lake.

My friend LR and I set off into the lake. We swam close to the shore, out of the way of the speeding boats, and after an hour, we took a short break where LR hesitantly then happily discovered the joy of jumping into the water by swinging off a rope attached to a tree. I, on the other hand, sat like the shivering chicken that I am on the rocks until I convinced my friend to head back.

After arriving at the beach, we dried off, but never one for sitting for long in the sun, I started wondering, "How far is it to swim around the little island?" LR suggested I go try it and see as she took her cell phone in hand to time me. I went out and came back. It took about 19 minutes, so I figured at least 800m. Then I did it again.

So, great day for a long swim. 6k+ in my pocket and I finally feel ready for my Ironman swim. Thanks LR for making this possible! You rock!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wrapping my mind around it ...

Admittedly, I have been absolutely horrible at training this summer. So much so that the wonderful schedule I had printed up sits ignored somewhere on a shelf in my office. In fact, I don't even remember where I stashed it, but probably somewhere that "out of sight, out of mind" could easily come into play.

My dear blog followers, you may have already realised too that I been skimpy with my daily training session updates. I figure it's better to write as little as possible and allow your mind to imagine that I have been training as I should, 15-20 hours a week, rather than for you to know the truth.

I am an undisciplined, imperfect, lazy athlete that barely scrapes through races.

Sorry to burst your imaginary bubble that I may actually be a dedicated athlete, but somehow this summer, the rest of my life got in the way and distracted me.

So recently, I decided I needed to wrap my mind around some distance.

I haven't been running too much, perhaps twice a week, most often only a very short 5k and then some version of a "longer" run, anywhere from 10 - 15k, and once proudly so, an 18k.

Maybe those distances might be fine and dandy for someone training for a sprint or Olympic distance, but I know I ain't cutting it for that gruesome 42.2k waiting for me at the end of the Ironman.

So, just like that, out of the blue, I decided that it was time to run a 30k.

All was light and springy and actually pleasant and relaxing until I hit 19k. Then the fatigue and pain set in quickly and I cringed inside knowing I still had 11k to go.

10k uphill also meant 10k downhill but I welcomed the descent regardless, as it allowed a bit of active recuperation. Besides, with all the lactic acid building up in my quads, I couldn't have run faster if I wanted.

When I turned down my street, I knew right away what I had to do.

In my mind, my street suddenly became the finishing stretch of the Ironman. I envisioned the metal barriers that aligned the final chute and saw and heard the crowd cheering at the top of their lungs. Last time I did Ironman, I was so tired and in so much pain that I needed all my energy and attention focused on finishing, but this time, I lifted my hand to the enthusiastic spectators ... HIGH-5's all 'round! Woohoo!!

I looked into the distance in front of my house and then I saw it, the FINISH LINE. I felt overwelmed with emotion and started to cry. I was finally at the End and had made it through another tumultuous physical and mental journey. I ran through the Finish Line, grabbed the finishing tape held by the kind volunteers, and lifted it high up in the air in victory!

Bonnie Mak, you are an Ironman!!

I imagined someone putting a medal around my neck and my starting to "walk it off" ... but then the barrage of questions started ...

Where would my car be parked?
Would I even have my car close-by?
How would I be able to get my bike and stuff back to the hotel?
How would I even get back to the hotel?
Would I pass out before I could even get myself and my belongings back to the hotel?
What would I eat?
Would I be able to stomach the pizza in the post-race tent?
Would I even have the strength to go out and get some real food after I cleaned myself up or would I end up crashing, my body totally depleted and still feasting on the protein from my muscles?

Hmmm ... the reality of finishing an Ironman.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sandpaper shorts from HELL

One thing I'm usually quite good at is keeping up with laundry and I'm not talking about my regular day clothes, I'm talking about my training clothes. 'Cause face it folks, that's all that really matters, right?

So, though I am usually quite organized, my typical full-plate of life has had some extra servings heaped onto it due to travelling out of the city on weekends. Good for training. Not good for keeping track of clean training clothes, as I found out one day recently when I wanted to do a short 40k ride.

Looking through my partially filled overnight bag that I hadn't yet had time to unpack, I quickly realised that I'd used both of my bike shorts. Yes, I know I should have more than two pairs of shorts but my Louis Garneau shorts, which date back 15 years, are super comfy and still hold their shape. Besides, the super thin padding is perfect for doing tris and is really all I need. I've tried out other bike shorts with the big diaper padding, but nah, there's nothing like "tried and true" shorts. Eventually, I suppose my favourite shorts will fall apart, and on that day, I will shed some tears and go to the local bike store to wearily buy another pair or two.

Why wearily?

Because I DO have another pair of tri shorts. In fact, as a member of Team Diabetes in 2006, I was given a team uniform made by Sugoi ... and those were the most uncomfortable pair of shorts I've ever worn in my entire life. They've basically been relegated to serving as swim trunks for my male friends when I can convince them to go off for an impromptu dip in the pool with me.

So on this particular day, after strewing the remainder of the contents of my overnight bag all over the floor, I walked with trepidation over to my dresser and hesitantly pulled out my Sugoi Team Diabetes tri shorts from my training clothes drawer.

I weighed the options:

1) Don't bike.
2) Bike and hurt.

Hmmm ... My mind whirred quickly as I pondered ... My desire to cycle was too intense. Heck, I wasn't going far ... what damage could this pair of shorts do to me over a measly 40km?

A few kilometres into my ride, I regretted my decision. I can't believe I had consciously chosen to wear the Sandpaper Shorts from HELL!!!"

So, evidently, my ride was not enjoyable in the least and I fidgeted like a madwoman the entire distance, shouting expletives in my mind ... On the brighter side, finishing an Ironman is about training one's mental ability to endure, and for that, perhaps I sould be thankful (yeah, right).

So am I ready to handle the 180km cycling distance required during the Ironman?


I still haven't done a metric century ride, and in fact, haven't even ridden to the 100km mark. I have though set a new record for cycling speed ... a whopping 79.5 km/h!! I had recently done some riding up north on some 12-18% grades. Hell to climb but what goes up, must come down! Woohoo!!

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