Saturday, August 28, 2010

T minus 1 ... okay, now I'm REALLY nervous!

My day started with a swim in the beautiful Lake Okanagan.

Here is the beach where the Ironman mass swim start occurs:

I slipped on my wetsuit for the first time since early June 2008 when I did a sprint tri and then got into the water. Silly me, I hadn't trained at all with with my wetsuit this year and hoped that my injured shoulder would be able to manage the tightness of the neoprene. 45 minutes of swimming told me that I should be okay and then I got out of the water. So many other things to do today ...

But wait, where was my rental car? What?!?! I couldn't find it anywhere in the long row of parked cars by the beach ... GREAT, could this be happening to me?!? I started panicking. Could someone have stolen my car? How would I be able to get to check-in today with my bike and race bags and then the race the next morning? Oh no! How would I even be able to get back to Montreal?! My purse with my passport and all my ID, cards and money was inside the car, along with my cell phone!

I tried to calm myself down as I carefully combed the area, though inside, I felt horribly frantic ... Well, at least, I had my bike and everything else I needed for the race the next day back at the motel ... but really ... was this what I needed?


Okay folks, after wandering up and down the beach for 45 minutes in my half-stripped-off wetsuit, I was elated to discover my car parked MUCH farther down the beach than I remembered.


I went back to the hotel and cleaned up. I double-checked my bike and race bags, threw in last-minute clothing decisions, and then headed back into town for check-in. But first, lunch with MF and crew ... what a sweet but poignant meet-up. I was thrilled to finally meet Lyn's family but so saddened to know that she was no longer with us ... To Lyn's mom, CD, thank you for such a wonderful long hug! I looked into your eyes and saw my friend again ... Lyn, sweet and funny Lyn ... the reason behind my having signed up for this particular race.


This was it. The race suddenly felt imminently closer. I racked my bike and dropped off my transition bags, and then got the guided tour of the "transition route" from a kind volunteer.

I had a great spot for my bike, Row 50, 2nd bike in, easy to find ... as if that would make any difference, as I was sure the bike lot would be almost empty by the time I came out of the water, ha ha! Nevertheless ... :-)

Rows and rows of transition bags by the change tents ... kinda intimidating, don't cha think?

A calm and smiling me, but really nervous as all heck inside. I can't believe I'm doing this again ... why, why, WHY!?!

Later on that afternoon, I tried to drive the bike course. I completely failed (course map was not very detailed) and finally gave up after realising I'd driven the same huge circle three times, ending up in the same tranquil neighbourhood.

I think the Universe was trying to tell me something ... to go visit my fellow online tri-mate CB from Kickrunners, otherwise known as Slow'n'Steady. We'd managed to meet up at the bike store previously and she had invited me to drop in later for a visit ... so lo and behold, I was in her neighbourhood.

There's something magical about Ironman that bonds people, something about how difficult the training and racing is, and being able to make it to the Finish Line, that gives us an understanding into each others' psyches. Our "friendship" had existed only online previously and now CB and I were standing in the flesh in front of each other, chatting away as if we'd always known each other. Internet can be truly extraordinary ...

I love that CB and I are made up of the same goofy material. I felt like we were two peas in a pod, and colour-coordinated ones at that! :-)

I felt an instant connection with CB and her wonderful family ... I was so lucky to have met them! Her amazing girls did some chalk drawings outside where the marathon turn-around was. Now I finally felt ready to RACE!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Pre-race jitters!

Lots done today!

1) Got my bike assembled. Thanks MF!

2) Brought my bike for a tune-up to Bike Barn, official bike people for Ironman Canada. Though I'd just gotten it tuned up before shipping, my gears got out of whack with the transport :-(

3) Registered and picked up my race bags and ID bracelet. I played the good consumer and purchased a few Ironman souvenirs. I especially like IM mugs! It think it's becoming my Ironman tradition, collecting mugs from each race. Hope I can eventually collect 20 of them, heheheh :-)

4) Picked up my bike then did a brick workout! 25km ride followed by a 5km easy run. I don't remember this part of the race course being this hilly, hmmm. I passed two men running while on my way out on the bike and then again on my way in from my run. One gentleman was doing three, yes THREE, back-to-back Ironman triathlons, finishing with Ironman Canada two days later. He was raising money to help fund Haiti's microeconomy ... good for him!

5) After supper, I got my gear and special bags ready for drop-off the next day. It was hard to figure out what to wear since the forecast kept changing ... and it wasn't looking optimistic ... sigh. It would be too cold to wear the sexy new tri singlet that I'd bought. Guess I'll have to race next year!

Though I didn't make it to the Athlete's Welcome Banquet opting instead to train, I was happy to have a well-assembled, well-tuned bike that I was familiar with riding. I was also happy to have gotten in a final bike and run, especially since yesterday's travelling didn't allow time for this.

The race was getting nearer and I my nerves were starting to feel it!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting there ...

During my 4-hour stopover in Vancouver, I met an interesting family of five, a couple from Toronto travelling to Penticton as well with their three young children ranging in age from 3 months to five years old. It was the father's first Ironman, how exciting!

I was totally boggled by this man's ability to fit in training with full-time work and kids so young! Supposedly, he didn't need much sleep, only 4 hours/night, and trained mostly between 10pm - 7am when the kids were sleeping. Lots of hours on the bike trainer! I was totally impressed and felt humbled with regards to my own training ordeal ... or rather lack of one when compared to this gentleman's circumstances.

Mind you ... my work schedule was all over the place (as the film industry tends to be) and I was still dealing with a healing painful shoulder ;-)

A small plane took us to Penticton. Before take-off, I overheard the passenger behind me talking on his cell phone. His bike would not make the flight. I looked out the window and in fact, noticed that another 8 or so other bikes on the luggage rack would not make the flight either. At least his bike had good company.

I had already had my fair share of being scared about late bike delivery though ... the courier company missed the scheduled pick-up last Thursday and told me that they'd pick up Friday instead, to which I replied, "NO F*CKING WAY!" (well, at least that's what I was *thinking* in my head). Insistence made the courier company send out another truck that evening and off my bike went across Canada by ground ... only to be delayed out West. An email notice received last Tuesday stating "late train/possible postponement" sent me into a hairy conniption fit!

Without a bike, it is impossible to do Ironman!

I went through this "no bike" issue in 2008 before Ironman Louisville and did NOT want to repeat it!

But luckily, while waiting at the Vancouver airport, I received a "confirmation of delivery" email ... WHEW! My precious bike, Ingrid, was waiting for me at the hotel. Thank you Universe!!

By the way, Vancouver Airport is beautiful. Check out this beautiful tiled wall in the ladies' bathroom:

Arriving in Penticton, I checked into the 5000 Motel and finally got to meet the very helpful voice that I had dealt with when making my reservation months back. Jasmine was a delight! Very friendly and helpful, which turned out to be a godsend as I had come to the race without support. Amazingly, she knew every athlete by name, which made me feel like I was part of a special family and that she was mom to us all, well at least to me :-)

[Photo of Jasmine to come!]

I had been smart enough to book a suite. It was straight-forward, simply decorated, but very clean and comfortable. Quite spacious, it had a living room and full kitchen, meaning I could cook my own food. It was great having the extra space just to relax and be able to spread out. There's a lot of gear involved with Ironman!

Note to those planning to race Ironman Canada:

I highly recommend this place! Price is extremely reasonable, location is fantastic, service is wonderful and best of all, Jasmine will take good care of you! For sure, I'll be back ... Bookmark 5000 Motel's website now!

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Ready or not, here I come!

Well, I can't believe the time has come ... Ironman Canada is but a few days away and I feel far from ready.

To put it bluntly, training has been difficult. Two and a half months including taper is NOT LONG ENOUGH. Add into this equation super long work days and kids and it becomes impossible to get in enough quality training and rest.
To top it off, even my taper was dismal. All that sticks in my head training-wise is that I only managed to slip in a total of 20k of running during this official two-week taper period, and probably not much more biking or swimming comparatively. Hey, I couldn't even manage to update my training calendar!

And because of my super busy summer, I've unfortunately had to condense all my fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society through Operation Triumph into the short week before my departure ... the whole reason behind doing this Ironman!

So evening comes and I squeeze in a swim and a last physio appointment before my race to help me deal with my neck injury. Afterwards, I scramble to finish sending out my fundraising emails and then, late at night, I finally start packing. It's now early morning, I'm exhausted but I'm finally ready. Time to catch some short zzz's. I pray that I haven't forgotten anything important. The logistics of Ironman make packing precarious and stressful ... so much GEAR and SUPPLIES ... I've heard horror stories about people forgetting to pack bike shoes, goggles, etc.

Night night, my dear readers ... Later this morning, I'll be leaving on a jet plane!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ironman countdown!

Alright, I don't know how the others do it ...

How the other triathletes work, have families and train for Ironman all at the same time. Since my last post about training, I have been precariously juggling an intense IM training schedule with 12hr+ shoot days, auditions, kids, and also trying to get enough rest so I don't burn out.

And geez, I've even put my social life completely on the side! Very hard for a social butterfly to do, you know ;-)

I've never been good with schedules or anything that dictates that I have to do a particular something every day. I think the older I get, the more my artist spirit wants to rebel against anything that wants to pin me down or cage me in. It's not like I don't like training intensely, but I prefer to train in whatever way my mood suits me. And for sure, I do miss my other sports and activities, like swing dancing!

I haven't been particulary good about bedtimes or getting enough sleep all the time, though I've tried. Ironman training actually involves a fourth sport ... REST! It's really difficult though finishing a 16hr day at 1:15am, prepping for the next day, sleeping 2.5hrs, then getting to another film set at 7am to start another production. Alright, that was the extreme this summer, nonetheless, it was my reality, and hours like that mess up anyone's schedule!

Week #5

Swim: 2h 50min, 6550m
Bike: 8h 20min, 196k
Run: 2h 15min, 20k

TOTAL TRAINING = 13h 25min

I didn't quite fit in all my training but I did okay.

Week #6

Swim: 2h 30min, 6200m
Bike: 2h 45min, 56k
Run: 3h 57min, 23k + intervals


Three rest days ... I also started a 7-day straight shooting schedule after also having shot earlier in the week.

Week #7

3h 20min, 7450m
5h 34min, 128k
1h 53min, 18.5k

TOTAL TRAINING = 10h 47min

I finished the other four days of my 7-day shoot schedule. Monday, I slipped in a short 3.5k jaunt in the morning before a 13 hour day on set. Tuesday, I managed a half hour swim before a 16hr day. Wednesday was a day off from training thank God, but not shooting, and Thursday was thankfully a shorter day of work, so I got in 1h 45min of training that evening. I let myself sleep in Friday as long as my body wanted.

Whew! And this was a scheduled recuperation week!

Week #8

125 min = 2h 5min, 4150m
780 min = 13h, 319k
185 min = 3h 5min, 26k

TOTAL TRAINING = 18h 10min

It's surprising how I was able to fit in a week of home vacation with the kids, two auditions and a shoot date with my most intense week of training. Determination! Sunday's ride was not fun though ... it was very dark and cloudy outside and not wanting to be rained upon for hours, I opted to ride indoors on my trainer for 5.5 hours and watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy with the kids.

I don't ever plan to ride that long on my trainer again ... this was a true test of mental fortitude! My butt hurt so much! But at least there were Rice Krispie squares as snacks. And I got to take a lunch break with the kids ... freshly-baked warm country bread with tomato bocconcino salad! Yum!

Week #9

2h 23min, 5450m
5h 50min, 146k
3h 10min, 28.5k

TOTAL TRAINING = 11h 23min

I took an unscheduled rest day on Tuesday to nurse my sore knee, sigh. I also had a pimple in an undesirable spot for cycling. And I felt really TIRED this week ... My body was telling me it was on the verge of overtraining and I should take it easy. I felt demotivated and cut my Wednesday training by more than half. Thursday, I skipped my 1.5hr spin and just did my 2h 40min long run. I managed 23.5k. This will have to be my longest run distance ... I don't think my knee can handle more.

Sunday ended up being a big calamity! I had planned a 6 hour, 150k ride ... 125k on the road, and 25k on the trainer since it would be too dark outside. I got as far as 67k before I got a flat tire. I had no trouble changing the tire, but unfortunately the CO2 cartridge adapter was missing from my bike bag! So I could not pump up my tire and waited patiently for a friend to pick me up 50k from my house. Good thing I had brought my cell phone!

This was scheduled to be another peak training week, but I guess the Universe decided differently and turned it into a first week of tapering, and perhaps justly so due to the risk of overtraining and more injury.

Week #10

Official taper week.

I didn't keep track of what I did, but it wasn't much. I had a sore throat all week and when it finally subsided, I realised it wasn't my allergies but a small throat infection. I was also plagued by G.I. issues and a massive headache this week. Throw in auditions and shoot dates and even with the greatly reduced training, I was STILL very busy. I remember short runs, short swims, and also managing a 2h 10min ride on my trainer Sunday ... though it took all my willpower to do it!

I concentrated on getting rest but honestly, I'm really tired of training and can't wait until I can return to my other activites!

Week #11

More tapering. Trainer for an hour last night. Now I'm going to head for a hill ride. Tonight's a short swim and packing, lots of packing ... and more fundraising ...

I'm racing in memory of my mom and fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society through Operation Triumph. Please listen to or read my letter here. I would love to have your support with a donation!

Alright, gotta dash now, too much to do in too little time. Good thing I slept 10 hours last night since I don't know if I'll have time to sleep tonight or even if I'll be able to ...

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