Friday, December 19, 2014

The Fatigue Fog

I just re-read my Race Report (for the hundredth time) and I realized I missed 5 HOURS on my time!!!) Real race time 16 hours, 18 minutes 20 seconds).... Now that's a testament to fatigue fog and wishful thinking. Oops - perhaps a Freudian slip?  I have corrected said entry, sorry to have mislead everyone!!

It's been a month since my race (Nov 16).  I haven't turned into a pumpkin or gained a hundred pounds b/c I've taken time off (thank GOD), but I was really surprised at the amount of fatigue I dealt with - a lot of it not recognized until after the fact.  There was certainly the post race high that lasted for well over a week, which I think is pretty normal and exciting.  I accepted congratulations from many which was great.

The revelations about my fatigued didn't come to me until about a week ago when I went to my Sat bike class and thought - oh, my legs are back.  I thought back to the previous weeks - multiple missed appointments, late for work b/c of sleeping in, not having much motivation to get to the gym, completing an hour or so of a coached work out and then can't get out of my recovery zone (E1).  Just wanting to sleep and not have to set my alarm.  I certainly had training days like that, but I seemed to recognize those and be able to talk with Elmar and adjust my workouts.

The mental fatigue was there too.  Didn't seem to be able to accomplish a great deal at work, but struggled through the days.  At least I was leaving work on time....

Coming home at 5-5:30 pm is weird.  I have all this time and can't seem to occupy myself with much beyond the TV and computer.  I think it's a true sign that I'm ready to go again.  Looking forward to having some time off between Christmas and New Years.  Was hoping for some snow to get in some cross country skiing or snow shoeing, but a brown Christmas is what it appears to be at the moment (YUCK!).

My goal for the new year is to continue to chase a podium finish in a triathlon (hee hee).... Changing tactics a bit and I'm going to complete an Exterra triathlon (swim, mountain bike, trail run); haven't decided if I'll do a sprint distance or olympic distance, but I'm going to focus on mountain biking a bit more this year.

You know what that means??? - a NEW BIKE!!!  (hang on - there's some debt to take care of in there too..... better not forget that - being a grown up is not always all it's cracked up to be).

Ciao and happy training,

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Race Report - Ironman Arizona

Alternte titles:
  1. The year that kept on giving (or was it taking??)....
  2. OMG - I DID IT!!
  3. Happy birth YEAR to me
  4. What was I thinking??  (this one actually lasted a long time - pretty much up until post Challenge 1/2 Ironman in August)
  5. Easy ways to accumulate debt ....and lots of it!
Nov 16, 2014, in my 50th year, when I heard the words "Cindy Pittman - You Are An Ironman!!" I did it, I really did it.  (3.8 km swim, 180 km bike, 42.2 km run - my time 16:18:27). Best finish I've ever had in a race - actually ran across the finish line, smiling like crazy!!

I didn't have superstar times like my teammates, but we all crossed the same line successfully, which was my goal.  The day itself was great.  I was calm in the morning and thought as long as I keep moving it will be a good day..... and it was!!  Elmar assured me I could complete this race in the time allotted....

The swim started out well.  I started near the back of the other 2600 people in the water; as I looked at my watch at the half way point, I was on schedule.  Then the swells were coming at us head-on and I was ~10 minutes slower out of the water than I intended.  And, I swim crooked.....

The bike got very interesting very quickly.  The 3 lap course consisted of 30 km into a 40km/hr headwind out and 30 km with a tailwind back.  I thought I did well on the first lap, slacked off the 2nd lap and had to push it on the 3rd lap. There was a 5km climb coming up to the turnaround on each lap that was hard, but it was sure fun coming down that 5 km with a tailwind doing 50+ km/hr. I tried to keep the back half of each lap >30 km/hr. My nutrition plan of eat/drink every 20 min worked well.  Saw most of my teammates who shouted out hellos on the bike - so much fun.  Fast bike course with the 3 loops - you were never on your own, but you had to pay attention b/c you were never on your own.  I saw 3 ambulances picking up racers and heard about a 4th - not good....

I wasn't panicked about the run, which is kind of naive given my longest run going in was 16 km.  I felt I had enough time to walk it if I had to.  Enter the best race crew ever!! Jenn and Heather said they'd be my support crew and I thought that was extremely generous of them - expecting to see them a few times along the route as it was two, 21 km loops.  What I didn't expect was for them to complete the whole marathon with me!!  Jenn made friends with multiple other racers as she walked along beside me (I think she was walking really fast!)  Heather came and went - also walking really fast or slow jogging beside me.  I was RUNNING!!  In fact I may have repeatedly said to them - "I'm a runner" hahaha.... just like a 6 year old with a newly acquired skill.  I want to say they didn't have to prod me too much, I did keep an eye on my watch.  I started my intervals with 2 min walk / 4 min run, then thought that might not be enough.  Then I went to 7 min run / 3 min walk, again feeling good, but I kept coming to an aide station in the middle of a run interval.  I finally settled into a run between aide stations, walk the aide stations - drink/salt tab, eat a little and keep moving.  I was still peeing, so I was good with my hydration.  The other thing in my favour was that the temperature was ~21'C while the sun was out. They had mile markers on the course, but they just confused me. It was much better watching for the signs that Jenn and Heather had put up along the course.  Then suddenly I had 5 km left and decided I better see what I could do as it was approaching 11pm (race ends at midnight after a 7 am start).  

It was so amazing running down the chute to the finish - going side to side giving high fives to people.  Then I saw MY PEOPLE - Felix, Jane, Nikki, Faizel, Jenn & Heather.  I wanted to stop and hug them all I was so excited to see them!!  But then the announcer said "it" - Cindy Pittman, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!  I pumped my arms and ran across the line ecstatic and smiling.  

There's always something in retrospect:
  • Best pre-race meeting ever - Ed's race prep talk!!  I can report that the pothole around the manhole cover by the gas station has been fixed.
  • I don't often stay up 16 hours in a day, never mind being in perpetual motion.  I wondered if I could do it.
  • Best meals - La Bocca Restaurant; Poncho's Mexican Restaurant - we ate with el Presidenti, Bill Clinton, circa 1999
  • You want a disgusting swim, this could be it, minimal visibility - you'd take a stroke and your arm would land on someone's back, then it would kind of stick, wetsuit to wetsuit, and you'd have to pick it up, sight and go again.
  • Practiced in/out of the water at the swim exit 7 times (yes, I counted) 
  • Great to see everyone after the practice swim to have a group photo of Talisman Tri Club members and wish each other well.
  • Weird to have spectators calling you by name on the run course - finally turned my race bib around b/c it was weirding me out.
  • Bacon on the run course!!
  • Best sign on course - "Dig deep, like a kid picking boogers" (gross, but funny)
  • Jenn got the life story of a guy behind me she was chatting with; someone else kept admiring her coat, out loud; I think she was texting Elmar frequently too - how did she know I was supposed to be doing 7/3 intervals???
  • Heather kept it light and is an inspiration to me as she's completed a gazillion Ironman races and was such a positive influence all year!!
  • Can't say enough about handicap height toilets post race - my quads are forever grateful...
  • Umm, perhaps 9 pair of shoes was a bit of overkill - especially when 2 are the exact same runners - 1 new pair, 1 old pair => wear 1 new (left) and 1 old (right) on race day!!
  • Over the course of the year I decreased 1 clothing size; moved up 2 notches on my watch; lost 15 lbs;  had 3 pair of runners on the go at one point.
  • I never did make it to the top of Edworthy standing (I was thinking about that on my 3rd bike lap though)
  • Best race finish: 4 medals and 4 finishers!!

Felix Rooke, Jen Begg, me, Jane Wong

Huge thank you to all the people who had faith in me and wished me well throughout the year - you all made a difference and I thought of you all on race day at various points.

Ciao & happy training,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's Getting Close to Go Time

Officially 2 weeks out from Ironman Arizona......

I'm feeling ready and excited!!

It's been a great year of training with lots of ups and downs.  Started out with a few glitches that a change in coach took care of.  This lead to some running issues that set me back a couple of months - cue up the water running and elliptical, but then a new Sports Med Clinic at COP with no waiting list was a gift.  I proceeded to get an injection of Durolane in my arthritic knee which was very successful in managing the pain and a gradual return to running without pain.  My bike went through a pretty good overhaul with no residual issues and continues to be my faithful partner.  Swimming has been hit and miss due to some neck issues.

Wow, that paragraph doesn't make this sound fun at all!!  But it really has been a work in progress. And it's actually one of the reasons I like triathlon - if something is broken you can still train something else.  That and the fact it's all in a straight line and less stressful on my knee?

I was so looking forward to a 3 month cycling trip to India at the beginning of my 50th year, but when the stars didn't align for that one, I still felt I needed a significant physical challenge.  I may have taken on more than I bargained for, but I have been consistent in my training and I've got a great team behind me: Coach - Elmar Heger, Physio - Dave Holmes, Massage Therapist - Christine Leslie and all  my training partners - we have shared many long rides together, compared notes in the locker room and supported each other along our journey to the start line.  I may be the weakest link in this group, but I've put in my time and will do my best to complete my race and here "Cindy Pittman - you are an Ironman" before midnight on Nov 16.

I know I have lots of family and friends rooting for me and I'm looking forward to racing with my training partners and having Alan and Pauline, Jen and Heather their for support.  There will be a crew from the Talisman Tri Club on hand too, and it will be so exciting to see them on the race course - perhaps someone will have packed a cattle prod to keep me moving?!

My race number if you're interested in following on race day is 1607.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

You know you're training a lot when....

  1. Your laundry pile of everyday clothes is smaller than the pile of workout clothes.
  2. You arrange your chores around work outs. 
  3. ...Or it takes you over a month to change the light bulb, even when you already have said light bulb.
  4. You ask your dad to cook for you in an effort to reduce meals in restaurants and potentially lose some more weight before race day.
  5. You realize you have the best dad ever, because he does make dinner for you, to help you reach your goals!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall Riding

Jane and I on the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A)

Beautiful fall colours and brilliant colour of the river

Being able to ride outside is something I really enjoy this time of year, as the weather around Calgary can be so fickle....  We did have a nasty snow storm 2 weeks ago that caused trees with leaves to loose huge branches.  

September 20 I took part in the MEC ride up Highwood Pass from the south end.  Started in Turner Valley - Black Diamond - Longview and then headed west to Highwood Pass.  Supposed to be 160 km, but due to a bridge being out (or under construction? - presumably from the floods last year) we completed 140 km.  Still a fabulous ride and beautiful fall colours in the rolling foothills leading up to Hwy 40 and into the mountains.  Saw lots of horse outfitters getting ready for hunting trips into the mountains.  We are so lucky to have this gorgeous scenery and be able to ride and tour around to enjoy it.  (Oh wait - it was a *hammerfest*, I'm training for Ironman after all).

I must say this ride was incredible value for money - paid $35 for a fully supported ride - aide stations manned by paid MEC employees, Boston Pizza individual lasagne for post ride food along with some munchies.  Isn't it amazing what you can offer when profit isn't the point of the whole thing?? Kudos to MEC.  Well organized and great venue. 

This past weekend Jane and I ventured out on a pretty chilly morning from Canmore to the Bow Valley Parkway.  It was cold on the feet and hands with a bit of a headwind on the way out.  That was totally worth it for the return trip in the bright sunshine, warmer temp and best of all - tailwind!! We didn't see many heading out in the am, but by the time we turned around, lots of people out riding.

The perfect weekend....

Happy training
Ciao, Cindy 

Friday, September 12, 2014


  • Snow storm in September = work out in the gym
  • Profile room is completely gone at the gym
  • Mezzanine is under construction, so no bike trainers available = sore tailbone from stationary bikes with nasty seats
  • New equipment with no time limits!
And most important of all - attitude change!!
Challenge Penticton Half had some good aspects and bad aspects for me - much of it due to my attitude.  I was very unsure of the run going in. Heading into Ironman Arizona, the run will be walk/run intervals for me, which I knew would be the case when I signed up.  Even though I was miserable during the walk at Challenge, I'm going to take it in stride and keep things in perspective at Arizona.  My goal is still to finish. The more time on my feet between now and race day, the better. As long as I'm moving forward --> it will get me closer to the finish line!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mind Games and Meltdowns

So..... the "race report".

Completed the 1/2 at Challenge Penticton (1900 m swim, 90 km bike, 21.2 km run) with disappointing overall results, but not a total wash out. As with all endeavours - many things to take away and ruminate on.

  1. I need to own my s*%t - if you're going to have a meltdown the day before the race, that's not necessarily the best timing.... Hard to dig myself out of that one.   Keeping things in perspective: remembering why I'm here; giving myself credit for the work I've done and not letting others comments affect me negatively can be difficult.  Refocusing was hard!  Thanks for the reminder to be grateful Jenn Soost.
  2. I was really pleased with my swim.  I held a good line throughout and continually passed people for the first 2/3.  Kept it steady and tried to "pull with purpose" and not miss the back end of my stroke.  I really enjoy lake swimming, but I need to remember I'm there with a purpose --> don't relax too much.  I was even more pleased to hear the swim was ~200m long, so that makes my time even better!!
  3. I knew the bike course was going to be challenging for me b/c of the amount of climbing on the back half.  I knew I could complete it b/c we rode it in May at bike camp.  My unknown and worry - could I make the bike cut off on this type of course?  Looking at my bike split - I rode well on the way to Oliver (downhill net and a tailwind?) and I pushed up the hills - standing when I could and spinning up for the rest.  The initial hill in Oliver was a triumph - in May I switchbacked up the switchbacks, but ploughed up it on race day.  Best part of bike course - the tight switchbacks down, near the end before hitting highway 97 (right before the 2nd Texas gate).  So much fun.
  4. The run.... *cue the music* du du dummmm.  A highlight off the top - I got to see the overall full iron distance winner - Jeff Symonds x2!!  He passed me on his way out and back - freakin' fast legs!!  My legs didn't feel too bad coming off the bike.  I told myself I was just going to get through 10 km twice. (12 km was my longest run pre-race).  I made it to 8 km doing my walk/run usual, but then my inner thighs started to cramp .....and then they wouldn't stop!  I had lots of salt tabs with me, I took them at regular intervals, but I couldn't get a handle on the cramps.  And there it is.  I walked miserably for the rest of the race.  Ice is always your friend.  
  5. Overall, I did OK.  I didn't quit, b/c on Sat I didn't want to start. Head games can be a deal breaker and I know my friends that have completed ironman distance races talk about the difficulties during the race and that they must be overcome to complete this type of event.
On the lighter side - I had some good/funny moments during the day.
  • So exciting to hear your people call you by name and cheer you on as you pass by! 
  • Saw my coach twice on course and he shouted encouragement my way.
  • Saw Katie Frauts finish first overall female for the 1/2 distance - she's amazing!!
  • Not sure why the volunteers wanted my bike in T2, and not letting them have it - until they told me they'd rack it for me!  oh - here you go, thank you.
  • Finishing the race, someone trying to strangle you - no wait, just the medal around your neck; someone asking you your shirt size - WTF?  I'm dazed and confused, now I have to give a clothing size, pick the correct distance and get out of the finish area?  Really all I can think of - get this timing chip off my ankle, I want my bike, gear bags and to get the hell out of Dodge!! As I write this, maybe that's why they kept asking me if I needed the med tent.  Finally I just asked them to stop talking/touching to me.  Strangest reaction to a finish that I've ever had!!
  • Darren gave me a big hug at the finish line, but told me later how miserable I looked coming off the bike (knew I had to run...) --> apparently this was OK, but he at least wasn't a stranger!!
  • Balancing my 3 gear bags on my bike heading back to motel, trying to take a shortcut that then involved getting my bike + 3 bags over a 500 ft tall fence (OK, maybe 3.5 feet, but I'm short), then walking a narrow ledge on the wrong side of said fence.  2 guys asked me if I could take their picture - "Sorry man - not today", while continuing to balance on ledge avoiding fall into rocks 500 ft below (OK - 1.5 ft).  (WTF is wrong with people - always thinking of themselves).
  • Back at said motel, not knowing what to do with myself, tired, sore, still cramping, blah, blah, blah. Why not jump into the pool? So I did, then I couldn't get out - everytime I went near the ladder my legs seized up.  I'm obviously going to die here.
  • Ate a ham and cheese sandwich - heavenly salvation.
  • Saw most of our Talisman gang somewhere on course.  Everyone did so well - congratulations to all of you (Jan, Loreen, Hilary, Jen, Scott, Danielle, Katie, Eamon, Darren, Felix, Sheila, Kilah, Rick, Dave, Heather, Mike C and the coach - Elmar!!)
  • In spite of all that - had a great dinner with the gang, went back to the finish line to cheer the last finishers and watch the fireworks.
What a day - my reactions were very different from previous races.
Ironman Arizona is on my mind and I'm going to finish it!! - lots of work to do (both mental and physical).  
I love my runners, I love my runners....

Ciao, happy training - Cindy

Thursday, July 31, 2014

NO, you can't have my SEAT!!

My training continues to tick along.  Elmar posted a work out for Wed - hill repeats at Edworthy that he would also try to attend.  Hmmm, this could be good or not so good, but I thought I'd better take advantage of the individual attention!!

Got to Edworthy at agreed upon time and there he was at the top of the hill on my first of 8 repeats.  I'm really bad for getting the details of a work out correct.  I knew I had 8 repeats, but didn't look too closely at the details.  I know the last time I did hill repeats I killed the first 3 and fell apart on the last 3. I think he may have taken that into account and thought some supervision was in order??

Off I go - up and down, up and down.... I'm supposed to stay in an easy gear and stand for the whole hill. Now this isn't a long hill (1km), but it's steep, by my definition.  What the?  stand for the whole thing? And he's beside me the whole time.  Crap that's hard and I don't really do that well. He may have been speaking forcefully at me (I tell him he's not allowed to yell at me!) telling me to stand up as I was sitting, gasping for air, but still moving and fumbling with gears.

Then it got interesting - he threatened to take my seat, so I'd have to stand up and add 2 more repeats!! (I may have boasted that I am capable of 10 repeats).  Crap, it's not like I can out ride him to get away - would he really take my seat?  Up and down, he may have yelled at me - still threatening to take my seat.  Then he got sidetracked by his cycling teammates that were getting ready for their Wed group ride.  This was my chance to escape -  he left me on my own for the downhill.  He caught up to me and I chose to stick it out and did the last of 3 "standing" repeats.  Wasn't 100%, but he agreed it was the best of the 3.  I kept my seat.....

So there's the new measure - can I get to the top of Edworthy without sitting?

Had a great time volunteering at 70.3 Calgary this weekend.  So many great performances - it was a pleasure offering support to all the athletes at our Talisman Tri Club aid station.  Congratulations to everyone!!

Happy training - Ciao, Cindy

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tally for the week....

- 1 clean house - I actually can't take credit for it, but I really appreciate my house cleaning lady!
- 1 clean car (inside and out!)
- 3 clean bikes
- A visit to a very yummy bakery in Black Diamond
- 1 good week of work outs / 1 so-so week of workouts (16/18 hours completed one week) and not so good this past week...
- Couldn't hold it together for 2 big weeks of training.  Did well with long ride on Sat both weeks, but couldn't follow through with second long ride on Sunday both weeks.

When I stop to think about how things went it becomes pretty obvious - not much sleep and poor recovery food that was ill timed post ride on Sat. This then carries over to the next day, blah, blah, blah....

What is the  moral? Finding balance.  For my nephews birthday in May - I compromised and rode my bike to the party (in Drumheller). Last weekend - I compromised the workouts to spend time with family. 

On a more positive note - my running is progressing forward!! (slooowly).  I have given the Hoka's a fair trial, but can't tolerate the ankle situation - the shoe is not cut low enough around the ankle for me. The Altra's, on the other hand, seem to be agreeing with me.  Since I'm increasing my run very conservatively, I haven't had any significant soreness (calves/achilles) post runs - sore quads for 3 days post stairs - YES.  I start a new session with Llew this week, so we'll see how I do in the Altra's.  

That is all....

Happy training, Ciao Cindy

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Runners, Runners Everywhere

Had my knee injected a couple of weeks ago with "Durolane" (stabilized hyaluronic acid) to relieve the painful arthritis that I've been dealing with for a few months.  The injection takes 3-4 weeks to reach it's peak effect and can be expected to be last for +/- 6 months.   Lots of water running; the introduction of the Alter G (anti-gravity treadmill); and walking has kept me moving.  I'm approaching the 3 week mark and have been running very conservatively for 30 min (2 min run; 3 min walk intervals) without issue. Lots of standing and hills on my bike will aggravate my knee, but it settles by the next day.  So far so good...

The other thing I considered was a change in running shoes.  This gets a bit more complicated - lots of reading and talking to people.  So I've basically got 3 pair of runners on the go....

Asics - Gel Nimbus
I've been using these for a number of years and chose them for the amount of cushioning they have. Not convinced they are the wrong shoe for me, but thought I'd explore some other options.  They have ~8 mm heel elevation, which I have only recently become aware of in comparing them to the Hoka's and Altra's.

Hoka One One - Bondi 3
These shoes have a huge sole of spongyness - 4 mm heel elevation.  It feels like the sole splays out as you strike the ground to absorb the shock of foot contact.  I'm still trying to be a mid-foot striker, but I find it hard to tell if I'm successful or not.  Not a fan of the laces, but easily changed. The lateral side digs into the bottom of my malleolus (feels "bruised" after a run of an hour.) I find my heel slips in them, which is another reason to change the laces out. Unsure about these ones, although I'm running on the anti-gravity treadmill for 1 - 1.5 hours at 50% of my body weight.   I know marathon/ultra distance runners who have switched to them and find them very tolerable.

Altra - Olympus
I'm trying these shoes with caution as they are a "zero drop" shoe (flat foot, similar to barefoot running or minimalist runners), but have a very roomy and wide toe box.  I've had several knowledgeable sources say to work up to wearing these shoes because the Asics are 8mm, Hokas are 4 mm heel elevation, so I may have an increased risk of calf/achilles strain with the sudden change in heel elevation.  I think this is reasonable and common sense advice to follow.  I do like the fit - especially the heel cup in the women's size and the lower lateral side doesn't bump my malleoli).  The Olympus is the trail running model, but of the 3 Altra models, it has the most cushioning.

I haven't come to a final conclusion yet on which one is most suitable for me, but as I progress my running to longer duration with less walking (and injury free - fingers crossed xx) I hope to have a conclusion.  

Dang, runners are expensive.....

Happy training - Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, June 8, 2014


AND.... not only did I get a promotion in the pool, I had a PB by 46 sec on my 500m time trial!!  Good thing, or Elmar may have demoted me.  I haven't had a big improvement like that in a long time. Very happy to have my coach and see improvements when I'm consistent with work outs.  Now to keep up with my lane mates, please be patient with me :) .... 

Reviewing my last blog post - my ride to Drum was pretty good.  I rode highway 9 instead of the secondary highway through Acme and the wind was not bad at all - I got in 102 km and there were even some corners along with a wide shoulder.  I started just off highway 1/9 intersection and stopped for a quick break at the gas station in Beiseker.  As I'm pulling in - a couple of guys on Harley's wave me in to park beside them.  We had a little chat - where you heading, nice ride, the usual banter between bikers and cyclists - it made my day!  

Can you be patient when you're going stir crazy? 
I have been very patient with my stupid arthritic knee and it's making me crazy.  I got in to see a sports med Doc at Winsport - and after a couple of visits to discuss options, I decided to try a visco-supplementation injection in my left knee.  Should do for 6 months of pain relief, and takes about 3-4 weeks to be fully effective.   I had the injection on Thurs and 72 hours of no activity.  Three days is a long time when it includes a weekend.  My knee was sore on Friday and Sat, but today felt back to normal. I'll get back to my workouts this week, take it easy with walk/run and see how it feels.  If it's still sore I'll continue on the elliptical.  The Alter G treadmill is currently under repair, so that's aggravating and trying my patience. 

Happy training, Ciao Cindy

FYI - if you need a referral to sports med, get your family Dr. to refer you to Winsport - they opened April, 2014 and they don't have a huge wait list, yet.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

I got a "PROMOTION"!!

Well, bike camp was very successful for me b/c Elmar promoted me in the pool!!  (Obviously the swim sessions coached by Paul paid off....)  I have graduated from the 2nd --> 3rd lane (lane #1 = slow, lane #8 = fast).  I'll take that.

Bike camp was hard work, but I really enjoyed it.  6 solid days of riding around Vernon was so nice - country roads with minimal traffic - not quite the same as Spain, but still beautiful. Third time I've been on this Vernon camp with Jack.  First time with Paul coaching too and it was fun.   Focused purpose with each ride, with steady build from day to day and great coaching.

I made it up most of the climbs - occasionally switch-backed up the switch-backs!  Did have 2 climbs where I walked my bike - one just too steep for me.  The other just too fatigued - in the rain, in a headwind, getting cold, on a climb that seemed to go on forever.  My original plan was to climb until I met the rest of the group heading back.  Then I was like - where the #!*k is everyone?   This was on the Friday and we had another long day on Sat, so I pulled the plug and when I saw the truck before the group - I gave the "thumb's down" sign and called it a day.  I think I still had 4'ish km to go, but also wanted to do well on Sat, so I made the right call for me.  The weather overall was warm for the most part - I think we had some sprinkles on Wed and Friday was miserable and wet.

Sat was the ride in and around Penticton. I have good memories of Penticton as we vacationed there a lot when I was a kid.  I visited with my mom (we spread her ashes their after she passed away), so I had a chat with her at Skaha Lake.  The campground we always stayed at is still there - the trees are so BIG - 40 years is a long time ago!!

The other highlight was Jack's brother-in-law, Kelly!!  He's a registered massage therapist and not only did he drive the support truck all week - he did massages in the evening for us.  What a great bonus after a long day in the saddle.

Had a bit of a taper going into camp and a recovery week after camp, so things are ramping up again. Nephew's b'day in Drumheller on Sat, so that's where I'll be riding to.  My previous 2 rides to Drum have been in a headwind for 90 km, so I'm not expecting anything different tomorrow.

Happy training - Ciao, Cindy

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Desperate times lead to desperate measures....

So after dealing with many "broken" things an update....
  • New haircut (meh - it will grow)
  • New Garmin (I can even make it work)
  • New knee (not yet)
  • New & improved, faster run - let's not get carried away
Physio has led to progress; time to heal while minimizing irritation to my knee has been accomplished through water running; ice, as always, is my friend.  Water running more than 45 min is mind numbing, however, I've survived up to 1.5 hours --> really mind numbing!

Plan B - endorsed by the physio and the coach - try an anti-gravity treadmill for running. Enter Footjax and AlterG setup at Winsport Medical Clinic. I've had one trial session and the first of some scheduled sessions.  After the trial session, my quads and hams were a bit sore - like I'd been running! No knee pain!! I've decided to give it a try. Very interesting feeling - you put on a pair of neoprene shorts with a "skirt" attached, similar to a skirt that you'd wear while kayaking. Then you zip yourself into the air bladder of the treadmill, turn it on, it calibrates to your body weight. The air pressure can take up to 80% of your body weight - you can adjust speed, incline, % body weight and walk forward or reverse on the treadmill. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.....

I ran/walked for an hour on the antigravity treadmill and no pain in my knee the next day! I was able to maintain my heart rate in my prescribed zones by adjusting the incline and speed. I kept my body weight at 50% for the hour. I ran as fast as 9 mph (14 kph) - for about 30 seconds....  

I feel the advantage for me over water running (which I will continue) is that you're actually running with foot strike and toe off vs. water running where you can alter your technique quite a bit without realizing it. I do try to pay attention to technique with water running - knee drive and relaxed heel to butt with toe off, foot dorsiflexed as you approach mid-foot stance. The plan with the anti-gravity treadmill is to use it as a rehab tool to gradually increase my volume and the weight I take through my body. Relieving the impact on my knee joint is the key so we'll see how I go.  And.... it continues to be yet another example of how reducing my body weight will do only good things for me. Another challenge for me on the road to Ironman Arizona!

Off to bike camp in Vernon for a week with the Talisman Tri Club and the expert coaching of Jack and Paul.

Happy training - Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Is this a sign?

Some days are better than others.  We all have those crazy days when we wonder what was the point?

  • Monday PM - bag ready to go as I'm going to have a long workout and Physio on Tues.  Plan to w/o in am, then Physio after work.  Even have my breakfast ready to go in the fridge.
  • Tues morning - get up, feeling relatively rested, ready to go out the door --> glance at clock 3:22 AM! WTF?  Not so proficient at managing alarm clock - set alarm correctly, but changed the time in doing so.
  • Back to bed - reset time and still aim to get in w/o before work.
  • Wake up - 8AM! WTF? Forgot to turn alarm on after fixing time.
  • Whatever, hour late for work, long evening ahead --> physio, then workout....
  • Physio uneventful, but always helpful.
  • Back to gym - ready for 30 min swim, 1:20 min water run.
  • Go home, have dinner, in bed by 9:00 PM.
  • .... and so it goes.
Happy training
Ciao, Cindy

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I'm broken.
My Garmin is broken.
My knee is broken (OK only figuratively); therefore, my running is broken.
The Physio says to tell the Coach, "Stop breaking me...."
My head says go, my body says - not so fast there missy.

Refocus - water running replaces running as even the elliptical is making my knee sore.  Less intensity on the bike, but still able to complete rides (I love my bike!). Swimming is going well overall, as long as I'm not wearing fins.  Llew's classes on hold as they are very intense and I'm not tolerating walking downstairs, never mind doing a bunch of weights.  Need to buy a new Garmin...  Thank goodness for physio, massage and coaches!

So there it is - progress and set-backs.  I'm trying to keep things in perspective and moving forward.  I swam the furthest ever this week - 3800 m!  Time needs work, but glad I was able to complete the distance. Finding time to get everything in is a challenge some days, but I think I have made 80% or more of my scheduled workouts!  I attended Jack's talk this evening and he identified consistency as a key to being successful - I immediately came home and added up my workouts on Training Peaks - whew, that was a relief.  Not every week is perfect and Elmar chides me for switching up work outs. I'm happy with my coach and we'll have to come up with a different strategy for my running to move forward - not sure they'll let me do 42 km worth of extra laps in the lake at Arizona.

Next challenge - find a new person to cut my hair - now that's traumatic!!

Ciao, Cindy

Friday, February 7, 2014

"Cindy, you're going too fast - SLOW DOWN!!"

Did I hear that correctly??
Dang this coaching switch is turning out better than I ever thought possible. I'm not going to elaborate on the context of this conversation - just savor the fact that it was actually said out loud, about ME!! (Wait - he actually admitted that he has been trying to "kill me").

My nephew is currently staying with me and we frequently have this silly exchange - "Logan, guess where I'm going?" "To the gym?" "Guess what's going to happen?" "They're going to try to  kill you?" Redundant, but slightly amusing.  So far I keep coming home - often looking like a drowned rat, but heart still beating none the less.

After Christmas I had discussions with Jon and Llew and decided to not continue with Llew as a triathlon coach. Jon suggested Elmar and I meet and see if we might be able to work together.  Since I'm committed to Arizona, I was game.  I also interviewed another coach, but chose to stick with the Talisman as that's what I'm familiar with and I like the programming aspect of their Comprehensive Coaching Packages.  So onward I go.... We did another 20 minute time trail in our Sat bike class at the start in January and the elusive 200 W mark was crossed!!  I'm so happy with this result - something I've been chasing for the last 3 years.

Elmar has been doing my programming for the last few weeks and it's been a shock to my system. Really worn out last week and thinking I may not survive when Friday appeared in Training Peaks with a workout.  What the? Friday is my rest day - why does Elmar not know this?  This is not right, we're going to have words.... I immediately filled in every Friday for the next 3 months as "rest days". I think Elmar is still laughing at me as I again found a workout in the Friday box.  This one I think I can handle - stretch and use the roller for 30 minutes.  Ok I can manage that on a Friday...

Next week's goal may be to sort out where to put my bed at the Talisman as I'm there x 2/day many days.

Happy Training
Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, January 5, 2014

5 AM, is it really necessary?

Since I returned from Arizona, I've upped my hours of training - game on for a YEAR!!  I've completed 3 previous coaching packages with Talisman ETS, I know I have to put in the time.  That I'm willing to do and getting up at 5 am again for workouts has been a BIG adjustment. Being coached by Llew continues to be a work in progress - hopefully we'll settle into a routine and make it through. Right now the focus is base building - I'm good with this,  my only question is how long is this phase? What's the next phase? I need structure, I want to know stuff ahead of time and prepare, pace myself, just generally stay on top of things.  We'll find a way....

I'm doing various run workouts - running on track (too much of a weenie to be outside in the snow and ice), treadmill (hill repeats), elliptical, and vary it with some rowing and I'm happy to say my body is holding up pretty well! Functionally, I'm noticing improvements - like getting up on a kitchen chair to reach the top shelves - I just stepped up, didn't need to think about it and didn't need the support of the counter.  Weird, but those little things sometimes stand out for me....  Did bike time trials this past week and was far better on my Sat morning TT - up 5W compared to Thurs!!

Christmas prep has been sacrificed - have made the most of my workouts, but didn't get the pyjama factory up and running this year - bad Auntie.  They'll have to be satisfied with stocking stuffers instead, but only if they actually make it to the mail box....

I'm also happy to say that I'm not feeling like I've "peaked" this time of year.  The base building seems to be agreeing with me and I'm going into the new year with lots of energy, not exhausted.  Now to stay the course and keep building.

Happy New Year everyone (and I hope you had a joyous and safe Merry Christmas) - this was supposed to be a December post, but there you go...._

Ciao, Cindy