Week 1: Lanzarote Training

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Montreal’s Plateau Mont Royal at night

After what seemed like an interminable 3-week off season, I’m officially back to training, which makes for a happy Kay 🙂  Having exchanged a few emails with my coach, Jordan Cheyne, fine-tuning this coming season’s long-term plan, I’m feeling pretty excited and confident that it will be another fun and challenging year. Before I started working with Jordan (Peak Form Coaching), I would never have guessed an “online” coach would be ideal for me. I was sure I needed group workouts and in-person sessions with a coach. It turns out not only is that not the case, but I actually work better with the current set up. Why? It’s not so much online vs in-person coaching situations but the particulars of how the current set-up fits what I need from a coach:

  • Flexible workout scheduling: Jordan’s weekly training schedule arrives in my in-box like clockwork. I have a work schedule that is very demanding at times — where I’m at my desk all day, evening, and into the wee hours of the morning — and other times flexible enough that I can take an hour or two mid-afternoon to do a workout. Unlike a lot of my training friends, I don’t have a 9am to 5pm schedule; I work on weekends and evenings. My work comes first; training comes second, but I’ve gotten very efficient at setting out my daily workflow and looking for ideal times to add my workouts in. That means, however, that set group workout times can be difficult for me to work my schedule around. So receiving a training plan that lets me choose when during the day the workout will take place means I have a higher rate of workout completion.
  • Online training files: I’ve mentioned this before in another post, but knowing your coach is looking at your training data and uploaded workouts on Strava is something I find highly motivating and it keeps me accountable. Last year, I estimate I completed over 90% of the workouts. This year, my goal is to bring that closer to 100%. Jordan makes that easy by creating some flexibility in the workouts: for example, if I’m feeling tired, there’s an option to do a slightly shorter version of the run workout; if I’m feeling good, then I have the option of doing 10 or 20 minutes longer. Having a buffer zone built into the “successful” workout means I can make my own decisions without feeling like I’ve failed in the workout. That’s important.
  • Strong communication: the online coaching can only work if you and your coach have a good system for regular communication. Jordan’s communication skills are top notch and his response time is under 24hrs. But I know that as a pro cyclist he’s also balancing other commitments, so in turn, I aim to keep my emails relatively short, providing him with the info and updates he needs for the next week’s training plan and asking questions that don’t (normally!) require an essay in response. That said, he always gives each of my questions their due — a paragraph in response.
  • Facilities flexibility: working with a coach online means that I have the freedom I need to choose facilities or join other group swims and workouts as I like. Because I don’t have a car, being committed to a coach who works out of particular facilities can be difficult for me, as it add a lot of bike-commuting time to get to pool or track facilities across town and sometimes makes it impossible for me to get to my next meeting or appointment on time — something my carless training buddy Alison understands well. More frustrating is that often those group workouts assume you have a car: for a bike-run brick workout, for example, it’s often assumed you’ll just lock up your bike in or on top of your car. When I can go to my closest pool and use my house as a transition zone for brick workouts, getting the workouts done is infinitely easier for me. As a result, I complete a much larger % of the training plan.

What all of this means is that the coaching dynamic allows Jordan to work remotely and for me to temporarily relocate, as I have, to Montreal, and for everything to carry on tickity boo.

With Ironman Lanzarote now only 24 weeks away, we have our work cut out for us and I’ve made a list of 4  race-performance-oriented goals which I’ve shared with my coach. I’m keeping those under my hat, however, (sorry!) and will share what I think are the more important goals, none of which are race-performance-related:

1)  Learn to love swimming! Swimming has never been a great love of mine and it’s starting to really take its toll, holding me back in races as my bike and run get stronger. I’m typically last out of the water in my age group and then have to make up time on the bike and run. To meet my swim-love goal I’ve found a pool that I like, a tri club that has good swim sessions, and a swim coach who’s offering a January swim camp. I’m 100% committed to embrace swimming: this year is gonna be all about the swim.

2) Complete as close to 100% of the training plan as possible and do high-quality workouts. I mentioned above that I’ve already made some pretty big strides on this front, thanks to Jordan’s coaching methodology. This season, I’m aiming higher: from the beginning, I’m trying to stay 100% committed to completing each workout and to doing them well. For example, I realized I have a tendency to do a lazy warm up on the bike: on the trainer, I’m not super focused during the warm up and am just spinning my legs. And I often cut the cool down a bit short. This year, I want to be fully focused and make every training minute count.

3) Improve strength-to-weight ratio. Earlier this year I blogged about how the rehab for my broken jaw led me to do consistent core workouts. That process took me from not being able to hold a plank for more than 10 seconds to planking for over 3 minutes. I am so much stronger now but at the same time, I know that strength is something I really need to improve upon. The difference is now I know how. In addition to doing 20-min core workouts at home 4 to 5 days a week, I’m also adding visits to the weight room immediately after swimming. Fortunately, my partner E. is my super-knowledgeable personal trainer on that front, so I’m in good hands.

This week in review:

Swim:

This week I signed up for a McGill gym & pool membership, added on locker & towel service and headed straight for the pool for my first swim since… Challenge Penticton in August? Yep, that long. Afterwards, my arms ached the next day, but I did actually enjoy the swim workout and am looking forward to going back.

Weight training:

I hit the weight room for the first time and was greeted by Patrick the delightful, energetic weightroom staff member who told me the tour started with a hug. That may sound strange, but was kind of funny-awesome and it made the experience of working in a new facility more welcoming and I felt like I could easily approach him if I had other questions afterwards. To me, that’s a big deal in spaces that can be “meathead” environments. So, thanks for the tour and for the hug, Patrick!

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McGill Fitness Centre

Bike:

I assembled my Tacx trainer and got my bike set up this week. The Tuesday workout was a cadence-ramp workout, while Thursday’s was a strength-endurance climbs workout. It felt so good to be back on the bike, even indoors (I actually have no problem being on the trainer indoors and have done many 4- to 5-hour workouts before). The trainer is a brand I haven’t used before and I bought the cheapest, but best quality one I could find, as I already have two other trainers back home. I’m still working on creating more resistance though, since in both workouts this week I maxed out the gears before reaching the resistance I wanted. Fortunately, I have a few tips to try still. Here’s the only shot I have of the bike workouts:

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Run: I did a 45-minute run this week to remind my legs about running. Wake up, legs! I ended up doing that indoors on the treadmill because it was wet, snowy, and slushy outside. One of the perks of the McGill fitness centre is that the treadmill limit seems to be one hour, rather than the usual 30 minutes. I really appreciated that, since I rarely do a run under 30 minutes.

Challenges: As I mentioned, I’m absolutely loving the McGill facilities. They’re not far from home and everything I need is there. However! The indoor track is currently closed because students are writing exams (I completely forgot that many exams are written in the fieldhouse, even though I’ve both written and supervised the writing of exams there); and the pool is closed for maintenance next week, which means I’ll need to find other facilities during that time. On the upside, they extended my membership to credit me for not being able to use these facilities, so all in all, things are good.

If you have any tips on learning to love swimming, please let me know in the comments!

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Oh? Off Season Comes to An End

Oh? Yes. Off-season is about to come to an end — just when I was starting to get used to the rhythm of doing, well, nothing active. Nevertheless, it’s been a busy week.

Settling into My New/Old Home:

  1. McGill University / Concordia University

Getting settled in to Montreal has been, thankfully, relatively painless. I’ve lived in Montreal for several years, on and off, since my early 20s. My partner and I have a condo here; even when I’m not living here, I visit and spend time in Montreal at least once or twice a year. In many ways, I think of it as my intellectual, linguistic, literary, social community. So it was easy to re-connect with all the facets of that old life and in the past week, in particular, I’ve so enjoyed seeing old friends and colleagues, attending a symposium on Literary Audio (hooray for audiophiliacs!) at Concordia University, getting my McGill alumni library card and spending a few hours retrieving research books from the McLennan Library, speaking French and wandering around the Plateau area of Montreal.

The bigger challenge for me was finding triathlon training facilities and community, since the last time I lived full-time in Montreal I had barely heard of “triathlon” and certainly didn’t bike or swim more than a handful of times. Little did I expect to find a “triathlon home” at my alma mater, but this is exactly what happened: after researching several facilities (pool here, gym there, but nothing seemed quite right), it occurred to me that I should check the McGill gym rates for alumni. Turns out they’re quite good! Then, I thought, why not take a look at the McGill Triathlon Club, which I was expecting to be open to registered students only. I quickly discovered the club is open to alumni and members of the public and it looks really great! I especially appreciated their word of welcome to diverse athletes:

“The McGill Triathlon Club is a group of ambitious, athletic individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

The McGill Triathlon Club recognizes and supports a positive diversity of abilities, classes, cultures, sizes, ages, gender expression and sexual orientation.

The club is open to the community at large in addition to servicing McGill students, staff and alumni.

 

2. Getting By With a Little Help from My Social Media Friends

I’ve also been really fortunate to have some of my Montreal-based social media friends give me great recommendations and advice for setting up here in the city. A special thanks to @henki for his advice on shops, training facilities, and swim coaching especially. Through Henri, I discovered the amazing Anastasia Polito and her EnergiFit squad, which I’m especially looking forward to swim training with. Thanks also to Jules Gorham, one of my 2016 Betty Designs team members, for helping me look for an indoor trainer and giving me loads of great advice. I can’t wait to meet these two in person, as well as TriEqual co-director ValĂ©rie Lefebvre and several other Montreal-based Instagram folks. It’s also been wonderful to catch up with my friend Bronwyn H., a bike mechanic and translator with whom I had some great conversations about equity and the bike industry — thanks, Bronwyn.

3. Building the Bike

A few days ago, in anticipation of the start up of this week’s training, I finally built my bike, which is currently getting a tune-up at Cycles Gervais Rioux by the super talented mechanic Marielle, who I highly recommend:

And bought a very basic trainer:

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And continuing the theme of merging work and training life together, I’ll be training indoors in my little study. Fortunately, the view isn’t bad:

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With this week’s training plan in hand, I’m looking forward to getting back to the #swimbikerun routine and finding a new work-life balance here in Montreal.

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Lanzarote Pre-Season Week 3

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Mont Royal, Montréal

It’s been a busy few weeks! On Tuesday I flew across (most of) the country to arrive in MontrĂ©al, which will be my home for several months. I’m pretty excited to be here. Since this trip has been in the works for quite some time now, before I left Kelowna I did my utmost to see everyone and get some final fun rides and runs in there with friends.

Kelowna Running Club’s Pub Relay:

On November 13, I joined the fabulous folks from Kelowna Kinesiology & Orthoquest for Kelowna Running Club’s Pub Relay. I’d never done a pub relay before and it was a ridiculous amount of fun! The day before the relay a friend asked me offhand: “are you good at drinking and running?”

Me: “What do you mean ‘drinking and running,'”?

Them: “You know this is a pub relay, right?”

Me: “It involves drinking beer!??”

Somehow it hadn’t occurred to me that the pub relay would involve drinking beer. I guess I hadn’t thought about it too much before I agreed to do it! Not that I have anything against it — I just hadn’t contemplated this part of the race.

Well, Team “Agony of da Feet” totally rocked. Note the flaming shoes and hats — this was a speedy and super fun team to be on. And I’m proud to say that despite having overlooked the beer detail, I managed to put back my half pint in a single gulp after having run nearly 8km. Sweet! The best part of this relay event was cheering on our team members and the folks on the other teams too.

 

First Aid & CPR Re-certification:

Before leaving Kelowna I also took the opportunity to update and upgrade some certifications and training. First up was my First Aid and CPR, in preparation for the upcoming X Elle Cycling season:

Don’t worry folks, this is just a drill! All slings & splints are demos only! Joking aside, this was a really great refresher course led by an instructor who works for the local search and rescue. All I can say is I’d be happy to be rescued by any of the folks who completed the course that day — everyone had a lot of good, calm energy and serious competence. Certified!

National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Cycling Coaching:

Next up Alison and I completed the first module in the NCCP / Cycling BC Ready to Race coaching level.

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Alison & I are through the 14-hour NCCP “Training to Race” module

The session was offered by Cycling BC’s Richard Wooles, who is a former athlete and coach for multiple Olympic teams. He’s also a brilliant and passionate facilitator of coaching training, so I highly recommend signing up for a course with him. He took us through the NCCP “Training to Race” technical material, shared some enlightening anecdotes, and assessed our coaching (this time on pretend bikes!). Maximum amount of material crammed into two days — it’s a good thing we got these great workbooks to take away with us for review.

 

Hill-seeking with friends:

To be sure, I also got a few rides in before I left, despite the weather being only semi-cooperative:

 

Packing and Travelling (with bike & cat):

And before I knew it, I was packing my bags and heading to Montreal.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of careful packing and unpacking I did before I decided I had everything I needed and nothing extra. Actually, my friends will totally believe it. I think I began packing 4 weeks before the actual flight. I needed to be prepared for Montreal winter; Montreal spring; a trip to Florida; doing research at the university; going to conferences; swim/bike/run training; and Ironman Lanzarote. Do I bring my little cycling cap? Or not? Two swim suits? Or one? I was also bringing my cat! Initially I had planned to fit all my clothes and things into a little carry-on bag, but eventually I decided this was kind of silly. Why not just take an expedition pack afterall, since I had to check a bag? So here’s (kind of) what it looked like (spot the kitty):

Montreal: Training Updates

Having arrived safely and (mostly) uneventfully in Montreal, I’m sorry to say that since my coach has me on two weeks of complete rest, I have no training updates. I haven’t even unpacked my bike yet! But I have been busy scoping out bike shops and training groups and training facilities (where will I swim? will I run track in the winter or not? will I get a gym membership? or workout from home?). I’ll let you know the answers in my next post!

Meanwhile, I’ve been out re-acquainting myself with my beloved city and hanging out with my beloved gf and kitty:

 

If you have any training suggestions (routes? groups? facilities?) in Montreal, please let me know in the comments below!

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What Does it Mean to Be “Just Running” and “Just Riding”?

I’ve had people ask me why I’m involved in developing women’s cycling groups and write about women in sports. It’s 2016, you have equality. Just go run or ride! What’s the big deal?

Just Running:

Last week while I was out “just running” at 7:15pm in my neighbourhood, I was quietly pursued by a guy in jeans and a big jacket (i.e. not running clothes) who began running after me and then quietly walked when I started walking. I knew someone was following me way too closely and was about to turn around and confront them when a woman riding her bike intervened, having observed this guy starting to follow me. She knew something was not right. And so did I. When I later told this story to two guys I know, their responses were “ha! he probably just wanted your number!” and “maybe he was just running for the bus. You don’t actually know he was following you. You only have that other woman’s perspective on the situation.”

If you think he just wanted my number, I’d like you to read this.

(More recently, I told the story to some other guys who totally got it. Thank you for that.)

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Guys, it happens to us all. the. time.

 

Just Riding:

This week, my friend Carrie Karsgaard wrote a really excellent post about some of the stunningly sexist and racist local mountain-bike trail names she came across, which I understand include “Squaw Hollow,” “TheRapist,” and “rubherdown.” Like, what the actual fuck? You can read her blog post here.

The local MTBco president took a proactive position on this, acknowledging the issue, and they will be replacing those signs in consultation with the builder and local community. But I’m now watching the fall out of the response on Facebook where some dudes in our local community are (loudly) defending these names and crying PC foul. To those guys: fuck you. To the others who are stepping up and speaking against the racism and misogyny in these names and in cycling culture in general: thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We need to hear your voices.

So what’s the big deal? The thing is, I would like to “just ride.” The thing is that we live in a culture that actively perpetuates and/or passively endorses this kind of violence (symbolic or otherwise). Or at best, tries to explain it away with comments like: “Maybe he was just running for the bus! You don’t know.” “It’s a reference to a comedy clip!” “First-world problems!”E

What’s the big deal? When women go out for a run, ride the trails, this is the climate we do it in. And it needs to change.

 

NB: I know there is much that needs to be addressed with respect to participation in women’s cycling and running groups — and sports in general — with respect to class privilege, white privilege, the need to more actively welcome and include trans women. We need to talk about running and riding on unceded Syilx territory, as Carrie explains so eloquently in her post:

crown land – land I (as a syrah-drinking trail runner) might see as a fine chunk of Okanagan recreation and wine country but that has never (in fact) been handed over to said crown by the Syilx people who know it like the backs of their hands. Who know it because they have inhabited it, lived from it, and traversed it for millennia (before mountain biking was a twinkle in anyone’s eye). So, by naming our trails in any way that ignores this, much less in such a way as to overtly degrade, demean, and dehumanize, we lay one more crust over this fact. A crust that means we continue to forget that this land isn’t ours to name (which could be what we want – is it?).

That needs to be part of the discussion and this post is just scratching the surface.

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Lanzarote Pre-Season Week 2

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West Kelowna vineyards

It’s autumn in the Okanagan and — as long as it’s sunny — it just doesn’t get any lovelier than this. My training in the October-November months is been a little less structured and a little more social. It’s been really fun connecting (and reconnecting) with some of the amazing friends in Kelowna’s cycling community. Here’s this week’s recap:

Swim: No swimming this week. But soon. Honest.

Bike: I had a really nice long ride last weekend. I decided to venture off on a solo ride through West Kelowna, somewhere I haven’t explored much before. I wanted to ride Westside Road and entertained the possibility of riding around the lake (roughly 120km? I didn’t quite get there).

Since I was going out solo and there are few bike lanes on the west side, I decided this would be a good time to test out Strava Premium’s “beacon” feature: it allows you to send your live location to up to 3 friends/family. So before heading out, I pinged my partner Erin and my trusty training pal Alison with my live-tracker link. They confirmed that they could see my location on the map, and so off I went.

After crossing the bridge into West Kelowna, I headed south along the lake, not realizing the road was a dead-end. Oops! Well, no big deal; this was an exploration ride after all.  I turned and headed north, this time toward Westside Rd, which follows the lakeshore. Because there is no bike lane on this road, I stayed close to the shoulder while still being visible and allowing myself a little bit of room to manoeuvre. It’s not my favourite cycling situation but most of the cars were very respectful and gave me a metre’s range while passing. I, in turn, waved any overly cautious car past when the oncoming lane was clear. After several kilometres along the hilly road, I arrived at this wildlife advertisement:

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Oh, sweet mountain sheep! I rode on for another 10km in hopes of spotting a herd of these guys but sadly, I discovered instead that this sign was blatantly false advertising. Not only was there not 10km worth of mountain sheep, there were zero mountain sheep to be seen. I guess early morning or dusk are probably better times to see them. After Bear Creek, there were fewer cars on the road and the surrounding woods seemed to get quieter; I suddenly began to get a funny bear feeling — as one does in this season. At that point, I decided I would turn around and go explore a more populated area. This new direction took me out and back on Boucherie road where I stopped every so often to admire the views and the vineyards (see the header photo above). Sunday’s ride was more of a meandering ride than a proper training ride, but it was super fun and with my time in the Okanagan getting shorter, I’m keen to see as many new areas as possible.

Later in the week, I met up with my pal Erika. We’ve been going on near-weekly #llamarides, which involve choosing routes that have the highest possibility of, yes, you guessed it: llamas. But goats, sheep, and alpacas also count if we don’t find enough llamas. In between the llama-spotting, we usually hit topics ranging from social issues to literature to classics and related subjects. Best formula for fun bike riding!

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Here we are with these three sheep friends.

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The goats are as enthusiastic about us as we are about them.

That’s how we keep the fun-factor in cycling!

Run:

On the weekend I did an hour’s easy run with Alison and later later in the week I joined my friend Dustin for a track session. I haven’t done any real track workouts this year, but I do love the track, so I decide to take my tempo run there. It was a short tempo run: 10 minutes of sub 10km race pace.

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Apple Bowl

Then, on Thursday, I joined the awesome CyclePath women (Roseanne & Sherry) for an evening hike up Knox Mountain, which rewarded us with this stunning view of the city lights:

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Kelowna by night.

Core & stretching: In my last post I mentioned that I’ve been working on making strength sessions a regular part of my week (5-6 days/wk, in fact). But one of the things I’ve really been neglecting (and I mean really) has been stretching. The flexibility of my posterior chain has been one of my major limiters for years now and I confess I’ve done relatively little to address that. (For those of you who did a double-take back there, “posterior chain” is just fancy kinesiology speak for “a group of muscles consisting predominantly of tendons and ligaments on the posterior of the body. Examples of these muscles include the biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, erector spinae muscle group, trapezius, and posterior deltoids.” So keep your pants on.).

I used to be very flexible in my teens and 20s and I still think of myself that way, even though that’s not the case. Nowhere was this more obvious than when Alison and I took some fun photos this past weekend: I attempted a few yoga poses which ended in crushing hilarity. Although I haven’t done them in years, I still think of myself as competent at cartwheels, front handsprings, back walkovers, and front walkovers. Not so! One of my attempts was caught on video and I will not be sharing it here, as there was lots of swearing to go with it.

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Side plank

Challenges: I’ll take my cue, then, and say that my challenge for the winter is to get my flexibility back (although we may not go as far as front handsprings). How to do this? Well, I’ve had success with doing core routines at home, so I think I’ll move into doing daily yoga at home as well.

Motivation: This week’s motivation came from the amazing women in Kelowna who are staying active and have been so welcoming at the events & adventures they organize. Thank you!

How are you staying motivated this fall?

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Lanzarote: Pre-Season Week 1

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View from Knox Mountain, First Lookout

It probably seems a bit premature to start writing about my preparation for Ironman Lanzarote, which is still 7 months away. Why so anxious? It’s still off season! relax!

Shouldn’t I just be chilling out and considering my options?

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Credit: Hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca

Suffice to say, this is not what I’ve been doing. I try to stay active to avoid the above situation. In mid November, I’ll be heading to Montreal for several months leading up to Lanzarote, which will mean virtually all of my training (swimming and cycling, in any case) will take place indoors during the freezing cold winter. So until I head eastward, I want get as much mileage in as possible outdoors, and especially climbing. Must climb all the things!

To that end, here’s this week’s training report:

Swim: um, no swimming to report. [cringe]

Bike: Hill reps this week took me to Knox Mountain where I did 4x 6min hills, which worked out well: it takes me 6 minutes to climb to the first lookout at 7/10 effort. I love riding up Knox Mountain because there’s inevitably an amazing view to take in (see above). Here’s me, having just finished my last repeat:

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Run: ever since the BMO Okanagan Half Marathon on October 9th, I’ve found myself filled with renewed enthusiasm for running. My early-season focus was running (I did the BMO Vancouver Marathon back in May) but somehow late in the summer, I just wasn’t feeling the love anymore. But we’re back, baby! I managed to pull off a PB (1:45:05) at the Okanagan Half despite having not run much at all in September and having done no speedwork in ages. This week I had a tempo run which included 2x 10min @ halfmarathon-pace building to 10km-pace. It felt hard but good.

Core: I’ve been doing 30min of strength-training 5-6 times a week and it has really improved my form. I find it very easy to do: whenever I need a break from writing or admin work, I take a 30-minute break and get my core workout done. My hard rule is that it needs to be done before I go to sleep at night. No core workout, no sleeping — so get on it!

Challenges: 1) It’s always a little more difficult to get outside to train when it’s cold and rainy; we’re now in that season in the Okanagan where it’s getting colder and wetter, so this will be my challenge for the upcoming week. 2) I’m working on “digging deep” and working harder in my training. I tend to be very good at going easy for a long time, but less good at pushing my upper limits and capacity to hurt for awhile. So I’ll be trying to improve on that in the coming weeks.

Inspiration: The biggest source of inspiration for me this week was Siri Lindley‘s new memoir.

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I won’t go into too much detail here since I’ll be reviewing the book soon on my blog, but what I find so inspiring about her story is 1) how far she came, from not being able to swim to being a world champion, and 2) how hard she worked to get there, particularly when she was training with Brett Sutton. It’s an amazing story!

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A Few Mountains: Setting Goals for 2017

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It’s off-season! For me that means sleeping in a little later, working out with a little less structure, and trying new things like 100km gravel bike races. It also means time to do some goal-setting for 2017.

Every year I try to do a race that’s big enough that it scares me a bit and excites me a lot — something that requires a good deal of training and preparation. This is good for me, you see, because otherwise I’m the queen of winging it: I have enough fitness and lack of self-consciousness that if something looks like fun, then heck, I’ll just give it a go. Cool as a cucumber. That “just try it” attitude is helpful in a lot of ways: it means I’m pretty calm at races; I usually race within my limits; and I’m not easily intimidated by challenges. On the other hand, it means that unless I’ve set ambitious goals for myself that require dedication to a 30-week training plan, I have a hard time taking things seriously. Truth be told, if I didn’t set big race goals, I probably wouldn’t exercise at all except for commuting.

So what’s on the horizon for 2017, you ask? I forget whose idea this was, but my triathlon buddy Alison and I hatched this plan to go do one of the world’s hardest Ironmans:

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You may recall this was my first Ironman back in 2014 and it seemed like a good idea to go try to get another one of these:

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Joking aside, we are pretty darn excited. And lucky! We have amazing support from coach & pro cyclist Jordan Cheyne from Peak Form Coaching, as well as advice from former pro-Ironman champ Mel Spooner from Endurance Health and Fitness. Jordan’s been the most motivating, dedicated coach and I’m stoked to be working with him for this upcoming year as he devises a training plan toward Lanzarote. We recently visited Mel at Paradigm Naturopathic Medicine to chat with her about the specifics of the Lanzarote Ironman course. Mel won Lanzarote in 1998 as a pro (the same year she finished 4th pro woman at Kona) and so not only does she know this course inside and out, but she also brings an amazing outlook and philosophy to Iron-distance racing. Suffice to say we all learned a lot and had a wonderful time talking with her!

Above our heads is a reminder of Mel’s philosophy: do what you love / love what you do.

So Alison and I can’t wait to embark on this triathlon journey together and get started into our Ironman Lanzarote training. We’ve been training together regularly for several years now. But one of our major challenges this year will be that we’ll be in different cities for pretty much the entire training period: I’ll be in Montreal for the winter and spring leading into the race; Alison will be in Kelowna, on the other side of the country. We won’t actually see each other until we arrive in the UK in May, 2017. So we’ll be keeping a regular weekly training log on our respective blogs, reflecting on the particular challenges of training in different cities — tune in!

Here’s the current level of enthusiasm:

What goals have you set for 2017?

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