Hope your week is off to a great start. Although I was weeping inside this morning while getting ready for work, at least the sun is out, which does make it somewhat easier to accept the end of another weekend.
Sorry to leave you right in the middle of the Muskoka training weekend recap! We’ll be picking that up today, and I’ve also got a totally awesome contest from Under Armour to tell you all about, but you’ll have to stick around to the end to find out more about that 😉
Now where were we….ah yes, the run!
Saturday night we hit the hay pretty early after our big day on the bikes in preparation for our run on the hilly Muskoka course. Neil figured he would like to do at least half of the course (about 11km), I was shooting for somewhere around that, and Matt wanted to run the entire half marathon course. Because he’s crazy like that.
It’s really funny to me how in the sport of triathlon, the imminent threat always seems to be the most significant. On the Saturday morning, I would have given my right arm to be going out for a run instead of for a bike. Sunday morning, I was thinking that the bike didn’t sound half bad compared to the pounding of a run!
We drove back to Deerhurst Resort (the host resort for the race) and then started back out in the car to map out the route that would take us the distance we wanted to go. The bike course had been fairly rectangular, long stretches of straight road, not very many twists or turns. The run course not so much. I very quickly got stressed out that I was going to get lost in the woods, picked up and murdered by a serial killer (I watch too much TV) and started to take notes on all of the twists and turns on the notepad function on my iPod.
There were lots of little dips and detours along the course, one pain in the ass detour in particular basically took us off of a straight stretch of road, around an oval detour and up a steep hill, and then delivered us right back onto the main road that we were on in the first place.
Why, I ask, why?
We plotted out two spots for Jess to wait with the car to meet up with all of us, and then made our way back to Deerhurst to start out on the run. Neil and Matt started off together, and I brought up the rear. Once again, here goes nothing.
My conservative goal was to run 10km on Sunday. I was feeling really good after the bike day, and just wanted to finish the weekend on a good note. The run course was quite hilly, just like the bike course, but I had one of the best runs I’ve ever had that morning. I managed to hold my pace fairly constant the entire time I was out, I ran up every single last hill and never stopped to walk once.
The scenery was really something else, it’s somehow so much easier to keep on running when you’re out in the country then it is in the city! A big stretch of the run was along the Highway 60, but there was also lots of “off-roading” where the course took us off of the main road and into some more woodsy areas. Those were my favourite parts to run (although admittedly, they were also the hilliest sections) because there was so much to look at and take in as you ran.
I did notice in the second half of my run that my right knee was starting to ache a bit, but ignored it, and it kind of settled down as I continued on. Pesky knees. My knees really need to smarten up and get over themselves. Sheesh.
As I got closer and closer to the end of the 10km loop, I saw first Matt come sprinting like an antelope back the other way along the course towards Deerhurst followed closely by Neil who was feeling good and had decided to tack on an extra 5km to his run for the day and head back to the 15km mark. Although I wasn’t completely spent, I decided to call it a day as I had planned to at 10km and be happy with that. My body really thanked me for not pushing it another 5km, I made it out of the weekend 100% injury free, and that very well might not have been the case if not for that decision.
I met up with Jess at “the white bell” which was this big memorial bell behind this big massive high school in Huntsville, and also our pre-determined turn around spot for the 10km loop. After sucking back two Kool-Aid Jammers (Blue Raspberry flavor), we set out to pick up Neil and Matt.
I must admit I had my doubts with the whole crazy course layout and different running speeds, but the plan actually did work out exactly according to plan. By the time we got to the 15km mark, we only had to wait about 2 minutes for Neil to show up, and by the time we got back to Deerhurst, Matt was casually sprinting in within 5 minutes of us pulling in.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around downtown Huntsville. Matt and I bought a set of stone coasters for our coffee table (they had moose on them which Matt quite liked) and we looked around a local bike shop as well to get a feel for the new bike that Neil is looking at buying for the race. I played with the idea of buying a Camelback (aka a small backpack full of water that you can drink out of during endurance events) since I’m struggling to take my hands off of the handlebars at all when I’m on the bike (without swerving like a crazy person anyways). I’m hoping to not really stop at all while biking during races, and I know how important it is to stay hydrated during something like this, so I need to start either learning how to reach down for my water bottle on the bike, or figure out another option.
All in all – the training weekend was a huge success, and just the kick in the butt that I was hoping it would be for training. I think the biggest thing that the weekend accomplished was showing me what it will take to actually finish the race. If I walked away with three “action items” from the weekend they would be:
1) I need to train on hills. Running and biking on flat terrain simply won’t cut it.
2) I need to run for longer. My long distance run needs work. 10km is good, but considering that I was starting basically fresh and was still pretty tired at the end, I need to really work on increasing my mileage on the run so that 20km is “no big deal” as Matt says.
3) I need to work harder in spin class. Now that I know what climbing a “real” hill feels like, I can attest that I definitely have NOT been using the right amount of resistance on the spin bike in spin class.
Matt, Neil, Jess and I have already been talking about going back up to Muskoka at some point in July to get another training weekend in on the course before September. I think both Neil and I (and even Matt) felt like we got a lot out of the weekend, and another one should only help our chances!
Phew! Well that about wraps up the Muskoka Training Weekend recap!
I’ll leave you today with an initiative that I learned about from a friend of mine named Angela who blogs over at www.eat-spin-run-repeat.com.
About 3 weeks ago, Under Armour launched a campaign named “What’s Beautiful”. The aim of the campaign is to show the world what it means to be a female athlete. To join the movement, you set a huge goal, shout it from the mountaintops and then document your progress through pictures and videos along your journey to achieving it. Each week, Under Armour issues new “challenges” as well (for example one of the most recent challenges asks us to document ourselves climbing a hill – either a physical or a metaphorical one). It’s a campaign about getting stuff done, about making things happen and about being totally and completely fearless. I love the concept, and although I’m already kind of on a journey to a huge goal, I decided to create a profile and join the “What’s Beautiful” movement on Under Armour as well.
If you are interested in joining me, setting your own massive goal (think BHAG) and breaking down some walls, then I encourage you to pop on over and sign up for a profile yourself!!
Fittingly enough, my goal is to train hard to cross the finish line of the Muskoka Half IronMan with a smile on my face. I’ve also added two more considerations to my goal: the first to get a handle on cooking healthy meals and the second to manage my stress better. I’m not great with a camera, but hopefully I can find some creative ways to document my progress over the summer 🙂
Have a great week – and in the true spirit of What’s Beautiful – let’s crush some goals and make stuff happen!!!