Category Archives: Activity

First tri of the summer

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My friends and I after our try-a-tri in Guelph.

 

A tad belated in posting but I finished my first Subaru try-a-tri a week and a half ago.

This year we chose to attend the Guelph tri, as opposed to completing the Niagara route again. Note to self: when signing up for new routes or races pay attention to the layout of the race. When it states, “this course has rolling hills” – it really does have quite a few hills. Both the cycling and running courses had quite a few “rolling hills” which were not enjoyable when you have dry lips and heaving lungs.

The swim itself went smoothly, though the transition took a while longer as we had wet suits this year. I really should have practiced getting in and out of them more, as well as added a few more open swims into my training regime. The wet suits are surprisingly buoyant and certainly affects the way your stroke is completed. However, the sea legs and tunnel vision I encountered last year when moving from swim to bike also wasn’t as fierce and I managed to stumble out of the water with a decent amount of grace.

Overall, the tri was a success. Though I was eleven seconds (ELEVEN SECONDS) slower than my first tri, I placed better in my gender category at eighth overall.  From my stats, it looks like I’ll need to up my game in cycling hills as that’s where I slowed down, and maintain/improve my swimming and running for the Iron Girl in August.

Next up I’ll be attending the Walking Dead Escape Race in San Diego. Keep posted for news of and from San Diego Comic Con!

 

 

 

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Bread and Honey Race 5k – first race of the summer

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Adding to my collection of bees! Participation medals from the Streetsville Bread and Honey Race.

The Streetsville Bread and Honey Race is one of my favourite races I’ve participated in to date – it was also my first race and the one that got me hooked.

It’s well-organized with friendly staff and volunteers, wonderful support from the community, and connected to the popular Bread and Honey Festival. Yes, delicious bread and honey are served to runners as a post-race meal. It’s fantastic.
I had initially signed up for the 15k race with a goal of completing it sub 1:30 but due to a lingering injury and muscle fatigue I switched to the 5k race. I’ve learned it’s better to be safe than sorry, and just because you know you can finish a 15k, it doesn’t mean you should. As competitive as I am, running for me is about enjoying the moment and listening to my body when it says the 8k practice is too much right now and it’s better to stick to a shorter loop around the block. I never want running to become a chore.
Next up, I have my try-a-tri in two weeks. Time to rest up today and back to the grind tomorrow.
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Brick Workouts: Training for my tri

Brick workouts...

Brick workouts are easier with a support group, but it’s still difficult.

My first attempt at a brick workout last year resulted in a hilarious penguin walk-jog-waddle after my relatively short bike ride. I’m happy to say this year’s first brick workout wasn’t as horrible. Still pretty bad, but not horrible.

A brick workout is a great addition to triathlon training, switches up the regular routine, and offers a total body workout. When I had first starting creating my training schedule last year, the idea of a brick workout was foreign to me. However, the concept is relatively simple: choose two of the three disciplines and complete them back to back with minimal to no interruption in between.  Easier said than done for most people.

The most common brick workout is establishing a good transition from cycling to running. You can also choose from swimming to biking, or swimming to running, or any combination of the three.

The hardest brick workout for me was transitioning from cycling to running. When your legs become used to the circular motion of your bike, switching from cycling to running, which is a more linear motion, takes some adjusting too. The heavy feeling you’ll feel in your legs during this transition will remind you of carrying weights, hence the name “brick workout.”

You’ll find your heart rate rise rapidly as it adjusts from one sport to another. A brick workout is also not something you want to daily; at most once a week, or even once every two weeks.

USA Triathlon recommends giving yourself “several weeks of easy-steady aerobic training and light strength training to first build your aerobic fitness base.” The organization notes it takes around two to three months of base training before brick workouts should be added to your training schedule.

What I’ve learned through trial and error (and some research):

-Listen to your body. I’m all for pushing myself past my own limits, but sometimes you just have to listen to the creaking in your body and make minutia adjustments.

-Make sure you can complete each phase by itself before trying to do them together. It will be a train wreak if you attempt to do both but you’re not ready to handle it.

-Start small. Make sure the distances you choose for your brick workout are in line with where you currently are in your training program.

-Learning to transition is its own challenge. By transition I mean going from wetsuit to shoes, etc.

-It takes longer to recuperate. The first few times you attempt a brick, it will take your body longer than expected to bounce back from the workout purely because you are using more muscles than in a typical training routine.

Some examples of a brick workout include:

-5 mile bike (roughly 8km), followed by 1 mile run (around 2.5km); repeated four times

-45 minute bike ride, 10 minute run (distance is not a factor)

-Swim 400 metres – 3 mile (6.5k) bike; repeat x2 (harder to pull of in terms of getting your bike to a pool and keeping it accessible, or even a body of water)

 

That said, have fun!

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New year, new goals, new adventures

Day 7

#365DaysofHappiness Day 7: A night of bouldering.

 

I’m sad to say I’ve neglected posting here this past year, which has flown by incredibly fast.

To recap the year so far:

In January, I decided to start the #365DaysofHappiness challenge. To my surprise, I haven’t stopped as yet.

In February, I added bouldering into my already busy schedule.

In March, I ran the first of my races.  The race itself, Around the Bay 5k in Hamilton, has easily become one of my favourite races to date. Well-organized and friendly, the there and back loop concludes with runners entering the FirstOntario Place. As you enter the arena, the yelling and cheers of supportive friends and family members is akin to athletes finishing an Olympic race – it was amazing. To date I’ve signed up for 11 races spread throughout the year, including the Spartan Race, Iron Girl, and a half marathon in October (my first).

In April, I climbed the steps of the CN Tower for the first time on behalf of World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). Phew, that was a different challenge on its own! Plus running up 1,776 steps or 144 flights while recovering from a bad bout of the cough wasn’t the brightest of ideas.

It’s now May and I’m finally back into full training mode. Between the swimming, running and biking in the morning, there’s karate, bouldering and yoga in the evenings. Rest days are amazing.

My next race is Streetsville’s Bread and Honey Race, in which I decided to signed up for the 15k. (Part of me wonders why I didn’t sign up for the 5k instead). The following week is my first try-a-tri.

A tad belated, but here’s to another fantastic year!

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…and then there was sun

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Riding through the streets of Mississauga during torrential downpour was an experience it itself. You have to quickly relearn how to operate your bicycle through wet streets, groups of cyclists and large ponds (literally, pot holes are horrible for this). My friends and I decided to complete the 60km Tour de Mississauga bike ride (some chose the 30km) and it’s certainly an event I am going to sign up for again.

As the largest free event in Canada, I also consider it one of the best organized events I have attended to date. From the optimistic and cheerful volunteers to the free barbeque after the race, to the pit stop with hydration station and cookies mid-race, I was more than willing to pay for the t-shirt (or jersey, your choice) that accompanied the race. Usually a race comes with a complimentary tech tee, but again, free race means you have to pay extra for the tee. The pick-up station at City Hall prior to the event, and on the day of, were well organized and easy to access, and the food trucks and vendors were great to talk to after the event.

The routes (5k, 10k, 15k, 30k, 60k, 100k and 120k) were well-planned and for the most part, easy to navigate. Generally speaking, there was a volunteer at every main turning point indicating which direction you had to go pending distance, though there were a few places where only arrows spray painted into the ground indicated which direction to turn. Maybe it was due to the sheer noise of the downpour in the morning, but I know some people missed the announcement that there were arrows on the ground to direct you towards your distance; different colours indicating different race distance. There was one part of the route where everyone missed the turn and we had to make a u-turn at a stop light to the chagrin of several drivers. Sorry!

Horrible weather aside, riding alongside serious athletes and bikers in a pack is certainly quite the experience. It was rather empowering and fun and the communal kinship felt amongst everyone was brilliant. I loved it. The second half of the race cleared up nicely and it turned out to be quite hot in the afternoon, which (mostly) dried up our clothes.

The afternoon was spent at Word on the Street, in which as usual I spent too much money, and eating up yummy foods.

Next up….er, not quite sure just yet, but there has been discussion about Santa suits and winter and maybe a race?

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Don’t forget to go to the washroom before you run

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A cool night for a great race.

Note to self: make sure you go to the washroom right before the race, even if you already went.

After all, running the first 2km feeling like you have to pee is horrible, horrible feeling. The first half of my 5km run, before I sweat out all the extra liquids in my attempt to hydrate, was a duck-waddling stride that had my stomach sloshing around and my bladder clenching. It sucked.

Too much information aside, this year’s Night Race was held at Sunnybrook Park and occurred as the sun set beyond the horizon and head lights (free with registration) became mandatory. The event had a Happy Kids 1km Fun Run (where all the kids were like the Flash), 5km and a 10km race.

The 5km track was a flat loop that backtracked at the two kilometre mark and around again at the four kilometre mark. What I found deceptively deceiving was how the trail went towards the starting zone again, but instead of it being the end, it continued outwards for another two kilometre loop. I know a lot of people were thinking, “WTF?” since the moment you hear the announcers and music, you decide to sprint and then you’re breathless, and then you think, “oh, I’m not done yet.”

Other than that, the event itself was well-organized, with a friendly atmosphere and glow-in-the-dark accessories that helped light up the night. The weather that night was much cooler than the previous day and was a very-much welcomed reprieve, which is also probably why I ended up drinking too much water.

Next up, Tour de Mississauga’s Signature 60km Ride.

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Mud all around!

MudHero

Post race photo.

This year’s Mud Hero was exceptionally dirtier than last year’s obstacle run.

The six kilometre race takes place at Albion Hills Conservation Park, a gorgeous setting for a messy activity, complete with over 15 obstacles, from slides to rope climbs.

The fun run is a great race for friends looking to try their first obstacle run or for families interested in keeping active. It’s a lot less serious than Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, where the atmosphere is slightly more tense and competitive. That said, I’m more than likely going to hit up Spartan Race and Tough Mudder next year.

Obstacles in Mud Hero range from easy (sliding into a mud pit) to hard (climbing over walls, though there is a range of heights for those looking for a harder challenge), but the sociable tone of the crowd encourages everyone to try their best with everyone lending a hand in completing each task. The volunteers this year were also superb and extremely friendly, which is always a plus in any race.

An unknown fact is that dogs are allowed to participate as well! Not quite sure how many dogs have actually completed the course, but I did see a lot of four-legged pets around the park.

This year’s race included its regular finisher’s medal…with a beer opener included at the bottom of the medal. Competitors get a free drink when returning their chip timer. Racers also get a (not-so-) free t-shirt to wear after getting all muddy.

I have two more races lined up for September and potentially another in October before I start plotting what I want to do for next year. It’s scary to think how quickly this year has gone by!

 

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