Swimming Through 2013

So far this year, as of today, I have spent more than 135 hours in the pool.  That is up from 113 last year - when I was doing Ironman.  It's actually only an average of 2.5 hours a week all year... so it doesn't really seem like that much.  But the increased swim volume - and yes, I know it's more about what you DO with your time, rather than the amount of time in general - really got me back to the swimmer I used to be many years ago.

Noa writes amazing swim workouts and I got a couple of strong lessons from them.  One is the ability to do constant variation in speed.  She has a lot of main sets that will throw in some "fast" work in the middle of long tempo or steady sets.  I figured out the point of that during my swim in the Leadman 125... whenever I was falling off the feet I was drafting off, it wasn't a big deal to sprint back up to catch them again.

The other lesson was if you swim hard in training, it's not that hard to race.  I know, you're thinking: "DUH!"  But... with every tri I did this year, I'd finish the swim and my heart rate would recover almost immediately, allowing me to push the pace early on during the bike.  It used to take me awhile to settle into riding; I'd totally be red-lining starting the bike, gasping for breath with my heart rate sky rocketing.  This year with the increased swim volume and (probably more importantly) the increased intensity, when I exited T1 I was ready to push the pedals without needing to recover from the swim.

I am hungry to improve in 2014, so look for me at the pool even more and working even harder!

Winter Ride

I had to get out for a ride today - while it's been sunny for a few weeks and we haven't yet had our rainy PNW winter, it's been crazy cold!  We had about a week of freezing temps during the day, and I think that's a record.  Needless to say, I haven't ridden outside for a bit.  But the mercury was rising today, so I bundled up and headed out.
Booties, jacket, thick gloves,
toque, base layer... 

I ended up being way overdressed for the weather as the temperature was pretty much back to normal for this time of year.  However, I'd rather be sweating under too many clothes than freezing with not enough.

It was a gorgeous and quiet afternoon on the roads, and I took some pictures to capture the day.

Another week of work, then winter break... happy holidays, all!

Triathlon Holiday Gift Guide

It seems like every blog is posting a holiday gift guide this time of year.  I thought I’d get into the spirit as well, but with my own take on it.  First of all, full disclosure: yep, I do love gear and all kinds of “stuff’;  but several years ago I decided that the most valuable things to give are time and memories.  I no longer exchange gifts with Jason, family members, etc., but we choose special things to do with each other instead.  Here are some suggestions for “gifts” for the active people in your lives.

The swimmer
A super-fun, yet challenging, swim workout.  My most memorable swim was of course swimming 100x100m with Jason in Hawaii.   Another was last xmas when we swam the “12 Days of Christmas” swim: 78x75m (5850m).  We’ll be doing that one again this year together, but starting at 12 instead of 1.  You see, the workout goes just like the song, where you do 1x75, then 2x75 , then 3X75… so on.  It didn’t take long to get the first 6 “days” out of the way (1575m), but the last 6 (4050m) took forever.  This time will start with 12x75, then 11x75, then 10… same mileage obviously but mentally more fun to be counting down rather than up.

The cyclist
How about a ride on a cool, out-of-the-way route that you don’t normally ride?  Get your cycling buddies together for some flowy singletrack, or a sweet road ride on backroads where you don’t have to worry about traffic and can ride in a group and chat.  Or create a fun mock-cyclocross course through some local parks and share the laughs with your best riding pals.

The runner
Meet early one morning for a long run, then head out to the best brunch place afterwards.  Mimosas and carb-overloading feels soooo good after up to two hours of pounding the pavement or trails.  Or maybe a shorter run, but try to find one of those Participarks to play on the fitness circuit while running!  Participarks may be a strictly Canadian thing – they were built in parks around the country in the early 80’s to encourage Canadians to get more active.  It’s basically a fitness circuit with 12-ish exercise stations, placed throughout a 2-3km loop through a park or trail.  Fun!

The water lover
Even though it’s wetsuit season here in the PNW, get out the SUPs and go for a paddle.  Find a calm morning, or brave the afternoon winds and have some fun in the chop!

The hiker
Scout around the rumour mill for some off-the-beaten track places and go exploring.  The other day my friend Candace and I (and her dog Shadow) poked around an abandoned property to find a fabled waterfall – involved some scrambling, climbing over fallen trees, tall grass, jumping creeks, eating dirt… and was fantastically fun.

The multi-sport athlete
Do some chores or something to free up some of their time, which they could use to have a nap.  'Nuff said.

The special someone
Book a trip to a training mecca (Kona, Tucson, wherever…), and up the mileage in this offseason by training like crazy and creating your own triathlon training camp.  All it takes is the desire to swimbikerun every day in a warm, sunny spot, a comfy couch to recover on, and some good food to fuel up with.  And of course, time with the peeps most important to you to create those special memories.