Friday, July 29, 2011

A few firsts!

Last Saturday, I went to Open Water Swim training with the Triathlon Club. I had not realized that the wind was quite strong and the water would be choppy. This is probably a good thing because I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I got into the water. That was something!! I felt my body being carried around in the waves and it was not super pleasant. I got a little dizzy at first, but I think it may have been because I was super nervous and my whole body was tense. It was a tough one, but I'm glad I experienced swimming in those conditions. I am proud of myself for not leaving the swim and trying my best.

I'm especially proud that I did not leave after I saw my first fish while OW swimming. It wasn't a big one, maybe 10-12 cm long, but it was following me and it was all I could see when my face was in the water. Freaky!!! I kept swimming for a little bit but when I stopped seeing it, I had to stand to catch my breath, all the while worried that the fish would brush against my leg. (it didn't)

Then on Sunday, I decided that it was the right time to attempt my first 50K bike ride. The temperature was cool (22C with a light humidex) but the sun was out the whole time. I did two "Aylmer" loops and it went well! The first loop was eventless, but the second one was full of action. First, I got really hungry at about 35K - stomach cramps hungry. I stopped and drank some Vega sports drink, which helped for a little while.

Then, I saw a fugitive dog. He was sniffing everywhere and looked lost. I stopped to try to help him, but he wouldn't let me near and I was afraid he would run further away, reducing his chances of finding his home. I reluctantly left, making a note of the location where I had spotted him.

Finally, at around 41K, my bike started making a strange noise and it was slowing down. I thought I had a flat tire and I was pretty p!ssed off, but when I stopped to take a look, I noticed that my water bottle was "touching" my rear wheel. I tried to re-adjust the water bottle holder so that the bottles would not touch the wheel and left again. It did it again a dozen meters later. So I stopped again and loosened up the bottle holder. This did not do the trick and I had to stop again another dozen meters further. This time, I noticed that my seat seemed lower than usual, so I stopped and raised it, only to realize it was not high enough 10 meters later. I was eventually able to fix my seat AND the water bottle holder, but I lost a lot of time and by that time, the sun was up in all its intensity and there was no shade to protect me from the rays.

The Mental was mostly silent during that ride, which was really appreciated. I think it makes all the difference when I just ride and not worry about being able to finish or not. All in all, it was a beautiful ride. I had 2 hours and 38 minutes to think of stuff and clear my head. This was by far the longest bike ride I've ever done (I had "only" done 40.xK before) and also the longest period of time of exercise (I had never gone for more than 2 hours). I learned a valuable lesson in that I need to plan my nutrition when I'm out for so long. I'm knowledgeable of how to keep hydrated, but now I need to test a few nutritional options for longer training sessions.

I hope to get my first 60K in sometime this Summer. When I attempt it, I'll bring some broiled potatoes with me. This is what I was craving on Sunday and I heard this was a good thing to carry on the bike.

... oh, and the fatigue after that effort was INSANE! It took me 3 days to recover from both the physical soreness and the fatigue.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Time for an Update!

It's been so long since I wrote... I guess I didn't have anything interesting to write about... or maybe it's because I was away from home so much in the past 2 months! I spent 5 days in Montreal in April, then 5 days in New York City in May, 8 days in the Maritimes in early June and 11 days in California in the second half of June. Maybe I should write trip reports!

I am happy to report that I have been very active in those past few months. I got active again at the end of April when I resumed bike commuting. Then we walked and biked a lot while in New York City, which created a momentum for us to keep active upon our return. I started running again sometime in May - week 2 of Learn to Run: 8 times 1:1s, how humbling. I was so happy that running was going well, it felt just hard enough and I fell in love again. :)

June came along and I didn't swim, run or bike as much as I would have liked, but I am proud to report that I was as active as I could be. When I was home, I was working out a lot and I did my best to keep active while away, either by running or by walking lots.

I went for my first open water swim training last Saturday with the Tri Club. I was terrified of that training, not knowing what to expect and having had a few months to build up all sorts of open water swimming fears. It was a relief to get to the workout and get 'er done. I panicked many times, but I faced the fears and kept moving forward or took a break when needed.

This experience confirmed that I'm not ready for a 500m open water swim. First, I lack the endurance to swim 500m continuously, having only done it 2-3 times in the pool. Second, the risk of a full-out panic attack is too great and I'm afraid it would keep me out of the water forever if it happened. Third, I like the idea of really racing a Super Sprint Tri for once, as opposed to just finishing it. I think that's what I'll do, but I'll wait until the second open water swim training to make my decision. :)