New Goals, New Race, New Coach

Here we are, one quarter into 2015 already!  A mere 5.5 months away from Ironman Louisville, so training has "officially" started (as opposed to the always-active I try to be).  I am trying to set some new goals for myself for Ironman; they need to be realistic of course but also lofty enough to really have me working hard towards them.

I'd like to PR the swim (so sub-1:07) and PR the run (I don't even want to say but honestly I've never had an IM marathon that didn't start with a 6, so...).  I don't really think I can PR the bike (which would mean riding sub-6 hours on a hilly course), but I'd like to ride really well and need to figure out what that means for me, at 45 years old, on a course that has so many hills.  As I get closer to October, I'll refine those goals based on how my training has gone.

So, cue the new coach; I finally asked the person I've had in the back of my head for years: Sean Clark.  For some reason I've always thought Sean would be the right coach for me, but I don't know why I've never acted on that.  I've known Sean more than 15 years, and Jason's known him for over 20.  He and his wife, Tara-Lee Marshall (yes, that Tara-Lee for those of you that know your Ironman history), run CMS Coaching over on the mainland.  They are a great team and I am confident Sean and I will work together to accomplish my goals.  Plus, they are both hilarious and awesome people!  They've been coaching athletes of all levels for years, and I'm super excited about it.  Already I'm a slave to my powermeter on rides and Garmin on runs - things I should have focused on long ago but it was always so easy to just go the pace that felt right on the day.

Spring is in full swing on the west coast, meaning you never really know how to dress for a ride.  Last week I was soaking up some glorious warm sunshine, then yesterday it was cool and rainy but by the time I had ridden back to town, it was warm and sunny.  At least I get good use out of arm warmers, vests, and then pockets to shove them into this time of year!

Happy training!

Sun's out!

Bike Fit Update

It was two years ago that I did a Retul bike fit with Noa for this first time, and I figured that since I was doing an Ironman again this year, I'd better check in with her about it again.  I am still really comfortable with my fit, but wasn't sure if there were some minor adjustments to be made.

I lucked out as I was over on the mainland for some work meetings, so threw my bike in the car, and arranged a fit with Noa.  She now does fits out of La Bicicletta in Vancouver, it's a great shop so if you're ever in the area, go check it out.

All wired up for the Retul fit. The dots are LED markers
that are picked up by the sensor bar.  As I ride, they capture
3-D of my position, movement and pedal stroke.  They are also
placed on my arms, wrists and shoulders.
My bike on a stationary trainer, and the Retul sensor bar
in the background. Noa is analyzing data from my ride.

Overall, the process was the same as my first fit, but she thought it was time for me to be a bit lower so dropped my bars (along with a slight raising of my saddle height).   A couple of minor cleat position adjustments, and I was good to go!  

Being set up properly on the bike is huge, and millimetres really do make a difference in terms of power output and comfort.  Especially for a long event like an Ironman, where the bike is 180 km AND you have to come off it feeling good enough to run a marathon afterwards!  I'm satisfied now going into the season that my position is dialled and I'm ready to go!

Sun Surf Sand

Our vacations aren't ALL training... we leave lots of time for play and rest.  Hawaii is a great place for both of those!

Jason watching dolphins in front of our place.

Jason watching a sea turtle.

Happy hour with my Betty Designs teammate Kathy!
I'm going to leave you with two beautiful sunset photos, both from in front of our condo but different days.  #nofilter

More Hawaii Training

One of the things we love about vacationing in Kona is the how easy it is to get some quality swimming, cycling, and running in.  We always end up spending a big chunk of our days doing some training.

One of my Betty Designs team mates, Kathy, was also on
the island, so we hooked up for a ride out on the Queen K!

We stopped at the beach in the Energy Lab
to explore the lava.

Of course I had to do a session
in Karlyn's endless pool - how could I go to
Kona and pass up that swim expertise!
Working on my catch-up glide.

A ride with Karlyn, Chris & Jason, trying to stay on
those fast wheels!  We got to explore some places we'd
never been, including Kua Bay complete with whales offshore!

Run for the Hops 5k... sponsored by
the Kona Brewing Co.  I'm pretending to drink
Jason's beer (I'm really more of a cocktail girl).

Run for the Hops 10k, where Jason took 1st overall!

Another ride, where we found a gorgeous beach!

I promise we did some relaxing vacation stuff too!

Kawaihae Loop

It may seem like I've been on a blogging hiatus for awhile... actually we've been on vacation (in Kona!).  I had the best of intentions to write some posts while away, but sun-surf-sand called to me more than the computer screen did.  So I'll play a bit of catch-up for the next few posts, as we had some pretty cool experiences to share!

We had a car for our first two days in Kona (we don't like to rent a car there, as we prefer just walking around the village and keeping things pretty chill), so decided to drive out to the town of Kawaihae on the northern part of the island, as Jason heard about a climb he wanted to ride.  We didn't know much about the planned route, other than our friend Karlyn told us there was A LOT of climbing.  So of course Jason was excited, me on the other hand...

Driving to Kawaihae

We parked down by the harbour, and got a whole two minutes of warm-up before the climb started.  Jason rode with me for a bit before we decided to just ride at our own pace.  The road to Waimea just kept going up, and up, and up, and we kept passing elevation signs.  I could see snow on the summit of Mauna Kea to the right, and a road that literally cut up the side of a mountain to the left, and I knew that we were headed that way.

Looking back down

Jason self-portrait while climbing

Snow on Mauna Kea

I'm not that great of a climber, and normally on long climbs I have some sort of a meltdown.  But this day I really enjoyed the whole grind (surprising even Jason).  After 2 hours and 14 minutes of straight climbing (but who's counting) and passing the 3500 foot elevation marker, I finally got to shift into the big ring to start the descent.

We started somewhere down by the water...

Still climbing...

Cows at the summit

Luck would have it, as we crested the summit of Kohala, the other side was lush and green... and raining.  The descent was steep, twisty, wet, and fun!  I was on the brakes a lot but soon we were back in the sun in Hawi, about 2500 feet down.  We still had the 30 km ride back to the car - this time along the ocean, with a fun crosswind that had me hanging on the whole way.  

If you look at the plants on the side,
you get an idea of the crosswinds.  Fun!

Back at the car, it was a great first ride for our vacation, and I can't wait to ride that loop again.  Next year???

My Garmin died :(, so I created a map of our route online.
If you're on the big island, definitely ride this loop!

Strength Training

I am in my mid-40's.  Literally.  I turn 45 this year.  So every year, strength training becomes more and more important.  I've really been focusing on strength all winter, and got an excellent functional strength training program from a pro triathlete friend of mine.  It's 3x/week, with lots of variety in each session.  Jason's been doing it too and agrees about how effective it is.  We have a spare bedroom in our house set up with mats, exercise balls, free weights, kettle bells, TRX... pretty much everything we need.  Right at home so it makes it easy to prioritize.

I also figure that with the knee injury I have, and therefore am on an enforced reduced running plan (as much as you can reduce the running in Ironman training), the stronger I am the better.  So 2015 is the year of strength.

As Seen On My Ride

Today was such a gorgeous day here, and a great opportunity to get off the trainer and ride in the sun. I actually think I could have used sunscreen!  It's a good reminder that winter is almost over...

Don't I live in a beautiful place?  Vancouver Island for the win!