2012 By The Numbers

I spent the following amount of time this past year training:

  • swim 113.5 hours
  • bike 239 hours
  • run 145 hours
  • misc 38 hours.

One thing that's painfully clear from that - I did not do enough cycling.  Good thing I worked hard when I was on my bike!  I am going to need to increase those numbers in 2013 for sure.

It would be interesting to know how much time I spent doing laundry.

A Year of SWIMBIKERUN in Pictures

I know that Jason and I are extremely fortunate, and are always presented with wonderful opportunities.  We spend a lot of time exploring... and much of that is exploring by swimming, cycling, or running around new and old places.  2012 was no exception, so here are some photos of some fab places I got to visit this year.

If you know me, you know I love to swim outdoors!  I swim at the UVic outdoor pool as often as possible in the summer here, but if I'm traveling to a sunny destination, the first thing on my list is to search out a great pool to swim in.  Some real highlights this year were Tuscon (the condo owners we rented from gave us access to their country club pool - sweet!), the ASU student rec complex in Tempe, and the am-ah-zing Henderson rec center when Jason raced the Vegas 70.3 Championships.  That pool made the milk-run flight I took to get there worthwhile...

I also got to cross something on my life-long to-do list... the iconic Alcatraz swim!
Looking out towards Alcatraz Island from Aquatic Park.

I logged a lot of cycling hours, and explored some new roads that definitely made the all-time favourite list.  Tuscon was a cycling mecca for sure, and Kirsty took me on some great SoCal routes.  She knows I love the waterfront, but forced me away from the ocean and showed me some great stuff.

Many routes of San Diego's North County.
Thanks Kirsty for the variety - I loved it all!

Of course there was one ride... the Dudley's day... that I will be back to conquer.  110 degrees Fahrenheit, tired from travel, and making some dumb mistakes along the way led me to DNF this one (excuses excuses...).  I will be back again to make it someday!

Somewhere climbing to Julian...
next time I'll make it to the end!

I also got to run in some pretty cool places:

San Francisco, custom-made for hill repeats.
A couple of deserts, St. George UT and Las Vegas, NV.

Shelter Island (San Diego) - a fun nostalgic run for me
as I spent a lot of time there in 1991.

Some cool coastal runs in SoCal - Moonlight Beach at sunset,
San Eligo Lagoon in the early morning, and many more!

But in the end, there's always coming to the best place on Earth... how can Vancouver Island be beat for our roads and trails?  
There's no place like home!
What will 2013 bring?  I can hardly wait!

Tradition Time Again

 One christmas tradition our little family has is a hike on Dec. 25.  We do a loop on the Cowichan River Trail, which has some great forest and river settings.  It was pouring rain when we left home to drive to the trailhead, so rain jackets and rubber boots were "de rigeur" for the day... and when we arrived at the trailhead (more inland and a bit higher elevation than our house) it was full on snowing.

Turns out rubber boots aren't great for traction in the snow, but I don't have any other winter boots, and they were definitely a better choice than the trail runners I would normally have worn.  Humu goes absolutely crazy for snow, she only sees it a few days a year and LOVES playing in snow.  

The trail winds through the forest, down a steep bank to the river, along the water, then back into the forest.  Normally there are lots of opportunities for birds and other wildlife spotting, but it was pretty quiet out there today.  There were a few places along the banks where bears had dragged some salmon off for a feast - we need to keep an eye out for those spots!  Not because of bears, but because Humu loves to roll in the salmon carcasses, which leaves us with a gross, stinky dog.  Luckily the snow helped hide them today, and there was one close call with an almost-roll, and one attempt to abscond with a salmon tail that we quickly put a stop to.

All three of us were soaked when we finished our hike, as it wasn't quite freezing so really we were wandering through slush.  We hit the hot tub as soon as we got home, and then spent the afternoon making vegan carrot soup for our dinner contribution at Jason's parents.  We've now hit the other holiday tradition of lying semi-comatose on the couch, complaining about too much food...

Happy holidays everyone!

Tis The (2013) Season

It's the time of year where I start thinking about the next year.  While I've been resting on my laurels for the past several weeks with a reduced training volume, it won't be long before I'm back at it for reals.  I've been starting to think about the races I want to do in 2013, and season planning starts now as I have officially begun signing up for events.

So far most of my plans are pretty tentative.  There will be some multisport events of course, and I also want to do some running races to help work on my run.  I'd like to do a half-marathon this spring, and the only one that seems to work with my schedule at this point is in Vancouver on March 17.  I'm putting that under the "maybe" category as we're going on vacation the next day, so I'm not sure if I want to go to the mainland for the race.  However, that may be a positive as it would be nice to have a little break after a half, and a vacation is the perfect time for a bit of reduced run volume!  I'm going to do the Victoria Times-Colonist 10km (April 28) and really want to work towards breaking an hour.  I've never done it but feel like 2013 will be the year!

Obviously I love cycling, and I have a few events in the works that will have me spending lots of time on my bike(s).  A couple in particular:

  • Seattle to Portland (July 13).  Coco and I did the 2-day version in 2011.  This time we want to do the single day... 323 kms of road riding.  Hopefully we'll make it in before dark!  Jason wants to do it too, although he'll be way up the road from us.  I'm hoping I can hold onto Coco's wheel for the whole thing!  Plus, it's a great excuse to spend a couple of days in the super-fun city of Portland.  Voodoo Doughnut here we come (fun to see them parodied on last week's episode of The Simpsons!)
  • TR3 (July 27-29).  This is the 3-day version of Trans Rockies, a mountain bike stage race.  I've always wanted to try a stage race, and three days seems like a gentle introduction.  I have really neglected my mountain bike skills over the past couple of years, and now they're almost non-existant.  This is great motivation to get them back!  Truth is, I signed up because some dear friends of mine are doing it, and I figured it's now or never in that case.  I've already registered for this one, so there's no changing my mind.  Gulp.

I want to support some local events in my community this year as well.  The Cowichan Challenge triathlon is an amazing, grass-roots race, and is one of the most well-run events around.  It's been eons since I've done that one, so that's definitely on my list for July.  July is shaping up to be a busy month!  I am also thinking of doing the Shawnigan Lake Tri on May 26.  Another local one is the Shawnigan Half Marathon (Oct. 27); I haven't done that one since they changed the course from a really hilly road run around the lake, to a gentle and scenic gravel path.

A marquee event for both Jason and I on the schedule is Boise 70.3 - that race has been on my to-do list since I learned it has a noon start!  That's my kind of event!  This is going to be my big event as far as what I'm working towards.  I'd like to PR the half ironman distance, and I will be training with that in mind.  I'm also hoping the weather won't be a repeat of what they had in 2012, where they had to shorten the bike course as a result.  Although that's one way for a PR I guess...

Finally, and on the big-time-tentative list is the Leadman (125) in Bend, OR (Sept. 21).  I'm super-interested in this triathlon format, as it emphasizes the swim & bike over the run.  Yep, sounds like it's a perfect Alison event!  The 125 distance is 2.5km swim, 106km bike, 16.5km run.  Nice.  The reason it's a huge maybe is it all depends on Jason... he will either do this one (actually the 250, so double all the distances), or the Vegas 70.3 World Champs in early September if he gets a spot in Boise.  If we don't end up going to Bend, I'm sure I'll be on the start line again for Ryder Hesjedal's Tour de Victoria that weekend instead.

That's my schedule at this point.  I'm always open to new ideas, so anyone has a race or event to add to my must-do list - definitely drop me a note!

The Wonderful, Wet, Wintery West Coast

My friend Janet just may have a heart attack to hear me utter these words, but today I remembered I actually like winter here on the west wet coast.  (Note to JR - I said "like"... not "love".)  I wouldn't say I was actually dreading the ride we planned with Kris & Michelle for this morning, but waking up to a pretty cold rain was not making Jason & I excited to go outside.  If left to my own devices, I would have been downstairs on the trainer, where it's warm and dry!

However - I have pledged to work on my now-super-rusty technical skills over the winter, and a ride with good friends is the best way to get out the door.  It turned out to be a great ride, and reminded me that I like riding the trails this time of year.  So no excuses for the future!  The four of us were soaked to the bone by the end, and covered in mud (Kris may have taken the award for that), but the smiles and laughter were enough to keep us warm.  Also really helps to jump in the hot tub post ride...

A little muddy but we've ridden in worse.

Adventures in Off-Seasoning

The race season is over for 2012, and now there's a couple of months until the real training kicks in for the 2013 season.  It's an exciting time of year, as it means there's time to do some of those things I have been putting off...

I hate the excuse "I'm too busy" or "I don't have time".  Let's face it, we all have the same amount of time in our days, but it's what we choose to spend it on that takes up our time.  When someone says "I don't have time for XXXX", it really means they are choosing to do something else with their time (generally something they'd rather be doing).  Now that training takes a bit of a backseat for a bit, I have some other things that I am going to be choosing to spend my time on.  These include:

- Photo album projects;
- Read some books;
- Organize some long-neglected closets and drawers around the house;
- The local pool has asked Jason and I to run a beginner's tri clinic, and it's super exciting to be able to support new athletes;
- Do some planning for a pilot project a colleague and I are proposing at work for next semester;
- Get back on my mountain bike!  My "rad singletrack skillz" are not-so-rad right now, they're really rusty!
- Plan our March vacation to Florida;
- Decorate for the holidays, they're coming up quickly;
- Repaint the bedroom (that's Jason's idea, not mine.  We'll see...)
- Shopping, movies, dinners, random kicking it with friends;
- Plan the 2013 race season!  I have some ideas for the races I'd like to do, and if anyone has any suggestions - please fire them off my way!