Hurricane Ridge

A few weeks ago, Jason, our friend Joel, and I rode Hurricane Ridge.  A classic climb in Washington state's Olympic National Park.  It involves taking the 6:20 a.m. ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, riding up a mountain, then back down, and taking the 12:45 p.m. ferry back. 

It was a spectacular day for a ride.  Other than getting a flat about half-way up, I had a great time (and reached the summit about 15 min faster than last time).  Honestly, I didn't mind getting the flat tire as I hardly ever get them, and always relish the chance to practice fixing them when it doesn't matter (as in a race). Here are some pictures from the day.

Arriving in Port Angeles.
Elevation profile.  The ride literally starts at sea level
(considering we ride right off the ferry), and tops out
at just over 5000 feet.

Jason and Joel riding off.

Somewhere partway up.

One of the tunnels.

Just keep climbing...

Just keep climbing...

The top!

Back at sea level and onto the ferry.  Just in time for
an afternoon of wandering around downtown Victoria.

Snack Time

Sometimes I think what gets me through a hard workout is thinking about the snack at the end.  While I do have a weakness for potato chips, particularly Old Dutch ripple or salt & vinegar, I do try to have some healthy snacks available so I don't go right for the chips.  Here are my top go-to post-workout snacks:

1 - Greek yogurt (3/4 cup) with hemp protein (1 tbsp), chia seeds (1 tsp), and and handful of berries (I usually have raspberries, strawberries or blueberries, but any will do!).  Mix all together, and the great thing is that it takes hardly any time at all to whip this up.  The hemp protein is probably a bit of an acquired "earthy" taste, but I suppose any protein powder would do if you have a favourite.

2 - The ole' smoothie.  I don't know about you, but a smoothie doesn't really feel like a snack.  It is, however, a great way to refuel after a hard workout, and you can make them out of pretty much anything.   This is what I throw in a blender, along with a bit of water, and blend:  banana, protein powder, berries, and spinach.

3 - Protein balls.  These take a bit more work, so need to be done in advance.  And then try not to eat them all at once, as they are super delicious and nutricious.  Plus, the recipe is pretty flexible, so perfect for a non-chef like myself.  I get out the food processor, and dump in about 1/2 hazelnuts (or filberts for my Aussie friends...).  You can use almonds, walnuts, probably pretty much anything.  Chop them into small pieces, then add: 15 pitted dates, 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit, but I'm giving you my favourite combinations), 1/4-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I tend to go a bit on the heavier side with the chocolate chips), 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 2 tbsp protein powder, 2 tsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp coconut oil.  Mix in the food processor until it all starts to stick togeher.  Sometimes I have to add a bit of water.  Then I scoop out spoonfuls, form into balls, and stick them in the fridge to gel together.  Yummy and healthy, and perfect for after a hard workout.

Check out for some other healthy snack ideas.
There are also great recipies at Fueling Endurance Performance and Cotter Crunch.  

I Survived a Pretty Big Week

I knew September would rush by in a blur; here we are on the last day of summer.  Basically, if I haven't been training, I've been at work, or I've been recovering on the couch.  Last week was the biggest week of training I've had for this ironman, possibly my biggest week ever (definitely in terms of combined volume and effort!).

To be honest, when I looked at my training plan for the week last Sunday, I was anxious.  It looked hard!  I got a pep talk from a friend, and got down to work.  Chop wood carry water - which means I did what I needed to do.  Here's what my training week looked like.

Monday: 4000m swim, with the main set consisting of 6x400m race pace.  Nothing like a good swim before breakfast!  Then after work, a 2-hour ride with some FTP intervals.

Tuesday: 1 hour easy run, and a 30-minute strength session.  I did both of those after work, as every Tuesday morning I have a 7 a.m. meeting.

Wednesday: Another early morning swim, this time 3500m with an endurance set of 3x800.  After work, back on the bike with some VO2 max hill repeats.

Thursday: Ah, I love Thursdays as it's the only day I only have one workout.  A one hour hilly trail run with the dog.

I amuse myself with fun socks.

Friday: 4200m swim before work, including a 10x300 race pace main set.  After work, when my boss wanted to head to happy hour, I had to pass and hop on my bike for a 2 hour easy spin.  Sigh - I love happy hour!  The struggle is real, people.

Saturday: This is the day that was causing me some dread.  I'm getting burned out on long rides, and while I figured this was coming, I hoped I'd luck out with something else.  Anyway.  It was a race simulation day so I started with a swim - only an easy 50 minutes.  Then immediately out on the bike for a really long, over distance day.  Instructions were to go up to 7 hours (really, my enjoyment factor decreases sharply after 5 hours, but I'd see what I had) with 5 hours at ironman pace (75% FTP).  Despite the dread, I had a great ride, hitting some good power numbers and my fastest pace in training ever; I got to the 180km IM distance at 6:14 - hopefully I can do that on race day on the hilly Louisville course!

The results from Saturday's ride.

Sunday: 2 hour long run.  My longest run in 3 years, and it actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Adaptation, anyone?  Followed by a 30 minute strength session, at which point I was sure my coach was trying to kill me.

Recovery session on the couch with
SpiderTech tape and Marc Pro.

It all added up to almost 23 hours, although I don't sweat the hours because I know it's what do you with those hours, not how many hours.  And what I did with those hours was exactly what I needed to do that week.  One more hard week, then two weeks of taper - bliss!

Where Did August Go?

It came to my attention this morning that it is the first of September.  Huh?  What happened to August?  Last I looked, it was the August long weekend, which is at the beginning of that month.  Now we're heading full tilt into the September long weekend... and guess what - soon enough it will be the October long weekend, which is Ironman Louisville!

Here is what I've been up to for the past month.

  • Training, training, and more training.  It's easy for time to go by when you're logging 23+ hour training weeks.
  • In the hottest, driest summer on record, I find a monsoon to do a long ride in for some reason. 

Sorry for the dirt, bike!  Luckily my bright pink kit came clean.

  • Finding Tiki's new passion: swimming.

  • Jason finishing first across the line at Lake Stevens 70.3!  He actually finished second overall on the day (first in M45-49) as someone from a later wave had a faster time.  But how cool for him to have a bike escort on the run!

  • A quick traincation trip to Kona with Jason and our dear friend Corinne.  It wasn't in the plans, but then a free condo and cheap flights called our names.

Training partners for the week!

We braved a torrential downpour one evening
to walk to Huggo's On The Rocks.  Priorities!
Sunrise over the volcano heralds a long ride.

Halfway through our 180km ride.  Still smiling at Hawi!

It was sooo hot & humid.  Sweat much?
We finished our last afternoon with (another) swim on the Ironman
course, then a nap on the King Kamehameha lawn.
After cramming 19.5 hours of training in 5 days, you get tired!

Or you get tired and weird...

  • Training, training, and more training!  

If August went by in a flash, I'm not sure I'll even notice that September happened.