April 2016 - Run for the Thrills

canoe-feature

Training for Life: Adventure Race Preparations

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Events, Training | 2 Comments

Canoeing! Kayaking! Cycling! Trail Running!

It was a great day in Niagara for the four person team training for Storm the Trent—an adventure race that involves trail running, mountain biking and canoeing.  Today the team of four was in intense training mode.  The team is called “Mom R we there yet?” and is made up of two mothers and their 14 year old sons:  Karen, Ben, Caleb and myself.  Today we had a taste of all three sports spread throughout the day and we are hopeful that we will survive this event, only a mere three weeks away on May 14th!  Today was our first time out on the water in the canoe, so it was an important test for us.  We managed to canoe approximately 4km around Martindale Pond, almost half of the 9 kilometers that we will have to do on race day.

This is such an exciting event to be doing as team.  The adventure involves challenging ourselves physically – we will be engaging in three sports, only one of which we are all comfortable with (trail running).  The next challenge is to work well together as a team throughout the whole experience.  There will be times to be light-hearted and joke around (Ben and Caleb have this down!) and then there will be times to be supportive and serious, such as when someone is  having difficulty with an element of the race.  Learning when to goof off and when to be quiet may take some practice for the 14 year old boys!

In most races, going hard and being the fastest is the goal. In this team event, however, being being the fastest solo athlete is not the mission.  Our objective is to be a cohesive team and do the best we can all together.  We are not going for speed records here (at least not this year!). Throughout the race we all need to be within 100m of each other at all times.  The team element is so vital for the success of the event that there are five core principles clearly stated for all teams to adhere to:

  1. I do not leave my teammates behind me
  2. I keep my teammates within visible sight at all times
  3. I look after my teammates, and expect them to do the same for me
  4. My teammates and I form a unit – we do not move faster if we separate
  5. If for any reason one of my teammates cannot continue, I will stay with them until they are safely off the course

“The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts” – our goal as a team made up of friends and family is to work together, utilizing all of our collective talents and abilities to build each other up and keep motivated for the duration of the 42km biking, 9km running and 9km canoeing!

Easily done!

Caleb-

This is insane and I love it! Being a part of an event like this is going to be something I tell my kids to prove how sprightly and crazy I was “back in the day”. Not to say that this event won’t be challenging, but I strongly believe that we are going to have some real fun completing it –  the “I’m dying, make it stop” kind of fun. The thing I’m most mortified of is having two triathlete mothers (especially the ever intense Janine) preforming alongside Ben and myself; if the race doesn’t kill us, they just might! On the flip side, I’m really looking forward to the mountain biking aspect, speeding down a single track trail with my cross bike and huffing up hills is my idea of fun. It’s a bit out of my comport zone but then again, if it wasn’t, what would be the point of doing it in the first place? On the whole, I’m going to be incredibly happy to preform in this race, but I think I’ll also be incredibly happy to cross the finish line and then take a nap. (Also, “Hi mom! I’m on your blog!”)

swim-feature

Swim Training

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Gear, Training | No Comments

Time to get serious in the pool with longer swim workouts.  With my sights on open water swimming and summer triathlons, I am focusing my swim training on increasing my endurance over longer distances.  Today’s workout totaled 4.1 km and focused on lengthening my stroke and slowing down my arm cadence.  I have a high arm turnover and a strong kick, which means I do well at the shorter fast distances, but I need to learn to translate that speed to longer stretches.  I get into oxygen debt too quickly as I am working harder than I should with my quick turnover.  I am preparing for the half ironman this summer in Muskoka on July 10th and possibly a longer open water race (dare I try a 10km race?)

I had fun in the pool with my “swim toys”; hand paddles make me work harder as I push more water, strengthening muscles, improving technique and slowing down my stroke.  The paddles are an excellent tool to assist in my goal of getting more power out of each stroke.

Here is the workout I did this weekend (Designed by Karen Natho):

  • Warm-up:  15 x 50m on 1 minute (3 pull, 3 back/breast, 3 fly/free, 3 kick, 3 free)
  • 250m Long Stroke focus with hand paddles
  • 2 x 300m with last 25m of every 100m head up front crawl
  • 2 x 600m on 1:45 pace
  • 2 x 250m decrease cadence every 50m, starting at normal rate for first 50m
  • 8 x 50m kick on 1:05
  • 250m long stroke with paddles and drag legs
  • 150m cooldown

It is important to keep it fun in the pool with swim accessories and new bathing suits.  Check out the new Speedo Swim Suits at Trysport Niagara, inspired by the upcoming Rio Olympics – ready for sun and fun.  The bathing suit I am wearing is perfect for outdoor swimming, as the back is cut-away to allow for better tanning (eliminate those annoying tan circles on the back).  This suit did well at staying in place, despite its open design.  It did not shift for flip turns or while pushing off the wall. I recommend this suit if you are looking for something different.

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mountainbike-feature

Mountain Biking: Road Cyclists take to the Trails…

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Training, Triathlon Training | No Comments

….And hilarity ensues!  Nothing like some falls in the mud to keep oneself humble.  I consider myself a competent cyclist, but sadly this does not translate into mountain biking.  The experience of riding in Short Hills with my triathlon training partner Nate (Karen Natho) was fraught with challenge, fear, excitement and loads of mud, but we eventually accomplished trails 1 and 2….

WHY?  I think it is excellent to keep challenging oneself throughout life.  When I turned 40 I tried triathlons for the first time ever and promised myself that rather than resigning to old age and the gradual loss of abilities and fitness, I would try something new every year.  At 40 I did my first triathlons and a half ironman.  At 41 I did my first Ironman.  Now at almost 42, I am preparing for my first adventure race with my trusty training partner and our 14 year old sons.  The Storm the Trent Trek Race will consist of 42 km of mountain biking, 9 km of trail running and 9km of canoe paddling.  This big event is now less than a month away – May 14th.

Mountain Biking the good, the bad and the ugly…

  1. There is a definite thrill component to mountain biking that does not exist in road cycling.  Shaking and bouncing down steep, uneven terrain and wondering if I will remain on the bike is a scary experience for me.  I am braking more than I should on most descents, but at least I am remaining on my bike most of the time.  There is the constant fear of, “will I make it over that log?”, or ” Will I get through this patch of mud?” I am sweating from fear almost as much as from exertion!
  2. There is a huge technical component to mountain biking:  maneuvering over logs, rocks, streams and sloughing through mud is extremely treacherous.  It requires specific strategies to remain on the bike, rather than experiencing the natural elements up close and personal.  Nate and I did our share of walking, but I am pleased to say, we did considerably less dismounting and more plowing through the mud and elements as the kilometers rolled along.  By the end of our ride, we were managing to get through many challenging sections, while staying on our bikes!
  3. The Pacing of a mountain bike ride is much slower than riding (and Running?!) on the roads.  The fluctuating, hilly terrain means one is covering far less ground than on the roads – at least for us, that is!  I cannot speak for a true mountain biker, but I was shocked at how few kilometers we had covered after what felt like hours!  Our entire ride did not take hours—it was more like 80 minutes—but the exertion felt comparable to hours on the road and we had covered far less ground.  The humility element strikes again:  our average pace was slower mountain biking (5:35 per km) than for our RUN the morning before (4:40 per km)!  Not quite sure how that is possible.  I blame it on all the muddy puddles.
  4. Mountain biking is great for building strength and agility.  Hills are so steep on the trails – inclines can be much steeper on the trails than on the roads and there are more frequent fluctuations in elevation and speed along a mountain bike route.  We rode up very steep sections that we never experience with our road bikes.  Great cross-training for our primary sports.
  5. Mountain biking forces you to take yourself and life less seriously!  You have to roll with the hills, flow with the mud, embrace some dirt and tears… life is not serious on the trails.  Mud in the face, grit in the teeth – it forces you to laugh and let loose and let go of any pretense of looking good and all put together!  A thorn bush ripped my tights and Nate fell into the woods as she tried to make it through a muddy patch.  Thankfully we laughed and enjoyed it all and nobody got hurt.
Four weeks till our big Adventure Race.  How are you enjoying the lovely spring weather?  What events do you have planned for this season?  I would love to hear of all your pursuits, so add comments below!

Tomorrow we are off to Martinedale Pond to practice our paddling…