Friday, July 31, 2009

Heat Training

Ola!
Just thought It has been awhile now since nationals, so I should probably switch up the blog post. I don't know about everywhere else in Canada but Vic's summer has been HOT! We are going onto our third week in the 30's. Very un-Victoria like weather. They are saying it's the hottest since 1941 or something like that. Vancouver hit an all time record high the other day. I would give anything for this kind of heat were I at my cabin, spending the days on the beach, or on the boat. But in Vic I'm having a little bit of a love/hate relationship with it. I love how after hard rides we can stop by one of Vic's many lakes and dive in to cool off (although some of them are getting to be not so cool now), and then it's so hot we dry off before we get home. We even dove in the ocean on Wednesday after the track workout! That was chilly. I love how it feels like Summer! I love how everyone does summery things- the lakes are always packed, kids running through sprinklers, feeling like your head is going to explode from the heat while doing km repeats on the track in the middle of the afternoon...
I guess the hate part only really comes into play at night-time when it doesn't cool off at all. I'm a crappy sleeper- I grew up sleeping in the basement in Calgary which was always cold. So 32' inside my third floor condo doesn't lead to good sleeps for me. I think that might be why our group is sharing this one cold so easily. We're all training so hard, but we're probably not resting quite as well as usual. But I am determined not to get sick! I had a great training day Wednesday- but a super bad sleep that night which lead to a not so great feeling thursday, and then another bad sleep thursday, has lead to an aahhhh I'm borderline getting sick friday! But I won't. I just had a good nap- and I think I'll be good to go tomorrow. I've also been ODing on all my health supplements. ( Oil of Oregano, Vit C, Zinc losanges, Cold-fx, Echinacea, Elderberry extract, deep immune..etc) so if I don't die from whatever comes of mixing all those- then I should stay Healthy!
Otherwise we're just in the middle of a Canada Games training camp, our third week of build, so it has been lots and lots of good training. Manitoba is here training with us, so that's fun. We even rode up Hurricane Ridge last week over in Port Angeles. That was really neat! I loved it up there.
We have a little local race this weekend- and then the countdown to CSG is on!
Here are some pics from hurricane ridge:


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gatineau Recap (* warning: very long blog post)



* I included some headings for those who don't feel like reading everything*

Well I'm back from Gatineau in one piece. My nasty cough has somewhat returned, but I'm sure a good sleep in my own bed will cure me. I know my race schedule is nothing like that of our Senior national team, but I feel like its been non-stop racing and traveling the past few weeks, so I'm really looking forward to actually training.. and resting in one place for a while.

Nationals itself wasn't quite what I'd been hoping for. There are a lot more lessons to be learned from bad races than from good ones though, so at least I know I came out of this race smarter. And now my fire has been lit to re-deem myself. Two positives to take away from this weekend.
So about that race...

PRE-RACE WHINING AND COMPLAINING:

I spent the week leading up to Nats in quarantine once again. I wish I didn't have to include the 'once again' part but unfortunately it seems to be a re-occuring issue among us Coates girls. It began on Monday last week when I wound up spending my day in bed with a fever, brutal neck and back aches, a sore throat, and a disgusting phlegmy cough. Sorry if I just went into too much detail ha. It took me most of the day to find the energy to pack for the trip. I honestly didn't know if racing would be an option, but then Tuesday rolled around (the day we left for Gatineau) and miraculously most of my flu symptoms were gone! It was possibly my speediest recovery ever. But I was still wiped, and my easy 3k swim in the warm pool was almost the end of me. I was absolutely paranoid about infecting my sister ( we are really good at sharing illnesses) and the team, so I sat on the other end of the plane from my team, and stayed in my own hotel room for the week. I actually ended up staying in the suite because that was the only room left!! And that was awesome by the way ( king size bed, flat screen tv, jacuzzi..) until I had to pay the bill at the end of the week ha. The girls were all formulating conspiracy theories( jokes)- and decided that I was just pretending to be sick in order to rest-up and kick their butts on race day. I WISH! haha I am not quite that tricky. Nor do I feel the need to play mind-games with my team-mates. I was recovering well from my flash flood flu, but training was not going well at all. Easy runs and bikes shot my heart rate through the roof, and all of my sprinting abilities were non-existent. Even the day before the race it felt like each and every muscle had been injected with the flu shot- and were just so painful. It's really hard to think of yourself as a competitor and a threat when you can't even keep up doing an easy jog. Patrick really emphasized positive thinking, and I tried as hard as I could to put my fears out of my mind. But I think it was just as much my lack of confidence that limited me this weekend as my physical well-being.

Race Morning came way too soon, and once again I couldn't keep any food in. It is strange because I don't get anywhere near as stressed as I used too before races, but I still can't eat! It took me at least half an hour to force feed myself a bowl of cereal, but I don't think any of that stayed in me. Alex and I are working on a better pre-race nutrition plan for the future. Because it's impossible to race to your potential on an empty tank- especially in an afternoon race like this weekend. Race Day brought 21' and thunder showers. The conditions were sooooo epic. I wish I could steal some of the race-day pics of the Kids of Steel running through puddles up to their thighs in the midst of the downpour. We don't get that quantity of water during showers in Western Canada I don't think. This was like getting a whole kiddy pool of water, dumped on your head- aaaaaallll the time! It made the corners on the bike very treacherous. In the age group race before ours, whole packs of riders were taken out on the corners. We had done loads of cornering practice before the race, but in the end we were forced to almost come to a stop before taking each turn it was so slick. I skidded out three times- and I'm telling ya- I was not going fast around those corners!
Anyways- back to the beginning.

THE ACTUAL RACE REPORT:

One of my goals for this season was to have strong early season races, so that by nationals I'd get a good starting position. Luckily I had that going for me- so I got the far right spot all to myself. I think I had my best start ever from there. The go came really suddenly once everyone had finally all got lined up, but I had a quick reaction, and had perfectly clear water for my dolphin dives. To my left I could see Sharpie leaping, and waving me on from the warm-up area, so I knew I was doing well. And I actually sighted properly! Often times I find that when I'm on the outside at the start, I accidentally separate myself from the pack, and lose the draft entirely. But this time I kept a good line, and found myself in open water ahead of the whole group. Unfortunately that was the highlight of my swim. Christine was soon zipping past me, and I got right on her feet, only to discover that I was stuck going one speed. (a not fast enough speed). Hilary was soon filling in the gap I left, and then before I knew it- what felt like the whole group of girls were swimming on top of me. I saw all my usual swimming buddies pull away, but where I can usually dig deep and hang on- today there was nothing to dig into.. if that makes sense.
I sprinted into transition superdy duperdy fast (at least thats what I was going for..) because I had a lot of time to make up. My "supposedly best" bike spot in Trani ended up being not so great though..I was right on the end, so as I pulled my bike out- my shoe got hooked onto the end of the rack. I kept yanking, and succeeded in knocking a few other bikes right off the rack. Oopsy. The volunteers seemed to get it all fixed pretty quickly though. Legs were notttttt feeling so great on that bike though thats for sure. Gaby went whipping by me- 'stay with me,' she said. So I got on her wheel. There was a few seconds where I fell off, but then I hardened up- 'I can stay with Gaby,' I just kept telling myself- 'I can!' And I did. But it was a while before I could pull through. Most of this season I have felt very strong on the bike, but this race I was thinking more about hanging on then actually racing. That is a lame way to race. I'll expect that feeling when I race Elite, but for now that is a lame way to race my last junior year. No one in our group was pulling particularly strongly, so we were soon engulfed by the pack behind us lead by Rachel Edwards (& mini Edwards in tow!), and together we caught up to the front pack (minus Stevie and Christine who had broken away earlier on). I was having weird cramping, even in my hands, so I took my gel, and hydrated a lot, and by the end of the bike I was feeling much stronger than before.
But then I made a rookie mistake. I found myself leading up front for a really long time all by myself as we were nearing transition. It didn't dawn on me until too late that all the other girls were just using that opportunity to sit back and take off their shoes. Usually I don't take my feet out until right before transition, but I had forgotten about the death corners right before the dismount line. Probably 6 girls ended up coming into T2 before me. And with my transition spot right at the end of transition it ended up being a huuuuuge mistake. I was stuck waiting for all those girls to rack their bikes before I could even come close to my spot. Ughhhhh where was my brain! Needless to say there was a big gap in between me and the leaders of our pack heading out onto the run. And then this is where I think I made tragic mistake #2. I just let them keep their lead thinking that I would reel them in slowly. I was scared because my whole race had felt really weak, so I was worried that if I took it out too fast that I would just die all over the place. In that instant I completely lacked any killer instinct as A-Russ would put it. I needed to get in with those girls right away! But I didn't. Maybe if I had- I would have blown up all over the place. But Maybe I would have won. Either way I didn't put myself in the position to risk it. And I regret that. Even though I wasn't entirely in the game physically, I could have still been in the game mentally.
My run actually felt stronger and stronger as it went on- I think that gel really helped! And by the end I think I was only about 5 seconds back from Alex.

I was pretty disappointed at the end of my race, but it wasn't my result that made me sad (every one of those girls deserved to be where they were), it was my performance that made me disappointed. I feel like I was in survival mode instead of racing mode. I totally lacked any aggression in this race- and that's what I learnt not to let happen again.

The end.
(yay!)