February 09, 2016

Welcome, 2016!

It's hard to believe the first month of 2016 has passed. My extra several pounds of built-in winter insulation have been successfully installed (see how I'm making lemonade here?). For me, January was focused on absorbing some life changes, a move, some schedule shuffling, and starting up High Performance Squad training with the OTC. Somehow I managed to sneak in a few outings on my snowshoes and skate skis as well. I'm aiming to start upping the training load again, gradually, while focusing on enjoying the outdoors and keeping it fun so I'm still hungry for it come July. 

Well hello there, 2016!

Warning -- dorky tri data blabber follows

A couple of weeks ago was our first LT (lactate threshold) test of the season -- otherwise known as "pedal till you barf up a lung". The insult to injury here is that in our TTP class, the hour on the bike is followed by an hour (minus time taken to wring out your shirt, mop the lakes of sweat off the floor, and get downstairs) of strength training. Followed in turn that evening by a series of plank exercises. I wondered out loud if it counts as impaired driving if your legs feel like overcooked calamari.

Getting that data was worth it, though. In the past, I've relied mostly on perceived exertion to determine how hard I've gone on workouts. As a bit of an experiment, having received a Tickr X heart rate monitor for Christmas (thanks, husband!), I'm using heart rate zones to train, ultimately comparing the data with how I feel. So far, using the zones defined by the LT test has been great -- as it turns out, a Z3 climb on the bike shouldn't spike my heart rate to 173! Who knew. I'm focusing on keeping most of my weekly effort in Z2 to rebuild my aerobic fitness after the off-season, and monitoring how much time I spend in Z3-Z5 tempo/speed work (for example, TTP spin class). I'm also trying out Training Peaks, which calculates fitness, accumulated fatigue, and race-readiness based on heart rate data across workouts. Yes, I am truly tapping my inner nerd this season.

Remembering how to skate ski after a 10+ year hiatus

On the sponsorship front, I'm very thankful to Dr. Patrick Kirkham at Britannia Chiropractic for his continued support this season. I'm also excited to have been chosen to join Team nuun 2016! I try hard to avoid using the word "just" -- such as "I'm just an age-group athlete" or "I mostly just do short-course" -- because that word sucks the joy out of any statement you add it to. But I'm humbled that these folks are willing to support me as an athlete. Seriously, if you're reading this and have known me longer than 5 years or so, you're probably wondering what quadrant of the Twilight Zone you've fallen into. Yep, I'm running without being chased. Believe it.

Taking some time to have fun with friends has also been great lately. A bunch of us gathered on a whim to deliver a crushing (well, if you count demolishing plates of bar food) at the Nepean Sailing Club trivia night. Kids included! 

Catching up with friends
I highly recommend injecting a healthy dose of get-togethers and laughter into your training regime. It really does make the winter a little warmer.

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