Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!!! I hope everyone is filling their faces with good delicious food. Being a vegetarian family (with me being vegan) I am preparing a stuffed seitan roast. I decided to take a small break from that and do a post. I'll have to let you know how it turns out.

Big weekend in my sports world. Ironman Championships were Saturday and I could not tear myself away from the computer. What an awesome race. We had to go into Victoria to meet the family for dinner and I had to be super rude and keep checking my phone for results. Only the die hard triathletes would understand ; )
I have to tell you Mirinda Carfrae is an absolute idol for me. I have to be honest, I was cheering her on right from the start. Check out that photo of her on the left. She deserves the championship. Anyone that has that good of form during the run in an Ironman is pure champion in my mind. She is absolutely everything I strive to be. To be honest, everyone in that race inspires me. Hats off to all of those racers!!!
My big race this weekend was a half marathon.

 I was not training for this race. My coach decided after the year I had (it was so bad) that I just needed this to be a good training run.
My sister flew out for this race to come and join me. We ended up going to the expo right when she go into town Friday. Look what we found...

I love how the races are putting the competitors names on the banners and shirts. It's fun to show you really were there.
Saturday night I spent the night with my sister at her hotel. We had a nice evening catching up. Sunday I got to sleep in an extra hour since my sisters hotel was steps from the start line. Could not have been more convenient. Best of all, I didn't have to deal with kids!!!
I was supposed to meet up with one of my friends to run the race with. We really wanted to get a sub 2 hour for this race. It's been a long time coming for me. After my terrible race season and my coach not letting me race hard this fall I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it but I did right some splits on my arm to check in just in case I was feeling up to the challenge.
When the gun went off I was cool as a cucumber. Got jogging and weaving through all of the racers. I got stuck right at the back so I had to make my way through a lot of people. 
About 4km in I finally found my good buddy. I had lost my sister in the mass at the start so I was feeling a little lonely. It was fantastic running with my friend. 
Around the 17km mark my husband along with my girls and my parents gave me a great cheer squad that kept me going till the end. 
To top it off 1km from the finish line was my brother in law snapping the photos of me.
My form is looking not too bad with 1 km to go. A little collapsed but I'm obviously not very tired.
I ended up finishing the race in 1:56:39 (unofficial). For not pushing myself I was absolutely thrilled. I have not been able to get under 2 hours in a very long time. Which leads me to the next statement...
I have been taking it very easy. I've been doing everything it takes to get healthy. I'm getting plenty of sleep. I'm eating exceptionally well. All of this adds up and it is so important to maintain it. 
Anyways, hats off to everyone that raced yesterday. I had a lot of friends out on the course yesterday and they all did absolutely fantastic! 

Right after my race, we had the kids race to do. So my two lovely athletes wandered over to the kids start to run 1.25km. This was an awesome event for kids. My oldest wanted to run on her own (in hindsight that was a big mistake when we couldn't find her for 30 min after the race). She did great!

Then my little one took off. She's a little nervous in crowds so I got the honours of running with her.
She was doing great until she tripped and fell. Poor thing skinned her knee. So, I had to piggy back her part of the way. She finally ran the last bit.

A big high 5 at the end!

My little trouper.

A big finish at the end! The kids got t-shirts and medals. Oh in case you were wondering how we finally found my big girl... she was getting her face painted instead of waiting for us at the finish line.

So big day in our house yesterday. We all felt like champions. To celebrate hubby took me out for lunch and a new amazing coffee spot:
FYI- Hey Happy is absolutely AMAZING!!!

Okay, last week I promised you a big surprise. Well, here it is. Once I tell you it means I am fully committed. Next year August 30th, 2015 I am going to attempt my very first full distance triathlon. 
3.8km swim
180km bike
42.2km run
Call me crazy but I am so excited!!! Also a big shout out and thank you to my awesome family, friends and 2 superb coaches for supporting me on this big adventure. I will be documenting this crazy challenge and I hope you will follow along for the ride.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Where do I start?

Another crazy year filled with hard training, great racing and of course a ton of fun. I am gearing down and tapering for my last race of the year... Victoria Good Life Marathon (I'm only doing the half). 
It seems I have neglected the blog to no end. I'll be honest life has been hectic, plus my computer crashed and frankly I had a disappointing big race this year which left me sick for weeks. I'll tell you more about that in a minute.  Lets start from the beginning...
First race of the season left me feeling anxious since I had just started getting back into training after being off for 3 months from pneumonia. After discussing with my coach we thought it best to not race then decided a compromise could work. I ended up doing the race as a relay. I of course got stuck doing the swim (which seems to happen every time I do a relay).
We placed first in our division which was the ladies relay. Best of all, we had a blast.
This race gave me the boost I needed to jump back into training. All was going great until I got a stress fracture in my foot at the beginning of June. So there went another 4 weeks of much needed training. So I dipped into a bit of depression for a bit, feeling extremely sorry for myself. I had to drop out of another race and worst of all, I had to relax. 

Come July I was feeling a bit better so I eased myself into training again. With only 2 weeks until the Vancouver Subaru Triathlon I was feeling less then ready. So I decided to go in as a strictly training race. The race went way better then I thought. The swim was not my favourite since it was an ocean swim (I am absolutely terrified of ocean swimming) but the bike course was a fast 2 lap course and the run was a gorgeous route right along the water. 
I had my husband and kids cheer me on and it was awesome!

Next up on my race schedule was the Self Transcendence race in Victoria. This is my all-time favourite race. It's a smaller venue but you are well taken care of. I recommend this event to all short distance triathletes. They even have a duathlon.
This race is always fun and games for me. My BFF and I head down Saturday to pick up our race packs and go out for dinner and have a fun evening together. We always go to bed reminding each other this race is all about fun!!! 
This year the water was so warm it was a no wetsuit swim. That's all right by me. I seem to swim the same pace with or without my wetsuit. Coming out of the water I had no idea what my time was since my Garmin wouldn't turn on for me. The swim course felt a little long (which it was according to everyone else's times). Got on my bike and took off. I wasn't feeling very fast on my bike and it showed. I swear I got passed by every single person out on the course. Even one of my friends asked if I was ok (it was that obvious I was struggling). When I came into transition I was ready to throw in the towel. I was feeling so crushed, but I decided to head out on the run anyways. Slowly I built up into a really nice pace and bit by bit I started picking people off one by one. In the end I pulled off my fastest run in an Olympic Distance Triathlon. I even won my age group!

Moral of the story? Don't ever quite. You might have a terrible swim or bike but sometimes if you persevere the outcome may be amazing!!!

Turns out the whole Berg squad came out on the podium!!!
I absolutely love this race!!!!

Now that I got a little self esteem in the racing department I was ready to tackle the rest of my training to prep me for Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3
This meant spending much quality time with my running group
This group is awesome!!!! So much talent and inspiration. Each one of them have had PR's this year. Very determined group they are.
So 2 weeks out from Lake Stevens and I'm a little worried. It has finally hit me a how little training I have actually done this year. All the set backs I had to deal with. I had a few people tell me I should just write this race off and worry about next year. I'm not that kind of girl. I signed out for this race so I need to finish it.

So myself and my lovely traveling and racing companions headed down to Lake Stevens Washington. Rumour has it that this race is tough. One of the toughest 70.3 around. I foolishly ignored that remark. When we arrived we went straight to package pick up. The race shirts were terribly ugly so I had to spend some extra money to get a shirt I would actually wear that boasts that I indeed do the Lake Stevens 70.3
We had a lovely evening getting to know the area and relaxing at the hotel. The next day (aka. the day before the big race) well, I think we were all feeling a little nervous. We decided to test out the water and get in a quick swim. The water was "furry" and brown. Not the crystal clear waters I'm used to.
Then we drove part of the bike course. We were trying to find the toughest parts. To us according to the race info the first half of the bike course was more challenging with a short but steep hill in the second half. Course seemed no different then what we ride at home. All is good!!!
Go to race meeting, then back to hotel for much needed RnR and race prep.

We stayed in the rest of the day and night and watched movies. Very nice way to prep.
Race morning came way too fast.
The jitters set in and I was feeling ill. The girls were keeping me at bay for not freaking out and even the fabulous pro Melanie McQuaid gave me a little hug and pep talk before the race.
It was time to get this thing started!!!
My group was the first group to go after pro's. I was nervous. I had an excellent swim despite being ploughed over by some of the men who started after us. I was in the front group and came out of the water in 12th. Got out on the bike and stayed focus. I had marked down which area's I needed to pay special attention to. Lake Steven's bike course is very technical. Lots of left and right turns and blind spots. I saw a few good crashes. The worst part about this bike course is because a lot of the turns were at the bottom of hills I could never really get my speed up. My average speed was only 28km an hour. Not fast enough.
Felt pretty good on the bike despite it being crazy hard. That little hill I was warned about? Well it was tough but manageable. The toughest part was after that hill, there were 100 more smaller ones. Ugh!!!! My legs were tired. Coming in to transition I was feeling pretty good but my stomach was feeling a bit off. I was staring to question my nutrition even though I followed my plan to a T. 
Go out on the run and started off with a great pace. I  was feeling strong. About 3 km's in I started getting weird stomach cramps. Not the usual stitch kind, but full on I think I have an appendicitis one. I tried to pouch through the discomfort but had to stop. I kept thinking it was my nutrition so at every single aid station I tried to eat something, anything. I tried bananas, oranges, pretzels, coke, gels. You name it, if it was available I tried it. Unfortunately every time I tried something the pain got worse. So I continued on and managed to shuffle across the finish line surviving the 1/2 marathon on just ice water. This was the toughest race for me physically and mentally. I have never gotten so sick. I have never wanted to quit so badly, I was never so uncomfortable in a race as I was on this day. I cried 3 times during the run. Something I have never done before. I was quite worried I wasn't going to finish and to be honest I'm not sure if I was upset because I might not finish or because I was suffering so bad. Regardless, I did it. What got me to the finish line? Probably my stubbornness and my cheapness... I paid a lot of money to get to that race and I wanted that friggin' medal!
In the end my sickness was not due to my nutrition plan but to the fact I was actually sick. The flu had gone through my house a few days before I left for the race and it turns out it hit me on race day. It turns out this was in fact my worst race ever but I sure learned a lot that day.
I am tough
I need to train properly
Know when to pull the plug
My body is capable or crazy things.
Am I glad I did the race? Yes! Will I do it again? Probably one day but no time soon. Did I have fun? At the time I would have said no but I did in fact have fun. Crossing that finish line meant a lot to me that day.
So how crazy am I? After being so sick during this race just 5 days later I have another 1/2 marathon to run...
This is the best half in the whole wide world!!! My sister and I go to this race together. We also did it last year. Normaly I would never do back to back races like this but I just couldn't miss it.

This is just how fabulous it is!!!

This year we really took advantage of our girls weekend. We went and saw Jack Johnson while we were in Vancouver on the Thursday night. Friday is the Sea Wheeze expo. All of that fabulous Lululemon clothing waiting for us to snatch up and buy. This year I was up at 5am to get in line. But check out our try on pile:

Afterwards we checked out the rest of the expo, including air brushed tattoos and massages followed by yummy treats.
We enjoyed Vancouver to it's fullest!

The race itself is always fabulous too. The best cheering around plus you get a ton of goodies. I definitely did not PR. Right from the 1km in I was hurting. My muscles screamed at me the entire 21.1km. I had to do a walk/run just to get myself to the finish line.
This year we got cute hats, finisher medals and Saje essential oils. Plus an after race brunch.
Then of course is the after party. After relaxing the afternoon away we head to the famous Stanley Park for food, music and fun!!!

So there you have it. My crazy race season in a nut shell. I know it was a long post but I had lots to share. 
So my last race is 6 days away. I am resting nicely and getting ready to finish with a bang! After that I have a big crazy announcement!!!