Tag Archives: cyclocross

Active recovery plans

Before I completed Ironman Canada Whistler, I told Kelly I planned to take two months off running to really let my body heal.

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Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen! I got the itch to run a couple days after the Ironman. I tried to soothe the itch with some long trail walks. Of course they didn’t quite cut it!

I’m in New Orleans this week and my favourite way to explore a new city is on foot and running. So I packed my gear and by time this post goes out, I’ll hopefully have gone on a great run in a new place!

That doesn’t mean I plan to run a lot yet.

Active recovery

Active recovery is basically taking time off from usual exercise routines, focussing on lighter impact, less intensity and decreased volume. It should let my body recover from the stress of training and racing while still allowing me to maintain my sanity and a little bit of fitness.

In the first week after the Ironman I went downhill biking, kayaking, and on long walks through the trails. All low intensity and supremely fun!!

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The second week I mountain biked a couple times, took my cruiser out, tried a Barre class, went on one spin on my road bike and started back with some core work. I really meant to incorporate yoga but just didn’t find the time.

In my third week, I’ve hopefully gone on a run. Other than a shorter run once or twice a week, I want to try some other things including more barre classes, some new yoga classes, and more mountain or cyclocross biking.

Active recovery is important to me for a few reasons. I eat a lot better when I’m active. If I’m sitting around not doing anything, I tend to eat more junk. I also crave activity. Lastly, I don’t want to completely lose my fitness.

I don’t have race plans for quite a while, so I’m content to sit back and enjoy a variety of activities!

What’s your favourite way to actively recover?

Changes—

Edit: I woke up this morning to the updates from Boston. I’m thinking of everyone, especially the police officers, in Watertown and Boston searching for  the second suspect.

The season may have actually changed to spring! We’ve had our first week of above zero temperatures. Our snow is melting. And I went for my first outside ride of the season yesterday! It was pretty cold and windy but so worth it!

I’m using my cyclocross bike for now since there is a ton of gravel on the roads.
(Edited to say there’s snow/rain mix in the forecast for the weekend! Hopefully it’ll disappear as quickly as it comes! Back to the trainer…)

I finally chopped my hair.

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I loved it long since I could put it in a ponytail and not one piece would fall out when I ran or biked. But, I had short hair envy for a couple years. The short hair definitely wins for swimming! I just have a little bump under my swim cap now instead of a big mound.

I got a new road bike!

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It’s a Giant Avail Advanced SL1. Here’s what their website says about it: “The all-new Avail Advanced SL is engineered for the ultimate ride. Designed with Liv/giant’s 3F philosophy, it’s the most advanced composite bike built specifically for women.

The coolest part is the Di2 electronic shifting technology. And, I think it’s really pretty! (That’s just as important as all the other stuff…)

I can’t wait to take it out on the roads!

Lastly, Kelly and I went for a nice run together a couple days ago! My ankle/heel/foot is doing better. I still haven’t gone past five miles and am hesitant to try. But, I’m running a little and that’s what matters! {Knock on wood so I can keep it up!}

Since I haven’t been running much and Kelly’s pretty focussed on biking, we hadn’t ran together in quite a while. It was so great to just run, together, with no Garmin, and enjoy the sunshine.

It’s been a tough week. Happy Friday!

What are some changes in your world? 

Tell me about your 2012… from Miss Zippy

Miss Zippy is one of my favourite bloggers. She’s knowledgeable, experienced, and an amazing runner.

A couple weeks ago she posted a little questionnaire. She answered questions about her 2012 and invited others to do the same.

Here are my answers to her questions:

Best race experience? Since I only ran a couple races, it isn’t too hard to narrow down! I’m going to have to say Ironman Canada. Just getting to the start line healthy was incredible, and I was so happy to enjoy {nearly} every minute of the day, better my time from my previous Ironman, and do something amazing with my husband!

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Best run? I think it would have to be my first long run back from injury. I ran it in Jasper early one morning when we were camping. It was the longest I had run in over a year and my surroundings were spectacular!

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Best new piece of gear? I’d definitely say my cyclocross bike!  Although I only got to use it a couple times, it was a blast. I hope to use it a lot for cross-training this spring and summer!

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Best piece of running advice you received? To be determined, but I’m hoping it was to try switching my gait to mid-foot landing. I’m just getting started, but I hope it’ll be the first step to less injury.

Most inspirational runner? This isn’t an easy one to answer. I think the most inspirational pro runner is Kilian Jornet. I am in awe of the Spanish ultra runner and ski mountaineer. He has set many records, won big ultra races, and is equally as talented in ski mountaineering. Watching him run is a thing of beauty!

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Click on photo for credit

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Up & down, and grateful. From the lows of battling injury to the highs of training for and finishing Ironman Canada back to some injury lows! (Believe me- I know it could be much worse!) I was so grateful to try some new things, like my first bike ‘races’.

Tell me about your 2012!!

Exercising outside the box

I haven’t been running much. I don’t want to bike too much and get sick of the trainer before real training begins.  I don’t want to do anything that could further irritate my knee. And we cancelled our gym memberships.

So when my husband suggested taking our cyclo-cross bikes out for an adventure in the snow on Saturday morning I was game!

It was -5 with a windchill of -8. And of course the way we were riding was into the wind! I seriously layered (two pairs of pants and bike shorts; sports bra, base layer sweater, running sweater, and thick cycling jacket; neck warmer, toque, and helmet; hot hands and my thickest running mitts; winter running socks, toe warmers, bike shoes, and bike shoe covers).

I have never ridden a bike in snow before so didn’t know what to expect, especially since we don’t have studded tires.

We rode on packed sidewalks, shoveled sidewalks, and icy sidewalks. We rode through slushy roads and roads with heavy snow. We hit snow-covered trails, cleared trails, icy up-hills and slick down-hills.

Kelly gave me some great tips that kept me upright and safe! I think the best one was to go with it. If the snow starts taking you one way, let it instead of trying to correct your front tire.

I was really tense at the beginning, was scared of being clipped in, and didn’t know if I should continue. I was really proud of myself for sticking with it and embracing the challenge!

The trails were the most fun, but we had a blast throughout the entire four-hour ride.

When’s the last time you did something different? Have you biked in the snow?

Change the Pace – Cyclocross

Have you seen people riding trails on bikes that look like road bikes? That’s a cyclocross bike.

They look like road bikes but have tires that look like thin mountain bike tires, with large grips. The brakes are different to help keep mud, leaves, and other trail debris from clogging them. The bikes are also lightweight, since riders may have to dismount and carry their bike over certain obstacles like fallen logs. It’s also common for riders to run with their bikes during races.

Apparently cyclocross was originally a way for road racers to maintain their fitness in fall and early winter. It has grown in popularity so much that people train for and specialize strictly in cyclocross.

There are races all around the world, including quite a few where I live!

I came home this weekend to a surprise from my husband…a shiny, new, Specialized Crux fluorescent cyclocross bike!

I instantly fell in love…until I saw the pedals and new shoes that I would have to clip in to. I’m comfortable with being clipped in on the road, but on the trails is a whole different story! Since I’m so cautious, I like to put a foot down around some corners, through slippery sections, and anytime I’m nervous.

We took the bikes to the river valley early Monday morning ready to roll. It was cold and there were even a few flurries falling, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast!

Kelly went nice and slow with me. On the first uphill and the first couple downhills I may have used loud profanity. I soon realized I could easily clip out and there was no need to freak out! (I’m still a bit apprehensive about the pedals, but I’ll give them a fair shot.)

We had so much fun; I literally smiled for the two hours we were out there.

We road gravel, dirt, and leaf covered trails. We rode up hills, down hills, and on asphalt. We rode wide trails and we rode single track.

It was so different from mountain biking for me since I could really cruise (except for the downhills where I ride like a grandma). I just need to learn to go faster and gain confidence.

My cyclocross shoes are pretty cool, too. They have the cleat to attach to the pedal and then are really grippy like trail shoes. I had to get off my bike a couple times and I got awesome traction when running up hills pushing my bike.

Give cyclocross a try, regardless of whether you want to race, continue riding through fall, practice your bike handling skills, or just enjoy the trails. I’m sure you’ll love it!

I know I can’t wait to take my bike out again and ride with my husband!

Have you ever rode a cyclocross bike? What’s your favourite time of year to ride?