Monday, 31 December 2007

Uh Oh...

I seem to be taking a day off in between workouts, then doing two in one day! Yesterday and today were no exceptions - although I know this little habit will be stopping pretty darn quick!

Today I went over to IronGreg's to lend a little support as he did his mock triathlon. His goal: 1 hr swim, 180 km bike (on the trainer), and a 1 hour run. I say little support because I could only fit in an hour ride.

Okay, let's get real here...I probably couldn't do much more than an hour ride, haha.

IronGreg is training for Ironman Malaysia in February. I will be going too, but alas, only as support and not a competitor. (Slightly obvious considering my serious lack of training the last few months!) As the temperature can get to 40 C with 100% humidity, IronGreg has been training under the heat register, with the humidifier going full blast all the while wearing a toque.

He was already on his bike when I arrived and had a few km's under his belt. It was actually nice to walk into such a warm room after being outside in the cold, haha. Anyhoo, I got my Eleanor set up in the trainer, got changed and joined in on the fun.

Although we had an IM DVD in, rather than focus on that I tried to focus a bit on my technique. I tried to keep my cadence at 90 rpm, made sure I wasn't getting hung up at the top of the stroke etc. One problem I continue to have is with my shoulder. I get a sharp pain shooting down through my bicep and tricep when I'm in the aero position. This has plagued me since last season and continues to do so. It's a wee bit troublesome, but I know I'll get it looked after in the new year. At least I can practice some core work by riding with one arm in the bars and one arm behind my back, haha.

Through my ride I was watching my HR...and I was watching IronGreg. Hmmm...he seemed to be sweating a lot more than me. Silly me decided to point this out. (Mental note: Never point out to your coach he seems to be working harder than you....cause he WILL change that situation....and it's not with him slowing down!)

IronGreg took a look at my gears and promptly got me to increase them. Needless to say my HR slowly started to creep up, haha. It made me realize that I did not push myself on the bike last year. I mean, I did in strength workouts and such on the trainer, but I'm pretty sure I didn't put this much effort into my biking when we were riding outside. Uh ooooh....

At the time I cranked up my gearing I was at the half hour for the last half hour I maintained this effort and it wasn't that easy. In all honesty, it kind of scared me at first. Reality checks sometimes can do that! I have had a wee taste of what I'm going to have to do this year, and I wish I'd worked harder last year. Such is life though, no sense getting bike shorts in a knot over it! Live and learn I say!

This year my plan is to focus on the bike - and now I know what I need to do. Time to 'Suck It Up Princess' and get tough! Something that I feel I'm rather good at - so I know all will be fine!

After finishing on the bike, leaving IronGreg with 130 km left to go....ow, and managing to lock myself out of IronGregs in between putting my bike in the car and going back to get my trainer (yes, I had to call IronGreg on the cell and get him to stop peddling so he could let me in, haha... SORRY!!), I made the mad dash back home to get ready for a run with Richelle.

Richelle and her hubby were having a wee New Years gathering, but beforehand we were going to do a New Years run! I believe it was -17C out, so a bit brisk to say the least. Nothing that many layers of fleece can't handle.

This would be my first time going for a run with Richelle. I was looking forward to it, but knew I wouldn't be keeping my HR down, haha. That girl is a natural and has fast feet!! I remember running behind her at the LC Half Marathon and thinking, 'Holy Hannah, I WILL have a heart attack if I try to keep her pace for the race!' haha.

The pace actually wasn't too bad (thank you Richelle!). Yes, my heart rate was in the 150s - and don't ask what it was doing going uphill, haha. But I felt really good. It was really nice to run at night in the crisp air and to have someone crazy enough to go with! I stayed pretty warm, but the eyelashes in the corner of my eyes were freezing and sticking made for a very interesting feeling. I was waiting for the moment when I went to blink and they froze together! I can see it now, me frantically waving my arms in the air and going in circles trying to figure out where I'm going and how the hell I'm going to defrost my eyelashes!! (Hey, this is me we are talking about....SOOOO could happen!)

We managed to get a solid hour of running in. Not bad for someone who feels quite couch potatoish these days! I'm looking forward to 2008 and getting back on a training schedule!

I wish everyone a year filled with peace, love and happiness....oh, and let's not forget good health!!

Thanks to all who have been my support through my 2007 triathlon adventures - see ya in 2008!!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Double Duty...

I did double duty today - went for an hour run then hit the gym for about 45 minutes. It felt great!

I will start my IMCDA training officially in the new year - which is not too far off - but already I've promised IronGreg that I would run at a HR of 130-140. The other day I couldn't seem to get my HR down, but this time I was able to. It was actually a really nice pace to run at and it allowed me to run with my buddy Esther, who is just getting back into the running scene.

It was a beautiful run along the river. Running at such a slow pace too we were able to gab the whole time...which is one of the things Esther and I do best!! LOL. I am putting my faith in IronGreg that my body will slowly get faster (hmm, that sounds funny) while my heart rate stays low. I really hope so!! The pace was great...but I want to be faster this year!

On our way back to the gym we ran into many cute dogs (I love running through the dog park!). Two stood out for sure, Clutch (who I think is a bull mastiff - one of my favourite dogs) and Nacho (a french bulldog I think). Clutch and I had an instant crush on each other - he was ADORABLE! Huge and slobbering - he even managed to give me a big wet kiss, haha. Nacho was a doll and decided she wanted to run with Esther and I when we left. I was ready to snatch them both up and run away with them!

The gym continues to feel great. I've been focusing on the upper body as I have to get my shoulders stronger. The gym was a bit busier than normal - I know it's going to get even worse in the new year! I noticed the gym is open up at 5am in the new I might have to hit it then!

Hmmm....what to do tomorrow?? LOL.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Ahhhh, Fresh Air!!!

Well, for not being 'officially' in training, and for it being the holiday season, I think I'm doing quite well getting some exercise in here and there! Today I even doubled up!! Will be good practice for the new year!

In the morning I went to the gym and did a wee weight lifting and punching bag session. Was the usual upper body workout, then some kick/punch combos with the bag. (Love doing that now!!)

Then for the afternoon I took the parental unit to the mountains to meet up with Esther, David and her family to do a little bit of cross country skiing!!

Dad hadn't been in a looong time, and it'd been a few years for Mum, but they were quite excited about trying it out again. We got them all set up with rental gear then headed out to the tracked ski area. I was a little bit worried about Dad at he seemed to be just pushing himself along with his poles. 'Uh, Dad, just kind of take this....' haha. But he was doing just fine.

We made sure all was well, then Esther and I headed it out. We skied for about a half hour when my stomach demanded sustenance! So we turned around and headed back to the day lodge. The day lodge that didn't have food or even vending machines! WTF?? Good thing I brought an energy bar...although I did beg for some GORP for Mum and Dad, LOL. As we skied back we saw Mum and Dad making there way along the track. They were doing great! Not that I had any concerns they wouldn't - afterall I got my stubborn determination from somewhere!! haha.

As we were inside having a snack, the parental unit returned. In one piece thankfully. We all sat and had a chat then a group of us went out again. After a very short competition trying to get up the first incline as soon as possible (I'm surprised my heart stayed in my chest cavity!), Esther, Mum and I stuck together for quite a while, then Mum headed back.

Esther and I did this nice loop around the area. It turned out to be a beautiful (albeit chilly) day. There was blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Surrounding us were snow capped mountains and tons of wonderful trees. At one point I stopped and said to Esther 'Aaaah, can you smell that??' (No, I didn't fart, although that wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption, LOL) It was the trees that I could smell, the scent of pine and cold mountain air. Esther was teasing me that I should go hug a tree as I was gushing over it all, haha.

Yet another moment where you stop and say 'I am sooo thankful to be in this place!!' And a moment where Esther and I stopped and thought, hey, we should come up here and take skate ski lessons!!! haha.

So that's what we are looking at doing in the new year! It will be a great substitute for running and as we have snow around - why not play in it?!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


So I'll be the first to admit it....I'm not a big fan of Christmas. In fact, I typically write it 'Xmas', haha. Why you ask?? Well, because I truly hate the commercialism of it all. The commercialism is all about getting, getting, getting. Luckily though, I surround myself with people who are more about the giving part of Christmas, this includes my parental unit.

They have been here since last Friday and I'm loving their visit...but I'm an only child and sometimes need a little 'Susi Alone Time'. So this morning I headed out for a Christmas run.

What a beautiful day for a run!! It was mild out and sunny. I put on the headset and started out. My plan was just to run as long as I felt like it....although I figured I wouldn't go longer than an hour as I had some food to make for dinner!

I felt great running today. My heart rate was a bit high, and I'm not sure why because I'm sure my Grannybear could have walked faster than my pace, haha. After a while I stopped looking at my HRM and just had fun running and listening to tunes. I swear, this is the best type of run to do....just go, run, listen to tunes, and enjoy being outside!!

My run was about 1:02 in length. I even ran up the beast!! Hmmm, should I start counting down till the official IMCDA training starts??

Anyhoo, I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and were as lucky as I was to be able to spend it with family and friends!!!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Punch, Kick, Punch...

Headed to the gym for a wee workout today. It was one of those days where I needed to blow off some serious steam, so I looked forward to hitting the weights.

I kept it to an upper body day for the most part. Three sets of 12 -15 reps of bench press, seated row, pullups, one arm bench press on the ball, push ups, flys and shoulder rotations. I did all these as super sets. I added in a set of step ups for the legs as well, but as I'd run on Friday and Saturday I decided to pass on the squats or deadlifts.

After all that I had still had some steam to blow off so I headed to the punching bag. I'd seen it in one of the rooms many times, but have yet to give it a go. I actually have several years of martial arts training, but I haven't used it in a while. I figured throwing some kicks and punches would be fun so I put on the gloves and got right to it.

Just for added fun I loaded up LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" on the mp3 player to start out, LOL. Man did it ever feel good to beat the snot out of the bag!! Kick, punch, kick, kick! Combos left and right. I'd forgotten how much I loved doing that! I was also really impressed with my technique - yup - I still got it!! haha. One thing I did notice was that because my core strength is much stronger than it was then (did they even know about core strength then??!!), I had even more power behind my kicks and punches.

A funny thing about that power....there was a young gent doing some ab work in the same room where the punching bag was. I think I may have startled the fellow as I was hitting and kicking the bag so hard that the entire structure that suspended the bag moved and rocked a bit. Tee hee. It was a great workout - so much so that I think I'm going to add that to my gym visits.

Don't mess with five foot two of fury I tell ya!!!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

The Elves Parade...

Met up with the gang for our usual Saturday run this morning. The awesome thing was that Joanne brought Santa and Elf hats for everyone to wear!!! What a great idea! Especially as it was a nippy -15C outside. Brrrrr....

I, of course, grabbed an elf hat with bell - hell if you are going to look silly you might as well sound silly too!!

I'm sure the townspeople were wondering 'what the hell....' as they drove by, but we all had fun with it.

I didn't go for too long of a run as the parental unit are in town for the holidays. I got just under an hour in. As is typical, the big group split into mini groups and so Sue, Trish and I ran together for a bit. I wasn't staying out long so bid the girls adieu and turned back after 1/2 hour.

I was running along by myself when I realized something wasn't quite right....everything was serene and peaceful...something was missing. Ah yes! My bell!! It must have flipped up and stopped ringing. Well I couldn't let that happen, so gave it a shake and ran merrily along back to the cafe jing, jingling. haha.

Twas a good start to the day!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Run Test...Part Deux...

Well it was time to test out the 'bounce' sneakers at the lab today. I met up with Lisa at the university and had a million electrodes and glo balls stuck to me again. As she was doing this I was glancing around the lab casually to see if the young Jared was there....he was the fellow that put the oxygen mask on me last time and who couldn't understand what was obstructing it. (Yes, it was the royal dutch nose!) The mask left a bruise on my nose that lasted for a week, urgh.

Apparantly Jared was away for the holidays so I wouldn't have to wear a mask. Oh Joy, Oh Rapture, Unforseen!!!! heh heh.

I did a quick warmup on the treadmill and then it was 'do or die' time. The pace was set at 5.8 mile/hr (85% of threshold) and I was to run this for an hour wearing the shoes. I really wasn't sure if I could hold that pace at first, but in typical Susi fashion I was going to do my best.

I felt great right off the bat. The pace wasn't too bad afterall. The only thing that was a wee bit boring was I had nothing to watch or do....except 'RUN SUSI RUN!'. Good thing I'm a thinker....I knew I could fill an hour, haha.

My first thoughts were about wondering how long it was going to take my body to switch from being really great at short bursts of power, to long sustained power. I figure at least a few years. Good thing I have many IMs planned, haha. Then of course I wondered if I would ever lose any bodyfat during this process. This thought occurred to me because one of my shorts legs was riding up do to the electrodes and my damn thighs were rubbing together. Rats!

I kind of let my mind wander like this for a bit, then remembered one of my goals for the year - to be more focused on what my body was doing as I trained. I've read that if you don't focus on what you are doing you are more apt to slow down and lose technique. As the treadmill was keeping me at a steady pace, I figured I'd better focus on how I felt.

Lisa helped with this because every 6 or so minutes she'd ask me a bunch of questions. What was my level of perceived exertion. Rate how confident, strong, motivated, I felt. How was my energy. Did I have pain.

I'm happy to report that I maintained my confidence, motivation and strength the entire hour. The energy level dipped a wee bit, as was to be expected. I didn't have pain from the run....but the darned electrodes in my shoe were rubbing on my arches. I didn't want to stop to do anything about it because I wanted to have a good test for Lisa. So I just put up with it.

By the end of the hour I was ready to get off the merrygoround. One can only take so much of a treadmill! haha.

Lisa was happy with my test and so was I. Not just because I held pace, but because and felt strong and for the first time in MONTHS, I had no intestinal issues!!! You have NO idea how happy this made me feel. A happy side effect of this test was it has given me some confidence that I will start the IMCDA training in the new year strong and healthy.

Phew....was getting a little worried for a while there! haha.

Oh, I do have a few reminders of my brilliant run. I have 2" x 0.25" blisters on my arches and a wonderful chafe mark from the heart rate monitor. Of course I discovered the chafe as I stepped into the shower and the water hit me. YEOOOOOOOW!!!

Meh, it was worth it. LOL.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Ai Matey!!!

Swim day today!!! I was most excited for a couple of reasons - a) I got to wear my new swim cap that is black with a white skull and crossbones on it (i have a fetish with the pirate flag, haha) and 2) the swim group was going to go for a coffee/tea after.

Today's swim was about endurance. We started out with the usual 200 m swim / 200 m kick / 200 m pull. Then we did 750 m swim / 500 m pull /300 m kick.

My goal for this swim was to focus on technique and maintain power. In fact, my mantra was 'sustained power'. It seemed to help. I felt strong from start to finish. Sure there were moments where I could feel I wasn't pushing as hard...but I would catch myself and get back into right away. It felt really good.

When I was about half way through the 500 m pull, I felt a little tickling on my toes. Mo was right behind me and hitting my feet for fun. Then next thing I knew she just grabbed on! LOL. It was really hard not to snort water as I started laughing. I pulled her for a quarter length. It was was hilarious. Gotta have some fun during these endurance swims!!

Oh, I did notice a residual pain from my sledding trip - my neck has been a wee bit kinked since the ride. Well I got into the pool for the warm up, went to take a breath by turning my head to the left...and found it would only go so far before, OUCH! haha. It was a bit sore but slowly worked it's way out. Phew!

The year is coming to an end, but I feel I'm getting my strength and power back....just in time to start IMCDA training in January!


Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Climb That Hill!!!

Well I made it back from the mountains in enough time to get to bike class. I was wondering if my body was going to be able to handle it though...

You know how I mentioned yesterday about feeling like I'd worked out a few timesright after the ride?? Yeah, well today I REALLY felt every muscle. My back, adductors, neck, biceps and hands were all sore. haha. Who knew eh.

The good news is that when I got on the bike I felt much better than last week. Last week I couldn't for the life of me get into the groove or get comfortable. Tonight, even with the muscle pain I was in the groove. I was able to get my cadence up with minimal bouncing for the warm up. Yay!

The main set was more of a strength workout where we went as hard as possible in a challenging gear for a minute and a half. The class was split in two so we could mock, oh, uhm, I mean cheer them on for their minute and a half and vice versa. It felt really good, but was definitely tiring! I think we did four sets of two for this one. No idea, I was just focused on getting set done, then trying to get oxygen into lungs, haha.

After that we did some one legged workouts in the big ring. The next exercise was basically like hill climbing. We were in a challenging gear and had to stand and sit like we were on a climb. Was hard, but again a great workout. A good prelude to what will be coming in the new year for sure!

After the class we all gathered for a little potluck dinner. The food was awesome! It was also nice to mingle outside of class too and to get to know some of the other gang.

I can only imagine what I'm going to feel like tomorrow though....ow...ow...ow!

Monday, 17 December 2007

The Snow Princess...

Okay, so typically I only write about the adventures that I revolve around triathlon. The odd time though, I’m lucky enough to have an adventure outside of those activities – and today was one of those times!
It all started out with me driving to a wee mountain town in BC to visit my friend, whom I affectionately call ‘The Mountain Mountie’, herewith in referred to as ‘MM’. As soon as I got into the mountains I knew I was in my happy place – there was SO much friggin snow it was INSANE! Oh, and, it wasn’t bitterly cold. Yay! Snoopy happy snow dance time!

One half of the adventure was to involve a snowmobile. Now would probably be a good time to confess something – I’ve never been a fan of motorized sports. I thought if you aren’t being powered by your own body to go fast…then you aren’t working out; therefore it’s not a sport! Yes, I’m a fitness snob. So sue me, haha. Remember this statement as you read on though….

So we got all suited up – many layers of clothing, large helmets (okay, large on my pea sized brain!), and goggles. MM climbed on and I followed suit. Oh, did I mention I’d never been on one of these friggin things before?? So had NO idea what to expect. Actually, that’s not true. I expected a nice, calm leisurely ride up a mountain. Oh how wrong I was….LOL.

As soon as MM hit the throttle I was like ‘Whoa Nelly – this steed has power!’ (Oh, and he barely opened the throttle I should note, haha.) That is when my grip on MM’s jacket tightened a bit more…and my heart rate started to creep up.

As we began to climb he had to hit the throttle even more. Therefore, my grip on him tightened – pretty much in proportion to how much faster we were going, haha. Then we hit a few bumps. Oh, oh, oh! My arse was being bounced off the seat! My athlete prowess then kicked in. (Okay, you can stop laughing at that statement now!) I figured in order to stay on this damn machine I would have to hold on for dear life to MM. This meant my grip on his jacket became viselike, and I also decided I’d need to use my legs, so I pressed my knees against his legs. I also kept reminding myself ‘Engage your core!!’. Haha. I’m such a spazz! I can only imagine what it must have been like for MM to try and drive with me being a cling on!!

Every once in a while I’d have to wipe my goggle lenses off…which meant letting go with one hand. Gulp. It was worth it though, the scenery was absolutely stunning! All the trees from top to bottom were covered in ice and snow. It was like being in the adventures of Narnia! The only time I wished my goggles were covered in snow was when the trail was on the edge of the mountain. I have a wee fear of heights, you see, so I’d quickly shut my eyes till we passed it.

I’m not sure how long it took us to get to where the cabin was, but by then my legs and arms were pretty tired, haha. I have no idea what my biceps were doing but I felt like I’d done 10 sets of curls. Yes, I’m a wimp!

We stopped at the cabin for a while so MM could play in the snow with the sled. It looked like a blast. Who knew you could maneuver those things like that?? There were a few guys out there. One got stuck in a creek bed that was covered with snow. MM and others helped him get out, then he promptly got stuck in the same creek bed a bit farther up. OOPS! LOL.

We then took the sled a bit farther up, parked it and strapped on the snowshoes. I want to take this moment to thank MM profusely for breaking trail. He is 6’2” and even with snow shoes on the snow was up to his mid thigh! Had I been the one trying to break trail all you would have seen of me would be my purple dragon toque peeking out of the snow. LOL.

We made our way to a little clearing in between the trees. MM pressed down a little patch where we could put our packs and then we sat in the snow. It was awesome, I kicked back in my little snow recliner and felt like a winter Al Bundy. I refrained from the hand down the pants thing though….too much snow on me mitts, brrrrrr, LOL.

We enjoyed a little lunch there and just chilled. Kind of literally as after a while one’s arse tends too cool down, haha.

After lunch we wandered around for a bit with the snowshoes, then MM had a bit of fun on the sled while I made my way back to the cabin. I loved every minute of being up there. I don’t think I can describe how amazing it was to be there surrounded by all that snowy beauty. I love moments in life like that!

Soon enough it was time to head back down the mountain, and this is where the real adventure began, haha. MM wanted to take me down the mountain on a different route so I could snap some pics for me Mum. You see, this trait of loving snow was passed down from her. I knew she’d love seeing how much snow was there so wanted to get some good shots.

A good thought for sure, but a bad idea it turned out, as this particular trail was used very frequently and so was basically like a washboard ALL the way down! IT WAS INSANE!!! You know how I stated I was clinging on to MM on the way up?? Well on the way down I had him in a Vulcan death grip, LOL. I have NO idea how the man managed to get us down the mountain safely. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!!) First off I was friggin bouncing all over the place. Thankfully the sled had an amazing cushion or my spine would be sticking out the top of my back right now.

It was everything I could do to hold on. With one bounce half my arse was hanging off the seat. While that cheek was off the seat, the other cheek had a death grip on the cushion so I didn’t go right off. Haha. It was like my arse muscles formed a little hand that was hanging on for dear life! LOL. I would wait for a bounce where I could push up with my legs to get both cheeks back on the seat. This would last a milli second till the next bounce and I was half off again. It was hilarious!
Oh, and did I mention how many times my helmet smucked into the back of MMs??? It’s a wonder he didn’t end up with a concussion! I should add that my teeth and nose were happy that I was wearing a helmet too, haha. Of course the whole time this was going on I was giggling because of how funny the situation was. Perhaps I should have warned MM that if he was going to take me on this little trip that SOMETHING would likely happen. I am afterall, the Princess of Adventure, LOL.

We did get some great shots for Mum though. So I think it was worth it. My body on the other hand isn’t so sure. By the time we’d gotten to the bottom I felt like I’d done a few full body workouts in the gym. So sad…so very very sad. Haha. And I thought I was an athlete! So much for my theory about not getting a workout on a snowmobile!!
It was a great day and one that I will remember for a long time – even the bumps were well worth it!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Just Call Me Ahnold...

Okay, so the last little while I feel like I haven't been working out at all. This is likely because I haven't been working out at all. haha. Well, I have had a few swim and bike workouts, but I haven't been super consistent. One reason I LOVE weight training though is that after a few painful sessions I'm back in the game.

Yes, I have paid my dues by pulling muscles and not being able to lift my arms from my sides and now...I am Ahhhhnold. Well, a shorter more girly version of Ahnold. Fine a shorter, more girly, less muscley version. Tee hee.

I had a great workout today. Focused on the upper body but squeezed a couple squats and step up sets in as well. I finally got in three sets of pushups where I didn't feel like I was going to collapse. I'm getting much better at balancing on the wobble board while doing lat raises too! I love those wobble boards. My core is going to rock!

I worked in sets of pullups with another fellow who was using the machine for dips. Thing is, his sets were damn fast, which meant barely any break (aka rest) for me. And of course because there is someone standing there watching as they wait for their turn at the machine I couldn't slack off in my set even though my arms and back were pooped from not enough rest, haha. Needless to say when I tried to reach up to my locker handle I kinda had to fling my arm in that direction....cause I had no strength to actually lift my arm. By flinging I mean sort of using momentum to slowly swing your arm higher and higher until you can grasp the locker handle. Is quite a sight!

Ah well, that which does not kill us muscles.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Lat Fan...

Time for a swim again this morning! Today was backstroke day. We did the usual 600 m warm up, then did some kicking on our backs, using fins. Jen then got us to do some 6 kick stroke, but on our backs. With fins on it was pretty easy. Next up was doing a one arm backstroke.

I can swim the front stroke like this, with no fins, pretty well. I figure if I ever hurt one arm I'll still be ok for the swim, haha. I wasn't sure how this would work with the backstroke...but really it wasn't that bad. The key was to keep kicking no matter what! Without the fins I would have been a drowning heap on the bottom of the pool, haha.

Once we'd "mastered" the back stroke with one arm, we were allowed to try it with two! I actually really like this stroke. I love how I can feel my lats (latissimus dorsi) kick in. As I swim I keep thinking how I may just one day be able to do the old Lat Fan that body builders do, haha. Yes, I'm weird that I want to be able to do that. (Like me being weird is a shock?! haha) It just looks neat though!!

The last set we did was 75 m front / 25 m back times four. For the 75 m front we were to go slow, medium, then all out effort for each 25 m. Then use the 25 m backstroke as a 'rest'. I'm pretty sure Jen hasn't been watching me swim backstroke or she'd see that it is far from a rest for me, haha.

The sets went well, and I only got hit twice. Flailing arms hit me on the legs, haha. Could be worse, could have been in the face. Yipes! Someone would have gotten a swimsuit wedgie for that one I tell ya!! LOL. Oh, and I only got water up the nose a few times. I think I'm going to bring in my nose plug next time!

I had a great swim today. Worked hard and 'expanded my comfort zone' as I will continually do so from now on. Oh! AND I also had some pretty good flip if I could just perfect the pike part.... One thing that helped was having Maureen swimming beside me. I didn't want to go over sideways (as I seem to do normally) and kick her, so it forced me to go into it straight. Very cool!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Good and The Bad...

Okay, it's been confirmed....coaches make us do things solely for their amusement....

The swim this morning started off normally enough. A 600 m warm up (swim/kick/pull), then we went into some sprints in a pyramid. 25/50/75/100 m front crawl with 15 s rest in between. Then 100/75/50/25 m back stroke with 15 s rest in between.

As I was doing all this I started putting my new mantra and mental strategy in place. "Comfortably Uncomfortable". Kept thinking that AND focusing on what I was doing rather than letting my mind wander. Okay, I admit it wandered for a bit at the start - was thinking about my wee trip this coming weekend. But I stopped myself and said 'Concentrate dammit!!!' haha. So I did. I'm proud to say that it worked. I literally could feel every friggin muscle working when I swam! It was awesome. I felt strong and fluid. This of course is due in part because of my swim coach who's great at tweaking things just a bit so you have the correct form etc.

Speaking of said coach...she is also extremely honest. After we did some catch up matches (where one lane competes against the other in relay to try and catch up with the other lane), she mentioned she wanted us to try something for her amusement... AHA!! I KNEW IT!!! Coaches make us do things so they can laugh! LOL.

So what was it that amused her? Well we had two people at one end of the lane, and two at the other. The first person was to swim all out for a length, then one person at that end would grab the lead's ankles. Then they'd both swim, with the lead person pulling and the last person kicking. Kind of like a centipeded. They'd then pick up the next person. So the middle person is now just hanging on, or being hung on to while the others pull kick. Then you pick up the forth and go for it. It so happened it was boys against girls in this match. I'm proud to announce that us gals won. Not that that's a surprise or anything.... (Boy, I'm going to get it for that comment!! LOL)

Now, I'm not sure how much Jen was laughing while we were thrashing about. See, I was one of the middle people on the last length and could not see because I was too busy drowning!!!

Oh, I should note that on our relay sprints (where lanes were competing as well) I managed to swim a length full out with only taking two breaths. Same with when we were kicking full out. Hooyah!! Good thing it was only one length...took me forever to get lungs to stop burning, haha.

Unfortunately, my bike class didn't go as well as swim class. Thankfully, I've been doing this long enough to know that these days happen and one can't get to upset about it. We started off with the usual one legged drills. I was able to hold good technique till about the 50 s mark, then I was klunking over the top. We did some high cadence spinning next and that's when I knew something wasn't right.

It was taking everything in me to get my damn cadence up. Hell, last week I was up in the 120s and 130s and felt great. Tonight, I could barely make it to 100 rpm and hold it. What the ...? Very frustrating. I kept saying my mantra in hopes it would help. No luck. Alas, I did not give up!

The next set was high cadence spinning in a pyramid. (Was the day of the pyramids!) I think Keith put it best when he said 'my arse feels like a jackhammer on the seat!'. I LOVE that statement as that's exactly how I felt. It was bad enough that I was struggling to get up to the cadence that I needed to, but I was bouncing around like crazy! URGH!! So not fun! The all out spin sets were a bit better, but not much. I was WAY out of the comfortably uncomfortable zone, haha.

I just was not comfortable on the bike tonight. It felt awkward. Heavy sigh. In addition to the arse pain, my shoulder was screaming in pain. IronGreg figures it's from swimming. It hurt a lot last year after we got into the long distance swimming and seems the rest this fall hasn't helped it. It's in the front of my shoulder, which is one of the reasons I've been trying to work on my back in the gym. To try and strengthen it so I don't pinch whatever it is that's there in the front. All I can say is it's an acute pain that shoots down the front of my shoulder. Enough pain to make me cross-eyed at times. Yeowch.

To try and look at the positive side of things, I was riding some of the sets with that arm behind my back to try and stretch it out. So I just had my one arm in the aerobars. Needless to say it was an excellent core workout too, LOL.

Ah well, nothing to worry about. Onwards and upwards!!

Sunday, 9 December 2007


So last night I went to an 'Ironman' party. Was awesome - everyone in Cochrane who was in IMC and their families were there. Three people made up DVDs with pictures and video of all of us that were in the race. It was SO awesome reliving the day. Well, until they got to the part where I was shaking my bootie to 'Baby Got Back' as sung by my coaches kids. I did this on the very first part of the run at IMC. I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS BEING FILMED FOR CYRING OUT LOUD!!!!

Typical Susi - do something embarassing that 50 people get to watch. Is all good though - I made people laugh - you can't do better than that!

So after watching all this Ironman hoopla all I want to do is another Ironman! As the days get nearer and nearer to January my excitement to start training for IMCDA builds. BRING IT!

This excitement got me off the couch today and back into the gym. I decided it would be a leg day. I did a 15 minute warm up on the treadmill - then got to it. First up - squats. I couldn't remember how much weight I used to have on so I started out with 20 lbs on each side. I should add that it totally sucks that I lift such light weights now, haha. I used to be able to have a 45 lb plate on each side! Gone are the days of the great weight!

I managed to get one set of 12 done - but it was hard. I realized I had to drop the weight down further. RATS! The next set I made it to about the 6th rep when I could feel it...well...feel them. My muscles -hammies, adductors and glutes - go ZING!!!! All at once. In unison. OW! Shite! I hate when that happens. No, this is not something new. It happens whenever I go back in the gym and work too hard on the first set. So much for the treadmill warmup, haha. Will I ever learn?! Uh, no. haha.

I managed to finish the set - because I'm stubborn - and even tried a third set - because I'm also stupid. haha. I didn't push the third set though. Went on to do some deadlifts next. I made sure the weight was basically nil and only did a couple of sets. I could feel it, but it wasn't a zing like on the squats.

I finished the workout with some step-ups (they didn't hurt) and some shoulder work. I have to get my shoulder muscles stronger for the season. I noticed they hurt during the end of the season when the endurance was increased in my swim. I also felt it on the bike when I was in the aero position. Not this year!

Should be interesting to see if I can get out of bed tomorrow morning, haha. On that note, perhaps I'll do a wee bit of stretching!!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

-21...Time For A Run!!!

You gotta love the dedication of the runners in this town! It was -21C this morning and there were 21 (coincidentally) at the cafe ready to go for a run! Was hard to tell who the hell everyone was because we all had our touques and balaclavas on! haha.

Of course I was recognizable because my braids were hanging out the bottom of my very purple neckwarmer! In fact, I was quite colourful today. Had the neon yellow club jacket on, bright red mitts (that matches my red fleece), and purple neckwarmer. It kept me pretty warm - along with my double leggings. At least until we rounded the corner and hit the wind. HOLY SHITE!! That's friggin cold!

My warm breath was going up to my eyes, so my eyelashes froze. I'd blink and they'd stick together for just a moment. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, haha. My neckwarmer was getting stiff from the frozen sweat and breath as well. All of us must have looked wild to everyone driving by!

I ran with Trish, Sue and Leslie. We slowly split up as Sue went to run along the river, Leslie was running for a half hour only (she'd completed a marathon last weekend!!) and Trish and I wanted to run for an hour.

I'm not that fond of running through the neighborhoods, but at one point we turned around and we had the best view of the mountains! It's times like that make me so thankful for where we live!

Trish and I finished off our run along the river. Was a bit tricky running in the snow (just adds an extra element of challenge) but it was gorgeous down there. All the trees were frost covered so it looked like a winter wonderland.

I finished off my run in 1:10 hours. The run felt great, but damn, bits of me were super cold by then end!! Didn't matter that I had a ton of layers on. I'm glad I went out though. Now I just need to get out for some xcountry skiing!!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Push, Curl, Pull...

I made it to the gym today!! Did a half hour run first on the treadmill. It was pretty funny as I decided to try out one of the preprogrammed 'routes'. It was the 'trail' program. Ya, right. haha. I couldn't get the damn treadmill to go fast enough at first, but then it seemed to catch up. Unexpectantly. Can you say 'Aiyeeee!'?! haha. Did a quick little sprint to keep up while I frantically hit the 'minus' button, haha. Was great.

I then went and did some shoulder, back, chest exercises. Any guess on whether I took it easy or not?? haha. I also did a few sets of step ups. It all felt great. Will try and hit the gym more often now!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Tag - You're It!!!

Managed to get to the swim this morning - phew! No alarm mishaps this morning, nope! Did a warm up of 200 m swim / 200 m kick / 200 m pull buoy. I felt GREAT right away. A good start for sure!

I gotta say, after having to take some time off to get some health issues in order, and just to take a break from the year, my workouts since haven't been too bad. My bike on Tuesday felt really good and today my swim felt great. My technique was there even better than before. Just another reminder that breaks in training are good!

So after our warm up we did a 500 m time trial. My time was 9:58 minutes. I was really hoping to be closer to 9 minutes. This is all good though. It reminded me of another goal I have for next year....

See, I've been filling out my 2008 goals for Coach IronGreg and thinking about what I'd like to improve upon from this year. I think my biggest goal (other than getting my guts in order, haha) is having sustained power over a long period of time. My background is weight lifting - i.e. short bursts of power. I've been doing that for 20 years trying to get the body to do something different is going to take a while. My other goal, that I remembered this morning and which ties into the above goal, is that I would like to push my comfort zone. (The comfortably uncomfortable zone...)

Actually, IronGreg came up with another way to word it - 'expanding my comfort zone'. Sounds less painful, haha. My first year of triathlon (2006), I was just getting used to swimming and biking. This year, I was getting used to swimming/biking and running for an Ironman distance. So, I did the distances, but didn't really push to sustain power or anything. Heck, one can only do so much!! haha. This year though...this year will be all about expanding my comfort zone so I can really hold the power. Let's face it, it's going to hurt doing that. haha. So I'm going to start mentally preparing myself now. In January, I will concentrate on pushing that 'comfortably uncomfortable zone'. Will be interesting to see what happens!!

But I digress...back to swimming this morning. To finish things up we did a fun little exercise - relays! We were to swim as fast as possible for one length doing front/back or breast stroke, then tag the swimmer who was waiting. I love sprints so it was a total hoot! Coach Jen said that when we do the front stroke we should try not to breathe....hmmmm....she really is trying to drown us!! I managed to swim all out with only taking three breaths. We did this for about 10 minutes so I managed to get in a few turns at all three strokes. Unfortunately my timing for breathing and splashing water during the back stroke didn't work out. Yup, you got it, water enema up the sinuses. Damn! haha.

The very last thing we did was some sculling with pull buoys. Mo and I were having a little much as one can race when you are moving about a millmeter at a time, haha. Next thing I know she's behind me and holding onto my toes so I could 'tow' her along, haha. It was hilarious!

See IronGreg - there IS much fun to be had at the just have to get there!! Tee Hee.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Back In The Saddle Again...

Well after an exciting weekend in Banff, where I came as close to a 'near death' experience as I ever want to get...I got back at it today. Sort of....

I had all my gear ready to go for a swim this morning then hit the bike class tonight. For some reason though I was not meant to go to swim class, haha. I had set my alarm, and it went off at 5:20 like it was supposed to, but for whatever reason the radio station it was tuned to was all static. So I never heard it! I was lying there forever thinking, hmmm, it's got to be time to get up! Here's the thing though - I'm an insomniac, so if I do wake up during the night, I don't look at the clock. It's a little trick so I can fall back asleep without worrying about the time. FINALLY I looked - and it was 7:17am. SHITE! I was really looking forward to swimming!

Not a great way to start the day. No worries, I had a bike class tonight. I figured I'd go early then get some extra biking in.

Before going I drank a 'meal replacement' shake thingy. It wasn't the was hard to get down. Gack.

Got to the tri shop and set up. My friend Paddy was there so I got her caught up in all my weekend fun, then it was time to get back in the saddle. I wasn't sure how the bod would react, afterall it had been two weeks since I'd been on the bike. For the first half hour I just spun it out easily, while chit chatting of course.

Our warm up was some one legged spinning and high cadence spinning. I even managed to get my rpm up to 140! Had a little bootie shakin going on, but not too bad. I was really happy my pedaling - I wasn't getting hung up at the top for the most part. Very cool.

The main set was a pyramid. 90-100-90-110-90-100-90-110-90-120-90-110-90-120-90-130-90-120 rpm and so on. Or something like that! LOL. Seems confusing but isn't when you have IronGreg calling it out. haha. Yes, I'm a lazy triathlete. Just do as told and don't think!

Okay, that's not quite true, I was thinking about my pedaling and trying ot make sure on the high cadence sets that my arse cheeks weren't bouncing off the back of the seat, haha.

Considering I'd had some time off from the bike I felt great. Oh, except for that energy drink that I'd had earlier. Funny how it was really hard to get down....then when I was working out it was hard to KEEP down. Urgh. I just told myself that feeling like you are going to hurl while working out is great training for Ironman...heh heh.

The last set was to do some standing pedaling, then an easy spin. The workout was an easy one, so a good one to get back into it with. It's been a struggle to take some time off even though I needed it - as funny as that sounds. I'm finally feeling that I'm ready to get back into the swing of things now. Perfect timing as my IMCDA training will start in January. I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

How Do Dogs Do This???

Well I was 15 minutes late getting into the pool this morning. We got a wee bit of snow overnight, but it was enough that even at 5:45 am it was chaos on the roads. Sigh.

As I drove into town I passed a semi that had flipped, and when I got into town I had to zig zag all over downtown just to bypass fender benders. At least I got a good 45 minutes swim in!

The first drill was 6 x 75 m (50m drill/25 m swim). For three sets we did the zipper drill, then the last three were the three touch drill. Basically the three touch drill is where you make like the zipper, touch your hip, should, noggin, then stroke.

Next up was 6 x 75 m kick drills. These ones were made all the more interesting as we were not to use a kick board...hmmmm. The first 25 m was kicking with head submerged, using sculling to take a breath. The next 25 m was kicking underwater. Always a challenge for Ms. Junk in the Trunk, haha. My arse ALWAYS wants to surface, haha. The last one was, well, near impossible. We were to extend our arms in front of us, keep our head above water, and kick.

Hmmmm....tricky....I kicked as hard as I could, trying to keep my head above water. As I did so I felt like a golden retreiver or something, haha. My tongue was hanging out too as I gasped for air. Luckily we were to take a 20 second rest at the end of the 75 m. At one point I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest! As I'm stubborn, I managed to get them all done - even if it wasn't very graceful. Meh, graceful schmaceful, haha.

After that it was an easy 300 m. I practiced my stroke and kept an eye on the hair tumbleweed that was floating along the bottom of the pool. Thankfully it was in the deep end. Hack!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Feelin Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

So I tried out hot yoga tonight for the first time! I went with my friend Katie, so she explained to me what happens. I have to say, it was -23 C yesterday with the windchill so I was very excited to get into a room that was heated to 100C and 50% humidity, haha.

When we got into the hot room there were people just laying about. Getting in 'the zone' I would presume. Katie and I picked a spot by the far wall and in the back. Ya, I'm a 'back of the class gal', haha. As a newbie I didn't want to be front and centre...nor did I want to be in front of the handsome fellas in the back, LOL.

The teacher came in and got us going pronto. It was a vinyasa flow class so we did a lot of the Sun Salutation routine, with varying poses in between. I've done this one a few times so wasn't too bad at it, although she did call it out quite quickly. Hmm...aren't I supposed to be meditating and breating with each move?! Rather than trying frantically to keep up with each pose?! The teacher was quite sweet, but she did not have the voice of a yogi master. There was no calm or soothing melody to it, haha. Actually, she'd be quite good at running a boot camp class I think!

No worries though, I was enjoying myself as I stretched, bent, and breathed each pose. I really enjoyed where we'd stop and just lay down on our mats in between. It was to let our spines relax.....sure, whatever you say...wake me up for the next move. Forgive the drool...

We did a few sets of balancing and flexibility as well. For some of the poses I had to observe my neighbor as I wasn't sure what to do. However, I am happy to report that I am still a ninja princess and can balance with the best of them. My ahnold like muscles (yes, I'm totally being silly here) did not like being twisted around though. I just can't cross my quazilla legs and wrap my foot around my calve. It isn't going to happen, haha. Not unless I lose some serious muscle bulk, tee hee. At least that's what I like to tell myself!

The last thing we did was a set of ab workouts. Let's just say that it's obvious I haven't been in the gym in a while. YEOW!!!! "Lift legs and switch, switch, up, down, back, forth, yada, yada!!!" " NEXT MOVE KEEP THOSE LEGS UP THERE!" Riiiiiight. Drill sargeant!

At the very end they dim the lights and let you lie down on your mat. Aaaaaah. Now this is the life. At one point I thought I heard someone behind me making what can only be described as a very low foghorn like hum. I was thinking, 'Dude, I'm trying to relax here...have a little consideration!'. It started getting louder and louder so I wondered if he'd been to some fancy schmancy yoga centre in India and learned some meditative hum. I was not impressed. Then I realized what it was....a cd. haha. The instructor had turned on a cd before she left the room so we could relax to, uh, to.....foghorn humming?!

At least I wasn't the only one that thought that. I brought it up with Katie and she thought it was some guy in the class too, LOL!

It was a fun class though and I know it will help with my flexibility, so hopefully I'll get there again soon!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

What Was I Thinking?!

I hadn't been in the gym in a while, so yesterday when Esther said she was going I thought, hey, I'll join you! I ran for a half an hour on the treadmill in the new bounce shoes, then got into an upper body workout.

I was feeling good, so of course did what I normally do 3 sets of 12: pull ups, seated rows, bench press with bar, one arm bench press on the ball, pushups and flys. No problemo.....until I got into the car and went to drive. Hmmm....why are my arms shaking?? Oh, ohhhhhh....

When I woke up this morning I could feel my pecs, shoulders and whatever muscle that is in front where your arms attach. I had a swim session this morning so figured it would help work things out. Riiiiiight...

I didn't feel too bad in the pool, so, yep, you guessed it, pushed myself. Big mistake.... (At least I had some rest moments when I was fartin around with my stupid goggles cause I couldn't get the darned seal right!)

How tired and in pain are my arms? Well today at work I told someone I'd bring them the scotch tape holder....I extended my arm to reach for the holder, picked it up and just about fell to the floor screaming in pain, haha. I could barely lift it! I swear it felt like 20 lbs!! Ow. Ow. Ow. Too funny. Needless to say I took a ribbing for that one.

Oh yeah, I'm Ms. Big Tuff Ironman - can't even lift a wee scotch tape holder! Sheesh.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


Went for a short run today - just over an hour. Mind you I stopped to pet a really cute looking pug, in addition to a very chatty orange tabby cat, so actual running time was likely an hour. What's the point of running if you can't stop and pet animals?!

The run was really nice, just along the town's pathways. I ran with Sue and Trish for 30 minutes, then turned around and ran back on my own as they were going a little longer today.

I felt pretty good for the most part, although I noticed my heart rate was a wee bit high. I have GOT to stop running in 'the junk zone'!! Practice, practice, practice.

When I got back to the cafe, the usual suspects were there. As I was chatting away, Lisa came in with my spiffy new shoes. These are the shoes that I will wear for a few runs then do my second guinea pig test in. I put them on, then immediately proceeded to jump up an down...yup, I definitely can jump higher in theses shoes. I swear! Afterall, they are called 'Bounce'. In fact, everyone in the cafe could see I jumped higher, haha. Actually they are super cool looking, as you can see in the picture below. How they will feel running....well now....that's to be determined....

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The Navy Seal...

I got to use my new fancy dancy 'The Seal' goggles this morning. Yay! I was tired of wearing the little goggles that squish my eyes - I figure I'm getting old and one day the skin isn't going to bounce back and I'll have little squishy eyes I bought the Seal type.

These are the big type, that I will assume by the name, are designed after something similar to what a Navy Seal would wear???

The first thing I thought when I put them on was 'Holy Suction Batman!'. I pushed on them to create a seal and for a while I thought my eyeballs might suck out of their sockets, haha. I finally got a good seal going without the strain on the eyes. Phew. When I finally got my noggin in the water I was amazed at how much I could see! Thankfully this pool is clean so I didn't have to see any heeby geeby things...aka stray hairs. Gack!

We did a 400 m warm up, then went into a 500 m swim doing 75m swim/25 m drills. We then did some kicking 200 m with 25 m kick, 25 m hard kick. One of the guys in the class was swimming beside me in the other lane so it gave me incentive not to get left in his wake, haha. Noooo, I wasn't being competitive or anything...I just didn't want to be last. Tee hee. Needless to say I was sucking major wind trying to keep up.

Lastly, before watching a swim video, we did 5 x 50 m sprints. During the other freestyle swim Jen pointed out that my arm wasn't entering the water at the right angle. My arm was too straight. Hmm...this is how I'd been swimming the last two years....

So I started entering the water on an angle, likely around 45 degrees, then pulling. Holy hannah that felt weird!! I wasn't sure I was doing it correctly, but Jen watched me do a couple laps and said she could see an improvement in my speed right away. did seem that the tiles on the bottome of the pool were whizzing past a bit faster. (I can see them now with my new super duper goggles!)

The big test came when we did 5 x 50 m sprints. I had a send off time the same as one of the guys. The last while I noticed I have not been keeping up with him. This time though, was different. We started at the same time, but with my new improved stroke I was able to take the lead. Very cool. I was pooped at the end of the 5 sprints, but felt great.

The fun part now was taking off my goggles. Jen was killing herself laughing at me cause I was pulling and pulling on the goggles and the darn seal wouldn't break! Finally I wedged one of my fingers under the gasket and broke the seal. At least I know they shouldn't get kicked off in an open water swim! LOL.

Oh, and no squishy eyes! Just a really nice ring around my eye area.....sigh.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Where Is All This Red Fluff From?!

I didn't get to swim this morning as I have to let the stitches in my arm heal a bit. No need to worry about the stitches....although I did tell Keith they were due to a treadmill mishap, which he believed cause that would be something that would have happened to me - they are actually from some very minor surgery I had yesterday.

So no swim stories to share. I do; however, have some more lab rat stories! First off, OW!!! My nose is bruised! Now I know you are thinking, "What the heck - her nose??? How would she have hurt her nose on the treadmill?? Unless of course she DID fall and didn't tell us...that shifty little.... "

No, no, it wasn't due to the the treadmill. It was from the oxygen mask! My wonderful, royal dutch nose is pretty darned solid. Seriously. I'm talking so hard I'm sure I could crush things with it. It's just skin and rock solid bone. Well, then a bit of a flare and cartiledge at the nostrils, but that was a given! Okay, back to the nose. I was having troubles achieving negative pressure on the oxygen mask, likely because of my strong sturdy boney nose. We positioned it a few times and got it pretty good...but the plastic that formed the mask wasn't as soft as it could have been. It was a bit uncomfortable during the run, and today it is bruised. haha. My poor nose! It doesn't help that I wear glasses and the bridge of the glasses is riiiiight where the bruise is, haha. No worries, we're tough and shall survive.

Another thing I forgot to mention yesterday was how they stuck all that stuff on me. One of the adhesives used to stick electrodes and balls on me was called 'medical glue'. Now at one point, Lisa called it 'SUPER glue'. She laughed it off and corrected herself, but I'm now starting to wonder...I seem to have sticky areas that still have red fluff and blue fluff stuck to it. AND YES I SHOWERED THIS MORNING!! It still wouldn't come off though....even with scrubber gloves. Sigh. Medical glue indeed, I think Super Glue is likely what it was! I should mention it took me a bit to figure out where the hell the red fluff came from...then I remembered the red fleece shirt I was wearing last night. (The blue is from the shirt I'm wearing today.) Ohhhhhhh....

The second thing used to hold the many wires etc to me was medical tape. The fact that it held even with me perfusely sweating, or rather, uhm, glistening, should have been a clue. It wasn't so bad ripping it off some parts of my leg...but it would seem that I didn't quite shave close enough on the back of my leg. Let me just say this, I started to rip the tape off when I felt that distinct ripping, pulling, stinging sensation. At this point I thought, okay, here we go, just like Mum would do....1-2-3 RIPPPP!!! Mmpgfff....

You'd be so proud of me - I did not scream aloud! I did not scare all the students or researchers working. Instead my inner voice screamed a scream that any B Horror Flick director would have been be proud of. LOL. I'm ok though, I survived...

Now what I want to know the hell do women wax their friggin legs??? YEOOOOOW!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Susi The Guinea Pig...

Yup, that's me behind all that gear! I gotta say, what an experience!
As mentioned yesterday I was asked by my friend Lisa if I'd like to participate in a running experiment for a running shoe company. As I'm always up for an adventure I said 'Sure!'.
Actually I was flattered that she asked me as I'm just your 'Average Jill' runner. Not that you needed to be a speedy gonzales for this experiment, you just had to be able to run a half marathon distance. Yup, I could do that! In fact I'm running a half marathon this coming Sunday, haha.
Today was the first of the tests where I'd be all hooked up. As you can see in the one picture I had many electrodes hooked up to my right leg. These would measure how my muscles were firing. I also had reflective dots on me so the many sensors that surrounded the treadmill would record my movements. You can see the red light from the sensor in the other picture. Oh, and if I didn't have enough gadgets attached to me I also had an oxygen mask on. Too bad it wasn't pumping oxygen IN to me. haha.
Getting all hooked up was quite the process. I give full credits to Lisa for knowing all the many places to stick the little cables and dots! I had to laugh at a couple moments as the electrodes had snaps that she had to push on...well my legs aren't solid muscle (YET!) so the little snaps would just goosh right in, haha. Then there was the time when she was attaching things to my hamstrings, I'm quite a ticklish person and it was everything I had in me not to squirm and jump. I did giggle but managed for once in my life NOT TO SNORT! It's a friggin miracle, I know!
While all of this was going on I was silently praying my stomach would hold out. Once again I was having issues. I didn't want to let Lisa down though so I sucked it up and went for the testing. After all, I have run through these feelings many of times, and could do it again....especially in the name of science!
I wasn't sure how I was going to run with all this gear on, but for the most part it didn't get in the way. I did have one of the little balls fly off, thankfully I didn't step on it, haha. As I was going through all this I couldn't help but feel like a real athlete. In fact I kinda felt like Michael Jordan...albeit shorter, whiter, more girly,and without the vertical, haha. Why? Cause I've seen him all dolled up with these wee dots so he could be taped going for a jump shot. I think they do this with athletes for use in video games???

Anyhoo, the time had come - the Ironman Canada 2007 DVD was loaded into the computer so I could watch while running, all machines were working and the treadmill was started! Muscle monitoring? Check! Heartrate? Check! Wee reflective dot recording? Check! Now all I had to do was run!

So run I did.

I've been told that it's amusing to know my thoughts as I go through certain here is what I was thinking....

"Hmm, this isn't too bad. Damn, Keiren Doe looks hot in a wetsuit! Look at his quads! Oh, I wonder if they can see my heart rate just increased looking at him?? haha. Come on tummy, hold on! If you ignore the pain it will go away. Hey, where'd that cute dude go in the other lab? Not that it matters cause I look sooo attractive with all this gear on, tee hee. Good thing I went pee before I got on here. There's Angie on the DVD!!!!! Go Team Tri Life! Man, what a day. I can't believe I was actually a part of that race. I hope I don't get all choked up or something, I won't be able to breath. AAAAGGH. Itchy nose....can't reach with mask on! Do not think itchy, do NOT think itchy! I wonder how long I've been going? Can you imagine if I trip? Hopefully the cables will let go as I fly off the back. Yipes! Ow, shooting pain through guts. Dammit! Okay, focus on tv. Hellooooo Keiren....I love Keiren's dreadlocks! Holy crap look how he rides up that hill? Go Lisa Bentley Go! Man, I SO hope my stomach does not drop out of me...cause there is NO WAY I can get off this treadmill quickly and that would just be soooo icky! It is a treadmill afterall...ew. Bahahaha. Ok, laughter is good medicine. Ow, I think the freezing in my arm is wearing off...starting to feel stitches. I wonder what I look like on the computers running on this thing? Oh! There goes a ball. I wonder if that just flicked right off the back of the treadmill, that would be funny to see. I wonder how long I've been on here? Likely only two minutes longer since the last time I thought that, haha."

I should point out that Lisa had to ask me a question about whether or not my mind was quiet while doing the test....Riiiiiiight. My little mind gerbil never stops!!

As it took a bit to get all hooked up I didn't run for the hour I thought I would. It ended up being about 25 minutes. Lisa also knew my guts were killing me so perhaps she stopped it early for that too. She did say she had good data, phew! If not, I'd be happy to go in again. In fact I will be going back in in a couple of weeks to run with the 'special' sneakers on to see if there is any change in how I run etc etc.

I am very thankful to be part of this experiment. I mean, how many people get the opportunity to be involved in something like this??? It was SOOOO cool! I look forward to the next time!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Bionic Woman...

Today was most definitely a triathlon day....I swam...I biked...I ran....I am now one very tired princess triathlete, haha.

First off was the swim. We did a 400 m warm up, then went into a kick drill. The purpose of the kick drill was to stay on our sides and reach slowly as if we were going to do the pull of the stroke, but not pull and bring our hands back. Amazingly enough I could actually do this - although I must admit at the time I wasn't sure! After we'd done 50 m of this Jen asked if I could demonstrate to the class how it was done. Why yes, yes of course I can, I said with a great big grin across my face!! Go ahead and say it.....KEENER, KEENER. haha. We did 50 m more of this drill using fins...then it was on to 50 m sprints.

We did the following 50 m sprints 5 x 1:15, 4 x 1:12, 3 x 1:05, 2 x 1:00 minutes. I was pretty happy with my swimming because I was completing 50 m in under 50 seconds. This was pretty consistent throughout. On our last 50 m we were to go all out and breathe every 5 time was 44 seconds. I worked hard and it was a great swim!

After work I headed to the Human Performance Lab at the University. My friend Lisa is conducting a study for a running shoe company. What do I have to do? Well, the first thing was a threshold test to find out my lactate threshold. Next I'll do a one hour run at that threshold level (so basically run at my 10 k race pace). I'll do that one more time, but with the fancy new sneakers! (Yes, I get new sneakers....there has to be SOME incentive, haha.)

Tonight was my threshold test. I ran for 10 minutes to warm up, then put on my bionic woman attire. I had a harness that had a battery pack and some sort of thingymajig (yes, I know, very technical) that recorded stuff and transmitted it to the computer. Along with that I had on an oxygen mask whatchamacallit. Damn I looked fine! A good thing too as there was a rather handsome fellow that kept walking past the treadmill...

Lisa had started me off at a pace of 5.2 miles/hr, it then went up in 0.3 increments every 2 minutes. There was a very nice woman helping out. Her job was to count down the last 10 seconds then increase the speed. It was pretty funny cause she had this wonderful German or Swiss accent and would say '3, 2, 1 and now we go up!'. haha. Perhaps you had to be there. As the pace got harder, the 'now we go up' got even funnier. I will add that I was not laughing however, I was concentrating very hard on the little Buddha statue on a desk nearby as I ran my tush off!! I think I stopped after doing a 7.0 mile/hr pace. I was pretty comfortable, but it was getting hard.

Once I finished my run test I rushed over to the tri shop for IronGreg's spin class. Tonight's class involved a 20 minute time trial...also known as ANOTHER threshold test, haha. We did some one legged spinning, then speed ups, etc. After a couple of 3 minutes steady state intervals it was time for the test! Woohoooo!

I actually have never done this before so was looking forward to it. My legs however, weren't so sure... I got into a gear I figured I could handle for 20 minutes and started pedaling. At first my legs felt tired, then they felt uncomfortable, then I didn't feel a heck of a lot...haha. I have to say it all went pretty quickly, every two minutes IronGreg would ask for our heart rates and cadence. In all honesty I am way too tired to remember what I started out at...but I do know I held the gears and my cadence at 90 and my heart rate got to 157.

Needless to say it was a very, very long day...but a productive one!!!

I think this day calls for a great big HOOOOYAAAAH!!! I AM a bionic woman. tee hee.

Monday, 5 November 2007

-7 Degrees and Clear...

I went out for a run this morning around 6am...and boy was it c-c-c-cold! The great thing about going out then was that it was so dark I could see all the stars - Orion's belt, the big dipper, and this really bright star that was beside the moon. I see it most mornings - it's one of the brightest in the sky, but I'm not sure what it's name is.

Because it was so dark I decided to stick to running along the sidewalks in the neighborhood and do some loops, rather than going on the trails. Afterall, I really didn't feel like dealing with coyotes, the boogeyman, or any other saskwatch like creature that was lurking behind a tree just waiting for an unsuspecting short blond jogger to happen by...

It was pretty quiet out there, just the swishing of my jacket, pants and the calming hum of the many diesel trucks being started up and left running. Sigh... damn rednecks! haha. Gotta love breathing in diesel fumes while running! Cough, gasp, sputter!!

My run was easy, only a half hour and I kept my heartrate down. I loved being out there in the dark and on my own, it was actually pretty relaxing. Well, until I got to a cul-de-sac and decided that if I were to do a loop I would have to go through a walkway that would lead me partway down 'the Beast'! Normally this would be ok, but we had some snow on Sunday, which was now ice. So it made the Beast even more beastly!

So now I had to quickly step my way down an icy path, which ran along a spooky dark field. Needless to say I tried my best to get down that area of pathway as quickly as possible without slipping! Eep.

Thankfully I made it down safe and sound. I ran around the neighborhood below min then finished my run off by climbing up the hill to my place. A pretty great way to start the day if I do say so myself!!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Banff Winterstart 5 Miler 2007...

Last night I participated in the Banff Winterstart 5 Miler for the first time. I have to say, I doubt it will be my last time!

I headed to Banff with my good buddy Tigger, who was also a Winterstart first timer. We were meeting up with about eleven others from the Cochrane running club, which was awesome. We do like to take over in our nifty neon yellow club jackets!!

Before congregating at the start line a couple of the veteren Winterstart gals handed us some glo-stick anklets, braclets and necklaces. Hmmm, glo-stick you ask?? Why for? Well, let me tell you, Winterstart is not your ordinary race. It's starts at 7 at night, and you run out of the Banff town centre and into the dark streets heading up Tunnel Mountain.

I wasn't sure why the girls brought out glo stuff as I knew we'd be getting a glo-stick at the start. But as we made our way to the start I started to understand. There were tons of people with glo-stick glasses, Christmas lights around them, head lamps and all sorts of fun stuff. Now these were my kind of people!

When I got my glo-stick from the race gal I had an immediate flashback to Ironman...I looked at Tigger and could tell she was thinking the same thing. This time though, running through the dark would be different...for one...we'd be friggin RUNNING! LOL.

The countdown began and finally we were off like a hurd of turtles! As always in a race like this there is a bit of walking and shuffling at the beginning, but soon enough we were running. The Cochrane gang started as a group and then we naturally split up. Janice and I ran together the majority of the race.

Running through town was easy, but once we got past all the streetlights it was hard to adjust the eyes. Cars would be coming towards you and with their headlights glaring in your eyes you'd lose perspective of the road.

In addition, the organizers had arranged little flashing orange construction lights along the road to guide us. A good idea in theory, but when you have hundreds of people running en mass the lights were hard to see and many a runner tripped over them...including Janice. I'm pretty sure she managed to take out a few of them even with me yelling 'LIGHT!!!'. It was pretty funny actually, I'd yell light, then hear her trip and kick a light, then a laugh as she said she'd gotten another one! At least she didn't fall. In fact, I think it almost became a game!

I knew there was a hill on this course, but wasn't sure what to expect. Would it be as long and grueling as Melissa's? Would my Cochrane hill training assist me once again? We were about to find out.

As we rounded the corner onto Tunnel Mountain Rd. all you could see were bobbing little lights. I could tell people were running uphill, but couldn't guess the gradient. As it turned out I rather liked this. There wasn't a visual to psych me out or intimidate me. I just kept my steady pace and let my feet and legs do all the work figuring out where they had to go. There seemed to be several around me huffing and puffing, but I felt quite good. It was dark out so I have no idea of my pace or heart rate, but I knew I was running harder than I would on a Saturday morning run and yet not so hard I wanted to puke my lungs out. A perfect balance I think! haha.

We rounded the turnaround point and headed back. I decided it was downhill so why not pick it up a bit. I didn't have a time goal for this race because as far as I was concerned it was all in good fun. Personally, these are the best races!! It was still hard to see, but it was a blast running downhill in the dark!! We were bobbing and weaving around people and their wee lights, silently praying that there wasn't a pothole, or in Janice's case a construction light, ready to trip us up as we passed the next person. Weeeee!

At the bottom of the hill we turned the corner and headed back onto the main stretch towards the finish. It was then that I reflected on how much has changed in the last two years with my running. I had a lot of strength and felt great. I was challenging myself, but had a ton of energy to do it. I can't wait to be able have this type of steam at the end of a long race!!

Finally I was back into the light of town and only a few blocks from the finish. I picked the pace up a wee bit more, rounded the corner and finished under the strings of white Christmas lights. My time was approximately 49 minutes. Nice! I had a great run and felt awesome!!

After the race they had a gathering in the underground parking of the sponsor hotel. Beer and treats were available and a ton of door prizes were given away too. Alas, I did not win anything. Is all good though, the race shirts, although cotton, are pretty cool.

Later on Paddy, Doug, Tigger and I got cleaned up, had some grub then headed to the Rose and Crown where we met up with Chris and Chantal. A band was playing named Silo, who were awesome and sang a bunch of my favourite alternative rock tunes. I was in head banging, grunge loving, doc marten heaven!! Of course a couple glasses of Jack Daniels, aka the sweet nectar of the gods, were consumed in honour of the race. Then it was time to dance or jump up and down like a maniac, depending on what your preference was... I managed to get Tigger onto the dance floor and into a mini mosh pit that had formed too!!! Hooooyaaaaah!!

What a great ending to a great race!!! Now if only I could have this much energy and feel this good after an Ironman race! LOL.

I'll definitely be back for next years Winterstart!