Tuesday, 31 July 2007


So all day as I worked the Weather Network icon on my computer flashed a severe thunderstorm warning. Hmmm....I have to bike tonight. As the Clash would say 'should I stay or should I go now??'

Go out? Stay in? Go out? Stay in? What to do, what to do. I could shuffle my schedule, but in all honesty I was too lazy to try and reorganize my week. Heavy sigh. I had to do 60 km and I really didn't want to get caught out there if it started hailing. I've done that before and it hurt like a son-of-a-gun. Another sigh.

I worked from home today specifically so I could be done early and get out for a ride. By the time I was done, it didn't look horrible out, but it wasn't great. So I decided to just stay in and get on the trainer. Ugh.

I haven't been on my trainer in a couple of months - since we have had all this great weather. I'm not sure what's more mentally taxing....being on a bike for 7 hours or being locked in a trainer in your basement for 2 hours. I think I'll pick the latter.

Thankfully I have a small t.v. in my basement so was able to watch that as a distraction. I might add, there is NOTHING on tv in the late afternoon. Just pure drivel really. Too bad the Tour wasn't still on; I could pretend I was in it and trying to keep up. Mind you that would last for mere minutes before a) I would have a heart attack 2) my lungs explode or c) my bike comes off the trainer and I smash into the wall. At least that would add some excitement to my workout though!!

My goal was to keep my cadence around 90 rpm and complete 60 km. The last 20 km were the hardest, I was getting bored. Even the CSI: Miami rerun wasn't keeping my attention. I had tell myself just to hang in there and keep going.

Oh there was one really exciting moment...at about the 50 km mark of my ride the sun came through the window! NUTS! I should have just 'sucked it up Princess' and gone outside. Oh well, too late now.

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to try and get things done early.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

I Admit It...I'm Pooped!!!

Yup, I'm tired. It's been a hard training month and yesterday was a hard training day. I'm still loving the challenge of it all, but am really starting to feel the fatigue. I am sooo looking forward to having tomorrow as a rest day!

My day today started with a 1.5 hour run. I started out from the pool because I was doing a swim afterwards. I decided to do an easy loop through the pathways, which is always nice. My legs felt heavy, but I had a fairly decent pace. It was super hot out again so towards the end of the run I was fantasizing about going for swim! By the time I got to the pool I was also frothing at the mouth dying for some water!!

I couldn't wait to get into the pool, but as I walked out on deck my excitement started to fade a bit. It was packed! I got into a lane that only had four others in it. Tigger and Les were in my lane which was great. I definately needed them....why? Because after a few laps I was ready to show a fellow swimmer 5 foot 2 of fury, haha. He was, as Les termed it, a big swimmer. Meaning he seemed to take up his lane and part of ours with his flailing arms. He was doing this funky backstroke and the one time he went by me he hit my back, which darn near sank me! A little while later, still doing the backstroke he somehow manged to hit me in the stomach. That one definately hurt.

I was a little peeved for a moment so said to the girls 'Okay, tell me something funny so I can laugh this off, cause right now I'm too tired to figure it out myself.' They did a great job nonetheless. We were plotting ways of getting the poor guy back - grabbing his feet and pulling him backwards, or giving him a wedgie, Muahahahaaaaa. Yes, we are evil. Leslie was also correcting herself from the day before...you see she had been describing the "6 inch" nail that went through her tires, but the distance between her fingers was more like 3 inches. Needless to say Tigger and I couldn't let that one go - we teased her that most men would be very happy she thought that was 6 inches. BAHAHAHAHAHA. That one had us in hysterics for quite a while. After that I was able to get back into the swim - still giggling of course.

After 2000 m I noticed another lane opened so I moved over there - just to get away from the wayward swimmer. I got about 500 m done when I noticed that he'd moved over and was in the lane beside me! EEEEEK! Not only that but now he had paddles on...yikes, this could get dangerous. At least he wasn't doing the breast stroke! Thankfully I was the only one in my lane so I just hugged the wall and avoided anymore 'attacks'. I'm not sure how the other guy in his lane managed to come out unscathed though!

The final result of my swim was 4000 m completed and no bleeding or broken bones. YAY!!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Tour de Longview...

Today we were to ride 200 km. Actually, in all honesty, our coach gave us a range of 180 - 200 km to ride...However, if you give a triathlete a range - you might as well say 'go the farthest distance'. Afterall, I think the reason people become triathletes is because they love a challenge! At least that's why I love it. I think, 'how far can I push myself?' and if I don't try to go the farthest given, then how will I know what is the farthest?!

So today was the day Leslie, Tigger and I were to give 200 km a go. The farthest I'd gone so far was 160 km - and it wasn't a great day, haha. Today was a new day though! We left Cochrane at 6:15 am in order to beat some of the traffic and the heat. It was pretty cool out, almost cold even, but knowing what the temp was going to be later on - we were all savouring it.

Our plan was to go to Longview and back. It's a beautiful scenic ride if you stay mostly on the secondary highways. There are some little climbs to get to Millarville, but nothing major - lots of downhill, which means lots of climbing on the way back. Between Black Diamond and Longview it's all climb - no matter which way you are riding.

We decided we'd ride in a pace line, and it was awesome. We'd switch up every 10 km (most people ride just a few minutes and switch, but we were new to this technique so were winging it.) It was a ton of fun though and a lot more social than being all alone somewhere along the highway. We had a great pace and I felt it helped me a lot with my riding technique.

I couldn't believe how fresh I felt when we got to Longview. It's amazing how 'easy' it is to ride 100 km now. Bizarre actually, haha. On the way back Tigger was having a bit of trouble with the hills so Leslie and I switched up as lead so she could draft. I think she may need to switch out the cassette on the back so she has more gearing options. Also, she's been through a tough year.

Let me tell ya a little about Tigger. (And yes, that's her nickname.) As she was waiting in line to sign up for Ironman Canada 2007, she had a couple things on her mind. Her sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and no one was sure she'd make it through that weekend. Tigger herself was also waiting to hear if she had cancer. She'd had a breast biopsy before she left for Penticton and was waiting for the results.

As it turned out, they did find she had breast cancer, as well, they found some of her lymph nodes had cancerous cells. She had a double masectomy at the end of last year and then started treatments. So while we started our training for IMC in January, Tigger was going through her second round of chemotherapy, then radiation. She tried to do some training but was wiped out by the treatments. So her training essentially began in May for IMC. She is one of the strongest women I know, mentally and physically, and I admire her big time! She was feeling a little bummed out about her climbing, until we reminded her she has a very good reason for not being exactly where she wants to be! I was so happy for her today because other than the hills she was having a great riding day.

As the day went on Les had to leave us as she had a committment she had to get to. So Tigger and I continued climbing on our own up to Bragg Creek. I was having a good climbing day and was happy I could help her out. One thing was bugging me though, I was feeling a tightness in my chest after I got out of Millarville and wasn't sure why. The farther we got the worse I felt. By the time we got by Bragg I wasn't able to take a deep breathe and when I did I coughed. I'd had experiences like this when I was a kid, and actually the last time I rode to Millarville I had a similar experience. I'm not sure why, but I think it must be some sort of allergic reaction.

Even with this going on we were holding a strong pace, but this time it was Tiggers turn to lead. She knew I was having some troubles so took over and battled the growing headwind. We made it about 15 km from home when I had to stop. I was feeling worse and was starting to see spots, ie I thought I was going to faint. So we stopped and I kind of slumped to the ground. I figured I didn't look that great as Tigger had a concerned look on her face. She has asthma and thought maybe I was having some sort of asthma attack. In the end my coaches husband kindly drove out and collected me and my bike and took me back home. (I will be forever thankful for that.) I have to admit, normally I would have said to whoever I was with to carry on, but I was a little worried myself and was so grateful for her staying with me.

I was a little bummed as I didn't achieve the 200 km goal, but I was ecstatic that I achieved 184.7 km. I felt really strong, aside from the lung thing, the whole ride, especially on the climbs. Also, the new seat I was trying out was great and the positioning seemed to take care of the neck and back pain that plagued me during my 160 km ride. I know if I hadn't had troubles breathing I would have gone the whole way. I'm totally satisfied with that fact.

What really made my day was that Tigger finished the 200 km, and Leslie finished 195 km (a 3 inch nail going through her tire and rim stopped her just a little short of her goal). It was a really great day for a ride - awesome weather, although damn hot, amazing friends and beautiful scenery. I can say in all honesty, that even though I didn't do the 200 km, I had one of the best riding days of my life. I can't wait to go out again!!

Friday, 27 July 2007

Freak N Fast....

Today was a swim day so I got up before the sun and headed to the pool. I was excited to try out the new swim cap that Leslie bought me. She got it to celebrate my swimming improvement this year, which was such a totally sweet thing to do! I absolutely love it because there is a red piranha on the side with flames coming off of it and the caption reads "Freak N Fast". I'm definately a freak and I'm doing my best to get fast! haha. So it's a very fitting cap.

On todays agenda were 6 sets of 300 m, plus a 200 m cool down. The fun part of the swim was that I was to do 1 set swim, 1 set pull buoy, 1 set paddles and pull buoy - then repeat once more. It's always fun when you can change things up.

I have to tell ya, the first time I heard 'pull buoy', last year, I thought the coach said 'pool boy'. All I could think was, "You want me to put what between my knees??? What kind of establishment is this anyways?!" HAHA!

As for todays swim, well it should be fun...I've never used paddles before!

The first set started off well enough...but not long into the sets my mind began to wander. Some of the thoughts that went through my wee mind as I swam the various sets...
  • I'm hungry....
  • Grab the pool edge and turn...
  • I really need to learn those darn flip turns!
  • 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 and 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4
  • Keep your head looking down...
  • Yay, paddle set is up next....
  • Yikes, how do I use these things...
  • Ahahaha...Oh! Water up nose...no laughing under water!!
  • Oh crikey! I can't grab the pool edge with the paddle...slap, slap...GLUB!
  • Well that was interesting...
  • Focus on technique Suse....
  • Hmm...what are those two girls yapping about in the middle of the pool? CATFIGHT! haha, Not!
  • Dammit, what lap am I on? I really must pay attention...
  • 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9 and 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
  • Wait, was that 10, or 8?
  • I wonder if I'll get triceps like Desiree Ficker using these paddles?
  • Oh, wow, that feels weird swimming without the paddles and pull buoy now...
  • Whoa! suck in ribs, we got a whip kicker in the next lane!
  • Holy Hanna! That dude is wearing a neon yellow bikini speedo!! MY EYES, MY EYES!!! hahahahaha!
  • I guess when you are over 70 you can get away with that kind of thing??
  • Damn, water up my nose again....
I tell ya, swimming can be mentally exhausting! Oh well, at least I'm having fun!!

Tomorrow will be a really big training day...Leslie, Tigger and I are cycling 200 km! Yipes... Wish us luck!!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Princess of the Hills....

Well, in all honesty today started out as a rather crappy day. Nothing to do with training, just one of those days. Thankfully though it ended on a high note!

Things started to get much better as soon as I got to Les's. The sun was shinin', the wind was gustin' and we were going to do hills. As soon as I got on the bike I felt TONS better. We did a short warm up then headed off to battle the first climb - Glen Eagles Hill.

As always the goal was high cadence. I knew it was going to be a great climb as Iggy Pop's 'Lust for Life' was filling my ears....(yes Mum, I was wearing my headphones, but only one earpiece works so I can hear the cars!) Anyways, back to the story. I started out around 70ish, and held it up the first stretch of hill. I picked it up on the recovery portion of the hill. Now I'm noticing the wind - it's gusting and pushing my bike around a bit. No worries, it's just Mother Nature testing me! I held mid 70's for the second to last climb. The last climb is quite steep but it's short. I was able to hold 85 rpm and even got close to 90 rpm! Holy schnikeys - I'd never done that before. How the heck did that happen?! I have no idea what my heart rate was because my monitor was out getting fixed. I did know that I had no moisture in my mouth from puffing so much, haha.

A quick trip down the hill (the really fun part - WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!) and I was ready for another climb. This time it was Cochrane Hill I was going to conqueur. My cadence wasn't as high but I managed to hold 65 rpm and even creep into the low 70's for a short time. The best thing is when I got to the top I had the strength to pick up my cadence and speed once over the hill. Excellent!!

Now I'm stoked. I've done well so far and want to really kick butt on my third, and last climb -back up Glen Eagles. It started out slow, but the Ramones are filling my ears and giving me a good beat to pedal to...awesome....I'm just holding 65 rpm though....not fast enough...I am now trying to channel Natasha Badmann and Lisa Bentley. Can they climb? I have no idea, but they kick ass and I think they are awesome. So Natasha and Lisa it is. I get to the second to last hill....okay Suse...it's time to crank it up! I look at my cadence meter and it's reading 85 rpm. Suhweet. That's the way, keep going! The last hill is coming up...I want to hold AT LEAST 85. Time to get tough! I'm now thinking, "no pain, no gain!" My heart is beating through my chest and I have no moisture left in my mouth. Here we go...the last hill! I look down, my cadence is 101 rpm. Holy shite! KEEP PEDALING! 100 rpm, 101 rpm, 100rpm - I'm doing it! My Natasha smile has turned to Lisa's grimace...I'm still holding 100 rpm - almost there....YES!!! I DID IT! Snoopy Happy Dance Time!!!!

I have NEVER done that before. Last year it was all I could do to hold 55 rpm all the way up. HOOYAH!! I can't breathe but I held 100 rpm!!! That's it, I want the red polka dot shirt! (whoops, sorry Mike - JERSEY! haha). I AM PRINCESS OF THE HILLS!!! HEAR ME ROAR!!!

What a great way to end the day. I'm still giddy about it!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

This Is Going To Make Me Tougher....Right?!

On todays agenda was a 2.75 hr run. As usual, I met up with my buddy Leslie. Pretty much immediately she knew something was wrong with me. We had been running for over a minute and I hadn't started gabbing away. She was correct, stomach was a little off today, again. So instead she took over the gab fest and did quite well I might add. She's obviously learned from the best! haha.

I kept pushing on because I've had stomach issues for so many years now that I know how to just plod along and try to ignore it. Either that or I just burp....a lot! One day I hope to be able to say the alphabet in one long burp. Now how's that for a goal?! haha. Okay, so I'm not that bad. It is a good thing though that Les is no wimp when it comes to that stuff. Then again it was she who taught me how to do a H.V.E.M.!

We stuck to the river pathways then made our way up to the Ranchehouse. They are doing construction on the pathways so I convinced Les we should climb the stairs and take the 'high' route. Sometimes I wish I couldn't convince her, as it was doing the stairs where I was reminded I did a 1/2 Ironman a couple of days ago and she was reminded she rode 180 km on Sunday. Ow, ow, ow. Also we had to pass through some tall grass and it was then I started to wonder if we have rattlesnakes in this here Cowboy country??? FASTER, GO FASTER!!! Definately helped me pick my knees up, in addition to my pace! Not to mention I almost ran over Les.

When we got to the top we headed to the trail. It was a wee bit more overgrown now, which was fine for the first bit. Until we got to the section with very, very, high thistles. Ow, ow, ow. Now either I'm really short or those things were darn tall...likely a little bit of both. We made it through the thistles and now it was just the tall grass and other goodies that smacked at our legs, as well as our arms. There were also tree branches we were ducking...I'm sure in Les' attempt to get back at me for the stairs she 'accidently' let go of one of the branches. Hmmm. By the time we got out of all that stuff I had welts on my legs and arms from little cuts and the pollen that I'm allergice too making everything very itchy. No worries though, I could handle it! In all honesty it was fun running through there, much better than the paths or the roads. haha.

The last half was much better and I finally had a good pace. We were both amazed at how strong we felt during the last bit, even with all the little things that were starting to hurt. The best part was climbing this one last hill on the way home. We had to climb that hill when we were in our half marathon clinic in 2005. It was awesome to see how much stronger we were now. We had just run 2:30 hrs and here we were running up this hill better than we did then. Very cool!

The last thing to test my strength was the blister on my pinky toe that I got at Sylvan. It started to sting really badly. Luckily it was only for the last 6 minutes of the run that I had to run with my right foot slightly tipped so I wouldn't land on it. Ow, ow, ow.

All of these little challenges are going to make me tougher, right?!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Is My Head Shrinking???

Tonight before swimming I ran into Leslie. We were like two little boys comparing our 'war' wounds from the weekend, haha. Hers from falling on the bike on Sunday and mine from the race. I must say we are quite the pair with our scrapes and bruises! (Mine are better of course, haha.)

As for tonights swim, if you ever want to practice combat swimming in order to get ready for a open water triathlon - then go to the Cochrane pool lane swim at night! Holy schnikeys, there were a ton of people there! I got hit a couple times but I also managed to hit the lane marker and the wall. Something tells me it isn't only in the lake that I swim zigzag!

On tonights schedule was 8 x 400 m. I had extra incentive to swim hard and watch my technique....my coach was in the lane beside me. Eep! While swimming I was having issues with my swim cap. It's not the first time. I've noticed lately that I'm having issues keeping my swim cap on. I've narrowed down the reason for this to two theories.... either I'm swimming at light speed and my cap can't handle the force so is slipping off....or my pea sized head is shrinking. I vote for the latter! haha.

Other than the cap malfunction everything was going well - until the hair incident....

I was in my fifth set and I thought I could feel a hair across my lip when I was breathing out in the water. Now something you may not know about me, is that hair grosses me out. Unless its attached to someones head that is. But floating around in a pool, GACK! Its bad enough when it gets caught between my fingers....but near my mouth??? ICK!! It took everything in me not to dry heave in the pool. I would stop briefly at the end of a lap and try and find it but for the life of me I couldn't! It was driving me insane!! I was trying so hard to swim properly, but I HAD to deal with 'the hair'. I managed to finish the set without freaking out too much...I took off my goggles and that's when I saw it. A big long black hair caught in my goggles. It was not mine, and it had been near my mouth! A scream, the likes of which Alfred Hitchcock himself had never heard, was bubbling up inside of me. I had to contain it though, I was in a public pool. Instead, I whimpered and with a trembling hand, I removed the offensive hair and set it on the pool deck. ACK, GAG, HEAVE!!! There is something to be said with swimming in a lake and just having to deal with weeds and lake monsters! I still have the heeby geeby's just describing the incident.

On the upside I had a great swim and finished the 3200 m. I have no idea how long it took me though because I was so excited to get into the pool (the water was nice and cool) that I forgot to check the clock when I started! Oh well....there will be plenty more swims!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Sylvan Lake Race Report...

This race was all about experimenting and testing theory....I would be experimenting with a new 'fuel' and testing out my proposed Ironman pace. Sylvan Lake is known as a challenging course and similar to Ironman in that the bike course is damn hilly at the end. The run course is also a good challenge as it's a partial trail run and also fairly hilly.

So how did it go?? Well let me start with getting out of my car at the race. I had stayed with my friend Nick and his family the evening before in Red Deer and he came out to watch the race. I was unloading my gear from the car when I realized I'd left my two water bottles on the kitchen counter at Nicks. URGH! What a way to start off! Nick of course offered to go get them right away, thankfully we had lots of time. So as he did that I got the rest of my stuff ready.

With all my gear good to go, including water bottles, I headed out for the pre race meeting and the swim. This was a water start, something I'd never done before. I wasn't worried about it though as my plan was to stay to the far left of the crowd. To ease some tension and to make a couple friends in the crowd laugh I did my synchro swimmer impersonation - one leg straight up in the air and spin around. haha. Gotta love the buoyancy of wetsuits! It was after this I spotted my friend Chris treading water. Always nice to see a friendly face and someone to chat with before the chaos starts.

I thought the swim would be harder because of the type of start, but I was far enough over that it was pretty relaxing. The only thing that was hard was sighting the buoy because it was so FAR away! (This was a one lap course.) I'm sure I looked like a drunken swimmer veering back and forth, but I don't trust following other swimmers for fear of ending up waaaay of course. There was one such gentleman that 'bumped' into me when we were about 100 m from the buoy. We both stopped and looked up and the look on his face was hilarious. He was totally lost and shocked that I was laughing - I pointed to the buoy and said 'Uh, you kinda wanna go THAT way', as he was heading in the total opposite direction. That was about it for contact for me, the rest of the swim I just concentrated on my technique and singing 'three blind mice' in my head. I have NO idea why that song popped up, but it did. Rather annoying after a while I might add.

Getting out of the water proved somewhat tricky, the shallow part of that lake extends forever, so a bunch of people were walking. I rather swim it in till I touch sand so had to swim around all these walkers. Very strange. My swim time was 41:09. A little slower than Stony but I account that to the zig zagging I did at the beginning, haha.

The bike was going to be challenging, not just because of the hills, but because I was going to watch my heart rate and keep it down. I wasn't sure if I could do that and still get some speed. The best part about the ride is I didn't feel any pressure! As far as I was concerned this was the experiment and testing part so I was just doing research. Tons went flying by me, gasping for air already. I, on the other hand, remained sitting up and relaxing for the first 15 minutes. This paid off I'm happy to say, as I did not have the usual cramping I get. YAY!!! As I was pedaling along I was singing Janis Joplin's 'Mercedes Benz', it was at this point my coach rolled up in a convertible Mercedes Benz to check on me! Too wild. (She was one of the bike marshalls.) She was happy to hear the start was good so far....now we only had about 80km to go! I learned tons on this ride, like I can keep my heart rate down and spin and get some decent speed. I also learned that I can use a concentrate of my Infinit - a very cool thing as I will be able to carry 8 hours worth in one bottle!

The trick with the concentrate was to make it, then put measured amounts (displayed as marks on my bottle) into my profile bottle. Just add water and 'voila!' I have my fluid. The only thing about this method though is mixing when it's in the profile bottle. My first swig of the stuff and I got a mouthful of salty concentrate...GACK! SPUTTER! No worries, I'll just take out my straw and give a mix. In theory this would work like a charm, however, in practice I somehow managed to stuff my sponge to the bottom of the profile bottle. This now meant with every bump I had the sticky fluid all over me. Even more so when I hit the rumble strips they have before every cotton pickin stop sign! I hit one so hard that the stuff literally splashed me from head to toes. Yes, it took me three of the strips to figure out that I have the capability to cover the open bottle with my hand!!!! I'm such a nerd at times.

At the halfway point I allowed my heart rate to go up a smidge, but I noticed that on the flats it stayed down for the most part. Another interesting result of my testing. When it came time for the hills I felt well rested, a novel idea considering I'd already completed about 60 km of the bike. This was great! I ascended the first hill and had a great cadence and even passed someone. Then the next hill I passed another person. This was friggin great! My legs felt awesome and I had the energy to do it. There was even one spectator, who'd been leap frogging the racers as he was waiting for someone in the race, who kept cheering me on and saying I was doing 'excellent climbing'. Well that's all it took for me to keep charging ahead, and pretending I was on the Tour de France or something, haha. With every person I spotted I decided I would catch up and pass. I was pretending I was Ms. Pacman as I'd get closer and closer and was thinking 'chomp, chomp, chomp'. Who knew hills could be so fun!

As I got back into town, I saw my coach, or rather she spotted me. She was yelling enthusiastically as I told her how good the ride was, that my stomach was fine and that my legs felt awesome. The driver of the convertible must have thought my coach was nuts. haha. The time for the bike was 3:39:19. Not bad considering two transitions were in there! This time was faster than when I rode the course a couple weeks back and I felt WAY better. If I had time in transition to do the Snoopy Happy Dance I would have.

Back to the race though, I still had 21.2km to run. After a quick porta potty stop I was off and, well, running! I saw Nick and Jenn at the start and they both said I looked strong. Very cool. I even felt it!

The run course there is awesome as there is some trail running in it. I LOVE trail running so this was great. My heart rate was a wee bit high, but I thought it might come down once I got into a groove. Apparantly Mother Nature felt it was too high and I should slow down....cause she put a tree root in the way that I tripped over. Oooof! I think was the sound I made as my once vertical body went horizontal then skidded along the ground. Ow. Now that's gonna leave a mark, haha. No worries though, I was up and running soon enough. It wasn't until I poured water over me at the next aid station that I realized I had scraped myself - YEEEOOOW! That stings!

As with the bike, I was starting to pass people in the run. Hmmm....this pacing on the bike really DOES work. I was passing several of the people that had passed me on the bike, and they were looking kind of pooped. Suhweet. I felt like Forrest Gump out there, just running and running. I had tons of energy for the hills and was able to keep a great pace on them as well. Way too awesome.

I have to say that my energy was pretty good through out the entire run. The last 2 km were a bit tiring, but I'd never had this much energy during the last bit of a 1/2 Ironman. Hell, I'd never started a run with that much energy - usually I'm already tired and in pain, haha. The last kilometer was running thru the path along the beach. It was bizarre running through here as there were tons of people on the beach hanging out and bbq'ing. Mmmm....bbq.... As I saw my coach, she was jumping up and down like a madwoman, she couldn't believe my pace. Neither could I. In the end my run time was 2:16:59! A PR for a 1/2 Ironman and on a challenging course too.

My total time then was 6:37:20. I was really happy with it as I expected I'd be about 7 hours with the pace I assumed I'd be at to keep my heart rate down. The experiment was a success then. I learned a ton about how pacing can help you and how to save yourself on the bike in order to have a great run. Oh, and I also learned that I can use the concentrate....but not to squish my sponge to the bottom of the profile bottle. Sigh....hopefully all the water I poured over me on the run washed most of it away. At least the backs of my knees weren't sticking anymore!!

A huge thank you to my friends Nick, Jenn and Paddy for being out there and cheering - it was greatly appreciated!! Massive thank you's to Darcy, IronGreg and Angie for all the instruction on pacing, nutrition etc. It paid off BIG TIME and I'm confident I have a good plan for the big race! Ironman, here I come!!!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Way To Go Cam!!!!

So today I had someone new run with me....my friend and coworker Cam. I'm very proud of him because last week he quit smoking - YAY!!! This is part of his "getting healthy before I'm 30 plan", which also involved the decision to give running a go.....kind of. I'm not sure if he's ever going to go again, but at least he tried it.

I had mentioned I was going running today so Cam thought it would be fun to join me. I kind of forgot to mention I was going out for 1.5 hours. Whoops! All was good though as I figured he could run for as long as he was comfortable, then I'd keep going on my run. We did 10 and 1's to get him started. I have to say, Cam did amazing and made it to the 45 minute mark. Totally awesome! Hopefully I was able to show him how enjoyable running can be and maybe he'll keep it up. Perhaps we have a budding runner or maybe even triathlete in our midsts.....

I love triathlon as it's given me so much, so it stands to reason that I talk enthusiastically about the sport. I hope that my enthusiasm will rub off on others and maybe they'll give it a 'tri' too! Taking up running is just the first step - muahahahaaaaa.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I will be heading up to Sylvan. It should be a great weekend and I'm looking forward to it. My plan is to race at my Ironman pace and practice my nutrition plan. Fingers crossed, everything will work out!!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

You Know You Are A Triathlete When....

You look at your schedule and see you have a 2000 m swim and a hour hilly run and think....huh...it's a really light training day today. Cool. LOL.

The swim this morning went well. A long warm up then 10 x 100 m sprints, then cool down. I continue to focus on technique and swimming strong. I was really happy with my swim - it just keeps getting better. Yay!

It wasn't hard to find hills to run up and down around here considering I live at the top of a hill! I ran up and down four different hills - one of them I affectionately call 'the Beast'. It is what Cochrane Hill is to bikers. Yikes!

I was trying to watch my heart rate up the hills, but I assume my HR monitor's battery is dying down, either that or I need to see a doctor. My heart rate going up a mega steep hill read 73 bpm....very interesting considering my resting heart rate is 66! Hmm, I certainly didn't feel like I was resting, considering I was gasping for air. haha.

I felt strong on all the hills, which is great. Just call me quadzilla!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

That's The Way It's Done...

Today it was time to get revenge on the hill! Last week I had a horrible time and was unable to complete my bike hill workout. Today; however, was a different story....

I had to do three hill climbs on the bike. Each climb up Glen Eagles hill takes about 20 minutes - it's a long hill, about 5 km. Today my goal was to keep my cadence over 60 rpm....and I did it!!! I think a couple times it dropped to 55 rpm, but 98% of the time I was over 60 and even kept it close to 70 rpm. I'm ecstatic about this as I've never done it before. It means I'm bouncing back from last week and I'm getting stronger. Very cool. I was even able to manage that being one gear out of the granny gear!!


Monday, 16 July 2007

I Must Confess....

Last week was not my most positive of weeks. It's embarassing to admit, but I, Princess Positive, was, well, not so positive. In fact I was downright grumpy, a little whiny, definately weepy and leaning towards being negative. Urgh.

I'm not sure what started it all. Maybe the IBS, lack of food, lack of sleep, heavy workouts.... who knows, but it was amazing how fast it all seemed to snowball! You would have thought that I, who has spent most of her free time reading up on mental training and how to stay strong would have seen it coming, but nope - it still got me. 'It' being negativity and fear.

The good thing is it didn't last long. This morning I woke up and, as I had for the past few days, thought , 'my quads hurt and I'm tired'. As I drove to my swim before work I was still thinking 'I'm tired'. In fact, I got to the point where I was trying to figure out what workout I could drop so I could sleep more and rest. It was all I could focus on!

As I got into the pool I was STILL thinking, I'm tired. Sigh. How the heck was I going to swim 3000 m?? It was nuts how much I was focussing on being tired. I'm not sure what finally clicked, but after a few hundred meters I thought to myself, what the heck am I doing???? If I continually think I am tired, well then, I'll be tired! DUH! And if I keep on this path of negative thinking I am not going to reach my goals, and I'm not going to have fun. What the heck have I been reading all that stuff about mental training for if I am going to start this now???

So I stopped thinking I'm tired, and started thinking 'I have energy'. Each stroke was one word 'stroke 1 - I, stroke 2 - have, stroke 3 - energy, breathe!'. And I gotta tell ya, the universe delivered! I had a GREAT swim! I finished my swim in just over an hour and felt SO strong. The longer I went, the more I thought 'I have energy' and the stronger I was.

It was awesome. It was reinforcement of what I have read - that positive thought can be a very powerful thing...and without it, one likely won't succeed.

Now for the funny twist on all this...I didn't have a swim scheduled for this morning. LOL. Because I'm going to do the Sylvan Lake 1/2 IM this weekend, my coach re did my schedule and I had a rest day today....but I didn't realize it!! Oh well, I'm really glad I went swimming - after all, I had a great time and I got out of my slump. Princess Positive is back!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Swimming and Wading Through Mud...

Today was definately less strenuous than yesterday. It started out with a swim in a very empty pool. That's one good thing about getting to the pool early. My workout was 6 x 400 m lengths. It felt really good being in the pool - relaxing in fact. What a difference a year makes. Swimming used to be my weakest event and I felt awkward in the pool. Now it's my safe place. I feel like I know what I'm doing, even if it's not perfect!

After the swim I met up with my friend Ted who was in town, from Texas, visiting for Stampede. I should of asked if he didn't see enough cowboy stuff where he lives that he had to come here?! As he's into adventure racing I thought it would be fun to go do some trail running. So we headed out to West Bragg Creek.

It was a beautiful day out and I'd been wanting to hit the trails for a run as I love trail running. I only had to do a short run today, thankfully. My quads were pretty sore from yesterday so I took it easy and just walked up the steeper climbs. We hit one area that was, well, it was a bog. I stepped in at one point and the mud was up to my mid calve! It was awesome. Mucky, but awesome. Most of the trails were in good shape so there was time for the water and mud to gush out of my shoe. haha. Hopefully I can get out there again for a run...perhaps I'll stay away from the mud bogs though! :)

Saturday, 14 July 2007

160 km??? Yup!!!

Well I've done it...another milestone accomplished. Leslie and I biked 160 km today. Never in my life have I ever done that...and I'm still amazed I did!

I'd be lying if I said it was easy though!

The route was Cochrane to Bragg Creek and back (60km), then the Horse Creek, Bottrell, Lochend loop (100km). Cochrane to Bragg and back was good. I was trying to keep watch of my heart rate, but my monitor was on the blink. Bummer. That made things difficult as I was trying to figure out my IM pacing.

Lots of cyclists on the road; however I must say this...they weren't very friendly! Not many waves or hellos said. As I was wearing my Team Tri-Life shirt I figured I'd better keep waving and smiling or I'd give our team a bad name, haha.

When we got back to Cochrane we made a quick stop to the car to grab some more fluids. I had a cooler full of ice in the back so everything stayed pretty cold. It was SO hot out today I was amazed the ice hadn't melted!

The next 100 km were ok, but not great unfortunately. I just couldn't seem to keep a decent speed. My cadence was ok - I did better than I thought on the hills, which is a good thing. I'm not sure if my legs are tired from the week or what. Towards the end my neck and upper back were also sore. Had I never ridden a bike?! Admittedly I was a little frustrated and fears about actually doing IMC did crop up. I did try to think good thoughts though. After all, IMC won't be all roses either, so I best not get down now!

There were some fun moments as well on the ride, as always! One - I had to come to a complete stop just before the Hwy 1 overpass because of a rather stubborn, pudgy prairie dog. I swear, I tried to shoo him away, but he wouldn't move!! He just sat there, which was troublesome because I wasn't sure which way he'd dart once I got close. The closer I got though - he just wouldn't move!! The nerve!! I had unclipped and stopped right in front of him when he finally decided he'd run into the bushes and, thankfully, not onto the road.

The second thing that was fun was stopping in Bottrell for some water. I'd asked the proprietor of the Bottrell General Store if I could please borrow the water hose out back in order for me to spray myself so I could maybe cool off. Well, the water was a tad colder than expected and I ended up doing this funny water dance while doing it. You know the kind, where you are doing a Snoopy Happy Dance and screaming when the water hits you? Leslie was killing herself laughing at me, then promptly illustrated a less dramatic way of using the hose. haha.

Once we got back into Cochrane we did a 30 minute run. I was surprised as always that my legs actually worked and I could run! Okay, so my Granny could walk faster than my run...but hey, I was still running!!! The last bit of the run was pretty hard as it was just SOOO hot out. YIKES! More fears about IMC cropped up...how would I run a marathon in this type of heat?? Hopefully these concerns are normal. I did do my best not to be too worried. I had to think about the positives, such as this heat would definately be good practice for IMC.

I guess you can't always have great training weeks - and the bad ones are likely the ones that you learn most from and prepare you for what may be the most challenging race you face....

After all this exercise it was time to guzzle mass quanities of cold water and sit in the river and let the cold water soak the legs...aaaaaah!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Better Luck Next Time?!

Well tonight was a hill night. I was supposed to bike up the hill, do a one minute easy ride, then five minutes hard ride. I had to do this four times and I was going to switch between Glen Eagles hill and Cochrane hill. At least that was what the plan was....

What happened was I only got through two hills - I did one hill each. Unfortunately, I battled GI issues for most of today and didn't get enough food in. This meant I didn't have much energy for hill climbs, in addition from having fatigue from the last couple of days. I absolutely just died. It was pitiful.

At first I was really frustrated, and was debating pushing it. With IMC so close I don't want to miss any workouts. But I know I have a long ride (160 km) on Saturday and figured if I push it tonight I might mess up that ride. So I finally decided to head back.

It's times like these that I try to find to find the positives, and as always, there were some! First off, I climbed Cochrane hill and I'd never done that before. Very cool, even if I was a slug. Secondly I rode down Retreat Rd. and I'd never done that before. There were some really pretty flowers along the road that turned out to be Black-eyed Susans. Also, I managed to get two hours of a work out in (yes, that's how slow I was!).

And last, but not least, my friends Esther and David invited me over for dinner and I had an amazing meal with amazing company. (Admittedly I was almost asleep by the time dinner came cause I was so beat, haha, but after I felt soooo much better!) It was a really yummy meal with all fresh veggies and wild salmon. It was the first thing I ate all day that didn't make my stomach go all wonky for which I'm extremely thankful for!!

Always look for the silver lining....it's there!!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Phew, What A Long Day....

This one will be a short one I promise...after all it's been a looooong day...

It started out with a swim before work. I did 2500 m in total with the main set being 15 x 100 m sprints. I was pleased with my effort and managed to stay focused....partly because I was focusing on the necessity of oxygen. haha. Okay, I'm being melodramatic - so unlike me! NOT. Anyways, I really wanted to push myself so stayed focused on my technique during the sprints. The last few were hard, and I was definitely slower than the first, but I'm happy I kept going strong.

Of course then my training was interrupted by work....sigh....I guess I do have to work in order to pay for all this fun!

The evening was spent on a 56 km bike ride. I did the Horse Creek loop from my place. I was a little disappointed with my average speed (24 km/h) and my average cadence (84 rpm), but I still enjoyed the ride. It took me 2:18 hrs. One great thing - it was perfect bike riding weather outside! It was sunny, but not too hot and there was barely any headwind, which was a nice surprise.

Unfortunately, there were a couple not so great moments on the bike. It all started when I hit a bump and lost a water bottle, luckily I heard it go 'thump' so I could stop and retrieve it. Then I noticed my new bottle straw was sitting at about my jugular when I was in the aero position...not very comforting so I had to stop and switch that up, AND my HR monitor didn't kick in. Oh well, all minor details that were dealt with promptly. Lastly, it would appear that two of my little prairie dog buddies (as I'm sure I know them all out there!!) seemed to have met with their sudden demise. Heavy sigh. And for the record, no, I had nothing to do with it. I'd bail before squishing one! They are way too cute and I love the way they run across the road in front of me while squeaking! I think we should all take a moment now and bow our heads in their honor.....They will be missed. Heavier sigh.

As for the last bit of my ride - I managed to get a bit faster, and had a pretty good climb up to the house. It was when I go home that I noticed that I am human flypaper. I have wee black bugs stuck to my arms and legs...I'm afraid to look at my face, or worse yet, between my teeth. (I tend to smile a lot when I bike!)

So icky.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Oh Ya, She Is HOT Out There....

Wow what an awesome day for a run! It's super sunny out and my training/best buddy, Leslie, was back from her holiday - yay!!

We got going around 3pm, peak time for heat! The first bit of the run was good, but it felt like forever since I last ran. My heart rate was really low, but I felt I was going at a good pace. Hmm, maybe it was the heat? We ran from Les' down to the rec centre and along the river. There were a ton of dogs out on the dog run....took everything in me not to stop and pet all of them, haha.

The first bit of the run we just chatted...okay so I did most of the gabbing, but I hadn't seen Les in a week so had a ton to tell her! Of course I let her get in a bit about her holidays too. Before we got to the halfway point we had to stop at the river for a quick splash of cold water, it was just too darned hot out!

At about the 2 hour mark she says to me....'You know....' and there is this long pause. So I'm thinking what's going on??? Then she continues, 'I re-read the CDifferent site and I misunderstood what they said about IM Coeur D'Alene'. (I'm starting get nervous now....) 'It wouldn't be doing the race with a blind athlete, but raising funds for the organization'. She then hurridly starts adding what you get for raising said funds: a wetsuit, money off a Kuota bike, accommodation, entry into the race, etc. At this point I say, in somewhat of a high pitched voice, 'You are forgeting one wee point....WE'D HAVE TO DO THE IRONMAN!!!!'. We both broke out in laughter at this point. I think the people driving by thought we had heat stroke cause we were laughing so hard we were doubled over, and still trying to run. Nice, wait till we've run for 2 hours and I'm tired and hot then hit me with something like this!

Here, we haven't finished ONE IM yet, and we are actually considering doing another! Oh my... I have to admit thought, it got my wee brain processing. Well it IS for a good cause...and the training to this point has been reasonable...and it's only this month that it's kind of nuts....and IMCDA is early in the year... Hmmm...definately something to think about....

After that, the rest of the run was mostly thinking about CDifferent and trying to finish the evenings run. We were both feeling the heat, and my feet were starting to hurt. My thoughts quickly switched to IMC and the marathon. It would be this hot out, if not hotter, when I will be on the marathon portion. It will definately not be easy...good thing it will be hot out for the next while, hopefully it will help prepare me for the big day. Back to focussing on IMC!!!

Monday, 9 July 2007

How Many Laps?!

Well the crunch is on for IMC. I received my next training block from my coach...and to be honest...it's friggin scary!! No worries, I can do this, right???!!!!

Today was day one of said scary block. I had to swim 7 sets of 400 m. The fun part was to time the first 400 m, add a minute, and this was the time I was to be under for every set. Any extra time I was under would be my rest. Now this is all fine and dandy in theory....but in practice, well that's another story.

I kind of saw my time when I started the first set, so had an idea of how fast I needed to be. (The trick here of course is not to go out TOO fast in the first set, after all there are six more to follow!) The next few sets went fairly smoothly, I was close to time and had a bit of a rest. The last few; however, were a little confusing....

As anyone who has done laps knows, your mind can tend to wander. Afterall, it gets pretty tedious going back and forth and back and forth. I can't even do a flip turn so my momentum breaks every 25 m. (I really must learn how to do those!) Anyways, I tried really hard to focus on my technique, per Joe Friels advice in 'Going Long'. However, this is me we are talking about here and my mind goes off in all directions at all times, so the task of focusing on my technique would last approximately 12.5 m each lap, then I'd focus on trying to count which lap it was so I wouldn't forget. 1, 1, 1, 1 and 2, 2, 2, 2. Then my mind would wander again onto what I had to do at work, my heat score of a car, etc etc. You get the picture.

All was going fairly well till about the third set when I was at about lap 10, or was it 12? No worries, we'll start at 10 as I don't want to skimp on the laps. Of course, the same thing happened in the fifth set and pretty much every set I did after that, haha. I was looking at my time on the clock too, and it appeared I was taking longer. Hmm... This would imply that I did do an extra 50 metres, right? Or maybe I'm slowing down cause I was trying to swim hard so I could stay under the inital time that I'm now getting more tired??? Damn I hate these timed sets!!! So for now it will remain a mystery as to how many laps I actually did.

I can honestly say though that the end result was that I did at least 2800 m.....or more, and I was definately tired afterwards. My arms actually hurt, which is a good thing because at least with all the miscounts etc. I know I worked hard!

On to the next day of the killer block!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Oh What Things We Can Learn...

It would seem that yesterday was going to be a day about learning. I went to Sylvan Lake to bike the 1/2 IM course with some of the UCTC gals, Cynthia, Annabelle, Carol and Irene. In the few hours I was there I learned the following:
  1. Everyone should have a cell phone with them, especially the fastest person because if they miss the turn you are to take, it's impossible to catch up to them to tell them!! (I won't say who this speedy person was...good biking though, haha!) Oh, and sorry for saying, 'Nah, you don't need it, most of us have our phones'. Oops!
  2. I can stay in the small chain ring and maintain a high speed and cadence! (I decided to focus on technique yesterday as I was supposed to be on a recovery ride.)
  3. There is some sort of plant that smells wonderfully sweet around the bike route - not sure what it is though. Was a nice break from the canola, which is brutal when you have a good Dutch honker with a strong sense of smell... such as I do!
  4. Eckville is a very cute town , the roads are a little crumbly though.
  5. Canola looks pretty, but smells nasty! It took me till the 80km mark of the ride to realize what it smelt like...someones really really bad breath. I mean the kind that makes you gag and almost dry heave when they breathe on you. Gack!
  6. This is a hard bike route for a 1/2 IM, and the end is very, very hilly. This fact lead me to realize the next point...
  7. I went out to hard in the beginnning, and was pooped by the hills (I can blame this on Stoney recovery, right?!) Now I understand what Greg means by slowly bringing up your speed and heart rate at the start!
  8. My car is a heat score.
  9. The Sylvan Lake RCMP are very kind, even when they take your heat score of a car.
  10. The Sylvan Lake tow truck drivers think they deserve $180 for towing your car a couple of blocks. They aren't as kind as the RCMP.
  11. Alberta Registries say sending out the notification that your car registration is about to expire, is a COURTESY and they don't really have to do it. It doesn't matter they've done it for the last 5 friggin years!!!
  12. Cynthia and Annabelle are more calm in tense situations then I am, especially when I have just ridden 91 km, am hungry, and my car that has my food in it....is gone.

So about now you are likely sitting up and going, huh? What the heck are points 8-12 all about?? Well let me tell ya. Before we went out for a ride, we decided to move our cars from the Smugglers Inn parking lot to the road. Why? Because of all the signs in the lot stating if you were not a patron of Smugglers Inn, they'd TOW your car. Huh. Well then. We should park on the road so we don't get towed. Unfortunately, my car, the aforementioned heat score, still got towed. Why? Because my stupid registration expired....IN APRIL. Don't they send you reminders about this stuff??? How the heck am I supposed to remember??? I don't look at my license plate!! Okay, well I guess I do every time I wash my car and when I put the license plate holder on that boldly states I swim, bike and run. But hey, just because I look at it, doesn't mean I READ it. Ugh.

A few phone calls later, we found the impound lot so I could get my insurance and expired registration, found the registries to get the new registration, and found the RCMP office to beg for forgiveness. Thankfully the RCMP office took pity on the cylist who just rode 91km and who didn't know that the registry notification was a courtesy. This, I'm sure, was in large part due to Cynthia's friendly nature and kind begging. I owe her BIG time. So I didn't get fined for the registration stuff. This was huge because I did have to pay the tow truck company....and if I had to pay everyone, it would have cost me about $500. YIKES!!!

Thankfully, the drive from Sylvan back to Cochrane was uneventful. Although I did learn one more thing.....that the sign that says Hwy 11 West means I'm heading to Rocky Mountain House, not Hwy 2. Oh well, Hwy 22 South was a nice route to take home. Lots of beautiful scenery.

What a day!!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Hmm...I think I'm still tired...

What a night for a ride! It is beautiful out there....but very very warm. I'm not complaining though - I've had enough of riding in rain and cold!

Tonight I met up with David for an easy 60 minute ride. We were going to head west, but noticed the wind was coming from the south east, so headed south first. I can tell I'm still not recovered yet as I was breathing super hard right away on the small hill out of Cochrane (no not THAT hill!). I was able to get some decent speed up, but it didn't last. Luckily the way home was a slight downgrade and we had the wind at our backs. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Tomorrow is a rest day - I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to it. Funny thing is my muscles don't feel tired! Except when I try to do something, like ride my bike or swim. haha.

Saturday I'm heading to Sylvan Lake with friends to ride the 1/2 IM course. Hopefully I'll be rested up by then as I hear it's pretty hilly. Good thing I love hills!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Volcanos and Dead Fish...

It's official, I am a Spazz!! To those who know me, this was probably information that they'd already discovered. For those who don't know me, let me tell ya a story just to prove what a spazz I truly am....

So I stopped by my favourite tri store after work. Greg was going to talk to me about the race and give me some tips that he's learned as he'd experienced similar pains in a race he'd done. Whilst there I purchased some electrolytes called Nuun. I had seen people use them, and in fact Greg showed me they are as easy as 1-2-3. Basically you pop them out of the container, drop them in the drink, and they happily fizz away.

I was heading to the lake for a swim, after being at the store, so figured I'd try one of these little gems. I had a full water bottle so I popped it in there. Now this water bottle is quite nifty in that you flip the top up and this very flexible little rubber straw that POPS! right up. After the tablet dissolved I noticed a little bit of floaty stuff...so I figured I would give the bottle a very gentle little shake.(Some of you probably know where this is going....)

Well I was stopped at a light when flipped the top and moved in to take a sip. That's when all hell broke loose! My water bottle turned into a small volcano. In my car. I had this stream of fizzy water shooting up to the top of my car, and in my face (remember, I was going for a sip when I opened the bottle). I had Nuun water everyfrigginwhere! On the visor, the dash, steering wheel, console, other seat, and ME! It was SOOO funny. Of course the first thing I did was look around and see who might have seen this incident. Luckily I think I avoided detection. Tee hee.

After that the swim was pretty uneventful. I did a couple laps of the lake and am happy to report I only sort of jumped once. (A very large piece of algae - likely the lake monsters toupee - floated in front of me. Ick!) Saw a few dead fish too while I was swimming - double ick! Lord only knows what bacteria is in that lake! Oh well, it will only make me tougher....right?!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

GWN Race Report - Never Give Up!

(WARNING: This is going to be a loooong post. You might want to grab a cuppa and put your feet up!)

What an amazing weekend! First there was the carbo dinner on Friday night – I got to meet up with a ton of people, some I get to see often, others not so often, which was wonderful. They had a performance of Japanese drumming that was brilliant. Too bad they wouldn’t be on the run course on Sunday!

Saturday was all about doing a short swim bike run, getting organized for the race then resting. When we got to the lake the wind was really gusty and the lake was choppy. Hmmm, what was it going to be like tomorrow?? Oh well, time to get in there and figure out how to swim in this just in case Sunday would have the same conditions. We got in the water and surprise, surprise – it was warmer than standing on the beach!! The buoys weren’t up, but there was one out there that was located near where the second buoy would be. I had a bit of trouble with the choppiness and had issues getting the ever so vital air into my lungs, but I stayed calm and mustered through. Pam and I did a short synchro routine at the buoy before we headed back. Fun and games with wetsuit buoyancy, haha. After that I did a short ride and run, I felt pretty good and was confident about the next day.

The rest of the day was spent hanging with friends and meeting new people. I have to say the boys from UCTC are some of the funniest people I’ve met. The laughter was great for keeping any pre race jitters at bay. For some reason though, later on in the evening I started to get a nervous stomach. I’m not sure why as I have done this race before and knew that I was well trained and prepared. Coach Angie said it just meant that I cared. This is true, I did care about this race. I did some deep breathing and tried to relax…in the end a slug of Jack Daniels and then some stretching is what did the trick!. (Kids DO NOT try that at home! Ha Ha)

Race day finally arrived – again I didn’t sleep (that’s two nights in a row, sigh) but I didn’t feel that bad. I looked outside and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky or wind - PHEW! You really can’t ask for anything better. We carpooled down to T1 and I felt surprisingly calm. I was going over in my head everything that I had with me…did I forget anything?? I realized that as long as I had the essentials I would be ok.
I lucked out big time with my transition spot, it was right in front of the tent I’d run through out of the swim. Nice. I’d left my bike there the night before and was happy to see it was still there, haha. I started putting my fuel bottles in the cages and attached my cadence and speed computer. Whoa, what’s this?? Everything is in Italian! Huh?? Does anyone know the word for cadence in Italian?? No problemo, I would adapt. It’s these teeny issues that can sometimes throw you for a loop if you are nervous about a race, but I wasn’t going to let that happen. I set my computer to what I think was the total time and the speed. I finished setting up my T1 and put my run gear in the truck for them to take it to T2. All was well.

Soon enough it was time to get my wetsuit on and go for a warm up swim. Had a little glitch getting the suit on, I noticed my left leg was turned around. Sigh. One day I would master this task! After a few of the requisite wetsuit pelvic thrusts and yanking, it was finally on. Into the water I went. I didn’t go out too far, but I felt really good. For the race I positioned myself mid pack and to the left. It was at this point I realized how calm I felt. I mean it was weird, no stomach jitters, no nerves, just a nice feeling of peacefulness and loving the fact that I was about to do this race. That’s never happened before! Soon enough the anthem was sung, the horn went off and I was running into the water. I stayed to the left and figured I’d just do a straight line to the first buoy. I was amazed that there weren’t more people near me, I mean I could see them all around when I was sighting, and I felt a few ‘taps’, but overall I had a clear path. I got into a strong stroke right away, focused on my technique and just did it. It was amazing! I have never had such a strong swim in a race before. For the first time ever I didn’t have to flip on my back for a bit!! I could breathe and I’d gone out a little faster than normal! Yay! I kept thinking, can this really be happening?? I’m having the best swim of my life. Halleluiah!! Go, Go, Go!! Before I knew it I was back at the beach and running around the buoys and back in I went. Of course I did the dolphin dives because I do love them so! The second lap was even better. At one point I wondered if I was way in back or something because I really didn’t get much contact. I came out of the water smiling and running to the strippers. I’m so thankful they have wetsuit strippers at this race, as I’m even more of a spazz getting my wetsuit OFF as I am getting it on.

T1 – Okay one event down, two to go. I sat down and started wiping my feet off. To my amazement the guy beside me offered me a water bottle to rinse my feet off. How sweet was that!! With all my gear on I was off. I saw Angie jumping up and down like mad because Nola, Jenn and I were all out and running at the same time. I had no idea how long my swim took, but she seemed excited so I guess it was good??

There is a short hill to get out of T1 and as I was going up it I looked down and noticed that the straw for my profile bottle was gone. Hmmm, that was not a good thing. Okay, these things happen. This is when one must remain calm and come up with a solution. No problem, I have two bottles on the back cages, I’ll drink those then stop and pour what’s in my profile bottle into one of my other bottles. Yes it will take time, but that’s life. With that little issue addressed I focused on my biking. My plan was to use the section to the overpass as my warmup then focus on keeping my cadence up as well as my speed. As I made my way into Stony I could feel a cramp start on my right side. What the heck was that all about? I haven’t really taken in any drink. Nothing to worry about, just ride it out. It was at this point I noticed someone lost a profile bottle…hmmm, should I grab the straw?! No, just keep pedaling. I was getting passed quite a bit, which is normal for me. I still need to work on biking a bit more, haha. I was starting to count all the Ironman tattoos going by, wow, there’s a lot of them out here! Now, some people might get discouraged by getting passed so much. Me, well now I like to put another spin on it. I kicked their butt in the swim! Had I been able to do the Snoopy Happy Dance on the bike I would have.

Now I won’t go into all the deets of my bike ride, cause then we’d all be here forever reading this thing – even more so than we are! Lets just say the cramping didn’t get better…in fact, it got worse. I had my coach’s voice in the back of my head saying ‘No matter what take in calories!’. So even with the cramping and discomfort I keep drinking the Perpeteum and taking water at the aid stations. The things I made sure of was that I stayed positive no matter what and that I pedaled as fast as I could. I could get through this. I have a Dutch/Scottish heritage. What does that have to do with triathlon?? I’m friggin stubborn! There was no way I was going to let this get me down! I kept pedaling and trying to keep my speed up. (I didn’t actually know what speed I was going, I was afraid if I looked at the computer that I’d see a slow speed and it might have a negative effect. So I went with feel.) I had some great moments on the bike passing some on the hills, and FLYING down into the valley! It was after the turnaround point I had one very short teary moment as the pain was getting acute and I felt like someone was stabbing me in my abdomen and low back. I was also having an issue with ‘mini-pukes’. Not enough to hurl, just enough to get into throat, ugh. At that point I must admit, I had a fleeting moment of doubt about finishing. But it was only fleeting because I realized if I didn’t finish I wouldn’t be able to wear the ‘Survivor 2007’ shirt. Big deal some would say…but this years shirt was special….it was PURPLE! My ultimate favourite colour!!! There was NO WAY I was going to stop. So I tossed any time goals I had and said to myself, just ride. This is not about time anymore it’s about finishing. Do your best and DO NOT GIVE UP! So I rode. I smiled. I tried my best. At one point one of the gals from Cochrane went by and asked how I was – I told her and she actually passed me Tums on the bike! Haha. I took them, but unfortunately they didn’t help. I was grateful for her kindness though. Finally I was back in town, I had no idea what time it was and I didn’t care. I needed to get myself prepared for the run. I was going to try it and see what happens.

I really wasn’t sure if I had enough ‘fuel in the tank’ for the run. I was only able to get down one and a half bottles of Perpetuem and I should have had three. I tried a bit of gel at the start, but it didn’t go down very well. Bummer. Time to dig really deep and just do it. I put on my smile and started running. I thought to myself, just run between aid stations and drink water. Just do your best. My stomach still didn’t feel great, but thankfully the sharp pains were subsiding a bit. Ken, my coaches hubby, was at the 5 km mark he asked how I was and I told him. He said just to keep running and take in Coke and water at the aid stations. So that’s what I did. Instantly the mantra ‘one by one, the job will get done’, popped into my head. I was going to do this. This is what racing and pushing yourself was all about!! For most of the run I did better than I expected. I kept my goals small, just aid station to aid station. I smiled at everyone I saw and kept a positive mindset. I love the out and back runs because you see so many of your friends out there. Seeing them gave me energy and kept me going. All went well till about the 17 km mark. It was then I could feel the dreaded bonk coming on. I had anticipated it happening because of not being able to take in enough nutrition. The last 4km were very hard for me, physically and mentally. My smile faded some and I just kept thinking ‘You aren’t that far from the finish, just keep going, one foot in front of the other’. At this point I hadn’t walked except through the aid stations, but I did decide to walk a very short bit, just enough to regroup. Then it was go time. Lets get this thing finished. I was counting off the kilometers. With 1.5 km I saw Ken and Doug. Ken asked how I was, all I could say was ‘Bonk’. He smiled and said only 1.5 km to go – just keep running!

The last few hundred meters were very emotional for me. Annie ran down to meet me and cheer me on, I was ready to burst into tears because I was almost finished and I couldn’t believe I did it with how I had been feeling. Leslie and Angie started running with me too. Leslie kept going with me around the corner, that’s when we both saw the time clock. I was just under 6:20 hrs. Leslie just started hollering to run and so I could get under 6:20 – so with what little I had left in me I ran - hard.

My finishing time was 6:19:37. HOLY CRAP!! I took over 30 minutes off my time from last year!!!! Had I been able to jump up and down I would, but I was having troubles just standing so instead, with Leslie’s help, I walked and tried to let it all sink in.

My official times were as follows: Swim: 40:25, Bike: 3:16:51, Run: 2:22:23. PRs in every event.

My goal this year was to push myself physically and to race a half Ironman. I feel I accomplished that goal. Not only did I push myself physically, but I pushed myself mentally. No matter how much discomfort I felt I maintained a positive attitude and it’s that attitude that’s going to get me through IMC!!