Friday, 31 August 2007

The Aftermath....

I had been warned about the post IM blues. I wasn't sure if I'd be hit with them or not.....I think I might have them a bit...but I'm not sure if I'd call them the blues.

It happened as I started my drive from Penticton to Grand Forks where I was going to visit some friends. I was driving down the first part of the bike route, which is also the run route. It felt weird driving it - remembering all that went on in the run. And that's when I started to think 'what if'....

I swear, I hate the 'what if's'. They are brutal!! It takes so much energy to not go off on a tangent with them. I was starting to question my nutrition that day, 'what if I didn't take enough on the bike' (which I might add I knew I didn't because my stomach was going on me). Then I questioned 'what if I just pushed myself harder through the stomach pain?' Then other questions popped up 'what if I tried the chicken soup sooner', 'what if I forced my Infinit down' etc etc. You get the point....I'm a thinker...that's what I do. It can be a real pain in the arse sometimes though!

While I was visiting in GF I was ok. The questions seeemed to cease or at least fade a bit because I was having fun getting a tour of the town and talking about the race and how it felt, etc. Not to mention my friends were proudly telling their friends that we met that I had finished an Ironman. Yes, I was beaming, haha.

When I got back in the car though to make the drive back home the thoughts came pouring back. This is what happens when you have a 9 hour drive and no one else to talk to!! haha.

Believe it or not, it's taken me till now to stop all the what if's. I finally allowed myself to accept that this was my first Ironman and I didn't want to push the run. Simple as that. I'd never run a marathon before so I had no idea what to expect. This is the reason I didn't push myself past the GI pain I was feeling, why I didn't try the chicken soup earlier on, why I allowed myself to walk more than I wanted to. I was scared that if I did push and things got worse I might not be able to finish the race. Bottom line, my goal for the day was to finish!

Now I know some of you would have come to this realization much sooner than I did, and you get a gold star for that. Thhhhpppptt! LOL. For me though, I tend to have to, and excuse the expression, beat a dead horse till I figure it out.

I didn't have a time goal per se, but I did have an expectation. Based on my physical capabilities I felt I could come in around 14.5 hours. I guess that even though I'm ecstatic that I finished AND crossed the line with Tigger, I was a little disappointed that I was out there so long. (I feel bad writing that I should add.) Such is life though. We all set expectations for ourselves.

Have no fear though, I'm not all poopy about the whole thing. I just needed to think all that stuff through. And even with all that junk going through my head I'm super happy about a lot of things. A) I completed a friggin Ironman!!! My dream came true!!! 2) I stayed positive even when things were getting rough out there and C) I crossed the line holding hands with one of the most amazing women I know. Nothing can take that away!

Who could ask for anything more?!

Monday, 27 August 2007

16:05:15 hours Part 1....

 I AM an Ironman!!!

Well, it was far from easy, but I did it. I can't tell you how amazing it was to hear the announcer call out my name and tell me I was an Ironman as I crossed the finish line. I'm also honoured that I got to finish hand in hand with my buddy Tigger.

This blog will likely be the longest I've ever written, so you may want to grab a coffee and put your feet up, haha.

The day started with the body marking. I got down there for about 5am - parking was a total beyotch at that time I might add, haha. With around 2700 competitors though, it was to be expected. Gave Mum and Dad hugs, tried to control tears that started to come to surface - geez you'd think I was walking the plank or something rather than doing something I'd been excited about for a year!! - and bid adieu. It didn't take long to get through the body marking then it was time to put all my nutrition in my bags and get my wetsuit on.

I got to see a few friends before the race, which was great. Nothing like a hug and the wish of luck to get you going! I found Les in the porta potty line looking a little frazzled. Turned out she'd left her timing chip at the hotel room. Her awesome hubby was rushing back there to get it. I asked if she needed me to make her laugh or something - which she did. We stood there talking for a while, then proceeded to don our neoprene casings. When we were done we found Rob and Les got her chip. Phew!

The only thing left was to head down to the water and see if we could find our family and friends on the other side of the fence who were waiting with anticipation. It was a wonderful, fun, happy moment as we were able to spot all and give hugs and be giddy. Both of us were super calm going into the swim. If you'd ask me last year if I'd be like that, I would have burst into hysterical laughter. Ah what a difference a year makes.

The swim itself was great. Every 'Ironvirgin' was to the left of the group. The group I might add was the largest group in history for an open water swim!! I pretty much watched the majority head out then started making my way. The water is quite shallow for a bit and the people in front of me were walking so I did too. Once in the water I had a pretty contact free swim. (Thank you oh Gods and Goddesses of Ironman!!) I did, however, get off track a smidge at one point - soooo not surprising! You know you are in trouble when you take a breath and spot one of the aid boats right there. I popped out of the water like a seal, looked around for the buoys, then started heading in the right direction. Whoops! In all honesty the swim felt like it took forever. It felt good for the most part though, some calve cramping towards the end, but nothing I couldn't work around.

As I got out I spotted a bunch of the gang cheering me on. A truly wonderful sight! Next it was into the change tent to get my bike gear on. It was great to see Jenna's smiling face as I headed in. I was so happy about the swim.

Off on the bike I went. I followed my plan of going slow at first, sitting up and not taking in any fuel (aka nutrition, Infinit mix). It was surreal riding through this gauntlet of people cheering us all on. What a boost! I will save all the details of the ride in order to make this somewhat short...haha. I got to see Mum, Dad and the rest of the gang on the way out. I think they were as happy as I was that I made it out of the swim.

The ride to Osooyos was really nice, I kept watch of my heartrate to make sure I didn't make the mistake of going too hard then dying on Richter and Yellow Lake hills. Just about into Osooyos I got a flat on my bike tire. I totally fluked though as I was just about to seal the tire and I flipped it upside down and there was a wee piece of wire sticking out of my tire! If I hadn't spotted it I would have had another flat in no time. (Note: I should have made a cursory look in the first place - saw a thorn sticking out though and thought that was it so didn't check the entire tire....duh!)

Richter Pass was great. I felt really good (all that hill climbing back home paid off) and I made sure I took my time. Coach Ross always says it's best to 'lose' Richter, in other words leave your ego at the bottom and let the groups pass you cause Yellow Lake is there to kick your butt if you go too hard on this one.

As I was climbing up the pass a lady commented to me about the big smile I had on my face. I called back to her, why wouldn't I be smiling - I'm doing Ironman!! There were lots of cheers after that, made me feel good. haha.

Heading through Keremeos and the out and back was a pretty strong headwind. I'm used to headwinds so it didn't bother me that it was there - but it sure took a lot more energy to get through it. The out and back was a lot longer than I expected as well.

I managed to get a bit of a tailwind for the Yellow Lake climb. Again I felt good on the climb. (I'm sure I should train to be a climbing specialist for the Tour, haha!!) It was AWESOME to see the Cochrane gang at the top of the hill. Esther ran beside me for a bit (yes, that's how slow I was going) to ask how I was and tell me I was doing great. I was grateful for her being there!

Heading into town felt like it took forever. I was getting tired and my stomach wasn't doing as well as I hoped. The wind was really taking a toll too. I did my best not to think of the marathon coming up - but once in a while a little worry crept into my brain.

By the time I got to the change tent for the run I was pretty beat and my stomach wasn't doing well. I really don't know why. Unfortunately with my intestinal issues I never know why it goes when it does during races. When I got into the tent Jenna was there for me. I admit I had a wee breakdown as I was changing and told her I was worried about the run. I swear she channeled Les at this point cause she grabbed my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said 'This is when you dig deep Susi'. It was exactly what I needed to hear. The worry stopped and in my head I said 'time to just do it'. Thank you so much for that Jenna!!

Heading out for the run I was amazed my legs were working. Joanne and Caroline were out there to cheer me on - I can't say enough about how much this meant to me to see all the Cochranites out there supporting us. There were a blessing!!! When I passed Angies kids they sang the first bit of 'Baby Got Back' to me. It was AWESOME!! I tried to shake the bootie a bit...but the legs were already a bit tired.

For the first, who knows how many kilometers, I just tried to make it aid station to aid station. I wanted to do mile dedicators, but instead I was concentrating very hard on putting one foot in front of the other and trying not to vomit. I also was using every mantra I knew to stay positive and keep moving forward. I kept trying to take in some nutrition cause I knew it was going to be a long night. On the run I saw Greg, Chris, Mr. Mike B, Mike B #2, Tricia, Cynthia, Janice and Les on the run. It was so great to see them doing so well. I was really happy for them. Les came and gave me a hug as she knew I was struggling. She reminded me that I could do this, and I was going to do it. Then she gave me shite for running up a hill, haha. Love that girl!!!

I'm not sure at what point Tigger met up with me. I was definately thankful for it. Her knee was giving her a spot of trouble - she took a tumble on the bike! At this point I was doing more walking than running as my stomach took a left turn for the worse. It was at this point I think we decided we were not going to leave each other. We'd make it through together. We ran when we could and power walked when we couldn't. During this process I found a little stuffed bear on the road, I picked it up and sure enough it had a shirt that said 'Princess'. Well if that wasn't an omen or what?! haha. (Yes, I tend to joke about being a Princess, but I swear I am one without the diva attitude!)

We made it to the halfway point finally. I think it took us around 2 3/4 hours or something. Her hubby Bruce was there to encourage us and too check up on us. I decided I was glad I had the chocolate in my special needs bag. I was getting a bit dizzy and figured I needed a strong sugar boost, even though I was thirstier than all heck and sugar is not the greatest thing to ingest at that point. It did the trick for the dizziness and I managed to keep it down.

Tigger had never run that far so we were pretty stoked about that...and the fact that we were now on the way home! Along the way we got to walk with Steve King for a mile which was a total honour. Also we saw Sister Madonna Buder - a legend in triathlon. She is 76 years old and has done about 17 Ironman's. Including Kona several times!!! She is truly inspirational and it was great to be able to cheer her on too.

With about 8 miles left we were both starting to get a little worried about making it back in time. After all, they only give you 17 hours to finish....and we had about 3 left. If we were running it wouldn't be an issue. But we were both hurting a lot and running was very difficult. With about 6 miles left I was doing some run/shuffle move while Tigger power walked. We never left each others side and we took turns at positive talk and encouragement.

The last few miles were total autopilot for us. We were getting to the last out and back and we did our best to run it. We both just kept saying - we're almost there! We are going to do this!! We are bleeping Ironmen!!!

Coming through the crowds in the stands and listening to the announcer call out our names and proclaim us Ironman was incredible. I can't describe it. We were screaming and had our hands in the air at that point. WE DID IT!!!!! It was AMAZING!!! Of course as soon as we crossed it was all hugs and tears.

I could NOT have done this without Tigger. There was a lot of mental talk going on in my head on the run from start to finish, and I promise I didn't get negative. No matter what I was going to keep moving forward and do my best to get to the finish line, nothing was going to stop that. It definitely helped having someone at my side through that process though!

I also know that I had several angels out there watching me from Alberta, BC, Ontario and Argentina. Every time I crossed the timing mat I thought of all of you. You have no idea how much you helped me in this journey. Through this blog I send you a cyber hug and a very large thank you for the encouragement, the text messages and emails. I'm truly blessed to have so many out there that care about me and I give thanks for it every day.
After the race I was in ok shape...which faded quickly. Thankfully Mr. Mike B. was there to take care of me. I am SO thankful to him for being at the finish for me and for sticking by me and guiding me after. It was a wonderful surprise!!

My brain and body were starting to shut down pretty soon after, and it was at this point, he, I or one of the IM people decided I should visit the medical tent. I ended up getting an IV and some anti-nausea meds. It was enough to get me to Mum and Dad (who were pretty worried from about halfway in the marathon on...) and get back to the hotel.

A huge thanks to Mum and Dad for being with me every step out here. They were awesome putting up with my moodiness a few days ago and were so helpful getting me to where I had to go, helping carrying everything, keeping me calm and being an awesome cheer squad. Dad even rode my bike home last night cause it wouldn't fit in their car!!! Love you guys lots!!!

All the gang that I mentioned the other day did TOTALLY AMAZING!!! I'm really proud of all of them - they have all inspired me to continue on this path and to strive for better. It's funny, I'm really happy with what I accomplished, but what makes it even sweeter is how everyone else did!! YAY GANG!!

So that's it for my Ironman 2007 experience. I've already been asked if I will do another next year....I'm registered and have till September 20 to decide. I have to say that as of today I don't want to do it. However, I DO want to do another Ironman. It's just that I really want to work on my endurance and try to nail this nutrition thing for another season before doing another Ironman. So maybe I'll sign up with Les for Ironman Coeur D'Alene 2009. We'll just have to wait and see.

For now I will relax for as long as I can (likely a day knowing me, haha). (I would like to get a nap in today; however Mum and Dad have swiped all the napping spots in the hotel!! Yesterday was a super long day for them too!) I have signed up for more swim lessons starting in a couple of weeks and I'm taking some non-tri specific courses. I'm going to get back in the gym too and work on tri specific strength training. Somewhere along the way I will figure out which half Ironmans to do next season. There are about four that I'm interested in.

So it's not the end of the fact, this is just the beginning of my triathlon adventures!!!

PS I'm doing ok today....definitely muscle soreness, everthing hurts really, haha. The stomach has settled down thankfully. I wasn't sure what I'd do without solid food!! I want my Bridge Mixture reward!! haha.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

It's Showtime!

It's 4:30 am. I'm up, got my gear ready to go and am sipping on my wonderful Infinit that will get me through this day. Listening to a little Eminem and LL Cool J to get me pumped. I had a good sleep last night, so am feeling great.

Weather should be really good for us, a high of 23C with a sprinkling of rain.

Time to get down to body marking.....

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Hmmm...What To Do...What To Do....

I'm torn...pulled in two directions...what do I do? I just found out that there is a marathon 'Best of Family Jewels' on tomorrow ALL DAY! How can I miss hour after of hour of Gene Simmons?! IMC vs. Gene Simmons....Alright, I'll do IMC! Sheesh. Best not let all this training go to waste hey?

Today was a much better day than yesterday. Less chaos! I met up with Janice and Leslie for a swim and bike. The funny thing was Les and I forgot our swim caps, goggles, and ear plugs! Okay, I'll take that as a sign not to swim. I had a good swim yesterday anyways. So off we went for a very short 20 minute ride.

And guess who we saw?! Lisa Bentley and Heather Fuhr!!!!! EEEEEEEEEE!!! Irongoddesses they are! Just being near them has to be good luck!

Once we were done our workouts we made our way to the gear and bike check-in. I gotta tell ya, that can be so stressful. You keep going through your head everything you put in your bags - did I remember my sneakers? hat? Should I wear arm warmers tomorrow or jacket? I've got all the clothes I need right? Once I left there though, I just let it all go. I finally felt relaxed and calm. I have checked and rechecked everything and I can do no more.

What better way to celebrate having gotten everything checked in first thing....but to go shopping! I finally went to buy some stuff from the IM merchandise tent. Yes, everything is a little overpriced, but hey, this is my first Ironman and I want some goodies!!

You'll be proud though, I did show some restraint, I only bought one bike jersey, a bag and two hats (one each for Mum and Dad). In all honesty though, the only reason I showed restraint was because I intend on buying EVERYTHING that says 'Ironman Finisher'!! haha. This will be available on Monday and come hell or high water, crawling or walking, I will be there at 7am when the doors open to buy, buy, buy. haha.

I met and hung out with the Mr. Mike B for a little while. He scored me some free IM socks - very cool and soo kind!

I got back to the hotel at lunchtime and chowed down. This would be my last big meal. After that it's all about grazing till about 5pm. Then liquids only.

Shortly after eating it was naptime. As I, for some unknown reason, have been waking up at 4 am the past few mornings I fell asleep easily. In fact both dad and I were happily snoring on the coach/futon for a good hour. Like father, like daughter! haha. I have no idea how Mum ignored all the racket!

I feel really good now. Have all my nutrition made up for the day, clothes are ready, last minute lists completed, and I've done all my stretching. Now it's time to chill out until bedtime, which will be quite early. This time I HAVE to get up at 4am! I want to be at the body marking area by 5am, then I can put last minute stuff in my gear bags and get on the old wetsuit.

Hopefully someone will take a picture of the transition area - it's massive. There are approximately 2700 competitors here and we all have one bag for the swim-bike transition and one bag for the bike-run transition. Then there are our bikes. It can be a little overwhelming running out of the water and trying to find your stuff, but the volunteers are always amazing and I'll do a 'dry run' tomorrow before the swim so I know where to go etc.

Before I sign off here I want to thank everyone for all their good wishes. I will be forever grateful and I feel truly blessed that I am lucky enough to have so many care about me. I'm sure it's hard for some to understand why the heck I wanted to go on this journey and I don't think I can ever explain it other than saying this is my lifestyle and I love it. But you supported me anyways and I thank you for that.

Tomorrow will be quite the physical, mental and emotional challenge. I'm ready for it though, and I promise to do my best!!!

For all my friends out there racing; Leslie, Tigger, David, Janice, Angie, Mr. Mike B., Greg, Cynthia, Chris, Mike B #2, Jeff, John, Michelle, Martin, Jamie, Serge, Linda, Kevin, and Sandra, I wish you the absolute best the day may bring. I hope that everyone achieves their goals!

Leslie, thank you for 'forcing' me to sign up last year. It's been a totally amazing trip and I am so thankful I could share it with you. Love you lots - go kick some ass!!!


Friday, 24 August 2007

It's Official....

It's official...I'm registered and have the nifty wristband to prove it! haha.

Today was a rather busy day - not quite what I had hoped for, but that's sometimes how things go. The day started with registration. It wasn't that bad, only took about a half hour thankfully. Something strange happened though. I was feeling great while getting my number, signing my waivers, getting weighed, showing id, getting the wristband and the swag bag, but when I left the tent a wave of emotion came over me. My friend Joanne was standing outside and said 'how are you feeling?' and tears all of a sudden started rolling down my face. (I will state right now that it's totally embarassing for me to write that, but it's the truth.)

She told me not to worry that I was prepared and not to be scared. The funny thing was, I know all that. I know I'm prepared and I'm not scared. I've done all I can possibly do!! So what was with the tears? Unfortunately I have no answer for that. What I can say is obviously my mental training is going to have to kick in now, not just on race day.

There's a lot going on around here. Tons of triathletes, swim sessions to fit in, trying to remember all I have to do now that I've registered, etc etc. I'm starting to think that race day will be a relief! Afterall, it's taken me an hour to pack all my gear bags so I can hand them in tomorrow morning. Hopefully once that is done I will be able to relax.

After registration, Mum, Dad and I drove the bike course. I wanted them to see what their baby girl was going to face on Sunday, and I wanted to reacquaint myself with the course as it had been a year since I'd rode part of it and driven the rest. It felt really looooong in the car, haha. I had to remind myself that I've biked further than that and I could totally do this!

After dinner I headed to the race meeting. Do you know there are people here that have raced Ironman at least 20 times! 20 friggin times!!!! Well hell, if they could do it, so could yours truly!

I got to hang out with Mr. Mike B. after the meeting, thankfully. He's a very calm person and whenever I'm with him I seem to take on that calm feeling. Exactly what I needed! It was nice getting away from all the hubbub just walking and talking. I'm starting to get back that peaceful feeling that I've had the past few weeks. Thank you Mike!!

While we walked, I ran into my cyber tri buddy Jenna - it was so awesome meeting her! I'm glad she is going to be volunteering and hopefully she will sign up for next year. I know she can do it - she's just as crazy as I am! haha. I also ran into my friend Chris, my backcountry skiing saviour, which was great. I know he is going to kick some serious butt this year!

Time to hit the hay now....I have a very short swim/bike tomorrow super early, then I'll take my bike and gear to the check in. I'm also going to register for next years don't get into a tizzy over this. I will have two weeks after the race to decide if I do it again. I think of pre-registering for 2008 as a little insurance....

Only two more sleeps now....if I get any sleep that is. LOL.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Welcome To Penticton...

Well folks, I'm here!!! The mecca of Canadian triathlon - Penticton!! HOOOYAAH!

Yesterday was a day spent going over my list of things to pack, packing, going over list again, then again. And that was just for my triathlon gear!!! (A mere two pages I might add...) Then I had to figure out what I was going to wear every other day, after all, I gotta look good, haha!

I picked Mum up at the airport last night as she was my co-pilot in the car today. (Dad was driving up from home and meeting us in Penticton.) We were very lucky in that we didn't have many long waits for construction traffic. We even made it through Kelowna in 15 minutes - I'm sure that's totally unheard of.

There was one wee moment where both of us were, well screaming...but not super loudly. haha. I was in a passing lane going by a rather large semi (are there any others??), on a corner, doing oh, I dunno, about 140 km/h...when another semi came by us doing a pretty good speed. I have to say it was a little intimidating being in between the two trucks as we screamed on by (we all had our own lanes of course). Mum was holding my teddy bear, Spencer, and she had squeezed him so hard it was amazing he didn't sh*t his stuffing! BAH HAHAHAHAHA! We had a huge laugh over that one. Don't worry though, Spencer is over the trauma of it all now.

Once in Penticton we had a wee gathering where John and Joanne are staying. They were gracious enough to host a potluck for all of us crazy Cochrane triathletes...there are 15 of us here for the race plus all our families! Lots of pictures were taken, hugs given, and good luck wished to all the IMC veterans and newbies. It was great.

Ooooh, I also have to tell you - I was totally spoiled today! My friend Chester (her nickname, haha) bought me a gorgeous Ironman pullover, and yup - it's got purple in it!!! I also got an awesome IMC sticker from Michaela and Teresa - I love the Haida art they have on the stuff here! I will admit it...I got a bit weepy when I ready the cards given with the gifts. I have a feeling that might happen a few more times before the much for being tough! haha.

Later on it was time to take in the kids 1km run. Teresa's daughter, Michaela, was in it and rocked the course. She chose not to take my advice and knock over the kids in front of her so she could get by though! Go figure. haha. It was great to see all the kids giving it their all....if only I had that much energy! The smallest ones were likely 2 years old. Exceptionally cute! Would be neat to know how many of them end up doing Ironman when they are older.

I did manage to scope out a bit of the Ironman goodie tent at the athletes village. I want to take more time to pick and choose what I want so I'll go back there tomorrow.

I'm starting to fade now...the drive and the excitement of the day is catching up with me. Tomorrow is registration, shopping at the IM tent, swimming and the pre race's all starting to feel very real now... Yipes!

I LOVE BEING HERE!!!!! Hmm...I think I feel a Snoopy Happy Dance coming on....

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The Journey to Ironman....

At the beginning of my training for Ironman Canada I heard someone say that Ironman isn’t a destination, but a journey. I liked the sound of that so I made a conscious effort to savour every moment up to the big day. Starting the blog up after the first race of the season enabled me to capture and share some of those moments.

Now the big day is almost here. Many have asked if I’m excited about the race. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited, but at the same time I am not in a hurry for it. I want to take the time before the race too look back at the last 8 months of training and celebrate all that I have accomplished because for me, it has been a life changing process…

I don't know how I transformed into the person I am at this moment, but somewhere over the last 8 months the girl who had confidence issues and battled anxiety for most of her life found an inner peace. I am so thankful for where I am today – and I’m totally blown away that it was this process of training for an Ironman that seems to have gotten me to such an amazing place in life. I am mentally, physically and emotionally the strongest that I have ever been in my life. That is a gift that is worth more than anything I can accomplish at IMC. No matter what happens on race day, and lots can, nothing will take away what I’ve done to get to this point.

On August 26, 2007, I will participate in the 25th Anniversary of Ironman Canada. As I swim, bike and run 140.6 miles I will think of all the amazing people that I’m blessed to have in my life, I will think of all the funny moments that have happened, and I will think of all that I have accomplished. In other words, I will celebrate the journey that is Ironman.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Oh To Be THAT Fast....

So I waited and waited...but the weather was not looking up and I wanted to get my bike workout on the trainer I went.

I cranked the tunes on the MP3 player and pedaled my wee heart out. I was having so much fun during my known fav song 'Baby Got Back' that I damn near tipped the trainer over. Mental note: Do NOT shake bootie and pedal hard at the same time! Well at least that added a little excitement to the workout, haha.

I was quite pleased with my cadence and speed - I maintained a cadence between 95 and 100 rpm and my average speed was 36 km/h. Oh only if I could do that on the roads!!! I cranked out 30 km in about 50 minutes. I don't think I've actually done that before on the trainer so I was pretty happy. Oh, and yes, I did have the resistance on!!

I will have to remember how that feels so I can become a speed demon on the roads next year!!

The organization for IMC has begun. I have my list made of what I need on race day, and nutrition. Next up will be my process goals, which I already know but have to get down on paper!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Crawl You Say??

So before I went out on my run today I decided I should probably read through the novel that is the 'Athlete Information Guide' for IMC. Most of it was pretty straightforward...what you need to do when you arrive in Penticton (oooh, feeling the butterflies in my tummy now...), schedule of events, where to register, etc etc.

Next they go into the individual events. Swim - no you can't wear fins, or floatation devices. Damn, there goes my idea of wearing water wings! Bike - no tandem bikes allowed. Oh come on - I thought I could take my mum for a wee tour of the course that way! Run - no form of locomotion other than running, walking or crawling is allowed. CRAWLING?! Well now, no one told me I would be allowed to crawl in this event. Now I have to remember to pack some knee pads in my special needs bag! I might also note that this is the number one point under the run rules!! haha. Crawling. Sweet. Do NOT think of Julie Moss..Do NOT think of Julie Moss. LOL.

Ah well, anything can happen the day of the race I guess. I, personally, plan on sticking to the running or walking part thank you very much. But thank you for allowing me that third option. Urgh.

Run today was good, only an hour. For the most part I had a little bounce in my step. I took a bit of an extended break part way through when I saw a friend of mine just finishing up her run. We chatted about IMC and how I felt. It was great to be able to say I felt ready for the race and was fairly calm about it. (Thoughts of crawling aside...)

The last bit of the run I was a little tired, but still managed to climb the beast with a pretty good pace. Now it's time to stretch....I'd hate to have reversed all the wonderful massage effects from yesterday!!

Friday, 17 August 2007


Okay, so I opted for a massage instead of a run today...the run was short anyways...AND a massage counts for training time! You'd think this would be a little perk; however, I might have been in less pain had I run!

My wonderful massage therapist, Erin, came over yesterday to help me work out some of the kinks, as it were, that I had been dealing with in my shoulders and calves. I think I should point out that Erin's massages are not the 'dimmed light, ocean sound soundtrack, vanilla scent filled room' variety that you may get at a spa. They are meant to work out all the knots I've accumulated since the last time I saw her - and boy did I accumulate a lot of knots!!

As soon as she started in on my shoulders I realized I should have seen her more often. Ow, ow, ow! I swear she's a muscle knot diviner. She just naturally glides her hands to the one spot that will bring an instant grimace to my face. 'Oh, here's a spot', she says. I just kind of grunt a 'yup'. Had she a mirror to see my face through the little hole in the massage table she'd see it completely contorted, haha.

There have been many times during the last 8 months that I've heard the expression, 'no pain, no gain'. This expression could most certainly be applied to this massage, haha. It's all good though, a much needed part of the training. At least it makes me more aware that I need to stretch more!!

As she left Erin wished me luck on the race. I thanked her for the help she's given me the last while, afterall she's part of the 'team' that has gotten me to IMC. Without her I'd likely be a crumpled mass by now, haha.

Better go stretch now...ow, ow, ow....

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

So This Is What A Slug Feels Like....

Ten more sleeps and counting!

I am apparantly on track for how I should be feeling at about this time...which is very, very sluggish. Sigh.

It's a good thing I know several people who've made this journey before, otherwise I'd be in full blown panic mode right now. My teeny workouts have been sloooow. I feel like I'm giving them my all, but I feel very heavy as I do the workout. I am assured by the various Irongods; however, that this is perfectly normal and I will be totally fine on rest day. Phew!

Today was supposed to be a 4000 m swim. I admit though, I was only able to complete 3000 m - and it took everything in me mentally to get that done.

Other than the workouts I am fluctuating between being excited about the race and being tired - and having the odd feeling of nausea creep in, haha. Oh, and last night I had an interesting dream that woke me up at 3:30am. I dreamt that I had a great race day....but that I couldn't find the finish line. So I just stopped, and therefore DNF'd. EEEEEEK!! I'm suprised that when I woke up I wasn't in a cold sweat, haha. To combat this negative thought I went back to visualizing my perfect race. Ahhhh, my happy place.

It will be interesting to see what other emotions and feelings I go through in the next few days! Hopefully no more dreams like that - there are just so many other wonderful things to dream about!!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Oh Sunny Day....

Yay, it was sunny and warm out by the time Leslie and I went for our ride!! We had a 'mere' 40 km ride so took 1A to Grand Valley Road and headed north.

Although Les and I have ridden this road a number of times, this time she let me on a little history. Apparantly our friend Tigger's husbands family farm is along that road, who knew?! AND about 10 years ago there was a grisly murder in Cochrane and the bodies were dumped along one of the side roads off Grand Valley. GULP! Okay, so much for my little piece of heaven! haha.

I would report that there were no incidents for once...but of course I can't. We did have a little HVEM mishap, although Les would state otherwise.

In her opinion, the draft zone is not there in order to remove mechanical advantage, but it so one can release some mucus and not get it on the rider behind them. Well then I guess I was a little too close in the zone cause she let a booger rip and I got the spray. EWWWWWWWWWW!!

In truth, I'm still laughing about it now. It's probably a good thing I don't get grossed out that easily. haha. Of course she STILL doesn't believe me when I say it sprayed on me. I swear though, this was not one droplet I'm talking about, these were several droplets....on my bare arm. Thankfully I felt nothing on my face, LOL!

Ah well, the rest of the ride was a good one...I made sure I was in lead just in case she wanted to go for my other arm.

After the ride we did a 10 minute tempo run, followed by a 10 minute easy run. I think Les put it well when she said even though we feel rested, our bodies are telling us otherwise whenever we try and get some speed going on our runs. We both noticed it Saturday and then again today. I was running hard, but at the same time felt I was going so slow. My heart on the other hand was stating otherwise as it practically was beating out of my chest!

Tapering is definitely a good thing!

Monday, 13 August 2007

The 12 Step Program....

So a few days ago I received an email from my coach, Angie. In the email was a document outlining Lisa Bentley's '12 Tips for Ironman Tapering'. Cool, I thought, I could use some tips as I've never tapered for an Ironman!

Now I won't go over all the tips because one can easily do this by going to her website; however, there were three that are definintely standing out right now...

'Keep moving, but don't do anything that you don't usually do...' Hmm...perhaps I should have paid more attention to this one. You see, yesterday after my chilling bike workout, I went with 7 amazing friends on an afternoon whitewater rafting trip. I didn't really think to much about it at the time. So what's a little easy paddling on the river? Heck, I'd whitewater kayaked on that river a ton of times - it'll be no problem!

Riiiiight. Perhaps I should have taken into account who I was paddling with - three first-timer Ironman athletes, one seven time Ironman triathlete/coach, two kids of steel triathletes, and to spice things up - one amazing musican and proud supporter of triathletes. All was well for two thirds of the trip - some waves, much laughter and lots of water. Things slowed down though for the last bit of the trip. The rapids were gone and the water calm. We weren't having to paddle much, and we were starting to get a little chilled. That's were we, the 'always working triathletes who have not yet grown accustomed to tapering' started to get a little antsy.

Who knows who brought up the idea, but the next thing I knew the competitive side of all of us, yes even the musican, came out. We HAD to pass all the other rafts!! GO! GO! GO! Stroke, stroke, stroke! Yay - we were passing all the other rafts!! We are triathletes, hear us roar!! I think our guide was in shock... I'm happy to report we did pass all but one, but only because we'd reached the end of the journey.

Today, however, I realize that perhaps trying to beat everyone was not a great idea. Why? Because I have discovered there was one muscle I apparantly did not work out these last eight months, my right gluteus medius. Why this muscle is quite sore...who knows! But I now understand what Lisa was trying to say. haha. Oh, and I'm sure it'll ease up in a day or so. (It was worth it to pass all the other rafts though!)

'Be extremely organized...'
Now this one is not hard for me - I'm all about organization. You have to be when you have to juggle a workouts, friends, family, and work. I'm pretty sure there is an unofficial triathlete check box somewhere.... 'OCD?' 'Yes!' 'Good, you are qualified to be a triathlete then.'

I think I'm about to take this organization thing to the extreme now though....all I can think about are lists. Lots and lots of lists.

I thought I'd take to the taper well. I mean, I wasn't looking forward to it becuase I loved all the training I was doing, but I know I need to taper in order to be prepared for the race. Some would say I'm insane for thriving off such long workouts, but hey, if I weren't insane would I be doing an Ironman?? Let's ponder this for a moment...

What I didn't count on, though, was having to replace thoughts of training and all that comes with it. What's that saying about idle minds? Now I guess I could focus on other things, like enjoying the reduced training....but instead all I can think about are lists. The little gerbil in my mind is working overtime on his wheel and he's not slowing down. I keep thinking about what I need to do before I leave for IMC, what I'll need to do once there, what I need for the swim, T1, bike, T2, run, after the race, etc etc.

All day I was jotting down notes on post-its so that I wouldn't forget all my little thoughts about what I need to do. These, of course, will all go into one master list! I have a feeling that within a few days my office will be covered in post-its... Oh my! At least then maybe the gerbil can take a rest....

'You will not need as much food as you did during your intense training...'
Whoa Nelly! Back up just a second....what do you mean not as much food?? of the perks of Ironman training is that I can eat as much food as I please and not feel guilty!

Okay, so I went a little overboard with the Bridge Mixture early on, but I gave that up in July after GWN and promised myself I wouldn't have them till I finished IMC! I might add that the cravings have not ceased. Drool...

Oh, and the 36 pieces of sushi I ate was just carbo loading for my 3 hour run! Mmmm...sushi....

FINE! I'll reduce my caloric intake, but I'm not going to like it. Sigh. Oh, what's this I see? 48 hours before race day I should top up my energy stores?? BRING ON THE SUSHI! Oh, and seeing as I'll be near Tickleberry's in OK Falls, I might just have to stop in for an ice cream too! Afterall, I don't want to be nutritionally depleted on race day!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

POP! Sssssssss.....

It was pretty chilly out this morning when Leslie and I went for a ride. I think the t.v. said it was about 7 C - Yikes! IMC definately means something to me because normally there would be no way you'd get me on a bike outside in that weather. Well, maybe a Harley if I had a bunch of clothes on, but a tri bike...Brrrrrr... Oh well, it wasn't raining so I really had no excuse.

We didn't get very far when I heard the dreaded POP! Ssssssss sound. Urgh. I thought I'd missed that rather jagged rock. We stopped to check out my tire and sure enough there was a nice cut in the side. Luckily I had a patch to use, a lesson learned from the last time I put a hole in my tire and had to call Leslie for a pick up. Just as I finished repairing the tire Angie and David rolled up. We had a breif chat about how friggin cold it was and why exactly were we out there?? then we all headed out.

By the time Leslie and I made it to Bragg we had both lost feeling in our feet, and Les had lost the feeling in her hands. We were planning on doing 80km but made the decision to just do 60 - it was too damn cold!

We stopped at the Shell and shot a large hot chocolate to warm up - go figure - hot chocolate in August!! Was it not just two weeks ago that we'd leave at 6am with shorts and sleeveless tops and be pouring sweat by 7?? I said to Les we should get those toe warmers like I use in skiing. The big question now was would they have them mid August?? As luck would have it, way up on a shelf they had some! Les was skeptical at first, but I assured her these were going to save our ride home.

Aaaaah, sweet relief as the heat made its way up through my toes. Okay, now I think I can make it home without losing a toe or two to frostbite!!

The ride home was awesome because it's really quick - we managed to hold 36 km/h for the first bit...yes, it's a slight downgrade! Hmmm...think we wanted to get home quickly?! The sun started to peak out towards the end which really helped too.

Once home we did a quick 20 minute brick run. I almost tripped when Leslie said 'Just think, at this time two weeks from today we'll be on the bike course at IMC!' Gulp!

IMC here we come!

PS Jenna - I hope your race went well today - I was thinking about ya - especially when my tire popped! LOL.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Ice Bath Anyone....

It was a run/swim day today. Met up with Leslie this morning in front of the coffee shop and off we went. It was so nice to have a 'short' run to do. Our task was to do 15 km with some faster paced intervals thrown in for fun.

As is the norm for Les and I, we were dressed like twins without even having to call each other. I didn't bother to comment on her light blue jacket that matched my light blue jacket when we met up. However, when we both got too warm for them and removed them, well I just couldn't keep my mouth shut about the fact we were both wearing the same Policemans Half Marathon tech shirt!!! What can I say, great minds think alike! We shouldn't be surprised about this by now, but we still burst out laughing every time we do it.

For the intervals we were to use a pace that we ran in our half ironman. I seemed to have forgotten to read all this and look it up, but luckily Leslie did. At the 8 km mark it was time to throw in an interval. So we picked up the pace. 'Are we at pace yet?' I asked. 'Not yet...', 'How about now?' 'Nope' 'Now?' 'No dear.' 'HOW FRIGGIN FAST DID WE RUN AT STONEY ANYWAY????' I said, somewhat loudly, and while laughing of course. Apparantly we ran fairly quickly cause I was huffing and puffing a bit! With the three intervals done it was just a matter of heading back to the coffee shop. The run felt great, even with the intervals.

Next up was a swim. A group of us headed to Arbour Lake to do an open water swim. It had been cold the last few days here, but when we saw the sign indicating the lake was 22 C, we were all hopeful that it was going to be a good swim.

As I gleefully plunged in I realized with horror that someone was playing a nasty joke on us crazy triathletes. 22 C my fanny! I muttered several explitives in between trying to catch my breath as the freezing cold water seeped in the zipper of my wetsuit. Aiyaaaaa!! Only one thing to do - start swimming and pray I will be able to feel my hands and feet later.

I had hoped to do 5 laps of the lake, but only managed 4. My calves were cramping from the cold...something that's never happened before. Thankfully I didn't get a 'slurpee' headache as some of the others did. I managed to get through the cramps and swim on.

For the most part the swim was rather uneventful...well...except for the first lap.

I tend to hug the shore a bit when I swim there. For two reasons really, one I can avoid the weeds that hide the lake monster and two, I don't have to sight as much. On this day however, I was reminded why I should practice my sighting. I merrily made my way around the first bend, with water feature, and managed to look up enough to avoid the rocks that jut out into the lake. Unfortunatley though, I seemed to have missed the rather bright blue paddle boat moored to one of the docks.

CRUNCH! KLUNK! Unfortunately my wrist and forearm hitting the side of the paddle boat were not enough to slow my momentum. However, the top of my skull seemed to do the trick. Ow. Right, mental note: START SIGHTING YOU EEJIT!! haha. I had hoped no one saw this little blunder, but this is me we are talking about here. I never get away with these kind of mishaps and sure enough my coach was coming up behind me.

As I made my way around the boat, I also noticed that there was a man sitting on the dock that the paddle boat was tethered to. Heh heh. Afternoon! Don't mind me, silly triathlete swimming into your wee boat. No worries eh. I'm sure I didn't damage it. I'll be moving along now!!

Urgh. Needless to say my sighting for the other 3 laps was somewhat flawless. haha.

At least at IMC I won't have to worry about paddle boats...I just have to worry about the 2399 other triathletes swimming. Gulp!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Trainer Schmainer...

Well another icky day outside, so another day on the wind trainer inside. There's really not too much I can say about it. Hmmm....I did 40 km....scenery didn't change....I kept my cadence and resistence up. OH! I did focus on my pedaling! That was somewhat exciting and definatley killed some time. I thought about lifting my someone cleaverly suggested to me last weekend, and about 'scraping the mud off my shoes'. I tell ya, these two tricks alone naturally picked up my cadence. I will definately try to focus on them on the ride on Sunday!

Other than that, not much new to report. I'm happily tapering!! I think for some people tapering may cause some anxiety, but I'm really happy with how last month went, and I feel I've done everything I can physically to prepare for the big day. So now it's all about maintaining and enjoying this feeling of peak fitness.


Wednesday, 8 August 2007

It's Raining...It's Pouring....

Well by the time I got home after work and got changed to go on the bike, it was pouring out. There also happened to be a tornado warning - what’s up with that?! So into the dungeon and on the wind trainer I went.

Oh joy, oh rapture, unforeseen! Ugh.

Trainer workouts…sigh…they are what they are I guess. Actually, I have to confess…my workout was for 30 km, and I spent 10 of it on the phone with Leslie, tee hee. Hey, I kept my cadence above 90 rpm!!! What can I say, I’m a good multi-tasker. I promise that after I hung up I cranked the resistance and got a good workout in.

After the trainer it was run time. Tonight’s run was a quick 45 minutes.

Now I may not venture outside in the pouring rain on the bike…but I LOVE running in the rain. This could be in part because I’m from the West Coast and have webbed feet! Haha. I just love the feeling of running in the rain – I even run with my palms up just so I can feel the raindrops. It's soooo peaceful.

It was beautiful out tonight - even with the pouring rain. Everything smelled so fresh and the raindrops dripping off my cap’s brim were gleaming from the few rays of sun that found their way through the clouds. I’m pretty sure being in the rain even put an extra bounce in my step. It was awesome!!

My reward for going out in the rain? At the end of my run I saw a beautiful rainbow that spanned the entire town. A great end to a great run.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Okay, Now I'm Ready....

They say that completing an Ironman is 20% physical and 80% mental. I’m not sure who ‘they’ are, but I can tell you that based on what little racing experience I have, I know this to be true. So much so, that I spent a lot of time this year mentally preparing for all of my races, most especially Ironman.

This weekend I biked 210 km and swam 4000 m. After they had heard about the bike ride, I had a few of the 'Iron Gods' I know tell me 'You're ready for IMC!'. The words were kind, but the problem was I didn't feel ready. If it was just the bike and swim, fine, I was confident I could do it, but what was nagging at me was the run.

My long runs to date had not instilled a lot of confidence in me. Sure, up to 2 hours I felt ok, but anything longer and I started to get pretty achy and it was rough going. I know I'm going to be out there a hell of a lot longer than 2 hours on August 26, so I admit I was starting to get really worried.

It was important to me to have a good long run so I'd be more confident for race day and so if/when times got tough out there I could use this as part of my mental strategy repertoire, just as I do during the swim and bike. This is why I decided to run for 3 hours straight today, as was in my schedule, rather than break it up like last time. Today was my last long run, therefore, my last chance to have a good long run.

I had a rest day yesterday, which was a good set up for today. I headed out at about 6am this morning, fully stocked with gel, water and of course my handy MP3 player. The first song on the playlist - Sex Pistols 'Anarchy in the UK'. Alrighty then...let the games begin.

The first hour went well, but that was to be expected. An hours run now feels like what a half hour did last year! Definatley not a challenge. Along the way I had some fun with spider webs that were strung across the pathway, EWWWW!!! I guess at this time of the morning no one has run through them yet so I got too. DOUBLE ICK!! I ducked under one set, but didn't see another and was frantically flailing about trying to get the invisible threads off me as a fellow passed by. He must have been wondering what kind of strange kung fu moves I was doing, haha. I swear I was pulling them off me the rest of the run. I kept reminding myself that I'd be ok as long as there was no little creepy crawler attached to me! SHIVER!!

The second hour went well too. I still felt really strong - had a couple of nigglies in foot towards the end of the hour, but nothing I couldn't deal with. When that happens it's usually a sign that I'm tensing up and losing technique, so I focus on that and typically they go away.

Into my third hour I noticed that I wasn't dying for the 1 minute breaks like I normally do. (For my long runs I stick to the 10 and 1's routine.) In fact, I was going 15 minutes before I would check my time. This was definitely a good sign. I was maintaining an awareness of my running technique even more so now, as it is typically when I'm tired that I get sloppy. Hence the reason it was suggested I break up my run! At the 2:50 hour mark it was time to climb 'the hill'. I am happy to report that I was strong going up it. This brought me GREAT joy! I definitely had not felt this good on my other long runs.

I finished the run at 3:03 hours and I felt awesome. I started and ended the run strong, I had a good pace and I maintained my technique. This was what I needed to give me some confidence for IMC. I would remember this feeling when visualizing the race and planning my Ironman destiny!

I told my friend Keith about my run today and I commented that never in my life have I felt so mentally and physically strong. He wrote to me, 'Take a moment to remember what this level of fitness feels like. You've worked so hard for it, enjoy it.' I'm glad he reminded me to do so, because this does feel damn good!! I truly hope that all of the people out there training for IMC are feeling as good as I am right now. This is an exciting time!

The next time someone says to me 'You're ready for IMC', I can say with conviction - YES I AM! And likely I'll throw a little HOOYAH!!!! in there too.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Rest Day...

So it's a holiday Monday and my schedule said to do a 3 hour run. Hmmm... I could really use a day off. I mean a full day off - no work and no training. So I decided to move my run to tomorrow and take today as the rest day.

Let me tell ya, it's not as easy as you think to just rest. I thought I would sleep in, but no this was not to be. I was up early - again. I could really use the sleep too because good sleep (ie 8 hours) has been a little sporadic the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure if it's because IMC is getting close or what. I know I've been training enough to warrant lots of sleep, but I just haven't been able to stay asleep for more than 6 hours!

So this morning I got up early, fiddled around with my computer - my wireless has been giving me issues, then I ate, then wondered what to do next. I couldn't just sit. It was like I had nervous energy in me. I decided to do some laundry. That took all of two seconds to get going. Hmmm...what to do, what to do. I know, I'll make a cuppa tea, sit and relax! That lasted all of about 10 seconds. Next thing I knew I was updating my cell phone for the next half an hour. haha.

Once that was done I made a few phone calls to catch up with some pals I'd neglected during this last month of training. Finally I started to wind down. In fact, I decided to have a nap. I managed to get about 20 minutes in when the phone rang!

It was all good though as it was Leslie calling to say they were leaving Penticton. Yay, she'd be home today! Oh how I missed my buds this weekend!! They are like family to me so not having them around to chat with and enjoy a day of rest with was somewhat tortureous.

After the phone call and napping I figured I was just not going to be able to relax so I started to putter around the house then went and did the grocery thing.

Honestly, I don't feel like I had a day of rest. I may not have done any training, but I just couldn't get my mind to go quiet, even for a little while. Alas, I think this is the curse of many a triathlete. You train, train, train, and when you get that one day to do nothing, it's almost impossible to just chill out. Maybe it's like when you go on vacation, the first week is convincing yourself that it's ok to relax and the second week is actually relaxing!

I have a feeling the week after IMC I will be more than happy to take a break though....because I likely won't be able to do anything else! LOL.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Long Swim...Short Post...

Okay, since yesterdays post was epic...along with the ride, this post will be nice and short.

Headed to the pool to do a 4000 m swim (broken up into 10 x 400 m sets). I admit, I dread these swims. Not because of the distance, but because of the length of time one must go back and forth, and back and forth. Urgh. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that this is what makes you an Ironman, being able to mentally tackle a task such as this and get it done. At least I'll just keep telling myself that.

The pool was quite empty, which was great. Unfortunately for me though the 'flailing' swimmer from last week was there. Damn! I'll just try to keep him in my sights and duck when need be....or brace for the assault. All was well, until he moved into my lane. He was doing just ok with the front stroke, at least he stayed somewhat on one side or the other, but then he switched to back stroke and he was all over the place.

It was at this point I decided to switch lanes to preserve my health. I'm not sure if this was a good move or not, based on the theory 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' because as I was swimming along my merry way, I narrowly missed the onslaught of his hand! I was just about at the end of the swim when his HUGE paw, with paddle I might add, came kersplooshing in the pool about an inch away from the side of my head. Needless to say, this scared the crap out of me. I didn't say anything, but if he is there next week I may have to use some kind words to tell him to stay in his own lane!!! I want to know too, how a person swim back stroke with there friggin arms coming in the water at the side of them, rather than above there head???? Perhaps I should just slip him the business card of my swim coach....

Other than that drama I managed to finish the sets. I had a good pace for the last ones and with any luck I will be able to keep that pace for IMC. Woohoo!

Let the taper begin!!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Long Ride...

Okay, so today would be another attempt at the 180 – 200 km range of cycling. As mentioned earlier, my cycling buds were in Penticton for a training camp, so I had originally just planned to do this ride on my own. I happened to mention this to the parental unit on Wednesday evening….I think they were a little slow on the uptake on this one because it wasn’t till Friday evening that my pops left a phone message ‘Call me when you get home.’ Hmm…’what’s this all about?’ I think to myself.

So I called and got mum on the phone and she states ‘your father wants to know why you didn’t go to the Penticton training camp and why you are cycling alone!’ Oh, well, that’s easy to cover, I chose not to take more time off work, as I would be taking a few days for IMC, and I would not be riding alone but be accompanied by Mr. Mike B. The parental unit was very much relieved that I would have an escort after all!!

I must admit, at first, I was a little apprehensive of having Mike come along. I mean I definitely wanted to go out for a ride with him, but I’m used to riding with Leslie. Her and I are still pretty new to this triathlon game and are about the same cycling ability, which is getting faster, but soooo not Mike’s speed. I didn’t want him to have to doddle along as he is also training for IMC. My concerns were put to rest when Mike said not to worry, he could go ahead then just circle around to check on me. Okay, this would work. He also mentioned he wanted to get a longer ride in anyways so at this rate I could do 180 km and with his circling he may be able to achieve 360 km!! haha. Excellent!

Now there were only a couple of other issues to deal with a) Mr. Mike B is a handsome fella who looks damn good in bike shorts! I would have to ensure that this fact did not increase my pacing on the bike because I was trying to keep up to get a look, haha. 2) I would have to restrain myself when it came to the usual peeing in the ditch, H.V.E.M’s, burping and any other noises that may occur. After all, I am a girl and I would like to make a good impression!! I’d just have to wait till he was far ahead of me, LOL!!

One thing was cool, I was going to get to show him one of my favourite routes, the Cochrane, Bottrel, Lochend route, which would cover the first 100 km. The plan after that would be to go back through Cochrane, head to Springbank, then Bragg Creek.

We met up at about 7am and headed out. The weather was a little cool then, but the sun was out and it wasn’t raining. Yay! It was really great being able to share a bike route that I really enjoy. I’ve mentioned it a ton of times, but it’s truly beautiful through there and there aren’t many cars. We made a couple stops for water along the way and even did some exploring. There was a newly paved road that we just had to see where it went…alas, it took us to a gravel road. It was nice through there though because we could ride side by side and chat a bit.

After a quick stop in Cochrane for more water etc. we were on to Springbank. Now typically adventure follows me wherever I go….but this time it was Mike that had the little adventure! He was ahead of me on this one stretch of road, which was a bit hilly so once in a while I'd lose sight of him. As I crested a hill I noticed a bike resting up against a pole – it took me a second to realize it was Mikes. I was just about to look for him when thankfully my brain kicked in and I realized what he might be doing along the side of the road…away from his bike…hint hint…nudge nudge. I was thinking to myself, boys are so lucky they can just pull over near a tree and do there business. This time though, Mike wasn’t so lucky...

When he caught up to me he said to me in a rather excited voice ‘OMFG!!!’ Did you see that hawk back there??? I was thinking of a smart ass comment I could say about not being THAT kind of girl so I hadn’t been looking at ANYTHING back there...but could see he was serious and was quite freaked out.

It would seem that Mike picked an unfortunate spot to ‘do his business’. It was likely right near a hawk nest and Momma bird was none to pleased. To the point where she was making a lot of noise and dive bombing him. He got on his bike and tried to make a quick exit, when he looked up and she was heading straight for his noggin!! Thankfully she just did a fly by – it was at this time he was trying to figure out how he was going to defend himself. I believe he was contemplating having to use his bike to swat her. This, I would have paid to see, haha. She didn’t follow him, thankfully, but that gave him a good dose of adrenaline for the next few kilometers!! Next time maybe I WILL look! LOL. I’d hate to miss out on all the action!

Our next adventure with nature was along Hwy 22. We were around the Redwood Meadows area when Mike said ‘Bear!’ Sure enough, there was a ‘wee’ bear running across the highway. I was sooo glad he didn’t get hit! We didn’t see the bear as we went by the area where he'd ducked into the bushes…likely a good thing as I am the slower rider, which Mike pointed out would save his butt! Nice manners babe! Haha.

We got into Bragg Creek with about 10km to go before the 180km mark, so we kept going and went through the park. I’d never been there before and it was just gorgeous! Hopefully I'll get back out there again.

I wanted to ride at least 180km before we stopped for a break in Bragg so at least I could say I’d done a fairly continuous ride. After all, my coach wouldn’t be too pleased if I’d stopped mid ride for a smoothie break, haha. So we stopped and had a bite to eat, then headed back to Cochrane.

The first part of the ride back was awesome. It’s a slight downgrade so I was actually able to stay in pace with Mike – at least till the hill towards the highway. I seriously don’t know where that guy gets his energy but I want some!! I was pretty slow going up the hill by the time I got to there. Thankfully there is just the one long one then it’s all downhill.

By the time I got to the car I was hoping Mike had forgotten that I had to do a 30 minute brick run. Alas, this was not to be. He had his running shoes on and was in full form teasing me about going for a run. It didn’t help that I had mentioned earlier about my new sneakers that make me run faster and jump higher. He used this fact in an attempt to motivate me. And it worked...kind of.

I was sooooo dogging it for the first five minutes. I was asking Mike just how much my coach paid him to make sure I did my run and if we really had to run for 30 minutes??? I was glad he dragged me out there though, for a couple reasons. One being that I felt pretty good once I got into the groove, which gives me some hope for IMC. Two I got a little show put on for me. I was making my way back when I looked up and there in front of me Mike was running with the back of his shorts pulled down slightly and his bare butt hanging out!!! I just about died laughing – of course I didn’t break pace though! That was definitely one of the funniest moments of my IMC training and one I will never forget!! Wonder if he could do that for the marathon at IMC to keep me going?!

We got back to the cars then, and, I still can’t believe this, we ran again! This time we ran down to the river so we could soak our legs. The water was refreshingly cold and soothing – once you got in and stopped saying expletives. Haha. It really does help though.

Walking back to the car Mike was showing me an exercise his chiropractor showed him for his back. He laid on the pavement and stretched, then convinced me to do the same. The pavement was soooo warm, so we just laid there in the middle of the pathway! I wonder what people would have thought had they come across us like that! RUNNERS DOWN!!! Haha.

It was yet another AWESOME training day!! I had a ton of fun out there with amazing company and I also managed to do another first. My total mileage on the bike today was 210.5 kms - something I’ve never done and never imagined I could do! SNOOPY HAPPY DANCE TIME!!!!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Batgirl's Utility Belt...

It was long run day today...I decided to split up my run after a little birdie (Thanks Greg!) recommended doing it that way. I got the ok from Coach to do it, but she wanted me to split it 45 min/2:15 hr. So I did. In all honesty I've just been so darned fatigued lately that I really couldn't picture me running 3 hours...especially without my buddy Leslie, who was on her way to a Penticton training camp.

So this morning I got up and went for a run just as the sun was peaking over the hill. It was truly beautiful out this morning. So peaceful. I ran along the pathway that follows the river and winds through the homes and woods. The only sounds were my breath, my footsteps, the birds chirping, and the water from the river and creek. Oh, and the odd diesel dually that went by somewhere in the distance....this is, after all, Cowboy country, haha. I loved every minute of it. To me this is what running is all about; it's almost meditational when its like this. As I ran I tried to savour every moment of it, seeing the sun come up, the mist rise off the creek, and the little flowers along the pathway. Lately I've been so focused on training, technique, and putting the time in that I think I forgot why I like running - m0ments like these where I feel free.

This afternoons run was a little less peaceful, but still enjoyable. It was the longer run so I put on my 'Batgirl Utility Belt'. In other words, my fuel belt containing my mp3 player, gel, house key and water. I actually hate wearing it, it feels constrictive, but I know it's a necessity for the long run. When I headed out it was 29C, so I was sure I'd be pining for water in no time.

Again, I stuck to the pathways for the most part. I made my way around my neighborhood, then crossed the river and meandered around that neighborhood. I made a quick stop at my friend Kristi's to say hi and borrow her hose. Her kids thought it was hilarious as I put my head under the hose and were wondering what the heck I was doing. The dog was looking at me funny too. It helped cool me down though - Thanks Kristi!!

I think I pretty much covered most neighborhoods in town for this run. Made a second stop near the end at my friend Paddy's to grab some more water. (Thanks Paddy!) I was sweating so much it looked like I'd just come out of the river so I wanted to top up to make sure I had enough for the way home.

I was happy with how strong my legs felt for this run. Shocked really. As I've mentioned (a million times already I'm sure) I've been pretty fatigued the last while. So to still have something in the legs after 2 hrs was really friggin awesome. It's possible some of it was due to the new tunes I put in my mp3 player. After yesterdays blog I HAD to add Sir Mix-A-Lots 'Baby Got Back'. I LOVE that song and was practically dancing on the path when it came on. Thankfully there was no one around to catch me!

As I rounded the corner off the pathway, almost home, I looked ahead and thought, ohhh shite... (okay I said a stronger word than that...heh heh). Somehow in my peace, love and granola run I'd forgotten I lived at the top of a hill. I'd climbed a few hills today already, including 'the Beast' this morning (who says Alberta is flat?!) and was a little skeptical about finishing off my run with this one. It had to be done though, afterall I was hungry and there was food at the top of that hill! (Food always works as a motivator for me!)

I stopped briefly at the bottom of the hill. This climb was going to take some serious tunage...I flipped through my tune selection and put on Nine Inch Nails 'Mr Self Destruct'. Ya, baby - let's KILL THAT HILL!! And off I went! I looked up defiantly at the hill, kept a steady pace and watched my footstrike. Slowly I made my way up....and up....and up.... Six minutes later I was there - the top. (It's a loooong hill.) I could walk the rest of the way as a cool down, I was done my run. hem...I mean HOOYAH!! haha. Total run time for the day 3:02 hours.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Baby's Got Back....

Headed to the pool before work this morning....just as I was to enter the building I looked down and noticed something. I had my 'house' flip flops on. This was not good. You see, I love flip flops...I have my ultra cool black flip flops - for work and what not; and I have my house flip flops that happen to be cotton candy pink, orange and yellow. Not for public display I might add. Hmmm...was this an indicator it was going to be 'one of those days'?!

Todays swim plan - 600 m warm up, 5 x 500 m sets, and 200 m cool down. (I was also supposed to do 6 x 75 m sets, but somehow forgot to write that on my card. Perhaps my subconscious saying NO MORE! haha).

The first few laps were good, but my goggles were leaking and driving me nuts. Got them all fixed up (tightened them to the point that I had goggle imprints around my eyes for 2 hrs after swimming - can you say dweebe!) The first few sets were great, had good strength and really watched my technique.

As I was swimming I noticed the fellow beside me was doing drills. He was doing the one where you lie on your side with lead arm and kick. The thing was his feet were practically dragging on the bottom of the pool! I had to giggle. Now before you say 'well that's nice Suse - laughing at the poor guy' let me just say I used to be a foot dragger. To the point where after swimming I'd have to redo my toenail polish!

I never did understand why I was a foot dragger. Afterall, as far as I understood it, women typically were more buoyant than men because we naturally have more body fat. (It's called boobies and bootie people!) Now if this theory is true, then I should have been floating across the top of the water. Why? Because this baby's got back! (AKA 'junk in trunk') But alas, I was a foot dragger. Thankfully I have since broken that habit and have figured out how to kick in order to keep bootie aloft.

Of course karma got me for giggling...I just pushed off the wall on a lap and was on my side to take a breathe when BLAMMO! Mr. Foot Dragger was like RIGHT there! I'm talking like a few inches from my face, facing me as he was doing his little side kick foot drag act. Darn near made me jump out of my skin! haha. I was really good though and did not burst out laughing under water.

Okay, now back to the by the fourth set I was starting to get tired. I think a lot of us are hitting our peak of fatigue now. I was going strong for several sets and then, all of a sudden, I was just slow and there was nothing I could do about it. I kept pushing hard, but my body decided how fast and strong I was going to be. Which was not very fast. Or strong.

The fifth set was all about just getting it done. I still tried hard, but there was not much there. At least I was distracted....I had to pee SOOOO badly. I kept saying to myself 'do not think about water, do not think about water....' heh heh. Uh ya - THAT worked!! (Don't worry though, I managed to hold it till I got OUT of the pool! LOL)

I got a bit of an energy boost for my last 200 m. I decided to kick that distance and as I was kicking my ears tuned into the music from the aquabatics class. Suddenly my brain was filled with Buster Pointdextors 'Hot, Hot, Hot'. 'Party people - all around me feeling hot, hot, hot'. Yep, that put a little jiggy in my kick. haha.

Help me....that song has been in my head all day... Ole ole, ole, ole....