Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Gym Rats...

Yesterday my Pop walked in the front door, after having been at the gym, and stated the following, 'They gave me shite for not bringing you to the gym today, so you are coming with me tomorrow!'

I assume the 'they' in that statement were his cronies from the gym. I thought that was quite sweet so accpeted the invitation to go.

So today I went to the gym.

My plan for the workout was to do four sets of 20 for each bodypart. Considering I haven't been in the gym, but for the one workout last week, perhaps this wasn't the wisest of workouts, but I stuck with it.

I actually didn't feel too bad. I did some leg press, extensions, curls, pushups (not 4 x 20), bicep curls, and pulldowns. I did attempt some lunges today, but again my hammies would have nothing to do with them. I think I'll have to build those up slowly.

In between a couple of sets, the cronies and I hung out at the leg extension machine and discussed how icy the roads were this morning. I swear, I felt like a retired 68 year old man hanging out with his buds!

After doing weights we headed to the pool. My swim today was much better. I find it amazing how quickly the body can remember how to do something. Last week my swimming was ok, but I could tell I didn't have the endurance in me. Today, however, I was able to go and go, at least until Dad told me it was time to get out of the water. For a split second I was once again a little girl swimming at the beach.

We met the 'gym gang' at the mall for a tea/coffee and chat. There were seven of us there. Two of the fellows even came for coffee on their 'off' gym day just so they could see me. To say I was flattered is an understatement! Todays topics were snow removal, the icy roads, my new company, overhead powerlines, and excavation. Oh, and I got to meet the Les who just had his leg removed because of diabetes AND his wife who is allegedly trying to kill him with her Hungarian non-diabetic friendly food. She left us with him while she shopped. Really, I thought she was quite nice and not the type to try to off her hubby.

I had such a blast today with the boys. I look forward to coming back here in the new year and meeting up with them for a workout and tea/coffee again!

Damn, I feel like I need a nap again.

Peace out my friends, I wish you all a year filled with peace, love and happiness in 2009!

Monday, 29 December 2008

A Run In Pictures...

I borrowed me Mum's teeny camera to take with me for my run. I must say, it's hard to keep the camera from moving when you first stop running to take the shot! The little shaky symbol kept showing up and it kept asking me if I wanted to save the picture. Ah well. Some of the photos may be a wee bit blurry, but I hope you enjoy the new path I found!










The snowy path I followed in the trees.









The canopy of trees to run under.

The lookout point.



The run behind the townhouses.













The mighty Fraser River! Including the new bridge they are building in the Pitt.


Well I hope you enjoyed the tour of my new running path! It's getting soggier by the day so I think I'll be reduced to running on the road for a bit. Oh well.

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

A New Path...

I wasn't sure how today's run was going to go. There was a lot of rain yesterday so that cleared some of the snow from the streets, but also compacted the snow in areas that hadn't been plowed or shovelled.

The grippy thingys for my shoes work well in ice and snow, but aren't very comfortable on bare pavement - for obvious reasons. The little spikes are grouped just behind the toes and on the heel. So when my foot strikes I have this little 2x1 inch patch of spikes that hits the pavement and nothing else. My plantar fascia was feeling it the other day when I had to run on bare pavement for a while, so I was trying to figure out where I could go today that was either almost all snow/ice or bare pavement.

Snow/ice won out. I didn't want to run on the roads because they were narrow from the snow piles around driveways and, well, who wants to run on the road?! I decided I'd run back towards the river, try and find the road I ended up on last time, and run along the dike.

The first part of my run I stayed in the snow banks along the road - what little pavement running I did was pulling on my plantar fascia due to the spikey thingys so I thought it best just to stay in the snow as much as I could. At times I felt like a short, squat deer trying to lift my feet high enough to take a running step! It was less than graceful, but I got the job done.

The snow was pretty compact, once you took a step in the deep top layer, and had the consistency of the hard ice slush that is leftover on the bottom of your slurpee after you suck all the grape/orange/lime soda out. (I like layering my flavours...) My ankles and stabilizers were getting a heck of a workout in the deep snow!

After meandering somewhat lost through the neighborhood I finally found the road I needed to get to the dike pathway. More running on pavement, urgh, until I hit the path, then it was snow, snow and more snow!

Running along the dike is quite nice because on one side you have this row of trees which you can peek through and see the mighty Fraser river. On the other side are farmers fields, which in the summer is quite nice. Now, however, it is just one big blanket of white stuff.

I was getting glimpses of the river through the trees and wondered if I could get down there. I didn't see a break in the trees and wasn't sure what was beneath the snow so figured I'd stick to the path. Then I spotted it - a sign that had the universal symbol for a lookout point! Well now, what is this?!

I hoped off the dike pathway and onto a very narrow trail. I quickly found myself in amongst the trees and heading toward the river. It didn't take me long to get to the river, which was iced up and covered in snow. The sun was just starting to peak through the clouds, which made the entire scene rather picturesque.

I then noticed that the trail I had followed to the lookout point actually went off in the left and right direction. Hmmm... I think I need to follow this trail and see where it goes!

I headed right. I ran and ran until the trail took me back up to the dike pathway. Then I spotted the map. It showed me that the path I just came off of would take me right back to the street that would take me all the way back to the parental units! I could avoid more pavement AND stay in the trees. How cool was this?!

I turned around and headed back on the wee pathway in the direction I'd come from. It was glorious in there. The pathway was lined with evergreens whose branches and leaves formed a canopy along the trail. I could see no sign of civilization so I could pretend I was the might running explorer!

As I ran I could hear the ravens cawing to each other as they hid in the trees, along with the little chipmunks that were merrily chatting with each other. A train was rumbling along on the other side of the river and would blow it's horn every once in a while. The only other sounds I could hear were my feet crunching along the snow and the 'swish-swish' my braids were making on my jacket.

I think I found a little piece of heaven there!

I continued along my merry way. My grippy shoe thingys were working wonders. My ankles were working hard trying not to roll, but I wasn't slipping anywhere. Eventually I was out of the trees and running in behind some townhouses. What a view they have of the river! The path finally ended at the road.

I decided for the last part of my run to take off my grippy thingys and just run in my shoes. The road was wet here but not too slippery. It was actually very ackward running on the pavement with just my sneakers! I had been using so many stabilizing muscles that when I had to run 'normally' they didn't know what to do! I almost felt as if I couldn't get my balance, which is rather ironic.

Knock on wood I made it home safe and sound without slipping on some of the ice I encountered on our road.

What a great run - I can't wait to go back in there. Next time I might even carry my camera along so I can take some photos!!

Peace out my lovely friends.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Father-Daughter Time...

Our second attempt to go to the gym was much more successful this time. All that shovelling of the snow off the driveway worked and we made it out to the road without getting stuck!

On the way to the gym we chit chatted about building bridges and cars. You know, the usual father-daughter stuff. (Yesterday it was theorizing the Whistler Gondola failure mechanisms...)

My Dad has been going to this gym, at least three times a week, for over 20 years now. I'm pretty sure they haven't changed the decor since that time, but they have everything you need and that's all that matters.

First things first, I was introduced to Dad's workout buddies. I believe the oldest fellow is about 79 years old. They are pretty serious about their work outs and spend just the minimal amount of time chatting. That's saved for later.

I figured I'd do a light total body workout then hit the pool for a swim. I started out with a five minute bike spin to warm up my legs. Next up were lunges using the Bosu ball. I LOVE the bosu ball. Turns any exercise into a stability workout.

I did well for the first 10 lunges, then I felt my left hamstring pull. Ow. Nuts, I hate when that happens. Needless to say, I pressed on. I got to 12 reps and zap! my right hamstring went. Mother Trucker! I rested for a short moment then tried to do another set. The searing pain I felt told me that that was all the lunges this gal was going to do for today. I get this sometimes when I do lunges or squats. Or rather it happens when I've had a long hiatus from weights. I don't worry about it. The next time I do it I know everything will be fine - provided I don't wait for 3 months before the next set!

I elected to do some leg extensions and leg press next. These worked out just fine so at least I got a little bit of a leg workout in. I did a few upper body exercises then Dad and I headed for the pool.

That's one cool thing about this place, it may be old but they have an indoor pool and it isn't busy. I was a little lost by the fact that there were no lane ropes... just the black lane paint. What's the protocol in here?!

I figured I was supposed to swim between the black lines, so I did. It's amazing how lost one can be when there aren't little ropes to guide one along. I swam a few laps and was happy I wasn't completely out of breath. My form was less than desirable though.

I got to the one end and rather than attempting a flip turn I reached up to grab the edge so I could turn. There was only one problem...there was no edge. So basically I put my hand up, reached a little higher, felt nothing and promptly sunk. Glub! I came up for a gasp of air and awkwardly kicked my legs till I was turned around. Rats, I was going to have to practice my flipturns again.

I got to the other end and stopped to say something to Dad, this is when I was informed that I was to swim directly over the black line. 'See, it's posted on the sign on the wall,' he said pointing. I looked to where he was pointing. Oh, that sign up there that is paper encased in plastic that is all bubbled and warped so the text is illegible? Yup, I can see that...

I just took his word for it and started swimming over the line. I realized I needed to focus on my technique and worry not about speed. Not that I was actually worrying about speed, of course. I got to the end and did an awkward flip - at least I ended up pointing in the right direction even if it was just my tippy toes pushing off from the wall.

This went on for a bit of time. In between swimming laps I did a few drills to remind myself how to do a proper catch and such. During one of these drills I found myself staring at the bottom of pool. This can be a scary thing at times. There are icky things that lurk on the bottom of a pool. I was thankful I didn't see any hair balls or snot stringers lurking around, just one lonely hair band lay at the bottom of the pool. Phew.

One curiousity was that at the corners of the pool it looked like rust. Hmm...what is rusting down there? Of all the laps I did I never did figure it out so it will remain a mystery.

I was slowly reaquainting myself with the flipturn technique. I was feeling pretty good with them and managing to make it closer to the edge of the pool each time. Of course that meant I wasn't paying close attention to my breathing so eventually the inevitable happened...a brain enema. UGH.

I thought I had got enough air in to keep blowing as I flipped, but mid turn the realization that I was out of air and still flipping hit me like chinese water torture. AAAAGH. As I came out of the turn and pushed off the wall the burn going through my nose and sinuses gradually became more pronounced. Ow, ow, ow.

You'd think that would teach me to keep blowing in the turn, but nope. Not this gal. I did it again the next turn. I'm happy to say my sinuses are nice and clear now.

By the end of my swim I felt pretty good - sinuses aside. I felt like I could swim again. Now it'll just be a matter of slowly building up the endurance...then maybe getting a bit more speed. Lots of time for that to happen.

After our workout, Dad and I met his buds at the mall for a tea. This is what they do after their workouts. Sit and chat. Today's topics were boxing, martial arts and one of the guys they work out with. Apparantly he has diabetes and a kidney issue that requires dialysis. His diabetes just required the amputation of his leg. They were joking that this guys wife was trying to kill him slowly as she feeds him food that isn't quite diabetes friendly. He also has a funny way of looking at dialysis - apprantly he figures it's like an internal flush that gives him fresh start to have beers and whatnot. Personally, I thought this was hilarious.

I had a blast hanging with my Dad today and got a glimpse of what retired life is like. I've seen my future and I think I'm going to like it! Of course, I've got another 30 years before that can happen. Sigh.

I think it's time for a nap now...

Peace out my friends!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

The Christmas Run...

My pre-run warm up consisted of shovelling snow...again. We did our driveway and the neighbors. There wasn't a lot that fell overnight so it wasn't too bad. I am reminded of how wet the snow is out here by the weight of it! Holy hannah it's heavy! At this rate my biceps are going to be like Ahnolds! Definitely a good core workout as well.
If I forgot to use good form in moving all the snow, my mother was right there to remind me! 'Watch your back! Bend your knees!' It was hilarious. All excellent family bonding though!
As you can see by the picture below, we got a LOT of snow out here. The piles that were created from all the shovelling were almost as tall as I am. Also illustrated in the picture is my wonderful new lion toque, which I got as a stocking stuffer from the Parental Unit. Oh, I mean, uh, Santa... Proof that my parents/Santa are as wacky as I am. Or rather, I have inherited their wackiness and love of fun toques!
In order to be able to run in all this white stuff, I purchased some "high tech" gadgets called 'Stabil-icers' from MEC before I left for BC. I thought they'd be great for here and for back home so I wouldn't slip-slide all over the place. They are pretty straight forward actually. Rubber thingys that stretch over the bottom of your shoe with metal bits that stick into the snow or ice. At least that's my engineering description of them.
The toughest thing about these suckers were slipping them on my shoe. At one point I managed to 'sling shot' my shoe up towards my face as I tried to stretch the rubber over the sole. Whoops! Dad was ready to step in at that point, but I assured him I could figure it out... The next attempt I made sure i had my head tilted out of the way in case of flying shoe. See. Told ya I could do it!
Once outside I was in fine form. The parental units street was covered in packed snow from all the cars so they worked great there. I wasn't slipping or sliding anywhere!
They weren't as fun once I got onto the bare pavement though. The sound the metal spikes made on the pavement was like fingernails going down a chalkboard for me. The fillings in my teeth were vibrating! Gack. Therefore, I stayed on slushy bits and snow as much as I could.
Actually, this wasn't a difficult task. Although some of the 'busier' roads I was running on were bare with slush, most of my route was either packed snow or snow higher than my knees. I like to think of today's run as interval training!
I wasn't exactly sure where I was running to, but I started out on the roads near the house. I ended up on another road that seemed to actually go somewhere, rather than winding around the neighborhood. I met up with a fellow who commented that I didn't look like I was sliding too much. That's when I showed him my nifty new gadgets. We chatted for a short while, then I asked him where the road went. He said it met up with Hammond Rd. Hmmm...Hammond Rd. That sounds familiar.
Running around here is always an adventure for me. My parents moved to Pitt Meadows long after I had moved out of the house - I grew up in North Vancouver. So although they've been here for a while, and I've visted many times, I really don't know the area very well.
It was super warm out, by my standards, so I figured it'd be fun to keep running in this direction and see where Hammond Road was.
For a good portion of this section I was on slushy bare road. I was dying to get on some snow so I wouldn't have to deal with the chalkboard squeak.
Finally I was near houses again and got onto the sidewalk that had shovelled bits and not shovelled bits. This is where my interval training came in. On some sections I was running through snow that was at least two inches higher than my knees. I had to really lift my legs to keep moving. Then I came to packed snow so I could run 'normally'.
When I got to Hammond Rd I realized where I was and headed right. The trees along this road are amazing. They are evergreens and some of them are at least the height of a 6 storey building! I got to run under the limbs that were bowed by the snow and wondered if I'd have a dump of snow fall on me.
I was having a blast out there. It was so incredibly warm! Well, warm for someone that just spent the last two weeks in weather that 'feels like' minus a kagillion! I swear, I could have run in shorts and a t-shirt and been comfortable.
Instead of turning right when I got to the road that I know we turn down for the parental units, I decided to keep going straight. I remembered that there was another road I could run down that would take me to a pathway that would get me back to the cul-de-sac. At least I was pretty sure this was the case. Worst case scenario I could retrace my steps back!
The road, that I thought led me back to the parental unit, was bliss to run on. It was hard packed snow and my 'Stabil-icers' were working brilliantly. As I ran along I came across a set of stairs. Hmmm, now does this take me back or do I run straight.... For some reason I could remember going either way and having it work. I decided to go for the stairs.
They were covered in snow too and I was about to grab the nice cold metal handrail with my warm sweaty hand...but then thought there may be the possibility of getting stuck there. So instead I just walked carefully up the stairs. For whatever reason I actually had the urge to stick my tongue to the rail to see if it would stick! I think I've been watching too much 'A Christmas Story!'
When I reached the road at the top of the stairs, I turned left and found myself back on the road I had just taken the stairs from. What the....? Okay, this must mean that if I go right again I will get to where I need to be?
I ran along here for a while looking for the pathway that I knew would take me to the cul-de-sac. As there was snow piles everywhere I started to wonder if I'd missed it because someone had blocked it? Finally I found a little gate that sort of looked like a snow covered path.
Again I was in thigh high snow so did my now perfected act of stumble running through the snow. I found if I leaned slightly forward the momentum would keep me going through the slightly resistant snow, but not enough to fall. I swear the whole time I was running through the snow I had my usual goofy 'I love this!' grin on my face. Who needs snowshoes?!
Eventually I made it back to the parental units street. I looked down at my watch and saw that the time was 59:03 minutes. Perfect! I just had to run past the house and back again and I will have gotten a good hour in. I will refrain from stating the distance I ran as it was hilariously short. Considering the running conditions though, I guess it wasn't a bad effort.
The weather report is calling for another 15-20 cm of snow tonight, but we'll see. I think it'll be more likely we'll get rain, which is the usual for this part of the country. So tomorrow I will either be running in a big slurpie, or in more of the fun white stuff! Whatever it is I look foward to it.
Peace out my winter wonderland friends!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Winter Wonderland...

I made it! With all the issues with weather and flights I wasn't sure if I was going to make it the see the parental unit in BC. A huge thank you to WestJet! The flight was two hours late, but thankfully not cancelled. They were also smart in that there were WestJet people handing out chocolates and such to appease the masses. Excellent tactic.

The weather wasn't too bad when I arrived, but this morning was another story...

I had told dad that I would go to the gym with him in the morning if I was awake. As it was my first vacation morning I didn't want to set an alarm, but just get up whenever. I did manage to wake up in time to hear dad getting ready to go to the gym. I had a short debate in my head whether or not to get up. I was still tired from yesterday, but if I did get up I could spend some quality father-daughter time with my Pop. So I dragged my sorry butt out of bed, rummaged through my bags for all my workout and swim gear, and got dressed.

When I finally took a look outside I was met with a heaping amount of snow! I looked at my dad and said 'Uh, you still wanna go to the gym in this??' 'Oh ya,' he says. 'We'll at least go and see if the main roads are clear.'

The first task would be to find the car in the snow - there was that much of the white stuff. Dad brought out his scraper brush and I started to just plow it off with my arms and hands. I swear there was at least 6 inches of snow! Good thing I brought out my Sorels!

Oh, I should probably point out that my parental unit live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. If there is a skiff of snow around here, the entire area shuts down. They just don't get snow here! Yet there was at least a foot on the ground from the previous snowfalls, and another 6" had fallen overnight. It was still coming down hard too.

By the time we got the deep snow off the car it was covered again from the new snow. I checked with dad again as to whether or not this idea of driving to the gym, which was at least a half hour away in good weather. I was giggling to myself when he said we'd still give it a try. When it comes to going to the gym, there is very little that will stop my dad! Hmmm, perhaps that's partly where I got my determination from in certain areas of my life...

So with the car all cleared off, we shook the snow off ourselves, got in, buckled up, Dad put the car in reverse, we went backwards down the driveway....and got stuck. I held in my giggle. Well, I guess that settles that! Dad did the old reverse/forward, reverse/forward method of trying to get back up the driveway. Finally he did.


I went back in the house and found Mom. I told her 'I was out with Dad for a little father-daughter time at the gym, but we got stuck in the driveway so now you and I will have a little mother-daughter time shovelling the snow! My mom LOVES the snow. (That's where I got my love of the snow too...)
I didn't get to the gym to go for a run or swim, but I did get a good workout in shovelling all that snow. It was a family affair - Mom, Dad and I all out there scraping and shovelling the driveway and walk. Then we shovelled the neighbors driveway who weren't home.


Well, time to get back out there shovelling as another 3 inches has fallen. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!
Peace out my snow friends!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Well Hello Endorphins...

I'm not sure what got into me, but I actually went down to the dungeon for the second time in 6 days to go sit on my bike. Oh, and not just sit on it, but peddle too! I think Eleanor, my bike, was in a bit of shock!

Last Sunday I managed an hour on the bike. Not without a wee bit of help from my buddy IronGreg who was on the phone with me, providing encouragement, for a whole 20 minutes. Eventually I had to hang up for fear of 'death by sweaty phone electricution'. I somehow survived the next 40 minutes by taking breaks and doing crunches and pushups just to break the monotony.

This morning I had placed a call to my cat's vetrinarian, Dr. Phil, before I got on the bike. He said he'd call me back with the results of Mr. Cringely's test in a bit so I figured I'd hop on the bike in the meantime.

I did an easy warm up for 10 minutes then out of the blue was inspired to do some 2 x 2 minute MAPS. I figured for the hard 2 minutes I'd push myself as much as I could. If I was huffing and puffing then I was doing a good job.

During my third hard set of peddling the phone rang. It was Dr. Phil. Thankfully he's not only my cats vet, but a fellow triathlete in town. I didn't want to stop my workout because I was in a groove so I answered the phone gasping for air and said, 'Hey! I swear I'm not breathing heavy because of you, I'm working out on the bike.' Thankfully he found this rather amusing!

As I continued with my sets Dr. Phil filled me on Mr. Cringely's health. As I'd expected, and feared, my furry little buddies kidney's aren't working all that well. This is what I lost my other beautiful cat, Milo, to at the end of May this year. As Dr. Phil said, we've been down this path before so you know the score.

As he was going through the technical information and giving me numbers representing all the tests that were done, I would pedal madly through my 2 minute hard sets. "The numbers aren't as high as Milo's were" Pedal pedal PEDAL. "We can do a couple more tests to see if it's due to an infection." Pedal PEDAL PEDAL. "It comes down to quality of life and when we need to make 'that decision'". PEDAL PEDAL PEDAL.

We hung up after about 15 minutes. I continued on with my sets with renewed vigour after the phone call. I'm doing okay with this information - at least for now. The Cringmeister is over 16 years old now, so I kind of new this day would be upon me at some point. Thankfully, I think he'll be around for a while as I monitor his 'quality of life'.

Even with the phone call, I had a really great workout. True, part of it was spurred on by the news I was getting, but I managed to hold that for another 20 minutes afterwards. I hadn't pushed myself like that in a very long time and it felt amazing.

When I finished my workout and was getting cleaned up I realized I had this incredible feeling coursing through my body. It took me a second before I realized it....well hello endorphins! It's been soooo long since the last time you visited I had totally forgot what you feel like!

As the new year slowly creeps closer I feel more and more ready to get back into a regular training routine. Today's workout emphasized that.

I am heading for the wet, or rather the presently white, coast next week and plan on running a ton out there. I'm happy to run in the snow they have out there because at least the temperatures are reasonable - unlike out here! Perhaps I'll find a pool nearby to get some swims in too.

Oh, and I do have one exciting post-New Years event that I may be participating in too - that story will have to wait though.

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

I've Been Tagged...

Okay, so somewhere, someone started this tagging game. Once tagged the person is to reveal 7 random facts about themselves. My sweet friend Julie tagged me, so for the last while I've been racking my noggin for seven random facts.

This should have been an easy task, but for some reason I found it tricky. Here's what I came up with...
  1. When I was 25 years old I earned my black belt in Taekwondo. My claim to fame in martial arts came during a demonstration. I had to do a flying sidekick over two people, who were bent at the waist, and break a board that was being held on the other side of them. I was successful and managed not to land on the guys I was jumping over! Phew.
  2. Keeping with the martial arts theme - I could never break a board with a hand chop. One time when practicing I managed to pop all the blood vessels in my hand. It made it very hard to drive my manual car home that night. However, I was given a chance to attempt this feat a couple of months ago, at a yoga retreat of all places. After 13 years I got a chance to overcome my fear of not being able to do it. I'm happy to report I shattered the board like it was glass. Aiyeee!
  3. When I run I'm like a one girl brass band. I burp a great bass beat and toot a wicked trumpet melody. Toot, toot, toot! I sometimes even manage to toot to the beat of my footfall!
  4. Hands down, the best date I have EVER been on occured last year a little while before IMC. My date and I rode for 210 km in one day, the farthest I've ever ridden before or since. Then we did a 20 minute brick run, where he flashed me his buns. After all that, we cleaned up and had a sushi feast. Mmmm. I'm still waiting for someone to top that date...
  5. I have no aspirations to race in Kona. Nope. I want to do Ironman Lanzarote. I refuse to go there to just do the race though. If I go, I'm going to Chrissy Wellington the bike course - in other words, slay it. It's one of the toughest bike courses on an Ironman course. Mega hills and mega wind. That is my dream. Boy, do I have a lot of work to get there!
  6. I have yet to pee on my bike, but I really want to. After having to stop four times, during Ironman Coeur d'Alene, to get off my bike and use a porta-potty I realized something had to be done about this. Now I just have to figure out a) how to relax enough to do this and b) do I have to practice this on long rides?! Hmmm.
  7. I eat two bunches of bananas a week. I expect to fall victim of spontaneous human internal combustion due to an overabundance of potassium in my system...

So those are my seven random facts. Now it's my turn to tag someone....

Keith, my wonderful inspiration for never giving up, TAG! YOU ARE IT BUDDY!

Go check it out... http://keithsodyssey.blogspot.com/

Peace out my trivia hungry friends!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Let It Snow...

There is not much better than waking up and finding a fresh layer of snow outside...

I had to get back home this morning so couldn't go for a ski, but that didn't mean I couldn't go play in the snow for a while!

I bounded upstairs like a littel kid on Christmas morning. I wanted to see if Trudy was up and if she wanted to go for a run in the snow with me. Ah yes, I really do fit in with Canmore living! Trudy was in too, so we changed and grabbed our mitts and ear warmers and out the door we went.

My shoes squished down the snow with every footfall and made a wee squeaking sound...squeak, squeak, squeak.

We meandered around the neighborhood until we hit the path along the river. It was so peaceful out. How is it that everything gets so quiet in the snow?

Another runner was coming towards us. Trudy commented on how fluid her running style was. I watched her for a while then realized she was running on her toes, or rather the ball of her foot. I pointed that out to Trudy along wth the girls footprints in the snow. There was no heel imprint to be found. No wonder she had the grace of a gazelle!

Trudy was being mindful of her back so I took the lead through the trails. I was impressed she trusted me as the last time I took the lead I got us happily lost in the woods! I did make sure that I stopped at any fork in the trail and waited for instruction on the direction to proceed. Good thing too - the way my instinct thought we should go was the opposite to where we were supposed to be going! I think my subconscious wanted me to get lost so I could stay out there and play!

Running through the trees was pure bliss. Everything was covered in a few inches of snow...including the roots in the ground. Luckily I managed to avoid tripping over any. Actually, I had decided to try running on my forefoot for fun, just like I had seen the girl doing. It felt pretty comfortable and I noticed I could maneouver around the roots easily! I might just keep trying this method. It is certainly less jarring.

The creeks that lead into the river were only partially frozen over so I could hear the trickle of the water as it made it's way through the ice paths. Nice.

At one of the forks in the path, while I was waiting for Trudy, I practiced catching snowflakes on my tongue. This is actually quite a hard task when they are teeny tiny little flakes. Unlike the big flake standing there trying to eat them!

As we ran back I noticed something on my eyelashes...ice. The snowflakes that fell were melting on my face and eyelashes and had frozen to make little ice balls on the end of them. I could just imagine what I must have looked like! Unfortunately, I couldn't see because as soon as I walked into the house they were gone - poof!

My run today felt great. I had lots of energy and really enjoyed being one with Mother Nature. I celebrated the run with some yummy pancakes then headed out for what would turn out to be six hours of driving in a snow storm.

Oh well, at least the start of my day was peaceful!

Peace out my little snowfriends!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Stop And Smell The Pine Trees...

I was getting antsy. Life was full. Very full. More full than I'm comfortable with. I had resigned from my job, was in the process of looking for a new car, had to train a new employee, was working overtime at work, had contracts to sign, a new business to start and lawyers to meet. Oh, and someone threw a Christmas party into the mix.

I hadn't worked out all week. I'd love to say I was a couch potato, but there was no time to sit on a couch. I got home late every night, had enough time to eat a bit, get ready for the nexgt day, then collapse.

I am not a happy girl when I feel like my life is go-go-go all the time in activites that don't involve, well, activity! I was going to retreat to my happy place. The mountains.

Actually, the morning I was to leave I was so exhausted I actually considered just hiding underneath my covers until Monday arrived. I knew that I needed to touch base with Mother Nature though. She always lifts my spirits, so off I headed to Canmore to meet up with my buddy Trudy.

When I got to Canmore I told Trudy that I needed to vent for a moment about all that was going on in life. These were exciting times, but I hadn't even had a chance to take it all in and really savour it. I did this as we made our way out to Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise, where we were going cross country skiing.

By the time we'd gotten to the parking lot I was much more relaxed. I'd never been here so was excited to go for a ski and explore. I was hoping that my arms and legs would remember the movement!

Before we'd left her house, Trudy had inspected my skis. What do you have on your skis?? she asked. Uh, wax? And dirt? Apprantly she didn't buy it. When we got to the parking lot she took the skis out of the back then whipped open this little metal case. It was about 7 inches long, by 4 inches thick and 2 inches high and it contained the most ski waxes I'd ever seen in my life. Well, except in a store. She was like a wax dealer! It was awesome.

She put my skis on the bumper then proceed to sift through the choices of wax, pick a few, and apply them to my skis. It all happened so fast I didn't get a chance to see what ones she'd used! Then we were off!

It was a slow gradual climb according to Trudy. I hoped I could handle it - it had been since last February that I'd been out. She took off after a while as her life was very full lately too and she needed to burn off some steam. I was more than happy to toodle along at my own pace.

It was so nice to be out there. With every glide of my ski, my body remembered what it was supposed to do. The snow was perfect - soft and fast.

As I was skiing along I caught a whiff of pine. I inhaled deeply. Aaaah. This is what I needed. I needed to stop and smell the pine trees. All was well now.

I had a great time making my way to...uh...well to I don't know where. I hadn't been to Moraine Lake before. In fact, it took me quite a while to realize that were I was skiing was the road to the lake, but it was closed for skiing. Hmm, wonder how far I had to go. In fact, I wonder how long I'd been skiing?!

After who knows how long I spotted Trudy heading back. We'd been skiing for just over an hour, she said. Wow! My arms were definitely feeling it, but I was having fun just being outside so it didn't really feel like that long.

We turned around and headed back. Thankfully it was now downhill - I was starting to lose a bit of energy so had to mow down on some gorp. My arms were heavier now too. I loved the sound the skis were making though. Swoosh, swooosh. Although I wasn't as fast as last year, I knew that with a few skis under my belt I'd be kicking some snow butt in no time.

Although I was tired from the ski, my spirit had been energized by being out there. It was so peaceful.

To top off my day, I learned how to clean off the goop from my skis, apply wax properly AND I was going to get to see Stuart McLean and the CBC Vinyl Cafe's Christmas Show at the Banff Centre. This day truly could not have been better.

Aaaaah.

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

No Pain...No Gain...

I wasn't going to do it...I was going to pass. No pushup workout for this gal - we'd just move it to another night. Then I read a comment someone posted suggesting perhaps that I was a baby because I collapsed in my first day of pushups. Or a baby for some reason - I'm not quite sure. However, it was all I needed to get me to drop on the floor and giver.

It mattered not that running down the stairs jiggled my funbags which made my now sensitive pecs hurt, it mattered not that I went to yoga and had to drop like a sack of dung when we were to lower ourselves slowly to the floor because my triceps hurt so much, and it mattered not that just a brushing of my ribcage made me whimper. I was going to do my darn sets of pushups because I am SO not a wuss.

Perhaps I should re-read my buddhist books on letting go of ones ego...

I looked at the nights workout. Five sets of the following reps of pushups - 14, 19, 14, 14, and at least 19. I cringed. Then I assumed the position and fueled with more than a little Dutch/Scottish determination I attacked the first set.

No problem. Bring me more! But first let's let the old ticker slow down a bit....

I took longer than sixty seconds between the sets, but I didn't care. I was actually able to do all the sets without collapsing during them. Nice. Day two and we already seem to building some endurance here.

I actually think that doing the workout got rid of some of the stiffness I'd been feeling. Of course, if someone were to ever so gently touch my ribs or triceps I'd still drop to the floor and beg for mercy, but at least I can move a bit better!

So all I can say to that is 'security blankie my ass!'

Peace out my wonderful supportive friends!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Jello Arms...

As soon as I tried to raise myself out of bed this morning I realized something was wrong. The result of my little pushup adventure the night before left me without the use of my arms.


Okay, it wasn't THAT bad, but there was definitely a restricted amount of movement today. What I didn't realize was that it would get worse.


When I got to work I sent to my friend Dale, who was also taking this wonderful pushup challenge, a note that said 'I can't lift my arms.' His response? 'It hurt me to brush my teeth this morning. I couldn't brush my hair either because my head is higher than my mouth.' I was close to spitting out my oatmeal I laughed so hard over that one. I should mention he does pushups with his hands together so his thumbs and forefingers touch to make a diamond shape. Silly man. He's going to have triceps like wings by the end of this challenge!


I went about my workday as usual, with the limited mobility. At least I could rest my arms on my desk while I typed. My abs were starting to let me know that they worked out last night too.


At lunch time I headed over to the yoga studio. For a split second I debated taking the earlier, and easier class. There are times to wimp out though, and times not to wimp out. I decided this was a time not to wimp out.


There was a substitute yogini today. This made me a little nervous as now I really didn't know what to expect. I prayed I wouldn't have to hold a plank or anything for too long.


We did the usual sun salutations etc. Things were going very very well. I could hold downward dog, I just didn't take my time in between the movements when I was in plank. Of course, nothing ever stays that easy.


At one point she had us go into the plank position...I was getting very leary of what was to come next. As I heard the words 'lower yourself slowly to a count of four, then hover at least one inch above the floor for two counts, then slowly raise yourself' I started praying for strength. Please don't let me collapse into a heap. Please. I know we are supposed to leave our ego's at the door, but there are cute boys in this class. I don't want to fall in a quivering jello like heap in front of the cute boys. Or anyone for that matter!


I made it through this exercise - granted I was gritting my teeth, which really isn't very yoga like. I was focussing on my breathing though. It helped me to diffuse some of the pain. I'm surprised I didn't make a crying sound when she had us hold the plank then do core work. While in plank, we lifted one leg, brought our knee towards our chin, lifted it sideways, brought it back, then out, then down. With both legs. Without taking a break.


I know not how I managed to complete this set, but I did. Thankfully the rest of the class involved balancing. On our legs. When it was time for shivasna, I collapsed in a heap and just laid there.

The aftermath of all the pushups and my yoga is this....I can no longer raise my arms. I can no longer reach behind my back to scratch the itch I have. I will likely have to forgo brushing my teeth and doing my hair tomorrow morning. Oh, and my core? Let's put it this way. If I were to sneeze without bracing myself I would end up on the floor in fetal position sucking my thumb and begging for mercy.

Tomorrow's session of pushups is going to be very, very interesting. I still haven't read what I have to do. It's too scary. Granted, I could easily put it off for another night while I let my feeble muscles heal...but why on earth would I do that when I can continue the self torture of my body!


I better have Desiree Ficker arms after all this!!


Peace out my friends!

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Challenge...

I think it's pretty safe to say that the personality of a someone who participates in endurance triathlons would be one who will jump at mental and physical challenges...without actually reading the fine print of said challenge.

I can say with the utmost confidence that I am one of those types of people. It's how I ended up doing my first half Ironman. Granted there was also some Jack Daniels involved in that challenge acceptance. That's a story in and of itself.

This time there was no Jack Daniels, there was just this longing...a longing for a physical challenge. As always, the Universe provided!

My friend Jenna recently started the 100 pushup challenge. The details of which can be found at www.hundredpushups.com. I had barely read what the challenge was all about when I'd already decided I was in. Apparantly Jenna figured this would be the case as she mentioned that she already accepted my participation...

Perhaps I should have read the fine print first?? My arms, chest, and core are begging that I had prior to starting out.

So what is this challenge? Well, one takes an initial pushup test, then for the next six weeks does five varying sets of pushups, three times a week, in order to build enough strength to be able to do 100 consecutive pushups.

My mind said, 'You can so do this! Didn't you used to do a million pushups in martial arts?! Go for it!' So I did. On Saturday I got up and did my intial test - I managed to squeeze out 23 pushups. I should add here that these aren't the sissy type of pushups either. No bending the knees, or going only partway down. Uh huh. These are military pushups. You start from a straight arm plank then lower yourself completely to the ground, then go back up again. It doesn't take long to feel these babys!

Satisfied with my test I went on the website and looked at what was next. Alrighty then - week one. I started to read the fineprint... Hmm, what's this? "More than 20 push ups? I would suggest starting the program on Week 3. Choose either Column 2 or 3 based on the number of push ups you managed in your initial test." Uh oh, I'm getting a bad feeling about this...

Week 3, column 2... Oh shiiiiite.... My first day would go like this, 12, 17, 13, 13, and maximum pushups (no less than 17). Oh dear. What have I gotten myself into. No one said anything about this!! Then again, how else would one get to 100 pushups I guess.

Deep breath. Okay. You can so do this. It's not like you just got off the couch or anything. Well, okay, you sort of got off the couch with this thing, but you've had greater challenges before. Just roll up the sleeves, get down on the floor and giver!

The first set was very doable. It gave me a false sense of confidence. The second set was a bit slower towards the end, but I squeaked them out. The third set was really slowing down. I had a little mental chatter of encouragement going on. Then I hit the fourth set...

I started questioning what the heck I was doing. Did I really need to be able to do 100 pushups? What, would I use this as a party trick to try and impress the boys?? Are boys even impressed by this kind of stuff, or does it scare them off?! Okay, must focus... I got the 13 done, but it wasn't pretty. I was actually in the plank position a little longer than I should of between a few of the pushups because I figured if I went down, I may never get back up. My arms were shaking badly.

I watched my timer as it slowly ticked off sixty seconds, the allotted time in between sets. One more set to go. I couldn't quit - it was only the first day after all. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...go!

Everything started out fine, until I hit number 7. My arms gave out and I collapsed into a mass onto the carpet. I started to wonder exactly what was in my carpet that I was enhaling. My hair was becoming very static like too. Okay, come on, get up and get going!

8 - 9 - 10 Boom! I collapsed again. This time I was a quivering heap. Please. No more. My heart was pounding in my chest and ears. I little trickle of sweat slipped down the side of my face. Almost there - you can do it!

11 - 12 - 13 - 14 Ungh! My cat had now started circling me. Meowing and taunting. I prayed he didn't get on my back while I was down. I couldn't lift his measly 5 lbs along with mine. Thankfully after his short session of meows he left the room. Here we go now, only three more to go! Why must I be so stubborn to have to finish these?

15 - 16 - sssssss OOOMPFF! Rats! Must...get...up...one...more... AARRRGGGHH! 17!!!! Foomp! I was once again on the floor, but I did it. Oh the pride one feels when doing something so silly and for no really good reason.

Admittedly, I can now no longer lift my arms. They are still quivering. Kind of like in a horror movie when the arms get cut off or something...

I have no idea how they are going to be tomorrow - but I can imagine and it ain't a pretty sight. At the very least I hope I can reach my mouth to brush my teeth. I have no idea what I 'm going to have to do on Wednesday, I'm too scared to look.

Mental note - ALWAYS read the fine print before accepting a challenge!

Ya right, like I'll remember that for the next time.

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Twister!!!

First and foremost - thank you everyone for your concern and amazing support. I am blessed to have so many people in my life that care and I'm truly grateful for it. I'm sending each and everyone of you the biggest cyber hug you've ever had!

My spirits have been slowly lifting back up to normal Susi level, which is usually a very high level! I must have had a little residual from the weekend because this morning they lagged a little bit - it was then that I made it my resolve to do something for my soul! I was going to Michael's yoga class.

Ah yes. Michael. The British yoga guru of all poses balanced, binding and completely insane! His class is a treat as much as it is a mental and physical challenge.

The class was pretty full when I entered and so I ended up at the front, situated beside the Amazing Plastic Yogi himself. Greaaat.

Before we started, I set my intention to let all my thoughts drift off and to focus on my body and my breathing. Then I dedicated my practice to my friend Tigger in the hopes that the healing energy will help her battle.

I knew with the first few breaths and poses that this was going to be a healing class - I could feel it deeply in my soul...

I had forgotten a hair band so was in there with blond mane flowing. This turned out to be a blessing as it helped me focus. With every forward bend my hair covered my face and I felt as if I were in my own little world. I was bending, stretching, folding, and reaching on my own terms and in rhythm to my own breath. I couldn't see anyone else so my practice wasn't based on what others were doing. My work, the accident, the car and my troubles no longer existed.

As usual the first part of the class was various versions of the sun salutations. I knew that Michael would slip in something tricky at some point and sure enough he did. I was in a deep front lunge, my hands were on either side of my front (right) foot, my chest resting on my thigh and my hair hanging damply over my face. Then he said it...

"Now put both arms on one side of your leg and slip your right arm through your forward leg so that the back of your knee is above the elbow..." It was then I thought immediatley of the game Twister! I LOVE the game Twister!! It's oh, so much fun. Especially when you were young and you had a crush on someone and they were playing too and you got to twist around them....sigh....oh, but I digress.

Okay, so there I am with my arm behind my knee, wedged between my calve and hamstring muscles...then he tells us to lift our toes off the ground. At first I thought he said foot and was laughing because I was totally immobile. Then I figured it out and got the wee tootsies to lift off. Victory!

We untangle ourselves from that pose, only to lead into another treat. I was deceived into thinking this would be an easier pose. At first we just had to sit on our butts with our legs straight out in front. I could totally do that! Then we bent one knee and picked our foot up. We then gently cradled our bent leg and foot, just like one would lovingly do with a baby. Aaaaahhh. This feels nice - a good stretch for that old tight IT band.

Unfortunately the pose didn't stop there. What the Bendy Yogi did next was insane. Err, I mean amazing. He actually wedged his shoulder under his knee so his foot and lower leg were hanging over his shoulder!

I admit, I did try to wedge my shoulder under my knee. I didn't get that far, just got it to my bicep. That's where my pose stopped. It was a really good stretch of the upper back though - something I really needed since the accident.

I couldn't do the rest of what he did, of course. In addition to dangling his leg over his shoulder he then levitated! Well, not quite levitated, but he might as well have! He picked his body up off the ground! There he was all twisted and holding himself up off the ground with his two arms.

Too bad I was in the front of the class, I would have loved to see if anyone else tried this trick. Michael does make the class fun when he does those poses, so you never feel like it's a bad thing if you can't do them. At least we all give it a try and we can get to a certain point!

It was an incredible class. I felt amazing afterwards and the cares that I were dashing around my brain when I entered the studio had subsided to a very manageable hum rather than a roar.

I find yoga very similar to sitting meditation. Sometimes you get in the 'zone' and sometimes you don't. When you find that zone though - it's Nirvana. Today I found that zone and I walked out of the studio with an intense energy coursing through my body. It's so hard to describe the feeling - but take the best moment ever in your life and multiply it by 10. That's how I felt.

Aum Baby Aum.

Peace out my friends.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Tear Therapy...

The latter part of the week has been a bit of a rough go for me. I don't think I realized just how rough until yesterday morning though.

It all started on Thursday morning as I drove to work. It was about 5:50 am and I was driving along the highway out of Cochrane in the pitch dark. I had the local country station on, as I sometimes secretly do. The song that was playing was one about love and how you make your mark of love on the world. In these trying times I was thinking what a beautiful statement that was.

As I was thinking about love, a deer ran across the highway. Unfortunately, it was so dark out I didn't see it until it was too late. I didn't even have time to hit the brakes - in hindsight this may have been one of the many factors that saved me from bodily harm.

I can't tell you what happened next because I don't know. I saw the deer, there was a loud bang, there was, what I realized later, air bag dust surrounding me, and then everything was dark and in slow motion. In a split second everything changed.

When I finally figured out what must have happened, I tried to see out the front window, steered my car to the road edge and stopped. At one moment I thought the deer was on the roof of my car, but it turned out that it was my hood that had become detached.

I then sat in my car shaking and crying. I knew that I had killed the deer. Thankfully, there was someone - it turned out he was my neighbor - driving behind me who stopped to see if I was okay. I had so much adrenaline flowing through me from the fear and shock that I really couldn't say.

I remember most parts of the story after that. I sat in my neighbors truck until the RCMP came, then I sat in the Constable's car until the tow truck came and gave what information I could. Then the RCMP took me home. I sobbed off and on that day as I went about the motions of calling the insurance company, calling my work, calling the car rental, picking up all my belongings from my car at the tow lot and calling my Mom and Dad to tell them what happened. My blessings go out to Esther, who stayed with me and helped me get around town to see my car and get the rental.

The next day I went to work. The drive in was a white knuckle ride. I was so scared it was going to happen to me again. I focused on the road, on my breathing and staying calm. I've never been a timid driver - this was very new territory for me. The entire day at work I had a sense of dread. I wanted to cry, but tried not to. I was at work after all.

People who had heard about the accident asked how I was. All I could say was that physically I was fine, but my spirit wasn't quite right.

I went to bed early that night - the weight of all that had happened was wearing on me.

On Saturday I didn't want to get out of bed. I just wanted to hide under the covers. It took me two attempts to get out of bed and stay out of bed. I thought that maybe what I needed was some exercise. I'd go for a run and all this emotion that was weighing me down would vanish! What better way to lift the spirit that to be out in nature??

I felt pretty good for about 20 minutes of my run, but then the emotions came back. As I was running I was fighting the tears. 'This is ridiculous', I thought. GET A GRIP!

When I finally did get home I managed to make it up the stairs to my room. That's as far as I got though. The weight of everything that had happened came crashing down. So there I laid, in the middle of my hallway floor, crying. I just let it all go.

I cried for the deer whose life I took, I cried for Mother Nature's forgiviness for not being able to miss hitting the deer, I cried for the guilt of killing an animal, I cried for the fear and sense of dread that had plagued me since, and I cried because I walked away from the accident when I know things could have been much, much worse. I'm not sure how long I was there. Long enough that my cat who'd followed me upstairs had circled me a few times, offering comfort, finally just sat down and waited it out.

I decided not to go to the mountains that evening as planned. Instead, I stayed home and let myself work through the emotions.

I realize now that I had to honour myself, honour the deer, and let the emotions of the events wash over me. If I didn't, I'd end up carrying them with me for much longer than necessary. I still feel sad about the events, but it's a sadness that I can now deal with. I know I will be my usual jovial person soon. Hopefully, driving will be less and less scary each time I do it. After all, how else will I get to my beloved mountains to go skiing, now that we have snow, if I don't drive??

Peace out my friends.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Hello Stranger...

Ah yes, the yoga studio. How I have missed thee…

I called the studio early to make sure they were open today, as it was Remembrance Day and was grateful they were. However, there would only be one class, rather than the usual two. Gulp. This was Jeremy’s class…he really put you to work!

I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to go over. I have been neglecting my yoga and I knew it would catch up to me.

As I walked into the studio I was greeted with that wonderful smell of incense and aromatherapy. It was a welcoming smell that I have truly missed as its so comforting.

When I got into the studio it was jam packed! I had to squeeze myself in between two people and silently wondered to myself how I was going to stretch out my arms. Mental note, be aware of where your limbs are so you don’t smack your fellow classmates in the noggin!
The gal on one side of me was kind enough to move over and forward a wee bit so I could in turn do the same and give the gentleman on my left some more room. In hindsight this was truly a needed thing…

Things started off gently enough. We just focused breathing while lying down…Aaaaah. Yup, I could handle this. Kind of like being back in kindergarten and getting that wonderful afternoon nap on the mats. Why do they make you stop that practice?! Bu I digress, back to the yoga. Breathing and lying down is a nice way to get back into the groove. In no time at all though, we were up on our feet practicing our sun salutations. I love this series of movements because I stretch out as long as I can, like a cat after it’s just woken up. Perhaps I have some past life feline in me or something.

Things were a bit cramped, but so far I hadn’t smacked anyone with any body parts. All was well, until Jeremy had us position ourselves sideways on our mats with our legs spread out, like a high splits position. Crap. I knew what was coming next….bending at the waist so our butts were sticking out and our heads and arms drop to the ground.

In a class that was at normal capacity, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, today we were in like sardines and I wasn’t quite sure just how close that gent was behind me. As I folded at the waist and dropped my head between my legs I took a peek. Holy hannah he’s right there!
Of course he too was folded over so it wasn’t like his head was at my butt area or anything, but still. It was certainly close enough! It took everything in me to stifle my giggle and not say ‘How you doin’?!’ in my best Joey Tribiani impersonation.

Wouldn’t you know it too, it was just then that my body decided it need to, um, er, how shall we say…pass wind? My urge to giggle was replaced with the mantra ‘DO NOT FART, DO NOT FART!!’ This I might add was rather ironic because a friend of mine had posted a complaint about someone farting in his yoga class the night before and I was laughing about it…it was fart karma coming to get me - I’m sure of it.!

Thankfully we didn’t have to hold that pose too long, not to mention I was able to hold in any air that my body wanted to expel from my lower region.

The next move I actually had to invoke some of my ninja princess abilities. We had turned to the back of our mats and were balancing on one leg, while the other leg stuck out behind our bodies. Some had hands straight out or in prayer. I was balancing quite nicely when ‘WHOA!’ I had to shift my head rapidly to the left in order to miss the foot that came jutting at me from the girl in front of me. I guess she didn’t realize how close we were – an easy mistake. I was glad that I saw it coming, not to mention that I managed to stay balanced on one leg while doing this dodging of foot.

At one point in the class, when we were in a deep warriors pose, I could feel my butt cheeks a quivering…the Jello song popped into my head at that point. ‘Watch it jiggle, see it wiggle…’ Sing along if you know the rest!

The remainder of the class was less eventful. Although I did get my turn to have my head in too close proximity of my neighbors derriere when we had to do the other side. I didn’t look to see if he was giggling about me being there!

I could really feel how tight all my muscles were during the class and I’m sure I’ll feel it tomorrow. It was a good reminder though that I have to stay on top of my yoga practice, especially next year during training. I know it will help me with my running and cycling, plus I love how meditative it is.

You know, just thinking about it makes me very relaxed…

Peace out my glorious friends.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Kitty Pilates...

Due to a full work day and two classes I was attending, I had little time to fit in a work out. However, in my quest to get a daily work out in I actually managed some form of activity. The activity being a draw between pilates and TaeBo. Pilates won out due to time constraints.

I popped in my DVD, laid a blanket on the floor and prepared to endure a half an hour of grueling core exercises. As it would turn out, my cat, Mr. Cringely, also wanted to get a work out in...

As soon as I lay down on the floor he was right there with me. Purring and rubbing his wee body against my legs, arms, face and head. I must say, it's rather challenging to be sitting in a 'V Sit' position with arms extended and 'batting' at the floor while your cat is trying to position his head under those flapping arms. Apparantly he thought this was a new way to get pet??

I had even more fun with him as I heaved my legs over my head, then finding him sitting directly beneath my tush. This definitely helped me work on lowering myself slowly and not just dropping my legs dramatically to the ground. As it was, I kind of had to squish him out from underneath me. I should add that Mr. Cringely is 92 in human years so somewhat delicate.

Some may have gotten frustrated with his presence; however I found it pretty funny. You could say that he added a new dimension to my pilates work out. In addition, he challenged my abdominal area even more because as I was holding all these moves I was also laughing at his antics. Until you've tried it, you have no idea how hard it is to hold your legs off the ground while laughing!!

After 'helping' me with my workout for about 10 minutes, he finally decided to just lie down in an area of the blanket and watch me do all the work. One would think the least he could have done at that point was give a few meow's of encouragement!

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Persistence...

Last week was a total write off for any working out. You'll note that I say 'working out' rather than 'training'. This is because until January hits, I'm not training for anything...

Hmm, perhaps this is why I'm not being very efficient in trying to get a move on!

What can I say though - I put life on hold for six months to train for an Ironman and now I'm playing catch up with school, work and friends. It's not all bad though! I've been having a blast on weekends getting into the great outdoors and doing some activities that don't have anything to do with triathlon.

Yesterday I went out for a run with my friend Esther. The run itself was just a run; however the conversation we had was exactly what I needed. I was struggling with some ideas and Esther was the perfect person to go out with as she encouraged those ideas and said just the right thing. I'm always grateful that I am blessed with so many incredible and supportive friends!

Today I decided I'd get on the trainer for a bike workout. I was channeling my other supportive friend Julie and was going to do a repeat of the workout we did in the Pass a couple of weeks ago. I got everything set up - meaning I got changed and grabbed a water bottle - and headed down to the dungeon where Eleanor, my amazing bike, is parked for the winter.

I was looking forward to this workout and being able to just zone in on my muscles and what my body was doing. It was a way that I could forget about the week's struggles and challenges and just be. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be.

I had on some new cycling shorts and I don't know if it was them, or that I haven't been on the bike a ton lately, but I could not for the life of me get comfy in the saddle. I was sliding forward, sliding back, shifting left, shifting right, going into the areobars, and sitting up. I was a five year old child who has been told to sit in one spot and not move! I haven't adjusted my bike at all so I shouldn't have been bouncing much; however, there was a point where I felt some discomfort in the 'undercarriage region' and thought to myself, 'If I keep cycling I'm going to have chafing in a rather ackward area...this would SO not be good.' Enough said.

I decided I would give up the battle after a half hour of squirming on the bike. What to do, what to do?? I didn't want to not work out. In fact, for my sanity, I NEEDED to work out. So I got changed, put on my running sneakers and headed outside. Talk about bliss!!

I'm so glad I got out of the dungeon and went outside. It was absolutely brilliant out there! This is November?! I think not. This was a gorgeous spring day. The sun was out in full force all bright and welcoming and the sky was a comforting baby blue blanket.

I felt like I was running on air. My bounce was light and, well, bouncy! I loved the feel of the warm sun rays on my face. Aaaaah....

I ran for about 45 minutes around my neighborhood. It was glorious. I was in such a great mood that I decided at the end of my run to tackle the stairs that join neighborhoods. I was actually running with my MP3 player today so I decided to switch it into a 'high velocity' tune in order to give me a boost for the stairs. Time for a little speed metal with Anthrax's 'Got the Time'. Ya baby!

As the bass guitar and bass drums simultaneously kept beat in double time, I hotfooted it up every stair. When I got to the top I decided that wasn't enough, so I ran back down them and did it again. This time I counted steps as I was wondering how many there were. Turns out there were 45 steps. I was huffing and puffing after the second set, so left it at that.

I still didn't want to go inside though so ran for a little bit longer. All in all today I managed to get in 10 minutes of core, half an hour on the bike, and 45 minutes of running. Not Ironman training, but not horrible either.

Persistence. That was the word of the day. I had to be persistent in getting a workout done today. Things weren't working, so I had to adjust. Adjusting - excellent training for a triathlete. We all have to be open to adjusting the game plan at the drop of a hat.

So now I need to be more persistent in getting workouts done during the week, no matter how busy I am. I decided to look at my calendar and pick activities that I could squeeze into the chaos that is my life at the moment. Then I wrote it down so I was accountable. Fingers crossed it works!

Peace out my loving friends!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Climb Every Mountain...

Guess what I did today?! I CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN!!!

This time I got really, really close to the top too! If you'll have some patience and read through, I'll tell you why I haven't made it to the top of a mountain yet.

Today's challenge was one 'Lady MacDonald'. We were going to climb up to the 'teahouse', which was supposed to built but never was, and then possibly summit the ridge.

It was a very short walk along a neighborhood path and then onto a rocky path which followed the creek in Canmore. It wasn't long before we were at the Lady MacDonald trailhead. Trudy was in the lead (always a good thing as I got us lost the one time I attempted to lead) and as we started the trek mentioned 'That's about the last of the flat part as we now have 2 hours of steady climb.' My response to this was 'Cool! We can just take our time and set a good pace. No worries.'

I probably walked about 100 paces when what Trudy said actually penetrated my rather thick cranium. Wait a second. Did she just say TWO HOURS of steady climb?! And did I just say 'Cool'?! Whoa! What the heck am I thinking?! Then again...I did see where we were going to be hiking from the parking lot....and it was pretty far up. Some days I swear the cheese is sliding off the cracker and my brain just does not register reality! What adventure have you gotten yourself into this time Missy?!

So that's what we did. We walked up. Up through the trees.




Up more through open spaces...




And up even more through the rocks...



You'll note just how steep this wee trail was. At times my heart was pounding through my chest. However, the heart pounding wasn't only from the exertion of climbing up a mountain, but also some of the areas we had to climb through...
I love being in the mountains, and I love hiking through the mountains. I love just being outside. I most especially love hiking through trees. I even touch the trees as I walk by and thank them for their presence. Trees are wonderful things because not only do they smell good, but they also stop me from plummeting to my untimely demise down the side of the mountain!
I have a bit of a weakness...I'm terrified of heights. I'm one of those people that get to the second rung on a ladder and my body starts to waver due to the vertigo that sets in. That written, one may wonder what the heck I was doing climbing a mountain?! Well. I hate the fact that I'm afraid of heights so I constantly am trying to overcome that fear. It is this insanity that also leads me to think that competing in an Ironman is 'fun'.
Trudy is well aware of the fact of my height issue so, unbeknownst to me, was keeping a watchful eye on how I was doing in some of the sections. Most especially the sections that were very open with the narrow rocky path.
I must say when I set out on our hike I set the intention that this would be a bit of a meditation walk for me. Trudy and I both agree that being outdoors like this can be meditative so for the most part there was very little chit chat on the way up. (In my case, this was also due in part to the fact that I was a bit winded at the onset of the climb.) Instead, I was focussed on each footfall, my breathing, the glorious smell of pine, and the trickle of sweat that was a constant stream down the side of my face.
In the open sections it was most easy to be meditative. For one, I knew if I looked down that my head would spin, my heart would race and I would likely have such a hard body shake that I would end up tumbling down the steep slope. The very thing that I didn't want to do. Instead, in my head I sang 'climb every mountain' from the movie 'The Sound of Music', I watched every single footfall, and I tried desperately not to panic.
Trudy had stopped to check up on me and I wondered if she could sense my fear. Or see my body shaking for that fact. Not that I wanted to tell her this, but in some of the steeper, more slippery sections I was truly wondering how the heck I was going to get down from this mountain. How would it look if I just slide down on my butt? Perhaps I could convince her to send for a helicopter to pick me up at the top?! I was sure I could handle the embarassment if it meant I would get to a lower altitude safely.
I quickly realized that I really shouldn't be thinking of the down. I still had a lot of up to go. Gulp. How easy it is to forget about staying in the present moment when things get hairy scary!
During one particular slick section I had a good rhythm going. Stab the hill with my hiking pole, one foot, two foot. Stab the hill with my hiking pole, one foot, two foot. I did this at a snails pace, but it was working for me so I really didn't care if it was slow. It was then that I noticed out of the corner of my eye a woman coming up behind me. I swear she was walking as if she was taking a midday stroll down Robson Street. Oh how I envied her confidence! Back to the task at hand for me though. Stab the hill, one foot, two foot.
Oh, I did have a wee distraction from all the climbing and heights at one point. If you recall, I mentioned I was sweating rather perfusely during the climb. Not only from my head, but apparantly my low back and arse were rather sweaty too. I must say, I don't recall ever sweating THAT much around the buttocks area, but I must have been today because my pants were quite wet. Perhaps this was a hiking sweat?? At about the point that I could feel a trickle of sweat slip down between my bodacious butt cheeks I thought to myself, 'I can't be sweating THAT much, can I?!'. I reached around and felt the backside of my pants and they were soaked through. So much so, that there were droplets of water on my fingers. What the.... MY WATER BOTTLE!!!
Nuts! My water bottle had tipped in my bag and I had about 500 mL of water slowly drip down my backside. At the time I stopped to actually notice what was going on the water had now begun to slide down the back of my legs! If I didn't have my fleece cap, shirt, jacket and hat in the bag I'm sure this process wouldn't have happened in such a slow manner. I still would have ended up with a wet backside though so it was a bit of a moot point when I caught it.
Good thing I'm a triathlete who's used to racing for long periods in wet clothing. I put my bottle right side up and continued on. All the while chuckling to myself because it never ceases to amaze me that something funny generally happens to me on all my adventures! I'm actually quite thankful for that. Better than, oh I don't know, having the adventure of sliding down a mountainside!
The sun was shining on my backside so lucky for me, my pants dried within the next 1/2 hour of climbing.
I'm not sure how long we'd been climbing for. Likely almost the two hour mark when finally I spotted it. The teahouse. Or rather, the platform the teahouse was going to be on, as shown in the picture below.

It only took us a few minutes from this point to reach it. I was in desperate need for a snack at this point so once we got up there we sat and enjoyed the breathtaking view. According to some information I looked up afterwards, we were approximately 940 meters up.

I'd made it. It wasn't the top of Lady MacDonald, but it was damn near close. Trudy, in her ever kind way, suggested that because there was a weather system coming in we likely shouldn't attempt to get to the top. The top being about 274 meters higher. Below is a picture of some of the clouds coming in. From the west it looked rather dark too.

I took one look at where we had to go and admitted to Trudy that I just couldn't do it today anyways. It was loose rock and completely open. (It's hard to see in the picture below, but along the left side of the ridge is the trail.) It had taken all of my courage to get me through the few open sections we had already passed and I knew I just wasn't ready for the last of the climb.

Trudy admitted that she didn't think it would be a good day to attempt this either as she'd noticed my fear in a few sections coming up. However, she also added that she was quite impressed with my dedication to get past those 'scary' spots and she thought that with a few more climbs like this that I'd be ready to tackle this climb to the top or even 'Chinaman's Peak'. I felt pretty good about that!

We sat up there for a while until it got too cold. There were no trees to shelter us and the wind was pretty cold. It was time to head back down, but not before we got our picture taken, by another couple who came up behind us, at the top. That's the town of Canmore down below.

Oh, you know how I was wondering how the heck I was going to get down off this mountain?! You know, cause now I'd actually have to look DOWN at where I could fall?? (No wonder 'up' is so easy....it may be slippery but you don't actually see how steep it is where you are!) Well, as it turned out, I got down just fine thank you very much. Even the sections where I was shaking on the way up! I felt really comfortable going down and just took my time down the more slippery sections. I definitely felt more confident and in control. My plan of sliding down on me arse did not have to be put into action. Good thing too as the rocks were sharp and would have torn my pants...

I think Trudy is right...with a few more climbs like that I'll get more comfortable with the open sections and actually be able to climb to the top! Very cool.

I think it took us about 1.5 hours to climb down. I was really feeling it in my knees and quads by the time we got to the bottom. This was a great workout. I was on a rush when I got to the bottom - I couldn't believe that we climbed that far! I'm really thankful that I've met such an amazing friend as Trudy. She's a really great guide - very thoughtful about the person she's hiking with and how they are doing. Not only that, but she has provided me with a couple fantastic adventures now. I can't wait till we get out cross country skiing - which if the clouds today were any indication - might be sooner rather than later.

I shall leave you with this last picture. This was the view from the parking lot pathway. In approximately 3.5 hours we climbed above that treeline and back down again. How cool is that - I CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN TODAY!!

Now it's time to kick back and sip on a yummy glass of red wine.

Peace out my adventure loving friends!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Winterstart 2008...

Woohoo! It's Winterstart time! The annual 5 miler run, in the dark, in Banff. Wait...something is very different this year... Why is it so light out?! And how come it's so darned warm?!

I finally figured out the light thing. It was still so light out because our Prime Minister likes to imitate the President of the United States. (Insert major heavy sigh here.) So when the States decided to move out the date of Daylight Savings, we had to follow. Therefore the sun was still out - a bit.

As for the warm thing - no idea. Hello global warming?!

I met up with Trudy in Canmore and we had enough time for a hot cuppa and a chat before we were off to Banff.

There was quite the group outside of the Caribou Inn, all eagerly awaiting the countdown before they could run their hearts out. Many people had on fun costumes - perhaps they hadn't been home from the Halloween festivities the night before?! Of course there were the usual glow sticks and glow jewellry. I was wondering if they'd be needed, but finally it was getting dark out.

With the imaginary gun start we were off! As is normal, it was quite congested at the start of the race. Trudy and I had a pretty good pace going as we meandered our way through the crowd. When we got out of the view of the street lights I turned on my handy dandy LED ball cap. (Thanks Moeder!) Every piece of reflective clothing in front of me sprang to life with brightness! It was actually pretty neat looking.

In what felt like no time at all we turned right and started our way up the mountain. There were still a fair number of people in this section, but we were also now starting to pass people. I especially wanted to pass the little girl in front of me. She was 3'9" of spitfire with braids and it was imperative to me that I pass her! Fine, I'll admit it, I do have ego. Only sometimes though! At least I didn't stick out my tongue as I went by - not that she could have seen it.

It was very very dark now and if it weren't for the glowsticks of the speedy people coming down the hill there would have been no way to see them.

We had a pretty quick pace going up the hill. It was then that I gave thanks for the fact that I live at the top of a hill and had to climb it at the end of all my training runs!

Again, it seemed like it took no time at all and we were at the turnaround. I was feeling really good at this point so decided to just giver back down the hill. True, easy to do on a downhill! We made it back down to the bottom and turned left back onto Banff Ave.

Trudy and I were checking with each other about the pace. It was pretty cool to run with someone that held the same pace as I did. Actually, on the way back we both kept each other going. I started it off by saying that I thought I could use a challenge and wanted to keep this pace. When I started to slow a bit Trudy kept us going, and we kept trading off like that. We were so in synch at one point that even our breathing patterns matched! It was awesome.

At last we were at the finish! They didn't have a clock up this year, but we were given time chips so I figured I could look later if I felt like it. Tell me, is racing in the dark that competitve that one needs a timing chip?! I know not. Of course because it was there I did decide to look up our times just because I could. We ran a 49 minute 5 miler. Works for me!

Peace out my friends!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Imagination Run...

There is a trail run I like to do that takes me past the Ranchehouse and keeps me on the trails for part of the way. Seems they've done some 'improvements' to the trail as they've now put a layer of gravel down rather than have the dirt path that was there. Honestly, I'm not too impressed.

This area is meant to be rugged. One is meant to walk, or run, through the dirt and grass, just like they did WAAAY back when. Oh well, I didn't have to run too far before I found my way back on the dirt trail. I think they only did the gravel around the Ranchehouse area.

As I ran through the tall grass along the trail I started to pretend I was 'Princess Runs With Braids Crunching Leaves'. Yes, this actually made the run more fun. I had a bit more bounce in my step and maneouvered over roots and down the dirt steps. I was careful going down these steps because the last time I darn near went arse over tea kettle on them when my shoelace got caught on a railway tie.

It only took me about 10 minutes to get through this part so I decided to head out to the dirt road that connects with the path and takes you to 'Dr. Fosters'. I swear he has the most brilliant house around as it's nestled far away from town in a valley. Sigh.

As I neared the dirt road I thought I heard a scream. Not a human scream, but an animal scream. Needless to say I stopped dead in my tracks. I had tissue in my ears (I get earaches from the cold) so I wasn't sure exactly what I was hearing...but I wanted to figure it out before I went ahead. I saw through the tress that some Yahoo in a giant truck had his brakes on and was screeching the tires - hence the 'screaming' sound. Eejit. I didn't know what was up so I just hung back until they squealed off. Good thing I could hide out in the trees with my ultra neon yellow jacket!!

I think that incident kind of spooked me because then my imagination started to play with me. As I ran up the road to Fosters I kept wondering if the bears in the area were hibernating and when exactly was the last time someone saw a cougar up here?! (The furry variety, not the gaudy variety.)

The run to the turnaround point was uneventful, thankfully, but I did imagine having a cougar leap out at me and me having to wrestle with the thing whilst saying 'I really don't want to hurt you!'. Of course because I was Princess Runs With Braids Crunching Leaves I won the wrestling match.

I turned back after half an hour. As I was running I noticed a wet spot on the road. Hmm....dog pee or big kitty pee?? No, there was nothing else around that would make that.

Now if I were Brian Keating, I would have gotten on all fours and sniffed it. But I'm not, so I didn't. Ew. I did have heightened Spidey senses after that though. I kept checking around me and looking in the trees. 'Here kitty, kitty...'

As I neared the pathway I was to run back on, I saw two trucks stop. This is not a through road so I was wondering what they were doing. As I got closer I saw it was a bunch of kids, likely taking a lunch break from school. I didn't check out what else they could be doing.

I was much happier once I got back on the trail and was root jumping again. I was still on the lookout for felines, but at least I could hear people on the other side of the creek so if need be I could yell.

One of these days I'm going to have to read up more on the wildlife around here. It seems funny to think that we have wild animals nearby, but this town really isn't far from where they live and they have been known to stop by for a nibble or two.

I had a great run, although my mind was preoccupied with whether or not I was going to encounter a really big kitty. Perhaps next time I run out there I'll take a friend - one that's slower than me of course.

Peace out my friends.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Soloists...

So what happens when you put two triathletes, who normally train solo, into a room together?

Well, you get a lot of burping and farting, some heavy breathing, but not a whole heck of a lot of talking.

At least when you put Julie and I in a room that is the outcome! As part of my triathlon rehab weekend I joined in on Julie's bike workout. I knew it would be a good challenge because the most I'd done in the last three months is about 45 minutes. Just one steady pace for 45 minutes. Wait, I might have done an hour two months ago! You get the picture though.

This workout; however, was 1:35 hours and had hard bits to it! Gulp.

After some major trainer issues - I somehow managed to strip a screw on my trainer, so couldn't put in the lift so that I could adjust the trainer for use with my aero bike, which has 650 tires rather than 700 tires - major urgh...I finally borrowed Julie's old trainer. Thankfully she had one!

Julie was on her computrainer and positioned towards the computer screen. Initially I set my bike up so it was beside her, but I don't like distractions like music or tv/video so I decided after 10 minutes of spinning to turn my bike so I was looking out the french doors. Ahhh. Good ol' Mother Nature. That was to be my view.

You can imagine what it looked like now. Two of us in one small room. One facing the computer and with headphones on and tunes cranked, the other facing away and perpindicular to her counterpart, staring out a window. Yup, we are definitely used to training on our own! Needless to say we were as happy as little kids having cake and ice cream for dinner!

The workout itself was awesome! Some warm up, then intervals at a steady pace, in overgear, fast spinning, then easy spin for 5 minutes. We had three sets of these.

The first set was pretty good. I had to keep reminding myself that it had been a while since I worked this hard on the bike so as not to get discouraged.

As we went along our merry way, the only thing I heard out of Julie was the odd fart here and there. Oh, and burps. It was hilarious because at first she was apologizing for farting and I'm like, what for? Heck, we are triathletes, other than training what else do we do but fart and burp?! For those non tri geeks out there, it really isn't a very glamourous sport...but at least we aren't embarassed about bodily functions!

Julie lucked out today. Considering my arse was facing her, had it been a fart day for me she would have been in serious trouble! We kept joking 'BUT IT DOESN'T SMELL!!!' Instead I was practicing my 'Booger from Revenge of the Nerds' burps. Ah yes, a classy lass I am!

Aside from our bodily noises there was not much conversation going on. We were both really focussed on the task at hand. I was trying to tap into the signals my legs and arse were giving me. Signals such as 'no more...please'. I wasn't about to quit though. I was going to see this through the end. I needed to see this through the end.

The second set was reasonable, but the third one was killer. I kept pushing through the discomfort. It was great having intervals to follow because it gave my brain a bit of a break. I did my best to stay focussed, but the odd time my mind would wander. Likely some sort of pain defense mechanism...

When we were done I gave a hollar and we high fived. I felt GREAT! It was an awesome workout and I'm glad Julie was there. Even though we didn't chat, just having her presence in the room was encouragment and motivation!

Oh, and Julie, I apologize for the small lake that I left under the bike....did I mention I sweat a lot?!

Peace out my farty friends!!