Sunday, 27 January 2008

Holy...That Went Fast!!!

I had a really short bike ride today - just 1:15 hrs. (Yes Jenna, that's mega short - just you wait!!) I chatted with IG last night and he recommended doing 5 minute intervals. One interval of a heart rate at 120-125 bpm, alternating with a heart rate of 130-140 bpm.

After a 20 minute warmup I started in on the intervals. It wasn't hard to get my heart rate up, but getting it down was another thing, haha. I was trying hard to keep my cadence up, but also had to switch from my big chainring to my little chainring in order to drop my heartrate enough.

I have to say the time just flew by! The intervals were great. I'd like to throw them in now and then, but I still think my favourite bike workout is just holding a certain pace at a certain heart rate. I'm finding this to be the most challenging workout I have, both mentally and physically. It's exactly what I need to help me achieve my goals at IMCDA...

Still, I am not going to complain about having a 'fast' workout now and then, haha. It was a nice break!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Lunch at the Lake...

I had a great ski day today. I went with the two Jo-anne's to K country. We started out on a similar route as taken before, along some gorgeous single track set in the trees. The sun was fighting to get out and I was hoping it would - it was a bit cool in there!

When we got to Elk Pass trail we decided to take another trail that would take us to Upper Kananaskis Lake. First though we had to climb up one fairly steep hill, then ski down another very, very steep hill. The three of us kind of stood there at the top of it for a bit wondering just how steep this hill turned a corner so we couldn't see down. Gulp...

The top of it sure as hell looked steep!! I kept thinking, I have a race that's really important to me and can't afford to break or stretch something beyond it's stretchability! Then I thought, I can't afford not to go down, because if I don't, I'll be letting my fears govern what I do. Crap!! Why do I have to always be thinking thoughts like that?! Fine!, I thought, I'll go down!! haha. So off we went, one by one.

I just took it slow and easy until I got around the corner and saw it flattened out a wee bit, then I let myself pick up a bit of speed. I saw Jo-anne had stopped at the end of the one section, so I thought it was flatter than it was. I snowplowed a bit, then went into the trackset again. It wasn't flat though and I was picking up even more speed...Shite.

At the bottom of the track I could see three women standing there looking at the trail sign. Thankfully they looked up and saw the 'GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!' look on my face and did so. It wasn't that I couldn't stop at the bottom, it was just that they were standing right where I'd have to hit the brakes where the track ended! I needed that space! We got a good chuckle out of the whole thing.

Finally we got down to the lake where we could eat some grub. It wasn't that bad out, the sun was peaking out a bit more and the wind, thankfully, had died down.

As we ate we were being stalked by WhiskeyJacks. They are almost like Puss'N'Boots in Shrek with their big fluffly bodies and begging eyes. You'll be proud of me though, I did not break down and share my rice and lentil lunch!! I tried to get a pic of the scoundrels, but they wouldn't let me. Likely afraid they'd see their faces in the post office the next day with the caption 'Wanted For Begging'!.

We finished up our lunch fairly quickly as we were cooling down quite a bit. We then took another route back to the parking lot. It has been fun skiing the last few times, taking new routes and seeing where they end up. The snow was great again and I got some awesome speed. I'm start to kick some serious butt with this xcountry skiing thing! Hmmm, dare I say that IG is correct and that all this consistent biking will pay off?!

Naaah. Don't want his head to get to big or anything - then he won't be able to fit through any doors!! LOL. Although perhaps it would help his buoancy in the swim??

Friday, 25 January 2008

Okay, Now Where Was I...

Let's see now...the last time I wrote it was Sunday and I had a great bike's now Friday!! So what's been happenin' in my exciting tri life?!

Let's start at the beginning shall we...

(Ok, this would be a good time to get a glass of your favourite bevy....this will be a long one in true Susi fashion!)

So, on Tuesday's swim we had a 450 m warmup then got into a 45 minute endurance swim. The concept is simple - swim for 45 minutes straight, just like you would in a race. So off we went...lap, after lap, after lap. Ya, not too exciting, haha. Then again I always manage to have a little excitment happen, no matter how big or small.

So I must have been doing my flipturns REALLY fast (ha, ya right!) cause my damn swim cap started to slip off. As hinted to above, there is no stopping in this type of swim. I had to keep going, just like I'd do in a race. Actually, this was good practice. Something wasn't going my way - it happens all the time in a race - and I needed to keep going despite it. So I did.

Before I even hit 1000 m the cap had somehow slipped off my head and was hanging on under my goggles in the nape of my neck! My pigtails were still in a bunch in there too. Hmm, can you say DRAAAAAG. haha. By the time I got to around 1800 m or so my pigtails were flopping by the side of my head and my cap was barely hanging on under the strap of my goggles. So I took it off. Only I did so at the wrong end of the pool so I had to swim with one hand in a fist and the other normal. haha. I blame these events on my only going 2050 m in 45 minutes. I should have been able to swim farther!

Lesson learned though - I felt great during those 45 minutes. I can tell I've improved since last year and that's an awesome thing. I also know that next time I can turn it up a notch. Very cool.

That night I had IG's bike class. It was a gooder!! After warm up we did six by two sets of 2 min hard, 2 min easy intervals. I was really happy with my biking as I got my HR up where I was supposed to AND kept my cadence up. My legs were burning and I could have used my inhaler, but it felt damn good. I felt strong!

It was only at the end I started to feel a wee bit off. I figured it was because I really didn't have a dinner before the bike - I had worked late that night. The last three sets were the toughest, but I still had strength. After I got off the bike was another story, haha. I had to sit on the floor of the shop for a while. Katie kindly gave me a little bit of chocolate to help me.

I finally decided I had to get off the floor - at some point IG would want to go home, haha - and drive home. I felt pretty crappy by the time I got home. Yes Keith, to answer the question I KNOW you are going to ask - I got a core workout in too. haha.

Wednesday was a run day. I was late getting home that night so headed out around 6:15pm. It was funny running by all the houses and seeing TVs on and people eating. I started thinking, hmmm, what would I rather be doing. Sitting in my warm cozy house watching TV, or being out here in the cold running?? Believe it or not, I choose the latter. haha. Yup, I'm nuts.

It's just nice being out there on your own and running. I, of course, had my safety vest on that Mum sent me. I learned as a kid that she is always right. When she said to put my coat on because it was cold out, and I didn't...I'd always freeze. Needless to say, I knew that if she sent me a running safety vest and I didn't wear it...that I'd be roadkill. haha. So run I did, for a good hour. I meandered around the paths (that were somewhat lit by the houses and my LED cap) and the roads.

Hang in there...I'm almost done!

Thursday was a swim day. Unfortunatley our coach wasn't able to make it, but we didn't know that beforehand so there were four of us in the pool. We did our regular 600 m warmup then figured Jenn wasn't coming. So on a whim, I took the lead and figured out a lesson, haha.

We did 100 m swim drill, 100 m kick drill, then 10 x 50 m sprints. (Yes, I'm mean - but hey, I had to do them too!!!) I went on 1:05 minutes. The first few were skookum - I was finishing in about 46 s. Of course that wasn't going to hold, haha. Towards the end I was resting for only about 6 or 7 seconds, haha. To finish off our set we did 200 m backstroke and 200 m breaststroke. Not too shabby for an amateur coach!

I didn't have to run on Thursday night, so I squeezed in a visit with my treasured chiropractor. I was in desperate need of a back adjustment not to mention my calves were 'tighter than a cow's ass in fly season!'.

You know, I really think my chiro needs to hand out disposable leather straps for his patients to bite when he's working on them. AIYAAAAA!!! At least I didn't drop any F-Bombs. I was close to doing so and had I not had the breathe sucked out of me because of the pain, I would have dropped one....or five. LOL.

My calves were seriously burning when he was working on them. Hopefully, with another visit I will be able to get the rest of the muscles to loosen up with some further stretching. Sigh... I think this counts as a workout though, because the next morning I sure felt as if I had worked out!

Okay, last but not was SweatLab night tonight!!! It was a short ride tonight - 1:40 hr. I focused on my technique and keeping my HR where it should be. The ride we did tonight was to mimic the section from Oliver to Richter Pass. I wasn't pushing it so I only made it a smidge up Richter, which is fine with me!

Tomorrow is a xcountry ski day - I can't wait to hit the mountains!!! Hope everyone else out in TriLand had a wonderful week just as I did!!!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Ironman - The Lifestyle...

I got on the bike today for my endurance ride. To give me a little boost and keep me company during my ride, I popped in the 'Ironman Kona 2004' DVD. The first time I watched this I was just about to do my second sprint triathlon. Ironman wasn't even a glimmer in my eye.

It was interesting to watch it now, after I'd completed my first Ironman. So many thoughts filled my mind. Last year all I wanted was to finish - this year I have a goal. A time goal. One which will remain between me, IronGreg and the Iron Gods and Godesses.

At one point, the announcer made the statement 'Ironman is a lifestyle'. It's so true. When I first got into triathlon I immersed myself in it, just as I have done with many other things in my life. Some of my friends couldn't understand why I would commit so much time to an activity or a race where I wouldn't 'win' or even be in the top of my age group. Sometimes I ask myself that question. Then I think of that statement, and for me it's very true. This is my lifestyle and I make no apologies for it - even if I never achieve more than mid-pack status.

So with that mindset in place, I pedaled my legs off for the remainder of my workout. Regardless if I'd always be a mid-packer, I was going to work my arse off because every little bit helps!

The last 50 minutes were the most challenging, mentally and physically. I was up for the challenge though. I know what I need to do in order to attain all my goals this year. I achieved what I wanted to today and felt great about it at the end - even if my legs desperately wanted to be stretched and massaged. One of the bonuses of triathlon training - no matter how big or small the goal of the day may be, reaching it gives you an amazing rush!

Who wouldn't want to have this lifestyle?!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Frozen Eyeballs and Snotscicles...

When I woke up this morning I called Esther to see if she wanted to go for a run. She'd been suffering from a cold so I wasn't sure how she'd be feeling this morning. It was then she informed me she wasn't feeling well enough to go, but also that there was a fair amount of snow outside.

Whaaa?! Snow? Suhweeeet!

Now I'm thinking that most people would have stayed in bed bundled up in their blankies, all hunkered down and passed on running. Me on the other hand....I love snow and was excited to head out into the winter wonderland.

Originally I was supposed to go out xcountry skiing, but the plans fell through. With the snowfall we had last night I was able to play in the snow without going to the mountains. Not that running around in the snow here is as nice as the mountains - but it would have to do.

I was going to go to the gym after my run so I started out from there and ran along the river. Some of the snow on the path had been compacted by others walking their dogs etc. But once I got past that part of the path I was trudging through about 3 inches of snow. I kept thinking to myself, 'I wonder what all the triathletes in California etc would think of us crazy Canucks getting our run in in so much snow?!' haha. Personally I think it makes us tougher.

Well, at least I thought I was tough, until I looked up and a snowflake dive bombed my eyeball. My thoughts immediately after the snowflake incident went like this: OW!!! HOLY HANNAH I FROZE MY EYEBALL!! I froze my damn eyeball! Holy crap. I'm blind. I've been blinded by a snowflake!! Okay, just try to blink... Okay, blinking. Good. Damn that eye is watering like crazy. Wait! What if my eye freezes shut now?? Well for crying out loud how the hell can a wee snowflake cause so much chaos??

Of course I continued running while all this was happening. I'm happy to report that I neither froze my eyeball (I figured that out when I realized if I could feel the pain then I mustn't have frozen my eyeball...), nor did I go blind.

There was less drama for the rest of the run, although I was having a bit of an issue with snotscicles. Now don't tell me you've never suffered from a snotscicle! You know, that thing when your nose is sooo cold that you can't really tell you have snot hanging down till you kinda notice something waving in the wind?? If that thing hanging down is a bit frozen...well then, you have a snotscicle!! They can be somewhat embarassing, but fun at the same time. Cause if it's hanging down, then it's time to blow it out really hard! LOL.

Ah yes, the fun that can be had running in the cold and snow. Haha!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Highlights...

With my new schedule I'm unable to keep up a daily blog as in the past. So from now on I'll be submitting a highlight reel of sorts! Little dribs and drabs from the week or the odd story of something neat that has happened or perhaps major breakthroughs.

So what's happened so far this week?! Well now...let's see...

On Tuesday I had a great swim. In addition to working on my 'sustained power', I managed to swim on top of someone. Yup, you read that correctly. Now, now, you Cheeky Monkeys - it's nothing like THAT. I was swimming the backstroke. Just making my merry way along - staring at the ceiling, reaching, keeping the core stable...trying not to snort water. You know, the usual. The next thing I know the small of my back is touching another body and I am getting kicked from underneath me!!

How'd that happen, you ask? Well, I really don't know other than to say it came down to timing. See, Kerry was in front of me using the kickboard, and as I was looking up at the ceiling with my ears under water (and with earplugs) so I neither saw nor heard that he was right there. I guess his legs were hanging low so I managed to swim over top of them until his backside was nestled in the small of my back and I got kicked. haha. Oh, and I managed not to hit him with my arms either. Like I said, it was all about the timing.

We both got a good chuckle out of it! I was very grateful too that he didn't kick me hard!

Later that evening I had my bike class. I was feeling the workout in my legs, but my heart rate wasn't showing it....Now folks, here's a lesson to learn - listen to your heart. No, not in some schmoozy Harelquin romance kind of way, I mean when it's low and you feel you are working - it's trying to tell you something. At the time I didn't know what it was trying to tell me. But as I was driving home and trying not to vomit - I finally got it. AHA! Something wasn't right.

I managed not to vomit in my car, phew, but did have a little 'core session', shall we say, when I got home. Ew. Why that happened, I know not. I think that rather than the flu, it was my wonderful IBS causing some problems. Urgh.

The next day was much better however as I got some nifty gifts from Mum. (Not for any particular reason really, other than I'm an only child and spoiled - so sue me.) First off she gave me a safety vest made by Fuel Belt. Needless to say, it's exceptionally bright. She knows I'm running around outside in the evenings now and was worried I wouldn't be seen....well that's not going to be a problem with this thing on! I wore it tonight when I ran and vehicles actually gave me a bit of room. Well, some of them at least. Damn trucks....

The other thing I got was a running cap with - this is great - a built in LED in the front brim!!!! Way too cool - I know! No more wearing my headlamp! Although my Mum is, (sorry Mum), ahem, technologically challenged (do NOT let her near a computer!) she always seems to find the coolest gadgets!

The cap was awesome, although there is one thing that I have to be aware of.... As mentioned, the LED is in the if I look straight ahead I can see the bottom of the LED in the middle of the brim...which makes my eyes tend to wander upwards...leaving me running and looking cross-eyed at my brim. haha. Not the best thing for my eyes or for my running technique!! Still it's a very skookum gift and I'm very thankful for it!! I just have to keep looking down. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing when you are running along a path in the dark!

On my way home I was sure the people in the cars driving toward me were wondering what the hell it was coming towards them up the hill. What with me in my mega-flourescent vest, LED cap and all. It was then that the thought struck me...

What if the people in the cars were like bugs and were attracted to the light?! They could become mesmorized and start driving towards me! Yikes!!! Obviously none did...or I wouldn't be writing my blog, haha.

Me and my vivid imagination!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Expanding The Comfort Zone...

Today I had a great ride on the bike. Well, I guess as I was on the windtrainer I should say spin, because technically I didn't ride anywhere, haha.

Todays goal was to be on there for 105 minutes. Actually, that was next Sunday's's goal was 90 minutes, but I didn't figure that one out till AFTER I'd done the workout. Whoops!

I gradually got my heartrate to where I wanted it to be in the 20 minute warmup. In addition, I managed to get some one legged spins in there as well. Everything felt pretty good until around the midway point of my ride. Then I started to feel my legs.

It's funny, this workout wasn't hard per se, but it wasn't easy either. In saying that it wasn't hard I mean that I didn't have that 'YEOWCH' kind of pain that you can from sprints etc. Actually, it's hard to describe how my legs were feeling. Like they wanted me to back off or wimp out or something, but at the same time it wasn't like I couldn't keep pedalling.....does this make any sense?! haha.

I finally realized this is what it is to 'expand my comfort zone'. Last season, if I were riding outside, I probably would have backed off a bit. Hell, I would have done that on the trainer last year too. In fact, I'm sure I never kept my heartrate up on the trainer....just long easy recovery spins the whole time. Hindsight being what it is, I realize that I didn't do myself any favours! In my defense I didn't actually know what I was doing last year, but I'm learning this year.

I knew if I did that today that it wouldn't help me achieve my goal of sustained power this year. So rather than give in, I kept pedaling. I kept checking my heartrate and if it started to go down (indicating I was getting tired and slacking) then I upped my cadence a bit. In fact, I upped it to over 90 rpm, just to prove a point to myself.

I managed to keep this up the last 35 minutes of the ride, then did my 10 minute cooldown. I was really happy with today's ride. I kept my heartrate up, had great cadence and held it like that. It wasn't easy, but I did it!!! A great mental and physical breaththrough!

Just one more step towards my overall goal. How very cool.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Yup...I Have Legs...

And boy, can I feel them, haha.

Actually, they aren't that bad. I had to run today for an hour and wasn't quite sure how they'd be after Thursday nights 'lead legs' and the searing pain I felt during, and after, the bike test. However, they were ok.

I ran the same route as on Thursday night and you know what?? I got the bounce in my step back! Yay!! It was gorgeous out today so I was happy to be out there. The pathways had a bit of frost on them that sparkled in the sun. It was great.

I was watching my heartrate while I was running (yes, I'm still sticking to the low heartrate plan...), but I think I must have built up mass quantities of scar tissue from HRM chafe. LOL. It didn't seem like my monitor was registering the correct number. My heartrate was super low. Waaay to low in fact. Let's put it this way...I was running uphill and it was registered 72 bpm. Which is just above my resting. Hmmm, something is wrong here.

Well, when confronted with a dilemma whilst training, one must adapt. So I went by my PRE. Somewhat difficult I find, but I think I was doing ok, because the odd time my actual heartrate flashed up it was where it should be. Cool.

Oh, as I was running along I passed the 'spooky' garbage bin, haha. I couldn't figure out how the hell it spooked me when I was out the other night, but hey, things are always less spooky when the sun is shinin'!

Overall, the run was good. I was a bit tired from the night before, but that was to be expected. I thought it was funny that I had a better run than Thursday night, but maybe my body needs to be tortured before it 'wakes up'?!

Hopefully everyone else is out enjoying this gorgeous weather we are having!!

Friday, 11 January 2008

It's Friday!!!

It's Friday...and that means it's SweatLab night!! I was still lagging in energy a bit, but I was feeling better than I had. A good sign.

I was happy to be going - it's such a great workout and a great social event! I'm glad I didn't know what was in store for me before I got there though!!!

Ross gave us a target average watts to aim for for the first 45 minutes. The course had a downhill, then flats, then a climb for the end. My target was 102 watts. It felt easy, to be honest, but my heartrate was where IronGreg wanted me to be, so I kept it going.

Ross then told me that for the next set I was going to ride for 20 minutes at the next target watts, then for the last 25 minutes I was going to have to go as hard as I could in a threshold test. Uhm, hellloooo, there is a HILL at the end!!! Yipes.

The first 20 minutes my target was 108 watts. Which I did, while keeping my heart rate at 135 bpm. Then it was go time. I basically just started pedaling hard and fast. I hoped I didn't go out too hard cause I had 25 minutes...but at the same time I didn't want to slack off.

I got into a pretty good groove on the flats. Ross was yelling out for me to keep going and give him a couple more watts. As I got to the target he would ask for two more, haha. Dani was wonderful as she was riding beside me and could cheer me on the most. (The rest of the gang was carrying on with their ride - I was the only one doing a test.) I rode hard, that's for sure.

Then I got to the hill. Holy shite!! I have no idea at what time this was...I think maybe I had 15 minutes left? I didn't want to look at the screen - I just looked ahead and focused on the task at hand. In essence I sort of zoned out. I had was starting to hurt. haha.

The end of the test was so hard. I was pedaling as fast as I could and pushing as hard as I could. My quads were burning and I really needed some water. The gang kept me going though. It was great!!

I can honestly say by the time I got to the 45 minute mark I was done. I gave it everything I had without a doubt. I've never wanted to puke after a hard workout...but this time I did. Dani and Lisa told me to keep pedaling when I was done, so I did....the waves of nausea were rolling though. Thankfully, I didn't hurl. I know Dani was grateful! haha. When the nausea feeling subsided I got a little light headed. Hmmm...

Guess what?! WE WEREN'T DONE FOR THE NIGHT!! haha. I still had 40 minutes to go. Ross said to just go easy for the first 20 minutes...uh yeah, don't have to tell me that twice, I did. Then I was to try and get an average of 120 watts for the last 25 minutes. As hard as I tried my legs did not want to do that though. So I did the best I could. As it was my heartrate was where I wanted it anyways!

It was a great workout. My legs were friggin killing me after, but sometimes its fun to go hard till ya wanna puke, haha. Yup, I must be the right person to do Ironman with that kind of attitude, haha.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Lead Legs...

It was not easy getting up this morning...but somehow I managed to do that AND get myself to the pool on time!

We did a 200 m swim warm up, then did 5 x 100 m each of kicking and pulls. I noticed that I'm able to pull more water now. It was only for 100 m at a time though, so I'll have to work on keeping that up for 3.8 km, haha.

I'm still doing well with my flipturns, I'm happy to report!

The rest of the swim I can't actually remember, haha. It's actually Saturday when I'm writing this. My darned modem died on me so I couldn't post on the day! Total bummer!!

What I do remember is I swam HARD and we got about 2000 m done. I had teased my friend David about sweating after swimming...he mentioned he was last week and I was like, how the hell do you sweat after swimming?! Needless to say, I found I was doing the same after this workout! Hmm...perhaps a sign I worked my tail off!

I also had a run today. I was totally bagged after work. I know it's going to take a bit of time to get used to learning a ton at the new job and getting back into training. So although I wasn't physically fatigued from working out, I was still low on energy.

I missed last night though and I was not going to miss tonight no matter how pooped I was. So I doned some warm dudes, found my headlamp (it was bloody dark out!) and headed out. I followed the pathway behind the houses in the neighborhood. I thought it would be dark (hence the headlamp), but most of the houses had motion lights on the back so I could see quite a bit.

My legs felt like lead immediately. Urgh. I hoped the feeling would leave me soon. It was taking everything in me to keep going. I was trying to remain positive, but it was damn hard. I admit it...I was cursing up a storm with every step at one point, haha. I didn't stop though!

I was going to follow the path along the river, but I got part way and got spooked by a garbage bin....Hey, it was dark and all I could make out was something short and stocky on the trail! I didn't have my glasses on and my headlamp battery was I wasn't sure what the hell it was. Either a short attacker or perhaps, gasp, a bear. (It's not THAT far out the question...I live near the country...) By the time I figured out what it was I decided perhaps it would be wise to go back and run in the neighborhood, haha. So I did.

At about the 30 minute mark I got a little bounce in my step. Ahhh, that's more like it, I thought. And as quick as it came, it was gone. Shite!!

Slowly I made my way back. Up part of 'the hill', then around the path and back to 'the Beast'. Funny thing was I actually started to get into a groove at this point. Go figure, I only had 5 minutes to go, haha. I ran part way up the beast, then in order to keep my heart rate low I walked up the rest. Just to show how friggin steep this hill is, even though I was walking my heart rate was at the higher end of what I was to keep it at.

Finally, I was home. I didn't feel great during my run....but I would have felt worse if I didn't run. So I'm glad I pushed forth and got it done.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

Okay, so I'm feeling a little bit overwhelmed at the moment...and it's only Wednesday! I started my new job this week, and it's my first real week of IMCDA training. My commute to work has increased to two hours a day, and I'm trying to figure out the bus and train system to see which would get me to where I need to be fastest, and which routes will get me to where I need to be, and what I need to bring to work, and what activity I will be doing for the day.... DEEEP BREATHE!!! Oh and did I mention I made a career change so I'm trying to learn as fast as I can everything I need to do in the new job?! BREATHE , BREATHE!!

Needless to say, I missed my run tonight. I know, I know, I feel HUGE shame. But I had something to do after work and by the time it got home it was late and I was just damn tired!! I don't skip workouts often when I'm in training mode, so I'm not to worried. This won't be a habit.

So, as for training, yesterday was a friggin long day. I was up at 4:55am to get to the train, which was going to take me to the pool so I could go to my swim class.

It was great to be back in the pool! Guess what?! I CAN MIRACULOUSLY DO FLIPTURNS!! I have no idea why, but I actually was the right distance from the pool edge and flipped and could push off and everything! It was awesome.

It was a good workout for the first swim of the year. We did the usual 600 m warmup (swim/kick/pullbouy), then did some drills for a few hundred meters. After that it was time for some sprints. We did 10 x 50 m on the 1:10 minutes. I felt really strong, which is a good start. Jen wanted me to watch my kick pattern. Apparantly it's 'unique' as she said, haha. I'm sure we can all read in to that a million ways! We finished off with some backstroke and breaststroke.

After a long workday I made it to IronGreg's spin class. By then I was already getting tired an yawning. See, this is what happens when you take 3 weeks off for holidays then just jump right into training and a new job!!

The class was great, as usual, with a good amount of challenge to it. We warmed up with one legged pedaling and spin ups. Then we did two sets of 4 x 2 min at threshold. I think my legs were still a bit tired from the weekend, but I managed to get my heart rate where I wanted it. IronGreg was doing his best to keep me from being sleepy by squirting me with water from his water bottle, haha. It was so hot in there the water was actually refreshing!

At the end we did a hill climb to honour Al and Katie who are overseas climbing a mountain!! So very cool.

Tomorrow I'm back in the pool and then going for a run. I'm sure it will take a couple of weeks to get into the swing of things. The good thing is that although I am feeling overwhelmed and am very tired....I'm really happy to be back in training and happy to be at my new job.

That's what really counts!!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

A New Setup...

My IMCDA schedule called for a 90 minute bike today. My bod was pretty tired from the bike and ski the last couple of days, but I was happy to be back on a schedule!

I was adjusting my trainer while thinking to myself, I do not want to carry my bike and trainer to the basement. It's just a pain! I thought about this for a bit, then thought, hmmmm, the kitchen! See, there is a spot in my kitchen were I can look out the back window, which looks onto my cherished mountains! Also, I could have a counter on either side of me to put refreshments and my computer (for tunes). Brilliant.

So that's where I set up everything. It worked out quite well. I could even chat online a smidge to IronGreg and get encouragement to hang in there...I was kind of needing it after a bit, haha.

My heartrate was great, but damn, my legs were friggin tired. It was all I could do to keep a cadence of 90rpm. IG said I should work at a level where I could keep going after the 90 minutes...Riiiight. haha. Okay, I kept the intensity to a point where I could have gone on...but my legs did not want to continue! I got the 90 minutes done though!

I know it will take a while for me to get my body used to training more than a couple times a week, but I'm not worried. It will happen soon enough!! I have to just keep at it.

So let's take a look back at the week:

Run: 1 hour
Bike: 4.5 hours
Xcountry Ski: 7 hours

Total training time: 12.5 hours. (A little high for the first week back, but it was worth it to get so much skiing in!).

Good thing tomorrow is my day off, I think my shoulders and legs need a wee rest.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Glide! Glide! Glide!

First things first...CHECK OUT MY NEW TOQUE!!

Purple WITH skull and crossbones! I love it. Esther found it for me and I just HAD to buy it in time for our second xcountry ski outing. haha.

Today was another ski day. Joanne, Esther and I headed back out to KCountry - this time to Boulton Creek. It was a bit overcast today, but the snow was soo bright it didn't matter!

Esther had a favourite route she liked to take so off we went. I immediately liked this trail better than the one we were at on Thursday. Not to say that that wasn't awesome, I like that trail, but this one was spectacular! It is a single track that follows a creek through the trees. It was something out of the movies - like Narnia! All trees had little puffs of snow on their branches!

I wasn't sure how I would feel after last nights workout. My legs felt a wee bit tired, but overall I wasn't too bad. Of course this was just the start, haha.

We followed the path along till the next junction. I had been voted the person to determine the direction to follow as Joanne and Esther admitted they weren't the best at navigation. Needless to say, I had to tease them about this. I would learn that perhaps the Universe doesn't like teasing...

We continued or way along this wonderful path for about an hour. We were trying to practice our skiing techniques that Joanne showed us. There were a lot of rolling hills through the first bit, so it was hard to do, but then we got to one section where we could glide, glide, glide! So we went, went, went till we got to an opening that over looked a valley. We could barely make out the surrounding mountains, but it was still gorgeous. There were some benches there so we decided this would be a great place for some grub.

We sat for a short time...till the wind kicked up...then it was time to get moving before we turned into popsicles. I was cooling down quite a bit so I picked up the pace. I think I really am getting the hang of the glide now! Finally we got to the next junction. And that's where we, well I as I was the first to look at the map, realized we were back to a trail just above where we started!! LOL. Yup, the Universe decided to play a little joke on Susi and showed me it's not nice to tease people who are navigationally challenged! haha

Esther really wanted to take us to the Fox Creek trail so we turned tail and retreated back to from whence we came as the trail we wanted was halfway back. It didn't take us too long before we found the junction we needed and got on track. Finally we were on the Fox Creek trail that Esther had been talking about. It was great! More single track through the trees, which was awesome. I loved being out there.

The next bit of trail we came out to was double track and much busier. It was also a slow, steady incline up, up, and more up. By the time we got to the next point, Joanne and I were ready to start heading back. We'd been skiing about 2.5 hours by then and I was starting to feel my workout from the night before. Not tired legs per se...just an overall reduction in energy. At least it was going to be down for the next bit!!

The slight downhill was all I needed to get my energy back. Not to mention Joanne's singing, haha. I started it off with singing the first few lines of 'A Few Of My Favourite Things' from the Sound of Music. I can never remember the rest of the words even though I love that song, but Joanne knew them so started singing. It was GREAT! Anyone skiing up would see three chicks with huge smiles on their faces zipping downhill, while one of them is singing.
Unfortunately for Esther, who I might add wanted to keep going up at the top of the other hill, haha, her energy was slipping. Joanne and I wanted to go back up through the other trail and Joanne assured Esther there was no more up, haha. This was not to be though. (Amazing how quick we forget.) She had to bribe Esther up the hills with cookies, haha. Each hill we'd hit I'd wait to hear Joanne say 'It's just a little pimple Esther' then Esther would yell 'JOANNE!!' haha. It was hilarious and it kept us smiling still.

Eventually we were back at the car. Total ski time about 4 hours. I was tired, but felt awesome at the same time. It was a great day with great friends on a beautiful trail - you can't ask for more than that!!

Friday, 4 January 2008

IMCDA Training - The Start...

Tonight was the official start of my IMCDA training. It was Sweatlab night. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about going as I haven't been for quite some time and I know the workouts are hard. Now that it's done, I'm quite proud I hung in there...but I was right - it was hard. No, it wasn't hard, it was FRIGGIN hard. haha.

The program was 2 hours long at various cadences (80, 90, 95 rpm) with a set power (or watt) threshold. I haven't done the watt threshold test yet, so wasn't quite sure what to set it at....or how to set it for that matter.

Luckily I was sitting beside John and he helped me out a ton! Once I got the computrainer calibrated it was a matter of listening to what he said we had to do, then doing it.

I can't remember what my threshold naturally set itself too, I think it was around 180 watts. John pointed out that that was likely a bit high for now. Okeydokey! haha. So I lowered it to 150 watts. Mind you, I'm not holding this - this is just what the computer uses to set my resistance....I think. In all honesty, I have no idea how this magical computrainer works. I just know it automatically gets harder and easier. (All relatively speaking of course.)

Within about 10 minutes of the workout I was glistening perfusely, haha. By about the 1.5 hour mark, I wasn't sure I could keep going. So I tapped into my mantra about 'expanding my comfort zone'...that didn't really help though because I thought 'I'm beyond comfortably uncomfortable!' haha. John saw I was struggling, and likely heard the f-bombs I was dropping under my breath, so suggested I turn the threshold down. For a split second I was thinking 'No! I don't want to wimp out!'. Then reality hit me and I remembered I haven't done a hard workout like this in a while and it was going to take a bit to get back into the game.

I turned the threshold down and carried on. It was still quite hard, but I dug deep and kept going. My quads hurt like hell, especially when we did standing drills, and I was drenched in sweat but I didn't give up. I noticed during this time that it felt 'easier' to spin at a higher cadence. Hmmm. Finally, the 2 hour mark appeared on the screen. Wooo hoooo!!! I did it!! I am so glad John helped me out and I stuck with it. It gave me the little boost I needed.

I see how much work I will have to do this year to accomplish my goal of sustained power, but I know I can do this. Especially when I have the support of riding buddies. This type of workout is what I will need to accomplish that goal because that's exactly what it is....a sustained power workout over set period of time.

The final numbers were 106 watts average power, 144 bpm average heart rate, and about 56 km.

I am now ready for an Epsom salt bath....sigh....

PS I did try to do a brick run after the bike...I made it about 400 m and thought, I'm cold, tired and hungry. So headed back to the house, haha. I feel absolutely no guilt about that either! LOL.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Squish and Ski...

It's official...I'm old. This morning, at the ripe old age of 37 I had to have my first mammogram. Sigh. Actually, it wasn't as bad as some of the horror stories I've heard. (Thank you to the boob squishing Gods and Goddesses above!). No matter how bad it was though, in honour of my good friend Tigger who went through a double masectomy, chemo and radiation last year to fight breast cancer, I was not going to complain!

Breast cancer runs in my family (oh joy) so the doc thought it best to go in for a baseline screening. The process was surprisingly quick. Remove all upper clothing. Have stranger (did I even get her name?! haha) feel around for lumps and bumps, then have boob placed on plastic ledge. And here's where it gets fun...

So one has boobie resting on ledge, but apparantly it's not high enough, so technician raises ledge electronically till I'm practically being lifted off my feet! My boob is now located approximately under my chin! LOL. Then she moves your shoulders and head all over till you are leaning in...then it happens. The SQUISH! The upper plastic ledge is slowly lowered until your boob is pancake shaped. Yes, a tad bit uncomfortable. Again, not going to complain. The tech then tells you to hold your breath so she can take picture.

This wouldn't be a big deal, but she tells me to hold my breath when she's standing behind me, so I get to hold my breath while she takes her time walking around machine, then turning it on, then taking picture. At this point I was starting to see little black spots floating in front of my eyes. Could she not have told me a little later?? Or not said it so quickly I couldn't take a deep breath?? haha

Of course this went on for other boob as well. Then they do the same thing, only squishing in a vertical manner. Each time I was trying to gauge when she'd say hold your breath so I could take a deep breath. Didn't work. I am still amazed I didn't pass out during this process from lack of air. Shouldn't I be able to hold my breath for a long time from swimming??

So after all that 'fondling' and squishing I didn't get a phone number (haha), but I did get a clean check up. I do have to go back for an ultrasound though. Just another screening process, nothing to worry about.

I feel like I've gone through a right of passage or something. Hmmmm....

After all that good stuff I headed out the mountains with Esther and Joanne for a xcountry ski. We went out to Pocaterra in KCountry. The temperature was perfect and I think they even got a bit of new snow out there because the conditions were great!

We did a short loop for an hour where we learned some great ski techniques from the 'newbie', Joanne. She had recently taken some lessons and as Esther and I had never had lessons, she was kind enough to share her knowledge. I have to say, I was skiing all wrong before, haha. Oh well, I still got around. Now though I can really whizz along! It was great! (Thanks Joanne!!)

A quick stop for lunch brought some excitement to the day. We were eating our lunch in the hut when a wee squirrel (sooooo adorable) ran by. There were two little kids in the hut (waiting for their parents?!) along with an elderly couple. The kids screamed, of course, sheesh while the elderly couple totally ignored said squirrel. Joanne, Esther and I figured, hmm, maybe we should try and shoosh it outside?? Okay, Joanne and Esther thought that - I thought 'PHOTO OP!!'. haha. So they were trying to guide the little guy as I was trying to snap pics of him. He was pretty quick though.

At one point Joanne dropped an almond for him, thinking she'd make a little trail to the door and then he would go outside. Squirrel was WAY too smart for that. He grabbed the almond, gave her a little wave and a wink, then scurried up to the rafters! Well, well, looks like squirrel has a home here!

A short while later, a group of Wrinkleys came into the hut. This is when Mr. Squirrel decided to appear. Likely thinking, hmmm, more food?? Once again the kids freaked (URGH!!) and it was at this point that their, I'm guessing Grandma, KICKED the squirrel.!!

Well folks, I have to admit, it took every ounce of strength in my peace, love and granola being not to leap over two picnic tables and go for the LOD's (little ol dear's) jugular. I think I yelled 'NO!' or something. Maybe that was just in my head? The little guy gave his head a shake and then ran up to the rafters. I was boiling with anger though.

Joanne and Esther could see this, as the 'ruby stain' on my forehead flashed an angry red. (It doesn't this when I have a hard workout or am really pissed....a good warning signal I think, haha). I just couldn't believe this woman attacked the poor squirrel! It wasn't doing anything! HULLLLOOOO, we are in the f'in wildnerness lady. If you are afraid of tiny innocent squirrels then perhaps you shouldn't be here!!

Seriously, at the very least she could have just shooed it rather than attack it. Yup, I'm still pissed over the whole thing. I believe in treating all in nature (plants, animals and humans) equally. Granted I wouldn't try and pet a wild animal or anything, but I sure as hell would let it live in peace and not attack it for no good reason. AAARGGH!! Okay...trying to calm breathing now....

After all that, we headed out for another ski. I had energy to burn off, haha. We toodled onto the other side of the park and were doing well, but mine and Joanne's skis were building up lots of snow. Esther was teasing us about being slow as she gracefully glided by. Time to put more wax on. We did and then I proceeded to chase Esther up a hill smacking her with my pole, haha. Tease me will you!! Too funny.

Joanne had to head out to meet her daughter so we parted ways and Esther and I continued on. It was beautiful out there. So serene, peaceful and quiet. There weren't too many people on the trail, given that it was a Thursday! I loved being out there. I can't wait till we go again on Saturday!!

Esther and I got a good ski in and the total time for the day was 2:57 hours. If it hadn't been getting dark out we would have stayed out there for longer!

We went back to the hut to grab Esthers gear and when we were inside a Forest Ranger came in to close things up. We mentioned the squirrel. He said they were going to set a live trap (see, they don't believe in harming the animals either!), but they thought the squirrel might be a Mum so didn't want to take her away from her babies. Awwww. Needless to say they have left her in there for now. While he wasn't looking I made sure to leave her a couple of almonds. Just to make peace because of the other, nasty, human hitting her.

I know, I know - DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. Normally I wouldn't. I just felt bad she got hit and wanted to make sure the 'kids' had a good dinner.

As we were leaving I looked in the window and saw Mrs. Squirrel merrily hopping along the picnic tables. I LOVE BEING IN THE MOUNTAINS!!!

The day was made perfect by enjoying a sushi dinner later then a hot tub dip while sipping some vino with my good friends Esther and David. Aaaaahh. This is the life!