Sunday, 30 March 2008

The Art Of Focussing...

Ah yes, the art of focussing. Not an easy task to master for a gal such as I whose brain gerbil likes to spin at top speed on his little wheel. It's easy to tell when the little guy does get tired though...that's when I cease to be able to function and I fall to a heap in a dead sleep. LOL.

I've realized that I need to learn, and master, this art, not only in my personal life, but my professional life as well. Therefore, I've taken on the task of 'staying in the present'. How's it going you ask? Well....

I find that I have to constantly remind myself to come back to the present. Take this morning for instance. Before I could get started on this challenge called focus, I had to do my little girl spazz temper tantrum after looking out the window and seeing 2 inches of snow. @$&#!!!!! Stomp, stomp, stomp! Not that I had planned on going outside, but I had the hope that perhaps we were moving towards spring, not backwards toward winter. Eventually, I made my way to the dungeon to tackle the task of being on the bike for two and a half hours sans music, tv or any other distraction.

This is all part of the grand scheme to help me focus not only when I'm training, but also come race day.

The entire ride was pretty much a struggle to 'stay in the moment'. You'd think it would be easy to defeat a wee gerbil...but he's quite strong and very very stubborn! Hmm, remind you of anyone?! I managed to spend about 70% of my time focussed on my cadence, pedal force, and heart rate. Those times when my mind wanted to wander I would try to 'channel' someone I would love to ride like, or I would do a body check. The body checks seem to work the best as I'd notice my shoulders were creeping up towards my ears, or I'd notice something cool.... like my cadence had picked up and my legs were feeling strong even though i was at the 1.5 hour mark.

This definitely isn't something one masters in a short time; I'm sure it will take years. It isn't a choice though, it's something I will have to work on with each and every workout in order to become a better triathlete. Good thing I like a challenge and I'm stubborn enough not to quit until I master it because I have a feeling it's going to be a bit of a bumpy road. Well, at least it would be a bumpy road if the friggin snow would stop and I could get outside!!!!

So here we are, at day one of my 12 week build to IMCDA. I think today was a good start. I accomplished my daily goal and I didn't let my mind go into a spiral thinking about the race and all that I have to get done beforehand. Phew.

Onwards and upwards!

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Seriously...No More Snow...

I have really had it up to 'here' with snow. I know, I know....snow is not bad. I love skiing and being in the mountains when it's all snowy. When winter hits I'm always totally stoked for it. By spring though, I've had enough. I want the warmth of the sun to run in. It didn't help that I was in a wonderfully warm country not that long ago.

I woke up this morning eager for my run. When I opened the curtains and saw the snow, my heart sank a bit. Sigh. Oh well. Time to bundle up and just get out there!

As I headed out from the rec centre parking lot I could barely see. I had to keep blinking because I was being pelted with very small, hard little snowflakes. Ow! To avoid losing an eye, I pulled my toque down so low over my eyes I looked like a 'home girl'. Well, with the exception of my pigtails hanging out. Yo, yo, yo! Sup?! LOL.

As I turned onto the path I was amazed at how much ice had been pushed up onto the shore, it was nuts. At least there was a higher path I could follow until I got to the paved section. From there it was smooth sailing.

At one point I tried to count my foot strikes. I was aiming for 90 per foot in one minute. I got to about 85. I found that if I increased my cadence, my heart rate would follow. As I was supposed to hold it in zone 2 I decided just to stick with the 85.

The run was uneventful for the most part. It was still nice though. Cold, windy and winterlike, but peaceful.

When I got back to the rec centre I decided to see if the snack bar outside the hockey rink had fruit so I could have a snack before hitting the gym. Usually it's dead in there, but today as I walked in with my 'home girl' toque, my fluroescent yellow jacket and tights on there seem to be a million and one hockey parents. (They were having a fundraising auction). It seemed they were all looking at me. I was actually getting some odd looks as I walked by. Huh. Apparantly running in the snow isn't their thing?? LOL.

I haven't been in the gym in a while and I felt it. I was strong for the first few sets, but then weakened pretty soon after. Rats. It's amazing how fast you can lose it! I did manage 1.75 pull ups though! No matter how much I flung my legs in the air as though trying to find something to stand on, I could not finish it off to get a full second pull up. Drat. Gotta keep at it!

Tomorrow will be the official start to my build to IMCDA. I'm both excited and a little shocked. Shocked because it means that IMCDA is getting closer. Last year training seemed to drag on because I had till the end of August - this year it's going at light speed. I feel equally prepared and unprepared for it right now. I know that will slowly change though...

Peace out my friends.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Earth Hour...

Although I would love it if Cochrane would get warmer...

Please do your part and participate in Earth Hour!

See link for details.

Monday, 24 March 2008

A Poem...Kind Of...

I do not want snow,
No, no, no.

I want to frolick,
On my bicycle,

I do not want snow,
No, no, no.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Time Game...

Seriously, I do not know how some people do it....train for any sport plus have a partner/spouse, kidlets or all of the above to attend to. Last week was absolute choas for me. I had appointments and long work days and was trying to fit in all my workouts before and after work, as ususal. It got to the point where the parental unit and friends were calling or emailing to make sure I was alive as no one had heard from me. I want everyone to know how thankful I am for that. I'm grateful to know that there are people out there who love me enough to make sure I'm ok! At least I was able to zip off a couple of quick emails saying I'm alive, just super busy! Hopefully next week will be less crazy.

I guess I'm lucky in the sense that I have only my cats to worry about. Although the one was super pissed that I wasn't giving him much lovin'. (The other is a fraidy cat and likes to hide a lot. He's still wonderful though.) It made me wonder though how people with other committments do it?? For all of those out there who are training for an event AND working AND keeping up with your families - I give you a very big, jumping in the air, pounding chests, high five. Not to mention and all out 'HOOOYAAAAH!'. You guys rock!

So did I manage to get all my workouts in? Well, I did get in 99% of them. I have been wrestling with a very tight calve muscle (as my Pop would say 'it's tighter than a cow's ass in fly season!'), so I decided to bail on my Thursday ride and keep with my Friday day off plan. I had tried to push through it, did self massage, stretched it but nothing was working. It had gotten to the point where it was cramping when I was seated at my desk and it hurt when I walk. Time to take a bit of extra rest.

The rest and icing seemed to help as I felt good for my run/swim on Saturday. It was pulling a bit on the bike today, but I made sure to stretch it out and ice it after. Fingers crossed it's just a minor niggly and it will disappear soon.

My workouts this week went well. I had to contend with what looked like the remnants of a cat fight in the bottom of the pool on Tuesday. The quantity of hair in the deep end was beyond disgusting. Serioulsy, how the hell did it get there?! You have no idea how hard it is to swim and dry heave at the same time. My 'lost' bright orange ear plug was still at the bottom of the pool amongst this hairy mess so it made me wonder just how often they vacuum the pool! I really don't want to know the answer to that question.

Wednesday I had a great run, as documented in the one blog I finally wrote up yesterday. We did a timed "45" minute swim on Thursday (the cat fight hair had been removed thankfully) and I was really pleased with my distance. Our coach missed when our exact start time was, but knew we'd swam about 42-43 minutes. I didn't care about the extra 2 minutes because I swam 50 m faster than my last timed swim, which was the full 45 minutes. I'M GETTING FASTER!!! Now I just need to hold that pace for IMCDA...

I had a great run on Saturday with my friend Esther. We headed out along the 'Fosters' route. This route takes one through a fabulous trail. The section of trail is short, but it's worth being in there. I just love it as it reminds me of being home in BC. Lots of trees, bushes, a wee babbling brook and dirt trail with roots sticking up - just to keep you in the moment. There was still some icy bits so we had to mind our step in a couple of sections. Still it was gorgeous to run through.

I debated going out for a ride today, but I'm not as brave as some and decided to stick to the trainer. One of these days I will have to measure how much sweat I lose. By about the 1:45 mark there was a constant drip off the end of my ever so delicate schnoz to the mat below. Drip...drip...drip drip....drip. I imagine it occured because my 'I want to be like Faris' bandana was soaked through. This was in addition to the sweat dripping down my back and off my arms. Pretty gross and at the same time pretty cool. Only a crazy triathlete would think that...or perhaps a runner?

I managed to get my planking in and am happy to report I hit the 3 minute mark yesterday - after several attempts during the week. I have to share the secret of getting to this time... Normally I would get into position and start my watch. Then when I figured I'd been hanging and shaking long enough I'd drop thinking it had to be at least 2 minutes. I'd then look at my watch to see it was really about 1:20 min. Hmmm. This time I put the watch in front of me and did some major self talking. I kept saying, 'five more seconds - just hold it for five more seconds' over and over again. This seemed to do the trick.

Admittedly I flopped to the ground in pure exhaustion at 3 minutes. Let's just hope I don't sneeze or cough the next few days or I will end up dropping to the floor and going in to the fetal position due to core discomfort. I read afterwards that Julie also hit the 3 minute mark, which I was super happy to see!! Great job! Oh, so, uh, how much longer do we have to hold it now?? My side planks were ok, both were 1:05 minutes. I find them much harder.

So that's my week in a nutshell. This week is allegedly a rest week for me, although it doesn't appear that way according to my schedule....Gregory.... It's all good though. I'm seeing some great improvements so far this year. Very cool.

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Dusk to Dark...

There are certain times when I find going out for a run can be thought of as ‘special’. Going for a run along the wooded trails in the rain and watching the raindrops falling from the brim of my ball cap, off leaves and trees; or running in the snow and being surrounded by big, fluffy snowflakes; running along a country road in the spring and feeling the sun warm and inviting on my face.

Tonight turned out to be another special run. I had a long day at work so I didn’t actually make it out the door until after 7:30 pm. This is not usual for me; I prefer to run at an earlier time so I don’t have to rush eating, getting my swim gear ready for the morning and being able to get to bed at an early enough time.

When I first headed out I was a little miffed at the late hour, but then I started to take a look around me. As I was running, I noticed the light of the day had started to fade and the moon was becoming more visible.

I ran along the trail that followed the river, also known as ‘My Happy Place’. When I turned along the path and started heading west again I was met with a beautiful sky in shades of blue, white, orange and pink. The trees and houses were already in silhouette. The streetlamps and the lights from the houses were slowly flickering on so I start could make out the individual neighborhoods.

I turned to run back eastwards and saw the semi-trailers going over the bridge with all their brilliant orange lights dotting the side of the trucks. The moon was playing peek-a-boo from behind the clouds. More streetlamps were on now and some of the light from them were reflected like shimmering lights in the rippling river.

Bright white patches of remaining snow were being revealed in amongst the trees and bushes.

By the time I was near the end of my run, the last remaining rays of daylight had dipped below the horizon and darkness had arrived. I ran along the pathway, in behind the houses and slowly, one by one, my running body triggered all the motion detector lights in the backyards. It was as if I was the star of a Broadway show!

I had started out the run wishing I had gone out earlier, but I ended the run grateful that I had the opportunity to watch the world transform from dusk to dark in all it’s glory.

Peace out my friends!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

A Satruday Run...

I woke up this morning tired of the tears. I had been crying spontaneously for the last couple of days, doing the 'poor me' thing. Not my style, but we all slip there sometimes.

Last night was my lowest point, as I'm sure can be felt by my blog. The worst was bursting into tears when I was on the phone with my Moeder. I felt horrible doing that as it's gotta suck being a parental unit, being hundreds of kilometers away and having their adult kidlet crying and knowing they can't do anything to help. At the same time, I had to call home because when I'm frustrated and upset all I want is my Mommy and Daddy. We are the three muskateers and even though they can't help, I just needed to talk to them.

So as I got ready for my run I thought, enough is enough. We've had our weepy moment, now it's time for action. As I headed out the door I cranked the tunes - it was definitely a punk rock morning. I could get through anything with the help of the Sex Pistols, Anthrax, and Violent Femmes. Hell, just to mix things up why not throw in a little of LL Cool J's "Momma Said Knock You Out'. I was going to run through the streets with my fist pounding the air in defiance of how I was feeling! I would head bang my way through this moment.

Okay, figuritively only, all that fist pounding and head banging would likely lead to me losing my balance and smacking my noggin on a tree or something. That would definitely not help the situation at all! Plus, I'd look like a dork. Actually, the dork part wouldn't bug me in the least. Heh heh.

So ran I did. I didn't feel 100%, but I'm used to that. I was just happy to be out and moving. Doing something. As I ran I thought of the situation and mulled about the various options I might have. Plans of attack, if you will.

I was supposed to be running at a low heart rate today, as per usual...but today I needed to burn off a little steam as I pondered. So I didn't really look at my monitor that much. As Keith has said in the past, you could see the frustration blowing off my body. By the time I got back home I'd mustered up some ideas...I'll discuss them with IG and with my nutritionist and go from there.

The one thing that is adding pressure to finding a solution is the fact that IMCDA is not that far off. In fact, the widget that was counting down felt like a bit of a ticking time bomb...hence it's been removed. No more 'tick, tick, tick' to add pressure! Phew.

I felt much better when I got home, ideas in mind. I had to run out and do some errands and then get my massage. (I wish I could say it was a relaxing massage, but it was rather painful, haha. Damn calves and IT band!)

So I thought the tears were through, but then I read the comments on my blog....and it was waterfall city again. haha. This time though, the tears were not of pain, anger, or frustration, but rather they were of gratitude. Gratitude for the support given from those I know and those I've never met.

Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean more than I could ever express. With that kind of support I know even in the icky times I'll get through it. Hugs to you all!

Peace out my friends.

Friday, 14 March 2008

What Can I Say...

It would appear that I have slipped back into intestinal hell. I'm having another flair up and after feebly trying to workout on the bike for 20 minutes last night, I got off the bike, changed, sat on the couch and proceeded to cry.

I was crying for a few reasons. One, I wanted to do the workout IG sent cause it was a good one. Two I hated that I got off the bike; I felt like I gave up. Last, I hurt, I'm tired and I'm frustrated; I had thought I could 'muscle' through this flair up.

I've been battling this intestinal thing for many years now. In my old life I would just go home, lay down and hope that when I woke up things would be better. Sometimes they were, and sometimes they weren't.

Nowadays I'm asking a lot of my body with my training. That is part of the reason the frequency and duration of these flair ups has increased. I could give up my IM goals and perhaps they would lessen, but then I'd be giving up something that I love and that has become my life. So now what to do?

I've been to two GI specialists, and have yet another appointment with one in April. As of yet, Western medicine has not helped. They've shrugged and said, 'We're sorry, but you don't have the top three intestinal disorders so we can't help you and you'll have to figure out how to make yourself well.' I've also been seeing a Naturopath, and that seemed to help for a time, but no longer.

Diets, yes, I've tried many things. Even the 'Thrive Diet' Kelsey recently mentioned. I've removed meat, soy, dairy (save for the odd chocolate binge), and wheat/gluten from my diet. I'm still not well.

Stress plays a role in all of this and it's a vicious circle. I have 'healthy' stress from training and racing, and I have unhealthy stress from being so frustrated that my body is not cooperating with me. I'm tired of so many things - having to be picky about eating (it's annoying for my friends as well), the embarassment of the situation when I have flair ups, the constant rumblings and movements going on inside me, the feeling of having the life sucked out of me, the frustration of not knowing how to fix this, the fear of how this is going to affect IMCDA, and the tears. I hate being a wimp.

A friend of mine recently gave me a book on intestinal disorders called 'Breaking the Vicious Circle'. I started reading it last night and have already finished it. It too calls for healing through diet, but this one is quite restrictive. I'm tempted as I'm willing to try anything if it will help, but in doing this diet I'm not sure how I would get enough nutrition in for training or during a race. Can one race while not taking in sugars other than from fruits? I don't know what to do.

On one hand this diet (that has been used on patients since the late 50's) will apparantly bring your system back to a 'normal' state if you stay on it for approximately two years. Hmm, I could have a 'normal' life in two years. On the other hand, could I really do a diet like this for two years? Then I think, all these diets seem to make sense initially, and sometimes they help at the start, but then I still end up at the same spot I was in originally. Which is where I am now.

I wish so badly that there was someone that I could talk to about this. Someone who races Ironman who could give me some suggestions on what works. Even someone that's tried the above and can suggest how I can race while following such a diet. I know there isn't though, because IBS patients all have different symptoms and treatments. So I'm on my own.

The really ironic thing about this was that when I was swimming yesterday I was thinking how cool it was that I ran the night before and was in the pool in the morning pushing on even after the flair up started. I was also thinking about others I know or whom I've read about who are involved in triathlon. There are those who have started later in life, those with children, those who are physically challenged, and those who battle cancer, ALS, and other life threatening diseases. I thought about the triathlete spirit and how we all face adversity in some way, shape or form yet we continue on even in the face of adversity. Yet another reason why I love this sport so much.

In some ways that made me feel guilty for getting upset over this and for giving up on the bike last night. In other ways it reminds me that with a positive mindset anything can be accomplished. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to find the positive when you are in a fog. I know the fog will soon lift and I will try another diet, or treatment with renewed hope. Who knows, perhaps this time it will finally work.

Peace out my friends.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Ch-Ch-Chilly Out There!!!

Today was one of those days when my gut was not cooperating. I'm not sure why things are coming back, I was fine in Malaysia! Maybe I'm meant to eat only fish curry and rice?! Anyways, I was dealing with some serious sharp pains for a few hours this afternoon. Not fun at the best of times and even worse when you are stuck in a day long clients training session with your boss and coworkers. Rats! I was kind of wondering how my run was going to go tonight...

Surprsingly, it went well. I ran for 1:40 hour from the west side of town, where I live, all the way to the east side of town and back again. It was pretty nice out when I started out, but it sure cooled down later on. Nothing like running into a cold head wind to motivate you to get home sooner rather than later, haha.

At the start of the run I was having some HR strap issues. I think I may have lost some padding on my ribs cause lately my HR strap has been digging in on my rib. As I ran down the hill from my house, the strap was slowly slipping down, down and down. I decided till I was on the trail to adjust things. I tried to scooch it up and under the old jog bra without having to lift my shirt, but to no avail. So I had to lift my shirt up to move things around. Now, now, I wasn't showing anything so let's not all get in a tizzy. Well, at least I don't think I was....

As I had my shirt up and was moving the strap up I could feel the wind wrap around me. At this point I realized that my leggings were slung a wee bit low and perhaps there was just a bit of plumber butt going on, haha. It was then I remembered the email I got from a friend showing just another use for duct tape...hmmm....

Perhaps next time I'll just make sure my leggings are done up a bit tighter, haha.

Peace out my friends!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Milestone Achieved...


You have NO idea how exciting that is for me. For my first timed swim in the end of 2005 (when I first started swimming) I was at 30+ minutes. Since then, I have been trying FOREVER to get past the 20 minute marker. Last year the best I did was 20:20 minutes. Urgh! So close yet so far!

This morning though I had a great swim, I used proper technique (thank you IG!!) and worked hard and my final time was 19:34 minutes. The last 500 m it would seem I was quite consistent and doing 1 minute 50's. I do wonder; however, if I could have eeked out a bit less time had I not completely missed the wall on two of my flipturns, haha. Yup, twice I flipped, felt no wall and my feet and was like "SHITE!" as I started pulling hard at the water to get going. Is all good though, I'm quite happy with my time.

Of course, as I am a triathlete, I will now set a new time to break....not telling what it is though!! Tee hee.

After quite the swim, I achieved another milestone tonight....this time on the bike! I managed to get up to 168 bpm while doing MAP's (not sure what that acronym stands for...only know it means PAIN!).

Okay, so the task was 2 groups of 5 times a set of 2x2. Does that make sense?? The 2x2 part was 2 minutes at threshold heart rate and 2 minutes easy at 90 rpm. The most I've gotten my heart rate to in the past was 157 bpm, but when I conferred with IG this afternoon he said the goal would be to try and get it to an upper zone 4 heart rate. The operative word there being TRY.

As I have mentioned in the past, it would appear that if IG asks my body to do something, it does. Stupid body. Doesn't listen to me when I say 'ow, ow, ow'. Nooooo. Always has to do what IG says. Sheesh.

I gotta say during the first set of 2 minutes at AT I was thinking, holy shite this friggin hurts! How many more sets do I have?! And why, oh why do the 2 minutes where you are pushing hard seem to go on FOREVER, yet the 2 minute recovery just zips by! Crap!

My breathing seemed almost inhuman for the last 30 seconds of each set. It was insane. Oh, and Keith and Jenna will be happy to know that I did spit up a little in my mouth. haha. I actually giggled and said 'ew' with that one. The giggle was because of Keith and Jenna, and the ew, well, that's pretty obvious I think. At least I didn't hurl on the floor or anything!! (At this point the parental unit will be shaking their head and asking why their daughter delights in this stuff?!)

For the majority of the sets my max heart rate was 166 bpm. My total ride time was 1:30 hours. Not bad for a gal who woke up this morning totally stuffed up, with eyes partially sealed by eye goobers (yuck!) and itchy lungs. Sigh. I can't wait till this cold or whatever passes!

What a day!!!

Peace out my friends!!

PS Ignore my prior record one legged spin times. Apparantly, she says with eyes rolling, one must do the spins at a cadence above 60 rpm - according to IG. I was below that so I am back to square one. Record time has been reduced to 1:45 minute and 1:15 minute. Rats!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Ray of Light...

As I sat in cubicle hell at work, where nary a ray of sunshine doth cross my path, I thought to myself...aaaah, won't it be nice to go for a run after work and soak up the last of the days sunshiny rays.

Alas, by the time I got home the wind had picked up and the clouds had moved in. Oh well, it was still warm, relatively speaking. At any rate I got home, donned my running duds, put my hair up in a cute ponytail that would merrily dance as I ran and off I went.

As I ran along the red rock path I found myself 'chasing' a wee squirrel. Well, ok, not chasing as the little guy sure had more speed than I did, so lets just say I was running behind mr. squirrel. It was hard not to laugh at him as his teeny butt was going up and down as he ran with his front two feet leaping, and then his back two feet leaping alternately. Why I found this funny, I know not. I just did. So I laughed. Evantually he ran off the path. I think my laughing must have ticked him off because when I was running on my way back I was chirped at quite vigorously by a squirrel in the trees. I have a feeling he wasn't saying 'have a great run Suse!'. haha.

Well, that's all I have to post for tonights blog. What can I say. The IGP called for a 45 minute EZ run with strides. So that's what I did. I ran. For 45 minutes. Easy. Even though I live at the top of a loooong hill. I ran. Easy. End of story. Now go write your own blog.

Peace out my friends.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Just Get On The Damn Bike!!!

I'm not sure if I'm still dealing with jetlag, or if I'm actually fighting off some sort of airborne disease. My throat is still sore (never really left me since being icky in KL), my nose is half stuffy and my lungs are achy/itchy. Oh, and to top it off my noggin hurts a bit. Sigh.

Because of all this I had quite the internal argument this morning regarding my workout. It went something like this, "Ugh, I feel like crap. Quit yer whining and get your gear on. Would it really matter if I missed one workout? Uh, YA. Dude, we have a goal to achieve at IMCDA so you better get your arse on that bike. But I feel like crap. Puhleez, it's a little sore throat and a wimpy cough. Deal with it. What if it doesn't go away?? Look, you have to work out cause if you don't, all your blog buddies will know and how is that going to look?! It's called accountibility missy! Who's idea was it to write a stupid blog anyways....GREGORY! Fine! I will get my arse on the bike. Hmpfff."

So I got my gear on, headed out my bedroom door and ran into my roomie. We hadn't seen each other in forever so I stopped to chat and catch up on his life. Oh, and yes, this was a stalling technique. haha. We chatted for about a half an hour until he said 'Don't you have to work out?'. Bastard! LOL.

So I made my way down to the dungeon and got on the bike. It was a bit slow to get going, that's for sure. I decided to have fun and see how long I could do a one legged spin before I 'klunked' over the top of the stroke. I managed to go for 3:14 minutes with the right leg and 3:29 minutes wiht the left leg. Admittedly as I was going along there I was losing my amusement for this game, haha.

After a 20 minute warmup I got into the main set. Nothing complicated. I was to do sets of 6:30min in high zone 2 and 3:30min in low zone 2. I actually didn't feel too bad throughout the workout. My legs felt strong and weren't tired - always a bonus. I have a lot on the brain these days so was trying to think my thoughts. It was funny cause I could tell when I was getting somewhat worked up about a subject because the frustration would flow through to my pedal stroke, I'd push harder and of course my heart rate would go up, haha. Oops.

Not having the tv or music on actually makes these workouts better. I focus on my cadence, my heart rate, and work out the thoughts in my brain. It's almost meditative.

The total length of my bike was 1:45. My throat, lungs and noggin still don't feel great. However, mentally I feel great because I got the job done and had a great workout. AND I can write in my blog that I did. LOL.

Stupid accountibility....

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Running With Icebergs...

A very short while ago I was running with palm trees...and today I ran with icebergs. Okay, perhaps they weren't huge like icebergs, but there was a ton of thick ice!

I went running with my buddy Esther today. It turned out to be a gorgeous spring day. Not a cloud in the sky and although the wind we felt running west was a bit cool, when we were running back east I had to shed my light jacket.

I was grumbling a bit about wanting to be back in the hot sun, so Esther started pointing out how beautiful it was here with the river flowing, the mountains in the background and the blue blue sky. Too funny. She is right though, it is beautiful here...I just wish it was warm all year round, haha. Give me global warming! (Kidding!!)

The run itself was good. My legs were slightly resistant to get going at the start, but finally kicked in. She noted that my pace was faster since the last time we ran, but my heart rate was where it should be (it popped up a couple of times), so I'm pretty pleased with that.

On the way back to the Rec. Ctr., where we started our run from, we realized we'd only run 50 minutes. Last time we ran together (at the beginning of the year) we ran this route in an hour, so somehow we've shed 10 minutes. Not bad. As the run was to be an hour, we kept along the path that followed the river. That's when we saw the 'icebergs'.

I've never seen anything like it on this path! At this point, the path dips down and is at the same level as the river. The river bends here and I guess there was a bit of an ice jam so all the ice has broken up and been pushed up onto the pathway and the land along there. It was wild! I wish I had a camera. The ice was at least a foot thick too. A lady who was walking her dog mentioned it had receeded since last week. Amazing!

We picked our way around the ice and finished up the run along the roadway.

We hit the gym after and met up with our buddy Paddy. I did my usual upper body workout. I'd only hit the weights once on the trip so was happy to be back in the gym. It's like my meditative zone, haha.

At one point 'Baby Got Back' came on my mp3 player. For those of you who don't know, this is my theme song and it's pretty much impossible for me not to get jiggy with it when the song is playing. I care not where I am or who's looking and today was no exception. I was in one of the training rooms with Paddy and Esther so started singing the song and shaking my booty. Lord only knows if I was singing on key or not, but it got the girls laughing and that's all that matters.

(I might mention I was even 'caught on tape' shaking my booty to this song at IMC as I started on the friends daughters were singing it for me along the road, haha.)

As I went to reach for my lock on the locker my arms started to shake...a sign of a good workout. Will be interesting to see how they feel tomorrow though...

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Very Sleeepy...

Front...plank...2:05 min...
Right...plank...0:54 min...
Left...plank...1:01 min...

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Plank Challenge...

Okay, so in catching up on some blogs I noticed Julie's post about holding the plank for an unGodly amount of time (btw - awesome job dude!). So I got to thinking....we tri geek bloggers should do a challenge.

Here's what I propose:

Once a week (or more if you should choose) we hold a front plank and a side plank (each side) and time ourselves as Julie did! Each week we will post our times and see how we do. (Extra points for those who have a cat or dog standing on their bod as they do this too!)

Now this isn't about challenging Julie or anyone else (feel free to though, haha), but rather about challenging ourselves to beat our own times and to do this a minimum of once a week!

Even though it's a challenge, there are no losers as we will all win at having kick ass core strength.

So, all those in favour of signing up for the plank challenge say 'EDDIE VEDDER IS GOD!!'. LOL.

Oh, and for those who really want a challenge - feel free to add chinups to your weekly goal!

Holy Jetlag Batman!!!

I am SO glad I got my bike workout done yesterday in the morning because by mid afternoon I had a wicket migraine and vertigo. Urgh. I have never experienced jetlag before, but I can say it's officially kicking my arse.

Not only have I got the vertigo thing going, but my sleeping is totally erratic. I tried my best not to sleep during the day so I would sleep at night. Admittedly I nodded off a bit with the headache - but not a long time!!

I was out cold at 9pm last night and slept hard for two hours. That's when I woke up abruptly with the urge to use the loo. I stood up, caught myself from falling over (stupid vertigo), then stood there in total confusion thinking 'uh, where the hell am I? and where the hell is Greg?'. LOL.

Now I realize that might sound funny, but up to the night before we'd been together 24 hrs a day for 16 days! So I guess I kind of expected him to be there because for a while there I actually thought I might be in one of the hotels! Yup, that's just how friggin out of it I was, haha.

The really weird thing was that I think I kind of new I was in my room cause I knew to go straight ahead to the loo. Even though I could figure that out, I still wasn't sure if I was in my house or the hotel, haha. So there I am sitting on the pot thinking, am I really home? Then I started worrying that I really was in a hotel and I didn't close the bathroom door and there was the chance that Greg would find me on the throne!! LOL. This whole process took about 3 minutes to go through. It was all very confusing, and strange, haha.

Finally I figured it all out and fell back asleep for a short time. I kept waking up though and finally got up at 4am. Sigh.

Needless to say my first day back at work was difficult. By 2pm I needed toothpicks for my eyes. I won't even describe the commute home for fear of worrying the parental unit.

I really wasn't sure how I was going to pull off a run tonight as I felt like Mr. Magoo. I decided that the trick would be to walk in the door, not let my arse cheeks pull me to the couch, run upstairs, change and bolt! So that's what I did.

Considering how I felt this afternoon, I actually had a really great run! I worked on my gait and integrating IG's pointers from our holiday. (No secrets here, he suggested I shorten my stride and increase my cadence.) I think I was able to that tonight. IG said the point is not to let you foot contact the surface for too long, kinda like running on hot coals. So this is what I focussed on. I found it was easy to do when running on loose gravel (of which we have an overabundance on the side of our roads from when it was snowy!) Just by listening to how my foot was landing on the gravel I could tell if I was flicking it behind me, which is good, or doing a heel strike and pushing it forward, thereby braking - not what one wants to do. All very interesting.

I should add it was also nice to run after work and have it still be light out! I could actually run on the trails and not be freaked out by bear looking garbage cans or tombstone shaped stumps! haha. (Can you say overactive imagination boys and girls?!)

I ran for an hour and a half tonight in a low zone 2 heart rate. I actually felt that I had a faster pace with my new running technique. I don't wear a Garmin so am not sure of the pace. However, I think the point is that I FELT faster so even if I wasn't, I really don't care. So there! haha.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Grumble, Grumble...

Well, we are back from wonderfully warm Malayisa....and I've been cold ever since, haha.

Perhaps it's the jet lag, the need for layers of clothes, the fatigue or the fact that my equilibrium seems to be off (jet lag side effect??), but I'm rather grumpy about being home. Sigh...

What can one do in this situation other than plot and plan for another adventure. Next time though I think I'd like to race...time to start surfing the net for early season IM's that are in warm countries!

I did continue my training when I was in Malaysia. I went running the day after the IM around the streets of Kuah. This time I took a different route and follow the road that I had walked back along from the bike turnaround.

As I was running I kept coming up to police barracades. I wasn't sure what they were for, or if I should ask. I did, however, ask if it was ok for me to run through. To which I was met with many smiles and teasing about 'the finish line is that way!' and 'why are you still running? the race is over!'. Oh funny, funny policeman, haha. I didn't bother trying to explain that I had been a cheerleader rather than a participant. If they wanted to believe I could do an IM then run the next day - then who was I to correct them! LOL.

When we went down to Kuala Lumpur I ran in the gym a couple of times. The streets are way to busy to try to run along. Plus the air isn't quite 'fresh'. I managed to get a swim in at the pool as well.

The rest of my training was bascially walking, and walking, and walking. I swear, we walked for hours a day every day. It was nuts, but a great way to explore your surroundings. I wish I had a pedometer to track how far we went. I do know that one day we must have been wandering around for about 6 or 7 hours. Phew!

My one foot took a beating from all this. Actually, more my baby toe. I had blisters upon blisters to the point that it looked like I had a two baby toes. Ew. Greg was teasing me that my foot looked worse than his did after IM. Greeeat. The toe is still in so-so shape. We'll see how running goes tomorrow.

Today was my first full day home so it was time to 'get back in the saddle'...literally. I hadn't been on a bike since I left so was eager to do so, even though my body wasn't sure this was a good idea. That was just the jet lag talking though.

I really want to get better on the bike this season - especially after seeing some amazing athletes (our Greg most especially) at IM Malaysia. So I decided that I need to be a hermit on the bike. No music. No television. No distractions. Just me and hours of focusing on what the bod was doing on the bike. Very exciting, I know! haha.

As I hopped onto the bike I was mighty glad it was attached to a trainer as my head was spinning and if I had been riding on the road I'm sure I would have fallen over a few times. heh heh. (The equilibrium thing again.) I figured I'd go for an hour and a half. See how I felt.

The good news is I had a pretty good workout. I did a 20 min warm up, 60 min steady state bike (at mid/high zone 2 heart rate) and then a 10 min cool down. I felt not too bad - phew! I was pretty worried I'd lost all my bike fitness over the last two weeks. I actually even managed to hold my one legged spinning for a minute with no dead spots in the pedal stroke and with good strength! Go figure.

The bad(?) news is that although I had no distractions like music or the t.v., I'm sure I only focused on my pedal stroke and technique for a minor portion of the time. The duration of time in between my checking my heart rate and cadence was spent reminiscing about Malaysia, coming up with ideas for a career that would take me to warm places cause I realized I'd rather be warm all the time than cold, dreaming about meeting Faris again, and just general future planning. LOL.

One day I will get this focus thing down pat! It was one of my goals for this year and it's obvious it's going to be a challenge. Ah well...if everything were easy - life would be friggin boring!!